Consultancy – Midterm Evaluation (MTE) of the Multi-Country Project “Accelerator Lab Network, BPPS/UNDP -Home based

Location : Home Based
Application Deadline :15-Dec-20 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :3 months, 55 Working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :3 months, 55 Working days

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.


UNDP set out in 2019 to build the world’s largest and fastest learning network on wicked sustainable development challenges. Today, 60 Lab teams covering 78 countries are now up and running within the United Nations, creating actionable intelligence and testing solutions with national partners. Soon, 32 more Labs are joining the network and the reach will be 116 countries.

UNDP is doing development differently because the pace and complexity of today’s challenges are increasing. The design of the UNDP Accelerator Lab Network builds on a growing body of innovation work that approaches sustainable development as a wicked problem, with a high level of uncertainty and for which ex ante targets do not work, and best practices do not exist. This dynamic new capability for decision makers to explore, experiment, and grow portfolios of mutually reinforcing solutions to tackle today’s challenges. 

The Accelerator Lab network is part of UNDP’s broader efforts to expand the way the organization invests, thinks about and delivers development. Working with climate change, poverty reduction and governance experts throughout UNDP, our 60 Accelerator Labs around the world are now testing new ways of working to address social and environmental challenges

The Labs roll out actionable plans in short periods to address local challenges, applying innovative methodologies. As part of the journey, the Labs act as a catalyzer by bringing together other elements of UNDP, the UN, traditional and non-traditional actors to identify, test, and improve local solutions with the potential to be scaled up. In testing different methodologies and solutions, the Accelerator Labs Network is generating data, intelligence, and insights, thus creating the fastest and largest learning Network to accelerate actionable knowledge for sustainable development.

We set out to test the hypothesis that a network of Labs can accelerate learning on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sustainable development. Our network builds on what we have learned from public sector innovation labs around the world – that operating in silos undermines the great work they do. The UNDP Accelerator Labs are sharing actionable learning on a daily basis. As part of a globally integrated network, each Lab draws inspiration from solutions – both those generated locally and those identified by the network. They benefit from each other in real-time, creating powerful collective learning effects. Messaging channels have emerged organically among the UNDP Accelerator Labs’ teams across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. We see the synapses of the network firing on multiple instant channels. This creates the opportunity to surface ideas that are on the horizon but not yet part of mainstream development and allows for new approaches to unfold across many different contexts in a low-risk way.

The UNDP Accelerator Lab Network is also an experiment in how to design, deliver and evaluate innovation work.  As such the network evaluation should be designed to:

  • Strike a balance between flexibility and iteration alongside accountability and rigor.
  • Demonstrate data-driven progress to ensure accountability
  • Find ways to experiment to create new models of results-driven management suited for non-linear development paths.

UNDP is seeking an external international consultant for the Mid-term Evaluation (MTE) aimed to collect knowledge and aggregate learnings on the trajectory of this at-scale experiment, based on the journey of Accelerator Labs in their national contexts.

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Purpose of the Mid-term Evaluation

The MTE will cover January 2019 to October 2020, with a focus on July 2019-October 2020.

This evaluation intends to move away from traditional Monitoring and Evaluation experiences by exploring and experimenting new ways of evaluating innovation projects. The evaluation should embrace the latest developments in public sector innovation such as systems thinking, complexity science, portfolio approaches and foresight/alternative futures. This mid term evaluation will satisfy the fundamentals of traditional monitoring and evaluation, while also testing new models for increased agility and accessibility.

At the same time it is a forward-looking evaluation and will capture effectively lessons learned and provide information on the nature, extent, and where possible, the potential impact and sustainability of the Accelerator Labs project.The focus is relevance to current context, success in achieving outcomes designed at the outset as well as capturing the unforeseen ripple effects which may include sustainable and forward-thinking development practices, nurturing resourcefulness, building useful networks, influencing policy, and encouraging productive, adaptive innovation among others.

The MTE will gather and analyze lessons learned, challenges faced, and emerging practice over the last year which will inform and provide recommendations for the second phase of implementation of the initial 60 Accelerator Labs, as well as the expansion of the Accelerator Lab network.

