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National Consultant to Conduct End Project Evaluation (Sri Lankan national only)
|Advertised on behalf of :|
|Location :||Colombo, SRI LANKA|
|Application Deadline :||30-Jul-20 (Midnight New York, USA)|
|Type of Contract :||Individual Contract|
|Post Level :||National Consultant|
|Languages Required :||English|
|Starting Date :|
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
|Duration of Initial Contract :||10 August 2020 - 30 November 2020|
|Expected Duration of Assignment :||10 August 2020 - 30 November 2020|
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.
UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Globally, UN Women builds effective partnerships with diverse stakeholders and leads and coordinates efforts to ensure that commitments on women’s rights and gender equality are prioritized and translated into tangible results.
UN Women has worked alongside other UN agencies, government institutions and civic actors in Sri Lanka since 2014 to strengthen the policy environment and inter-governmental processes to better serve the needs of women and to improve their participation in local governance and peacebuilding. UN Women’s programming to date includes technical support on gender-responsive policymaking and budgeting and various capacity building and advocacy interventions in line with international resolutions and normative instruments, including UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The priorities set forth in the joint strategy documents developed by Government of Sri Lanka and the UN – UN Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF) 2018-2022 and the Peacebuilding Priority Plan (PPP) – have also informed initiatives led by UN Women. Through collaborations with diverse partners to implement said initiatives, UN Women has reached the most isolated women across Sri Lanka and engaged key stakeholders to tackle deep-rooted vulnerabilities and conflict-related challenges that continue to limit women’s potential to advance peace and equitable development.
Since 2015, Government of Sri Lanka has made several commitments highlighting women’s participation and contribution to peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts. According to the PPP (2016) and the Revised PPP Matrix (2018), the marginalized status of women underscored the need for solutions sensitive to the varied roles of women post-conflict as their experiences are inevitably shaped by the intersections of poverty, gender-based discrimination and violence and lack of security and access to justice systems. These factors exacerbate the multiple vulnerabilities faced by women and form barriers to effectively engaging them as community leaders and agents of peace to bridge the long-standing ethno-religious divides in Sri Lanka.
The decades of armed ethnic conflict have given rise to a significant number of Female Heads of Households (FHHs) in Sri Lanka – approximately 23.5 percent of all households – and the unique challenges faced by this group have prompted targeted interventions from the government and the development community. While men were the main casualties of the war, women were left to cope with the loss of family members, death and disappearance of income earners, and displacement. This propelled over 1.2 million women to take on the sole responsibility of supporting their families in a highly patriarchal culture that continues to place women in the domestic sphere. The transformation of their role in society combined with the normalization of violence against women and girls during and post-conflict have disadvantaged FHHs, particularly the military and war widows who have lost their spouses as consequence of the conflict, to become exposed to multiple burdens and exploitative behaviors.
 The Government of Sri Lanka emphasized the empowerment of FHHs as evidenced by the development of the National Action Plan on Women-Headed Households and the establishment of a National Secretariat for Widows and Women-Headed Households in Kilinochchi (a project site).
Specifically, a 2016 study by FOKUS Women conducted among 292 military widows found nearly half to have experienced some form of sexual harassment, including sexual bribery in exchange for government services. Similarly, sexual bribery against war widows in the North has been documented. Research has also found that the instances of sexual bribery and exploitation among the military and war widows are often perpetrated by local public officials when the widows attempt to access state-run services, i.e. applying for their deceased spouse’s salary/pension, procuring bank loans, certifying documents, and enrolling their children in schools. Women are reluctant to lodge complaints and approach authorities due to the fear of losing respect in their communities and possible reprisals from perpetrators in the forms of threats, violence and unjustified ‘delays’ in attending to their requests for services. Additionally, the absence of a safe complaints mechanism and a pervasive culture of impunity combined with the social stigma associated with widowhood, the widows’ lack knowledge of their basic rights and economic dependence on the state for livelihood lead to further isolation and disempowerment. The circumstances surrounding the military and war widows not only represent violations of human rights, but also impede progress towards achieving sustainable peace as sexual exploitation erodes trust in the very public institutions that are the bedrock of Sri Lankan society. As Sri Lanka seeks to build a more inclusive and equitable society, it must challenge the disparities and discrimination against vulnerable groups such as widows and FHHs and promote their meaningful participation in the country’s reconciliation efforts.
