Terms of Reference Consultancy to support SNV with the structural integration of systems change in project design and implementation

  • The Hague, Netherlands
  • Full-time
  • Contract type: Consultancy contract

Company Description


SNV’s mission is to support people to pursue their own sustainable development, where we leave no one behind. To do so sustainably, we need to address systemic issues that trap people into poverty and marginalization. Using a systems perspective[1] means we seek to find ways of changing the underlying structures and dynamics to sustain access to services and income generation over time and grow them further. Attention to systems change, including power dynamics and mental models, can increase the quality, depth, and sustainability of results as well as their continued growth.

As part of SNV’s Strategic Plan 2019-2022, the underlying ambition of systems change is to improve further our abilities to achieve and show systemic results beyond projects’ boundaries in space and time. Such abilities are expected to a) increase our impact, b) sharpen our professional approaches and quality, and c) position ourselves in an evolving donor landscape.

To enable an organisation-wide understanding and adoption of a systems change perspective in SNV projects, a Strategic Priority Project was established (PP6) to further look into this. The project had three objectives: (a) Better narrate our systems change impact, (b) Provide support including tools to teams on systems change, and (c) Build capacity of SNV on leveraging financing. A consulting agency was engaged to support this process, particularly focusing on the first two objectives. As a result of the PP6 project, initial thinking and foundations are there for this consultancy to build on, such as webinar presentations, guidance for colleagues at different phases of the project life cycle (design, inception, implementation and closure) and case studies. However, there is a clear need to further anchor SNV’s approach into the wider debate and thinking on systems change in the development sector.  

In the 2021 Corporate Annual Plan (CAP2021), it was decided to give systems change further attention, as part of the Global Priorities approved by SNV’s Managing Board. It was agreed that further guidance is needed for projects to be designed and implemented with a systems’ change lens, and to enable country and sector level analysis of the contribution to systems change of SNV’s project portfolio.  Global sector teams across SNV’s three sectors (Agriculture, WASH and Energy) have committed to delivering on trainings and roll-out, as well as creating guidance on tracking progress towards systems change. To meet these deliverables, the consultant will be leading on the overall process, ensuring teams are aligned, consistent with the overall SNV approach, and building synergies.


[1] A system is defined as a set of relationships, actors, mindsets and factors that determine the prevailing way of working or operating in a certain domain.


Job Description

The assignment

The present consultancy covers all three SNV sectors (Agriculture, WASH and Energy) and a wide set of deliverables. The work to be conducted by the consultant is intensively supported and backstopped by a cross-sectoral team of colleagues involved in Agriculture, WASH and Energy, as well as a Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation advisor. The consultant is will work alongside the SNV team mentioned above with the objectives of:

(a)    Facilitating a process of defining and anchoring SNV’s approach to systems change into the wider debate and latest insights,

(b)    Support a process of enabling (senior) SNV colleagues worldwide to understand and adopt a systems’ change perspective to their work,

(c)     Support Global Sector Teams in the development of a framework of systems change for inclusion in project design, project implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

Approach and activities

The consultant will work closely with the SNV team to deliver the tasks at hand. Specific tasks will be divided between the consultant and selected colleagues. Every three months progress will be reviewed, and priorities will be set.  

The consultant is envisaged to provide support on the following:

1.       Develop an overall framework of systems change, that is embedded in current thinking on systems change within the development sector and clearly links to SNV’s core business. For this, the consultant is expected to provide an annotated literature review of how systems’ change is conceptualised and applied by other organisations in the development sector, building on the earlier work done in the PP6 consultancy referred to above. The consultant will facilitate a discussion around this, as a basis for joint development of the framework, clarifying SNV’s conceptual goals and understanding in relation to systems change in its interventions.

2.       In consultation with SNV’s Global Sector Heads (GSHs) and other colleagues from SNV’s sector teams, develop practical and pragmatic guidance that can be used for project design and implementation, supporting SNV teams to include a systems’ change lens into their work. This should be aligned to the above framework, sector product descriptions and sector results frameworks.

3.       Identify and provide training to key SNV staff to understand the systems change framework and how to apply the guidance. This will involve Global Technical Advisors, Global Product Coordinators, Sector Leaders and (multi-country) project managers.

4.       Support the process of roll-out and internalization of the overall framework and guidance to colleagues across SNV countries. This includes the development of training sessions.

5.       Support the PME unit to develop implementation guidance and hands-on tools for planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting system change at project level. This guidance will consider scientific evidence and best practices of donors and partners.

6.       Review of case studies: support the development of case studies on systems change across SNV’s sectors and products. The case studies will be developed by SNV country teams with backstopping from the global sector teams. Overall guidance and review will be necessary to ensure consistency in approach and content developed in the case studies.

Depending on progress in these areas, the above work package might further evolve organically. Specific work items may thus be changed in function of need.


1.       An overall framework to systems change, embedded in current systems change thinking and linking to SNV’s core business,

2.       Guidance and hands-on tools for design and implementation at project level,

3.       In-depth training of key SNV staff,

4.       Successful roll-out of the overall framework and guidance to SNV staff around the world

5.       Review of and input into case studies

6.       Deliverables in relation to additional work items as agreed.


The consultancy is expected to be full-time for the period of 1 year, starting as soon as possible. The consultant will preferably, but not necessarily, be working from the SNV office in The Hague, the Netherlands.


We are looking for:

Ø  Experienced professional, with at least 10 years of work experience in the development sector, holding a Masters’ degree in a relevant discipline;

Ø  In-depth understanding and overview of the current debate around systems change within the development sector, preferably in agriculture, WASH and/or energy;

Ø  Experience of working in LIC/LMIC countries in roles related to the topic;

Ø  Proven experience with knowledge development, innovation and organizational learning;

Ø  Experience as a trainer or facilitator, especially on how to translate abstract concepts to day-to-day project implementation;

Ø  Ability to enthuse and inspire others;

Ø  Excellent analytical skills;

Ø  Focus on quality, result-oriented;

Ø  Excellent communication skills, orally as well as in writing;

Ø  Fluency in English, French language skills highly desirable.

Additional Information

 Candidates interested in this assignment are requested to submit their application by pressing the ‘I’m interested’ button. Closing date for accepting applications is 21 February 2021.

Please mention 3 references in your motivation letter and your consultancy day rate.

Candidates are expected to take out all insurances by themselves.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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