Call for Proposals: Research Partner/s for Study on Sexual Harassment in Media Organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab Region

In early 2018, WIN conducted a short survey on a small sample of 119 media professionals in 9 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab Region. In May 2018, WIN published its first sexual harassment toolkit: Sexual harassment in the meda: A practical guide for employers and employees. Since then it has been translated from English into seven other languages (Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Khmer and Burmese). It includes a handbook on how to identify and deal with sexual harassment as an employer or an employee, a sample sexual harassment policy and procedures, a poster and a sample survey. The toolkit is WIN’s most used resource and has been developed into a training module which is delivered to media organisations in-house and to women media professionals as part of the WIN accelerator programme. Over the coming five years, WIN has committed to working with its media partners to develop stand alone sexual harassment policies with them and to ensure that these are properly implemented.

Rationale for the study

During the research stage for the SH Toolkit, WIN identified a large gap in data about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the media industry in WIN’s target regions. Data about sexual harassment in the news media industry that does exist is is predominantly focused on the Global North and there is very little credible and comparable data for sub-Saharan Africa or the Arab Region. The results of WIN’s own survey (described above) were stark. Used in the SH Toolkit and WIN trainings, this data has been fundamental in convincing media organisations and professionals in both regions to acknowledge a problem and to engage with WIN on the issue of sexual harassment. WIN wants to plug the data gap in these regions. This is not only to contribute to global knowledge about the scale of sexual harassment in these regions, but it is an important first step to raise awareness and reverse the problem. 




In 2020, WIN will conduct a joint research study on the levels of sexual harassment within media organisations in select countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab Region. This study is being conducted to 1) gather credible and comparable data for these regions which is currently lacking, 2) identify relevant trends from this larger dataset, and 3) to increase regional and global awareness about the pervassiveness of sexual harassment in the media industry. WIN would like to launch the study findings during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in November 2020. WIN has secured 2020 funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Research Partnership

WIN is seeking a research partner/s to jointly design and implement this sexual harassment research study in both regions. WIN is open to either a single research partnership covering both regions or a research partnership for each region. Research Partner/s can be based either inside or outside the regions (so long as they are able to show strong links to and relationships within the regions).

Applicant institutions and individuals should have a track record of research and expertise in the following:

1- Gender issues and/or gender based violence in the field of journalism and the media

2- In the relevant regions: sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab Region (preferably the countries listed below)

3- Using large sample sizes and datasets.

Roles & relationships

WIN sees this as a joint project and a collaborative partnership, building on all parties’ existing expertise, research and networks. 

On the WIN side, the project is being led by the Insights Director (based in the UK) with support from the Africa Research Manager and the Arab Region Research Manager (both based in region). 

The Research Partner/s will work closely with the Insights Team throughout all phases of the research and on all deliverables. Key decisions should be made in a collaborative and consultative manner with regular communication and progress updates. The WIN Executive Director and Regional Directors will also be on hand to make contributions and offer expertise, networks and advice. 

WIN would also like the project to involve other major global and regional stakeholders who have done research on sexual harassment or gender issues. The selected Research Partner/s will share the same collaborative values as WIN and will actively help WIN to engage other stakeholders and involve them in the project.

Media and geographical scope

The study will focus on news media organisations, both print and broadcast, in a select number of WIN intervention countries (listed below). WIN has an extensive network of mainly print media partners in these countries, but would like the study targets to extend beyond these direct media partners.

Country selection will be based on the scoping and feasibility study conducted by the WIN Research Partner in the initial phase of the project. WIN intervention countries are as follows:

Sub-Saharan Africa: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Arab Region: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon

There is the possibility that the research will extend to other countries and regions if other collaborators and funders become involved.

Research focus

WIN would like the study to focus on research areas one and two, and preferably research area three:

1- Media professionals’ personal experiences of sexual harassment within their media organisations and in the field. Questions would be based around who it happened to, where it happened, type of sexual harassment, who the harasser was, and what their organisations did to respond to these incidents if at all. There could also be questions about measures to prevent sexual harassment in their workplace and the extent to which they feel safe.