It is within this context that UN Women, UNDP and Centre for Equality and Justice (CEJ), with funding from the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), are implementing a joint project titled “Hidden Challenges: Addressing Sexual Bribery Experienced by Female Heads of Households, including Military Widows and War Widows in Sri Lanka to Enable Resilience and Sustained Peace.” In accordance with Guidelines on PBF Funds Application and Programming (2018), UN Women and UNDP Sri Lanka are recruiting two individual consultants – an international and a national – to conduct a joint independent final evaluation coinciding with the project’s expected closure on 31 October 2020. As part of the core two-person evaluation team, the International Consultant will oversee, in predominantly remote capacities, the methodological approach, ensure overall quality assurance and provide technical support to the National Consultant to lead and carry out the necessary fieldwork and complete set deliverables. The evaluation will be a participatory, consultative multi-stakeholder process focused on assessing results and the progress towards the peacebuilding impact of the project implemented based on its theory of change and will be guided by and in compliance with standards set in the UNDP Evaluation Policy, UN Women Evaluation Policy, UN Women Evaluation Handbook and the Global Evaluation Report Assessment and Analysis System (GERAAS), which has adapted the overall United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Standards for Evaluation in the UN System and the United Nations System-wide Action Plan Evaluation Performance Indicator (UN-SWAP EPI).
Initiated in November 2018 with a total budget of $ 1,500,000, the 18-month “Hidden Challenges: Addressing Sexual Bribery Experienced by Female Heads of Households, including Military Widows and War Widows in Sri Lanka to Enable Resilience and Sustained Peace” joint project aims to empower Female Heads of Households, including military widows (predominantly Sinhalese) and war widows (predominantly Tamil), in the three target districts of Kurunegala, Anuradhapura and Kilinochchi by addressing the high incidence of sexual bribery and exploitation against them and removing barriers to their socio-economic advancement, which in turn will ensure their active engagement in peacebuilding and reconciliation. In April 2020, the project was approved for a six-month no-cost extension with a new project closure date of 31 October 2020.
As per the project’s overarching peacebuilding goals, a two-pronged strategy corresponding to the following outcome-level objectives was adopted and implemented. In combination, the project is expected to bring about the transformative empowerment of FHHs, including military and war widows, to ensure that they are no longer subjected to re-victimization and are supported to contribute their voice towards building a more cohesive and inclusive society. Based on insights obtained from early field mobilization efforts, the original beneficiary selection criteria of military and war widows were expanded to include other FHHs with prioritization given to the former. All project objectives, targets and indicators were revised to reflect the amendment. The full Project Results Framework is provided in Annex 5 for reference.
 “Living in Shadow: The Status of Military Widows in Sri Lanka”
Outcome 1: Empowered Female Heads of Households (including military and war widows) have sustainable livelihoods, and access social support services with dignity;
Outcome 2: Increased commitment of public institutions to prevent and respond to sexual bribery and to protect Female Heads of Households (including military and war widows) from sexual exploitation.
Under Outcome 1, the project has supported widespread awareness and sensitization around sexual bribery and exploitation within and beyond target communities and beneficiaries through a series of in-person, interactive initiatives, such as puppetry and forum theater, supplemented with nationwide social media, radio and print campaigns. With capacity building interventions channeled through support systems formed of existing and newly established women’s collectives and self-help groups, the core beneficiaries of FHHs and military and war widows have built resilience and gained knowledge and tools to overcome negative repercussions of sexual bribery and to access necessary services and report incidences without fear and/or harassment. In parallel, local civil society and government stakeholders have received trainings to provide improved support and services to the beneficiaries in their respective capacities. Recently, the project has kickstarted a comprehensive economic empowerment support inclusive of entrepreneurial skills development trainings and competitive business grants to encourage sustainable income generation to relieve welfare dependency and indebtedness of the FHHs and widows. In the remainder of the project, the beneficiaries will be provided with additional opportunities, including open dialogues, diversity market fairs and peacebuilding and reconciliation workshops, to foster shared learning and build social cohesion across communities.
