ToR: Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation and Research in Economic Strengthening, South Africa

ASPIRES South Africa
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Friday, 22 July, 2016

Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation and Research in Economic Strengthening, South Africa


This is the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation and Research in Economic Strengthening, South Africa (ASPIRES SA) project Midterm Review (MTR) which is to be undertaken between August and November 2016.  The ASPIRES SA project started in January 2015 and is now in its mid-point of implementation.  This ToR sets out the expectations for this MTR.
ASPIRES SA Project Background
The ASPIRES SA project is a three-year, USAID/PEPFAR-funded project, which works with five South African Implementing Partners (IPs) in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng Provinces. The five IPs are  HIV South Africa (HIVSA), Children in Distress (CINDI), Future Families (FF), the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) and Networking Aids Community of South Africa (NACOSA)  These IPs deliver HIV-programming either directly to communities they serve or through community-based organizations or non-profit organizations. The ASPIRES SA project main goal is to enhance the evidence base and strengthen the capacity of IPs in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal (KZN) provinces to carry out integrated HIV prevention and ES programmes.
The purpose of the ASPIRES project is to contribute towards improving the long-term economic security and HIV prevention knowledge and skills of at-risk youth (14 – 17; 18 – 24 year old) through the application of combinations of evidence-based, gender-sensitive economic strengthening (ES) and HIV prevention education interventions.
 The ES package on which ASPIRES is supporting/building capacity of the IPs constitutes three core elements as follows:

  • Financial Capability (FC): financial capability building through  the provision of financial education in combination with access and linking youth to suitable and appropriate  savings mechanisms;
  • Employability and Entrepreneurship (E&E): equipping youth with skills and connections to get a job or build a business; and
  • Supporting Access to Tertiary Education (SATE) - supporting youth (9 to 12 grades) to pursue tertiary education.

Integrated into these modules are caregiver engagement, gender norms and potentially supporting the linkage to Testing, Treatment and Care (TTC) services for the targeted youth beneficiaries. The above objectives are all geared to achieving the main goal and purpose of the project by improving coping strategies of targeted youth towards better livelihoods and improved health outcomes.
About the Mid Term Review of ASPIRES SA

This MTR derives from two key ASPIRES SA strategic documents.  These are the Technical Proposal which outlines the ASPIRES SA project model, technical approach, purpose, objectives and implementation and management approach.  It further outlines the project’s underlying assumptions and risks.
Perhaps the most important and critical of these documents is the Project Management Plan (PMP).  The PMP, which was developed at the inception of the project and have undergone various reviews and inputs from the project key stakeholders, captures the following:
The Expected Intermediate Result for SC’s portion of the project is:

  • Enhanced participation by target Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Youth (OVCY) in Gauteng and KZN Provinces in FC and at least one more ES domain.

The Expected Outcomes that will lead to these intermediate Results are:

  • Increased skills among OVCY in FC and at least one other ES domain.
  • The five IPs act as qualified TA providers in ES programming integrated with HIV prevention education to CBOs/NGOs participating in ASPIRES SA and others.

The Expected Immediate Results are:

  • Enhanced understanding of ES by OVC&Y in Gauteng and KZN.
  • Increased capacity IP/CBOs to conduct of quality ES training of OVCY, and
  • Enhanced competencies of IP Master Trainers to build ES training capacity in CBOs/NGOs.

