Addressing the many challenges and dimensions of social development needs in conflict-affected countries requires interventions that are carefully targeted and based on flexible methods. To ensure the provision of efficient and effective consultancy services within such conditions, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and the Stabilisation Unit (previously the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit) have established a Social Development Framework Agreement. DFID runs a series of Framework Agreements covering a range of areas and uses these pre-tendered arrangements to quickly and fairly acquire quality professionals and services.
The PRDU is part of the Fragile State Development Consortium (FSDC) which has been selected to run the Social Development Framework Agreement in conflict-affected countries. Under the lead partner, COWI A/S (Denmark), the PRDU will participate alongside: Maxwell Stamp PLC (UK); Cowater Inc. (Canada); Channel Research (Belgium); and Birmingham University (UK). This combined experience includes provision of technical assessments, programme design/implementation, training, technical assistance and policy work in conflict-affected environments; and extensive social development work on a global level with leading development agencies including DFID, the World Bank and Danida.
The Consortium has been praised for its: composition; ability to work at policy level as well as at practical implementation level (and to link the two); understanding of processes of participation and the dynamics of power within conflict settings; desire to work with existing structures and build upon local networks and capacity.
The Consortium's diverse experience will help provide flexible and timely inputs and the ability to mobilise, support and supervise consultants to work in conflict-affected countries. To ensure the access and availability of the needed skills, more than 100 highly qualified consultants (in-house and external) have been identified as part of the framework contract, as well as databases within the Consortium of more than 6000 CVs. In addition to its core staff, the PRDU will be drawing on its wide network of associates and alumni. Sultan Barakat encourages all those interested to contact him directly.