For Outcome 2, the project has collaborated with national and local state institutions, including main partner Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Security (MWCA), to improve technical capacities via the development of training resources and to reinforce accountability mechanisms to address and prevent sexual bribery and increase FHHs/widows’ access to justice. In-depth consultations with MWCA representatives have refined initiatives to strengthen existing institutional processes and structures within ministries, including anti-sexual harassment committees, and resulted in a guideline enhancing and clarifying the committees’ supportive and disciplinary functions pertaining to victim-survivors and perpetrators. The provision of technical support to draft key circulars, guidelines and policies will continue alongside capacity building activities such as paralegal trainings. The remaining interventions, to be carried out in coordination with district and national state partners, will target frontline service providers, public officials and civil society.
FHHs/Military and War Widows – The main project beneficiaries are military and war widows from the districts of Kurunegala, Anuradhapura and Kilinochchi. War widows, for the purpose of this project, are defined as conflict-affected FHHs whose husbands are dead, been killed, have disappeared or been missing as a consequence of the conflict between 1983 and 2009. Military widows, also situated within the category of FHH, are defined as women whose military husbands served in the Armed Forces, Police and the Civil Defense Force, and died or were declared missing as a consequence of the conflict between 1983 and 2009. This beneficiary selection criteria were later amended during implementation to include FHHs, including but not limited to women whose spouses are disabled or have divorced or abandoned them. The criteria amendment was based on compelling findings from the field which highlighted similarities in the vulnerabilities and challenges experienced by the military and war widows and the latter group of FHHs.
Communities and CBOs/CSOs – There is significant social stigma around the concept of sexual bribery and sexual exploitation. Social stigma fuelled by lack of awareness enables victim blaming and discourages women from speaking out due to shame and other negative repercussions from their families and communities. Through the project, the communities in the target districts will take part in awareness raising activities to better understand the experiences of women and to stand against sexual bribery and exploitation. Community based (CBOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) will also be capacitated and mobilized to provide essential services to victim survivors, serve as support systems and participate in and lead advocacy efforts.
Local and National Level Public Officials and Institutions – CSO-led research findings have reported on cases of sexual bribery and exploitation instigated by front-line government officials who are the first port of call for the general public when accessing services. Widows and FHHs as primary caretakers, especially those economically disadvantaged, are vulnerable to exploitation as they frequent local public institutions on their own. Based on these circumstances as well as the mandates of the local government, the project will directly target public officials and institutions in the three districts through capacity building interventions. At the national level, the project will seek to support the broader policy environment in response to sexual bribery and exploitation and to improve existing anti-sexual harassment processes within ministries.
Non-government: Centre for Equality and Justice (CEJ), Chrysalis and Social Scientists’ Association. CEJ coordinates the efforts of four district-level civil society partners – Rajarata Praja Kendraya in the Anuradhapura; Women's Resource Centre in the Kurunegala; and JSAC and Viluthu in the Kilinochchi.
Government: Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Security, Industrial Services Bureau, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Sri Lanka Institute for Development Administration, Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Legal Aid Commission, Transparency International Sri Lanka, Right to Information Commission, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and District and Divisional Secretariats of the three project districts.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE
The Peacebuilding Board, co-chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator and the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, oversees all PBF funded projects in Sri Lanka. In addition to oversight from the Board, a Project Review Committee consisting of focal points from UN WOMEN, UNDP, CEJ and a representative from the PBF Secretariat in the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office was established. To oversee progress and monitor project implementation, the Committee is convened by UN Women to facilitate effective coordination and planning in anticipation of and response to pertinent issues. UN WOMEN serves as the lead agency and is responsible for coordination amongst implementing partners as well as collating and submitting project reports to the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and the Peacebuilding Board. UN Women, UNDP and CEJ focal points are jointly responsible for monitoring and evaluation on respective components as guided by the overall Results Framework. CEJ, the main CSO implementing partner, coordinates and reports on the efforts of four district-level CSO partners – Rajarata Praja Kendraya, Jaffna Social Action Centre, Viluthu and Women’s Resource Centre.
