Evaluation Terms of Reference (TOR) “Elections and Political Processes in South Africa”

Freedom House Southern Africa
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Friday, 26 February, 2016

February 2, 2016

Summary

Freedom House is seeking qualified applicants to conduct a final evaluation commencing in June 2016 for its project, “Elections and Political Processes in South Africa”. Note that this TOR will remain a draft until finalized with the selected evaluator.

Freedom House Overview
For over 70 years, Freedom House has been dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world through its unique combination of analysis, advocacy, and action. The organization’s mission is founded upon the principle that freedom is possible only in democratic political systems where governments are accountable to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, and belief, as well as respect for the rights of minorities and women are guaranteed.  Freedom House maintains a field office of 6 local and international staff in Johannesburg, South Africa, and its projects are supported by the Africa regional program team in the DC headquarters office. Freedom House has assessed political and social developments in the Southern Africa region for over 30 years through its annual publication, Freedom in the World, and has been actively promoting the causes of good governance and human rights in the region since 2006.
 
Freedom House currently manages one program that supports several subgrants in multiple countries across Southern Africa to support the efforts of youth leaders, civil society activists, and rule of law institutions, among others. As a part of this larger program, the Elections and Political Process (EPP) project was originally designed to assist South African youths to engage in dialogue with elected officials around political party promises made at the national and provincial levels prior to the May 7, 2014 general election. Due to delays in receiving project funding the program was modified to focus on the 2016 provincial elections. The project duration is from March 2014 to May 2016.
 
Project Background
The Elections and Political Processes (EPP) project in South Africa is a component of the Justice as A Right in Southern Africa (JARSA) program that focuses exclusively on elections, political processes and civic engagement and is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to enhance citizen participation – and particularly of people in the 18 to 29 age bracket – in South Africa’s democracy during and after elections. Our approach is to work with both citizens and elected leaders, with a view to creating innovative social media platforms that bridge the gap between the electorate and the elected during election time but crucially between elections. These platforms are to be fully interactive, easily accessible, affordable to all and scalable. This approach aligns with that of the South African government and the parliament, both of which have made commitments to enhance the interaction between citizens and the state.
 
The ultimate goal of this project is to close the gap between citizens and those elected to represent them. Freedom House’s approach capitalizes on the social media explosion in South Africa to use new technologies and increasing connectivity to conduct focused, quick-response research and to develop solutions to the democracy gaps outlined above. Following is the JARSA program objective and a number of illustrative activities, a full list of outputs and outcomes is available on request:
 
Objective 3 (under the JARSA program): Active civic participation in domestic and regional judicial processes, including, but not limited to, promoting human rights and the rule of law, lobbying for judicial reform, conducting judicial oversight, and making appropriate use of civil and legal remedies.
 
Activities include: baseline and post-election research, app development, partner organization training and advocacy campaigns.
 
Primary beneficiaries include South African citizens, political parties, and civil society. Freedom House has led the creation of a platform, Speak Up Mzansi (speakupmzansi.org.za), which has a website, mobisite, mobile and social media apps, and SMS component that allow citizens to review party platforms, engage in dialogue with other citizens, and most importantly engage with government and political party representatives. In addition, Freedom House is working across the four provinces of Western Cape, North West, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal through its active South African partners, Khanya College and Democracy Development Programme (DDP), to promote youth participation in political processes. As a part of project implementation, Freedom House has trained and provided ongoing support to these civil society organizations on citizen engagement using the Speak Up Mzansi platform. Freedom House partners are facilitating citizen engagement with political leaders and assisting citizens to hold elected officials accountable.

Evaluation Overview
The primary users of the evaluation report will be Freedom House’s Johannesburg and Washington DC-based staff who seek to assess the outcomes and performance of programming, as well as identify lessons learned that can inform future program plans for South Africa or similar citizen participation and political party engagement programs. The report will also be shared with the donor agency, USAID, and with local partner organizations. As possible, the final report or an executive summary will be made available to members of the public via Freedom House’s website and USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC).    
 
Freedom House is primarily concerned with assessing the effectiveness of the project’s approach and the sustainability of the achieved outcomes, as Freedom House is interested in continuing this work in South Africa and the southern Africa region. In addition, Freedom House is interested in understanding the efficiency of the implementation process, and in particular the cost-effectiveness of the project overall. Below are some proposed lines of inquiry for these three stated evaluation objectives:
 
Effectiveness

  • Were the intended outcomes achieved?
  • What, if any, unintended positive and/or negative changes occurred?
  • Were the project’s assumptions accurate and valid?
  • What factors, either internal or external, contributed to the successes and/or failures of the project?
  • Did the project contribute to an increase in dialogue between political parties and youth?
  • Which project approaches were the most effective? Which were the least effective?

Sustainability

  • Was the implementation process responsive to changes in the context?
  • Was the strategy reflective of the needs of the key stakeholders?
  • Was sustainability of results adequately prioritized during project implementation?
  • If changes and/or results do appear to be sustainable, what elements of project design and/or implementation were most conducive to sustainability? If changes and/or results do not appear to be sustainable, why not?

Efficiency/Cost-Effectiveness

  • Were costs projected accurately and tracked regularly?
  • Were costs justifiable and reasonable as they relate to supporting the activities and subsequent results of those activities?
  • Were the subgrantees capable of solid financial management and reporting? Did subgrantees implement activities in a cost-effective manner?

The methods proposed by the evaluator will be reviewed by Freedom House’s evaluation manager and M&E Specialist, and will ideally include a desk review of pertinent project documents and records (including the original project proposal, quarterly reports, activity reports, and website and app statistics). The in-country data collection should involve both quantitative and qualitative methods, and may include activities such as interviews with staff from Freedom House and partner organizations in Johannesburg, focus group discussions with different beneficiary groups, and key informant interviews with involved youth and political parties. All project activities will have concluded by the time the evaluation occurs, so no direct observation will be possible. The evaluator may survey participants and partners electronically or in person as part of the evaluation.

