Request for Proposals

Video Storytelling: Platform Livelihoods & Covid-19


Across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Covid-19 cases continue to rise and restricted movement and lockdown measures are having a devastating economic impact on peoples’ lives and livelihoods. 

Over the last couple of years Caribou Digital, supported by the Mastercard Foundation, has explored how digital platforms (from social media to e-commerce and ride-hailing) are providing access to meaningful and dignified work. When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, we began to speak to platform businesses and people with platform-based livelihoods across SSA. Our initial conversations with these businesses and individuals was written up into a series of blogs in which we shared first-hand stories, ideas about how to protect these individuals, the impact of the pandemic on platform business models and some ideas as to how funders could play a role in alleviating the impact of the pandemic. 

Scope of Engagement

In our first round of conversations between March and April 2020, we spoke to 10 individuals earning a living through digital platforms. In June we followed up with these first individuals, and broadened the conversation to include an additional 20 platform workers. As the situation develops, we are keen to continue these conversations and provide a channel for the platform workers to tell their stories in the form of video diaries. Our aim is to engage the platform workers as co-creators of the final outputs (short videos and blogs synthesizing the insights) in order to involve them in the dialogue around their experiences in a meaningful way. The workers will be remunerated for their time.

We are currently in communication with 30 platform workers across Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. We would like to involve 10 of these people across different markets as creators of these videos. Caribou Digital will be responsible for selecting these 10 individuals. If this is a success we would look to potentially expand to others. We would like to kick-off this project as soon as possible and run it until the end of the year. The project design should be adapted throughout the project, optimising for high quality video outputs as well as collaborative approaches to video creation and analysis with the platform workers.

We are looking for consultant/s to fully design and execute this project. We are seeking proposals which demonstrate experience using design thinking and/or participatory methods as well as producing high quality videography. The budget should account for all costs involved in the project, including providing guidance on gathering high quality video footage with the platform  workers, training them on any software that will be used, involving workers in the footage selection process, editing raw footage into compelling short videos which can be publicly shared, and producing some concise written outputs. Proposals which combine the expertise of more than one consultant are acceptable. 

Broad Questions

  • How does Covid-19 continue to impact those with platform livelihoods, including their ‘on-platform’ work as well as any side-businesses (if applicable)
  • How has Covid-19 impacted their lives outside of work? (e.g. physical, emotional or financial well being, education, relationships, etc)
  • What coping strategies have people used to handle these challenges and how have these mitigated the impact of the pandemic?
  • What external support have they received (e.g. from government, community, local or international organizations, etc) and how has this mitigated the impact of the pandemic?
  • What are people’s own views on how they could be better supported, by whom and what impact do they think this would have?
  • What impact has Covid-19 had on people in their networks, e.g. close friends and family?

The aim of this project is for it to be as participatory as possible. While we want to answer these broad inquiry questions, we want the stories that are shared to be driven by the platform workers, enabling them to tell the stories they want to be heard. 

Project Design

In the proposal we would like you to suggest approaches to the project design in terms of:

  • Overall concept : Detailed concept and timelines, including suggested approaches to training platform workers on the project scope and videography skills.
  • Platform workers’ engagement with the design and analysis. Detail on how people will have the opportunity to influence the project design and analysis.
  • Frequency of engagement: Every day, week or whenever they want to share something.
  • Framework: Open framework, curated topical questions or both.
  • Style: ‘Show and tell’, talking directly into camera, or a mix
  • Software tools: Software to be used for recording, uploading and managing video content (e.g. Indeemo). This may be one or multiple software solutions.
  • Hardware: Detail on if platform workers need to be issued with phones as part of the project, to ensure high quality outputs, as well as the structure for how this will be managed if phones are issued (i.e. how to incentivise avoiding loss / theft / sale of the phone).
  • Release Forms / Consent: Procedures to ensure meaningful consent to participate.
  • Payments:  Suggestions on how to handle payments. 
  • Privacy: Recommendations on how data should be stored during and after the project, the extent of data sharing, and how this complies with local data laws. 
  • Relevant examples: please refer to examples of similar outputs where relevant, to illustrate the types of outputs we might have in mind. 

Suggested Outputs 

Below we have suggested some outputs. The proposal should also articulate expected outputs pending the final design.

  • Videos:
    • One short 2-3 minute video each month, synthesizing insights from across the five participants. Participants should be involved in selecting footage for inclusion.  
    • 3-5 final videos, 3-5 minutes long delivered at the end of the project. These may be individual videos tracking each participant’s story and/or videos on various themes that layer numerous voices and perspectives rather than a single story. Participants should be involved in selecting video segments for inclusion in the final piece and should provide input on final drafts.
  • Written analysis: 
    • High-level analysis of findings, involving participant inputs where possible
    • One to two blogs highlighting learnings from the participants 
    • One co-authored blog on our experience using this methodology, successes, challenges and how they were overcome, and tips for others considering using this technique.


We are looking for responses to this project in two stages:

Proposal Date
Stage 1: Initial Proposal

High-level proposed project design, rough budget, rough timeline, overview of relevant experience and links to / samples of relevant work. The proposal should be in Word or a Google Doc and no longer than 4 pages long. Shortlisted consultants will be invited to discuss their proposal in a 60 minute call. Consultants will be selected based on this proposal and call.

11 Sept 2020
Step 2: Full Proposal

Detailed project design, timeline and budget. This step is funded and will be based on discussion with platform workers to gather their inputs into the final design, as well as feedback from the Caribou Digital team. This final proposal will constitute the first deliverable of the contract.

30 Sept 2020

Please email responses to and

About Caribou Digital

Caribou Digital is a leading global consultancy focused on building sustainable, ethical digital economies and societies in emerging markets. We work with a range of public and private clients to achieve this, such as DFID, USAID, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Omidyar Network, Australian DFAT, Oxfam, UNICEF, UNCDF and the UK Space Agency. 

Our approach since our founding in 2014 has been to take a broad lens on the impact of digital technology in emerging markets. We are not an ‘ICT4D’ or ‘M4D’ consultancy, rather we approach projects looking at the impact that digital technology is having on lives, economies and societies. It is not a question of doing development digitally – how we improve existing development interventions using technology – but rather what is the role of development in a digital age? We work with partners to understand the many areas of opportunity and risk from doing development in a digital age, from the benefits of increased connectivity and the ubiquity of digital platforms to issues around privacy, equality and fair work, as examples.

Since 2015 Caribou Digital has been engaged as a Learning Partner for the Mastercard Foundation. Our current focus is on how digital platforms in SSA provide access to meaningful and dignified work, in line with the Foundation’s new Young Africa Works strategy. In particular our work to date has focused on upskilling provided by digital marketplace platforms. Previously our work with MCF focused on financial and economic inclusion, through the Finance in a Digital Africa (FiDA) Partnership. 

We encourage people from emerging market countries, people from underrepresented groups, and with non-traditional backgrounds to apply.