2- Media executives’ perceptions about the extent of sexual harassment within their media organisations. Questions would focus on the perceived problem, breaking it down by type of sexual harassment, those perceived most at risk of being sexually harassed and those perceived as being most likely to sexually harass.

3- Measures being taken by media organisations to tackle sexual harassment in their organisations and to protect those most at risk (including specific sexual harassment policies and the extent to which these are used). Questions could focus on whether zero-tolerance policies exist, whether sexual harassment policies or clauses exist, whether there are reporting procedures in place, and other work place policies that create a safe environment for employees including whether relationships are allowed and between whom.

Research methods and requirements

The study should adhere to best practices research standards. The methodology, data and results should be able to withstand scrutiny and should act as a template for others for future research in different countries. As such, the study should be based on a large and statistically significant sample size in each target country, and be designed so that its findings are both comparable between countries and over time. 

The study should be a quantitative study to depict the scale of the problem and allow for comparisons. Qualitative data is not a priority. However, WIN is open to proposals with an additional qualitative focus if these fit within the budget.

WIN envisages that data could be collected through two surveys, one targeted at media professionals and the other targeted at media organisations. The surveys would be short, with predominantly closed answer questions. 

Note that WIN is open to research areas and proposed methods being modified. Proposals should highlight any suggested modifications of the scope outlined above.

Research challenges

Sexual harassment is a sensitive topic in all of potential target countries. WIN has extensive experience working in these countries and understands these sensitivities well. There is a high risk that sample sizes could be affected and the study undermined because individuals are not prepared to respond to the subject matter or if media organisations become defensive. As a result WIN is placing a heavy emphasis on developing strategies to ensure that the study is sensitively pitched and that media organisations are engaged cautiously. This may require in person meetings with media organisations. WIN and the Research Partner/s will work closely to develop an appropriate media engagement strategy/ies.

Project phases and timeframes

The following is an outline of the project phases and timeframes. It also highlights who will take the lead on the various stages. The details below are to act as a guide only for the purposes of creating a proposal. WIN is open to proposed changes to the phases, steps, timeframes and responsibilities. A final work plan will be agreed upon jointly by WIN and the Research Partner/s. 

Ideally, WIN would like to launch the study findings during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence beginning on 25 November 2020.

Phase 1: Project Set-Up (Mar-Apr 2020)

1- Selection of research partner/s: Based on a competitive tender process [WIN]

2- Inception meeting/s: Team introductions and to agree on a work plan/deliverables, project management processes and clarify roles and responsibilities. [WIN]

3- Project management tools: WIN will identify and set-up project management tools for setting and tracking stages. [WIN]

Phase 2: Scoping and Method (Mar-Apr 2020)

4- Scoping and feasibility study: Providing  i) an overview of similar studies in the regions and globally ii) an overview of potential partners or stakeholders who WIN could engage as part of the project iii) recommendations on which of WIN’s intervention countries to focus on iv) identifying potential risks and outlining how to mitigate these risks. {Research Parnter/s]

5- Outreach/stakeholder engagement: Based on the scoping study reach out to potential collaborators and establish relationships [WIN & Research Partner/s]

6- Methodology: Comprehensive methodology Including sample size and sample methods, quantitative research methods, research questions, survey design, analytical framework. [Research Partner/s]

7- Media engagement strategy: Agree strategy to approach media organisations and professionals in target countries to ensure that the research has the broadest reach and the project is not undermined. [WIN & Research Partner/s]

Phase 3: Implementation (Apr-Jun 2020)

8- Survey dissemination: To media professionals and media organisations, based on the media engagement strategy above. [Research Partner/s]

9- Data collection & management: Establish databases and data management processes to ensure that data is recorded in a systematic way, is accurate and secure. [Research Partner/s]

Phase 4: Analysis and Writing (Jun-Aug 2020)

10- Cleaning and analysis: Statistical analysis of data from all countries. [Research Partner/s]

11- Selection of key findings: A thorough review of findings and trends, and selection of the most important findings to be presented in the final product [WIN & Research Partner/s]

12- Report writing & editing: Based on key quant findings and within a jointly defined structure and style. [Research Partner/s]

Phase 5: Product design (Jul-Aug 2020)

13- Product design: Outsourced to WIN product designer, based on a jointly decided design brief [WIN]

Phase 6: Promotion and dissemination

14- Launch: TBC, but ideally around 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence  [WIN & Research Partner/s]

15- Communications strategy & implementation: TBC [WIN & Research Partner/s]

Deliverables & specific responsibilities

The Research Partner/s will be involved in all project phases, but will produce and oversee the following:

1- Scoping/feasibility Study (end Mar 2020): A 15-20 page scoping study of research to-date on sexual harassment within the news media around the world and a critique of this research.

