Proposal – South Sudan Learning & Sharing Platform

Humanity United, Search For Common Ground

Omar Salem


About Search for Common Ground

Search for Common Ground (Search) is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to transform the way the world deals with conflict away from adversarial approaches, toward cooperative solutions.

Search currently has programs in Sudan and South Sudan, and our programming contributes to durable peace and the use of  conflict transformation approaches throughout society. We use media as one of the transformational approaches and to empower civil society, while engaging with youth, women, religious and community leaders for sustainable
peace. Search uses a range of tools to implement conflict transformation and peacebuilding programs, including radio, television, training, public forums, community dialogues, and arts and culture events, among others.

Search works on a wide range of issues including good governance, justice, security sector reform, media training and professionalization, social cohesion, and reconciliation.

About the Peacebuilding Network

Humanity United teamed with three different organizations to form a nine person implementing partnership to accompany young leaders as the work got underway (referred to as the implementing team). Unyoke Foundation introduced the accompaniment approach by facilitating ongoing reflective conversations that modeled constructive dialog while respecting the universally held experience of trauma; Search for Common Ground fostered a deeply relational rhythm of learning, adaptation and responsiveness; and Hivemind brought behavioral science and network weaving concepts to inform the propagation of the work. Humanity United learned from its partners how to accompany, enabling it to redefine the role of donors toward co-learning and co-creation in peacebuilding and the broader field of philanthropy. Based on learning from other initiatives that used a cohort model, selection began for an initial group of 12-15 people to form the first cohort.

Cohort 1 was formed in March of 2017 as HU began its two-year pilot program to test how a ten-year approach to peacebuilding might work. The team identified a diverse group of 13 “restless” young people (six men and seven women) from varying vocations and invited them to a series of retreats called “Unyokes” (created by the Unyoke Foundation) where they could “unyoke” from their daily stresses and challenges to share their own story, the story of how their country came to be in its present state, and reimagine a future for their country that they wanted to work towards together. The implementation team wanted to see if it was possible to foster spaces for diverse, creative, and committed young people to build deep, resilient relationships across polarized social boundaries, and if those relationships could begin to strengthen the social fabric of an emerging generation of positive leadership in the country.

They posited that cohorts of young “movers” could work together and use the power of their respective networks to expand the number of people committed to pushing back against the conditions that were fueling the civil war. They saw an opportunity to support these cohort members to develop the capacity to carry themselves across all their interactions with other people in a way that could skillfully challenge the thinking and behaviors that perpetuate division. They also believed the cohort members could serve as a model to others for what was possible. Together, these ideas formed the hypothesis HU wanted to test in its pilot.

At the heart of this approach was a commitment to local leadership and ownership of the work. They wanted to co-create a strategy and process that allowed them to walk alongside the incountry cohorts, providing the tools and resources that would help them to achieve their long-term goal. They saw their role as reinforcing the sufficiency, capacity and agency that already existed within these young leaders. 

Each of the organizations represented on the implementing team was also seeking to learn how to reframe the role of international actors, and to push forward new models of working together and alongside local peacebuilders. To meet this end, one major component in keeping the network connected was a desire to continue sharing knowledge, learnings, and best practices amongst themselves virtually, which has been a heightened need during COVID, further establishing an effective and active community both on and offline.

About the Consultancy

Search and the implementing team is seeking to hire a Consultant to develop an online platform. The principal objective of the Platform is to translate the project goals onto a private online platform so that network members are able to continue to connect, learn, and collaborate virtually.

The private platform is meant to serve as an online forum for network members so that they may connect online, but specific to the peacebuilding network and the needs of network individuals and initiatives.

For these reasons, the Platform should have the following features:

  • Private Accounts: All individuals from the network should be able to create an account. The account should be private
  • Profiles: The profile of each user should mirror something like a Facebook Profile in which users can upload details about their backgrounds, their organizations, resources from ongoing or past projects (e.g., assessments, donor reports, etc.), photographs, etc.
  • Discussion Forums / Newsfeed:
    • Chat: Users should be able to engage in chat conversations between two or more users. In this way, network representatives can continue to connect in intimate ways online.
    • Post and Share: Users should be able to post and share as they wish on the platform. This could include anything from questions and documents to photographs from ongoing projects.
    • Publicly Accessible Landing Page: A clean, modern, and interactive home page for the community platform.
  • Publicly Accessible Resource Library: A modern resource library that houses resources in Arabic, English, & Swahili.
    • Resources and learning center (exclusive for members)
    • Possibility to create Moodle-style online courses
    • Repository of papers, articles, wiki of relevant work done by the team or others
  • Backoffice
    • The backoffice should allow easy admin of members and content and to perform simple analytics of engagement with the platform.

Preference should be given to database systems compatible with social network analysis and the development of content recommendation systems at a later stage. This could be achieved using a graphDB (such as Neo4j) in place of typical SQL solutions.

Statement of Work

Search for Common Ground is seeking a Web Design and Development Consultant to redesign the new South Sudan Peacebuilding Network platform/website and ensure it meets the standards and requirements of the network. The consultant will work closely with the Search team and implementing team, and, incorporating team feedback into the website design and consequent development. The website will ideally be designed and developed primarily in English with the possibility of Arabic and Swahili. This Consultancy will be implemented in two (3) phases:

Phase 1: Website Design

The Consultant will work with the Project Team to conceptualize and develop the new platform.

As previously mentioned, the new platform must include the following critical elements:

Private Accounts


Chatting Function


Resource Library

Landing Page

Ability to imbed apps (ArcGIS/ Google Maps, etc.)

Adaptability for multiple screen sizes, including mobile phones, tablets, PCs and other devices

A calendar to set up event advertisements.

The design should also have the following capabilities:

Versatile – back-end content management system (CMS)

Designed on WordPress

Google analytics integration

Maintenance of system logs for auditing and system control

Backups for redundancy

Validation tool for broken or stale links

Potential for multilingualism: English, Arabic, Swahili

Phase 2: Website Development

The consultant will lead the development of the new online platform. Development should

include the following essential elements:

Security: Prevention of breaches such as spam, viruses, FTP access and database thefts.

Speed: Optimum speed for downloads of photos, white papers, PDFs, press releases and other information.

Plugin: Plugin capabilities for Java and associated upgrades.

Search: Use capabilities for searching content on the site.

CRM Database Integration: Integration and management of multiple databases.

Search Engine Optimization: Maximized Search Engine Optimization for all keywords associated with all network members

Phase 3: Participatory Refinement

Testing phase with select participants: After the first iteration of the website is developed, a preselected cohort of the South Sudanese peacebuilding network will be invited to test this first product.

Adaptations based on needs / functionality: After this testing phase, necessary adaptations / improvements to the website will be implemented to cater to the needs of the South Sudanese peacebuilding network.


Applicants for this Consultancy must

A proven track record of web design, development and maintenance for multifaceted, complex web platforms, for a nonprofit (preferably) in Arabic, English, and Swahili.

Demonstrated capacity to implement community of practice and learning websites within aggressive timeframes.

Have the time and availability to work with communications teams in multiple countries in the website design and development process.

Strong understanding of capacity to implement responsible data design principles, including data privacy, data retention, data subject rights, regulatory compliance, and data security best practices.

How To Apply

Proposals Must Include

Consultancy Fee, as well as payment structure

Portfolio of work


Please submit all proposals via email to before May 15th

Submissions will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and shortlisted vendors will be contacted for a follow-up consultation

Type: Contract

Application Deadline: 05/15/2021