Request for Proposal (RfP)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is looking for a qualified Consultant or a Consultancy Firm to conduct a study on the impact of debt on reintegration and the economic and social sustainability of migrant families facing migration related debt and developing relevant guideline on managing debt by returning migrants as per below Terms of Reference (ToR):

1. Background/Context of the programme:

Debt has become an increasingly popular topic in the field of migration due to its ability to be a push factor contributing to irregular migration, bring danger to the borrower and use as a means of coercions to keep migrants in inhumane situations. Bangladesh has some of the most expensive labour migration corridors in the World. An IOM study1 on Andaman Sea Returnees found that, on average, a Bangladeshi migrant worker would need to work for 27 months in Malaysia to cover the cost of regular labour migration to Malaysia, compared with the 9 months in wages it costs a migrant worker from Nepal in Malaysia. To finance their labour migration, the most migrants in Bangladesh take loans from local money lenders, often using land as collateral on which the migrant’s extended family depend for subsistence agriculture. Where land is used as collateral, the inability to repay the loan can have a catastrophic impact; not just on the returning migrant, who is then pushed to take on additional loans and attempt more high-risk migration, but it also risks displacing entire families should the money lender claim the family land. This is posing a key challenge of reintegration and improving the livelihood and resettled them in their own community.

Considering the situation, International Organization for Migration (IOM) under its recent project titled: Debt Mediation for Returnee Migrants with support of IOM Development Fund(IDF) will commission an action-oriented research on the impact of debt on reintegration and the economic and social sustainability of migrant families facing migration related debt. The study will help in informing migration actors the enormity of the debt issue and would help in designing new activities which aim at changing behaviors of migrants, their families and society. The study will also inform policy makers on gaps in policy and space and its implementation. IOM will come up with a policy brief on debt mediation based on lessons learnt from the pilot activities and undertake a set of advocacy initiatives with relevant GoB officials.  . The proposed project would developed detail guideline on debt mediation  for increasing capacity of different stakeholder and beneficiaries to address the issue of debt liabilities of returnees, migrants and their families. 

2. IOM Project to which the Consultancy is contributing:

The project will contribute to improved reintegration approaches for returnees to Bangladesh with intended to result in two outcomes:  

  1. The GoB and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Bangladesh consistently apply evidence-based policies to address the challenges associated with migration-related debt in support of the sustainable reintegration of returnees.
  2. The households of the in-debt migrants, particularly female migrants who returned to Bangladesh benefit from the pilot debt mediation initiative.

Under Outcome 1 ,  the project will advocate with the Ministry to address the policy gap in the debt liability issues and develop a better system of debt repayment for sustainable reintegration of returnees in Bangladesh. The key output  in the Outcome 1 is:

Output 1.1: Relevant GoB officials and CSOs are informed of the negative impact of debt, and of recommended measures to improve reintegration programming and the sustainability of in-debt returnees.

IOM will engage a financial services consultant to undertake a mixed methods research on the impact of debt on reintegration and on the economic sustainability of migrant families. The result of the study will further assist in making various advocacy initiatives with Government on debt mediation.

Under Outcome 2, IOM will engage implement partners in two migration-prone districts to pilot a series of tailor made debt management activities for 100 returning migrant households. In the provision of the services, female returnees will get the first preference. The output under outcome 2 is as follows:

Output 2.1: Debt mediation guideline for the returned in-debt migrants is developed in a participatory manner.
Upon development of guideline, necessary services under debt mediation will include.

Output 2.2: Returned migrants and families, particularly the female in-debt ones increased their financial literacy.
Lack of financial education and awareness about managing debt affects migrants’ financial well-being, hinders the benefits of migration and their migration goal. Therefore, educating migrants and communities about financial literacy will contribute towards enhancing their understanding to plan/use debt productively and to make informed financial decisions.

Output 2.3: The in-debt returned migrants, particularly females received the project’s services (debt assessment, response plan, debt mediation, and advocacy services).
Returnees will receive a tailored debt assessment and response plan and debt mediation and advocacy services to attempt to ameliorate their financial situation. Returnees will also receive referral to legal services should they wish to take legal action.