The expected outputs and associated indicators are:

  • Package of ES training and support delivered to OVCY
    • ES sessions for OVCY held (broken down by domain)
    • youth trained (broken down by domain)
    • MOUs signed
    • of bank representatives attending FC sessions
    • of students placed with employment incubators
    • of volunteers consistently mentoring students
  • Package of ES training and support delivered to IPs/CBO facilitators/supervisors
    • ES trainings for facilitators/supervisors, by ES domain and IP/CBO
    • facilitators/supervisors trained, by ES domain and IP/CBO
    • refresher trainings conducted, by ES domain and IP/CBO
    • mentoring/monitoring visits to facilitators/ supervisors, by ES domain and IP/CBO
  • Package of ES training and support delivered to IPs/CBO Master Trainers
    • of IP MTs trained, by ES domain and IP/CBO
    • refresher trainings conducted, by ES domain and IP/CBO
    • mentoring/monitoring visits to facilitators/ supervisors, by ES domain and IP/CBO

Purpose and Objectives of MTR
The MTR serves two immediate purposes: First, to take stock of initial lessons from experience, and second, to use these insights to support decision-making needed to be taken to accelerate project implementation regarding key and critical emerging project implementation issues and challenges. It is meant to provide project management (ASPIRES SA/SCUS and FHI 360) with a basis for identifying appropriate actions to:

  • Address particular issues or problems in design, implementation and management of the project; and
  • Reinforce initiatives that demonstrate the potential for success.

The objectives of the ASPIRES SA MTR will be to:

  • Assess the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and overall outcomes and impact to date  against expected outcomes;
  • Assess project implementation schedules against remaining project activities and the need for modifications in the design of the project;
  • Provide supportive recommendations for going forward with project implementation; and
  • Identify risks to the benefits and sustainability of the project.

Scope of the MTR

Implementation Period Coverage of the MTR.

The total implementation timeframe of ASPIRES SA is three years. It has been planned to be implemented between January 2015 and December 2017. The project was formally launched in January 2015 and reached its implementation mid-point by end of June 2016. 

ES Package to be Reviewed

The focus of the MTR will be on the financial capability and employability elements of the ES package. Based on the phased implementation plan of the ES package, the FC is, at the time of finalizing this framework, the only element that youth beneficiaries, categorized as Cohort 1 and Cohort 2, have completed. The same Cohort 1 youth who have completed the FC training are currently undergoing training in the employability element.  The MTR will also assess being made towards the capacity building of IPs to conduct quality training and enhance competencies of master trainers for all the ES related training.

MTR Participants

 The project beneficiaries expected to participate in the MTR will consist of three distinct groups:

  • The management of the Implementing Partners at their respective headquarters: (HIVSA: Johannesburg; NACCW: Johannesburg and Cape Town/Durban; NACOSA: Cape Town; CINDI: Pietermaritzburg;
  • IP Facilitators/Supervisors at the various localities (NGO/CBO sites) in the two provinces where the FC and Employability Skills training of the youth has been conducted; and
  • Vulnerable (at-risk) youth 14 – 17 and 18 – 24 year olds (who have completed FC Cohorts 1 and 2 and Employability Skills Cohort 1).

Geographical Coverage
The review will be conducted in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces. In consultation with the IPs, it will be decided which sites will be chosen to interview the youth. The aim will be to cover at least 50% of sites that have benefitted from FC and Employability Skills training by the various facilitators.

MTR Methodology and Approach
The MTR must provide evidence based information that is credible, reliable and useful. The MTR consultant will follow a collaborative and participatory approach ensuring close engagement with the IPs and other relevant stakeholders.  To ensure and maximize the participation of the review informants, all the tools will be translated into local and appropriate languages.  The ASPIRES SA MRT Team will also work with the IPs to identify and train local based enumerators.  The key role of these enumerators will be to administer the MTR tools to the respondents.
From an ethical perspective, steps will be taken to protect the rights and confidentiality of persons interviewed.  Furthermore, stakeholders will be informed that their feedback and input will be confidential.

Assessment Questions
Appraising the operational aspects over the period 1 January 2015 – 30 June 2016, some of the questions that the Mid-Term Review is expected to include are:

Project Concept and Design

  • Did the way the project was structured, enable it to meet the objectives/outcomes?
  • What aspects of the design should be changed were the project to happen a second time e.g., (in terms of implementation and management arrangements)?


