The Micronutrient Initiative (MI) is an international not-for-profit organization that works to ensure the poor especially women and children in developing countries get the vitamins and minerals they need to survive and lead productive lives. Passionate about developing and implementing solutions for hidden hunger, we work in partnership with governments, the private sector and civil society organizations to address this serious problem that affects one third of the worlds population. Governed by an international Board of Directors, MI works in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and reaches people in over 70 countries. With headquarters in Ottawa, Canada, MI maintains regional offices in New Delhi, India and Johannesburg, South Africa that manage our country offices in Asia and Africa.
The Asia Regional Office, as well as the India Country office maintained contacts lists on a software called Sidekick. The original version was Sidekick 97, which upgraded to 98 and then to Sidekick 99.
Currently changes/ additions are handled by the Receptionist and Administration Assistant. All staff members are required to intimate this position of changes, as well as submission of new contacts/ business cards, and this position is required to update the Sidekick with that information. This has been the process since 2005 and currently the database contains about 1200 contacts.
The Sidekick package has certain limitations:
(i) it is not user friendly search and extraction of contacts is a tedious process;
(ii) Entry/ updation of records are a manual process, hence susceptible to human error. This disrupts search/ extraction of contacts even if there are minor errors (viz. in the punctuations/ spellings/ the software is case sensitive etc);
(iii) Sidekick is not compatible with most current databases, viz. Outlook. The database can be exported to excel but not vice versa. Similarly, it is either very difficult/ impossible to import existing databases into this software.
Objective of this consultancy
The purpose of this consultancy is to hire the services of an individual to assist the MI with streamlining the contacts database for its effective use, both by the Asia Regional Office and the India Country Office.
Methodology for Organising the Database
The consultant would assist the MI by following the steps as detailed below:
a. The consultant would meet with pre-designated staff to understand the needs of the MI with the purpose of designing an appropriate and effective contacts database.
b. MI proposes to use MS Outlook for uploading the contacts database, and has an instrument/ software called CardScan that can be used to scan cards and update MS Outlook with the contacts. However, the consultant is free to suggest a software/ package that could be more useful for the MIs needs. The cost of such packages/ software suggested would be beyond the scope of this contract and if approved, would be purchased directly by the MI following their purchasing policy.
c. Propose and finalise groups/ categories of contacts: The consultant, working together with the officer in charge of this contract and a program staff designated to provide guidance to this activity, would work upon arriving at a comprehensive list of groups/ categories by which the contacts database would be organised.
d. Once the categories are finalised and approved by the Regional Director, the consultant will work at putting together a list of possible organisations, agencies, service providers viz. consultants, partners etc who should be part of the database.
e. Once the list is approved, the consultant would collate this data through phone calls, emails, etc. For this purpose, the consultant would be provided with necessary facilities, such as fax, telephone, computer, net connection, including an office space.
f. Cleaning up/ updation of existing records: The existing database of sidekick shall be screened under the guidance of the program staff assigned to this contract and the contacts that need to be part of the new database will be agreed upon. Once the list is cleaned up, the required contacts will be updated and included in the new database.
g. Mocktesting with pre-designated staff: Once the database is updated, it will be mocktested with pre-designated staff.
h. Clean up stage: Should the mock test bring up some issues that need further review/ follow up/ cleaning that will be done during the cleanup stage.
i. Database roll out to all staff: The contacts database will be rolled out to all staff. Process of search, replace, sorting etc would be demonstrated and any Q & A shall be answered.
August to September,2009 (at most 2 months earlier completion is encouraged).
Part time/ full time at the option of the consultant, but the work would need to be done from the office.
Basic graduate degree/ students currently pursuing graduation.
Not a requisite for this consultancy, but any experience with working in an office setup would be an added advantage.
Ability to organize, coordinate, meet deadlines, and work under pressure
Ability to communicate effectively
Knowledge of computer systems (MS Office)
Ability to work as a team member
Fluency in English
Knowledge of Hindi is preferable.