3. Objectives of the consultancy

The objectives of the consultancy are:

  • To conduct a study on the impact of debt among migrants and explore possible programmatic approaches on sustainable reintegration of migrants and their families.
  • To develop a detail guideline on assessing debt and detail debt plan for managing debt of returnee migrants.  Therefore, the consultancy would further address the following questions –
    • In what ways are returned migrants burdened by debt and what steps can the project take to start addressing the issue;
    • Who are the most vulnerable groups and benefits to migrants in utilizing loans;
    •  What is the amount of debt that migrants owe to the creditors and and the relationship with creditors;
    •  What types of contract documents were signed, enforceability of the contract, terms of repayment, terms of repayment and collateral used to secure the loan? What are the current legal services available in the local level on debt mediation. Where migrants go in resolving their conflict if it occurs with sub-agent or financial lenders in the community. What are the conditions of repayment of debt? How does it affect the  other family social and economic investments; How financial services impact migration related debt, for example, the use of new loans to pay debts.
    • What are the key policy gaps in providing debt management plan, mitigation strategies in favour of the migrants including the returnee migrants.
    • A set of recommendations on how to prepare a response plan how to avoid the migrants from falling into a debt trap and tailored response plan to manage their debt of returnee migrants.

The lessons learnt will also feed into sustainable reintegration initiatives of IOM’s other project initiatives to formulate evidence-based policy formulation particularly economic reintegration of the returnees including debt management. 

4. Key Tasks of the Consultancy:

For Debt Mediation Study

  • Select three to five migration prone districts to finalize the field of study.  
  • Conduct detail assessment on the impact of migration related debt hindering the economic and social sustainable reintegration of migrant families.
  • Identification of policy gap and developing policy brief on creating scope of further advocacy with bank, financial institution, micro-finance organization on debt mediation of returnee
  • Review and analysis the debt assessment, response plan including debt restructuring for debt mediation. 
  • Development different tools and technique to inform the enormity of the debt issue for changing behaviors of migrants, their families and society.
  • Providing necessary M & E tools to oversee the collection, analysis and use of all data in relation of debt for migration.
  • Necessary technical support while to be organized dissemination workshop for the study ( technical paper, materials, volunteer)

For Debt Mediation Guideline Development

  • A literature review of the relevant documents
  • Conduct a needs assessment of the target beneficiaries/returnee migrants and the local NGO partners, communities to find out about their Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices (KAP) with regards to migration and debt. 
  • Undertake consultation with relevant stakeholder   to get inputs on the design and contents of the guideline.
  • Identify existing capacity/best practices and find out the gaps of the local NGOs those who are working on this issue
  • Design a draft framework including methodology outlining step/ processes to develop the guideline.
  • Develop a first draft of the guideline and present it to IOM, the contents of the guideline should be able to provide a specific guidance. 
  • Collect feedbacks on the draft guideline from the field implementing partners and local NGOs
  • Finalize the guideline incorporating feedback from the field and IOM along with the language editing and translation of the document and submit it to IOM.
  • Conduct Training to local implementing partners (NGOs) and other stakeholders and beneficiaries on the guideline for developing their capacities for establishing the community business enterprise
  • Prepare training report after the training and submit it to IOM.

5. Methodology:

The consultant will finalize the Methodology but is encouraged to use an exploratory mixed methods approach (including selected in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and focus groups) with  key government, civil society, financial and community stakeholders in discussion around household debt incurred through regular and irregular migration efforts.   Since there may be deep rooted gender concerns in the debt liability context, the study will specifically target female respondents for the in-depth interviews and focus group discussion (FGDs). For this part of data collection, the Consultant/Consultancy firm will be responsible for:

  • Reviewing existing study report, documents, policy papers,    national surveys, reports and manuals that have been produced in connection with migration related debt as per the need of the assignment
  • Developing the study methodology, including determination of key informants, sample size and sample frame, data collection strategies and developing data collection tools
  • Translating the data collection tools into Bangla, pre‐testing and finalization
  • Assigning the research team members for data collection and training  them on the use of the tools and data collection methods and techniques.
  • Monitoring of data collection and necessary field visit to study areas for service mapping and key informant interviews data collection in the field by trained researchers and coordination of field work especially in case of key informant in-depth interviews, FGDs etc. ensuring the quality and reliability of information

