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Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning & Research Consultancy

Breaking Barriers

Terms of Reference: Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning & Research Consultancy
1. Background and rationale
Following the completion of a 2.5-year Norad-funded multi-country project entitled ‘Promoting Quality Education through Progressive Domestic Resource Mobilization’ which was implemented in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Tanzania and Nepal between 2015 and 2017, ActionAid International has received a new grant from Norad to continue working on issues related education and tax justice in Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania.

The project, entitled Breaking Barriers is running from July 2017 to December 2021 and by the end of its implementation period it is expected that it will have measurably contributed to ensuring that: “All children, especially girls and marginalised children, have access to free, quality, publicly-funded, inclusive public education.”

All 4 countries are working towards the following shared outcomes, which are structured around ActionAid’s ‘4S’ framework for education financing:
1. Governments Take Actions to Increase the SIZE of National Budgets by Raising Fair Tax, Particularly Corporate Tax
2. Governments take actions to increase the SHARE of funds allocated to and spent on free, quality, inclusive public education
3. A strong, active movement of community and civil society structures effectively SCRUTINIZE education budgets and expenditure and hold the governments to account for the provision of free, quality, inclusive public education especially for girls and marginalised children
4. Public education systems and expenditure are SENSITIVE to the rights of girls and marginalized children

The project will be implemented by ActionAid country programmes in collaboration with 9 partner organizations in 9 districts across the four countries. The 114 schools (of which 84 primary schools and 30 secondary schools) will be reached directly with an aim to ensure that a range of stakeholders including children, parents, teachers and local civil society members benefit from project initiatives including training, capacity building, exposure visits, campaigning, advocacy and media engagement. Of these schools (18 in Malawi, 26 in Mozambique, 30 in Nigeria and 40 in Tanzania) some were involved in the previous project, whilst others will be new to the initiative.

The project overall has a significant Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Research component and across the 4 countries ActionAid and partner organisations have committed to gathering evidence at different levels and at different moments in the project’s lifetime. These include, but are not limited to:

1. Baseline Study: a coordinated baseline study will take place across Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania in 2018, which will draw on relevant information emerging from the Endline study from the previous funding phase. The research framework will be developed with reference to overall project objectives and key indicators outlined in the project’s Results Framework as well as ActionAid’s Promoting Rights in Schools framework which aims to assess gaps in the provision of children’s right to education. In addition to setting the benchmark for all project implementation milestones, the information generated by this study will contribute to the production of baseline reports (national and international/consolidated). It will also lead to the production of School Improvement Plans, Citizen Education Reports (national and international/consolidated) and generate both primary and secondary data that will be drawn on for various other planned research publications at national and international level.

2. Mid-Term Review: mid-way through the project implementation period, a mid-term review will be carried out. This will be a participatory process, drawing on input from key project teams, strategic partners and other relevant stakeholders and serve as an opportunity for review, reflection, learning and where necessary re-calibration to ensure the project is on track to achieve its objectives using the right strategies.

3. Endline Study: and Endline study is planned for the final year of implementation, which will mirror the baseline in terms of research frameworks, methods and tools. It will serve to collect data against key indicators in the project Results Framework as well as the Promoting Rights in Schools framework to assess measurable changes and impact, intended or unintended, that have occurred as a result of the project’s interventions.

4. End of Project Evaluation: a ‘light-touch’ independent evaluation at the end of the project is envisaged, in order to provide an overview of the project’s performance both in terms of management and implementation. This will draw on findings from the end-line study and provide a useful external perspective on the extent to which plans have been achieved.


To ensure the availability of quality, comparable data sets and evidence that will support all 4 countries to track progress towards agreed project outcomes and targets using a common Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Framework at key stages in the project cycle and provide reliable data that can be used to inform both national and international research pieces, it will be important to have a single coordinated MEL and Research system that includes: a common Results Framework and MEL Plan as well as harmonised research frameworks, questions, methods, tools and processes for data collection and analysis throughout the life-time of the project.

To this end, the MEL and Research strands of the project will be conducted in line with both the project’s own Results Framework as well as ActionAid International’s new Global MEL Framework and the organization’s overall Research Signature i.e. ‘People-led evidence, combined with external knowledge, influences change at local, national and international levels.’

Whilst all efforts will be made to harmonise frameworks and processes, it is acknowledged that each country will have specific contextual and/or information needs and therefore the MEL and Research frameworks and processes must be flexible enough to respond to such specificities as required.
2. Scope of work
Using a collaborative approach that will involve working closely with the ActionAid International MEL&Research Coordinator and Project Coordinator as well as MEL Working Group members from each of the 4 country teams (including Project Coordinators and MEL focal points) for approximately 200 days over the life-time of the project, the overall scope of work will include the following key elements:
Baseline Study:
Work with key project staff to support the following processes:
1. Review the existing Results Framework and analyse any implications for the design of the baseline study.
2. Contribute to the design and development of the baseline study research framework, methods and tools drawing on examples and lessons learned from the previous project.
3. Support the design of the MEL, Baseline and Research Planning Workshop, helping to ensure clear links are established between the baseline data gathered at local level and the various pieces of research planned at national and international level, which in turn will feed into the project’s advocacy work.
4. Lead on the co-facilitation of the MEL, Baseline and Research Planning workshop.
5. Provide quality assurance/review the design of baseline research protocol and analysis.
6. Provide quality assurance during the primary data collection and analysis process.
7. Input into the design of the reporting template for the school level as well as national level reports with AA staff and partners.
8. Draft the consolidated baseline report summarising key findings from all 4 countries.