EVALUATION PURPOSE & SCOPE
Upon completion, the evaluation findings will be incorporated in the final project report to PBSO highlighting overall achievements, lessons learned and best practices. Covering the entire project life cycle from November 2018 to October 2020, the summative evaluation will generate vital evidence on progress towards peacebuilding impacts and examine the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and contributions towards gender equality objectives of the programmatic interventions for national and local stakeholders and rights-holders in all three target districts. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only caused implementation delays, but also brought on further social and economic instability on the FHHs and the widows and has exacerbated their acute vulnerabilities to sexual bribery and exploitation. In view of these ongoing challenges, the evaluation will be guided first and foremost by the ‘Do No Harm’ principle and adjust its methodology as required in the process to adhere to ethics and safety guidelines. The sensitive nature of sexual bribery in the context of the pandemic will necessitate additional time and resources to set up the conditions conducive for proper data collection efforts to take place. Accordingly, a flexible approach will be adopted and the evaluation scope and methodology will be finalized in the inception stage with stakeholder consultations and following a rapid assessment, thus may not cover all areas of the Evaluation Criteria attached below.
Table 1. Evaluation Criteria
In addition to fulfilling donor obligations, the final evaluation will allow UN Women, UNDP and implementing partners to demonstrate accountability to stakeholders and beneficiaries with reliable and credible information on the achievement of results or lack thereof. The evaluation will enhance organizational learning, especially on programmatic adaptations in times of global crises, and improve future initiatives by producing substantive, evidence-based knowledge to inform decision-making on key components and functions of program design and implementation. To facilitate learning, UN Women will share the evaluation products within six weeks following completion and adopt an external and internal dissemination strategy. At minimum, the final evaluation report will be publicly accessible on UN Women’s Global Accountability and Tracking of Evaluation Use (GATE) website.
The evaluation will be jointly led by UN Women and UNDP. Two stakeholder groups – Evaluation Management (EMG) and Evaluation Reference (ERG) – will be established and engaged systematically at key milestones of the evaluation process to facilitate the conduct of a transparent and participatory evaluation. It is the responsibility of the EMG, with contextual and technical inputs from ERG where applicable, to approve the final evaluation terms of reference, selection of the evaluation team and all evaluation outputs and methodological decisions. The EMG is comprised of UN Women and UNDP program and M&E focal points for the project under evaluation, a regional evaluation specialist at the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and representatives from main CSO partner, CEJ. The EMG will be chaired by a representative of the senior management at UN WOMEN Sri Lanka. The EMG, led by recipient organizations UN Women and UNDP, will also produce a management response to evaluation recommendations within one month of the approval of the final project report to PBSO per PBF guidance and share findings as outlined in the evaluation dissemination strategy.
In parallel, the ERG will include a technical specialist at UN Women Regional Office and a PBSO representative. The ERG will be consulted to validate and provide feedback to strengthen the accuracy, relevancy and quality of the deliverables listed in Section VIII. The detailed roles and responsibilities of the EMG and ERG are clarified through separate terms of references. The evaluation team is required to maintain a systematic record of the inputs from EMG and ERG and the responses given and revisions made to relevant evaluation deliverables using the Evaluation Product Comment Template included in the UN Women Evaluation Handbook.
The final evaluation will be an impartial, transparent and participatory process involving relevant stakeholders and partners. The overall evaluation design will be non-experimental and rely primarily on qualitative data collection and analysis methods aligned with the principles of gender equality and human rights. The rationale behind key methodological decisions, including sample selection and data collection tool development and administration, and their limitations should be systematically elaborated in the evaluation outputs. To ensure accuracy and credibility of the findings, data should be triangulated with the use of multiple primary and secondary data collection methods and sources, including but not limited to desk reviews, document analysis, key informant interviews with rights-holders and thematic experts and case studies, and reviewed and validated through consultations with the evaluation management and reference groups.
