Isandla Institute - South Africa
Isandla Institute is seeking a consultant to conduct a project evaluation of a 5½ year project funded by Comic Relief. The evaluation forms part of an agreement with our funding partner.
2. About Isandla Institute
Isandla Institute is a South African NPO that acts as a public interest think tank. We seek to promote and contribute to systems and practices of urban governance that are democratic, inclusive, equitable, accountable and sustainable. We seek to achieve this by using innovative and effective strategies at the interface of state and civil society, through promoting dialogue and exchange, policy research, advocacy, public education, institutional support, network coordination and information dissemination.
Isandla Institute has a good reputation in both the urban and the local governance sectors in South Africa as a thought leader and convener of learning spaces and multi-stakeholder dialogues. The organisation firmly believes in – and is capable of assembling – strategic coalitions for change and fulfils a key role as a ‘network/networking hub’. We coordinate the Good Governance Learning Network, a national network of South African NGOs concerned with participatory local governance. Preceding the Comic Relief funded project, between 2010 and 2013, we convened a loose network of urban sector organisations seeking to be more actively involved in informal settlements upgrading in South Africa. We also produce knowledge products to inform evidence-based policy making and progressive practice.
3. About the project
In 2013, Comic Relief approved a three years agreement with Isandla Institute for the project ‘Developing communities of practice on informal settlement upgrading’. This project was extended to 5 years in 2016, with a further (no-cost) extension of 6 months agreed upon in 2018. The project started in January 2014 and will end on 30 June 2019.
At the time (in 2013), Comic Relief was looking to support a number of organisations working on informal settlement upgrading in Cape Town, on the assumption that geographically targeted support would result in greater impact and efficacy compared to geographically dispersed funding. Comic Relief employed a similar funding strategy in Freetown (Sierra Leone), Kampala (Uganda) and Lusaka (Zambia).
Isandla Institute proposed a project aimed at maximising the learning emerging from these different upgrading processes by cultivating communities of practice, both at local level (made up of Cape Town based CSOs supported by Comic Relief and other key local partners) and at national level (with national stakeholders, other municipalities and researchers/professionals). The organisation sought to achieve this through the creation of structured spaces for reflection and for sharing of practices and experiences related to participatory and incremental informal settlement upgrading. It was envisaged that this would be essential to overcome lack of understanding of/ appreciation for one another’s work and inter-organisational distrust, and that such structured spaces of engagement will both serve to enrich their day-to-day practice and stimulate new forms of collaboration and cooperation among participating organisations. To support the learning and influence practice, policy and mindsets among relevant stakeholders (e.g. municipal officials, policy makers, researchers, built environment professionals), the project also proposed to produce and disseminate a range of knowledge products.
During the course of the project, Isandla Institute has worked to achieve the following outcomes:
||Local organisations involved in informal settlement upgrading in Cape Town collaborate with one another and use the learning gained from partner organisations and collective processes to strengthen their own practice.|
||Municipal practitioners and other key stakeholders are aware of and are able to access materials that facilitate a shift in mindset and practice to embrace the principles and methodologies of incrementalism and participatory upgrading.|
|Learning and models emerging from the Cape Town initiative have an impact on government support programmes to municipalities (i.e. the NUSP) and on the formulation of policy or methodologies to implement policy, with specific reference to incrementalism and participatory upgrading.|
||Isandla Institute is recognised for its thought leadership and its ability to facilitate sector coherence (network politics) on informal settlement upgrading and is known as a learning organisation.|
The project is guided by a project plan, which defines a number of activities, outputs, indicators (quantitative and qualitative), data collection methods and gender-disaggregated targets related to each outcome. Some activities/outputs have had a local (Cape Town) focus, whereas others have been targeted provincially (Western Cape) and nationally. To date, the following key activities and outputs have been completed, or are in the process of being implemented (not an exhaustive list – merely intended to provide some insight into the project size):
Activities and outputs
|Local community of practice events (1-day learning events, 2-3 p.a.)
|Practice briefs (distillations of the local community of practice events)
|A Collaboration Plan between local CSOs involved in the Collaborative Initiative
|Meetings of the Collaborative Initiative
||3-4 p.a. since 2016|
|Policy submissions and/or engagements with government
|National community of practices/roundtables/conferences
||1 (regular updates)|
|Other knowledge products (documentary, guide for municipal officials, poster)
4. About the evaluation
Isandla Institute views communities of practice as a key strategy to bring about systemic change, because it combines elements of learning and action in an iterative and collaborative process. It also serves to reconfigure relationships between different actors or stakeholders involved in the community of practice. Although the project is drawing to a close, Isandla Institute will continue to enable and facilitate communities of practice throughout its work. As such, we are keen to understand whether and how our efforts to build a local community of practice on informal settlement upgrading have been successful, and to what extent the lessons drawn from the local community of practice have been useful to influence policy, paradigms and practices elsewhere (e.g. in municipalities).
