National Consultant, Final Evaluation of UNDP UXO program in Lao PDR


Location : Vientiane, LAO PDR
Application Deadline :19-May-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
26-May-2021
Duration of Initial Contract :20 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :May - July 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

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is, per capita, the most heavily bombed country in the world. More than forty years after the end of the 1964-1973 Indochina Conflict, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) remains a major humanitarian and socioeconomic challenge to the country, causing deaths and injuries, limiting access to potentially productive land, and adding substantial costs to processes of development. The Government of Lao PDR has been active in the process of clearance since shortly after the conflict. Lao PDR has advocated for the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and hosted the first Meeting of States Parties in 2010. It also embraced the UXO issue as a key development matter by locally establishing the Sustainable Development Goal 18 (SDG18), “Lives Safe from UXO”.

The current National Strategic Plan for the UXO Sector in the Lao PDR 2011–2020, “The Safe Path Forward II” (SPFII) details the goal of the Government and its development partners over the 2011 -2020 period is to reduce the humanitarian and socio-economic threats posed by UXO to the point where the residual contamination and challenges can be adequately addressed by a sustainable national capacity fully integrated into the regular institutional set-up of the Government.
The UNDP and Government of Lao PDR (GoL) has implemented “Moving towards achieving SDG 18 - Removing the UXO obstacle to Development in Lao PDR” project since 2017. The project has been designed based on the recommendations of the 2015 evaluation of UNDP’s ongoing support to the UXO sector, as well as the decision by the Government of Lao and UNDP to utilise a project modality in lieu of the Trust Fund, and is aligned with the Government of Lao’s 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (8th NSEDP), UXO Sector SPF II 2011-2020, UXO Sector 5-year plan 2016-2020 as well as national gender equality strategies and relevant international conventions, and norms. It will contribute to progress towards achieving the national SDG18.
Capacity development is the key expected result of this project for both Implementing Partners, the NRA and UXO Lao. This project provides the programmatic and technical support necessary for the national institutions within the UXO sector (NRA and UXO Lao) to pursue the targets set out in the UXO Sector Five Year Work Plan 2016-2020, as well as the NRA’s strategy for accelerated survey and clearance, MRE and VA activities. Hence, it provides a sector overview of what is required to support the NRA and UXO Lao for a five-year period, irrespective of whether the support will be provided via UNDP or directly to these two institutions. This project builds national capacity to oversee and steer the sector and strengthen the integration of gender-sensitive approaches. This includes enhancing the Government’s ability to formulate and implement plans, strategies and policies, including the adoption of results-based management.
As requested, UNDP is committed to provide sector-level technical support and leadership focusing on UXO clearance prioritisation, coordination, information management, quality management, programme management, work planning, and financial management as well as programmatic oversight and management. UNDP is committed to providing technical and resource mobilisation support as requested from the GoL.
The key results expected from this project include support to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (including SDG18), which advocates for policy coherence across sectors and across policy domains to ensure that sustainable development is advanced in an integrated manner its social, economic and environmental dimensions. The project thus contributes to improving the coordination between different national institutions involved in the implementation of the SDGs. This is achieved through enhanced support to livelihoods activities for affected populations, improved efficiency of clearance operations; significant progress in the effort to establish a national baseline of UXO contamination; improved transparency in results reporting, improved transparency in financial reporting; improved coordination of sector activities through enhanced management of information; updated National Standards and appropriate policy frameworks; progress against the obligations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the articulation of a sustainability strategy for the sector; capacity in Mine Risk Education, improved capacity for monitoring and evaluating the sector’s development outcomes; and improved policy for support to UXO survivors.
Cross-cutting theme: Gender mainstreaming contributing towards gender equality.


Duties and Responsibilities

Evaluation Purpose
The main purpose of this evaluation is to guide UNDP and government partners in the development of its next UXO project. This new project aims to build on the existing project structure and implementation methods. It is, therefore, critical for the UNDP team to understand the main strengths and weaknesses of the current project to use as a guide for the development of the new UNDP UXO project. This includes evaluating the areas in which UNDP can become more relevant and effective within the UXO sector, as well as the areas in which UNDP support can be expanded to better strengthen the existing national institutions and capacities. As such, the aim is not to only evaluating current progress on the UNDP Project but informing the direction and design of next UNDP UXO project and UNDP’s continued involvement in the UXO sector in Lao PDR.
With the next National Strategic Plan for the UXO sector in Lao PDR (2021-2030) currently being finalised by the GoL, the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2021-2025), this evaluation should identify ways for the next UNDP UXO project to more closely align with both long-term strategies and plans and better integrate the UXO issue into other relevant sectors.
Evaluation Scope and Objectives
The independent evaluation will be forward-looking and explore opportunities for UNDP to position itself in the changing environment of the UXO sector in Laos. This will involve taking stock of all recommendations from previous evaluations over the last 10 years and the UXO project’s Mid-Term Evaluation and on the implementation of the recommendations. Analysis of the UXO sector in Laos detailing government policy and priorities, all stakeholders in the sector (including UNDP, donors (via UNDP and bilateral donor’s director to UXO related agencies) and other implementing agencies (INGOs, Private Sector, and Lao Humanitarian People’s Army). Review of current funding mechanisms (efficiency of the current funding mechanism; the use of cost-sharing agreements vs other modalities) to the sector (from UNDP and others) and the efficiency and effectiveness on how funding is being provided to the sector (inclusive of UXO/Mine Risk Education, Survey and clearance as well procurement for operators) and integration into next 9th NSEDP and the next UXO long-term National Strategic Plan (2021-2030).


Evaluation criteria and key guiding questions
1. The evaluation will address 3 fundamental questions: What did the project intend to achieve during the period under review?
2. To what extent has the project achieved its intended objectives?
3. What factors have contributed to or hindered the project’s performance and eventually the sustainability of the results?
Relevance
• To what extent is the support to the UXO sector by the UNDP based on clearly identifiable development needs as outlined in the government’s strategies, international obligations and others?
• To what extent is the project aligned with the national development needs and priorities and should adjustment in project implementation be considered to better align with the SDGs, including SDG18?
• How well does the design of the project address the needs of the most vulnerable groups including women in the country?
• During the evaluation period, what economic, social or political changes have taken place that affected UNDP-supported UXO initiatives? How do these relate to the relevance of the UXO sector to poverty eradication and economic development in Lao PDR?
• What opportunities are there to better align the support to the changed context and the needs of the beneficiaries?
Effectiveness
• To what extent are the Outputs and Outcomes of the UXO sector, and the indicators used, successful in guiding the support to have maximum positive impact in human development terms? How might this be improved in future?
• What factors are contributing to achieving or not achieving intended outcomes? To what extent are UNDP outputs and assistance contributing to outcomes?
• To what extent has UNDP’s UXO work been able to form and maintain partnerships with other development actors, including other UN agencies, Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations, or government agencies?
• How is the current UNDP funding mechanism, its objective, set-up and rules and procedures, effective in fulfilling the intended objectives and needs of the users? How is its effectiveness compared with that of other funding modalities? Including the use of a Trust Fund.
• In which areas did the project have the least number of achievements? What have been constraining factors and why? How can they or could they be overcome?
• In which areas did the project have the greatest achievements? Why and what have been the supporting factors? How can the project build on or expand these achievements?
• To what extent is the planning undertaken for support to the sector adequate to sustain and improve operations?
• To what extent are the intended beneficiaries satisfied with the results? How well are gender considerations been taken into account?
Efficiency
• How cost-effective and time-efficient is the implementation by UNDP of their UXO sector activities and outputs in the evaluation period? What measures are being taken to ensure competitiveness?
• How efficient have the various modalities of UNDP support proved to be in the period?
• To what extent are the planned funding and timeframe enough to achieve the intended outcomes?
• What is the cost efficiency of UXO Lao and the Lao humanitarian army clearance operations versus that of INGOs based on the cost of clearance per hectare?
• How well did the project mobilise resources to fill the funding gaps? What lessons can be learned from this element? And how can the project do better?
Sustainability
• How does the current support (UNDP and outside of UNDP) to the UXO sector reflect and balance national institutional capacity development and sustainability on national systems and structures?
• To what extent has the project passed over the knowledge and expertise to individual and government institutions? What lessons can be learned from this element and in what ways can the project do better?
• To what extent is the Government of Lao PDR increasing its capacity and ownership of the UXO issue during the period in question? What impact has this had on external support?
• What is the transition plan for the Lao Government to take over the sector? (is there a plan?)

Human Rights
• To what extent does the support to the UXO sector by the UNDP contribute to the marginalised people's basic needs?
• How well does the design of the project address the needs of the most vulnerable groups including women, people with disability and ethnic minorities in the country?
• To what extent does the support to the UXO sector by the UNDP engage in advocacy to raise awareness of the rights of peoples with disabilities?
Gender Equality
• To what extent does the support to the UXO sector by the UNDP contribute to gender equality?
• How well did the project ensure that women, girls, boys and men have equal access to UXO/Mine Risk Education and gender-sensitive emergency and continuing medical care? What lessons can be learned from this element? And how can the project do better?
• How well did the project ensure that women’s meaningful participation in the decision-making process? What is the percentage of senior management positions in the NRA and UXO Lao held by women?
Methodology
The evaluation methodology will adhere to the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Norms & Standards. The evaluation will be carried out by an independent evaluation team. The evaluation team should adopt an integrated approach involving a combination of data collection and analysis tools to generate concrete evidence to substantiate all findings. Evidence obtained and used to assess the results of UNDP support should be triangulated from a variety of sources, including verifiable data on indicator achievement, existing reports, evaluations and technical papers, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, surveys and site visits where/when possible. Methodological approaches may include some or all of the following:

  • Document review of all relevant documentation. This would include a review of inter alia
  • Project document (contribution agreement).
  • Theory of change and results framework.
  • Programme and project quality assurance reports.
  • Annual workplans.
  • Activity designs.
  • Consolidated quarterly and annual reports.
  • Results-oriented monitoring report.
  • Highlights of project board meetings.
  • Technical/financial monitoring reports.
  • Mid-term project evaluation and UNDP CPD evaluation
  • Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders including key government counterparts, donor community members, representatives of key civil society organisations, UNCT members and implementing partners:
  •  Development of evaluation questions around relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability and designed for different stakeholders to be interviewed.
  • Key informant and focus group discussions with men and women, beneficiaries and stakeholders.
  • All interviews should be undertaken in full confidence and anonymity. The final evaluation report should not assign specific comments to individuals.
  • Surveys and questionnaires including participants in development programmes, UNCT members and/or surveys and questionnaires involving other stakeholders at strategic and programmatic levels.
  • Field visits and on-site validation of key tangible outputs and interventions.
  • The evaluator is expected to follow a participatory and consultative approach that ensures close engagement with the evaluation managers, implementing partners and direct beneficiaries.
  • Other methods such as outcome mapping, observational visits, group discussions, etc.
  • Data review and analysis of monitoring and other data sources and methods.
  •  Ensure maximum validity, reliability of data (quality) and promote use; the evaluation team will ensure triangulation of the various data sources.

The final methodological approach including interview schedule, field visits and data to be used in the evaluation should be clearly outlined in the inception report and be fully discussed and agreed between UNDP, stakeholders and the evaluators. In line with the UNDP’s gender mainstreaming strategy, gender disaggregation of data is a key element of all UNDP’s interventions and data collected for the evaluation will be disaggregated by gender, to the extent possible, and assessed against the programme outputs/outcomes.
Evaluation products (deliverables)
These products could include:

  • Evaluation inception report (10-15 pages). The inception report should be carried out following and based on preliminary discussions with UNDP after the desk review and should be produced and endorsed by UNDP before the evaluation starts (before any formal evaluation interviews, survey distribution or field visits) and prior to the country visit in the case of international evaluators (see template in the annex).
  • Kick-off meeting. Evaluators can seek further clarification and exception of UNDP and Government partners in the kick-off meeting
  • Evaluation debriefings. Immediately following an evaluation, UNDP may ask for a preliminary debriefing and findings.
  • Draft evaluation report (60 pages max including executive summary and lessons learned).1 The programme unit and key stakeholders in the evaluation should review the draft evaluation report and provide an amalgamated set of comments to the evaluator within an agreed period, addressing the content required (as agreed in the TOR and inception report) and quality criteria as outlined in these guidelines.
  • Evaluation report audit trail. Comments and changes by the evaluators in response to the draft report should be retained by the evaluators to show how they have addressed comments.
  • Final evaluation report (see template in the annex).
  • Presentations to stakeholders
  • Evaluation brief and other knowledge products or participation in knowledge-sharing events, if relevant.


Competencies

  • Knowledge of UXO/Mine Action issues in the Lao PDR.
  • Experience with assessment methodologies; programme development and project implementation
  • Experience with social science research.
  • Fluent Lao and English.


Required Skills and Experience

S/he will support the Team Leader and provide knowledge of the UXO sector as well as Lao cultural and development context; and when needed support as an interpreter between English and Lao. The consultant will advise the Team Leader on relevant aspects of the local context. The national consultant will also be responsible for the translation of the executive summary into Lao language.

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in economics, international relations, political science, development, governance and public policy, social sciences, or a related subject.
  • Experience in undertaking an evaluation.
  • Strong working knowledge of Lao PDR (in particular the social, economic and development context).
  • Thorough understanding of the development issues and challenges in the Lao PDR.
  • Familiarity with the Lao Government’s poverty reduction and development policies (including the NSEDP and UXO sector strategies).

Requirements for submission of proposals:

All interested and qualified International or National Independent Consultant should apply on-line using the following links:

UNDP Lao PDR Country Office website at https://www.la.undp.org/content/lao_pdr/en/home/jobs.html  or 

In order to make your submission, please read the relevant documents available on the link below

  1. TOR (Annex I)
  2. IC General Terms and Conditions _ Annex II;
  3. OFFEROR’S LETTER TO UNDP CONFIRMING INTEREST AND AVAILABILITY _ Annex III
  4. P11 Form

Documents to be included when submitting the proposals:

Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:

  1. Technical and Financial Proposal as per Annex III “OFFEROR’S LETTER TO UNDP CONFIRMING INTEREST AND AVAILABILITY” 

(i)         Explaining why you are the most suitable for the work;

(ii)        Providing a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work including the work schedule for the delivery of outputs/deliverable;

        2. P11 Form  Education and work experience, including past experience in similar projects and contact references of at least 3 references for whom you have rendered preferably the similar services;

       3. Financial proposal:  Detailed financial proposal: Lump sum offer with clear cost breakdown against each deliverable.

Note: The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment terms around specific and measurable (qualitative and quantitative) deliverables (i.e. whether payments fall in installments or upon completion of the entire contract). Payments are based upon monthly outputs, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR.  In order to assist the requesting unit in the comparison of financial proposals, the financial proposal will include a breakdown of this lump sum amount (including travel, per diems, and number of anticipated working days). All envisaged travel costs must be included in the financial proposal. UNDP accept travel costs not exceeding of an economy class air ticket.

Instructions for on-line submissions:

  1. Step 1:  Please prepare all required documents electronically;
  2. Step 2: Combine all documents in ONE SINGLE FILE (preferably in PDF however Word format can be also accepted) and upload to the UNDP Jobs using the links above;
  3. Step 3: After that you will receive an auto reply from the UNDP jobs if your offer is received successfully.

 

Incomplete proposals or proposals received after the deadline will be rejected.

 

Please kindly refer to the Terms of Reference Annex I for detailed information on:

Project’s background

Scope of work and Responsibilities

Deliverables

Requirements for Experience and Qualifications



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