Afghanistan: International Consultant_Conducting the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of UNICEF/Government of Afghanistan Country Programme of Cooperation

Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Country: Afghanistan
Closing date: 06 Nov 2016


The Government of Afghanistan – UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation (2015-2019) was developed in close consultation with all relevant line ministries of the government and other partners, including non-governmental organisations and civil society following a detailed equity-focused situation analysis of children and women under the overall guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The overall goal of the 2015-2019 country programme is to address inequity so that all children, adolescents and women have access to services necessary to fulfil their rights to survival, development, protection and participation. Contributing to the overall goal, there are six convergent outcomes related to Health, Nutrition, Child Protection, Education, Water Sanitation and Hygiene and Social Inclusion. Humanitarian outcome for each of the CCC related areas are implemented in the acute emergency affected areas, areas affected by conflict as well in areas with large IDP populations.

In 2017, UNICEF will hold a Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the Government of Afghanistan and UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation 2015-2019, with the aim of critically reviewing the current Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP). The MTR is a significant milestone to collectively address programme wide issues related to country programme results (outcomes and outputs), strategies, and implementation, and to assess the extent to which progress has been made towards reaching CP results for children and women, thereby contributing towards Afghanistan’s national priorities, UNDAF results and MDGs within a rapidly changing environment. All programmes areas covered under the current CPAP will be reviewed, including the extent to which they are effectively interlinked for the achievement of CPAP results and their relevance to the current context.

UNICEF Afghanistan has begun implementing the new programme since 1st January 2015; Rolling Workplans are developed for two years, the first of these having been developed for 2015-16 and in the first half of 2016, these were revised for the two years 2016-2017. The programme focuses on the 10 most-deprived provinces (4 in the CR, 4 in SR and 2 in WR) and within other provinces on the worst districts, where the programme components accelerate the access of children and women to basic social services and bring efforts to scale. The programme also supports nation-wide access to high priority interventions such as basic education and gender equality, nutrition and immunization. In addition, in the Northern region, the programme aims to reduce vulnerability through a new focus on social protection and increased prioritization of children’s issues in local planning.

Changing context:

Since the CPD was approved in the UNICEF Executive Board in June, 2014 and the CPAP was signed between the UNICEF Representative and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November, 2014, several notable changes have occurred which affect the implementation of the CPAP, notably the rapidly deteriorating security in the country, shifts in governance architecture in the country, political tension at the level of government leadership, increased risks associated with programme implementation resulting from reduced access to certain regions (because of insecurity), corruption and low implementation capacity, as well as developments in the aid environment to the country.

The unity government has been struggling on many fronts including in effective policymaking and policy implementation. Militant activity has increased under a new Taliban leader, with the political stability continuing to be adversely affected by an ongoing campaign of insurgency. At the beginning of October 2016, there are at least six localities across Afghanistan in which there is active fighting. The security situation has deteriorated further with increasing influx of Afghans from across the border from Pakistan, further stretching the social services in many provinces due to the large burden of IDPs created by internal conflict. While some fiscal reforms have been initiated, the government continues to struggle to expand revenue and the economic prospects continue to remain poor with the fragile security situation limiting investor interest. While the President has introduced a number of structures for curbing the high levels of corruption (Afghanistan ranks ), no concrete actions have been recorded to show the actual operationalization of these measures. There are concerns about the absorption capacity for efficiently and effectively spending the funds that have been pledged at the recent international conference on Afghanistan organized in Brussels.

During this first two years of programme implementation, UNICEF has initiated the implementation of the Harmonized Approach to Quality Assurance (HACT) for monitoring the effectiveness of funds spent. New initiatives such as Third Party Monitoring (TPM) have been introduced to monitor programme implementation and verify/validate activities by partners in regions to which UNICEF does not have physical access because of prevailing security conditions. UNICEF has also added additional work-force through outsourced contractors to achieve the country programme objectives through what is referred to as extenders who can work in areas where UNICEF does not have access. This is made along the lines of what is being followed in countries with similar security situations and limited access such as Yemen and Syria.

The period that elapsed has also witnessed a more keen interest on behalf of partners and the international community to look at the effectiveness of their aid and to increase levels of accountability by both government and international organizations – including the UN agencies – which they are funding for development work and for humanitarian purposes.

