South Sudan: Charcoal Value Chain Assessment Consultant

Position: Charcoal Value Chain Assessment Consultant

Location: Maban, Upper Nile State, South Sudan

Duration: This consultancy is for 2 months and will be paid on a monthly basis upon submission of deliverables as per the developed work plan and upon certification of satisfactory performance by his/her supervisor at Relief International.

About RI: Relief International is a leading nonprofit organization working in 20 countries to relieve poverty, ensure well-being and advance dignity. We specialize in fragile settings, responding to natural disasters, humanitarian crises and chronic poverty.

Relief International combines humanitarian and development approaches to provide immediate services while laying the groundwork for long-term impact. Our signature approach — which we call the RI Way—emphasizes local participation, an integration of services, strategic partnerships, and a focus on civic skills. In this way, we empower communities to find, design and implement the solutions that work best for them.

Purpose: The overall objective of the assessment is to understand the gaps and opportunities in charcoal value chain as basis for program interventions in sustainable charcoal production while considering their feasibility and sustainability in Maban.

Position Summary: South Sudan’s charcoal production by weight was 272,000 tons contributing 0.5% of world wood fuel production, against the country population of over 12 million individuals (FAOSTAT,2015: South Sudan). The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported a sharp rise in illegal activities in various areas of the young nation. The factors cited as immediate threat to South Sudan’s forests were illegal logging, gold mining and charcoal production, among others. Sadly, however, these illegal activities were/are reportedly being perpetrated by local and international individuals and actors, including members of various armed groups active in the country.

High demand for firewood and charcoal can lead to adverse environmental degradation in areas that host refugees as supplies of dead wood are progressively exhausted and life trees are cut in an uncontrolled manner. This can be a source of conflict with host governments and local communities who see their forests and woodlands degraded. It may also mean that refugees themselves have to spend significant amounts of time, money and labor securing sufficient fuel to meet their needs. In some instances refugees have been exposed to physical protection risks in the process. Unfortunately, energy is overlooked in humanitarian interventions. Therefore the provision of sustainably sourced cooking fuel coupled with appropriate, efficient and clean cooking technologies, can function as a life-saving intervention.

Relief International in partnership with UNHCR is implementing the Livelihoods, Environment and Agriculture for Peace Project (LEAP) to strengthen livelihoods, improve local agricultural productivity, and reduce pressure on natural resource and protect the environment in order to promote peaceful co-existence among refugee and host community population in Maban County, Upper Nile State. The activities and objectives are aligned with UNHCR South Sudan’s SAFE strategy (2016-2018) and UNHCR’s global SAFE strategy for livelihoods (2014-2018). The overriding objective is to ensure that all refugees are able to satisfy their energy needs for cooking and lighting in a safe and sustainable manner, without fear or risk to their health, well-being and personal security.

The consultant/firm will therefore work in close collaboration with the County Forestry Department and other relevant stakeholders during the assessment period. In addition, the assessment will draw inspiration and best practices from countries in Africa to understand pruning techniques, regulations and taxation policies that have enabled the countries to sustainably produce sufficient charcoal for its domestic consumption and provide an in-depth analysis with respect to South Sudan (Maban) context. Findings from assessment report will enable RI and other UNHCR partners in future to pilot and upscale the intervention.

Main Responsibilities/Activities:

The assignment includes:

  • Assess the gaps and opportunities in the charcoal value chain in Maban.
  • Analyze the functional chain that links the consumption of charcoal as cooking energy to deforestation and identify ways of mitigating these practices.
  • Identify and select the most appropriate scope of intervention, appropriate to Maban context to improve charcoal production, e.g. deployment of improved production technologies; switch to alternative sources of biomass, etc.; including reforestation programs
  • In collaboration with the county forestry department recommend tree species appropriate for charcoal production while considering the ecological, cultural and economic significance of each tree species.
  • Support RI team in research and design of current stove designs/models to suit user demands in terms of fuel type, access and cooking practices in both refugee camps and hosting communities.
  • Select and train 10 beneficiaries on improved charcoal production technology, who will become trainers for proposed projects. The consultant/firm will therefore produce a training Manual and User Manual and share with RI and UNHCR.
  • Construct/develop two carbonization units as prototype to be used in the pilot phase of the project.


  • Inception report with work plan. The consultant/firm will prepare an inception report which details the consultant/firm’s understanding of the assessment objective. This is to ensure that the consultant/firm and the stakeholders have a shared understanding of the assessment. The inception report will include the assessment matrix summarizing the assessment design, methodology, data collection tools, data sources and collection analysis tool for each data source.
  • Draft assessment report. The consultant/firm will prepare a draft assessment report and share with RI and UNHCR and Maban partners and stakeholders for comments and validation. Comments from stakeholders will be provided within 5 days after receiving the Draft Report. The report will be produced in English.
  • Final Assessment Report. The final report (not more than 40 pages) will be shared within 3 days after receiving final comments from stakeholders, UNHCR and members of FSL/Environment Technical Working Group. The final report will include comments from stakeholders and UNHCR. All documents specified in the ToR will be provided as annexes
  • Ensure that the scope of work is finalized within the agreed period unless other factors well known to the parties hindered progress of work

Position Responsibilities and Duties:

Management, Organization and Timeframe

The consultant/firm will be supervised and guided by the Senior Environment Officer in close collaboration with the Livelihoods Team Leader. The consultant/firm will work closely with relevant local government departments in Maban.


The consultant/firm will consistently use visibility logos stipulated in partnership agreements between UNHCR and Relief International in and during consultancy reports, trainings and at construction sites. UNHCR and RI have the right to terminate the consultancy contract if such procedures are not followed.

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Advanced university degree in Natural Resource Management, Environmental Science, forestry, agricultural economics, Economics, social sciences, statistics, and/or related field is required. Bachelor’s degree with 5 years’ experience in conducting assessments in related fields may be considered.
  • Degree in Environmental Economics will be an added advantage.
  • The consultant/firm is expected to demonstrate a track record of no less than two years executing similar undertakings specifically related to charcoal/biomass assessments.
  • The consultant/firm is expected to have high level of experience in designing and implementing energy programs in both displacement settings and hosting communities.
  • Competency in designing monitoring and evaluation systems for environmental programs is a requirement.

While preparing the technical proposal, applying firms must give attention to the following:

  • Company profile and registration
  • At least 2 CVs of key staff who will be responsible for the project
  • The technical proposal should provide an outline of the firm’s recent experience on similar undertakings. It should outline steps in conducting assessments, capacity building and trainings, regulations/bylaws in charcoal industry, and training manuals. Please include references for those with whom similar work has been undertaken.

Confidentiality Statement:

  • All data and information received from agencies and any other stakeholder for the purpose of this assignment is to be treated with utmost confidentiality and should only be used in the execution of the Terms of Reference
  • Contents of written materials obtained and used in this assignment may not be disclosed to any 3rd parties without advance written authorization of Relief International and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

RI Values:

We uphold the Humanitarian Principles: humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence. We affirmatively engage the most vulnerable communities.We value:

  • Inclusiveness
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Agility and innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Sustainability

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