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  • Posted: Jun 24, 2022
    Deadline: Jun 29, 2022
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  • Since 1979, we have helped people grappling with the toughest hardships survive - and then thrive. That’s the heart of our approach: We help communities turn crisis into opportunity. Throughout our history, Mercy Corps has demonstrated innovation, timeliness and the ability to adapt quickly to changing realities.
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    Consultant - Learning Assessment on Comitas Programmes

    Background

    • Through funding from the European Union (EU), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Search for Common Ground (Search), and Mercy Corps has designed a comprehensive and integrated approach (COMITAS) that builds on the comparative strengths of each organization to contribute to the mitigation of conflicts over natural resources between farmer and herder communities.
    • The COMITAS program is developed around 4 interconnected objectives: strengthen traditional conflict resolution; improve trust in authorities; enhance collaboration on natural resource management and; improve intra and inter communal perceptions.
    • Mercy Corps is leading the implementation of specific objective 3, which focuses on enhancing collaboration on natural resource management. Mercy Corps works to ensure that farmer and herder communities in Adamawa state have the capacity to jointly manage community natural resources in 5 LGAs, across 10 wards.

    Evaluation Purpose and Primary Users of the Evaluation Findings

    • COMITAS program ends on 10 June 2022 but there is potential No Cost Extension (NCE) until December 2022., Hence, Mercy Corps seeks to commission a learning evaluation focusing on assessing the merit and worth of the results achieved by the program to date; with ‘results’ being defined as intended or unintended outcomes influenced by the programme activities through the EU investment.

    Evaluation Purpose
    The learning evaluation is planned to take place from 1st July to 15th August 2022 to achieve the following main purposes:

    • Assess the results of the COMITAS program achieved to date to establish enabling and hindering factors anchoring programs achievement to date. The learning evaluation is designed to 'harvest' outcomes and assess achievement to date to profile how far they would verify progress towards the program’s strategic objectives.
    • Assess the potential of the COMITAS program to contribute further to natural resource management objectives in conflict affected and vulnerable communities in Adamawa State (across MC and other partners, state government, donors, and project participants), and provide strategic recommendations for an ideal design and implementation modalities.
    • Contribute to Mercy Corps organizational learning with regards performance measurement and tracking for natural resource management programming in Northeast Nigeria. Specifically:
      • Provide insights and justifications on performance to date and recommendations for final programme evaluation.
      • Profile programs key success and insights identifying potential research areas to be explored in consideration of future natural resource management interventions in Nigeria.
    • The findings of the learning evaluation will tie into the final evaluation expected to start soon, by providing context specific learnings and a deep understanding of program implementation modalities and processes and their effects for the COMITAS Program.
    • The report will validate and provide context specific lessons ahead of the final evaluation and strengthen further the methodology and evaluation questions for the final evaluation.
    • Given the overall performance and achievements of the program to date, we hope that the learning evaluation will explore deeper contextual factors and principles that can be applied, or further refined, to inform collective action at the nexus of humanitarian, peace, and development programming that strengthens resilience in crisis contexts like Adamawa State.
    • To enable this, there will be a review of program and assessment reports and documents to further understand applied approaches during program implementation.

    Evaluation Findings Primary Users
    The primary intended users and uses of the evaluation’s findings are as summarized below:

    • EU as the main funder of the COMITAS Program - We hope that the learning evaluation findings will be used to decide if and how to further support natural resource interventions in Nigeria
    • Mercy Corps Nigeria and the Consortium Partners (IOM and SFCG) - We hope that the findings will be relevant to guide review of the programme achievements and sustainability plans, refine key programme documents including programme log frames and performance indicators and tools, and possibly the development of the next funding strategy and help develop relationships with funders.
    • The broader international organization - for international organizations implementing such programs in Nigeria, we hope that the findings will be useful to assess their role in designing and implementing similar programs.
    • In addition, we hope that the evaluation findings will not only be critical to meet the above highlighted purpose, but also serve as a learning experience, where the process of generating answers to the proposed evaluation questions will provide MC and the consortium members with new understanding on the programme achievements and inform an effective end of programme evaluation for COMITAS.

    Proposed Evaluation Methodology and Evaluation Questions

    • While the proposed methodology is not exhaustive, the learning evaluation proposes an outcome harvesting qualitative methodology adapting outcome mapping principles of evaluations for this specific assignment. This methodology provides a non-restrictive opportunity to harvest outcomes, collate successes and provide contextual insights. In consultation with MC, the evaluation team will be keen to add and/or refine the proposed methodology for this assessment to effectively respond to the proposed learning questions.
    • At minimum, the evaluation team will review programme documents, conduct key in-depth interviews with the programme implementation team, and facilitate relevant Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with program participants to understand programme achievements and outcomes to date that can further be explored to generate the required insight and learning and their potential use for natural resource management programming activities and strategies. Participants for these interviews will be from the thematic areas of the COMITAS Programs with breakdown below.

