Institutional options study for Myanmar's Social Work Institute

1.         Background


HelpAge International has supported Myanmar since 2004 and has been an implementing partner of the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) since January 2010. Building on its field experience, HelpAge began a policy oriented project funded by the LIFT donor consortium in 2014, called Strengthening the Ministry of Social Welfare To Fulfil Its Role in Expanding Social Protection. In August 2017, a second phase of this project began. The project aims to help build the capacity of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement (MSWRR) to clarify its mandate on social protection as a whole and to make informed decisions in choosing and designing specific interventions.


MSWRR is the lead ministry for social welfare in Myanmar. MSWRR has always had a wide range of responsibilities related to social welfare, encompassing such areas as programmes and services for children, women, youth, ageing and disability. In December 2014, Myanmar’s government approved the National Social Protection Strategic Plan, which laid out eight flagship schemes. These include cash transfer schemes as well as Integrated Social Protection Services, which aims to realize the integration of services through the involvement of a professional cadre of social workers, trained on case management and referral practices and equipped with the resources needed to deliver effective support to those in need. Myanmar is now preparing a Medium Term Sector Plan, covering social protection among other sectors.


Largely because of its new social protection schemes, MSWRR’s budget has tripled since 2014/15. Below Union (central) level, the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) has an office presence only to State/Region level in many areas, and to district level in some parts of the country. There are no DSW offices at township, village tract, or village level. However, DSW has other facility-based staff placed below that level in certain functions, particularly early childhood care and development centres. However, DSW has taken first steps towards the phased introduction of township-based case managers, by appointing the first such staff in certain locations.  DSW plans to recruit additional case managers in coming years; new posts (most still vacant) have been authorized. At sub-national level, DSW offices (like much of the government) have historically been dependent on centralised instruction and funding, although there is discussion about the need to decentralise some functions to State/Region level in coming years.


To train its expanding cadre of social workers and other staff, MSWRR is moving ahead with plans for a Social Work Institute, a training body to be operated by MSWRR in Yangon. The Ministry hopes to make rapid progress on plans for infrastructure and course development, with support from external partners including Unicef and HelpAge. However, the overall operational strategy of the Institute need to be further refined to guide practical development plans. The training objectives, target audience, structure and scope of the Institute still lack clarity and MSWRR would benefit from the lessons of international experience.


2.         Purpose of the study

The purpose of this assignment, based on international best practice, is to propose options for the future scope and operations of the Social Work Institute to guide its development planning, including options for training scope and target audience, structure and operational modalities. 


3.         Specific tasks for the consultant

The key tasks required to carry out this study are:


  • Hold initial discussions with DSW and HelpAge to clarify the scope of the task.
  • Gather background data and other information on Myanmar’s context; DSW’s history, structure, staffing and functions; related policies; government plans for human resource development and staff expansion; and other information relevant to the study.
  • Review international lessons on organisational planning, development and operations for similar institutes, with an eye on institutes in countries with relatively similar economic and human resource profiles as Myanmar. The Consultant is expected to be generally familiar with organisational issues related to similar public training and capacity development institutes for the social sectors.
  • Propose an Assessment Plan outlining the main points of investigation and methodology, key targets to interview, along with a timeframe and outline for the final report. This is Output 1, to be discussed with HelpAge.
  • Prepare assessment tools and guiding questions to be addressed.
  • During a visit of about 7-10 days in Myanmar, meet with MSWRR, HelpAge, Unicef and other key stakeholders (government, UN, civil society) identified in Output 1. Conduct interviews, other discussions and a review of documents, as agreed through Output 1. Hold a final debrief meeting with MSWRR and HelpAge in Nay Pyi Taw before departure and present preliminary findings for discussion and feedback.
  • Incorporating the findings from the trip and final debrief, draft Output 2. Note: The government is now preparing a five-year plan, to be drafted by February 2018. The Consultant should offer initial findings of the study as possible before end January to support that process.
  • Revise Output 2 based on feedback from MSWRR and HelpAge and submit the final version of Output 2.


4.         Nature, methodology and scope of the study

The study requires one visit to Myanmar for interviews and discussions to understand the issues, aspirations and context. It is otherwise desk based and will rely heavily on the Consultant’s past experience and understanding of international best practice related to similar institutes.


