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Consultancy to Develop the AFAAS Website

Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
Location: Kampala, Uganda
Last Date: January 27, 2011

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa
On behalf of: African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services
(MDTF Grant No. TF095130)

REF.: 3.1.2


The African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) is the umbrella organisation for Agricultural Advisory Services (AAS) in Africa. Its objective is to create efficient, effective and synergistic linkages and partnerships between AAS of member countries to improve the delivery of these services to farmers. It operates within the framework of the Pillar IV of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which has the objective of enhancing the livelihoods of African farmers and pastoralists and is spearheaded by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). Hence FARA is supporting the institutional development of AFAAS as well as strengthening its linkages with other umbrella bodies contributing to CAADP Pillar IV.

Continental in scope, AFAAS operates via Country Fora that bring together a wide range of actors involved in supporting agricultural development in their countries. The Fora provide a mechanism for the diverse actors – including the farmers - to exchange information, share lessons, identify opportunities for providing services to each other, and for innovating on how to provide advisory services in their domains of work. The platforms are brought together at a continental level by a General Assembly, which sets the overall policies that guide the Country Fora to operate within the AFAAS Constitution. A Governing Board is selected from the General Assembly to oversee the operationalisation of the policies and AFAAS Strategic Plan through overarching programmes, which guide the Country Fora to operate within continental development frameworks such as the CAADP. The Board is supported by the AFAAS Secretariat that manages the implementation of the programmes.

In order to ensure the flow of information between AFAAS and its various stakeholders, AFAAS plans to develop a bilingual website.

The objective of the assignment is to develop a bilingual website for AFAAS, which ensures information flow between AFAAS and its stakeholders.

a. Work with the AFAAS team to identify the goals and objectives of the website in order to
b. provide the appropriate technologies/functionalities to meet the needs of the users, the site
c. structure, and the relevant content categories;
d. Develop a concept for approval by AFAAS, of a website to convey information on e.g. AFAAS as an organization, its strategy (mission, vision, objectives), its organisational structure, programmes and projects, information on Country Fora for agricultural advisory services, communications (news, announcements, events, etc), partners and databases. It should also include an AFAAS Intranet and Webmail. The site shall be used as a tool to promote the brand identity and activities of AFAAS;
e. Design and develop the website, ensuring that the website responding to the AFAAS
f. Communication and Information Strategy.
i. Upload existing content onto the website;
ii. Include a content management system for effectively and sustainably managing website content;
iii. Recommend an appropriate host and organize the hosting;
iv. Integrate a monitoring system on the use and relevance of the website;
v. Test the beta version of the website, and improve the website following the testing;
vi. Train website administrators/managers within AFAAS on managing the website.

Please see Annex for detailed information.

a. A functional, user-friendly website
b. AFAAS personnel is trained in the use of the content management system.

The Consultant shall report to the AFAAS Management Consultant/ ED.

a. At least 5 years of relevant experience in this field and in developing websites
b. Profound knowledge on information technology
c. Verifiable evidence of having developed websites with similar attributes and having provided capacity development for the clients of such websites. Evidence of having provided web development services to agricultural/ rural development organizations or programmes shall be an advantage

30 days but the work can be spread over a period of 90 days based on an agreed schedule, finalization latest by May 1st 2011.

The consultant would be expected to interact closely with AFAAS and to visit the AFAAS Secretariat in Kampala, Uganda upon the beginning of the assignment, and upon the finalization phase which includes the training of AFAAS personnel.

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) now invites eligible consultants to indicate their interest in providing the services. Interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (brochures, description of similar assignments, experience in similar conditions, availability of appropriate skills among staff, etc.).

A consulting firm will be selected under the Consultant’s Qualification Selection method in accordance with the procedures set out in the World Bank's Guidelines: Selection and Employment of Consultants by World Bank Borrowers, (May 2004 revised May 2006 and May 2010).

Please send expressions of interest to:
Prof. Monty Jones
Executive Director
PMB CT 173, Cantonments
Accra, Ghana
Tel. +233 0302 7728/23/9421
Fax: +233 0302 773676.

In case further information is needed, you may contact AFAAS directly:
Dr. Dan Kisauzi Management Consultant

Deadline for the submission of expressions of interest: 15 days from the date of publication of this advert.


The Consultant shall present templates for graphic designs for the different sites to AFAAS. This template shall form the basis of further improvements and/or changes. The AFAAS Management Consultant/ ED will have an input into the look and feel of the templates, and then agree with the Consultant upon the template.

All the relevant current web technologies, web development principles and standards will be used during the development to ensure an attractive, accessible, and AFAAS standards compliant web portal Website.

The Consultant will establish the following sections, which may be expanded:


# Section




Home Page


Welcome page for the programme. It will contain links to the various sections and will also have a dynamic section that features news etc.


About the Programme


This section will ´tell´ a visitor what the programme is all about and what it does.




This section will highlight the various Projects giving links to their webpages if they exist.


Calender of Events


Planned programme events calendar. These should become integrated to the main AFAAS calendar of events.




