occupied Palestinian territory: National Consultancy – End of Project Evaluation (Education, Palestine)

Organization: UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Country: occupied Palestinian territory
Closing date: 25 Jun 2017

Ref: RAM/2017/ADM/SE/367

Assignment finalization period: six weeks between 8 July to 25 August 2017

Terms of Reference for National Consultant

UNESCO Ramallah office seeks to engage an experienced Consultancy organization or individual National Consultant to conduct an evaluation for the project “Support program for Palestinian University students Under Conditions of Severe Poverty”. The consultant will have experience in conducting external, independent evaluations with emphasis on both analyzing and designing education programmes.

I. Background

UNESCO has been active in Palestine since 1997, working closely with the PA in three key priority areas:

1) delivering emergency assistance to affected institutions and sectors,

2) rehabilitation and strengthening of policy-making and institutions in education, science, culture and media and

3) developing and strengthening capacities of professional groups and Palestinian civil society to engage in the knowledge society.

This project addresses the three priorities and adhere to the ‘Guiding Principles of UNESCO’s Action’ by focusing on ‘action strictly within UNESCO’s domain and expertise’ and ‘concentrated on achievable and sustainable goals’ and through the ‘matching of short term needs with long term goals’.

The project also reflects the mandate and comparative advantage of UNESCO as the UN specialized agency for Education. UNESCO works to set standards through norms and guidelines for key education areas, generates and disseminates ideas, builds capacity within Member States and serves as a catalyst for international cooperation. UNESCO is the lead coordinator of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal number 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) which monitors progress towards its achievement.

In addition, its role is in supporting Member States to develop education systems to foster high quality and inclusive lifelong learning opportunities for all and building capacities to develop evidence-based higher education policies to address the challenges of equity, quality, inclusion, expansion and mobility and accountability.

Since 2013, UNESCO Ramallah Office is implementing a project entitled “Support program for Palestinian University Students under Conditions of Severe Poverty” Funded by the Saudi Committee for the Relief of Palestinian people with a total budget of USD 2, 853, 127. The project has two main expected results:

  1. Provide textbooks for vulnerable Palestinian students through the establishment of 12 libraries in West Bank and Gaza and

  2. Develop an advocacy tool kit for the right of Higher Education in Palestine.

The project started in 2013 and will end in December 2017 (initially 3 years with a 1 year extension), therefore, an external evaluation is sought to highlight the results of the project, including successes, challenges and threats to the project and any future opportunities. Most importantly, the evaluation should show the impact on vulnerable students and the role the libraries played in their study lives.

The evaluation will be used as consideration for a new phase of the project and a possible tool for fundraising in order to sustain the work of the libraries after the expiration of the project.

II. Purpose and scope of the consultancy

The evaluation will adopt a retrospective (summative) and forward-looking perspective with action-oriented recommendations formulated on the basis of substantive findings to inform possible future phases of the project. The consultant will first conduct a thorough evaluation covering the entire duration of the project, from 2013 to 2017 and should include findings, lessons learned and recommendations related to the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of the project. The sustainability and pertinence of the project’s participatory approach should also be an area of focus for the evaluation and recommendations should include, if relevant, other measures needed to better ensure ownership and sustainability. Recommendations must discuss the merit, need and possibility of a Second Phase of the project.

Specific objectives

The specific aims of the evaluation are as follows:

I. Measure achievements against the expected results.

II. Highlight the successes including human interest stories and challenges met during the implementation and its impact on the beneficiary youth in Palestine.

III. Identify the Lessons learned/recommendations to be used in the preparation of a possible next project cycle.

Evaluation Questions:

The evaluation will be organized around several key dimensions of project performance, namely the standard evaluation criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. The evaluation questions below are indicative only and are intended to guide prospective bidders in developing their technical proposals. The evaluation questions will be further refined in the inception phase and validated in consultation with UNESCO.

  1. What was the overall impact of the project on the target groups? Did the project achieve the planned objectives? If yes, what were the success factors that contributed to the achievement of the results? If not, what were the causes (external/internal)? Was there any deviation, and/or unexpected results (positive/negative), unexpected indirect beneficiaries? If so, how can it be explained?

  2. Are the overall approach and the initial assumptions on which the project was based during its planning phase still valid 4 years later? Were the implementation and the achievements of the project negatively/positively affected by the evolution of the economic, political and social context?

  3. Which are the main economic and social factors in the Palestinian context, especially in the implementation zone that could contribute to the success of the project? Which factors are hindering factors? Were the implementation and the achievements of the project negatively/positively affected by the evolution of the economic, political and social context?

