Consultant for Midterm Review of the Project on Increasing Access to Clean and Affordable Decentralised Energy Services in Selected Vulnerable Areas of Malawi

Location : Lilongwe, MALAWI
Application Deadline :15-Sep-17 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :20 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :20 working days


The Terms of Reference (ToR) for the UNDP-GEF Midterm Review (MTR) of the full-sized project titled Increasing Access to Clean and Affordable Decentralized Energy Services in Selected Vulnerable Areas of Malawi(PIMS#5270). The project is implemented by the Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Natural Resources Energy and Mining with support from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is to be undertaken in year 2017. The project started on January 2016 and is in its third year of implementation. In line with the UNDP-GEF Guidance on MTRs, this MTR process was initiated before the submission of the second Project Implementation Report (PIR). This ToR sets out the expectations for this MTR.  The MTR process must follow the guidance outlined in the document; Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects.  

The project was designed to: To increase access to clean energy in selected remote, rural areas in Malawi by promoting innovative, community-based mini-grid applications in cooperation with the private sector.  The project’s outcomes are as follows:

  • Outcome 1: Expansion of the Mulanje Electricity Generation Agency (MEGA) Micro-Hydro Power Plant.
  • Outcome 1.1 Increasing the installed capacity of the Mulanje Electricity Generation Agency’s (MEGA) MHPP scheme.
  • Outcome 1.2 Achieving MEGA’s business plan target of increasing the aggregate household energy savings among its customer base.
  • Outcome 2: Replication of MEGA model via piloting of new clean energy mini-grid schemes in other areas of Malawi.
  • Outcome 2.1 Investment in installed capacity of clean energy mini-grid schemes established, replicating the MEGA model and using a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
  • Outcome 2.2 Increased the aggregate household energy savings among the customer base.
  • Outcome 3:  Institutional strengthening and capacity building for promotion of decentralized clean energy mini-grid applications across the country.
  • Outcome 3.1 Increased capacity of key stakeholders, especially at the sub-national levels to effectively plan and implement clean energy mini-grids.
  • Outcome 3.2 Increased awareness about relevant business models, policy and regulatory issues, and financing of mini-grids in the Malawian context.
  • Outcome 3.3 Improved policy and regulatory environment to facilitate the sustainable development of mini-grids in Malawi.

The UNDP-GEF project was developed soon after the start of implementation of the UNDP-supported project on Sustainable Energy Management (SEM), which was concluded in December 2016. The SEM project provided advisory support; assisted in updating policies; developed standards; and established coordination mechanisms and implementation arrangements. Another feature of the SEM project was the capacity building and training activities at the district level. In course of the MTR for the UNDP-GEF initiative, the consultants are expected to assess the SEM with regard to the activities which has direct bearing on the UNDP-GEF initiative. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work and Key Tasks:

The MTR team will consist of two independent consultants that will conduct the MTR - one team leader (with experience and exposure to projects and evaluations in other regions and globally) and one national technical expert.   

The MTR team will first conduct a literature review of project documents (i.e. PIF, UNDP Initiation Plan, Project Document, ESSP, Project Inception Report, PIRs, Finalized GEF focal area Tracking Tools, Project Appraisal Committee meeting minutes, Financial and Administration guidelines used by Project Team, project operational guidelines, manuals and systems, etc.) provided by the Department of Energy Affairs and UNDP. The MTR team will participate in a MTR inception workshop to clarify their understanding of the objectives and methods of the MTR, producing the MTR inception report thereafter. The MTR mission will then consist of interviews with key informants and site visits to Mulanje and other districts as required.

The MTR team will assess the following four categories of project progress and produce a draft and final MTR report. See the Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for requirements on ratings. No overall rating is required.

Project Strategy

Project Design:

  • Review the problem addressed by the project and the underlying assumptions. 
  • Review the effect of any incorrect assumptions or changes to the context to achieving the project results as outlined in the Project Document.
  • Review the relevance of the project strategy and assess whether it provides the most effective route towards expected/intended results.   
  • Review how the project addresses country priorities and took stock of linkages with the SEM project.
  • Review decision-making processes 

Results Framework/Log frame:

  • Undertake a critical analysis of the project’s log frame indicators and targets, assess how “SMART” the midterm and end-of-project targets are (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timebound), and suggest specific amendments/revisions to the targets and indicators as necessary.
  • Examine if progress so far has led to, or could in the future catalyse beneficial development effects (i.e. income generation, gender equality and women’s empowerment, improved governance etc...) that should be included in the project results framework and monitored on an annual basis.   

