MDF Mid-term Evaluation (MTE) Terms of Reference


Job Description

1. Introduction

The Syria Resilience Consortium (SRC) was established in 2016 by its six constituent INGO partners – CARE, DRC, Humanity and Inclusion, IRC, NRC, and Mercy Corps - in recognition of a joint responsibility to address needs in conflict-ridden Syria.

SRC has a unique Long Term vision to the Syrian humanitarian crisis, focusing on: · Resilient livelihoods in a fluid and complex humanitarian context; · Coordination, collaboration and WoS approach through working in a consortium with six significant INGOs · Do-No-Harm, Conflict Management and Gender, Age and Disability (GAD) inclusiveness The conflict has adversely affected the economic and agricultural activities of all Syrians. The overall objective of the SRC project is to strengthen the adaptive capacities and socio-economic well-being of people, civic actors and communities in Syria. The project is aimed specifically at increasing households’ income, assets and consumption of needed goods and services as well as having communities that are more cohesive, inclusive and equitable in order for individuals and communities to be resilient.

The SRC is working in nine governorates across all three geo-political hubs in Syria with SRC Consortium Members having offices and staff throughout the country. Outside of Syria, most key stakeholders are based in Amman, Jordan with some in Beirut, Gaziantep and Erbil.

More background information on the SRC can be found in the SRC Strategy, MDF proposal and SRC induction manual.

2. Purpose of the mid-term evaluation

The SRC is undertaking a performance and process evaluation as its MDF mid-term evaluation in order to gain insights on how to improve its performance and management. The evaluation will look at the overall structure and coordination of the SRC as well as its performance based on the SRC Strategy and MDF proposal. The main objectives of the mid-term review are as follows:
  1. To assess how and the extent to which SRC’s activities and Theory of Change have contributed to increasing sustainable resilience in Syria
  2. To assess the effectiveness of the Whole of Syria Consortium Model and the Multi Donor Funds as a resilience funding mechanism for Syria programming
  3. To review the SRC’s strategy, approach and progress in meeting its outputs and outcomes at the community and household levels including review of quality of activities
  4. To propose adaptive measures to improve SRC’s structure, approach, and performance
Evaluation Questions: There are three key evaluation topics , each with various subset of questions, to focus on during the evaluation. The findings and recommendations, based on detailed Analysis, should focus on gaining insight on past performance and tangible ways to improve future performance. New topics, findings and recommendations should be added throughout the evaluation if there the Data Collection uncovers critical lessons learned. Findings and recommendations should be specific to the context and to the SRC.

1. Is the SRC an effective consortium at facilitating coordination, within and outside of the consortium, for building resilience in Syria?

a. Does the SRC model add value to its consortium members through the coordination in the consortium and in the different geographical areas inside Syria (i.e., is the sum greater than the value of the individual organizations)? b. How effective is the SRC at providing coordination within and outside of the consortium? How can coordination be improved? i. How can Area Coordination and implementation integration be improved within the consortium? c. What is the SRC’s and the consortium’s donors potential role and contribution to the Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) Nexus in Syria? Has the SRC achieved any results within HDP to date? Where can the SRC add value in the HDP Nexus? d. Does the SRC function effectively (both doing the right functions and conducting them in the right way) as an accountable strategic decision-making body? What are the key challenges in this area? 2. Are the Whole of Syria Consortium Model and the Multi Donor Fund effective mechanisms for Syria programming?

a. Does the Whole of Syria method work well? If not, why not? b. How effective is the management system of the consortium, (i.e. planning, reporting, implementation, communication between partners and stakeholders, etc.) and how can the structure be adapted for strategic results? c. To what extent is SRC full-filling its role within its various internal groups (list identified below)? What tools and framework assists in planning and prioritizing, and in facilitating the coordination for building resilience? i. Program Coordination Unit ii. Steering Committee iii. Member Representatives iv. Area Coordinators v. MEAL Task Force vi. Gender Task Force d.Is the Multi-Donor Fund an efficient funding mechanism and is it providing the intended benefits? How can it be adapted for improved functionality for SRC members, grant holders and donors? 3. How has the SRC’s strategy, approach, and performance (including activities) contributed to building resilience at the community and household levels?

a. How effective has the SRC’s performance been at building resilience in Syria (considering results, monitoring data, quality of activities, etc.)? b. How are each SRC Consortium Members activities and approaches aligned with the SRC strategy and building resilience within Syria? (review of SRC tools, guidelines, etc.) c.How effective is the SRC’s strategy and performance around Gender, Age and Disability (GAD) inclusion at building resilience in Syria? (Did the methods performed achieve expected results or could another method improve impact?) d.How effective is the SRC’s strategy and performance around economic wellbeing at building resilience in Syria? (Did the methods performed achieve expected results or could another method improve impact?) e.What can the SRC do to be able to better build Syrians’ capacities to adapt to and cope with shocks and stresses? f.What is the SRC’s progress on building transformative capacities. How can the consortium adapt to improve implementation to build more transformative capacities? g.Has the SRC identified and implemented any innovative approaches to building resilience? h.In selection/identification of beneficiaries, have the SRC met any challenges? (For example, government interference, local resistance, etc.) i. Are there any negative impacts, as a result of SRC programming, which need to be corrected? 3.Evaluation Methodology

The consultant(s) will need to present a full evaluation plan at the start of the evaluation which will need to be approved by the SRC PCU.