    S/No

    Type of Interview

    No of Respondents

    Method of Interview

    1

    KII with Mercy Corps staff

    Minimum 3

    KII

    2

    Members of the Natural Resource Management Committees

    Minimum 10 per group

    FGDs [male, female, farmer, herder]

    3

    Traditional leaders from the intervention areas

    Minimum 10

    KII

    4

    Quick Impact Projects {QIPs} Technical Committee

    Minimum 3

    KII

    5

    Local authorities [Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Survey, Environment, Water Resources, Livestock {grazing route officials}]

    Minimum of 10

    KII

    6

    Community Response Networks [CRN]

    Minimum 5

    FGDs


    Proposed Evaluation Questions
    The evaluation team is expected to refine and expand on the following proposed questions:

    • What do the programme achievements and outcomes achieved under COMITAS imply for how similar programs should be designed and implemented in the future?
    • To what extent and how do these programme achievements and outcomes by COMITAS represent a (potential) contribution to improved natural resource management for the farmer herder conflict in Adamawa State?
    • How well did the program adapt its implementation to meet the resource needs and expectations of the key conflict actors, specifically farmers and herders, local authorities, including women, youth and PWDs?
    • To what extent are farmer and herder women contributing to natural resource management within the communities.
    • How effective are conflict management approaches, specifically the IBN, in the management of community based natural resource:
      • The evaluation team will be required at the initial stages of this assignment, to finalize a robust evaluation design that will guide implementation of the evaluation to specify how the methodology would be applied, how the qualitative data would be analyzed and interpreted, and the data presented and disseminated.
      • The evaluation team should further specify the kind of support required from Mercy corps.

    Required Sources of Information

    • For each evaluation question, the evaluators are expected to define the information required, sources of information, procedure for collecting data and ensuring its validity and credibility, and the method of analysis, interpretation, and synthesis. This will be an iterative process between the evaluation team and the programme teams at the inception stage.
    • This process will also anchor the review of the original evaluation questions in the SoW when designing the criteria and standards for the data that would be required to answer them, to refine and finalize on the learning evaluation questions. In addition, the recommended sources of information, Mercy Corps COMITAS implementation team will avail all the relevant program documents.

    Expected Evaluation Deliverables

    • The learning evaluation is expected to contribute to detailed insights and lesson critical to informing the final programme evaluation for COMITAS program.
    • These insights will also be leveraged to review and update the program logframe, operational (workplan) and sustainability plans. In collaboration with Mercy Corps, the external consultant is expected to carry out the following tasks.

    In this regard, the evaluation team will work closely with the COMITAS program teams to:

    • Produce a comprehensive learning assessment report with detailed insights relevant to inform programme future design and implementation approach. The reports should include detailed recommendations on potential opportunities for improvement, including competitive edge value propositions MC and its implementing partners.
    • Profile detailed recommendation to be used in the review of the programs work plans and log frames and inculcate these findings to update the programme documents.
    • Finalize a formatted and copy read final version of the learning assessment report after incorporating feedback from Mercy Corps technical team. This copy read final version will go through two rounds of revision.
    • Lessons learnt document with a maximum of 15 page
    • Two-page infographic on key learnings and findings from the assessment

    Implementation Strategy and Evaluation Work Plan

    • Mercy Corps will manage the learning evaluation process in coordination with the evaluation team (external consultant) to provide technical support in the refinement of the evaluation methodology and in the case of data collection tools, inputs, and all supporting documents to guide design and finalization of the evaluation methodology and data collection instruments. Mercy Corps has a pool of enumerators ready to be engaged should need arise, hence consultants should not budget for enumerators. Below is an overview of the activities, their duration, and the stakeholders responsible during the learning evaluation process.
    • The duration/level of effort included is tentative to be finalized once the evaluation team have been identified.

    Duration

    Activity

    1 Day

    Entry and Inception - Review the learning evaluation SOW with the External Evaluators to clarify timeframe, assignment objectives and available budget.

    Agree on assessment tools, time schedules, and delivery period for data collection activities.

