Mercy Corps Seeks More Media Coverage

The Water Innovation Technologies (WIT) project is a five-year initiative funded by the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Mercy Corps (MC). The purpose of the project is to increase water conservation in Jordan by focusing on water efficiency in the agricultural sector, community and household levels.

The WIT project will contribute to the overall objective of conserving water in Jordan, through the adoption of proven water-saving technologies and techniques, by achieving three integrated outcomes: 1) Water conserving technologies and behavior changes are adopted at the agricultural, community and household levels; 2) Access to financing for adoption of water conservation technology is improved; and 3) Institutions strengthened to support water saving technologies.

Background:

About us

Mercy Corps is a global team of humanitarians who partner with communities, corporations and governments to transform lives around the world. Our 5,500+ team members work with people in the world’s most vulnerable communities across 40+ countries. 87 percent of our team is from the countries where they work.

Thanks to our donors, we have provided $4 billion in lifesaving assistance to more than 220 million people over the last 40 years. We believe we must go beyond emergency aid to create more resilient communities, and we believe communities are the best agents of their own change.

Through close collaboration with community members and a wide variety of organizations, we put bold solutions into action and help people triumph over adversity. For the refugee who dreams of rebuilding her home, for the mother who wants a healthy future for her children — for millions of people filled with the power of possibility — we connect people to the resources they need to build better, stronger lives.

It is not a secret that Jordan has one of the lowest levels of water availability per capita in the world. With population expected to double by 2047, meeting water demand has become even more critical. Water scarcity affects every aspect of Jordanian life. Many Jordanians suffer from sporadic access to public water supplies, leading to concerns about scarcity.

To address the information/knowledge related-barriers and increase uptake in the adoption of water-saving practices and technologies by farmers and households, the project is working to promote public understanding of water conservation issues and solutions. Media is an important tool to disseminate information and build awareness on the importance of water as a critical resource, its rational use and affordable water conservation behaviors, products and irrigation systems. Jordan has a wide variety of traditional and modern multi-media players including TV, radio and newspapers, internet and social media operators. Media has strong investigative capabilities, and incentive to engage with matters of public interest, but their application in the water sector has been limited to date.

The media organizations, responsible for providing information and awareness raising about the water situation and the available solutions, lack a consistent strategy and always carry generic messages focused on the holistic water challenge. In addition, the generated quantity and quality of information on efficient water-saving behaviors and effectiveness of awareness raising efforts do not correspond to the extent of the water problem. A light review of the media coverage of water issues shows that the news media have tended to be less critical of market-based solutions to the water crisis in Jordan while overlooking critiques of water management.

Scope of Work:

Mercy Corps invites proposals for the goods, services and/or works described and summarized in these documents, and in accordance with procedures, conditions and contract terms presented herein. Mercy Corps reserves the right to vary the quantity of work/materials specified in the Tender Package without any changes in unit price or other terms and conditions and to accept or reject any, all, or part of submitted offers.

USAID WIT recognizes the vital role of media in both influencing and indicating public opinion on water conservation issues. It can influence the perception, attitude, and behavior of the public to conserve water by increasing the frequency and detail of coverage to ensure the issue receives a prominent

Concept Note: Enhancing Media Coverage of Water Issues in Jordan

position. Media has a mandate to inform the Jordanian public about developments and solutions to the water crisis in the country and that will definitely have an impact on citizens. Yet the media’s coverage of water issues is limited and usually does not provide solutions, only describes the problems.

Understanding that the media industry is a market unto itself, WIT will seek to identify the constraints that exist which restrain media outlets from delivering quality messaging around household and farm-level solutions to the water shortages. This will be done through a market assessment which will be conducted by the service provider to be identified by the project. Based on the results of this assessment, the WIT team will determine what can be done to solve the identified constraints.

We strongly believe that one of the major constraints to the media situation is that media outlets lack a clear understanding of what water-shortage solutions exist and how to properly deliver these messages, and we can immediately begin addressing this constraint. Therefore, the project is aiming to strengthen the capacities of journalists, TV and radio reports, bloggers, social media activists and other target groups on a variety of water conservation issues in agriculture and households. The trainings will build capacity among of journalists and other media target groups on solutions-oriented reporting to pave the way for a network of constructive water journalism in Jordan. Additionally, it will involve metrological organizations and agents working in main TV and radio stations to provide weather forecast data to enhance water efficiency in farms.

