Consultancy: Research on modern technologies and viable financing models for clean cooking in Southern Africa

Region: Hivos Southern Africa
Office: Malawi & Zimbabwe
Hours: TBA
Application deadline: August 15, 2019


Hivos is an international organisation that seeks new solutions to persistent global issues. With smart projects in the right places, we oppose discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources. Hivos deliver program in Africa, Asia, South Eastern Europe and Latin America. In Africa, these programmes are mainly in East and Southern Africa. Hivos broader organizational work focuses on sustainable development that embraces people and nature to make society more equitable and lobbies to influence policy in favour of these objectives.

This ToR falls under the Hivos Strategic Partnership – Energy (SPE) Programme which has the overall objective to meet the energy needs of women and men for their daily activities, livelihoods, education and health through green and inclusive energy systems that create economic opportunities and growth while mitigating climate change. The project focuses on two key dimensions:

  1. Donor influencing so that key donors for instance the European Union, the World Bank and others financially support decentralised, renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions that suit all people, including the poor.
  2. Hivos supports and works with NGOs in developing countries to advocate for an increased support for renewable energy access in remote locations. This also includes developing joint strategies to influence governments and donors, identify problems and come up with policies and activities to scale up existing renewable energy successes.

In Southern Africa the project is focusing on Malawi and Zimbabwe. The two countries have faced challenges in providing reliable, affordable and better quality electricity due to various problems which range from obsolete national grid infrastructure, investment in high cost inefficient technologies like coal plants and weak investment framework in the renewable energy sector. For cooking, majority of the population continues to use high level use of solid fuels (e.g.: firewood) in both urban and rural areas in Malawi compared to Zimbabwe. High costs of LPG and lack of its distribution channels has reduced LPG penetration in both the countries. The current cooking methods using solid fuels has significant health risks, specifically for women and children due to the high levels of indoor air pollution.

Research Objective

This research seeks to understand the cooking sector in Malawi and Zimbabwe better with a focus on how the sector is financed (e.g.: financiers, types of finance models, types of business models used etc.) and the challenges in accessing and mobilising finance for clean cooking. The research will also aim to look at the socio-cultural and political barriers, and the opportunities for expanding different financing options in these countries. A specific inclusive finance model (e.g.: subsidies or RBF) will be looked at in detail to understand how different types of end users are reached and impacted through an intervention. It is important to note that this research will feed into a cross country research study led by the research partners of the SPE programme. Where possible the findings will be compared with findings from Nepal’s subsidy programme for improved cook-stoves and biogas.

The primary objectives will be to:

  1. Build an understanding of current financial flows for energy for clean cooking in Malawi and Zimbabwe
  2. Establishing a mapping for Malawi and Zimbabwe to include existing technologies and solutions, the corresponding delivery models and financing options currently available as well as supply chains for energy for cooking, and ‘who is doing what’ stakeholder mapping
  3. Identify and recommend ways to stimulate more financing for clean cooking in Malawi and Zimbabwe, including the key stakeholders needed to move forward (e.g.: policy makers, practitioners, donors, companies etc.)

The analysis will look at the following areas with a focus on clean cooking:

  • Financier mapping and motivation. Understanding around financier spectrum of risk appetite and favoured financing models and preferred technologies including international and domestic financiers such as donors, development finance institutions (DFIs), family offices and foundations, impact investors and commercial banks, and governments.
  • Company finance needs. Better understanding of the financing needs and barriers of international and national energy companies of various sizes, at different stages of development, using different technologies, across the contexts, in addition to other business development needs.
  • Financial instruments. Better knowledge on different financing instruments used to build off-grid energy and improved cook-stove sustainable markets (targeted subsidies, RBF, etc.), their potential to attract more private sector investments, and any additional support that is needed for these financing models to be successful (e.g.: capacity building, quality assurance etc.)
  • Evidence of impact. Data on how improved impact measurements might affect inclusive financing and any potential for reaching poor and marginalised people.

Research Questions

Some preliminary research questions are below to guide the consultant. The Consultant should revise the questions based on initial desk research in order to establish the field questionnaires for interviews, with the support of SPE research partners.

High level research questions with a focus on clean cooking:

  1. Financier mapping and motivation. Who is investing in off-grid and cook stoves? What are the current enablers and barriers for investing in the two sectors?
  2. Company finance needs. What are the financing needs for energy companies operating in the off-grid solar and cook stove markets so that they can reach new markets such as remote and poorer communities?
  3. Financial instruments. What are examples of different financial instruments across off-grid and improved cook stoves? What has worked and has not worked to reach targeted groups, achieve planned impacts and develop sustainable markets in selected countries? This could focus on 1-2 financing instruments currently carried out in Zimbabwe and Malawi. For instance, RBF under the EnDev programme.
  4. Evidence of impact. How are different actors (financiers, companies, governments) monitoring impacts, and what frameworks are they using to monitor impacts and who is being reached? Looking closely at financial instruments, what is the evidence that they are generating impacts and reaching the targeted groups?