The consultant(s) is expected to employ a mixed methods and participatory approach to this evaluation. Below is a suggested methodology for the evaluation but proposals are welcome to include other options. The SRC would prefer this evaluation to be a Utilization Focused Evaluation (UFE) with a focus on Most Significant Change (MSC) and assess both intended and unintended outcomes of SRC’s projects with the goal of building resilience in Syria.

  1. Utilization Focused Evaluation (UFE): To conduct a UF based evaluation, SRC and member organizations engagement will be key. SRC members will be proactively engaged in providing information, feedback and information essential for the successful completion of the evaluation. SRC also understands that for a UFE, findings will be reflective of the level of engagement shown by SRC members during the evaluation within its parameters. The consultant will employ an evaluation Coordinator to coordinate across SRC’s structures and levels to ensure proper engagement between various actors and the evaluation team can be facilitated.
  2. Most Significant Change (MSC): Given that this is a mid-term evaluation of the SRC’s activities on a subject like resilience which is highly dependent on contextual and external factors, the evaluation team will, to the extent possible, try and identify the most significant change in stakeholder perceptions of improved resilience which can be attributed to SRC’s activities (if possible, at the output and outcome levels). The evaluators will present the findings, identifying which highlights the most significant change based on other information collected and triangulated during the course of the evaluation.
The following are methods for review and data collection that will be considered as part of the methodology, to be finalized in consultation between the consultant and the SRC.

Program Documents Review: SRC will provide the evaluation team with all relevant program documents for review including annual workplans, the SRC strategy, MDF proposals, etc.

Analysis of SRC’s Monitoring Data: The evaluation team, along with the support of SRC’s MEAL Manager will take stock of and review quantitative monitoring data collected by member organizations on the activities being implemented by them respectively. SRC’s MEAL Manager will be responsible for collecting the data from all member organizations, cleaning it and sending it to the evaluation team. The evaluation team will be expected to develop an analysis matrix with key frequencies and cross tabs to determine which data should be extracted from the datasets. This Analysis Matrix should be based on the Baseline Tool developed by member agencies used to monitor and collect data as well as SRC’s stated outputs and outcomes. Depending on the volume of data collected by SRC that is available to be analyzed, the evaluation team and SRC’s MEAL Manager will work together to analyze the data and draw out key findings. This exercise is expected to yield a) progress measurements on quantitative indicators outlined in the logframe above and b) identify gaps in quantitative information to assess progress on these indicators in order to collect primary data during the evaluation.

Key Informant Interviews: The evaluation team is expected to interview SRC’s Program Coordination Unit, member INGOs (including Steering Committee, Member Representatives, Area Coordinators, Task Force members, implementation staff, etc.), implementing partners as well as local leaders, representatives and elders to assess the project’s outcome level impact on resilience. SRC member organizations will be responsible for coordinating these interviews. Interviews with external stakeholders implementing resilience activities in Syria, not a part of the consortium will be critical including KIIs of peer organizations, donors, cluster members, etc. In GoS areas, a slightly different methodology may need to be used in which SRC staff themselves undertake the interviews.

Focus Group Discussions (if possible due to Covid-19): The evaluation team will conduct FGDs, if feasible, to understand the views and the perceptions of the target beneficiaries, especially with women and people with disabilities, with regard to fairness to access and protection and understand associated risks and problems at the household and community level. To gather disaggregated information the FGD will be conducted separately with women and men selected from project beneficiaries. Each group should consist of 6-8 beneficiary households/individuals purposively selected from the general beneficiary list. Each group session will ensure participation of diverse age groups, PWDs and beneficiaries with other specific needs. To ensure cultural sensitivity and norms, the FGDs with women group will be managed by two female staff/researchers, one to facilitate the session and the other to take notes. Each FGD session will not last for more than 60 minutes per group. FGDs participants will be composed of beneficiaries of one activity only. In GoS areas, SRC staff themselves will be trained to carry out the FGDs.

Beneficiary In-depth interviews (as needed): The evaluation team will conduct in-depth interviews with project beneficiaries to gather information in detail on project activities and impact using semi-structured/open ended questionnaires. Possible key informants will include cash beneficiaries, small business grant recipients, Agriculture input beneficiaries as appropriate. Where the evaluation team finds concerning findings, they will be expected to investigate further through setting up a safe reporting system and adequate methodology to get a deeper understanding of the finding.

Gap-filling quantitative survey (if needed): Depending on the findings of the review of data collected by SRC, the evaluation team may undertake a quantitative survey. The evaluation team will aim to collect representative quantitative surveys, depending on the number of activities and available beneficiaries during the evaluation. The necessity and scope of the quantitative survey will be discussed with the SRC, based on outcomes of the analysis of the existing survey data.

4. Deliverable (Final report content)

Throughout the whole assignment, a bi-weekly progress report shall be shared with the PCU The final report should include the following: · Executive Summary (2-3 Pages explaining the context and relevant thematic) · Recommendations—list of key recommendations with brief explanations · Introduction: o SRC Introduction, purpose and objective (1-2 pages) o Methodology, Scope and Sampling (1-2 pages) o Limitations (1 pages) · Key Findings broken down by evaluation question; (main bulk of analysis and in-depth review of findings; reasonably at least 15 pages) · List of interviewees including name, organization and role (if applicable)

5. Expected Tentative Timeline

May 15thContract signed** May 15thBegin Evaluation** May 15th –July 15th —Data collection, interviews, and document review** July 15th (approximate)- Validation Workshop** July 30thDraft Evaluation Report** August 1-10thSRC Review and provide feedback on evaluation report** August 15thFinal report due
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