Afghanistan: Consultant for External Review

Organization: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Country: Afghanistan
Closing date: 05 Apr 2017


1.1. Context

Afghanistan is one of the world’s fastest-urbanizing countries. Although the country’s population remains predominantly rural, the pace of urban growth ensures that the proportion of citizens living in cities will triple in 35 years.[1] Every year, Afghan cities grow by over 320,000 people, placing enormous pressure on local governments and security providers to provide services and achieve safe, peaceful, and inclusive cities.

Cities concentrate the risks associated with insecurity and disorder: chronic poverty, steep inequality, state weakness, and the reduced solidarity and collective efficacy associated with city life.[2] Afghanistan’s cities are sites of humanitarian aid delivery, absorb vast displaced populations, and confront urgent demands for basic services and infrastructure. Young people (representing almost two-thirds of the Afghan urban population), women and girls, IDPs and returnees are particularly marginalized and vulnerable, excluded from public space as well as public decision-making, and are disproportionately affected by urban insecurity and exclusion.

For the time being, subnational authorities are not in a position to address all of these challenges due to lack of capacities and staffing. Governance entities like the neighbourhood-level Community Development Councils (CDCs) and Municipal Advisory Boards (MABs) are considered to offer the best prospects for effective local governance, at least until Municipal Councils (MC) are elected, as foreseen in the constitution. Current institutional weaknesses notwithstanding, Afghanistan’s cities present unique and untapped opportunities for peace and state-building. Unlike other Sub-National Governance (SNG) entities, municipalities are entitled to raise revenue enabling a concrete accountability relationship between state and citizens. With additional capacity, and in concert with communities and security providers, municipalities can foster a safe urban environment and reduce social exclusion.

1.2. Programme background The Afghanistan Urban Peace Building Programme (AUPP) is a three-year programme jointly financed by the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands and implemented by UN-Habitat. The AUPP is predicated on the vital linkage between state-society relations, local government capacity, and basic service provision in strengthening safety and security. It provides direct assistance to the development of state capacity at the sub-national level, focusing on municipal administrations in eight of the country’s most strategic cities (Kabul, Jalalabad, Mazar, Kunduz, Herat, Farah, Bamyan and Nili). By concentrating on the urban terrain of peacebuilding and state building, the programme strengthens the production of public goods, especially security; improves.

local government responsiveness and accountability; and strengthens partnerships with communities, civil society, and security providers. The programme complements the international community’s efforts to support a highly centralized state building approach, with a bottom-up strategy that builds the state out from community and subnational levels.

The expected impact of the AUPP is: “Women and men, girls and boys, in cities have increased trust in the local government’s capacity to uphold rights, achieve safe, secure and inclusive cities, contributing to improved government legitimacy”.

To achieve the overall impact, the programme includes the following three outcomes:

  • Municipalities in collaboration with line departments better plan and implement demand-driven and inclusive services in the area of safety and security.

  • Communities particularly excluded and under-represented groups, increasingly and with a spirit of solidarity engage in civic affairs and municipal governance.

  • National government establishes framework for accountable, transparent and participatory municipal governance in particular in the area of safety and security.

1.3. Switzerland’s strategic orientation

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the Development Agency of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and responsible for the overall coordination of Switzerland’s international development activities and cooperation in Afghanistan. The overall goal of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Afghanistan 2015-2018 is to sustain and enhance accountable institutions on the subnational level, thus contributing to good governance, the respect of human rights and the rule of law and the promotion of inclusive and sustained socioeconomic development. To achieve this goal, Swiss interventions are aligned on two interconnected domains, governance and human rights (D1) and sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development (D2).

2. Scope and Objectives of the Review

SDC is commissioning this review in order to assess the relevance, efficiency and sustainability of the first phase of AUPP and receive recommendations for the development of next intervention, aligned with SDC’s strategic priorities for Afghanistan. The review also should assess the perspectives, potentials and constraints ahead of municipal governance and should come up with strategic recommendations on mainstreaming governance in municipal context. Furthermore, the review also should focus on if and how SDC as a small donor can provide an added value to strengthen and promote local governance followed by aspects of decentralization in Afghanistan.

In particular, the review should focus on the following aspects/questions:

2.1. Programme evaluation

  • The effectiveness of the project from a results-based perspective
  • The overall direct and indirect results (outputs and outcomes) of the project produced through the utilization of SDC and other donors’ financial and technical contribution during the phase.
  • What are the major external and internal factors that have influenced the achievement or non-achievement of the expected results?
  • To what extend the programme deliverables are relevant to the needs of Municipalities, MAB, Gozar Assembly, CDCs, Police-e-Mardumi (Community Policing)? What is the government approach/support towards these institutions?
  • To what extent has gender mainstreaming and the inclusion of the excluded layers of communities especially women, youth and children been addressed and realized?
  • To what extend does the programme contribute to the promotion of good governances in municipalities?
  • To what degree has the programme improved communication and trust between people and municipalities? Has this led to stronger perceptions of safety and stability among people, especially marginalized groups?
  • What are the key constraints ahead of municipal governance and what are possible strategic solutions?

  • How is the programme aligned with Afghanistan’s development plans and policies?

  • To what extend does the program contribute to promoting peacebuilding by strengthening the delivery of safety services? Have the safety infrastructure services added under the programme been responsive to the needs of communities?

  • To what extent has the project built sustainable foundations on safety partnerships between communities, civil society and governmental institutions?

  • To what extent has the program achieved sustainable local commitment to maintain current programs and continue the established partnership cooperation, with or without future external funding?

