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Request for Proposals: Global South Intermediaries Scoping

Environment programme / Career / Request for proposal

Deadline for application: 14 April 2023
Location: Online

Oak Foundation is seeking expressions of interest from individuals or teams to carry out a scoping exercise to assess intermediary organisations in the global south to expand the work of Oak’s partners working on Environmental, Social Justice and Human Rights issues. As we have already commissioned a review for the African Continent, this project focuses on other regions of the global south, such as Asia, Latin America, and Western Asia.

Oak Foundation is family-led and reflects the vision and values of its founders. In all its work Oak pursues rights-based approaches, gender equality and partnership with the organisations we fund. We support civil society as a pillar of democracy and justice and nurture innovation and visionary leadership within it. We value diversity both within Oak and among our partners; we seek to be inclusive, flexible and engage with different points of view. We believe that the best grant-making reflects both careful due diligence and the willingness to take risks. We commit our resources to address issues of global, social, and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged.

Current global economic activity exerts relentless pressure on the planet’s ecological systems and threatens the health and wellbeing of present and future generations. Despite the proliferation of legal instruments to combat environmental degradation and climate change, the global economy continues to exploit natural resources at unsustainable rates while intensifying inequality within and among nations. The adverse impacts of global environmental degradation are borne disproportionately by the planet’s most vulnerable human beings, including the rural and urban poor, racial and ethnic minorities, women, and indigenous peoples. In many countries based in the global south, the communities most burdened by crushing poverty, lack of energy, and food security, ill health, political disempowerment, and social exclusion are the ones most exposed to air and water pollution, extreme weather conditions, and affected by climate change and other global environmental and social problems.

Individuals and communities in the global south are organising for more transparent and democratic governance and the integration of various human rights norms. They are working to address poverty and climate issues, improve education and healthcare, and conserve the environment. As wealth in some of the global south countries rises, along with entrepreneurship and global connectivity, there are increasing opportunities to build a culture of philanthropy for regional and global impact in global south communities.

Overarching objectives
Oak’s people-centred approach puts local constituents and frontline stewards at the heart of its work. We would like to increase our reach to constituency-led organisations, in a way that strikes a reasonable balance with our own internal capacities. Oak Foundation aims to expand its knowledge of and engagement with values-aligned intermediary organisations based in the global south. In addition to increasing the transformative impact of our investments, this endeavour will also respond to the growing need to reach potential philanthropic partners based in the global south.

Oak understands that our current position in the philanthropic ecosystem means that many relevant and effective organisations, both based and led in the global south are not on our radar. We are therefore seeking one or several consultant(s) to undertake a scoping exercise of the ecosystem of philanthropic support institutions, coalitions, and civil society organisation networks with a global south focus.

The purpose of the scoping is to:

  • Provide a comprehensive understanding of potential global south-led organisations that can provide re-granting and capacity building, i.e., an overview of the philanthropic infrastructure that exists in the global south of intermediaries, networks, and coalitions, especially those with an interest in enhancing their capacity to scale. The exercise should include a mapping of re-granters and intermediaries beyond those located in key capital cities.
  • Map opportunities for grant-making organisations whose strategic priorities focuses on inclusive system change and system-level solutions that brings benefit to just and equitable economic and social transformation for people in local communities.
  • Curate a list of global south intermediary partners with the potential to scale their work to a regional or global level, along with recommendations for organisational development support, in order to help these partners reach their potential growth/scale. These can be focused on Oak’s strategic priorities and/or operate at the intersections of environment and social justice.
  • Provide detailed information on:
    • relevant regulatory framework for both in country and cross-border grant-making; and
    • financial due diligence, compliance capacity, operation infrastructure of the recommended intermediary organisations.

Oak Foundation’s strategic considerations
Oak Foundation currently works with a broad range of intermediary partners. One of the driving forces for our grant-making is that solutions driven by local communities, especially those rooted in the global south, will accelerate transformative change. We believe that regional and local intermediaries have a more in-depth understanding of the context and stakeholders. Partnering with these actors that are firmly rooted in the global south will lead to more nuanced and impactful sub-granting and strategic support for local to regional scale food and energy systems and climate work.

Additionally, we recognise the intersections among our environmental, climate, and human rights strategies. For that reason, we are proposing a cross-sectoral approach that considers potential networks, movements, intermediaries, and human rights-based groups and/or not-for-profit organisations that work at the nexus of food, energy, and human rights. We are looking for global south-based intermediaries whose values are aligned with our own, who could benefit from support to help them use their resources in more effective and efficient ways.

Our interest in funding this scoping is guided by a number of important strategic considerations that flow from our previous grant-making and strategic priorities. These include the following:

  1. Scaling up intermediary partners based in the global south with the potential to act as regional and/or global intermediary actors who can absorb and re-distribute significant investments. For example, are there intermediaries able to host pooled funds and meet rigorous due diligence and financial management requirements of large international foundations like Oak? How can we build that capacity?
  2. Leveraging opportunities to support local and regional platforms that engage, inform, and resource co-created campaigns to scale clean power, defining a robust, credible and prosperous energy and food-secured future for many countries in the global south.

Oak invites the applicant to detail a methodological approach for the work. The consultant(s) should describe how he/she/they will address the above objectives and provide a detailed description of the work to be performed. The person should also describe the reporting conditions and quality assurance mechanisms that will be put in place, while demonstrating that the proposed methodology will be appropriate to the conditions and context of the work. We encourage both data from wider surveys as well as interviews and in-person visits where possible.

Expected deliverables and timeframe

Activity Deliverable Time allocated 
Methodology design  Detailed methodology and timeline  Three weeks
Briefing with Oak staff 
Research and consultations Draft report  four months
Workshop to present results and discuss draft report with recommendations
Finalisation of report Final report End of August

Experience of the consulting team:

  • Robust knowledge of networks of rights-based, development, and/or environmental not-for-profit organisations on the key countries in the global south.
  • In-depth knowledge of regranting mechanisms and intermediary bodies in key regions in the global south.
  • Able see the big picture, and understanding the regional political, socio-economic, and cultural contexts of countries based in the global south.
  • In-depth knowledge of specific intervention methodologies of climate/energy/food/nature nexus and social justice related work.
  • Good knowledge on regulatory environment for in country and cross-border grant-making, as well as infrastructure for cross-border giving in countries across global south.
  • Ability to facilitate sensitive discussions and political topics with neutrality.

The person should be non-judgmental and should be able to create learning opportunities for groups and networks.

We encourage applications from consultants from the global south.

Submission of proposals
The proposal should include financial and technical considerations, as well as the following:

  • Complete organisational profile, leadership and governance, profile of the multi-disciplinary consultants and technical capacity of the team members to be involved in the assignment, and financial data.
  • Complete organisational portfolio of projects, highlighting the relevant track record and prior relevant experience on food systems, climate issues, re-granting or capacity building/organisational support work done in the past five years.
  • Introduction: A brief overview of the assignment as understood by the applicant and proposed methodological approach.
  • Detailed budget and proposed workplan.
  • Annexes: Any other information, which the organisation feels will assist the review team in evaluating the proposal.

The indicative budget is USD 100,000.

The payment schedule can be negotiated with the consultant(s) or, in the case of a team, with a lead consultant. Our initial proposal is to organise it in three instalments, upon invoice, based on actual time used during the period to be invoiced.

Interested organisations should submit the proposal to Paul Nichols,, by 14 April 2023.