    2 Days

    Develop and share inception report with detailed evaluation design for feedback and inputs from the COMITAS team and Strategic Learning Manager

    2 Days

    Provide feedback to inception report and assessment tools for External Evaluator to incorporate

    3 days

    Provide final versions of Inception Report and assessment tools

    Translate assessment tools as needed

    Consultant/firm submits complete draft of the DATA ANALYSIS PLAN (DAP) to Mercy Corps’ POC (a complete draft includes dummy tables, placeholders for charts/graphs/images, description of how data triangulation/synthesis will be conducted, how qualitative data will be analysed, etc)

    Strategic Learning Manager distributes DAP complete draft to Mercy Corps reviewers and consolidates feedback returning this to consultant/firm

    Consultant/firm submits FINAL DAP to Mercy Corps’ SLM having addressed consolidated all feedback

    10 Days

    Initiate and conduct comprehensive data collection with programme teams and programme participants

    3 Days

    Encode and analyse data collected

    2 Days

    Prepare and share draft assessment report

    2 Days

    Provide detailed feedback to draft report

    1 Day

    Hold a virtual feedback/validation workshop with key Mercy Corps key staff to present the reviewed findings and collate final feedback

    4 Days

    Finalize the report, produce a presentation of findings, and update key program docs and share back with MC (not more than 15 pages – all other additions can be included as annexes).

    Data sets, code books, syntax, etc are delivered to Mercy Corps’ Strategic Learning Manager

    Proposed Assessment Report Structure & Content
    In line with Mercy Corps Branding guidelines and templates, the following is proposed for the evaluation deliverable documents.

    • Cover Page
    • List of Acronyms
    • Table of Contents
    • Executive Summary: This section should be a clear and concise stand-alone document that gives readers the essential contents of the assessment report, including a summary of major constraints, opportunities, and recommendations.
    • Methodology: This section should be sufficiently detailed to clarify the assessment methodology as aligned to the accuracy of the report and its findings. This section should address constraints and limitations of the methodology, and the implications of these limitations for the findings, including whether and why any of the assessment findings are inconclusive.
    • Results: This section should provide clear assessment findings. Reference should be made to any assessment/evaluation information as well as existing literature etc.
    • Synthesis, Recommendations and Lessons Learned: This is space for the evaluation team to think about the data and results and make concrete recommendations for current or future programme design and improvements, and generally comment on data and results. Everything presented in this section should be directly linked back to the information presented in the Results section of the report
    • Conflicts of Interest: Disclose any conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest, including the interest of programme staff in having a successful programme.
    • Annexes: These should include a complete file of data collection instruments in English and translations to Hausa (if applicable); list of stakeholder groups with number and type of interactions; SOW, qualitative protocols developed and used, any data sets (these can be provided in electronic format), any required photos, participant profiles or other special documentation needed.
    • The evaluator (consulting firm) is expected to deliver a comprehensive, professional quality final assessment report. The assessment report should be soft copy (PDF and Word - submitted electronically) along with the analysis plan and the data set. The page limit for the full report must not exceed 20 pages (exclusive of annexes and attachments).

    Key Deliverables
    The following are the key deliverables aligned to the deadlines and payment terms:

    Deliverables

    Timeline

    Payment Terms

    Engagement and signing of contract

    1st July, 2022

    Initial Invoice

    Progress Draft report with preliminary findings and analysis.

    05th August, 2022

    Second invoice

    Final Assessment report with key findings and recommendations and updated program documents

    15th August, 2022

    Final invoice


    Mercy Corps Support
    To ensure adequate support towards accomplishment of the above-mentioned tasks, Mercy Corps will:

    • Share all relevant background documents needed for a desk review and to understand the details of the assessment.
    • Provide input to all tool designs and any support necessary during the assessment.
    • Provide feedback to the draft report.
    • Mercy Corps Strategic Learning Manager (SLM) and the COMITAS Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team will be available to work directly with the consultants throughout the consultancy and to answer any question as they emerge.
    • Cater for all in-country travels and accommodation logistics. Cost of all in-country travel and logistics including enumerators (if any) costs should not be included in the financial proposal. Travel is subject to Mercy Corps security clearance.

    The Consultant / Consulting Firm Will

    • Ensure timely delivery of the assigned tasks
    • Oversee data-collection with all involved stakeholders and program teams in all the assessment locations.
    • Train enumerators for field data collection activities.
    • Share all data collected as part of the deliverables

    Timeframe / Schedule:

    • It is expected that consultants will be available to start on 1st of July 2022, with an initial meeting with the MCN team. The consultants will then work until 15th August 2022 where the final learning assessment report (adjusted according to Mercy Corps’ feedback) is to be shared. Note Mercy Corps will only pay based on the three milestones above.

    The Consultants will report to:

    • Mercy Corps Strategic Learning Manager (SLM)

    The Consultant / Consulting firm will work closely with:

    • COMITAS Program Manager, COMITAS team, PaQ Manager, Country MEL Manager among others relevant focal points available during the assignment.