6. Deliverables

The following are the expected deliverables for the Returnee- Debt Mediation study and the guideline development;

  • Inception Report with the final methodology, and work plan
  • Study Protocol with the data collection tools,
  • Debt mediation guideline containing individual debt assessment and response plan
  • Provide training to the PNGO and other NGO staff at local level on Debt Mediation Guideline
  • Final study report submission incorporating all the comments, feedbacks and inputs from IOM
  • Develop Policy Brief on debt management for returnee migrants
  • Necessary assistance in dissemination workshop on Debt Mediation Study
  • Summarized brief report of key findings

7. Duration/ Timeline:

The total duration for this assignment is proposed to be approximately five months. The below is an indicative timeline. In the proposal, Consultants can modify/add according to their perspectives/reasons.



Contract singing

By 10 May 2019

Submission of the Inception Report on Debt Mediation containing the final methodology and work plan

By 20 May 2019

Desk review of relevant publications and other materials for both study and guideline development

By 27 May 2019

Study Protocol with data collection tools ( Bangla and English)

By 13 June 2019

Data collection tools finalization, training for the data collectors and other preparation for data collection

By 20 June 2019

Data collection from five migration prone districts and some upazilla within that districts


By 10 July 2019

Need assessment with the migrants and local migration-based organizations and other stakeholders through consultations for guideline development

Data analysis and submission of the first draft report of the study


By  25 July 2019

Content finalization for the guideline development

Submit the first draft of the guideline in English

By  10 August  2019

Finalization and submission of the Debt Mediation Study report after incorporating all the comments and feedbacks of IOM

By 29 August 2019

Develop Policy Brief on debt management for returnee migrants

By 29 August 2019

Finalization of the guideline after incorporating all the comments and feedbacks and submitted to IOM both English and Bangla version

By Sep 10, 2019

Develop necessary M & E tools to oversee the collection, analysis and use of all data in relation of debt for migration.

By 12 September, 2019

Provide training to the PNGO and other NGO staff at local level on Debt Mediation Guideline

By 19 September 2019

Submission of the Training report to IOM

By 23 September 2019

Support to organize the  dissemination workshop for economic reintegration approaches study

By 30 September 2019

8. Method of Application:

Interested Consultants are invited to submit documents stated below by 29th April,  2019 through e-mail to and mention in the CC line. In addition, mention the title of the RfP in the subject line.  Please keep the attachment size under 5 MB.
For any queries please write to: 

9. Required Documents:

Consultancy Firm/Individual consultant need to submit a technical and financial proposal.
Each Submission Must Include the Following:

  • Consultancy Firm/Consultant Profile: A brief summary of the organization and CV of the expert including records on past experience in similar assignments and name of the references.
  • Technical Proposal with detailed methodology, tools and work plan along with samples of previous work;
  • Financial Proposal listing all costs associated with the assignment. In particular, the financial proposal should itemize the following:
    1. Consultancy fees in local currency per day;
    2. Variable costs inclusive of transportation costs (including to selected districts), printing of study tools; research team (if applicable); meeting/FGDs/KIIs costs

10. Professional and Related Experiences:

The proposed team from the consultancy firms or the consultants should have following competence.

  • Must be an expert who has completed a minimum Master’s degree in Economics/Finance/Banking or related field with at least five years of relevant professional experience. Ph.D. is an added advantage;
  • Sound knowledge and demonstrated capacity in designing the curriculums and manuals as well as conducting assessments/baseline particularly in relation to migration and their debt context.
  • Solid understanding of migration, remittance, financial and social sector of Bangladesh.
  • Demonstrated ability to draw lessons from relevant international, regional and national practices and processes;
  • Excellent presentation, oral and written communication skills, and training skills;
  • Proficiency in English and Bangla and good analytical, drafting skills.
  • Ability to deliver according to a specified timeline while maintaining the quality of the output.

The Proposal should be written in English.

Any attempt for persuasion will be considered as a disqualification




IOM is an equal opportunity employer and women are encouraged to apply.
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