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(EOI) Project Management for the Development of Mbaza AI Chatbot in Rwanda

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 Expression of Interest (EOI)

Project management for the development of Mbaza AI Chatbot in Rwanda

1.    Context

About the FAIR Forward project

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key technology driving the global digital revolution. It offers a range of new opportunities to break down existing barriers to human development and social inclusion and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements the project “FAIR Forward – Artificial Intelligence for All” which strives for a more open, inclusive, and sustainable approach to AI on the international level. The specific objective of this project over a three-year project phase (09/2019-06/2022) is to improve the prerequisites to develop artificial intelligence locally across its five partner countries (South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, India).

Therefore, FAIR Forward – Artificial Intelligence for All pursues three main goals: 

i.    Strengthen local technical know-how on AI – Capacity development in Africa and Asia. FAIR Forward supports digital learning and training for the development and use of AI and fosters cooperation with German and European research institutions and businesses.

ii.    Remove entry barriers to AI – Access to training data and AI technologies for local innovation. FAIR Forward facilitates the provision of open, non-discriminatory, and inclusive training data and open source AI applications. Open access to African and Asian language data is a key priority to enable the development of AI-based voice interaction in local languages to empower marginalized groups.

iii.    Develop policy frameworks ready for AI – Ethical AI, data protection, and privacy. FAIR Forward advocates for value-based AI that is rooted in human rights, international norms such as accountability, transparency of decision-making, and privacy, and draws on European experiences such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Therefore, the project supports the development of effective political and regulatory frameworks in Africa and Asia. 

About the Mbaza AI Chatbot

In May 2020, the FAIR Forward team, together with the GIZ project Digital solutions for sustainable development in Rwanda as well as partners from the start-up Digital Umuganda and the Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA) participated in the #SmartDevelopmentHack, an international hackathon organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The hackathon called for innovative digital solutions to tackle the challenges caused by the coronavirus outbreak in low- and middle-income countries. Under the patronage of the BMZ together with “Team Europe” partners from the EU Commission, other EU member states, tech-companies, and civil society, the hackathon was launched as part of the German Council Presidency.

In collaboration with its partners, the FAIR Forward team presented the solution of an AI-powered chatbot to ease information and knowledge dissemination on COVID-19 in Rwanda. This solution was selected as one of 9 winning solutions of the hackathon.

The chatbot will enable Rwandans to ask individual questions regarding COVID-19 and receive verified reliable answers 24/7 from anywhere. The solution will build on existing COVID-19 information systems operating in Rwanda, including a COVID-19 call center run by the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) and a USSD chatbot to conduct self-screening. Additionally, the Rwandan Information Society Authority (RISA) has developed a first prototype WhatsApp platform to share information based on the global WHO application. 

To ensure that the chatbot can make crucial information accessible to all Rwandans, it has some specific features:  

  • Localized content and language: Working closely with the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), information will be tailored to the Rwandan context. The platform will operate in Kinyarwanda and information will be provided in simple language that everyone can understand.  
  • Multiple channels: The system will provide text- and voice-based channels and will be reachable via several devices, including feature phones and smart phones.  
  • Minimizing human resources: Enquiries which cannot be answered by the chatbot will be transferred to the RBC call center. As the chatbot becomes more intelligent, less and less enquiries will need to be transferred to human operators.  
  • Natural language processing (NLP): The system will be equipped with a natural language processing engine in Kinyarwanda (currently under development).  
  • Feedback from citizens: The chatbot will expand the scope from a one-way government to citizen approach to a two-way solution where decision makers can learn from enquiries of the citizens and adapt where necessary. 
  • Integration: The core chatbot engine will be integrated with additional backend software to deliver the full customer journey 
    • Speech engine to analyze the voice data or generate voice data from text 
    • CRM system to ensure that citizen interaction can be tracked and followed up and to update the knowledge base 
    • IVR (Interactive Voice Response) or phone system to route the interactions from external channels to the core engine 
    • BI solution to identify hot topics and share them with decision makers. 
  • Scalable to other topics: While this project will focus on sharing information around COVID-19, the chatbot has the potential to being scaled to information on other relevant topics in the future. 