    Required Experience & Skills for the Consultant / Consulting Firm
    The following are the qualifications and experiences the firm should possess:

    • Strong qualitative background and experience conducting similar assessments and research exercises in support of major development program – preferably in conflict management, natural resource management and resilience – in challenging operational environments.
    • Contextual experience in Adamawa State or any other Northeast state is desirable. Cultural sensitivity is required.
    • A strong approach to quality assurance of data collected.
    • A strong ethical approach to data collection – while still being able to meet the objectives of the consultancy.
    • Knowledge of strategic and operational management of humanitarian and development operations and proven ability to provide strategic recommendations to key stakeholders.
    • Strong analytical skills and ability to synthesize and present findings, draw practical conclusions, make recommendations and to prepare well-written reports on time.
    • Demonstrated experience in both quantitative and qualitative data collection and data analysis techniques, especially in conflict environments .
    • Strong skills in survey form design for mobile data collection (ODK, Ona or Commcare).
    • Experience, knowledge, and clear understanding of Nigeria’s northeast context.
    • Good interpersonal skills and understanding cultural sensitivities.
    • Readiness to travel to and conduct direct standard assessment activities as well as field visits to assessment locations.
    • Fluency in English is required

    Assessment and Award of the Assignment

    • Mercy Corps will evaluate Technical and detailed financial proposals to establish fit and award the assignment based on technical and financial feasibility.
    • Mercy Corps reserves the right to accept or reject one or all proposals received without assigning any reason and is not bound to accept the lowest or the highest bidder. Only those shortlisted will be contacted.
    • Subcontracting to other entities is not allowed and will not be accepted under this assignment.

    Documents Comprising the Proposal
    In addition to requirements specified in the MER - MSA applications process, interested evaluators (consulting firms) should submit the following documentation for the proposal:

    • Concept Note - We will need this to be as detailed as possible, especially the methodology and the proposed evaluation design.
    • Technical and financial proposal for this assignment.
    • Proposed work plan and detailed budget including the role or roles of the consultants
    • CVs of proposed staff/team members noting identified roles and team lead.
    • 1-2 example reports from similar work, with a preference for work done in Adamawa state, or Northeast Nigeria contexts.
    • Corporate Capacity statement (not to exceed 2 pages) detailing where they have worked, years of experience in the evaluation industry, office locations if any, and types of evaluation previously carried out.

    Selection Criteria

    Scoring Evaluation

    Trade-Off Method

    Mercy Corps Tender Committee will conduct a technical evaluation which will grade technical criteria on a weighted basis (each criterion is given a percentage, all together equalling 100%). The offeror’s proposals should consist of all required technical submittals so a Mercy Corps committee can thoroughly evaluate the technical criteria listed herein and assign points based on the strength of a technical submission.

    Award criteria shall be based on the proposal’s overall “value for money” (quality, cost, delivery time, etc.) while taking into consideration donor and internal requirements and regulations. Each criterion has been assigned a weighting before the release of this tender based on its importance to Mercy Corps in this process.

    Offeror(s) with the best score will be accepted as the winning offeror(s), assuming the price is deemed fair and reasonable.

    When performing the Scoring Evaluation, the Mercy Corps tender committee will assign points for each criterion based on the following scale:

    Point

    Rationale

    0

    Not acceptable; has not met any part of the specified criteria

    1-4

    Has met only some minimum requirements and July not be acceptable

    5

    Acceptable

    6-9

    Acceptable; has met all requirements and exceeds some

    10

    Acceptable; has exceeded all requirements

    Evaluation Criteria

    Weight

    (%)

    Possible Points

    (1 to 10)

    Weighted Score

    (A)

    (B)

    (A*B)

    Product/Service/Work Technical Specifications: A detailed concept note with a clear methodology for addressing evaluation questions and a budget. A strong ethical approach to data collection. Strong skills in survey form design for mobile data collection. Analytical skills and the ability to synthesize and present findings, draw practical conclusions, and make recommendations. Demonstrable data visualization skills.

    30%

    10

    3

    Price/Cost: Quoted price is reasonable and justifiable value for money.

    20%

    10

    2

    Resources: The lead consultant must hold a minimum of an advanced degree, preferably in economics. Both lead and co-lead must have a minimum experience of 4 years in leading evaluations for humanitarian/early recovery/resilience programmes. Lead and co-lead must be willing to travel to northeast Nigeria and conduct direct standard assessment activities as well as field visits to program sites. Fluency in English.

    20%

    10

    2

    Corporate Capabilities: Experience with Nigeria’s humanitarian context. Experience carrying out evaluations in Nigeria. Experience with evaluating EU-funded projects. Having a presence in Nigeria is desirable.

    The Firm should have a minimum experience of 5 years in the evaluation industry.

    20%

    10

    2

    Delivery Time: All deliverables must be met within the stipulated timelines and not later than 15th July 2022

    10%

    10

    1

    Total Possible Score

    100%

     

    10

     

    Method of Application

    Interested and qualified candidates should submit their Proposal to: ng-consultancy@mercycorps.org using the Job Title as the subject of the email.

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