  4. In respect to the answers of questions 1 and 2, what are the lessons learned for future similar projects and for the future projects for Palestinian students? What activities/methods/approaches should be kept, discarded, or amended? What are the recommendations for future project cycles?

III. Methodology

The common methodology to be applied by the consultant consists of four phases:

  1. Preparation and desk review of relevant frameworks/ policy/ programme/ and project documentation;

  2. Field visits to all 10 libraries (8 in the West Bank and 2 in The Gaza Strip and attend at least one event and trainings activity organized at each main center and outside in the field at the libraries(Originally 12 libraries as 2 in West Bank were closed)

  3. Organize workshops, focus groups and semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders (individuals or in groups) including the librarians, volunteers in the libraries, and beneficiaries.

  4. Prepare the final report, including recommendations for a possible second phase.

In order to support the successful implementation of the methodology, the Education team at UNESCO office and the project staff from the implementing partner will provide all needed documents/reports and facilitate the communication between the consultant and the different stakeholders.

Before the field phase, the consultant will undertake a thorough desk review of relevant project documents to be provided by UNESCO and the implementing partner. The consultant will elaborate in parallel a mapping of relevant stakeholders to be interviewed. This mapping will be discussed with the education team at UNESCO office to make sure that all key actors are being considered in the evaluation exercise.

The consultant will then organize face-to-face interviews with relevant stakeholders as identified in the stakeholder mapping. Interviews as well as data analysis will be done according to the approved methodology as discussed and agreed with UNESCO team at the inception meeting.

After the field phase, the consultant will elaborate a draft report and set of recommendations. UNESCO and the implementing partner will review the draft report and comments will be provided to the consultant. Two weeks after the reception of comments, the consultant will submit a final evaluation report that addresses the comments received for final validation by UNESCO.

IV. Evaluation Report

The evaluation report should be concise and clear and be outlined as follows:

  1. Executive Summary: a tightly drafted, to-the-point, free-standing document, including the key issues of the evaluation, main analytical points, conclusions, lessons learnt and recommendations.

  2. Programme description: purpose of the evaluation, evaluation scope and key questions. Short description of the project / programme to be evaluated and relevant frame conditions

  3. Evaluation purpose

  4. Evaluation Methodology

  5. Findings

  6. Conclusions

  7. Lessons learned

  8. Recommendations

  9. Annexes (including the list of stakeholders consulted during the evaluation, key documents reviewed, ToR, survey forms and aggregate findings, etc.)

Suggested number of pages: between 20 and 30 pages (excluding references, annexes and title pages)

All deliverables and consultations leading up to the draft report are to be professionally proofread by the consultant/organization and presented in English with the final cleared evaluation translated into Arabic as well.

V. Duration

The timeframe for conducting the evaluation and presenting the reports will be 6 weeks from the date of the signing of a contract (excluding the 1 week for UNESCO/partner comments). The evaluation should be finalized by 15 August 2017.

VI. Logistics

UNESCO office will make the necessary arrangements for the smooth conduct of the evaluation. The consultancy will be home based and the consultant will facilitate all his/her own travel to the various meetings (including to the implementing partner main office and all 10 libraries involved in the West bank and Gaza). UNESCO cannot support in the facilitation of relevant visa and permits so the selected individual or consultancy must certify that they have the necessary permit/s or teams to work in the stated locations.

VII. Qualification and experience of the National consultant

It is mandatory for the consultant(s) to have the following qualification and experience:

  1. An advanced university degree in Education, International Development or specialized fields of Social Sciences, Humanities, Public Policy, or related areas.

  2. The Lead Evaluator should have a minimum of 7 years’ experience and demonstrate

(a) an extensive knowledge of, and experience in applying qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods (b) a strong record in designing and conducting/leading evaluations;

(c) expertise in higher education.

  1. Excellent Oral and writing skills in English and Arabic proficiency.

  2. Excellent analytical, writing and presentation skills.

  3. The individual or consultancy must certify on their cover letter that they have the necessary permits to work in the stated locations.

How to apply:

By the deadline date of 25 June 2017, please submit ALL of the following via the following link:

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/ramallah/about-this-office/vacancies/

Including the subject: National Consultant: Final external evaluation of the UNESCO project “Support program for Palestinian University students Under Conditions of Severe Poverty”

· A proposal of not more than 2 pages for the evaluation (including methodology, timeframe, budget etc.)

· An updated CV/consultancy profile including details of similar projects in the field of Education (with at least 2 professional references and links to any prior relevant articles published online)

· A one-page cover letter outlining how your experience and skills equip you to fulfil this consultancy.

Missing, unclear or incomplete information or documentation and evidence of experience as requested above, may exclude you from consideration.

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