IC/024/21 - National Consultant/Evaluation Team Assistant for Evaluation of UN JP “Youth for Social Harmony in the Fergana Valley”


Location : Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN
Application Deadline :05-Nov-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
English   Russian  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
22-Nov-2021
Duration of Initial Contract :59 working days within 3 months
Expected Duration of Assignment :November 22, 2021 – February 28, 2022

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Background

In partnership with UNODC and UNESCO, UNDP launched a new project entitled “Youth for Social Harmony in the Fergana Valley” in January 2020, intending to support communities to better adapt to the rapid reform process Uzbekistan while enabling local service providers to deliver the reform agenda inclusively. This project focuses on young people as a fast-growing demographic and the future of the country and aims to ensure that they are not left behind in the context of the rapid changes linked to the reform process. In practical terms, the project aims to ensure that young women and young men continue to have equitable access to socio-economic opportunities and benefit from its positive outcomes while enabling them to have a stronger say about their future. The project has supported community resilience and sustained peace by empowering youth as actors of positive change, increasing their opportunities for self-fulfillment, and piloting new models for the government to deliver reform and services inclusively in the Fergana Valley. The project aimed to provide timely support to the implementation of the country’s youth policy and to be innovative by introducing for the first-time life skills and civic engagement as catalysts for sustainable development and peace in Uzbekistan. UNDP is the lead agency for the project. UNDP is responsible for the overall coordination of the activities, organizing efficient processes, and evaluating the project.

The leading partner on the project is the Youth Affairs Agency of Uzbekistan. The main stakeholders included Presidential Administration, Institute for Strategic and Inter-Regional Studies, and line ministries for each output. 

For output 1 – Presidential Administration, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Education, Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, Youth Union and local government; 

For output 2 – Youth Affairs Agency, Development Strategy Center, NGO “Yuksalish”, Ministry of Support to Makhalla and Family, National Volunteer Association, State TV and Radio Company, National Association of Electronic Mass Media (NAESMI); 

For output 3 – Ministry of Public Education, Ministry of Support to Makhalla and Family, Local governments, Academy for Public Administration, General Prosecutor’s Office, including Academy for Prosecutors;

For output 4 – Ministry of Interior, including local police departments and probation services, General Prosecutor’s Office including Academy for Prosecutors, Ministry of Justice, Chamber of Advocates.

The project envisages that young people will be empowered to act as actors of positive change and have the mechanisms to participate equally in political, economic, and social life, and duty bearers will have the necessary approaches and skills to ensure inclusive service delivery and to engage with youth as changemakers, thereby strengthening vertical and horizontal trust and building community resilience in a period of political and economic transformation. The outcome as mentioned above will be delivered through the following outputs:

Output 1.1. Young people are equipped with knowledge and skills that foster their civic participation and socio-economic inclusion;

Output 1.2. Young people are provided with opportunities to constructively participate in decision making, socio-political life and act as key agents of change;

Output 1.3. The capacity of local administrators and educators to implement government policies and ensure inclusive public service delivery is improved;

Output 1.4. Duty bearers have the skills and approaches necessary to address the needs of vulnerable youth based on the rule of law and a fair and humane justice system.

Initially, the project was 18 months (commenced on 31.01.2020), and it was extended up to 6 months (it is expected to be completed on 31.12.2021) with a total budget of USD 2,199,369.56 funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

The young women and men in the Fergana Valley face distinct political, social and economic challenges that may be impacted by reforms. The Fergana Valley is shared between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, across a boundary that is not fully demarcated and often features densely populated and multi-ethnic settlements. The valley has witnessed disputes across communities and countries and faced challenges emanating from violent extremist groups that emerged in the immediate post-independence period.

The most considerable portion of the valley falls under Uzbekistan’s territory, which is divided into the Andijan, Fergana, and Namangan regions. It has the highest population density in Uzbekistan, surpassing the country average of 71.5 people per square kilometre (i.e., Andijan has 689 people/km2, Fergana 527.3 people/km2 and Namangan 356.5 people/km2). 28.6 percent of the total population of Uzbekistan live in the valley, with 11.1% living in Fergana, 9.2% living in Andijan, and 8.3% living in Namangan.

Andijan, Namangan, and Fergana reflect the average national age (28.8 national, 28.9, 28.5, and 29.4 respectively in the three regions). In Fergana and Namangan especially, the average age at the time of first marriage for both men and women is very low.

