Aus4Equality|GREAT Program – Call for proposals for Assessment and Development of a Framework on Value for Money News

8 October, 2021


The GREAT Program is seeking proposals from suitably qualified institutions to conduct a Value for Money (VfM) assessment and the development of a Framework on VfM.


With more than 35 years of experience, Cowater International is Canada’s global leader in management consulting services specialising in international development. We have managed the implementation of over 2500 projects in more than 95 countries around the globe for clients such as DFID, DFAT Australia, the European Union, the World Bank and Global Affairs Canada. We work with governments, partner organisations, communities and civil society to design and implement sustainable solutions that generate lasting social, economic and environmental impacts. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies from 2017 to 2021.

The Aus4Equality|Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Program is a flagship initiative of the Australian Development Cooperation program in Vietnam – it commenced in November 2017 and will run for five years to December 2021. The Program is promoting women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in the ethnically diverse north-west region of Vietnam. The primary beneficiaries are women living in the provinces of Son La and Lao Cai with a focus on economic inclusion of women from ethnic minority communities. The Program is partnering with approximately 50 organisations to deliver results, including private sector actors, governmental and non-governmental organisations, and research institutions.

The objectives of the Aus4Equality|GREAT Program are:

  • Objective 1 – Empowering local women: Women living in local communities have increased capacity, space and choices to beneficially engage with agriculture and tourism businesses.
  • Objective 2 – Inclusive businesses partnerships: Selected private sector actors within the agriculture and tourism sectors innovate to profitably and sustainably trade with more women entrepreneurs and operate in gender sensitive ways.
  • Objective 3 – Improving sector governance and policy: Government agencies reinforce policies, and enact plans, regulations and services that enable more inclusive socio-economic development.

The goal of the Program is to improve the livelihoods of the adult female population in Son La and Lao Cai, including increasing the income for 17,000 women across the two provinces.

GREAT partners with private and public sector entities to reach the Program objectives through 57 investments (“projects”) in the tourism and agriculture sectors, targeting rural households, particularly ethnic minority women. Through these investments, the Program aims to facilitate a range of systemic changes to support women’s economic empowerment in both sectors and also the broader enabling environment.

A Management Information System (MIS) has been established and operated to collect data on implementation progress of these investments on a quarterly basis. A midline longitudinal study was also conducted in July-August 2020 to capture changes in WEE and a Systemic Market Changes Assessment finalised in August 2021 identified that most of the created changes are in the Adoption and Adaption Stages of the Adoption-Adaption-Response-Expand Framework.

The project-level midline assessments for 34 projects were conducted in January 2021 and identified that 9,082 households with 15,414 women gained profit from GREAT-supported products and services in 2020. In total, GREAT-supported products in 2020 generated an accounting profit of AUD 16,715,850. In 2019 and 2020, GREAT’s investments contributed to the creation of around VND 850 billion of total revenue (approximately AUD 48 million).

The recent DFAT-commissioned Mid-Term Review recommended to “develop criteria to define what good value for money looks like for Phase 2, and how the Program will be assessed against these criteria. (NB. DFAT’s new Performance Assessment tool provides useful guidance).”

Achieving Value for Money (VfM) is an important priority of both DFAT and the GREAT Program. DFAT is currently leading a Design Update for a potential Phase II of the Program which would run for five years and is due to start in July 2022. It is important that GREAT understands how its current practice contributes to VfM and how it can be improved for Phase II.

Purpose and Assessment Questions

The GREAT Program is seeking proposals from suitably qualified institutions to conduct a VfM assessment and the development of a Framework on VfM with the following purpose and key assessment questions:

1. Purpose

The Assessment will:
1) Review the GREAT Program’s current systems, tools and practices to provide an understanding of how the Program is tracking against value for money criteria and opportunities for improvement; and
2) Develop a Framework and Operational Guide, including Procedures and Analysis Tools for the Program to apply to ensure value for money at the Program, sector and sub-sector levels aligned with DFAT’s VfM principles .

2. Assessment Questions

The Assessment should answer the following questions:
1) What is the estimated value for money of the Program, supported sectors, and selected cases?
2) What mechanisms, processes and practices have been applied that enhance or reduce value for money?
3) What criteria for value for money at the Program, sector, sub-sector and project level can GREAT and partners use?
4) How will the Program apply these criteria at each stage of the program management cycle? What frameworks, procedures and tools should GREAT and its partners use to assess value for money at the program, sector, sub-sector and project level?
5) What independent mechanisms should be in place to ensure the implementation of these practices?

General Selection Criteria

Eligible applicants must:

Be an institution with relevant expertise to the proposed assessment;
Have been the lead contractor for two similar contracts implemented in the last five year; and
Meet the requirements of the team composition that consists of international and national experts as detailed above.

To Apply:

Proposals need to be sent to before 5pm Hanoi time, Monday, 1 November 2021, with the subject line “Assessment and Development of a Framework on Value for Money (VfM)– GREAT”. Late applications will be not considered.

The following documents will be provided upon request by email to, under condition that they are treated as commercial-in-confidence and are only used for the purpose of preparing for this call and are not be shared with other parties.

GREAT’s design document
GREAT’s MERL, MSD and WEE Framework
GREAT’s Provincial Engagement Strategies
Relevant DFAT documents
Summary table of partnership funding (name of project, type of partner, amount, location, sector, key products and number of targeted beneficiaries)
The successful applicant will need to sign a contract that is compliant with Cowater International’s Head Contract with the Australian Government including the full copywrite ownership of all deliverables from this assignment.

A one-hour information session will be organized at 9am Hanoi time, Friday, 22 October 2021. Relevant documents will be provided upon request from interested applicants.

To download the full copy of the Terms of Reference, click here.

Related Content

Interested in shaping the future with Cowater International?
Learn More