Sida Helpdesk in Democracy and Human Rights

Global - Global

2023-2025 | Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) | SEK 4 M

About the Helpdesk

The Helpdesk provides expert support to Sida’s contribution management, strategy development and operationalization process and thematic/methodological support within the area of Democracy and Human Rights offered, on request from both Sida Head office and Swedish Missions Abroad in the area of Democracy and Human Rights. The Helpdesk assignments can be up to 10 days of consulting work and are financed by INTEM/Demo through the Strategy for Sweden’s Development Cooperation in the Areas of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, therefore not requiring a formal decision, agreement, or financing by the procuring unit.

For assignments requesting more than 10 working days input, a call-off from the Framework Agreement will be needed. You can find more information on the Sida Framework Agreement for Democracy and Human Rights at: Kommers eLite ( and

The Helpdesk is managed by Cowater International Sweden AB, which has managed the previous phases of the Helpdesk, and will call on a team of experienced experts from around the world. Cowater Sweden can also rely on its consortium partners (International IDEA, BBC Media Action, and ODI) to bring a breadth of expertise in all the thematic fields covered by the Helpdesk.

The Helpdesk will be running during the period June 2023 – June 2025, with a possibility for extension for up to two years.

Helpdesk Services

The Helpdesk is designed to assist Sida and Swedish Missions Abroad and covers a broad range of subjects within the following 9 thematic areas:

  1. Political Institutions, Political Processes and Pluralist Civil Society
  2. State building, Public Institutions and Public Administration
  3. Local Democracy and Decentralization
  4. Public Financial Management
  5. Human Rights Systems and Human Rights Defenders
  6. Equal Access to Justice and Rule of Law
  7. Equality and Non-Discrimination
  8. Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Online and Offline
  9. Human Rights Based Approach

We can provide the following services under the helpdesk:

  • Assistance with formulation, implementation, monitoring/following up, reviewing, and reporting on country, regional, global, and thematic strategies, strategy portfolios, or specific programs and projects;
  • Providing expert support through stakeholder mappings, portfolio reviews, political economy (and other) analysis, summaries of results;
  • Participating as experts in seminars, workshops, discussions, short-term missions;
  • Providing written or oral comments on appraisals, program documents, reports, assessments, reviews, analyses;
  • Offering advice, training, or guidance to Sida and the Swedish Missions Abroad in the sub-areas covered by this assignment;
  • Providing expert input to support the development of methodological guidance, tools, training material, and briefs;
  • Developing and providing communications support including presentations, talking points, briefing notes.

How to use the Helpdesk

The Helpdesk is designed to be easy to use:

Step 1 – Initiation

Fill out the standard request form and e-mail it to the Helpdesk dedicated email address at Cowater Sweden ( It is not necessary to entirely fill-in the form before sending if you have doubts or questions. The Helpdesk management team can help you further clarify your request if needed.

Step 2 – Selection of consultant(s)

The Helpdesk team at Cowater Sweden will reply to your request within 48 hours and distribute it amongst their consultants with the required expertise. The Helpdesk team will propose a suitable consultant to carry out the assignment.

Step 3 – Discussion and agreement on deliverables

Cowater Sweden will contact the assignment requestor to arrange a short phone call to discuss more in details and agree on the deliverables as well as the timeline together with the selected expert. This is what we call a Start-up meeting. This will be followed up with an email summarising the deliverables and timeline. This is an important stage and should not be skipped.

Step 4 – Implementation and QA of the assignment

The consultant will carry out the assignment (e.g. desk study, training, analysis etc.) according to the agreed timeline (including potential drafts for feedback) in close communication with the Helpdesk managers at FCG Sweden and with the requestor when necessary (in line with Cowater’s Helpdesk Quality Assurance process). The final output will be quality assured by the Helpdesk manager(s) before final submission. If all of the 10 days are not used up, this is also an opportunity to expand the assignment if required.

Step 5 – Satisfaction questionnaire and assignment closure

The Sida staff member will be sent a short follow-up satisfaction questionnaire and once this is completed, the assignment will be closed.

Our experts and partners

The Helpdesk offers easily accessible short-term advisory services and consists of a core team of highly qualified experts with experience working with development cooperation. Our experts and partners have proven expertise in how to implement and address issues concerning democratic governance and human rights, including providing support for method development.  We carefully selected consortium partners for the Helpdesk to complement Cowater Sweden’s own expertise. Cowater Sweden’s Helpdesk partners are:

International IDEA, an inter-governmental think- and- do-tank with the sole mandate to advance democracy worldwide. International IDEA produces comparative, policy-friendly knowledge and provides capacity development support on issues relating to elections, parliaments, constitutions, money in politics and political representation, all under the umbrella of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Institute uses its knowledge and experience to provide technical assistance and expert advice to governments and civil society around the world and to convene high-level agenda setting dialogues and partner with likeminded organizations, including the EU, AU and the UN, to achieve greater impact.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is an independent, global think tank which has been a pioneer in the field of ‘politically informed programming’ and has led the debate on political economy approaches- working with donors, NGOs and developing country governments to discover how power and institutions influence behaviour and how this affects the adoption and achievement of development goals. In recent years, ODI’s work on politics on governance has increasingly linked PEA approaches with approaches to designing and implementing flexible or adaptive programmes. ODI advises donors such as FCDO, USAID Irish Aid, the Folke Bernadotte Academy, among others, on politically informed and adaptive approaches to programme design and implementation.

BBC Media Action has over 20 years’ experience supporting public interest media, including in some of the world’s most fragile and conflicted states, to foster greater accountability, transparency, and democracy. Its first-rate capacity to support the development of healthier media ecosystems and tackle the threat of disinformation is underpinned by expertise in strengthening local media houses – including the most influential channels and broadcasters, community media, digital media and independent journalists – to produce accurate, unbiased and engaging public interest content. BBC Media Action’s specialist capacity strengthening training and resources support CSO partners on fact and source-checking approaches. Furthermore, BBC Media Action has a long-standing expertise in supporting the development of an enabling legal, regulatory and economic environment for public interest media, focusing on areas such as media policy, media law, licensing, codes of conduct and media funding models.

For more information on the types of assignments and the consultants in the Helpdesk core team please contact the Helpdesk

More information and documentation, including on the sub-thematic areas of the Framework Agreement, can also be found on Sida’s Share.

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