Mid Term Review:
1. Support the development of key reflective questions and tasks to be carried out in advance of the multi-country Mid-Term Review workshop.
2. Support the design of the Mid-Term Review workshop, helping to ensure that sessions promote learning and sharing as well as a collective analysis of progress and challenges related to project implementation and management and clear steps can be taken in order to ensure the project achieves its objectives.
3. Support the co-facilitation of the Mid-Term Review Workshop.
4. Draft a brief workshop report capturing key lessons learned and recommendations for action.

End-line Study:
1. Contribute to the design and development to the Endline study research framework, methods and tools drawing on examples from the baseline study.
2. Support the design of the Endline Planning Workshop.
3. Lead on the co-facilitation of the Endline Planning Workshop.
4. Provide quality assurance/review the design of Endline research protocol and analysis.
5. Provide quality assurance during the primary data collection and analysis process.
6. Draft the consolidated endline report summarising key findings from all 4 countries.

‘Light Touch’ End of Project Evaluation:
1. Develop the framework, questions and tools for a ‘light touch’ external evaluation.
2. Gather data to inform the evaluation through a range of methods including Desk Reviews, Key Informant Interviews and participatory analysis and discussion.
3. Support design and co-facilitation of project Evaluation and Completion Workshop.
4. Draft the End of Project evaluation report.

Research:
Whilst there are a range of pieces of research planned within the project overall, this consultancy will primarily focus on research and analysis tasks most directly linked to the Baseline study and its products including:
1. Lead on the policy analysis component of the Baseline study, supporting the formulation of key research questions related to national policies on education and tax (in line with indicators in the project Results Framework).
2. Contribute to the analysis of key legal and policy provisions vs the extent to which children’s right to education is being met at school and community level (in line with indicators in the Promoting Rights in Schools framework).
3. Provide quality assurance and support for the completion of national Citizen Education Reports.
4. Draft a consolidated, brief International Citizen Education Report focussed on inclusive education.
5. Draft a brief on financing of inclusive education in Africa drawing on evidence and insights from the 4 countries.

3. Deliverables
The main deliverables for this piece of work are as follows:
Baseline:
1. Agreed research framework, protocol, methods, tools and processes for baseline data collection and analysis.
2. Design and co-facilitation of Baseline, MEL and Research Planning Workshop.
3. Agreed formats for National and International Baseline Report.
4. Final Consolidated Baseline Report.

Mid-term Review:
1. Agreed framework, questions and tools/tasks for reflection and analysis to be conducted prior to the Mid-Term Review Workshop.
2. Design and co-facilitation of the Mid-Term Review Workshop.
3. Brief Mid-Term Review Report capturing main lessons learned and recommendations for action.

End-line
1. Agreed research framework, methods, tools and processes for end-line data collection and analysis.
2. Design and co-facilitation of End-Line Planning Workshop.
3. Agreed formats for National and International End-Line Report.
4. Final Consolidated End-Line Report.

End of Project Evaluation
1. Agreed framework, questions and tools for a ‘light touch’ external evaluation.
2. Design and co-facilitation of project Evaluation and Completion Workshop.
3. Final End of Project Evaluation Report.

Research
1. Formulation of key research questions related to national policies on education and tax for the Baseline and Endline Research (in line with indicators in the project Results Framework).
2. Analysis of key legal and policy provisions vs the extent to which children’s right to education is being met at school and community level (in line with indicators in the Promoting Rights in Schools framework).
3. Quality National Citizen Education Reports completed in the project countries.
4. Consolidated brief International Citizen Education Report focussed on inclusive education.
5. Brief on financing of inclusive education in Africa drawing on evidence and insights from the 4 countries.
4. Time-Frame
Ideally, the work on this component of the project should start as soon as possible in 2018, to enable the consultant/s to support tasks in the lead up to as well as the actual planning for and delivery of the Baseline, MEL and Research Planning Workshop, scheduled for the week of 22nd October in Maputo, Mozambique. Work will then continue throughout the life-time of the project until end of December 2021. The time-table below is indicative but aims to give an idea of the way key tasks are spread over the project implementation period.