All announcements, entered by AFAAS. Integrated to the main AFAAS announcements.




This section will have a full list of all publications and reports available for preview, with links to the full pdf/ word versions. Integrated to the main AFAAS publications.


News & Events


This section will have captions/ summaries of programmes news & events. These will appear on the main AFAAS news section.




This section will list past, current and future workshops of the programme/ project with links to the full pdf/ word versions of any workshop information/ attendance application forms.


Useful resources


A list of links to online resources that are relevant to the programme.


Contact us


A contact/ feedback section




The search function will appear in all sections of the website

The website will comprise of front-end software, back-end software and support scripts and files. The recommended technologies to be used are:
1. Front-end software
• HTML: This programming language is used to format and display content. The current version HTML 4.0 will be used and all pages will be validated against this standard;
• PHP: This scripting language will be used to retrieve dynamic content from the database, format it and display it in association with HTML. PHP shall be the primary validator on all form input;
• JavaScript: JavaScript 1.5 shall be used as a client side script. For older browsers and/or browsers with JavaScript deactivated, HTML shall be used to either display alternative content and/or a warning. JavaScript shall also be used as the first line of security on all forms;
• Style sheets: External CSS style sheets shall be used to format the web pages. The CSS used shall be validated.
2. Back-end software
• Database: MySql server shall be used. The tables shall be optimized for speed;
• Security: All passwords shall use MD5 encryption;
• PHP: PHP server side scripts shall be used to handle any automated routine tasks as cron jobs. The website can use cookies or sessions to store user information;
• The web server shall log the number of visitors, pages viewed along with any data relevant to analyze and optimize the website.
• Additional files and scripts
• These files handle the transfer and security of data between the front-end and the back-end;
• Additionally they also contain files for correctly entering data through the administration pages.

The new websites will be of fixed width (max 760 pixels) and variable height. This accommodates display resolutions of 800x600 and above. The websites shall be dynamic in nature and give AFAAS the ability to update the content of the sites online. The websites shall be user friendly and cross browser compatible. The websites shall use CSS style sheets extensively as this allows AFAAS to later modify the look of the content on the websites.

Javascript shall be used to enhance the usability of the websites. The navigation structure will be determined by AFAAS and shall be implemented accordingly. The core features will include amongst others:
− Content Management System;
− Unlimited number of menus & categories;
− News & Events section with archives;
− Feedback forms;
− Search Engine Optimization.

The following features shall be designed by the Consultant and developed and integrated into the Websites and set as standard:

Search Capabilities
The search function will present a simplified search box into which a user visiting the Website will be able to specify what to search for. In addition a customizable results page will be presented.

User Accounts
The accounts will be available for all AFAAS personnel, and relevant partners. These accounts provide the basis for effective security, control, and audit trail accounting.

Access Control
The Website will be designed in such a way to ensure that only the information relevant to a particular user or user group is accessible. Posting capabilities shall also be restricted. The consultant will sit with the relevant authority of AFAAS and design an “access control plan” to suit the needs of AFAAS and at the same time ensures security of the information.

User Friendly and easier to use web interface
The Consultant will ensure that the design of the Websites are user friendly and easy to navigate.
Hierarchical Organization

The website shall be developed in a way to ensure hierarchical presentation of the information in AFAAS. So that information in the AFAAS programme sites will be seamlessly viewable from the AFAAS main website.

News Section
News section shall be incorporated into the Website CMSs. The news section will be provided to facilitate the effective communication of timely and relevant news concerning Programmes and/or its partners. This section will feed information directly into the AFAAS main page News section. The main CMS will keep a log of news items entered via the programme CMSs

Archive Section
As appropriate, old news, and other old articles will be moved to the Archives section of the Website. The Consultant design team and the AAFAAS administration shall agree on an archiving policy. All operations like searches and views will be available for archived information as well.

AFAAS's Website will facilitate collaboration between the various departments. If one department updates a section of the Website, it can specify which other department is informed of the event.

Application Integration
The Website will be designed in such a way as to ease the integration of various applications like MS Word, MS Access, MS excel and any other software recommended by AFAAS.

Security will be a primary focus during development of the Website. This will ensure that the information on the Website is only accessible by authorized accounts. A firewall will also be installed to curb un-authorized access to the Website.

Audit Trails
In addition to user account based access control, and security, the Website will feature audit trails. The administrator will always receive an email whenever an important event occurs to the content available on the Website.

Automated backups of the Website will be integrated and made easily manageable by the AFAAS Communications Consultant.

Remote Access
The Website’s administration facilities will be made available remotely over the following secure protocols: HTTPS, and SSH. Remote access shall only be granted to specific accounts configured as recommended by the AFAAS Communications Consultant.

A detailed documentation to cover all of the above aspects of the Website shall be developed and handed to ASARECA before the launch of the Website.

The Consultant training team will ensure that all AFAAS personnel comfortably use the website-post relevant information, access information, search for information and administer the website (for the ICU)


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