  • How useful are the activities and outputs to the needs of the direct and ultimate beneficiaries? Is there a significant gender differentiation in the usefulness of the outputs to direct and ultimate beneficiaries?
  • Do the outputs contribute to the achievement of the immediate objectives of the project?
  • What factors affect the implementation of the project?
  • Are mechanisms being put in place to ensure the sustainability of project results?

Implementation and management arrangements of the project

  • How appropriate are the execution and implementation modalities?
  • How well is the project managed?
  • How adequate is the support provided by SCUS and FHI 360?
  • How effective are support-cost arrangements with SCI ESARO (Pretoria office)?
  • Do stakeholders, particularly the direct beneficiaries, participate in the management of the project? If yes, what are the nature and extent of their participation, by gender?

Areas for corrective action

  • What problems in project implementation need to be resolved?

Areas of potential success

  • Are there early indications of potential success?

Project Results

  • How has the project contributed to the development of the capacity of the direct beneficiaries to carry out their tasks)?
  • Are their signs of likely impact of the project beyond the direct and ultimate beneficiaries?

The consultant(s) will be expected to provide additional appraisal questions.

Proposed Activities and Timeline:
The MTR consultancy will be for 60 days over a period of approximately twelve weeks starting 1st week of August and shall not exceed three months from when the consultant is hired.  The tentative MTR timeframe is as follows:

Key Activities Timeframe
Application closes  22 July 2016
Appointment and contracting of consultant End of July
Reviewing project documents and finalise planning field work logistics 1st week of August
Fieldwork and  data collection 2nd to last week of August
Qualitative and Quantitative Data Collation, Analysis and Report Writing 1st  to 2nd  week of September
Presentation of first draft of MTR Report End of September
Review of MTR Report 1st week of October
Final and approved MTR Report 2nd week of October
Presentation of results to SCUS, FHI 360, IPs Last week of October

MTR Deliverables

MRT deliverables will be as follows:

  • MTR Inception Report
  • Presentation of initial findings
  • Draft Final Report
  • Final Report

 MTR Management
The ASPIRES SA project team will be responsible for the management of this MTR. ASPIRES SA will contract the consultant(s) and ensure that all the logistics related to the MTR are provided and coordinated. ASPIRES SA will further be responsible for liaising with the consultant(s) to provide all relevant documents, set up stakeholder interviews and arrange field visits.

Required Competency of Consultancy

SCI is looking for a Consultant(s) with a strong record in conducting evaluations and should have the following skills and competencies:

  • Experience with Results Based Management evaluation methodologies;
  • Demonstrable experience in producing high-quality, credible evaluations with solid knowledge of statistical data (examples required);
  • At least 10 years work experience in relevant technical areas;
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues related to Human Rights in Programming, preferably children rights and gender equality;
  • Experience in working with international donor organizations;
  • Experience in working in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal;
  • Affinity with the purpose and Save the Children International;
  • Affinity with Save the Children Child Safeguarding Policy and willingness to abide by it;
  • Excellent liaison, communication  and analytical skills; and
  • Master’s degree in related field.

Submission Format and Deadline

Interested consultants who have the skills and competencies as described above should submit a technical proposal with a proposed approach and methodology on how they will approach and complete the MTR, implementation plan and budget.  The proposal should include the following documents: (a) A short profile of the individual or organization; (b) The available human resource expertise with special emphasis on (Economic Strengthening for Youth) research and/or programming; (c) Proof of Programme/Project evaluation capacity; (d) A detailed CV of the (lead) consultant; (e) Abridged CVs of the Research team that will be allocated full time to this assignment (if applicable); (f) A costed work plan with clear deliverables and dates.
The consultant(s) should also motivate why the individual consider him/herself as the most suitable for this assignment.
All proposals should be submitted by email to the following address: and – with a copy to
Incomplete applications will be excluded from further consideration.
The deadline for the submission of  the proposal is 22 July 2016.

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