Research Consultancy : Terms of Reference (TOR)

  1. Introduction

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) is located in Phnom Penh. STT was founded in 2005 and officially registered in 2006 as a local NGO supporting urban poor communities. “Teang Tnaut” means “Palm Leaves” and palm leaves are used by poor communities to build roofs, and walls for their houses. This simplistic name was chosen to forever remind STT that its work serves the poorest members of society. STT started as a small NGO that focused on technical upgrades in poor communities but over the past decade, many communities have been affected by development, land transfers, and evictions. As a result, STT has since grown to produce community maps, research and advocacy in order to achieve its goal of helping poor communities realize their rights to land and housing. STT’s efforts in Phnom Penh alone have reached 270,000 people. STT and its partners have helped communities express their concerns to national and international media, donors as well as national and international NGOs.

  1. Background

Phnom Penh is the largest and most developed city in Cambodia, with many urban residents enjoying its benefits as it grows and becomes more modern. However, despite recent development, urban poor communities often complain that the development of the city is leaving them behind. The scale and depth of poverty is underestimated by most governments and international agencies, and this helps underpin ineffective policies. This is made worse by the lack of voice for low-income urban dwellers and their lack of influence within governments and aid agencies. In today’s world, most of the economy and more than half the population are now in urban areas. Urban poor communities live in informal settlements, most of which are affected by inadequate housing, risk of forceful eviction, lack of safe drinking water, poor sanitation and drainage, lack of solid waste management, lack of access to healthcare and high risk of disasters and with risk levels increasing because of climate change. Most definitions and measurements of poverty take none of the above into consideration, as they are based only on income-levels. And income-based poverty lines are usually set too low in relation to the costs of food and non-food needs for urban populations.

This study will focus on providing an overview of urban poverty in Phnom Penh and compare it to Cambodia’s overall rank in the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index. The central role of local governments and representative organisations and federations of the urban poor in reducing urban poverty will be recognized and the recommendations provided will encourage local governments to change their approaches. The study also aims to produce knowledge on how community-led interventions (such as improving security of tenure and access to basic services) can grow into inclusive city-wide programmes and obtain a better understanding of how women, men and children view poverty, and of how they develop their priorities. Lastly, international organizations, banks and donors will be consulted to obtain a better understanding of why urban rather than rural poverty can be a challenge for funding and ways in which funds can be channelled into projects benefiting the urban poor.

  1. Objective

Overall objective

To assess the level of poverty in Phnom Penh using the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index.

Specific objectives

– To provide an overview of the current situation of the urban poor communities in Phnom Penh based on the three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
– To review and assess the social protection measures available to the urban poor
– To review and assess bilateral and multilateral funding projects targeting the urban poor.
– To identify any risks relevant to policy level with all actors in terms of urban poverty.
– To obtain an understanding of reasons for migration to Phnom Penh from rural areas.
– To make clear recommendations to stakeholders on how projects can be targeted for the urban poor communities on the basis of the findings of this research.
– To identify any evidence of improvement or deterioration in living conditions in urban poor communities

  1. Research Questions
Topics Key questions
General – What is the current situation for urban poor communities in Phnom Penh in terms of health, education and their standard of living?

– What is the relationship between poverty and land rights for urban poor communities?

– What social protections exist?

– What kind of projects exist to support urban poor communities?

Policy and recommendations – What are the reasons for migration to Phnom Penh from rural areas?

– What can the Government do better to support urban poor communities?

– What can other stakeholders do better to support urban poor communities?


  1. Duration of the Work

This consultancy will commence in July 2021 and the duration of the contract will be four months. Specific duration will be stated in the service agreement once the consultancy is offered. A detailed timeline must be included as part of the submitted proposal. Before commencement of work the consultant is required to submit a final proposal including methodology, support strategy, detailed research questions, work plan and budget to STT.

  1. Expected Results and Deliverables
Output Deliverable
Consultant to draft research proposal including methodology, sample size, research questions, and initial drafts of questionnaires or other tools to be used in the research. Draft research proposal
STT and consultant to refine and agree upon research proposal Contract signed
Research begins Progress update report submitted to STT
Draft key findings of report Key findings briefing paper
Author draft report First draft report
Finalise report based on comments from STT and other stakeholders Final report
Draft summary presentation. A presentation on work undertaken to be presented to relevant staff and stakeholders. Presentation of final report
Produce briefing paper for report and assist in development of advocacy tools (fact sheets/videos) Factsheets, video script and subtitles


  1. Methodology

The methodology will be drafted as part of the research proposal. Some possible research methods for this research report might include:

– Questionnaires with a sample size of urban poor residents
– Literature and policy review
– Key informant interviews and/or focus group discussions with community members, NGOs, experts/academics, informal workers, local authorities, business owners and private sector
– Observation reports and photos.

  1. Consultancy Fee

The budget for this project is $10,000.00  This cost covers the consultant fee, travel, and associated costs to be paid as a lump sum to the consultant.

  1. Required qualifications of the Consultant

STT is looking for consultant team with the following qualifications:

– Minimum of Bachelor Degree in a relevant field;
– Significant experience in conducting individual interviews, surveys, consultations and/or focus group discussions, preferably in Cambodia;
– Experience working in human rights and on sensitive topics;
– Knowledge of land and housing rights in Cambodia, including governance and development related issues;
– Proven professional competence and knowledge of the areas of research and data collection.

  1. How to Apply

Interested candidates should send their application and CV highlighting relevant experience and a technical proposal, including budget to STT’s Administration and Human Resources through email, and cc Mr. Em Khemara at

Note: Only shortlisted applicant (s) will be contacted for discussions and interviews

Closing date: June 21, 2021 before 5pm.
You can download the PDF files here! English

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