The findings and recommendations of the evaluation will inform the key stakeholders of this evaluation; UNDP Executive Office, Bureau of Policy and Programme Support, Regional Bureaus andCountry Offices, as well as critical partners at the global level and those working alongside the Labs at the country level, from the public, private and academic sectors.

2. Mid-term Evaluation objectives

2.1. Scope

The purpose of this MTE is to A) an independent assessment that builds a narrative around current projects outcomes as well as improve its implementation and make necessary course corrections in the vision for transforming UNDP into a learning network. B) propose and test a new models for tracking results  that can better take into account nonlinear progress, ripple effects and unintended consequences. C) Provide tangible knowledge, examples and reliable evidence of whether these innovative approaches are having an impact, how and why.

For the assessment around the current project outcomes The outputs of the project are as follows:

Output 1: A key result of this project will be that UNDP Country Offices and partners will have increased capability for scanning, sensemaking, and experimentation for sustainable development solutions. This means that the Accelerator labs will uncover what sources of data may already exist - looking for unusual data sources, including those in the public sector, the private sector, and elsewhere. Scanning and sensemaking infrastructure through 90 Accelerator Lab will unearth local solutions for sustainable development and increase collective intelligence to drive forward sustainable development, using democratic and market-driven principles as drivers. These capabilities will be honed with national partners and form a new service line to national counterparts.

Output 2: Where successful, new sustainable development solutions will be scaled at country level as part of UNDP’s country programme and operations. A key indicator of success will be the relative take up of the solutions and collective intelligence identified – either within policy, grafting onto UNDP programmes or through market means as independent ventures.

Output 3: A core global level result will be that a global learning and scaling network is established and functioning. Our objective is to build a network Country Accelerator Labs as the largest, fastest global learning network on development challenges. The Network will surface and reinforce locally-sourced solutions at scale while mobilizing a wide and dynamic partnership of actors contributing knowledge, resources, and experience. Once experiments are successful, scaling will target the improvement of UNDP operations, public policy changes, and synthesis and influence within other emergent innovation networks.

2.2 Evaluation Questions

Considering the Outputs of the project, the following key questions will guide the MTE:

  1. Have the labs been able to increase capabilities at the country level for scanning, sensemaking and experimentation.
  2. Are the Accelerator Labs helping scale new sustainable development solutions into UNDP country program and operations, and/or making inroads to national policy and partners and or local markets?
  3. Are the Accelerator Labs connected in a network that promotes learning on sustainable development?

The unit of the MTE is the Accelerator Lab Network, understood as a whole. However, it is recommended to zoom into a preselected sample of the 60 Labs to draw recommendations based on facts found at the individual (Lab) level of implementation.

3. MTE methods, process, and timeframe

Proposals are expected to include innovative evaluation frameworks that adhere to the nature of this distributed network and takes into account ripple effects of innovation.

The evaluation will need to tap in to a diverse variety of textual data sources on the lab network including:

  • WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams channels scraping, Sense maker Micronarratives, Weekly Reflections, access to UNDP Accelerator Lab blogs, which serve as learning reports.
  • In-depth analysis via remote connection in at least five Accelerator Lab and partners  (one per Region) employing several evaluation methods to gain diverse perspectives.
  • Sense-making sessions with global and country lab teams and others to abstract patterns

4. MTE Process

Suggested steps for the process:

Step 1: Inception meeting (desk review and meetings

Step 2: Submission of Inception Report

Step 3: Data collection (mixed methods)

Step 4: Data analysis

Step 5: Share preliminary findings and presentation draft report with the project team

Step 6: Draw conclusions and make recommendations (analysis and report writing)

Step 7: Draft report and finalization of the MTE report.

Step 8: Dissemination of MTE report and plan specific steps for the utilization of MTE data. Data visualization is important, as the report intends to be socialized in different audiences and formats.  The evaluator will help create multiple formats to convey the findings, including a presentation, infographics, and social media posters.

The project team will develop a dissemination plan to make the finding and insights available to the Labs, UNDP management, UNDP in general, partners, donors, and interested public.