Evaluation Implementation
The evaluation should commence in June 2016 with the final deliverables due and contract concluding by 30 September 2016 (Please note the proposed dates may change due to unavoidable circumstances, in which case a revised timeframe will be established with the mutual agreement of both parties.)
 
A total of approximately 30 working days will be available for:

  • Evaluation preparation (including finalizing the TOR and the evaluation plan, performing the initial desk review of project materials, creating and testing data collection instruments, and submitting an evaluation work plan)
  • In country data collection (including interviews, focus groups, and other qualitative processes)
  • Data review and collection (if during the evaluation it is determined that there are significant gaps in data collected additional time would be spent helping Freedom House staff in South Africa collect and prepare necessary information for the evaluation)
  • Data analysis and synthesis (including transcription, data aggregation, writing a draft report, presenting findings to Freedom House staff in Johannesburg and Washington, DC staff by Skype, incorporating feedback from Freedom House DC- and Johannesburg-based staff and partners into a final report)

Freedom House’s DC- and Johannesburg-based staff will provide technical support, including facilitating meetups with partners as needed throughout the evaluation process. The evaluation manager and M&E Specialist will provide guidance during the evaluation preparation and reporting phases, and project staff will be available to compile project documents, provide administrative support, and schedule meetings in the field (if desired).
 
The final deliverables for this evaluation will include:

  • A brief inception report and evaluation plan,  including proposed methodology, preliminary evidence from desk review, possible data limitations and work plan (due to Freedom House’s evaluation manager for approval within the first two weeks of the consultancy)
  • Two verbal presentations of the evaluation methodology and findings, one with field staff in Johannesburg and another with relevant DC staff by Skype prior to submitting the draft report
  • A draft report detailing key findings, supporting evidence, and pragmatic recommendations (due to Freedom House’s evaluation manager and Johannesburg Project Director for feedback within three weeks of completion of data collection)
  • A final report incorporating all relevant feedback from Freedom House and its partners (due no later than September 30, 2016)

Note that the draft and final reports should be presented in English and be no longer than 20-25 pages (excluding any relevant annexes), and contain a concise Executive Summary of core findings and recommendations. Recommendations should be specific and action-oriented, and tailored to all relevant stakeholders. Freedom House will provide a desired evaluation report template to the evaluators and the final outline will be agreed upon between the evaluation team and Freedom House prior to the start of field work.

Application Guidelines
Interested applicants must provide all materials outlined below to the program officer with the contact information provided at the end of this document by 17:00 GMT 26 February 2016. Candidates selected for an interview will be notified by 15 March 2016, and a final decision will be made by 30 March 2016.
 
This consultancy is open to local, regional, and international applicants. Individuals, teams, as well as consultancy firms having the requisite experience are eligible to apply. The selected consultant(s) should have demonstrated expertise in results-based project evaluation and familiarity with governance and human rights programming. Previous regional experience in Southern Africa will most likely be considered essential. Additional information about desired qualifications is listed below:

  • Bachelor’s degree in law, social sciences, international relations, conflict resolution, human rights, or related field; Master’s degree strongly preferred
  • Experience of implementing, overseeing, or evaluating projects in the rule of law, human rights and governance fields
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in designing, overseeing, and implementing project M&E or a combination of education, training, and experience
  • Experience with qualitative and quantitative M&E data collection and analysis methods
  • Experience conducting evaluations for US federal funding agencies
  • Excellent inter-cultural communication skills/cultural sensitivity and the ability to forge strong cross-cultural relationships and build trust demonstrated through previous intercultural experience
  • Strong facilitation, presentation, and communication skills
  • Strong ability to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing
  • Team player with the ability to closely collaborate with DC-based and Johannesburg-based Freedom House staff, local partners, and stakeholders

Interested applicants should provide a current CV, and a 3-5 page statement of interest/abridged proposal. These materials should clearly outline the candidate’s key skills and experience that are relevant to this evaluation. Please also include a concise description of the desired evaluation approach and an identification of possible data limitations and ways to mitigate them (recognizing that the applicant is operating with only the limited information provided herein). Describe any proposed revisions to the TOR along with a brief justification.
 
Please also provide your daily rate and a short cost justification – including your salary history and/or daily rate for your last 3 consultancies – and the names and contact information for three recent references. Note that Freedom House may request examples of previous work after reviewing the application materials.

Budget Guidelines
Freedom House will sponsor the amount for the daily rate of the consultant at an agreed upon level of effort, including transportation and M&IE, and necessary administrative and event (i.e. group meeting) costs as supported by the submitted budget. The daily rate will be negotiated with the consultant upon selection and before signing of the contract. Please note that payment in full for consulting fees will not be made until all project deliverables have been received and verified as meeting Freedom House expectations; however, should travel be required by the consultant stipends will be provided for at the time of travel during the course of the consultancy. Cost-saving will be a consideration in the review process. Proposed budgets should not exceed $50,000.         

Contact Information
Please refer any questions and submit all application materials to the evaluation manager listed below before 17:00 EST, 26 February 2016. Only candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted.
 
Point of contact:
Kate Hixon
Program Officer, Africa
Freedom House
hixon@freedomhouse.org
202-747-7050
 
Determined in conjunction with FH and USAID

A main objective of the project.

Approaches include the Speak Up Mzansi platform, use of Facebook, radio spots, Q&A with government officials, community meetings and partner outreach. 

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