National External Evaluation Consultant/Company

TERMS OF REFERENCE:

Terms of Reference for NEC contracted national external evaluation consultant to carry out an evaluation of the EOL financed National Education Coalition Project 2020-2021.

Title of the consultancy

“Evaluation of EOL financed National Education Coalition Project 2020-2021”

Background Information

The National Education Coalition (NEC) in your country (APSCF) was awarded a grant from the Education Out Loud (EOL) fund in 2020. As part of the application process for the grant, the NEC presented a project proposal that, among other texts and sections, included a national context analysis, objectives, outcomes, outputs and budget. During the start-up phase the project might have been improved during a first Year Zero phase and further during implementation, in order to adapt it to the current situation in the country.  The project is currently under implementation.

Education Out Loud (EOL) fund is established by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) for supporting civil society organisations in their efforts to advocate for improved national public education systems in low-income - and lower-middle income countries with the aim of ensuring that the public national education systems become stronger in producing equality and gender transformative quality education for all, including for marginalized groups. Oxfam-IBIS is the Grant Agent of EOL. As part of the EOL Operational Component 1, EOL supports 50+ National Education Coalitions (NECs) that gather the voices of organisations of those marginalized groups that tend to be discriminated in the national education systems, such as girls and women, people living with disabilities and people living below the poverty line.

EOL OC1 provides support to the National Education Coalitions to enable them to exist and participate with a coordinated voice in education policy discussions to defend the right to education for all and particularly for the marginalized groups.  The OC1 grants also support the strengthening of the national education coalitions´ capacities and skills to participate effectively and meaningfully in evidence based and policy-relevant discussions.

Overall the EOL OC1 Theory of Change is that the national public education systems will improve if civil society organisations participate in policy setting arenas and discussions and advocate in favour of marginalized groups´ right to quality education; particularly if the civil society organisations are strong actors with good governance, technical and advocacy skills acquired through diverse learning strategies; and are capable of collecting and using evidence on the education situation of marginalized groups and in participating in the multi-level monitoring efforts.

The global EOL OC1-Objective is to strengthen national civil society engagement in education planning, policy dialogue and monitoring, and the expected outcomes at the end of the EOL program are briefly stated:

  1. NECs have become more inclusive, particularly of marginalized groups
  2. NECs have better capacity to engage in policy dialogue
  3. Policy changes have taken place, influenced by civil society
  4. Learning collaboratives on civil society strengthening are in place

Oxfam IBIS is the EOL Grant Agent. The EOL structure consists of a Global Management Unit (GMU) placed in Denmark and four Regional Management Units (RMUs) for West and Central Africa (WCA) placed in Ghana; Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) placed in Uganda; Asia and Pacific (AP) in Nepal; and Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) in Mexico, respectively.

Under the Operational Component 1 (OC1), EOL has until now provided grants to National Education Coalitions´ (NECs) projects in 52 countries (17 under the purview of the RMU in West and Central Africa; 16 under the purview of RMU in Eastern and Southern Africa; 3 followed by RMU in Latin America and Caribbean and 16 followed by RMU Asia and Pacific).

Each of the OC1 grantees (52 National Education Coalitions) have elaborated their own fully fledged project with information about the national context which varies a lot from one country to another; theory of change, objectives, expected outcomes, outputs, activities and budget; and these NEC EOL grantee projects are in full swing being implemented. Implementation started in September 2020.

The NECs participate in policy discussions to advocate for marginalized groups´ right to quality educations. In 2020, the NECs participated in 41 countries in the respective Local Education Group (LEG) where the national education sector plan is discussed, so in many cases they have had a unique position to influence the national policies.

During the second half of 2020, when a high number of countries were affected by Covid-19 restrictions, many NECs were rapid to adapt and still reached to participate in LEGs´ physical or virtual meetings in 37 different countries; and they could therefore, for example, raise the concern directly with the Education Ministries and other public authorities regarding the emergency education plans that mainly built on on-line education which tend to place poor and marginalized groups in disadvantage. Some of the NECs also participated in discussing other policies i.e. regarding the promotion of people with disabilities´ right to education and female adolescents´ right to education, including when pregnant.  EOL supported NECs are considered to have contributed to changes in public policies, laws, directives and guidelines in at least 23 countries during 2020. While the Covid-19 has affected negatively the EOL program implementation in general and caused that some activities such as workshops and project visits have had to be cancelled; it is estimated that 40 (¾) of the 52 supported NEC projects were on-track reaching their expected project results at the end of 2020.

EOL incorporates the human rights-based approach and aligns to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG4 on quality education. The promotion of gender equality and inclusion of marginalized groups, such as people living with disabilities, is a cross-cutting concern in the EOL program.