A Rapid Assessment (RA) must be carried out as the first task of the evaluation team to finalize key evaluation criteria and corresponding questions and to inform the design and methodological choices in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Remote data collection methods, i.e. telephone and online/virtual interviews to capture primary data, may be applicable under these ever-changing, volatile circumstances to ensure the safety of all involved and to strictly abide by government regulations. In addition, the RA should assess the availability and quality of existing data, and identify specific, feasible objectives and areas of assessment for the evaluation from the full set of criteria listed in Section III. An Evaluation Matrix should be developed as part of the Inception Report based on findings of the RA and insights from relevant stakeholders, including UN Women, UNDP, PBSO/PBF and implementing partners CEJ and Chrysalis, and the review of available project-related information. The templates and guidelines for the Matrix and the Inception Report are provided in the UN Women Evaluation Handbook. The following information will be supplied by UN Women and implementing partners to support the RA process:
The evaluation team will facilitate the review and finalization of all evaluation outputs by directly participating in and contributing to relevant in-person or virtual workshops and meetings held for such purposes. Evaluation processes and methods should be culturally sensitive and ethically valid to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the participants and should not cause physical or emotional distress. The evaluation team should closely consult UN Women’s Pocket Toolkit for conducting evaluations during the pandemic, strictly abide by the “Do No Harm” principle and as noted in the quality assurance procedures outlined Section I, be familiar with the referenced documents, especially the GERAAS Evaluation Report Quality Assessment Checklist attached in the Annex 1 of this document as a guidance for conducting the evaluation and drafting the final evaluation report.
Duties and Responsibilities
DURATION OF ASSIGNMENT AND RESPECTIVE ROLES OF TEAM MEMBERS
The National Consultant’s contract will be supervised and financed by UN WOMEN and UNDP. The tentative duration of assignment is between 10 August – 30 October 2020 with an estimate of 65 working days allocated equally across all evaluation stages. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the contract duration and requirements may change based on the measures imposed by the government and by the UN. The consultant(s) must demonstrate flexibility given such shifting conditions.
The International and National consultants will be jointly responsible for the completion and submission of the deliverables outlined below. The International Consultant’s responsibilities include the provision of technical expertise and overall direction in support of the data collection and field efforts led by the National Consultant and the management of all communication and coordination with the Evaluation Management and Reference Groups. Whereas the International Consultant’s assignment will be home-based (remote) with no travel to the project sites, the National Consultant will be primarily responsible for the application of the evaluation plan in Colombo and the three districts, including conducting field interviews with beneficiaries and liaising directly with district-level implementing partners and stakeholders. As one team, the consultants are expected to work collaboratively and contribute equally to all deliverable in general and particularly to decision-making processes, particularly in the design of the evaluation methodology and analysis of key findings and recommendations.
EXPECTED DELIVERABLES AND TENTATIVE TIMEFRAME
The evaluation team should have both personal and professional integrity and abide by the UNEG Ethical Guidelines for evaluation and the UNEG Code of Conduct for Evaluation in the UN system to ensure that the rights of individuals involved in the evaluation are respected. The evaluation team must act with cultural sensitivity and pay attention to protocols, codes and recommendations that may be relevant to their interactions with women. As part of the Inception Report, the evaluation team will develop a specific protocol for the conduct of the evaluation and data collection in line with WHO Guidelines on conducting research on violence against women. All data collected through the evaluation is property of UN Women and must be provided to the organization, if requested, in a word format. In addition, UN Women information security policy on protecting the integrity and confidentiality of data must be adhered to. The evaluation team must explicitly declare their independence from any organizations that have been involved in designing, executing or advising any aspect of the UN Women Sri Lanka project that is the subject of evaluation. The selection process will ensure that the evaluation team does not have any relationship with the project in the past, present or foreseen in the near future. If any wrongdoing is uncovered, the UN Women Legal Framework for addressing non-compliance with UN conduct must be followed.
Required Skills and Experience
SUBMISSION OF APPLICATION AND DEADLINE
Interested candidates are requested to submit an electronic application with technical and financial proposals email@example.com with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org to no later than 30 July 2020. The financial proposal should provide professional fees as a lump sum amount for each deliverable, as well as travel-related costs. The submission package should include:
* The cost of economic and direct travel on mission must be pre-approved by the Programme Analyst of UN Women Sri Lanka and it is reimbursable based on UN Women’s travel guidelines.
** Given the developing Covid-19 context, there could be a scenario where travel to the field is not required and/or permitted and as a result, data collection methods will need to unfold in a remote manner.
The reimbursement of travel-related costs will therefore rely on the conditions posed by the ability/inability to travel to the field.
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