Against this background, a consortium of project partners including GIZ, Digital Umuganda, RISA, and private sector organisations such as Mozilla will develop and implement this solution in Rwanda in close coordination with key stakeholders such as the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC). Each member of the project consortium will deliver specific work packages for the project which will need to be defined and allocated based on the solution architecture which will be designed by a solution architect from October 2020. A project steering committee composed of GIZ, RISA, and MINICT will be created to steer the project at a strategic level.

The following iterations schedule (to be reviewed continuously) has been developed for project implementation. For more information, also see pre-defined project deliverables in Annex 1.




One: Workflow text

  • Pre-programmed text-based chatbot with number menu (workflow-based)
  •  Staging infrastructure
  •  CRM pilot



Two: Workflow voice

  •  Workflow based voice chatbot (IVR) based on limited vocabulary Speech-to-text (STT) (number/keyword spotter) with pre-recorded answers
  •  CRM integration (action)


Three: Text To Speech

  • Add Text-to-speech (TTS) engine to generate audio (recorded once, then played to all users)
  •  CRM integration (knowledge base)


Four: Context-based text

  • Context-based text chatbot
  • Integration of further text channels
  • Production site including monitoring, operations
  • Integration with data analytics system


Five: Context-based voice

  • Context-based voice chatbot
  •  Full text-to-speech engine (TTS) implemented


 2.    Tasks to be performed by the contractor

Against this background, the FAIR Forward project is seeking a contractor to support with project management for developing the Mbaza AI Chatbot. The tasks shall be performed in a maximum of 160 expert days.

Overall, the contractor is responsible for managing the project based on state-of-the-art project management standards. In detail, this includes, among others:

1)    Develop and implement appropriate project management methodology  

  • Set up project management based on scrum framework (e.g. including iterations, sprints, retros, daily stand-ups)
  • Implement and regularly update the project management tool (RISA OpenProject) and ensure adoption of tool within the team

2)    Manage project scope, including:

  • Manage the backlog and Work Breakdown Structure including work packages
  • Change management for project scope in close coordination with GIZ

3)    Develop, implement and manage the project roadmap and work packages

  • Develop detailed project roadmap based on solution architecture, work packages, and pre-defined timeframes in cooperation with the team
  • Regularly review and adapt iterations cycle and iterations with the team
  • Define sprints and allocate tasks to team members, ensure timely completion of tasks

4)    Stakeholder management and engagement, including: 

  • Conduct regular stakeholder assessments
  • Effectively manage key stakeholders (including members of the project consortium and government partners) to achieve project objectives in close coordination with GIZ
  • Ensure smooth collaboration of members of the project consortium and other stakeholders

5)    Quality management, including: 

  • Ensure quality of all project deliverables

6)    Risk management, including

  • Continuously assess project risks, and develop and implement mitigation measures where necessary

7)    Documentation, including: 

  • Document all steps of project implementation and development

8)    Monitoring and reporting progress, including: 

  • Set up a tool to monitor and evaluate project progress
  • Regularly report to the project steering committee on progress in close coordination with GIZ

9)    Budget and contract management support 

  • Monitor deliverables of external contractors according to contracts in close cooperation with GIZ
  • Provide input to the development of Terms of Reference for external contractors

10)    Resource management, including

  • Provide cost estimations for project activities
  • Allocate work packages and tasks to members of the consortium
  • Allocate and manage other resources (e.g. computing power, licenses if needed, etc.)

11)    Communication management, including: 

  • Maintain an efficient communication according to project management standards with all stakeholders

Certain milestones, as laid out in the table below, are to be achieved by certain dates during the contract term, and at particular locations:


Deadline/place/person responsible

Attend and facilitate regular weekly team meetings


Preparatory work

Kick-off workshop with the project consortium


Project management methodology delivered


Provide detailed project roadmap based on solution architecture


Monitoring tool established



Iteration one: workflow text completed


Iteration two: workflow voice completed


Iteration three: text-to-speech completed


Iteration four: context-based text completed


Iteration five: context-based voice completed


Final workshop and team debriefing


Planned Period of assignment: From 01.11.2020 until 31.12.2021.