The trainings will supported by a water journalism toolkit and a terminology guide. With the end of this effort, the trained journalists will have an opportunity to reflect on a year of well-done work through participating in a unique investigative water journalism award, to be established under this initiative to honor water and agriculture journalists.

The successful design and implementation of this initiative will influence millions of Jordanians by bringing them reliable news and information about water issues. Individual and household water-conserving behaviors are expected to respond positively to exposure to better targeted relevant information and promotions for specific behaviors and technologies. This initiative focuses on the following specific goals to promote public understanding and participation in water-saving behaviors:  Improve the quality and accuracy of reporting on water conservation issues; Increase the intensity of coverage of water issues can embolden; Encourage media organizations equipped with appropriate tools to adopt and embrace consistent water conservation strategies and execute informative and effective water conservation campaigns.

Deliverables

The WIT project will select a service provider, including females owned companies, to work on the following deliverables:

·       Submit a concept sheet highlighting the approach, the methodology, timeframe and impact of this initiative in changing water consumption linked to heavy news coverage on water issues;

·       Conduct a market assessment to identify the constraints that exist which restrain media outlets from delivering quality messaging around household and farm-level solutions to the water shortages, including an analysis of how women and men are portrayed in the media regarding water. The service provider is to conduct desk research and four focus group discussions to cover the following topics:

·       Study the quantity and quality of reporting on water conservation issues;

·        

Concept Note: Enhancing Media Coverage of Water Issues in Jordan

·       Identify the constraints that restrain media outlets from delivering quality messaging around household and farm-level solutions to the water shortages.

·       Define training needs for water solution-based journalism and identify topics for training.

·       Mobilize up to 40 journalists, TV and radio reporters, bloggers and social media activists and government officials to engage in this initiative, taking in the consideration gender equality. The service provider is to provide the project with a list of shortlisted journalists including profiles and samples of writings;

·       Organize and deliver up to 10 training days for the shortlisted journalists on journalism topics and water-saving technologies for agriculture and household based on the outcomes from market assessment stage;

·        Book venue in five stars hotel in Amman, including lunch and coffee breaks.

·       Develop and print three gender sensitive journalists’ training modules in cooperation with WIT project partners including Royal Scientific Society, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, and the International Water Management Institute.

·       Prepare a guide for water terminologies in cooperation with WIT project partners including Royal Scientific Society, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, and the International Water Management Institute.

·       Hire trainers to facilitate and deliver trainings for three modules.

·       Fill pre and post evaluation forms for every training module;

·       Produce weekly news media reports to monitor and report the increase in the coverage on water issues including press clippings, press releases, talk shows, radio interviews etc.

·       Establish a water journalists’ network or an award to honor best water investigative journalism.

·       Prepare terms of reference for the network;

·       Provide list of journalists joining the network and develop a website or a facebook page for the network.

·       In case of award, the service provider is to identify the organization/government entity to host this award,

·       Establish and lead the awards and recognition committee;

·       Announce and receive the submissions of the journalists;

·       Organize the awards ceremony including venue booking and event management;

·       Purchase gifts and trophies;

·       Media coverage for the event including drafting the distributing the press release.

·       In both cases, MC will reimburse the awarded service provider based on actual cost of either award or network upon a submission of invoice reflecting the amount paid for this deliverable.

Target Groups

The participating journalists, meteorological agents and government officials will be selected based on an agreed criteria with the service provider and will be verified by the project:

·       Environmental and agriculture journalists in wire services

·       Environmental and agriculture journalists from main offline newspapers

·       Journalists from main news sites

·       Reporters of radio stations

Concept Note: Enhancing Media Coverage of Water Issues in Jordan

·       Reporters of TV stations

·       Bloggers

·       Social media activists including YouTubers

·       Meteorological agents

·       Government officials: Communication staff at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture and water utility companies.

Duration

This initiative will kick off in November 2019 and will take place over the course of 18 months. A timeframe is to be provided by the selected service provider.

Due Date:

October 27, 2019

Address:

tenders@mercycorps.org

Relevant agencies include W2O Group and Zeno Group.