Against its highly productive agricultural land and relatively high level of industrial development compared to the rest of Uzbekistan, the Fergana Valley region features numerous demographic and economic challenges. As displayed in Table 1 below, compared to the country average, Fergana, Andijan, and Namangan are among the lowest-performing regions in terms of average income and average wages, and also with the lowest growth rate in terms of average nominal wages, suggesting that the gap with the rest of the country will continue to widen if this trend continues.

According to World Bank estimates, Fergana Valley is also one of the main areas of origin for outgoing labour migrants, with the share of migrants in total population standing at 4.6% in Andijan, 3% at Fergana, and 2.8% in Namangan, respectively. Subsequently, remittances make up 18.4% of total comprehensive income in Andijan, 15% in Namangan, and 13.5% in Fergana.

Featuring a very densely populated and young society facing considerable socio-economic challenges and a history of societal disputes, the communities in Fergana Valley, therefore, face a set of vulnerabilities that prioritize the valley for engagement. 

Given the rapid political, economic and social transformation Uzbekistan is experiencing and the opportunities and risks associated with it, the project is extremely timely. It aims to capitalize on a narrow window of opportunity to move towards a more inclusive government and economic structure. The catalytic effect of the proposed PBF intervention would be to add on top of ongoing projects by the international community, notably the World Bank and the European Union, that mostly focus on capacity and infrastructure building, by focusing on dialogue and civic engagement skills and establishing meaningful platforms for dialogue and community engagement among youth and local administrations in the midst of rapid social, economic and political transformation brought forth by the reforms. This component is an essential gap in the increasing official initiatives as well, which are presented with limited engagement with the community. Furthermore, Fergana Valley offers significant opportunities for scalability, whereby successes in the valley can be replicated in other regions of Uzbekistan, as well as across the borders in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan that also share parts of the valley and are faced with similar challenges. The project is innovative, as it aims to prioritize fostering social, economic and political inclusion in support of the reform agenda, with a particular focus on young people.

COVID-19 related note:

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly slowed or contracted economic growth for most countries globally and halted, or in some cases significantly reversed, progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Uzbekistan’s GDP growth in 2020 was suboptimal and poverty levels increased for the first time in two decades as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The project beneficiaries are communities living in Andijan, Fergana and Namangan regions, which are located in the Fergana region. COVID-19 lockdown impacts their income generation activities due to the strict requirements aimed at mitigation of the pandemic impacts. As it is already recognized by the Government, COVID19 impacts result in increased unemployment and poverty, decrease of economic development paces and increased demand for social protection needs as well as health protection and urgent pandemic response measures. In this regard, the project had to make changes and adapt to the situation relevant to COVID-19 by changing the mode of interventions and rescheduling activities envisaging mass gatherings since it became important to avoid and mitigate the COVID19 adverse impacts on youth residing in the Fergana valley. To some extent the quarantine measures implemented during a year had a negative influence on the achievement of set goals and attaining gender marker score. The field surveys within activities of the project have been rescheduled from 2020 to 2021 due to quarantine measures and administrative requirements. Also, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, schools' closures and sanitary precautions in the schools affected the timely execution of the project activities related to the training of teachers and piloting the programmes in the schools.

As of March 11 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic as the new coronavirus rapidly spread to all regions of the world. Travel to the country was restricted from March 25 2020 and travel within the country was also restricted. At the end of 2020 the lockdown was lifted but since mid-July, 2021, new coronavirus cases were recorded in Uzbekistan – unexpectedly high in recent months, i.e., on July 23, Uzbekistan updated the record for the daily increase in new cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the year – 773.

On October 11, 2021, the cases of the confirmed coronavirus cases demonstrated an increase and surpassed 174,213 in Uzbekistan with the confirmed death reaching 1,271 (see at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uzbekistan/). Tashkent (capital) still leads in the number of infected people but cases are identified again in all regions in Uzbekistan. The vaccination under the national program has started since April 3 but only 5% (1 007 993) of the total of over 20 mln of population to be vaccinated per the national programme as of July 17 2021. In Uzbekistan, citizens are obliged to wear medical masks and take other precautions (social distance, disinfection). Starting March 25, 2021 foreigners entering the republic should present a PCR test certificate issued exclusively by laboratories recognized by the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of Uzbekistan.