The MTR’s Objectives are:

· To assess changes in Afghanistan since the design of the CPAP, as well as to anticipate further likely changes over the next 2 years and beyond, and the implications for UNICEF.

· To review progress towards the expected results of the CPAP and to determine the appropriateness of the scale of ambition, the level of complexity, and the strategies employed for the achievement of those results in light of the changing country context.

· To propose any such changes as might be found to be necessary in the CPAP results architecture (including Outcomes and Outputs), strategy and programme structure with a particular focus on equity.

· To review the Theory of Change and support development of relevant “Strategic Notes” for each programme component

· To assess the contribution of the CPAP to UNDAF, SDGs as well as Humanitarian Action.

The questions that the MTR should answer include:

Questions on programme results and strategy:

· What major changes have occurred in the programming environment since the design of the CPD/CPAP and what further changes are expected over the coming two years and beyond that may be likely to impact on the CPAP and RWPs? What are the implications for UNICEF?

· What progress has the CPAP made towards achieving the planned results? What conclusions may be drawn, or lessons learned from the first two years of programme implementation?

· Do the programme strategy and selection of planned results represent the most strategic and effective use of UNICEF resources in the current and likely future context of Afghanistan? Is the CP strategy appropriately focused maximizing the achievement of results with equity? What adjustments should be made, if any?

· Have arrangement for the monitoring and evaluation of the CP been appropriate and sufficient? If not, what changes should be made?

· To the extent that the bulk of the CP is implemented through government and non-governmental partners; is the overall partnership strategy clear and are arrangements for the financial and programmatic management of such partnerships adequate and effective?

· What are the views of the international partners and the development actors about UNICEF’s programmes and their effectiveness and efficiency? What could be done to improve performance?

· Does UNICEF have and effectively implement optimal strategies for the delivery of programmes in the insecure areas of the country, including through the application of structured approaches security risk management. What adjustments or innovations may need to be made?

Questions on programme structure:

· Has the current CP structure proved effective and efficient in supporting the delivery of achievement of planned CPD/CPAP results? What adjustments, if any, would need to be made in light of proposed changes of strategy resulting from the review, including in line with the simplified results structure?

· Has the structure and staffing of the country office, including zonal offices and outposts, proved effective and efficient in supporting the delivery of achievement of planned CPAP results? What adjustments, if any, would need to be made in light of proposed changes of strategy resulting from the review, the cost of the present structure and staffing levels, the partnership strategy, the deteriorating security situation and the cost of security measures?

A senior Consultant will be engaged to lead the implementation of the MTR, under the day-to-day supervision of the Deputy Representative and in close consultation with the Representative. The Consultant will be a senior and experienced individual with substantial knowledge of UNICEF programme policies and strategies. Additional individuals may be engaged to undertake specific aspects of the review.

The MTR will use a combination of desk reviews and rapid assessments, as well as programme assessments and programme criticality reviews from a risk management perspective. Individual meetings and focus group discussions with key partners and donors will be organized.

The process of the MTR

· Consultation meetings with key Government partners at national, zone office and provincial levels, UN agencies, NGOs and community representatives. Discussions should include updated situation analysis, programme progress review, results achieved, appropriateness of UNICEF structure and staffing, challenges and opportunities, lessons learnt and adjustments required.

· Individual meetings and consultations with key development partners and donors.

· Detailed and focused reviews of the Key Outcome areas, inter-sectoral coordination and C4D strategies in Afghanistan.

· Partner and other stakeholder analysis at both sectoral and geographic levels.

· Presentation of initial findings by theme/sector/geographical area.

· An MTR Meeting to present findings and conclusions identified by the consultative process.

· Preparation of the MTR report, according to UNICEF’s guidelines.

· Inputs for the CPMP Review of UNICEF CO.

· Preparation of a five-page executive summary of the MTR for submission to the regional office.

Deliverables of the MTR :

· An inception report which will include MTR plan finalised after discussion with the UNICEF ACO management team, the tools assessment report and the time line for the MTR process.

· A review document of the UNICEF/GoA CPAP that outlines progress achieved so far in implementation, results achieved and gaps from January 2015 to December 2016 and beyond.

· An in-depth review document on ACO Programme outcomes, the focus provinces strategy and C4D.

· Draft MTR report, written according to UNICEF’s guidelines, with recommendations to strengthen programming for the remaining duration of the Country Programe and beyond.