Progress Towards Results:

  • Review the log frame indicators against progress made towards the end-of-project targets; populate the Progress Towards Results Matrix, as described in the Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects; colour code progress in a “traffic light system” based on the level of progress achieved; assign a rating on progress for the project objective and each outcome; make recommendations from the areas marked as “not on target to be achieved” (red). 
  • Compare and analyse the GEF Tracking Tool at the Baseline with the one completed right before the Midterm Review.
  • Identify remaining barriers to achieving the project objective.
  • By reviewing the aspects of the project that have already been successful, identify ways in which the project can further expand these benefits.

Project Implementation and Adaptive Management

Using the Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects; assess the following categories of project progress: 

  • Management Arrangements
  • Work Planning
  • Finance and co-finance
  • Project-level monitoring and evaluation systems
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Reporting
  • Communications. 


  • Assess overall risks to sustainability factors of the project in terms of the following four categories:
  • Financial risks to sustainability
  • Socio-economic risks to sustainability
  • Institutional framework and governance risks to sustainability
  • Environmental risks to sustainability.

The MTR team will include a section in the MTR report setting out the MTR’s evidence-based conclusions and recommendations, in light of the findings.

Additionally, the MTR consultant/team is expected to make recommendations to the Project Team. Recommendations should be succinct suggestions for critical intervention that are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant. A recommendation table should be put in the report’s executive summary. The MTR consultant/team should make no more than 15 recommendations total.  

Expected Outputs and Deliverables:

The MTR consultant/team shall prepare and submit: 

  • MTR Inception Report: MTR team clarifies objectives and methods of the Midterm Review no later than 2 weeks before the MTR mission. To be sent to the UNDP/DOE project management by 13th October 2017
  • Presentation: Initial Findings presented to project management at the end of the MTR mission by 27th October 2017.
  • Draft Final Report: Full report with annexes within 3 weeks of the MTR mission by 3rd November 2017
  • Final Report: Revised report with annexed audit trail detailing how all received comments have (and have not) been addressed in the final MTR report. To be sent to the UNDP/EAD within 1 week of receiving UNDP comments on draft by 1st December 2017.


Evaluator’s competencies:

  • Organizational Development and Management;
  • Strategic thinking;
  • Team work skills; 
  • Results oriented;
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Competence in adaptive management, as applied to Increasing access to renewable energy.

Required Skills and Experience

The selection of consultants will be aimed at maximizing the overall “team” qualities in the following areas:


  • A Master’s degree in Environment, Engineering, Social Sciences, or other closely related field.


  • Recent experience with result-based management evaluation methodologies;
  • Experience applying SMART indicators and reconstructing or validating baseline scenarios;
  • Experience working with the GEF or GEF-evaluations;
  • Experience working in Southern Africa/Malawi;
  • Work experience in relevant technical areas for at least 7 years;
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues related to gender and climate change vulnerability and adaptation; experience in gender sensitive evaluation and analysis.
  • Excellent communication skills;


  • Fluent in English.

Institutional Arrangement:

  • The principal responsibility for managing this MTR resides with the UNDP Malawi Country Office. UNDP will contract the consultants and ensure the timely provision of per diems and travel arrangements within the country for the MTR team. The Project Team will be responsible for liaising with the MTR team to provide all relevant documents, set up stakeholder interviews, and arrange field visits

Duration of the Work:

The MTR consultancy will be for 20 days, with 14 days in Malawi, for the international consultant, over a time period of approximately 3 months starting on 9th October 2017, and shall not exceed 3 months from when the consultant(s) are hired.

The tentative MTR timeframe is as follows: 

  • 15th September 2017: Application closes;
  • 6th October 2017: Selection of MTR Team;
  • 9th October 2017: Prep the MTR Team (handover of project documents);
  • 9th October 2017: 2017: Document review and preparing MTR Inception Report;
  • 9th -13th October 2017: Finalization and Validation of MTR Inception Report- latest start of MTR mission
  • 23rd – 25th October 2017: MTR mission: stakeholder meetings, interviews, field visits ;
  • 26th -  27th October 2017: wrap-up meeting & presentation of initial findings- earliest end of MTR mission
  • 30th – 3rd October 2017: Preparing draft report;
  • 6th November, 2017:   Submission of draft report to UNDP;
  • 7th November, 2017: Circulation to DEA by UNDP;
  • 7th November, 2017: Preparation & Issue of Management Response;
  • 10th November, 2017: Circulation by UNDP to Evaluation Reference Group;
  • 16th November, 2017: MTR reference group meeting (virtual participation by international consultant);
  • 27th  November 2017:  MTR reference group concluding meeting;
  • 1st December 2017: Submission of final MTR report.