  • How effective is the coordination between national partners i.e. IDLG, Deputy Ministry of Municipalities, Police Mardumi and Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing?

  • What is the level of coordination and cooperation between AUPP and other national level donors funded sub-national governance programmes? Are there synergies or overlap between AUPP activities and other programmes like LOTFA, LoGo, Strong Hub for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR), Municipal Governance Support Programme (MGSP) and Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP)? Are there any areas of support that AUPP should withdraw from and leave it to others?

  • Does the programme represent value for money, including the appropriateness of expenditures? Are there expenditures attributed to the programme that are not evidently consistent with its purpose and outputs?

2.2. Recommendation for next phase:

  • What are the good practices and the lessons learnt from AUPP that could be replicated and upscaled in a next phase?
  • In terms of geographical coverage, should the next phase of AUPP continue working with the current provincial and institutional coverages?
  • How could the programme further include marginalized groups, such as women, youth, IDPs, and returnees? How could it address root causes of migration and displacement?
  • How can the programme be managed most effectively?

3. Methodologies

The external review will be carried out in the following stages:

  • Desk review: A comprehensive review of available documents, reports and evidence that may include but are not limited to: project document, project progress and financial reports, log-frame, minutes of the project Steering Committee meetings, mission reports, internal SDC entry proposal and credit proposal, agreements/contracts and any other available, relevant and important documents such as SDC cooperation strategy (2015-2018).
  • Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholder/interlocutors including, but not limited to: government main counterparts, donors, project implementer, beneficiaries (mayor, MAB, GA, CDC, CSO) at municipal level.
  • Field visits to up to two provinces in different regions (a small municipality like Nili and bigger municipality like Mazar) of Afghanistan.
  • Analysis of the collected data, materials; elaboration of the draft report, finalization of the report and taking into account SDC’s comments and feedbacks.

4. Timeframe

The review is to be conducted in May/June 2017. A maximum of 23 working days including travelling to and within the country is allocated to this review.

The following table is a projection, upon valid justification of the reviewer, changes are adaptable.

Number of work days

Preparation (work plan, methodologies, timeframe etc.) = 3 days

Desk review, meetings in Kabul, preparing for travel to the field = 6 days

Two field visits ( Nili and Mazar) = 6 days

Briefing and Debriefing in Kabul = 1 day

Preparing/Writing the Review Report = 5 day

Finalization of the Report after SDC and partners comments =2 days

Total max = 23 days

5. Deliverables

The review team is expected to produce the following specific outputs:

  1. A brief inception report detailing how the review will be conducted; including key research questions and methodology aligned with the objective and scope of the study, as well as a work plan and a list of potential meetings/interviewees both in Kabul and in the field.

  2. A draft report, providing comprehensive and well-structured information and answering the review questions outlined above. It should be submitted no later than 14 working days after the debriefing and will be subject to SDC and other partners (The Embassy of the Netherlands and UN-Habitat) comments and suggestions.

  3. A final report, taking into account comments and feedback on the draft report. The final report should not exceed 30 pages, summarizing key findings and recommendations, and comprised of at least the following parts:

  4. Executive Summary (maximum 3 pages);

  5. Overview of the mandate;

  6. Key issues, findings and recommendations for the next program phase

  7. Conclusions

  8. SDC will be the primary recipient of the review. The draft review report will be consulted with co-donors (The Embassy of the Netherlands) as well as UN-Habitat. The final report will be shared with the aforementioned partners as well as with governmental counterparts of the project, i.e. the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), Ministry of Interior-Police Mardumi Unit and the Ministry of Urban Development. Upon request, SDC can share the review with third parties, which is subject to request and clearing the purpose of use.

6. Required Expertise/skills

This announcement is open to consultants or a team of consultants (max. 3, international and national, female and male).

The consultant/team should have solid expertise in subnational governance. In particular, the consultant/team should have the following expertise and skills:

  • Advanced degree in a relevant field

  • At least five years of experience in reporting, monitoring and reviewing of projects in the governance sector especially at subnational and municipality levels.

  • Expertise in decentralisation and public administration reform, with a track record of implementing or monitoring capacity building programmes in Afghanistan or post-conflict countries similar to Afghanistan.

  • Expertise in financial management, including undertaking value for money assignments.

  • In-depth knowledge of the Afghan governance policy framework and institutional landscape.

  • Technical expertise in effective development project management (subnational governance – PCM)

  • Good knowledge and experience on building communities participation via small grant projects with an approach to build the foundations for cooperation, participation and ownership and address drivers of conflicts.

  • Good interpersonal skills and time management

  • Written and spoken fluency in English

7. Logistic and Security

The team must be able to arrange logistics (transport, accommodation, visa) on its own account. SDC may facilitate access to relevant information, organizations and stakeholders upon request.

The team is responsible for its own safety and the safety of its staff (including relevant insurances). SDC is not liable for any kind of damage to staff or property and cannot be held accountable for any claims or costs related to injury, death, and loss of or damage to property. SDC will facilitate access to security related information and provide the team with a security briefing up-on request.

How to apply:

Interested consultants are requested to send

a) Up-to-date CVs of their proposed team member(s)

b) A detailed budget including all costs related to the assignment

c) A brief concept note (max. 3 pages) outlining the approach and methodology, as well as a draft work plan/ timetable for the assignment

to SDC Kabul Only complete submissions will be taken into consideration and phone calls will not be entertained.

Submissions must be received on or before 5th of April 2017.

Address: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

House 55, Street 13, Lane 3 right Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul – Afghanistan

+93 (0) 790 080 800