The evaluator/s is expected to commit to 55 working days over four months

5. Deliverables

a) Deliverable 1:  Results Framework report

This is a standard evaluation, following UNEG guidance. It should focus on the extent to which the network has been able to increase capabilities at the country level for scanning, sensemaking and experimentation and the extent to which they are connected in a network that promotes learning on sustainable development. It should be 15 pages maximum, jargon-free narrative that includes visual compelling results design, innovative ways of representing data and be a product that is easy to digest and socialize within the network in order to take the recommendations forward.

b) Deliverable 2. Options for Experimental Results Models

The evaluator will propose 2-3 new models and field test at least one model for assessing results in innovation projects that can take into account the difficulty of setting ex-ante goals for innovation work and the nonlinear progress that is inherent in complex problem solving.

c) Deliverable 3.  Case Studies

Case studies responding to each of these three questions:

  1. To what extent are the Lab's influencing the way UNDP works at the country level? What are example of decisions or pivots based on solutions, insights and tests coming from the labs?
  2. How have the Accelerator Labs, Digital strategy and strategic innovation affected UNDP’s agility in response to the socio-economic impact of COVID-19?
  3. How is the portfolio approach being taken forward in select countries as a way to approach systems transformation? What does this indicate for the organization and its approach to scale in the future?

The evaluator is expected to conduct a 1 hour presentation for each case study and draft 1-2 page briefs on each of these areas.

6. Management arrangements

The evaluator will work in close collaboration and consultation with project staff and management structure as per below:

Roles and responsibilities

Global Accelerator Lab Team

  • Safeguard of the independence of the evaluation and ensure the quality of evaluations
  • Provide feedback and guidance during the inception report, draft reports, and final reports
  • Prepare a management response to the evaluation and ensure the implementation of committed actions in the management response
  • Provide input to prepare dissemination of findings

Global Team- Monitoring, Experimentation and Learning Specialist

  • Main contact point for the evaluator.
  • Coordinate contributions from the project perspective
  • Participate in the review of the evaluation methodology and provide comments to the evaluator
  • Oversee the process of the evaluation
  • Facilitate evaluation by providing relevant documents and contacts
  • Facilitate and ensure the preparation and implementation of pertinent management responses
  • Facilitate and ensure knowledge sharing and use of evaluation information

Coordinate with Labs to arrange meetings with the evaluator.

Technical Committee.

  • Support the process at the technical level and provide regular reports to Team Leader
  • Participate in various steps of the evaluation management process such as inception meeting and commenting on draft reports to ensure evaluation quality.


  • Lead the evaluation process
  • Manage the evaluation process in a timely manner
  • Communicate with the project team
  • Conduct field visits to the project sites identified and collect data
  • Report to project team when required
  • Produce the inception report
  • Produce the final report
  • Participate in dissemination workshops organized by the project team and present findings of the reports

7. Timeframe

The evaluation will be conducted in January -March 2021 for an estimated 55 working days.


  • Excellent English writing and communication skills.
  • Excellent in human relations, coordination, planning and team work.
  • Excellent in delivery of quality reports with in a given time frame.

Required Skills and Experience

Academic qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree in Programme Evaluation, Social Sciences or related fields. Required


  • Evaluator should have a minimum of 10 years of relevant experiece in programme evaluation. Required
  • Experience and Knowledge in  participatory monitoring and evaluation processes, and in evaluation of innovation and development projects. Required
  • Experience in working with international organizations in similar evaluations. Desirable
  • Demonstrated experience in a social mission-driven organization with global scale, and preferably with multicultural and remote teams.  Desirable
  • Demonstrated experience  to create visually compelling reports and/or representations of data. Desirable


  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required;
  • Working knowledge of Spanish and French would be an asset

Application Procedure

The application package containing the following (to be uploaded as one file):

  • A cover letter with a brief description of why the Offer considers her/himself the most suitable for the assignment;
  • Personal CV or P11, indicating all past experience from similar projects and specifying the relevant assignment period (from/to), as well as the email and telephone contacts of at least three (3) professional references; and
  • A two-page methodology on how the Offeror will conduct the work including a Work Plan and approach in delivering the required outputs within the assignment period. Required

Note: The above documents need to be scanned in one file and uploaded to the online application as one document.