Some initial questions for field work (to be reviewed and expanded following literature review):

  1. What have been the priorities for investment in the energy sector in Malawi and Zimbabwe? E.g. how much funding is going to decentralised renewable energy aimed at increasing access, specifically clean cook stoves?
  2. What are the barriers to stimulating more domestic resource mobilisation and engagement of national finance actors Banks, government budgets, MFIs)
  3. What changes in policy and practice could increase financing for clean cooking?
  4. What are the characteristics and the different subsidy delivery models used for off-grid energy?
  5. What motivates financiers to use subsidy driven approaches?
  6. Are they meeting private sector needs in the specific contexts and how are they impacting (negatively and positively) the market?
  7. How are they targeting women, poorest and marginalised groups?
  8. How are impacts captured and monitored, and how are different groups are reached? And who are these groups that are reached? What can be improved?
  9. What has been the role of intermediaries or aggregators for delivering these subsidies focused programmes?
  10. What are the main support services that can be integrated into subsidy driven programs- productive use of energy?
  11. What lessons can be learned from other sectors using subsidy driven approaches and what can be improved (how?)?

Suggested research methods



Literature review and stakeholder mapping: Desk study on context mapping on financiers and implementers in Malawi and Zimbabwe for DRE, policy and regulations on the selected DRE
2 15-20 Key informant interviews per country
3 Interviews with end-users

Please Note: Travel and lodging budget will be provided using Hivos approved rates. Specific areas for field visit to be discussed during the inception report phase.

Timetable and deliverables

Estimated timeline to complete the job is 120 days from 30 August to 30 November 2019. Key milestones/deliverables include:

  1. Inception report- To be submitted approximately 10 days after commencing the work (to be submitted by 10 September 2019), with a review by Hivos and the research partner before proceeding,
    • A detailed approach and methodology for the research, and description of activities and milestones.
    • This will also include a stakeholder mapping and a plan for engaging with key stakeholders.
    • This will include a scoping of literature to review for both the countries and an initial overview of key literature
    • This will include an initial draft of questionnaires for stakeholder interviews
    • A draft table of content for the research report
  2. Complete literature review (5 pages maximum) and revised research questions- By mid-September 2019
    • This will include a draft set of questionnaires to be agreed with Hivos and the SPE research par
    • An analytical framework
  3. Field work through September- Hivos and the SPE research partner will be joining for some part of this research with selected stakeholders (to be discussed)
  4. First draft of the research report (30 pages maximum excluding appendices) to be submitted by end of October 2019
  5. Second draft, incorporating reviewers’ comments by end of November 2019
  6. Final draft by mid- December 2019
  7. Presentation of the research by 15th of December 2019 to Hivos (internal) and SPE research partner
  8. A four-page briefing for advocacy by 15 December 2019

There will be weekly or bi-weekly update calls with Hivos and the SPE research partner for updates during the field work and draft development phase.

  • Please note all field notes (interviews) should be clearly recorded and shared with Hivos and the SPE research partner teams.

Key resources and people to be consulted in Malawi and Zimbabwe.


  • Advanced degree in appropriate subject e.g. Energy/Environment/Climate Change (if working as a team the team leader should be in possession of one)
  • Excellent knowledge of energy access and renewables in the region and internationally
  • The team leader (if the consultancy is composed of a team) should have 5-10 years’ experience working within the energy and /or financial sector. The team should be composed of renewable energy, economic/financial and social scientist expert/s
  • Excellent knowledge of Global/Regional renewable energy/ energy access financing mechanisms
  • Track record on writing published research for lobby and advocacy purposes as well as policy papers
  • List of relevant publications/web links
  • Experience in disseminating and communicating research for policy-influencing
  • Good networks with relevant public or private sector organisations to be interviewed for the research or with access to finance data is an asset
  • An understanding and relevant internal review processes to ensure high quality research and compliance with research ethics
  • In order to use the research findings in publications and campaigns, you should provide full information and documentation of the sources used so that these can be substantiated.
  • The final report(s) must provide endnote references for all specific facts and statistics used. The report(s) must also include a bibliography of the major references used.
  • Primary sources must be used wherever possible over secondary sources. For example, the researcher should reference a statistic to its original report, not where it is cited second-hand by a newspaper or website.
  • If Internet sources have been used, a printed out page from the website showing the cited facts and the date the page was viewed should be filed with the notes of the research. It is important to have documented proof of the content, since web pages are often updated or removed.

Guidelines for documentation of research

This consultancy is designed to develop and submit a publication which will be able to influence creation of a well-established financial system for increased access to clean cooking in Malawi and Zimbabwe.  Hivos will approve the final version prior to publication.  It is intended that the full report will be distributed as a publication with a summarised version including key policy recommendations to ministries of finance and energy in Malawi and Zimbabwe. It is therefore important for the consultancy to propose innovative ways to publish and distribute the detailed report and policy recommendations.

We invite interested consultants (individuals, firms) to submit the following application documents:

  • CVs of individual/proposed team and their roles
  • Short proposal outlining how you/your team meet the criteria and particular value added that you bring in delivering the research objectives.
  • A financial proposal including a daily rate and any additional costs

The interested consultants should submit their applications to by the 15th of August 2019.