Terms of Reference: Development of A SADC Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) Framework for Orphans, Other Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Youth

Save the Children International
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Thursday, 2 June, 2016
Opportunity type: 

Terms of Reference 
Development of A SADC Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) Framework for Orphans,
Other Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Youth  

Save the Children International, ESARO, Regional and Multi-Country Programme Unit is currently implementing a PAN African project titled “Children’s access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Information in sub-Saharan Africa”. The project aims to improve children’s knowledge, attitudes, practices and behaviour through sharing comprehensive information on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights - as a strategy to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS, reduce stigma and discrimination whilst building the resilience of children.
Through this project Save the Children has been collaborating with SADC by providing technical and financial support towards implementation of the SADC programme on Orphans, other Vulnerable Children and Youth (OVC&Y).
The SADC region has a young population, with an estimated 76.4% of its population under 35 years of age in 2010 (SADC, 2011). Children aged 0–14 years constitute 42%, and youth aged 15–34 constitute 35% of an estimated population of 274 million. This constitutes a “demographic window of opportunity” for “a demographic dividend’.  The region is home to about 19 million orphans, and millions other vulnerable children and youth whose exact numbers are not known due to weak management of data on OVC&Y and inconsistent definitions of vulnerability within and across countries.  However, the main causes of orphaning and vulnerability of children and youth are known to be poverty including food and nutrition insecurity, unemployment and underemployment, and weak social welfare and social protection support systems; ill health mainly associated with HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) related challenges and non-communicable diseases; and conflict.
SADC Member States are signatory to many policy and programme commitments at international, continental and regional levels for addressing child and youth vulnerability, development and empowerment. The SADC Treaty in particular Article 5 (a) places emphasis on  “to promote sustainable and equitable growth and socio-economic development that will ensure poverty alleviation with the ultimate objective of its eradication, enhance the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration”.   Strategy and Business Plans exist to guide the implementation of regional priorities for vulnerable children and youth welfare, development and empowerment. OVC and youth development and empowerment have been formally considered priorities for regional integration and co-operation in the Revised SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020 that was approved through SADC structures in April 2015.
A major challenge to the implementation of the many commitments on children and youth is the absence of a robust monitoring, evaluation and reporting system at the SADC Secretariat and in Member States that is required to adequately report on progress being made and to inform targeted policies and interventions.  A study commissioned by SADC Secretariat during 2010 / 2011 indicate that M&E systems do exist in all SADC Member States in different forms and in different sectors. In some countries, information on OVC is collected regularly through National Demographic and Health Surveys, while in others this is done through specific/special surveys for vulnerable populations. In the past 8 years, there have been several sectoral efforts in the region and at the Secretariat to develop indicators on OVC particularly on education and skills training, employment and labour, food and nutrition security, child protection, health and HIV and AIDS, gender, among others. The Secretariat developed a working draft regional M&E Framework in 2012 which motivated the mobilisation of resources for a Project to “Strengthening Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Systems of OVC&Y in SADC”. This Framework does not adequately address the empowerment needs of the youth.
At present, the information tracked, collected and reported on OVC is often not enough and not disaggregated enough to inform targeted policies and programmes. Data are often not: timely, consistent, accurate and reliable, and standardised within and across Member States and thus often incomparable. Data and information on vulnerable youth in particular is barely available particularly to monitor and report on the newly defined regional priorities for youth development and empowerment. It has been established that systems for monitoring, evaluation and reporting is very weak. While much effort has been on collecting data on orphans, it has not been easy to collect and report on other vulnerabilities, and development and empowerment needs of children and youth particularly across the different sectors that deliver services to this population group. A major challenge is that many children and youth move in and out of vulnerability, and the levels of vulnerability can also change from low to extreme. Failure to track this fluidity and the specific causal relationships and gender basis of vulnerabilities, and the sustainability of existing care and support systems for individual boys, girls and the youth results in many children and youth falling through the cracks of support and empowerment systems even in cases where they exist. As a result, they get trapped in cycles of poverty and vulnerability, and consequently are not prepared enough for the region to eventually benefit from a “demographic dividend”.
With the OVC and youth development and empowerment programmes of SADC now fully underway and recognised in the revised RISDP;  with the region geared for an ambitious regional development and industrialisation agenda; an effective MER system with an agreed upon regional framework for MER of OVC and youth development and empowerment is imperative to enable the Secretariat and Member States to articulate the extent to which the region’s young population (76% below the age of 35 years) is being equipped and prepared for a demographic dividend.
The overall objective of the assignment is to compile a comprehensive framework for monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) of child and youth vulnerability, and development and empowerment, taking into consideration the multi-sectoral dimensions for addressing child and youth development and empowerment in the context of the revised SADC RISDP, the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Specifically, the assignment seeks to:

  • compile relevant, available indicators on child and youth vulnerability, development and empowerment
  • facilitate consensus among Member States and stakeholders on regional core indicators for vulnerable children and youth development and empowerment
  • develop  an Indicator Dictionary that defines indicators and how they will be measured –
  • outline processes for data collection, analysis, storage and retrieval, reporting, dissemination and utilisation
  • recommend systems and mechanisms required for effective operationalisation of the MER Framework, and  
  • recommend priority areas for capacity building on MER of OVC and youth.