Purpose and objectives of the consultancy

The purpose of the consultancy is to evaluate the EOL financed National Education Coalition project (2020-2021).

The specific objectives are to:

1) Compile information to document and/or confirm to what extent project outcomes and objectives are achieved (including change in the education policy formulation, implementation and monitoring; and effect on cross-cutting themes such as gender and inclusivity) and/or reported to EOL; in order to evaluate the project´s effectiveness and efficiency; in addition to evaluate its relevance in the national context (for marginalized groups´ interests/rights and in relation to national policies/priorities) and ability to adapt as well as the  sustainability of the results achieved. 

2) Compile information about lessons learned, good practices and successful innovations through the systematization of information, analysis and evaluation of the EOL financed NEC project, in order to orient the EOL Program and the NEC for improving future project strategic planning and adaptation, particularly in relation to promote policy changes aimed at ensuring equality generating and transformative quality education for marginalized groups.

3) Make recommendations on how to improve the strategic orientation and implementation of future NEC project(s).

The evaluation is carried out during the last semester of the implementation of the EOL financed NEC project, and the results will be used as input to inform or adapt an eventual new EOL financed NEC project design.

The primary users of the evaluation are the National Education Coalition (NEC) and EOL Regional Management Unit.

The secondary users of the evaluation are EOL Program staff and stakeholders, such as Oxfam IBIS staff, GCE and its regional coalitions, etc.

Scope of the Evaluation

The evaluation should concentrate on those NEC strategies and activities, that are financed by EOL (first phase of EOL financed NEC project), and carried out in the period from January 2020 (including coalitions that went through a Year Zero) to the present day (or end of December 2021).

The evaluation should not take into account NEC activities that have been financed by other donors and sources, unless there has been at least 50% EOL co-financing of the relevant initiative.

The evaluation will integrate human rights approach, gender equality perspective, disability inclusion and other non-discrimination issues as a cross-cutting concern throughout its methodology and all deliverables, including the final report.

The evaluation should pay special attention to how the intervention is relevant for the national development strategy, particularly in relation to the implementation of SDG 4; the national education sector plan; and GPE support program in the country.  

Evaluation criteria and questions

The project will be evaluated in relation to its relevance and validity of the design; effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability.

Some of the questions that the evaluation should seek to answer are the following: (NEC project refers to the EOL financed NEC project):

Relevance:

-        To which extent has the NEC project been relevant for the stakeholders in the national political and socio-economic context?

-        To which extent has the NEC project been aligned to EOL OC1 objective and outcomes, established in the EOL Global Results Framework (view annex)?

-        To which extent has the NEC project been relevant in relation to the GPE supported education sector plan in the country?

-        To what extend has the project taken into account the needs/rights/interests of marginalized groups i.e. in relation to reducing inequality?

-        To what extent did the project strategy integrate the human rights- and gender perspective and to what extend did it succeed in operationalizing it?

-        Has the NEC project been adapted during its implementation and in which aspects?

Validity:

-        To which extent was the project design logical and coherent?

Effectiveness:

-        To which extent has the NEC project achieved its expected outcomes and agreed original or updated outputs?

-        What are the gaps and differences noted and what are the justifications?

-        What are the underlying factors beyond the control of the project that have influenced its performance?

-        To what extent the NEC project contributed to policy advocacy ( based on analysis of evidences of NEC engagement in the LEG, policy forum, or any relevant platforms)?

Efficiency:

-        To which extent the project resources (financial, expertise and time) were used in an efficient manner and used to produce results?

-        Was the project designed to be cost efficient ( budget expenditure vs results?

To which extent the project identified possible risks? Were these risks adequately identified and mitigated? Effectiveness of management arrangements:

-        To which extent did the management capacities and arrangements put in place support the achievement of the results?

Impact orientation and sustainability:

-        What is the evolution between the situation at baseline and at endline?

-        What are the expected and unexpected positive and negative effects produced by the project? How did these changes come about?

-        To which extent did the NEC project contribute to produce broader, long-term, sustainable development changes at NEC level?

-        And if so, whether the changes have been durable or replicated?

-        To which extent did the NEC project contribute to increase civil society organizations capacities (their own or their membership)?

Cross-cutting areas:

-        To which extent were gender equality and human rights-based approach incorporated in the project proposal design?

-        To which extent did different marginalized groups benefit - in different ways - from the intervention?

-        To which extent did the intervention succeed in involving both women and men, rights holders, and duty bearers, especially the most vulnerable?

-        To which extent EOL project implementation mainstreamed a non-discrimination principle?

-        How do you assess the support provided by RC/GCE and how it can be improved and impactful?

Lessons learned and adaptations:

·        Which were the lessons learned from the project implementation experience?

·        How did the NEC strategy work? Or how did it not work?