· MTR meeting held with all key stakeholders of the UNICEF/GOIRA 2015-2019 CPAP and findings and conclusions identified and agreed upon by the sectors presented.

· Final MTR report.

· Five-page executive summary of the MTR report based on UNICEF’s guidelines.

Suggested outline for the MTR report (50-60 pages):

Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Country programme and Strategies

Chapter 2: MTR methodology

Chapter 3: Situation update of women and children

Chapter 4: Emerging Issues

Chapter 5: Cross-cutting strategies and Inter-sectoral coordination (including C4D, Adolescents etc)

Chapter 6: Programme Outcomes

a) Health

b) Nutrition


d) Polio

e) Education

f) Child Protection

g) Social Inclusion

h) Humanitarian Action

Chapter 7: Challenges by zone offices and provinces

Chapter 8: Draft Strategy Notes (Theory of Change) by Outcomes

Chapter 9: Lessons learned and good practices

Chapter 10: Implications for Office Structure, Assurance and Monitoring activities

Chapter 11: Summary recommendations

3. Project location: Kabul and off-site (outside Afghanistan) with travel to zone offices and provinces including UNICEF outposts

4. Duration: 90 days over a period from mid-November 2016 to August 2017

5. Supervisor: Deputy Representative, in close consultation with the Representative

6. Travel required: Field visits as per required. International travel to country office ( two or three times)

7. Support provided by UNICEF: Required documents, support in organizing meetings within UNICEF and with counterparts, and support to field visit.

8. Description of assignment: (provide detail and in quantitative terms)


End Product/deliverables

Time frame

  1. The team leader will have overall responsibility for the work and operation of the consultant team, including the coordination of inputs from different team members. The Team Leader is responsible and overall accountable for the production of MTR report.

Submission of a comprehensive workplan with the timelines following the discussions with UNICEF senior management.

End of 1st week from the date the contract starts.

  1. Desk Review of programme documentation provided by the country office – all sections and zone offices.

A review document of the UNICEF/GOIRA implementation results and gaps from Jan. 2015 to Dec. 2019.

End of 2nd week

  1. Conduct an overall Programme review against CPD/CPAP results to assess programme progress review, results achieved, challenges and opportunities, lessons learnt, adjustments required.

Programme review completed and detailed review report available.

End of 3rd week

  1. Lead consultant will supervise focused reviews of UNICEF’s child survival and education strategies in Afghanistan.

Focus review of child survival and education strategies completed.

End of 4th week

  1. Conduct fieldwork if necessary, and interview stakeholders, national and local Government officials, and communities to generate information and opinions.

Interview with key informants completed.

End of 6th week

  1. Consultation meetings with Government, Donors, UN agencies, other partners, and rights holders.

Consultative meetings with key stakeholders completed.

End of 7th week

  1. Presentation of initial findings by theme/sector.

Thematic/Sector-wise presentations done.

End of 8th week

  1. Final preparations to conduct MTR meeting.

Technical preparations for MTR meeting completed.

End of 9th week

  1. MTR Meeting to present findings and conclusions identified by the sectors.

MTR meeting conducted.

  1. Preparation of the MTR report, according to UNICEF’s guidelines.

Submission of first draft of MTR report.

End of 10th week

  1. Preparation of the five-pager executive summary of the MTR for submission to ROSA.

Executive summary submitted.

End of11th week

  1. Finalize MTR report

Submission of final version of MTR report.

End of the Consultancy

9. Qualification or specialized knowledge/experience required for the assignment:

  1. Advanced University Degree in Social Sciences, M&E or related field.

  2. Work Experience: A senior and experienced individual at least 10 years of experience in development programmes with substantial, current knowledge of UNICEF programme policies and strategies.

  3. Competencies: Sound knowledge and application of human rights and results-based programming, as well as social policy development, including qualitative and quantitative approaches;

  4. Knowledge of CRC, CEDAW and CRPD as well as context of children and women in Afghanistan , in particular, and the South Asia in general;

  5. Demonstrated excellent writing skills in English. Strong coordination, communication, analytical skills;

  6. Solid negotiating, teamwork and advocacy skills/abilities;

  7. Demonstrated ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships, both within and outside the organization.

How to apply:

Candidates should apply through the UNICEF website. Please click on below link to directly access the vacancy and apply online.…

Read more here:: ReliefWeb