Duty Station:

  • Lilongwe


  • International travel will be required for the MTR mission;
  • Field travel will be within project sites as needed.
  • Consultants are required to comply with the UN security directives set forth under;
  • All related travel expenses will be covered and will be reimbursed as per UNDP rules and regulations upon submission of an F-10 claim form and supporting documents. All travels must be pre-approved by UNDP prior to undertaking any field visits.

Consultants’ Independence:

  • The consultants cannot have participated in the project preparation, formulation, and/or implementation (including the writing of the Project Document) and should not have a conflict of interest with project’s related activities.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Master’s degree in Environment, Engineering, Social Sciences, or other closely related (10%)
  • Recent experience with result-based management evaluation methodologies (15%);
  • Experience applying SMART indicators and reconstructing or validating baseline scenarios (10%);
  • Experience working with the GEF or GEF-evaluations (5%);
  • Experience working in Southern Africa/Malawi (15%);
  • Work experience in relevant technical areas for at least 7 years (15%);
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues related to gender and climate change vulnerability and adaptation; experience in gender sensitive evaluation and analysis (5%).
  • Excellent communication skills (5%);
  • Demonstrable analytical skills (10%);
  • Project evaluation/review experiences within United Nations system will be considered an asset; 10%.

Financial Proposal:

Financial proposals must be “all inclusive” and expressed in a lump-sum for the total duration of the contract. The term “all inclusive” implies all cost (professional fees, travel costs, living allowances etc.);

Note: Payments will be based on invoices on achievement of agreed milestones i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR and certification of acceptance by the UNDP. The applicant must factor in all possible costs in his/her “All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee/Daily Fee” financial proposal including his/her consultancy and professional fee, honorarium, accommodation,  communication cost such as telephone/internet usage, printing cost, ad-hoc costs, stationery costs, and any other foreseeable costs in this exercise. UNDP (project) will provide transportation for field travel, however the consultant is responsible for covering their accommodation/meals/incidental expenses for such travel. No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant.

The lump sum is fixed regardless of changes in the cost components.  No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant.

Schedule of Payments:

  • 20% of payment upon approval of the MTR Inception Report;
  • 30% upon submission of the draft MTR Report;
  • 50% upon finalization of the MTR Report.

Recommended Presentation of Offer:

  • Completed Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP;
  • Personal CV or a P11 Personal History form, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references;
  • Brief description of approach to work/technical proposal of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, and a proposed methodology on how they will approach and complete the assignment; (max 1 page);
  • Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template provided.  If an applicant is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNDP under Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the applicant must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP. See Letter of Confirmation of Interest template for financial proposal template. 

Incomplete applications will be excluded from further consideration.

Criteria for Selection of the Best Offer:

The award of the contract will be made to the Individual Consultant who has obtained the highest combined score and has accepted UNDP’s General Terms and Conditions. Only those applications which are responsive and compliant will be evaluated. The offers will be evaluated using the “Combined Scoring method” where:

  • The educational background and experience on similar assignments will be weighted a max. of 70%;
  • The price proposal will weigh as 30% of the total scoring.

Annexes to the MTR ToR:

Please see ToR Annexes in Annex 3 of Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects;

  • List of documents to be reviewed by the MTR Team;
  • Guidelines on Contents for the Midterm Review Report;
  • UNEG Code of Conduct for Evaluators/Midterm Review Consultants;
  • MTR Required Ratings Table and Ratings Scales;
  • MTR Report Clearance Form;
  • Sample MTR Evaluative Matrix;
  • Progress Towards Results Matrix and MTR Ratings & Achievement Summary Tables (in Word).

How to apply:

Please submit your complete proposal including all supporting documents and financial proposal to by 15th September 2017. Please include “Increasing Access to Energy Services-UNDP-GEF Mid Term Review - 2017” in the subject line of the email. The UNDP will not accept proposals via printed hard copy.

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.

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