·        Why did the NEC strategy work? Or why did the NEC strategy not work?

·        Were any lessons learned during implementation used to adapt the project?

·        Has the quality of partnership (with stakeholders) been balanced or has there been a relationship of subordination?

·        Knowledge about the national education eco-system / landscape and strategic positioning of NEC to further the EOL objectives. 

·        Overview of engagement with key stakeholders and clear knowledge about government priorities and commitment to the national education agenda.

·         Efforts and plan towards reaching out and remaining connected with sub-groups and alliances.

·        Some objective assessment of the carrying capacity (scale and magnitude of involvement) of NECs and how the engagement is contributing towards making them competent and sustainable.

The assessment/evaluation criteria and questions can be changed and should be further elaborated by the external consultant, but fundamental changes should be agreed between the RMU, NEC and the external consultant.

EOL RMU should be informed or consulted about the final list of evaluation criteria and questions.  

Cross-cutting issues / Issues of special interest

The consultancy must apply the following approaches in the analysis: the results-based management approach (which links planning of expected results (objectives and outcomes), implementation, monitoring, evaluation and learning; adaptive management approach, (promotes reflections on the project; and adapts the project to unforeseen significant changes in the project context and learnings from the implementation); the human rights-based approach (which takes into account international standards and commitments, national legal and policy framework; and the roles of duty-bearers and right-holders, respectively); as well as cross-cutting concerns for gender equality, disability inclusion and concern for non-discrimination for all groups of people,  throughout the methodology and all deliverables. In relation to this, there is an interest to know if the policy changes as well as the NEC strategies were aligned to an equality generating and human rights-based approach as well as to the SDG-agenda; if gender equality, disability inclusion and social inclusion perspectives were taken into account in the policy changes as well as in the NECs strategies.

Methodology

The details of the methodology will be elaborated by the external evaluator on the basis of the present Terms of Reference (ToR) and documented in the inception report.

For the design of the methodology, it is recommended to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods; and involving various analysis methods; carry out triangulation of data, using different data collection methods, types of data and stakeholder perspectives; utilize the human rights- and gender perspective approach in the analysis as well as equity lens in the analysis; ensure that there is a clear logical link between the data collected and analyzed and the conclusion and recommendations presented; data analysis and interpretation well communicated through accessible language and useful visuals (diagrams, graphs, tables as needed).

The methodology could include the following activities:

- Read relevant EOL and NEC documents such as NEC projects and narrative reports; EOL Technical Progress Reports and other documents. 

- Participate in a Virtual meeting with representatives from NEC and EOL Regional Management Unit (RMU) and GCE and Regional Coalition for having inputs to the proposed methodology.

- Elaborate semi-structured interview guidelines for interviews with separate interviews or focus group discussions with representatives of the NEC, NEC members, EOL Regional Management Unit; GCE/ Regional Coalition, Local Education Group members, national authorities and other stakeholders;

- Compile information through the established methodology (interviews, focus groups, surveys); analyze and draft a preliminary report.

- Present the preliminary findings to the NEC and EOL RMU-MEL advisor (and eventually stakeholders) in order to receive feedback.

- Incorporate factual corrections and relevant information.

- Elaborate the final report including executive summary and annexes as per the Index given below.

- Present the conclusions and recommendations to the NEC, RC and RMU (and eventually stakeholders).

-The methodology will need to take into account health protocols related to Covid-19 employed by the respective government and be adapted in case there are changes during the collection of information.

Duration and period

The duration of the consultancy is maximum two months. The consultancy start- and end date will be agreed with the NEC and the RMU. The consultancy is planned to end on January 31, 2021 after all the deliverables have been handed in and approved by EOL.

Main deliverables and payments

The consultancy has 3 deliverables.

The total amount to be paid to the external consultant is the following: 5500 US dollars.

Payments will take place in three parts (the first payment is 15% of the total amount and will be paid after the deliverable 1 (Inception Report) has been handed in and approved by NEC; the second payment is 50% of the total amount and will be paid after the deliverable 2 has been handed in (Draft report) has been approved by the NEC; the third and final payment is 35% of the total amount and will be paid after the deliverable 3 (Final report) has been handed in and approved by the NEC; in accordance with the below schedule and established deliverables.

Longer mission trips are not foreseen as part of the consultancy. Shorter trips and transport costs should be covered by the consultant. The consultant will also cover the costs of workshop facilities for focus groups discussions and stakeholder meetings unless otherwise agreed with the NEC.

Deliverables (written in English language).

Delivery dates

Percentage of the total payment

1.      Inception report that contains the precise methodology and workplan for the evaluation.

Within 1 week after contract signature

15% of total consultancy amount (deliverable 1)

Payment will take place two weeks after NEC approval of the product.