2- Research Methodology & Implementation Plan (mid Apr 2020): Comprehensive methodology Including sample sizes for each country, sample methods, quantitative research methods, research questions, survey design, analytical framework and a media engagement plan. The methodology should be able to withstand academic scrutiny and the aim is that it can be used as a template for future studies.

3- Implementation and data management: Full project management of the implementation phase, including disseminating surveys and conducting interviews, coordinating researchers in country to conduct interviews or in-person surveys, oversight of data entry and and data management systems, quality control.

4- Data Analysis and presentation of findings: Conduct rigorous statistical analysis of data. Extract key findings and present them internally so that they can be used to define the structure of the final product. Findings can be presented in whatever format the Research Partner/s choose, providing they are relevant and accessible.

5- Final report/product: Drafting and editing of the final product in consultation with the WIN team, based on a jointly defined structure and format.

6- Launch and dissemination: The Research Partner/s will play a shared role in the launch and promotion of the final product and the findings.

Financial contribution

WIN has secured a maximum of EUR 26,000 of funding to conduct the study in both regions. WIN’s own costs are covered separately. Split between the regions, this is EUR 13,000 per region. While not a requirement, any matched funding or contributions in kind (e.g. salaries already covered) are strongly encouraged and will viewed positively in terms of value for money.


WIN welcomes proposals from qualified research institutions globally that meet the requirements outlined above. As specified, institutions can submit proposals to cover one or both regions. 

Research institutions should send proposals to

Submissions should be sent no later than 12PM GMT on Thursday, 19 March 2020

The main proposal should be no longer than 10 pages. Please follow the guidance on page limits below.

Proposal requirements

1- Background: overview of the research institution/department, its work and its regional links/networks [max 1 page]

2- Relevant research: a summary of all relevant research already conducted on gender related issues, including sexual harassment, in the media and communications field and in the project regions [max 1 page]

3- Team: Proposed structure of the team with short bios outlining technical expertise [max 1 page]

4- Networks: Overview of existing networks and relationships that can be leveraged for this research project, in particular those within target countries [max 1 page]

5- Proposed approach: Detailing potential i) country focus ii) sample sizes iii) quantitative methodology/ies iv) media engagement strategies v) potential areas for collaboration with other stakeholders vi) implementation plan vii) analytical framework. Note this is not a full research proposal [max 4 pages]

6- Risk assessment: An overview of the perceived risks and challenges (by country if necessary), as well as strategies to mitigate these [max 1 page]

7- Work plan and timeframe: A work plan based on the phases outlined above [max 1 page]

8- Budget (xls attachment): A full detailed cost breakdown for all deliverables up to EUR 26,000 for both regions or up to EUR 13,000 per region. Please include a breakdown of any matched funding, or in kind contributions.

9- Attachments: Must include CVs for proposed team, focusing on relevant expertise. Also any other relevant attachments beneficial to your application.


Evaluation criteria

Submissions will be evaluated against the following criteria:



Interpretation of brief and proposal for delivery


Expertise, experience & networks


Value for money



Selection process

1- Evaluation & shortlisting of proposals;

2- Interviews for at least three shortlisted institutions via Skype or appropriate platform (the interview panel will be made up of the WIN Executive Director, WIN Insights Director and the relevant WIN Regional Directors);

3- Selection of Research Partner/s;

4- Contract offer and signing.

Terms and conditions

WAN-IFRA and Women in News reserve the right to change or cancel the above requirements at any time, without incurring any liability towards any interested party and/or any obligation to inform any interested party of the grounds for its action. All costs incurred in connection with the submission of this CFP are non-refundable by WAN-IFRA or Women in News.


All questions related to this CFP should be directed by email to 

WIN Insights Director, Rebecca Zausmer []

You can download the call for proposals here

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