Outputs and scope of work


  • A consolidated  framework of core multi-sectoral regional indicators for MER of vulnerable children and youth development and empowerment developed and agreed upon by SADC Member States and stakeholders


  • The regional framework for MER of OVC and youth should:
    • address issues of vulnerable children and vulnerable youth (to be clearly defined), and of youth development and empowerment more broadly guided by the SADC Declaration on Youth Development and Empowerment, the revised RISDP 2015-2020, the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, and Strategies for OVC&Y and for Youth Development and Empowerment,
    • and be aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and targets
  • Relevant words and phrases that have a bearing on scoping MER for example, vulnerability, vulnerable child, vulnerable youth, youth development, youth empowerment, comprehensive services, etc, should be clearly defined
  • Priority should be given to indicators that have already been developed, tested and are being collected. 
  • New indicators should be developed for priority areas identified in child and youth policies and programmes or other critical sectoral policies and programmes of SADC’s regional integration and development agenda for which they are no indicators 
  • Clarity on the results chain indicating the flow of effort and related results from regional to national level. Core process indicators to be included on aspects such as regional efforts by Secretariat, and domestication of regional commitments, and 
  • The framework should serve as a reference document for other sectors on their service contributions to the development and empowerment of vulnerable children and youth

Methodology, deliverables and timeframe

  • The work is expected to be executed through desk study, with minimal travel to the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone.  Interviews and communication with Member States and other stakeholders is expected telephonically and using ICT to obtain requisite documents and information.
  • The draft framework document will be reviewed by experts from Member States and regional stakeholders responsible for M&E of OVC and youth. 
  • The consultants should consider and draw on existing M&E Frameworks at regional and national levels including those of other relevant sectors.

No travel is expected to SADC Member States during the period of this consultancy and interviews with key informants from regional organizations and other stakeholders will be conducted telephonically and through the internet. The consultant is however expected to travel to the Secretariat for consultations and feedback on work progress.

The work is expected to commence on 9th of June and to 23rd of July 2016, with four phases each with deliverables as summarised below:


Main Activities


One: Inception

Literature review, data collection plan and logistical arrangements

  • Inception Document with detailed literature review and data collection plan

Two: Data collection

Conduct desk review and key informant interviews

  • Compendium of sector indicators and draft structure of MER Framework

Three: Data Analysis and Preparation of a Draft Report

Facilitate consultation meetings of the experts reference group

Draft MER Framework

Four: Finalise Framework document ahead of the validation and consensus building

Revise and finalise draft MER Framework and submit to the Secretariat in preparation for review, validation and consensus building

  • Revised draft  MER Framework document


Present revised Framework document to Member States and Stakeholders for review and validation

  • Revised and validated  MER Framework document


Management arrangements and conduct of work

  • Consultants will report to the SADC Director for Social, Human Development and Special Programmes through the Technical Advisor for Orphans, Vulnerable Children and Youth. The consultants will work closely with the M&E experts at the SADC Secretariat.
  • A Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) chaired by the Monitoring and Evaluation Expert in the directorate for Social Human Development and Special Programmes of SADC will be set up to oversee progress and for quality assurance. The RTWG will meet with consultants to review and approve quality of work at intervals as it will deem necessary.
  • The consultancy will be expected to work from own offices using own facilities. 

Desired background and experience of Consultants

  • The scope and comprehensiveness of this study requires a consortium of qualified and experienced consultants with the following relevant qualifications, skills and experiences among them:
  • The scope of this study requires qualified and experienced consultants with the following relevant qualifications, skills and experiences among them:
    • Statistics or demography;
    • Strategic planning and analytical skills; 
    • Research, monitoring and evaluation;
    • Demonstrate excellent research and practical experience particularly in the area of orphans, vulnerable children and youth and social welfare systems;
    • Sound understanding of development challenges and priorities in SADC;
    • Appreciation of “Systems Thinking” / holistic programming for OVC & Youth, and
    • Competencies in French and Portuguese will be an added advantage.

Submission of Proposals  

The proposal should include the following documents:

  • A detailed technical proposal with clear methodology
  • A proposed work plan with key deliverables
  • A proposed structure of report
  • A financial proposal demonstrating cost-effectiveness
  • Competencies and experience of the researcher or research team (detailed CVs)
  • Proof of previous experience in similar contexts (MER)

Interested organizations/individuals are invited to submit the proposals and accompanying documents to scijobs@savethechildren.org no later than the 2nd June 2016

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