Duties and Responsibilities

Purpose:

This project evaluation presents an opportunity to assess the achievements of UN Joint Programme “Youth for Social Harmony in the Fergana Valley” in an inclusive way and to determine its overall added value to peacebuilding in Uzbekistan, in the areas of youth policy, gender equality, women empowerment, youth employment and participation in political and social life. In assessing the degree to which the project met its intended peacebuilding objective(s) and results, the evaluation will provide key lessons about successful peacebuilding approaches and operational practices, as well as highlight areas where the project performed less effectively than anticipated. In that sense, this project evaluation is equally about accountability as well as learning.

Objectives of the evaluation:

• Assess the relevance and appropriateness of the project in terms of: 1) addressing key drivers of conflict and the most relevant peacebuilding issues; 2) whether the project responded efficiently to the needs of the actual stakeholders and beneficiaries, the youth or the affected communities in the Fergana Valley; 3) whether the project capitalized on the UN’s added value in Uzbekistan; and 4) the degree to which the project addressed cross-cutting issues such as conflict and gender-sensitivity in Uzbekistan; 5) the extend of the project financial and/or programmatic catalytic effects; 

• Assess to what extent the PBF project has made a concrete contribution to reducing a conflict factor in Uzbekistan. With respect to PBF’s contribution, the evaluation may evaluate whether the project helped advance achievement of the SDGs, and in particular SDG 16;

• Evaluate the project’s efficiency, including its implementation strategy, institutional arrangements as well as its management and operational systems and value for money;

• Assess whether the support provided by the PBF has promoted the Women, Peace and Security agenda (WPS), allowed a specific focus on women’s participation in peacebuilding processes, and whether it was accountable to gender equality;

• Assess whether the project has been implemented through a conflict-sensitive approach;

• Document good practices, innovations and lessons emerging from the project;

• Provide actionable recommendations for future programming.


Competencies

• Ability to prepare and follow interview/focus groups protocols and other data collection tools is required;

• Experience in using participatory techniques in data collection, including gender-sensitive and youth-friendly approaches, is required;

• Deep knowledge of the peacebuilding and political context in the country is required;

• Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;

• Knowledge of and experience with youth policy, social cohesion, human rights, youth empowerment, gender equality, women empowerment, etc. is required;

• Experience in writing reports is required;

• Experience in evaluating projects;

• Familiarity with the country/region and previous work experience in/with similar geopolitical settings is an asset;

• Experience in conducting remote evaluations is an asset;

• Excellent communication skills;

• Strong analytical skills;

• Familiarity with the UN system is a strong asset.


Required Skills and Experience

Academic Qualifications:

• A first level university degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent) in sociology, development studies, political science, statistics or a related field.

Years of experience:

• At least 4 years of demonstrated relevant work experience at the national level in monitoring, evaluation, reporting, or research is required. The candidate should have understanding of Peacebuilding concept. Project evaluation/review experience within United Nations system will be considered as an asset.

Language requirements:

Fluency in written and spoken English, Russian and Uzbek is required.

Application Process:

Interested candidates need to apply online at www.jobs.undp.org and upload requested documents in Part 4 of Procurement Notice no later than end of November 5, 2021 (New York time). Please combine all your documents into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows to upload maximum one document. Your on-line applications submission will be acknowledged to your email address provided in application. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please resubmit the application, if necessary.

Link to application at the UNDP Job Site – https://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_job.cfm?cur_job_id=102792 (cut and paste into browser address bar if the link does not work).

Your on-line applications submission will be acknowledged to your email address provided in application. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please resubmit the application, if necessary.

You can review detailed Procurement Notice, Terms of Reference and download templates from the UNDP Procurement Notices Site following the link http://procurement-notices.undp.org/view_notice.cfm?notice_id=84856. (cut and paste into browser address bar if the link does not work).

Application submitted via email, incomplete applications or received after the closing date (November 5, 2021) may not be given consideration.

For more detailed information about UNDP Uzbekistan please visit our website at www.uz.undp.org UNDP is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified female candidates, people with disabilities, and minorities are highly encouraged to apply. UNDP Balance in Manage Policy promotes achievement of gender balance among its staff at all levels.

Requests for clarification must be sent in writing to pu.uz@undp.org, ensuring that the reference number above is included in the subject line. UNDP shall endeavor to provide such responses to clarifications in an expeditious manner, but any delay in such response shall not cause an obligation on the part of UNDP to extend the submission date of the Proposals, unless UNDP deems that such an extension is justified and necessary.



If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact the eRecruit Helpdesk.

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme