International Consultant – SD4E (Consolidation phase) Midterm Evaluation


Location : Home-based with one 5-day mission to Tirana, Albania
Application Deadline :15-Apr-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Time left :3d 11h 38m
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Expected Duration of Assignment :May – June, 2021


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

Albania is a middle-income country that over the past two and half decades has made a significant stride in establishing a consolidated market economy. Due to strong growth performance (annual growth rate at 6%), Albania grew from the poorest nation in Europe in the early 1990s to the status of middle-income country in 2008. Despite the growth trend, the structure of the country’s economy is dominated by small enterprises (95%), which even if substantially contributing in terms of both economic growth and employment, have limited potential for job creation. With a narrow export and production base, and limited innovation capacities, the competitiveness of Albania’s economy is weak.

The Albanian Government has committed to transforming the economy from an import-dependent, consumption-based, and informal economy, to one that is based on sustainable job-creation and increased productivity. As such, it has largely recognized the need to systematically address employment by re-orienting the vocational education and training system towards labor market needs and modernizing and extending the outreach of employment services.

The ‘Skills Development for Employment (SD4E) programme – consolidation phase’ continues to support the Government of Albania in the national VET and Employment reform through a comprehensive approach of institutional capacity building on a macro/policy level, enabling key actors (MFE, NES/NAES and NAVETQ) to deliver coordinated and demand-driven services. Responding to national priorities and the objectives of the National Employment and Skills Strategy, this Swiss funded intervention has the ambition to make a systemic contribution where the Albanian VET system and Employment Service supply the labour market with a skilled workforce that contributes to sustainable and inclusive economic development of the country.

To achieve the programme purpose and finally the programme goal, the programme focuses in 3 strategic fields that will aim to improve the governance and quality of service provision in VET and employment promotion in Albania.

Outcome 1: The institutional capacity of key actors in VET and Employment (Ministry, NAVETQ, NAES) is strengthened

Outcome 2: The employment service portfolio is based on a balanced demand-and supply-side oriented approach

Outcome 3: A standardized Quality Assurance (QA) framework is in place that improves the image of VET and fosters linkages between school and world of work.

The project, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Coordination (SDC) is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Finance and Economics, through a participatory and consultative approach of development cooperation, fostering the sustainable development of national capacities. At the core of the intervention is the ambition to strength national key institutions in VET and Employment Promotion, through multilayer capacity building plans, the introduction of multiplier training elements, the collaborative development and roll-out of effective instruments for service delivery and innovative tools for Quality Assurance of day-to-day policy implementation.

The operationalization of the programme commenced in January 2019, and it has now completed two years of implementation.


Duties and Responsibilities

This assignment relates to the Midterm Review of the SD4E programme. The objective of the Midterm Review is to assess progress made towards the achievement of programme objectives and outcomes as specified in the Programme Document. In addition, it will assess early signs of programme successes and/or failures with the goal of identifying necessary changes to be made in order to set the programme on-track to achieving its intended results. The Midterm Review will also review the programme strategy, and potential risks to the sustainability of its interventions. Overall, the Midterm Review is intended to have a formative nature and it intends to improve the programme’s performance in the second half of the implementation phase.

The Midterm Review is expected to provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful. The Midterm Review team, composed of one international consultant that will be the Team Leader and one national consultant, is expected to review all relevant sources of information including documents prepared by the SD4E programme team (i.e. Programme Document, semi-annual and annual reports, quality assurance documentation, national strategic and legal documents, and any other materials that the team considers useful for this evidence-based review).

The Midterm Review team is expected to follow a collaborative and participatory approach ensuring close engagement with the SD4E Programme team, government counterparts (Ministry of Finance and Economy, National Agency for Employment and Skills, National Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Qualifications), the UNDP Country Office, the Swiss Embassy in Tirana, and other key stakeholders. A brief proposed methodology is expected to be submitted jointly with the application for this post, whereas a detailed methodology and data collection methods will be included in the Inception Report (for further details see section on deliverables).

Evaluation Criteria and Key Guiding Questions

The programme will be evaluated based on the DAC evaluation criteria: 

  • Relevance: measures whether the programme addresses an important development goal and whether its objectives are still valid.
  • Effectiveness: measures whether the programme activities achieve its goal.
  • Efficiency:  measures the cost effectiveness, i.e. the economic use of resources to achieve desired results. 
  • Sustainability: measures whether the benefits of the programme are likely to continue after donor funding has been withdrawn. The programme needs to be environmentally as well as financially sustainable.
  • Impacts of intervention:  measure the positive and negative changes produced by the programme, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended.

The Midterm Review will assess four areas of programme progress: 1) Project strategy; 2) Progress towards results; 3) Programme implementation and adaptive management; and, 4) Sustainability. More specifically, for each of these areas, the Midterm Review team should carry out the following:

  1. Programme Strategy:
  • Review the problem addressed by the programme and the underlying assumptions. Review the effect of any incorrect assumptions or changes to the context to achieving the programme results as outlined in the Programme Document.
  • Review the relevance of the programme strategy and assess whether it provides the most effective route towards expected/intended results. Were lessons from other relevant projects properly incorporated into the project design?
  • Review how the programme addresses country priorities. Review country ownership. Was the programme concept in line with the national sector development priorities and plans of the country?
  • Review the extent to which relevant gender issues were raised in the programme design.
  • Undertake a critical analysis of the programme’s log-frame indicators and targets and suggest specific amendments/revisions to the targets and indicators as necessary.
  • Assess whether the programme’s objectives and outcomes or components are clear, practical, and feasible within its time frame
  • Identify gaps in the SD4E approach not foreseen when defining the programme strategy that should be addressed to achieve more system-wide impact
  • Examine if progress so far has led to, or could in the future catalyze beneficial development effects
  • Assessment of the intervention strategy progress with the shift from TA to capacity building
  1. Progress towards results:
  • Review the log-frame indicators against progress made towards the end-of-programme targets.
  • Identify remaining barriers to achieving the programme objective during the remaining implementation timeframe.
  • By reviewing the aspects of the programme that have already been successful, identify ways in which the programme can further expand these benefits.
  1. Programme implementation and adaptive management
  • Review overall effectiveness of programme management as outlined in the Programme Document. Have changes been made and are they effective? Are responsibilities and reporting lines clear? Is decision-making transparent and undertaken in a timely manner? Recommend areas for improvement.
  • Review any delays in programme’s start-up and implementation, identify the causes and examine if they have been resolved.
  • Are work-planning processes results-based? If not, suggest ways to re-orientate work planning to  focus on results?
  • Examine the use of the programme’s results framework/ log-frame as a management tool and review any changes made to it since project start.
  • Review the monitoring tools currently being used: Do they provide the necessary information? Do

they involve key partners? Are they aligned or mainstreamed with national systems? Do they use

  • existing information? Are they efficient? Are they cost-effective? Are additional tools required? How could they be made more participatory and inclusive?
  • Examine the financial management of the project monitoring and evaluation budget. Are sufficient resources being allocated to monitoring and evaluation? Are these resources being allocated effectively?
  • Project management: Has the project developed and leveraged the necessary and appropriate

partnerships with direct and tangential stakeholders?

  • Coordination with other projects: How has the programme interacted and coordinated with other Swiss/non Swiss project implementers and vice versa, with a particular focus on the synergies with S4J, as well as Risi Albania? Is there room for improvement and closer collaboration?
  • Participation and country-driven processes: Do local and national government stakeholders support the objectives of the project? Do they continue to have an active role in project decision-making that supports efficient and effective project implementation?
  • Participation and public awareness: To what extent has stakeholder involvement and public awareness contributed to the progress towards achievement of project objectives?
  • Assessment of the adaptive management in the wake of earthquake and covid: whether further adaptations are recommended as a Covid response.
  1. Sustainability
  • Validate whether the risks identified in the Programme Document, Annual Project Review/ and the ATLAS Risk Management Module are the most important and whether the risk ratings applied are appropriate and up to date. Assess the project team’s risk management in general.
  • What is the risk that the level of stakeholder ownership (including ownership by governments, allocation of sufficient state budget resources and other key stakeholders) will be insufficient to allow for the programme’s outcomes/benefits to be sustained? Do the various key stakeholders see that it is in their interest that the programme benefits continue to flow? Is there sufficient public / stakeholder awareness in support of the long term objectives of the programme? Are lessons learned being documented by the Programme Team on a continual basis and shared/ transferred to appropriate parties who could learn from the programme and potentially replicate and/or scale it in the future?

Deliverables

No.

Deliverable

Description

Timing

Responsibilities

1.

Field mission report

Midterm review team clarifies the objectives and methods to be used during the review. Hold a briefing and a debriefing session with the donor agency. Organize meeting with all the relevant stakeholders.

No later than 2 weeks from the Midterm Review mission date

The Midterm Review Team submits the report to UNDP

2.

Presentation

Initial findings

End of the Midterm Review mission

The Midterm Review Team submits the report

3.

Draft Final Report

Full report

Within 3 weeks from the Midterm Review mission

Send to UNDP

4.

Final report

Revised report detailing how all the received comments have / have not been addressed in the final report

Within 1 week of receiving feedback on draft report

Send to UNDP


Competencies

Core Values

Integrity:

  • Demonstrate consistency in upholding and promoting the values of UN in actions and decisions, in line with the UN Code of Conduct.

Professionalism:

  • Demonstrate professional competence and expert knowledge of the pertinent substantive areas of work.

Cultural sensitivity and respect for diversity:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the multicultural nature of the organization and the diversity of its staff;
  • Additionally, the individual should have an international outlook, appreciating difference in values and learning from cultural diversity.

Core Competencies:

Communication:

  • Facilitate and encourage open communication and strive for effective communication.

Planning & Organizing:

  • Develops clear goals in line with agreed strategies, identifies priorities, foresees risks and makes allowances accordingly.

Organizational Awareness:

  • Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment.

Teamwork:

  • Demonstrate ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.

Accountability:

  • Takes ownership of all responsibilities and delivers outputs in accordance with agreed time, cost and quality standards.

Functional Competencies:

  • Strong analytical and M&E skills;
  • Demonstrates leadership, team building and coordinating skills;
  • Plans and produces quality results to meet established goals;
  • Generates innovative, practical solutions to challenging situations;
  • Conceptualizes and analyzes problems to identify key issues, underlying problems, and how they relate;
  • Demonstrates substantive and technical knowledge to meet responsibilities and post requirements with excellence;
  • Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
  • Responds positively to critical feedback and differing points of view.


Required Skills and Experience

Education

  • Post-graduate degree in social sciences, international relations, political science, evaluation, international development or a related subject.

Work experience

  • Substantial technical knowledge on monitoring and evaluation of development programmes, and at least 10 years of relevant working experience.
  • Documented previous experience in evaluations in the UN system, and a solid understanding on the use of evaluation methodologies.
  • Prior experience in employment / skills development related programmes is desirable.
  • Demonstrated capacity in strategic thinking and policy advice.
  • Strong inter-personal, teamwork and organizational skills.
  • Excellent drafting skills and familiarity with information technology.

Language

  • Excellent communication and report-writing skills in English

Evaluation Procedure

UNDP applies a fair and transparent selection process that would take into account both the technical qualification of Individual Consultants as well as their financial proposals. The contract will be awarded to the candidate whose offer:

  • Is deemed technically responsive / compliant / acceptable (only technically responsive applications / candidates will be considered for the financial evaluation)
  • And has obtained the highest combined technical and financial scores.

Technical Criteria - 70% of total evaluation – max points: 70

Criteria A: Substantial technical knowledge on monitoring and evaluation of development programmes, and at least 10 years of relevant working experience; Documented previous experience in evaluations in the UN system, and a solid understanding on the use of evaluation methodologies– max points: 25

Criteria B: Educational background – max points: 15

Criteria C: Prior experience in employment / skills development related programmes is desirable – max points: 10

Criteria D: Adequacy of brief proposed methodology – max points: 20

Financial Criteria - 30% of total evaluation – max points: 30

UNDP retains the right to contact references directly. Due to large number of applications, we receive, we are able to inform only the successful candidates about the outcome or status of the selection process.

 

Application Procedure 

Interested applicants are advised to carefully study all sections of this ToRs and ensure that they meet the general requirements as well as specific qualifications described. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please make sure you have provided all requested materials. 

The application should contain: 

  • Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position. Please paste the letter into the "Resume and Motivation" section of the electronic application. 
  • Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability & Financial Proposal Form - please fill in the attached form. Download Here (kindly use FireFox Browser)
  • Filled P11 form including past experience in similar projects and contact details of referees, please upload the P11 instead of your CV. Download Here (kindly use FireFox Browser)
  • Financial Proposal in USD*- specifying a Total Lump Sum in the United States Dollar for the tasks specified in this announcement. Please note that the financial proposal is all-inclusive and shall take into account various expenses incurred by the consultant during the contract period (e.g. fee and any other relevant expenses related to the performance of services). 
  • Copy of Diplomas and copy of Passport. 
  • Technical proposal – specifying the methodology which the consultant will employ to conduct this assignment.

*Kindly note that Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability and Financial Proposal are two separate documents and should be both part of your application. 

How to Submit the Application

To submit your application online, please follow the steps below: 

  • Download and complete the UN Personal History Form (P11) for Service Contracts (SCs) and Individual Contracts (ICs); 
  • Merge your UN Personal History Form (P11) for Service Contracts (SCs) and Individual Contracts (ICs), Financial Proposal Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability and cover letter into a single file. The system does not allow for more than one attachment to be uploaded; 
  • Click on the Job Title (job vacancy announcement); 
  • Click “Apply Now” button, fill in necessary information on the first page, and then click “Submit Application;” 
  • Upload your application/single file as indicated above with the merged documents (underlined above); 
  • You will receive an automatic response to your email confirming receipt of your application by the system. 

Due to large number of applications we receive, we are able to inform only the successful candidates about the outcome or status of the selection process. 

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. 



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