Request for Proposals
Project Title: Solutions Platform for Humanitarian Information Analysis (SOPHIA)
Start Date: On or about 1 July 2023
Duration: Purpose: 45 days (subject to negotiation)
Purpose: supply back-end Software Development services
ACAPS provides high quality, independent and multi-sectoral humanitarian analysis. This enables crisis responders to better understand and consequently to better address the needs of the affected population, as well as strengthening the assessment ecosystem. ACAPS achieves this through:
Independent evidence for humanitarian decision-making – Providing a complementary perspective to donors and operational agencies needs assessments, driving more robust decision-making processes. An outlet for sensitive analysis – Assessment and analysis are increasingly becoming politicised, and it is risky for operational actors to publish sensitive analysis. As a non-operational agency and independent service provider ACAPS is less constrained by the sensitivity related to mandates.
Outsourcing efficiency - Providing donors and others, who often do not have their own independent analytical capability, with a reliable rigorous analysis in support of decision making. Driving effectiveness and efficiency - Better decision-making should result in the effective use of resources resulting either in more people being assisted or better quality of response. Evolution, innovation and progress - Acting as an incubator for new ideas, and an advocate for methodological improvement and change.
More information about ACAPS - https://www.acaps.org/
Solutions Platform for Humanitarian Information Analysis, or Sophia for short, is a new project at ACAPS that aims to support Data Collection and analysis within an organization by leveraging current advancements in natural language processing. The project is also motivated by the recent findings of internal assessments conducted by ACAPS team and consultants from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory. Back in November-December 2022, the team identified several challenges with data collection routines at ACAPS, outlining a few technological solutions to augment the existing data collection flow. A detailed summary of the findings as well as the information about the Sophia Design will be provided to the interested parties upon further request (see Section “Submission Guidelines”).
The ACAPS looks for services of a software development company to support development of the minimum viable product (MVP) in the next couple of months. The selected vendor is expected to report to the ACAPS project manager and work closely with ACAPS in-house Machine Learning Engineer. The vendor will help ACAPS to spearhead software engineering, focusing on the Sophia back-end to create robust data collection pipelines and integrations with ReliefWeb platform (see Annex 1). The project team opts for using Amazon Web Services as its hosting platform and machine learning computation environment. The selected vendor should demonstrate relevant expertise in creating, deploying, and maintaining software in the AWS cloud infrastructure, including Amazon TextExtract, Amazon Translate and serverless technology like Amazon Lambda and Amazon API Gateway. The vendor will also support ACAPS in designing database structure that is scalable in the long run (combination of SQL and NoSQL solutions), as the organization adds more structured and unstructured sources of information.
Scope of Work
A detailed scope of work will be provided to the interested parties upon further request (see Section “Submission Guidelines”).
Below is an illustrative description of the services requested by ACAPS:Consult ACAPS on AWS/Azure architecture and system design given the use cases identified. Provide software development services by developing a source code, modifying existing modules and deploying code to the AWS/Azure environment. Work with ACAPS machine learning engineer to ensure that Sophia data pipelines are stable and supply accurate, relevant, and timely data for machine learning objectives.
Set up Continuous Integration/continuous development (CI/CD) development environment for the project in AWS/Azure and GitHub. Draft software documentation, including architectural design, technical description of software modules and functions.
Requirements and qualifications
ACAPS expects selected vendor to demonstrate qualifications and experience in the following areas:
Experience in system design with a portfolio of projects completed.
A preference will be given to vendor with experience in implementing projects that deal with collecting unstructured data in many forms, as well as text extraction and analysis using natural language processing algorithms.
Solid experience in developing and managing AWS and/or Azure cloud solutions:
Amazon Translate Amazon TextExtract Amazon Lambda Amazon API GateWay Amazon S3 and DynamoDB
Azure Cognitive Service Translator Azure Data Factor and Form Recognize Azure compute instance Azure SQL & Cosmos databases
Experience in the following technologies:
Python Docker Git PostgreSQL MongoDB
Experience with APIs and data pipelines
Experience with connecting to structured (through APIs, RSS feeds) or unstructured (web-scrapping) web data sources
Experience working in fast-paced, cross-cultural teams, including working with colleagues in remote settings
Fluent written and oral communication skills in English
How to apply
For proposals to be considered, said proposal must be organized in the format listed below and shall be limited to 10 pages (excluding attachments and appendices). Below is a list of items that proposal shall contain:
1. Firm Information:
Company Background: Provide a detailed description of your firm, including its history, mission, core values, and overall organizational structure.
Expertise and Experience: Highlight your firm's expertise in software development, including the number of years in operation and relevant experience in delivering projects similar in scope and complexity to ours.
Team Composition: Describe the size and composition of your software development team, including the roles and responsibilities of key team members.
2. Portfolio and Case Studies:
Relevant Projects: Provide a portfolio of your firm's past software Development Projects, emphasizing those that are similar in nature or complexity to our requirements.
Case Studies: Present case studies highlighting successful projects, including information on the challenges faced, the solutions implemented, and the outcomes achieved.
3. Technical Capabilities:
Technology Expertise: Outline the technologies, programming languages, frameworks, and databases in which your firm specializes, demonstrating your ability to work with the technologies required for our project.
Scalability and Flexibility: Explain how your solutions are designed to be scalable and adaptable to accommodate future growth or changes in our business requirements.
4. Resource Allocation:
Project Team: Provide an overview of the team members who will be assigned to our project, including their qualifications, roles, and experience.
Availability: Indicate the availability of your team to work on our project, including any potential scheduling conflicts or constraints.
5. Budget and Timeline:
Cost Proposal: Submit a detailed breakdown of the estimated costs associated with the software development project. ACAPS prefers “Time and Material” type of contract with hour/daily quotes per project role. The estimated budget for this project ranges from $40,000 to $60,000.
Project Timeline: Present a proposed project timeline, outlining key milestones, deliverables, and estimated timeframes for each phase of the development process.
Client References: Provide contact information for at least three client references who can speak to the quality of your firm's software development services and overall satisfaction with your work.
If you are interested to participate in the bidding process, please send email with the following subject line “Sophia RFP June 2023” to Yevhen Barshchevskyi, email@example.com with the following information in the email body:your company name, country of residence, contact details (email and/or phone number, link to the company’s website).
Following your email, ACAPS will share with you the supplemental documents (Project Scope of Work and Backlog) to consider prior the application submission.
Please adhere to the following guidelines when submitting your proposal:
Submit your proposal in electronic format (PDF or Word document) to Yevhen Barshchevskyi, AI project manager at ACAPS, firstname.lastname@example.org, cc’ing Anna Kubat, ACAPS Procurement Officer, email@example.com. Clearly label and organize each section of your proposal to correspond with the outlined requirements.
Deadline for final submission is close of business day (23:59) on June 21st, 2023 (GMT+2/CET).
For further information or clarifications please feel free to reach out to ACAPS through emails specified above.
Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Relevance and quality of past projects and case studies (max 20 points).
Technical capabilities and alignment with our project requirements (max 20 points).
Team composition, availability, and project management approach (max 15 points).
Cost-effectiveness and proposed timeline (max 35 points).
Client references and overall fit with our organization (max 10 points).