More specifically, the following questions are of interest to Isandla Institute:
- How have the learning and engagement processes facilitated by Isandla Institute impacted on the work, practice, relationships and positioning of participating organisations?
- How successful has the project been in leveraging the collective expertise and networks represented in the local community of practice to engage government and advocate for a community-centred (and -driven) approach to informal settlement upgrading?
- To what extent have the learning and engagement processes facilitated by Isandla Institute contributed to progressive policy (nationally, provincially, locally) and practice, especially in municipalities?
- To what extent are the knowledge products produced by the project informed by, and useful for, the practice of organisations participating in the local community of practice?
- How useful and relevant are the knowledge products produced by the project for other practitioners outside of the local community of practice (e.g. other CSOs, municipalities, provincial/national government, built environment professionals)?
These questions are not conclusive, but give an indication as to what we are keen to learn from the end of grant evaluation. We expect the evaluation to provide an external overview perspective on various aspects related to the project, including the implementation modalities, inputs/organisational capacity and ability to adapt, and project results. In relation to the specific focus identified, the evaluation is expected to identify project achievements, risks, challenges, weaknesses, lessons and recommendations for the organisation related to future work (using/enabling communities of practice) and organisational strengthening (including our capacity for monitoring, evaluation and learning). The assessment will need to bring out findings related to relevance, value/benefit, effectiveness, efficiency and value for money of the project.
The consultant will manage and undertake the evaluation process and produce a final report. This will involve reviewing reporting tools, documentation and grant documents; reviewing strategic grant activities and interviewing key stakeholders involved in the project. The consultant is expected to facilitate a Debrief Workshop with local organisations involved in the local community of practice and Collaborative Initiative. As part of the evidence collection process, the consultant may also want to consider facilitating a joint session with these local stakeholders to gather their feedback, as this speaks directly to our work related to Outcome 1.
The consultant will propose a methodology for the evaluation that will be approved by Isandla Institute before the commencement of the evaluation. The methodology must be participatory, engaging different stakeholders in meaningful and appropriate ways. A list of participants will be provided to the evaluator before the commencement of the work.
5. Key deliverables
The consultant is expected to submit the following deliverables:
- An inception report, detailing the methodology, schedule of tasks and activities, and a workplan with timelines. (The proposed methodology and workplan will need to be approved by Isandla Institute before commencement of the evaluation. Refinements may be required.)
- A draft evaluation report for comment and feedback from Isandla Institute at the end of the evidence collection period.
- A final evaluation report, which is clear and simply written, free of jargon. The main body of the report should not exceed 30 pages and should include an executive summary and recommendations. Technical details should be confined to appendices, which should also include a list of informants and the evaluation team’s work schedule. Background information should only be included when it is directly relevant to the report’s analysis and conclusions. The report should support the evaluator’s analysis of the project’s achievements with relevant data, and state how this has been sourced. Recommendations should also include details as to how they might be implemented.
6. Timing and milestones
The evaluation should be conducted between 1 June and 15 August 2019 (with a proposed meeting to clarify the scope and methodology of the evaluation shortly after appointment, between 20-31 May). The duration of the evaluation should not exceed 20 days from the date of commissioning of the contract.
The table sets out key activities and milestones, with proposed dates/timeframes.
7. Required competencies
- At least 10 years’ experience in designing and conducting evaluation activities, particularly in relation to the development context of South Africa.
- Must have conducted other evaluation reports for international donors.
- Advanced degree in social science or other relevant development field.
- Good analytical and report writing skills.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills.
- Knowledge of current issues relating to informal settlement upgrading/human settlements/ urban planning/public policy in the South African context is an added advantage
The evaluator should adhere to the following principles:
- Good communication and information practices and compliance with ethical standards during the evaluation process;
- The assessment of outcomes on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s inclusion is required; therefore inclusion of women respondents in the evaluation process is vital.
8. Proposals and costing
Proposals should include the following:
- Statement of qualifications of the consultant
- Name and CV of staff member(s) responsible (i) for overseeing the work, (ii) for undertaking the work
- Proposed approach to the work (no more than 5 pages)
- Fee proposal and costs estimate, indicating level of effort estimate and the basis of calculation of fees. (Payments will be linked to project deliverables as agreed with Isandla Institute.) Note: the maximum budget available is R95,000 inclusive of all travel and other disbursements.
- A sample copy of a report to indicate writing style
- We welcome proposals that include innovative evaluation products (e.g. a video or a series of blogs)
Deadline: The closing date for submission of proposals is at 13h00, 10 May 2019.
Appointment: Appointments will be finalised on or before 17 May 2019.