3.    Concept

In the bid, the bidder is required to show how the objectives defined in Chapter 2 are to be achieved, if applicable under consideration of further specific method-related requirements (technical-methodological concept). In addition, the bidder must describe the project management system for service provision.

Technical-methodological concept

Strategy: The bidder is required to consider the tasks to be performed with reference to the objectives of the services put out to tender (see Chapter 1). Following this, the bidder presents and justifies the strategy with which it intends to provide the services for which it is responsible (see Chapter 2).

The bidder is required to present the actors relevant for the services for which it is responsible and describe the cooperation with them.

The bidder is required to present and explain its approach to steering the measures with the project partners and its contribution to the results-based monitoring system.

The bidder is required to describe the key processes for the services for which it is responsible and create a schedule that describes how the services according to Chapter 2 are to be provided. In particular, the bidder is required to describe the necessary work steps and, if applicable, take account of the milestones and contributions of other actors in accordance with Chapter 2.

The bidder is required to describe its contribution to knowledge management for the partner and GIZ and promote scaling-up effects (learning and innovation).

Other specific requirements

  • not applicable -

Project management of the contractor

The contractor submits the following reports:

  • Inception report
  • Contributions to reports to GIZ’s commissioning party
  • Brief quarterly or half-yearly reports on the implementation status of the project (5-7 pages)

4.    Personnel concept

The bidder is required to provide personnel who are suited to filling the positions described, on the basis of their CVs (see Chapter 7), the range of tasks involved, and the required qualifications.

The below specified qualifications represent the requirements to reach the maximum number of points.

Project manager

Qualifications of the project manager

Education/training (2.1.1): Master’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or similar

Language (2.1.2): Good business language skills in English

General professional experience (2.1.3): 10 years of professional experience in the IT sector, thereof 7 years of experience in software integration projects

Specific professional experience (2.1.4): 7 years in project management for IT projects with a proven track record, thereof 5 years in software integration projects

Leadership/management experience (2.1.5): 7 years of management/leadership experience as a project team leader or manager in a company

Regional experience (2.1.6): 3 years of experience in multi-national projects with developing countries

Development Cooperation (DC) experience (2.1.7): 1 year of experience in DC projects

Other (2.1.8): Experience in effectively collaborating with government partners on projects

Soft skills

In addition to their specialist qualifications, the following qualifications are required:

  • Team skills
  • Initiative
  • Communication skills
  • Sociocultural competence
  • Efficient, partner- and client-focused working methods
  • Interdisciplinary thinking

5.    Costing requirements

Assignment of personnel

Project manager: On-site assignment up to  160 expert days


  • not applicable -

Workshops, training

  • Not applicable -

Other costs

  • Not applicable -

Flexible remuneration item

  • not applicable -

6.    Inputs of GIZ or other actors

GIZ and/or other actors are expected to make the following available:

  • Possibility to work in Digicenter(Kigali) open space (in case COVID-19 situation allows)

7.    Requirements on the format of the bid

The structure of the bid must correspond to the structure of the ToRs. In particular, the detailed structure of the concept (Chapter 3) is to be organised in accordance with the positively weighted criteria in the assessment grid (not with zero). It must be legible (font size 11 or larger) and clearly formulated. The bid is drawn up in English.

The complete bid shall not exceed 10 pages (excluding CVs).

The CVs of the personnel proposed in accordance with Chapter 4 of the ToRs must be submitted using the format specified in the terms and conditions for application. The CVs shall not exceed 4 pages. The CVs must clearly show the position and job the proposed person held in the reference project and for how long. The CVs can also be submitted in English.

If one of the maximum page lengths is exceeded, the content appearing after the cut-off point will not be included in the assessment.