2.      Evaluation Draft Report (written in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese)

5 weeks after contract signature

50% of total consultancy amount (deliverable 2)

 

Payment will take place two weeks after NEC approval of the product.

3.      Evaluation Final Report (written in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese), included an executive summary of maximum 5 pages.

The evaluation report shall have this obligatory sections included below:

Index:

1.      Cover page

2.      Acknowledgement (if any: optional)

3.      Table of Content

4.      List of tables, list of annexes,

5.      List of acronyms,

6.      Summary (max. 5 pages)

7.      NEC introduction (short description of NEC)

8.      NEC - EOL project intervention and theory of change

9.      Objective of the evaluation

10.   Scope and methodology of the evaluation and limitation of the evaluation

11.   Literature review: assessment of achievement based on available reports

12.   Results of the evaluation: (results on relevance, results on effectiveness, results on efficiency, results on the impact, results in relation to sustainability, results on cross-cutting issues)

13.   Analysis and discussion

14.   Lessons learned, good practices, case studies

15.   Conclusion

16.   Recommendations

17.   References

18.   Annex: photos,

19.   Annex: list of participants in the discussion

20.   Annex: verification materials

21.   Annex: data base (excel PART B)

The text (point 7 – 16 included) can MAXIMUM be 50 pages long including annex.

A hard copy of the report is handed to NEC and soft copies in word and pdf to NEC, RMU and RC. The consultant should ensure proof-reading and proper English editing before submission to NEC.

8 weeks after contract signature

35% of total consultancy amount (deliverable 3)

 

Payment will take place two weeks after EOL approval of the product.

Orientation and supervision of consultancy.

This consultant will receive technical orientation about the NEC project from the NEC focal point for the evaluation.  The NEC provides overall supervision of the consultancy; and all payments require approval of the NEC Director. The consultant(s) will be responsible for logistics, communication and secretarial work; as well as for the administration of all methodological tools such as questionnaires, focus groups, etc. RMU MEL advisor is given the opportunity to submit comments to the evaluation draft report. A technical evaluation follow-up committee will be set up at NEC level. It will consist of the consultant, NEC, RMU MEL Advisor/Manager, and representative from RC. Any member of the committee may request a meeting of this committee in case of technical difficulties, such as understanding a tool or delays in the production of the deliverables, etc.

Management Arrangements and work plan

The consultant who MUST be independent from the NEC and stakeholders should have the following skills/experience/qualifications:

-        Hold a Master´s Degree in international development, social sciences, economy, political science or monitoring and evaluation.

-        Have minimum 5 years´ experience in working in international development programs. 

-        At least 3-4 years experiences of conducting project evaluation related to international development cooperation.

-        Be qualified as evaluator of development projects in the social area with expertise in applying human rights based approach and gender perspective.

-        Have experience in working in different national development contexts and/or at regional/global level

-        Technical knowledge to development of social policies, preferably education policies.

-        Knowledge to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.           

-        Excellent writing skills in English (demonstration of writing skill is required with submission of previous reports)

-        Availability in December 2021-February 2022

The consultant will receive support in the following aspects:

The selection process of the national external and independent consultant will be agreed with the RMU with the aim of assuring a transparent selection process.

Legal and ethical matters

The consultancy and its products should comply with Oxfam´s Code of conducts and standards, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR-rules), international established ethical guidelines and “no conflict of interest” statements. The evaluator will be independent and impartial in relation to the NEC; will produce useful and credible information and recommendations for the established users; carry of the evaluation action plan in a transparent way and comply with international established ethical guidelines for evaluations. The principal consultant and his / her team must comply with and respect the rights of the interviewees by guaranteeing them confidentiality and security.

The consultant should declare Conflict of Interest in writing to NEC.

Submission of bids

Technical and financial proposals of a maximum of 10 pages (annexes not included) must include the following elements:

-Technical proposal integrating the understanding of the TORs and the methodology proposed to carry out the evaluation.

-Composition of the team with a detailed CV of each team member and the roles of each in carrying out the assessment.

-Detailed budget of the offer (The consultant will have to cover the costs related to local travel, food, accommodation, and measures to protect against the pandemic of team members etc.);

-The financial offer proposed by the consultant should take into account the available budget and include all the expenses relating to the performance of the evaluation (consultants' fees and the operational costs of carrying out the evaluation. It should also include the cost of the translation if needed.

At least two extracts (3-5 pages) of evaluation reports carried out for similar missions;

-Date of submission of tenders: no later than 28/11/2021

The technical and financial proposals will be sent by e-mail to ipopusoi@aliantacf.md with the subject line "National External Evaluation Consultant".

Annex

EOL’s Global Results Framework https://www.globalpartnership.org/sites/default/files/2019-12-eol-summary-of-results-framework-final.pdf


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