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Scope of Work for Website Development, Mekong Safeguards

Location: Thailand
Program area: Environment and Climate Action
Deadline: February 4, 2022

The Asia Foundation plans to develop a website for the USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards Program to serve as an information hub to host program resources and publications. The tentative title of the website is the Mekong Safeguards InfoLab, and the types of information on the website will potentially include: home page with navigation; library of documents and resources tagged by topic, kind, and country; a calendar of upcoming events; a collection of news articles; orienting content and featured-item blocks (both textual and graphic); subpages presenting aggregations of items; and static content pages. The website should have the ability to collect subscriber list information from visitors. The team will discuss these details and other specifics at the kickoff meeting.

The USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards Program is a five-year (2018–2023) program supporting policymakers, government regulators, major financiers, developers, contractors, and communities with technical assistance, knowledge, and tools to foster the consistent application of strengthened environmental and social governance standards, particularly for the energy, transport, and water sectors. The program helps operationalize the vision of sustainable infrastructure development that Lower Mekong countries have put forward in their respective national green-growth strategies and regional platforms. Major donors and lenders are ramping up infrastructure investments in the region. With this projected investment over the next decade, power generation is expected to grow from 96 gigawatts (GW) to at least 280 GW. Developers of road and rail infrastructure plans project that rail will likely increase by 20 percent, with high-speed rail capacity increasing more than 50 percent.

Environmental and social regulations and mitigation efforts are not keeping pace, however. The projects’ sheer number and cumulative effects damage the Mekong ecosystem and affect fisheries, forestry, farming, air quality, water quality, and flood regulation. Negative impacts on these and other ecosystem services, in turn, threaten Lower Mekong populations’ food security, health, homes, and livelihoods. While recognizing the economic-growth imperative of this underdeveloped region and the role of infrastructure in contributing to growth, the program promotes profitable economic growth supported by a sustainable infrastructure that causes less harm to the environment, biodiversity, and people.

The program promotes sustainable infrastructure development; improves the application of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, policies, and practices; uses integrated approaches to develop sustainable infrastructure plans, and intends to use the Mekong Safeguards InfoLab to serve as a repository and turnkey gateway for everything related to USAID and DFAT’s work in sustainable infrastructure standards. This would include introductions and gateway links to tools and program resources related to SERVIR-Mekong, Mekong for the Future, E4SEA, LISA, and other USAID programs, and would also include introductions and gateway links to DFAT’s Partnership for Infrastructure (P4I) and similar projects. The Infolab will provide a consolidated access platform to USAID and DFAT resources in this area for policymakers, developers, financiers, other key actors, and a general audience. We can also build on the platform with supplemental training and capacity building which uses platform resources on applying resource knowledge to infrastructure planning and impact assessments.

Formalized in June 2021, the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) partnered with USAID to strengthen the program while expanding on current activities and conducting new activities that will heighten the breadth of the partnership’s results. Activities conducted under the partnership will primarily affect the needs and interests of USAID and DFAT, including regional, national, and project-level interventions that reduce environmental and social risks for energy and transportation projects, consistent with DFAT’s Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy. Shared interests also include gender equality and social inclusion (GESI), and a new, shared priority under the partnership will be interventions affecting infrastructure planning related to climate change resilience. The partnership will integrate DFAT priorities like improving water-related infrastructure, protecting vulnerable people, and assisting the economic recovery from Covid-19. USAID and DFAT have agreed to governance terms for communications, branding and marking, operations, and other protocols reflected in this document. Terms for communications protocol and guidelines associated with the USAID/DFAT partnership apply to deliverables and products released after June 2021.

The website should disseminate information to a broad audience, ranging from internal USAID and U.S. government audiences to regional, national, and local stakeholders in Southeast Asia, including:

  • Government and private sector counterparts
  • Current and potential private sector and industry
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Collaborative and supporting partners
  • The general public, academia, and other interested parties

Key Functions

Central to the USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards Program promotes regional dialogue and knowledge exchange on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) standards in Lower Mekong countries. As a regional program, collaboration and information sharing are crucial to program success, and the Mekong Safeguards InfoLab will serve as the primary online source for everything related to USAID, DFAT, and regional sustainable infrastructure standards, including:

  • Keeping partners informed of program activities, upcoming events, and opportunities for engagement
  • Housing reports, resources, materials, and tools for partner access and adoption
  • Increasing visibility of important and newsworthy issues

The purpose of the Mekong Safeguards InfoLab is to provide links, summaries, and guidance to USAID’s network of sustainable infrastructure planning tools, research, and goal-oriented projects to strengthen the knowledge of practitioners and policymakers working on sustainable infrastructure in the Lower Mekong, potentially including the following:

  1. Mekong Infrastructure Tracker and associated tools and databases
  2. USAID SERVIR-Mekong website and planning support tools
  3. Library of USAID-produced studies and reports on the sustainable infrastructure transition, including reports produced by Mekong Safeguards, the Mekong for the Future, LISA, and others

Development Requirements and Application Platform

The website should be based on a stable web application/content management system (CMS) platform broadly recognized by web developers and is open source and free of any licensing costs. It is expected that the likely application platform for this effort will be WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. However, developers are welcome to propose another platform to provide full justification and explanation for their choice. It is expected that the application will operate in a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) environment. A site administrator will administer content on The Asia Foundation team who must not be required to have specific technical expertise.

Web hosting services will be selected and funded by The Asia Foundation. The developer is not required to provide hosting services but will provide the hosting during development. The chosen hosting company will offer a robust standard LAMP environment and standard administration tools. The developer should carry out the necessary configurations on the host to install and test a functioning copy of their application and platform.

Structure and Development

The Asia Foundation has considered the basic structure of the website and its potential functions. Further detail of the website’s structure, information architecture, and content will be given to the developer after issuing a Purchase Order for the services and during the launch meeting. The developer will be encouraged to help The Asia Foundation team fine-tune website functionality based on experience developing websites. Throughout development, the developer is free to discuss and suggest possible changes to any guidance provided by The Asia Foundation.

During the planning phase, the service provider should clearly understand the goals and objectives of the Mekong Safeguards InfoLab. Content will be supplied via The Asia Foundation Communications Director for the USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards Program. The service provider will be responsible for setting up template pages according to the agreed-upon architecture, with The Asia Foundation personnel entering content for basic static pages. The service provider may build the website on their servers during the development phase but will install the completed product on the web host designated by The Asia Foundation and provide full testing and quality assurance in its final hosted location.

Training, Documentation, and Technical Support Requirements

As part of this contracted work, the service provider is expected to provide training to the appropriate Asia Foundation personnel to carry out the platform’s administration, content management, and editing processes. This is to be achieved via live training and written resource materials. The service provider will provide written technical documentation of the finished web application, including descriptions of all modules, fields, databases, code, customizations done to the core application platform, and all other elements that must be understood by any web developer that is called upon in the future to modify or maintain the application.

After the website is completed and launched, the service provider will be available to provide assistance and repair any technical problems or bugs with the functions within the agreed-on contract’s scope at no additional fee or charge. Following the website launch, the developer must be available for 60 calendar days to answer questions and provide further explanations of functions as needed.

Communication during Development

Web development timing and deliverables will follow the schedule specified in this scope of work. The graphic design for the website (all design elements, CSS, fonts, colors) will be chosen and implemented early in the development schedule, with the developer providing mockups of three different options for the visual look and graphic design elements. The Asia Foundation will select one concept and specify other feedback and desired changes to that design. The developer will create and submit a mockup of the final graphic design for approval based on that input. When the client has approved the final design, the developer will implement the necessary coding and CSS on the website.

Most developer-client communications will be held during a weekly development meeting, where progress, needed inputs, and other issues are discussed. The developer and the client will also be in ongoing communication as required. It is expected that, during development, the in-progress version of the website will be available and visible to the client online.

The Mekong Safeguards InfoLab is funded in part by USAID, and it must meet specific compliance requirements. Complete guidance will be given to the developer and include but are not limited to:

  • Compliance with items under Section 508 which dictate how the program will function for the physically disabled, including requirements that all images be coded with alt tags; each page should contain an invisible “skip navigation” hyperlink in its header that links to an anchor tag on the same page that is located at the top of the main content block on that page; etc.
  • Compliance that branding and USAID logos be the correct sizes and positions on all pages. USAID Graphic Standards Manual and Partner Co-Branding Guide (February 2020 revision).