Please calculate your price bid based exactly on the aforementioned costing requirements. In the contract the contractor has no claim to fully exhaust the days/travel/workshops/ budgets. The number of days/travel/workshops and the budget amount shall be agreed in the contract as ‘up to’ amounts. The specifications for pricing are defined in the price schedule.

8.    Option

- not applicable -

9. Annexes

Pre-defined deliverables

Annex 1: Pre-defined deliverables for chatbot



Requirements assessment 

Gathering of functional and non-functional requirements for the solution 

User journey  

Mapping step-by-step how users will interact with the solution 

User research  

Conducting user research to identify key user needs and preferences, including channels, requirements, and content  

Target Architecture 

Designing the target architecture for the solution, considering requirements, scope, and iterations   

Content for COVID-19 

Designing a structure for content management and gather content for COVID-19 

Knowledge Base for COVID-19 

Building a knowledge base for COVID-19 information which is continuously updated and integrated with the chatbot, defining and implementing the update process 

Voice data collection  

Collecting relevant and quality Kinyarwanda voice data as a basis to train STT and TTS models  

Speech NLP Model 

Training STT and TTS models in Kinyarwanda  

Kinyarwanda language Model 

Developing and training Kinyarwanda language model 

NLP integration 

Integrating NLP models with chatbot system  

Implementation of a workflow-based text chatbot software 

Developing a pre-programmed text-based chatbot with a pre-defined list of topics and pre-defined answers  

Integration of workflow-based text chatbot software with text channels 

Choose appropriate text channel software and integrate with chatbot software 

Implementation of a workflow-based voice chatbot software 

Developing a pre-programmed voice-based chatbot with a pre-defined list of topics and pre-recorded answers (IVR) 

Integration of workflow-based voice chatbot software with voice channels 

Choose appropriate voice channel software and integrate with chatbot software 

Implementation of a context-based text chatbot software 

Developing Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and dialogue management system and integration with text channel(s) 

Integration of context-based text chatbot software with text channels 

Choose appropriate text channel software and integrate with chatbot software 

Implementation of a context-based voice chatbot software 

Integrating STT and TTS engine and telephone system into chatbot engine 

Integration of context-based chatbot software with voice channels 

Choose appropriate voice channel software and integrate with chatbot software 

Implementation of a CRM system as pilot 

Choice of GoR CRM system and implement a pilot  

Integration into CRM system 

Integration of chatbot engine for actions and knowledge base into GoR CRM system 

Integration to data analytics system 

Integration of data analytics system with all components of the solution and define data collection structure 

Operational concept and hand over 

Develop a concept for ongoing operations of the solution and identify the solution owner for production and hand over  

Maintenance of system 

Developing and implementing a concept for ongoing maintenance and update of the system 

Marketing and communications around chatbot  

Developing and implementing a communications strategy to ensure user uptake 

A.    EoI & Evaluation criteria

 EoI will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Company profile,
  • Relevant experience,
  • Company strategies to assure ability, flexibility, and responsiveness,
  • Personnel,
  • and financial offer

B.    Submission of EoI

The EoI should contain the following:

For Technical Proposal:

  • A Cover letter expressing interest in this assignment;
  • Technical Proposal with a brief description of why you would be considered as the most suitable for the assignment, relevant expertise, and a detailed clear methodology, on how will be your approach and complete the assignment;
  • The CVs shall not exceed 4 pages.
  • Company registration certificate (RDB) if available
  • VAT registration certificate if available
  • Proof of successful completion of related assignments.
  • Latest tax clearance certificate

For the Financial Proposal: 

The Financial Proposal indicates the all-inclusive total contract price, supported by a breakdown of all costs. The cost must be in RWF and VAT excluded.

Please submit your EoI documents in two separate envelopes (1 for technical offer and 1 for a financial offer) until latest Thursday 22nd October 2020 at 4:00 pm, at the front desk of:

 GIZ Office Kigali/Rwanda

KN 41 Street / Nr.17 – Kiyovu

B.P 59 Kigali – Rwanda

GIZ reserves all rights