Shortlisted candidates (ONLY) will be requested to submit a Financial Proposal.

  • The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment terms around the specific and measurable deliverables of the TOR. Payments are based upon output, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR, and deliverables accepted and certified by the technical manager. 
  • The financial proposal must be all-inclusive and take into account various expenses that will be incurred during the contract, including: the daily professional fee; (excluding mission travel); living allowances at the duty station; communications, utilities and consumables; life, health and any other insurance; risks and inconveniences related to work under hardship and hazardous conditions (e.g., personal security needs, etc.), when applicable; and any other relevant expenses related to the performance of services under the contract.
  • This consultancy is a home-based assignment, therefore, there is no envisaged travel cost to join duty station/repatriation travel. 
  • In the case of unforeseeable travel requested by UNDP, payment of travel costs including tickets, lodging and terminal expenses should be agreed upon, between UNDP and Individual Consultant, prior to travel and will be reimbursed. In general, UNDP should not accept travel costs exceeding those of an economy class ticket. Should the IC wish to travel on a higher class he/she should do so using their own resources.
  • If the Offeror 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 a Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the Offeror must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP.

The Financial Proposal is to be emailed as per the instruction in the separate email that will be sent to shortlisted candidates.

Evaluation process

Applicants are reviewed based on Required Skills and Experience stated above and based on the technical evaluation criteria outlined below.  Applicants will be evaluated based on cumulative scoring.  When using this weighted scoring method, the award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

  • Being responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
  • Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation where technical criteria weighs 70% and Financial criteria/ Proposal weighs 30%.

Technical evaluation - Total 70% (70 points):

  • Criteria 1. Relevance of the experience  in programme evaluation, and evaluation of innovation and development projects .  Weight = 10%; Maximum Points: 10;
  • Criteria 2. Demonstrated experience in a social mission-driven organization with global scale, and preferably with multicultural and remote teams. Weight = 10%; Maximum Points:10;
  • Criteria 3. Demonstrated experience to create visually compelling reports and/or representations of data. Weight = 10 %; Maximum Points: 10;
  • Criteria 4. Knowledge of Spanish or French language to conduct interviews  Weight = 5%; Maximum Points: 5;
  • Criteria 6. Quality of the methodology proposed (accounts for contingencies and innovative approaches to accommodate remote collaboration)  Weight = 15 %; Maximum Points: 15;
  • Criteria 7. Interview Weight = 20 %; Maximum Points: 20

Having reviewed applications received, UNDP will invite the top three shortlisted candidates for interview. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Candidates obtaining a minimum of 70% (49 points) of the maximum obtainable points for the technical criteria (70 points) shall be considered for the financial evaluation.

Financial evaluation - Total 30% (30 points)

The following formula will be used to evaluate financial proposal:

p = y (µ/z), where

p = points for the financial proposal being evaluated

y = maximum number of points for the financial proposal

µ = price of the lowest priced proposal

z = price of the proposal being evaluated

Contract Award

Candidate obtaining the highest combined scores in the combined score of Technical and Financial evaluation will be considered technically qualified and will be offered to enter into contract with UNDP.

Institutional arrangement

The consultant will work under the guidance and direct supervision of Monitoring, Experimentation and Learning Specialist, and will be responsible for the fulfilment of the deliverables as specified above.

Payment modality

  •  Payments are based upon output, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified above and deliverables accepted and upon certification of satisfactory completion by the manager. 
  • The work week will be based on 35 hours, i.e. on a 7 hour working day, with core hours being between 9h00 and 18h00 daily.


Annexes (click on the hyperlink to access the documents):

Annex 1 - UNDP P-11 Form for ICs

Annex 2 - IC Contract Template

Annex 3 – IC General Terms and Conditions

Annex 4 – RLA Template

Any request for clarification must be sent by email to 

The UNDP Central Procurement Unit will respond by email and will send written copies of the response, including an explanation of the query without identifying the source of inquiry, to all applicants.

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© 2016 United Nations Development Programme