Terms of Reference:
Invitation to bid for consultancy services:
Research on the digital divide and LGBTI people
The image shows a background in six rounded frames, each of them with a colour of the Pride flag. Text reads: “Invitation to bid: consultancy services - research on the digital divide and LGBTI people” and offers details about the opportunity, deadline for bids, and objective and scope of the consultancy. The ILGA World logo sits at the bottom centre of the image
ILGA World (The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association) is seeking a consultant (or a team of consultants) to conduct qualitative research assessing the impact of the digital divide on LGBTI people’s access to information communication technology (ICT), and on how this reflects on their capacity to advocate the rights of the communities they serve.
ILGA World is commissioning research to understand better the complexities of the digital divide and its impact on LGBTI people across regional and national contexts, with a particular focus on rural and unconnected communities.
ILGA World is a worldwide federation of more than 1,800 organisations from over 160 countries and territories campaigning for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people, since 1978. We want a world where all human rights are respected and everyone can live in equality and freedom: a world where global justice and equity are assured and established regardless of people’s sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).
ILGA World has ECOSOC consultative status at the United Nations. Our members are based in our six regions: Pan Africa ILGA, ILGA Asia, ILGA-Europe, ILGALAC (Latin America and the Caribbean), ILGA North America and the Caribbean, and ILGA Oceania. Governed by an elected Board of 19 activists representing our global family, ILGA World is queer democracy in action. For more information, look at https://ilga.org.
As of September 2022, 5.3 billion people are using the Internet. While one-third of the world remains without access to the web, more than 97% of the global population lives in areas with some connectivity.
This gap stems mainly from the digital divide impacting people differently according to their location, gender, age, income, and more conditions. This is a cross-cutting, intersectional issue and a significant cause of inequality.
The digital divide also centres on access to various dimensions of information and communication technology (ICT), including physical access, skills, and motivation leading to the actual usage of digital technologies. This divide tends to be even more comprehensive in the context of developing countries.
For LGBTI people, online spaces have been crucial to creating communities and providing tools for mobilising people. However, there is a lack of specific literature on the digital divide that LGBTI people experience: the topic is still relatively under-researched, partly due to insufficient data collection and funding. This is a challenging barrier that this research project aims to begin to mitigate for LGBTI people.
Objective and scope
The consultant will document the experiences of LGBTI people navigating the digital divide and highlight best practices as necessary.
This consultancy's objective is to provide qualitative and participatory research on how the digital divide impacts the global LGBTI movement (including in their access to ICT) in specific regional and national contexts.
The scope of the consultancy is to map the situation and outline the lived realities of LGBTI communities in relation to the digital divide in at least two countries within each ILGA World region. These countries will be chosen based on how significant the impact of the digital divide is for local communities, with a particular focus on countries where activism is only possible online. Overall, the research project will have to highlight the broad diversity of issues (e.g. lack of connectivity, the cost of data, the gender and rural/urban divide etc.) that contribute to the digital divide, and how LGBTI communities are already working to overcome it.
The research will also research existing case studies and good practices on decreasing or bridging the divide for organisations and groups within the LGBTI movement. It will also lay out specific recommendations on how global LGBTI organisations and other stakeholders can contribute to reducing this set of inequalities. The consultant / team of consultants
- should conduct a literature review as a first step, consolidating different secondary research literature to assess and analyse the current situation of the digital divide globally, and highlight emerging trends and present data.
- based on the literature review, they should construct a methodology grounded in qualitative and participatory research methods to bring to focus the experiences of LGBTI people – represented by ILGA World members, regions, and communities at large. The methodology would also specify how the consultant(s) are planning to navigate language barriers as they conduct the research, and how they plan to include the point of view of those who cannot access the internet, making sure they are bridging the digital divide themselves while they are conducting participatory research
- will attend ILGA World regional conferences to collect data, case studies and best practices to support the research. On these occasions, they may also have the opportunity to coordinate sessions/workshops on how the digital divide affects LGBTI people and organisations.
The selected contractor(s) must have:
- knowledge and experience in researching the causes and effects of the digital divide
- multiple years of expertise with LGBTI and feminist organisations
- strong experience in conducting research in contexts of cultural diversity
- strong knowledge and expertise in matters of intersectional advocacy
- strong feminist approach
- strong qualitative research skills
Additional experience researching online communication participation and LGBTI communities (especially those living in rural or least-connected contexts) will be considered a vital asset. If a team of consultants will apply, the bid should clearly indicate each individual’s skillsets, and how tasks will be distributed among the team throughout the research project.
The consultant is expected to produce
- a complete research report based on a comprehensive qualitative, participatory investigation exploring
- the impacts of the digital divide on LGBTI communities (including their access to ICT) in specific regional and national contexts
- case studies and good practices that already exist on how to decrease or bridge the divide for organisations and groups within the LGBTI movement
- a short, fit-for-print summary of the report mentioned above with key findings and recommendations
Timeframe of the consultancy
The project will start in June 2023 and conclude in December 2023.
May 2023: confirmation of selected bidder(s)
June – early December 2023: literature review, collection of case studies, participation in ILGA regional conferences, development of the research report and the summary.
June 2023: literature review
July – mid-September 2023: drafting of the report
until mid-October 2023: revision of the report
early November 2023: final delivery of the report, and drafting of the summary
December 2023: publication of the research report and the summary
Bidders should provide a quote for completing all work with their application.
This project's available compensation ranges from CHF 9,000 to CHF 18,000.
The compensation shall be due and payable upon receipt of an invoice after the completion of the consultancy.
Travel costs to ILGA regional conferences should be excluded from the bid. Those travel-related expenses will be covered by ILGA World directly.
Bids should be sent by Monday, 22 May 2023, 9:00 AM Central European Summer Time.
The proposal should contain the following:
- The bidder’s curriculum vitae(s)
- A text outlining
- the research proposal – including the proposed methodology and timeline to conduct the research, its geographical scope and the languages that consultants intend to cover
- the bidder’s experience with research using a qualitative approach
- some evidence of work related to the objectives mentioned above
- a full quote for the work (all types of costs shall be given in CHF, excluding VAT).
Bids will be submitted by e-mail to Daniele Paletta, ILGA World’s Communication Manager, at media(at)ilga.org. Please write “ILGA World digital divide consultancy research” in the email's subject line. Any questions can be directed by e-mail to media(at)ilga.org. The successful consultant(s) will be contacted in May 2023. We cannot offer any compensation for any work included in the bids that will not be selected.
Please note: ILGA World might select a team of consultants to cover all the objectives mentioned above.
The proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- quality of response
- proven knowledge of the digital divide, LGBTI, and online communication-related issues
- proven qualitative research experience
- value-for-money approach: bids that provide the best overall value for money - considering quality, cost, experience, geographical/language scope addressed in the proposal, and preliminary assessment - will be preferred over unbalanced or abnormally low bids