  • Depth of the study: The assessment is an overview as described under Output 2, and not a detailed institutional analysis or organisational development plan. The scope is limited to the broad institutional level, but should propose options for staffing requirements and organograms (but not job descriptions or similar detail). The broad financial parameters and sustainability of the Institute should be kept in mind, but no budget calculations or detailed financial projections are required. Areas for further investigation should be proposed by the Consultant.
  • Institutional scope: The assessment will consider only the Social Work Institute, in light of the staff expansion and HR development plans of the Department of Social Welfare, both Union and sub-national levels, in broad strokes.
  • Timeframe: The assessment indicatively should focus on a timeframe of about 5 years in line with current Medium Term Sector Plan development, but with an eye on long term development and the practical next steps that should happen over the coming months.


Other aspects of the scope of the study may be raised by applicants for discussion during the negotiation phase or proposed in Expressions of Interest. HelpAge welcomes suggestions.


5.         Outputs

The Consultant is responsible for producing the following 2 Outputs:


  • Output 1 – Assessment Plan. This will lay out the plan for the investiation along with a timeline. This includes the topics to be explored, methodology/tools for the investigation, parties to be consulted, an overview of documents to be reviewed and a revised structure for Output 2.  This Output should be approved by HelpAge before the Consultant proceeds and travels to Nay Pyi Taw.
  • Output 2 – Assessment Report: This will be a report of about 20-25 pages plus annexes as appropriate addressing the issues below and other points agreed through discussion of Output 1:
    • Executive summary
    • Purpose of the study
    • Lessons of international experience in building successful institutes
    • Background: Myanmar and critical changes occurring and expected in MSWRR
    • Potential human resource implications of those changes
    • Understanding of the vision, purpose and overall scope of the Institute
    • Key training needs and target groups
    • Training scope: outline of objectives, topics, depth, duration
    • Notional trainer and staff requirements for the Institute
    • Scale of training operations (indicative numbers of courses, participants, trainers per year)
    • Physical infrastructure and operational capacity requirements including institutional structure and arrangements
    • Financial parameters and sustainability of the Institute and its training events
    • Issues for further research and analysis
    • Conclusions and recommended options
    • Next steps
    • Annexes including diagrams of institutional structure, staffing numbers and types


6.         Indicative timeline and duration

  • Mid December 2017 – Consultant appointed
  • Late December-January – Desk-based research and Assessment Plan (Output 1)
  • Mid January – Investigation in Myanmar (see section 8 below)
  • Late January – Initial top-line reflections presented for planning purposes
  • February – Ongoing analysis and report writing
  • Early March 2018 – Assignment including reporting finished


7.         Qualifications of Consultant

HelpAge is seeking a Consultant (individual, team or firm) with expertise in conducing institutional assessments for public sector training bodies and with knowledge of organisational development challenges and solutions, especially for social work institutes in LICs/MICs.



  • Advanced degree(s) in a field directly relevant to the assignment
  • Demonstrable senior expertise in conducting similar assignments: institutional or organisational development assessments for training bodies, particular on topics related to the social sectors
  • Familiarity with public sector training institute challenges and international best practice in LICs/MICs, preferably in Asia and social sector ministries
  • Strong understanding of mechanisms and structures for delivering public social services and social welfare functions
  • Strong understanding of human resource/HRD functions and planning
  • Basic financial planning skills and experience
  • Strong analytical, strategic planning and summarising skills
  • A practical approach to organisational problem solving
  • Experience in conducting semi-structured interviews and other information gathering
  • Strong writing skills in English with a clear, simple writing style
  • Strong IT/computer skills including Excel 



  • Experience as administrator or trainer in a social training institute
  • Knowledge of Myanmar’s political and governmental history and structures
  • Significant public sector work history or advisory experience, ideally in Asia


8.         Expressions of interest

Interested consultants are invited to submit an expression of interest for carrying out this documentation by 12 December 2017 by email to Ms Chitlekar Parintarakul at The short expression of interest (about 3-4 pages) should include (1) comments on the TOR, (2) proposed outline methodology for carrying out the study, (3) workplan and (4) budget including daily rate x no. of days to complete the work and any other costs. The CV of the named consultant(s) (plus organisational profile, if submitted by a firm) and contact information for 2 professional references should be attached (not included in 3-4 pages). Any relevant studies previously produced should also be attached (1 or 2 only).

Final negotiated fees will be specified in the consultancy contract. The costs of any travel, accommodation etc. for one trip to Myanmar (if based outside the country), can be met directly by HelpAge and do not need to be included in the EOI budget. Preference will be given to candidates who can commit to completing the visit to Myanmar before 27 January 2018, as hosting the consultant’s visit during February will not be possible. However, candidates who cannot commit to that timeframe are nevertheless encouraged to apply and clearly state their availability. Selection of the consultant will be by a panel and based on the experience of the consultant, the quality and relevance of the expression of interest, and cost, with value for money in mind.


Download TOR - Institutional options study for Myanmar’s Social Work Institute


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