Activity/Description Time-frame
Review the existing Results Framework and analyse any implications for the design of the baseline study.
September 2018
Contribute to the design and development to the baseline study research framework, methods and tools drawing on examples and lessons learned from the previous project. September 2018
Support the design of the MEL, Baseline & Research Planning Workshop, helping to ensure clear links are established between the baseline data gathered at local level and the various pieces of research planned at national and international level, which in turn will feed into the project’s advocacy work.
October 2018
Lead on the co-facilitation of the MEL, Baseline and Research Planning workshop.
October 2018
Provide quality assurance/review the design of baseline research protocol and analysis.
November 2018
Provide quality assurance during the primary data collection and analysis process.
November/December 2018
Input into the design of reporting template for the school level as well as national level reports with AA staff and partners.
October 2018
Draft the consolidated baseline report summarising key findings from all 4 countries.
January 2019
Mid Term Review:
Support the development of key reflective questions and tasks to be carried out in advance of the multi-country Mid-Term Review workshop.
September 2019
Support the design of the Mid-Term Review workshop, helping to ensure that sessions promote learning and sharing as well as a collective analysis of progress and challenges related to project implementation and management and clear steps can be taken in order to ensure the project achieves its objectives. October 2019
Support the co-facilitation of the Mid-Term Review Workshop.
November/December 2019
Draft a brief workshop report capturing key lessons learned and recommendations for action.
November/December 2019
End-line Study:
Contribute to the design and development to the end-line study research framework, methods and tools drawing on examples from the baseline study. April 2021
Support the design of the end-line Planning Workshop.
May 2021
Lead on the co-facilitation of the end-line Planning Workshop.
June 2021
Provide quality assurance/review the design of end-line research protocol and analysis. July 2021
Provide quality assurance during the primary data collection and analysis process. July 2021
Draft the consolidated end-line report summarising key findings from all 4 countries.
September – December 2021
‘Light Touch’ End of Project Evaluation:
Develop the framework, questions and tools for a ‘light touch’ external evaluation. August 2021
Gather data to inform the evaluation through a range of methods including Desk Reviews, Key Informant Interviews and participatory analysis and discussion. September – November 2021
Support design and co-facilitation of project Evaluation and Completion Workshop. December 2021
Draft the End of Project evaluation report.
December 2021
Research
Lead on the policy analysis component of the Baseline study, supporting the formulation of key research questions related to national policies on education and tax (in line with indicators in the project Results Framework).
September – October 2018
Contribute to the analysis of key legal and policy provisions vs the extent to which children’s right to education is being met at school and community level (in line with indicators in the Promoting Rights in Schools framework).
September – November 2018
Provide quality assurance and support for the completion of national Citizen Education Reports. November – December 2018
Draft a consolidated, brief International Citizen Education Report focussed on inclusive education. January 2019
Draft a brief on financing of inclusive education in Africa drawing on evidence and insights from the 4 countries.
April 2019
5. Specifications
ActionAid is looking for a qualified and experienced consultant, or team of consultants with a background in education and experience of social research, monitoring and evaluation who will be able to provide essential technical input throughout key stages of this project.

Essential:
1. Advanced Degree in the field of Education, Social Research, Monitoring & Evaluation or another relevant Social Science subject.
2. Proven experience of research in the field of international education, including experience of research into issues related to girls’ education, inclusive education, education financing and tax policy.
3. Experience of conducting relevant research in one or more of the project countries.
4. Ability to apply a range of primary and secondary research methods including participatory methods.
5. Experience of using qualitative and quantitative data analysis packages (e.g. SPSS and Nvivo).
6. Experience of collecting data with children and/or on issues related to children’s rights (especially education).
7. Understanding of issues related to education financing and tax policy.
8. Experience of working with international NGOs.
9. Understanding of the role of Monitoring & Evaluation in the programme cycle and experience of conducting baseline/endline studies.
10. Proven experience of establishing Monitoring & Evaluation systems and tools and supporting learning as part of the wider Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning process.
11. Proven track record of relevant research.
12. Understanding of issues related to research ethics and child protection.
13. Excellent communication skills with the ability to tailor communications to a range of audiences.
14. Fluency in written and spoken English.




Desirable:
1. Experience of working with ActionAid and understanding of/familiarity with the organisation’s Promoting Rights in Schools framework or other Rights based frameworks for quality education e.g. UNICEF’s Child Friendly Schools or Save the Children’s Quality Learning Environment.
2. Fluency in another relevant language (e.g. Portuguese, Hausa, Yoruba, Chichewa, Kiswahili etc.)
6. Selection Process
Candidate selection will be based on the following criteria:
1. The ability to respond to and meet the essential and desirable specifications outlined in this terms of reference
2. Demonstrated capacity to undertake the type of services sought
3. Relevant academic and professional qualifications and experience
4. Proposed budget and schedule
7. Applications
We invite interested candidates to submit the following application documents:
• A copy of the CV or CVs of the consultant or consultants who will be assigned to conduct the work
• A technical proposal (max 8 sides of A4) detailing
a) how the consultant/s meet the selection criteria
b) their understanding of the ToR
c) financial proposal
d) availability
• A sample of relevant reports or publications
• Contact details of 2 independent referees

Please send your applications to:
Asmara Figue, International Project Coordinator at: asmara.figue@actionaid.org

The deadline for applications is:
Friday 31st August 2018, we are aiming to finalize selection by 14th September 2018 to enable consultant/s to start work as soon as possible and take part in the baseline design workshop scheduled for the week of 22nd October 2018.

For further information or questions about these ToR please contact: asmara.figue@actionaid.org

Organisation ActionAid International

Country UK