Development consultants working in Zambia help the government, the private sector, NGOs and citizens groups to develop and implement improvements to the environment and national infrastructure. Funding may come through donor programmes, government funds or private clients. Many consultants are Zambian national personnel working for donor governments in Zambia, who provide development advisors, experts and volunteers. Development consultants in the public and private sector help find sustainable solutions to international development challenges, improving the delivery of basic services or helping improve income opportunities for the poor to achieve value for in-country recipients.
Development consultant companies advise and support corporations, international agencies, non-profits and governments, as well as individuals on specific projects. Common areas of work include project management, funding, accounting and finance, logistics, procurement, HR and recruitment, communications and law. A good consultant can be extremely valuable to a project, and therefore commands a high fees.
Consider if you really need a consultant
Some common reasons for hiring a consultant are:
Before looking to hire a consultant, ask yourself whether you really need one. Perhaps it would be better to solve the problem internally first. If the problem is that you don’t have time, can you shift work around or prioritise it? If you’re hiring a consultant for their technical skills, would it be better to pay for an existing staff member to be trained?
“A consultant will tell us exactly what to do” A consultant usually has lots of technical expertise, but they will only be in your organisation for a very short time. That may not be long enough to understand all the history behind the organisation, the local context, or the complexities of your program. At best they will be able to provide you with some different actions that could be taken, along with pros and cons. But it’s very rare they will actually tell you exactly what to do.
Decide what type of consultant you need
There are lots of different types of consultants in local and international development. The first thing you need to consider is what type of technical speciality they should have (e.g. economics, public health, logistics, etc).
Write a detailed contract
After you find a consultant, the next step is to write a detailed contract that will be signed by you and him/her. Ideally, you should get a lawyer in Zambia to draft the terms and conditions of the contract. If you will be hiring lots of consultants, you can often use the same terms and conditions for all of them.