Design and Architecture Specifications

The following description of the website’s function is an estimate for the purposes of bidding. Website size and scope may evolve through the development process.

Estimate of Website Size

  • Number of dynamic pages (presentation of blocks, views, or queries dynamically generated from content collections): 10
  • Number of static pages (presenting static HTML editable pages by administrators using CMS commands): 10 – 15
  • Number of content types/content collections (not including content types used by the developer to implement functions like a potential rotating promo image or other features): 5 – 7

Website Layout Notes

  • Graphical header should appear on all pages.
  • Navigation should be horizontal at the top of each page with pulldown menus.
  • Search box should allow user to enter a search term, leading to search results page.
  • Introductory text is static text.
  • There should be space on the home page for recent news items, e.g., teasers from the most recent news items, linking to the full news items. (Potential)
  • Recently posted resources should be available from the home page, populated by recently posted resource detail pages and linked to the full resource detail item.
  • Recent or upcoming events should be available from the home page and linked to full event detail item itself. (Potential)
  • The resource library should be able to be browsed by:
    • “Subject” links to a page that lists all items that are tagged with that subject.
    • “Type” links to a page that lists all items that are tagged with that type.
    • “Country” links to a page that lists all items that are tagged with the country.
  • For structure of “What We Do” detail pages, each page will contain static text, with content sections that feature resources that have been tagged to correlate with page’s subject.
  • Additional functionality can be proposed and discussed at the kickoff meeting and throughout the development process.

Prior to completion of full website, a placeholder will be published which will include basic introductory information about the program, provided to the developer by The Asia Foundation. The placeholder should ideally be live within one (1) week of contract signing.

Listing of Initial Website Pages

  • Landing Page
    • Landing page video background graphic with stock footage or footage captured by the team.
    • Navigation bar and Links
    • Major Announcements: Announcement of releases, upcoming events, hot news on infrastructure in the Lower Mekong subregion. This would include both headline, optional link to article, and summary.
    • Columns for Infolab Gateway Resource highlights. This would be three columns showing pictures and short descriptions of new or important Infolab Gateway tools and reports. This can be updated periodically and for instance, it would show the Mekong Infrastructure Tracker and link to that resource. The purpose of these columns is to advertise what an Infolab resource, tool or report is before having to click to another page to access it.
  • About USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards
    • Mission and Objectives (with links to program materials)
    • Partners
      • Regional Government Counterparts
      • U.S. Government Partners
      • Industry and Technology Partners
    • Our Team
    • Work With Us
  • What We Do page
    • Summary description of Program goal
    • Listing of Engagements 1-5 with summary description of each engagement
  • Where We Work (subpages for individual country profiles)
    • Thailand
    • Lao PDR
    • Vietnam
    • Cambodia
    • Regional
  • Resources (sorted and tagged by subject, type, country)
  • InfoLab Gateway (page with project summaries, screenshots, and links):
    • Mekong Infrastructure Tracker
    • SERVIR Mekong
    • Mekong for the Future
    • Linear Infrastructure Program
    • Partnership 4 Infrastructure site
    • Project summaries should describe the project, tools, data, and how these data could be used in planning sustainable infrastructure.
  • Mekong Safeguards Reports and Publications (this may be under InfoLab Gateway page)
    • Descriptions and downloads of each of our program deliverables.


The list below provides timeframe for principal activities in the development of the website. It is expected that the successful offeror will adhere to this timeframe, which will begin with the kickoff and planning meeting and end with the public launch of the site.

  • Initial kickoff and planning meeting – 1 week after selection
  • Progress meetings – 1 per week
  • Deliver three mockups showing options for graphic design – 5 workdays after kickoff
  • Deliver mockup of final graphic design for approval – 10 workdays after kickoff
  • Development completed and functioning on final web host (including bulk upload of initial library content) – 20 workdays after kickoff
  • Final adjustments requested by the client after USAID meetings – 25 workdays after kickoff
  • Final adjustments made by the developer; launch day – 30 workdays after kickoff

How to apply

Interested applicants should send an email to [email protected] no later than February 4, 2022. In the email, please include the proposal for this service along with the price quote and company profile. In the subject heading, please indicate this proposal is for ‘Website Development’.

(Only short-listed candidates will be notified.)