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This evaluation Terms of Reference (TOR) is a plan for preparing for, conducting, and facilitating learning from an evaluation for the UCC emergency response program, particularly focused on the first phase of the emergency scale up. It conveys clear directions to the evaluation team, defines roles and responsibilities, and includes details needed to recruit for, implement, and learn from the RTE evaluation.
The Ukraine Cash Consortium (UCC) comprises Mercy Corps, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and People in Need (PIN). The Consortium’s programmatic work currently consists of the implementation of a $100 million, 17-month USAID/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) award of the same name. The program’s goal is to meet emergency basic needs while enhancing the protection environment for approximately 320,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), returnees and other conflict-affected people (CAPs) in Ukraine.
Purpose / Project Description:
The primary purpose of this evaluation is to learn from the initial emergency response phase and to identify lessons, successes, and points for improvement for the continued implementation of this program. The RTE will look at the implementation done by the UCC partners between May 2020 and March 2023.
The evaluation team members will examine the scale-up and coordination of the emergency response, explore to what extent the consortium structure and established processes hindered or improved the program’s adaptability, timeliness, and overall response, and evaluate UCC’s overall emergency response approach. The RTE will help UCC and partners improve its future programming through lessons learned and best practices generated through this program. Response personnel are the primary audience for this evaluation and will use the learning from it to modify the continued response implementation as appropriate.
Indicators will be agreed upon with UCC and the Evaluator and will be defined in the Analytical Framework, as agreed upon by both parties.
Evaluation Scope and Questions
The evaluation should be organized around evaluation criteria as follows, with suggested evaluation questions provided, the list will be refined with the consultant.
Relevance and Effectiveness:
How effective was the UCC management unit at establishing internal communication and coordination structures in meeting programmatic needs?
What internal coordination problems has the consortium faced and how have they been addressed?
What have been the biggest successes in coordination? What were the biggest gaps?
How can we address these gaps in the future?
How effective/well-coordinated were the UCC activities and de-duplication with central and local authorities in the Area of Operation (AoO), clusters (e.g. cash working group), and other cash actors?
Evaluation Project Tasks
UCC recommends a qualitative approach to gather the RTE data through semi-structured interviews, Desk review, and Key Informant Interviews (KII). The participants include relevant stakeholders, and data is analyzed thematically to identify patterns and trends. The findings are used to make recommendations for program improvement and to inform decision-making. The evaluation process is iterative and involves continuous communication and feedback with stakeholders to ensure the validity and reliability of the data collected.
The following methodology outlines the qualitative research methods/tools that could be used.
1. Key informant interviews: the team is expected to interview a variety of staff for program implementation and support (M&E, finance, operations), cash coordination group members, donor representatives, representatives of the affected population, and civil society/local actors. The team will annex the interview guide or guides to the inception report and to the draft and final reports. Targeted roles for interview will include:
2. Desk review: Review program documents, including program reports, monitoring and evaluation reports, and other relevant documents to gain a better understanding of the program's implementation, management, and monitoring processes. The document review could also provide insights into the program's design, implementation challenges, and lessons learned. Existing Program Information Sources include:
3. Data analysis: Analyze the qualitative data collected from KIIs, document review, case studies, and participatory approaches using thematic analysis. This analysis could identify key themes related to the program's implementation, targeting process, impact, and sustainability.
Triangulation: Triangulate the qualitative data with other sources of data, including quantitative data and program monitoring data, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the program's performance.
Overall, the above qualitative research methods can provide valuable insights into the experiences and perceptions of program participants and stakeholders, and help to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement for the Ukraine Cash Consortium program.
Before the start of data collection, the evaluation team will do the following:
PRIMARY DATA COLLECTION
The qualitative approach, feeding into the findings around the objectives outlined above, will aim to assess the effectiveness of the project management, systems, and processes established by the projects, including strategies to improve gender equity both at the participant and project management level, protection issues, and its implementation, performance monitoring, and conflict sensitivity. The qualitative evaluation will also capture lessons learned and best practices. The KII will be collected in person, if the security situation allows.
Qualitative data should also be analysed and should primarily focus on developing a deeper understanding about the relevance of the Program, and providing recommendations for improving or strengthening the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of the results of the Program. The analysis will be conducted using specialized software such as MAXQDA, NVivo, or ATLAS, among others. These software applications provide tools to facilitate data organization, coding, categorization, and retrieval, as well as visualization and reporting of findings.
PRESENTATION AND DOCUMENTATION OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This consultancy will take place between (May - June 2023).
The findings of the evaluation must be shared with UCC in the following formats:
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS AND DATA PROTECTION
The evaluation team will make clear to all participating stakeholders that they are under no obligation to participate in the evaluation study. All participants will be assured that there will be no negative consequences if they choose not to participate. The evaluation team will obtain informed consent from the participants. The research team will ensure prior permission is received for taking and use of visual still/ moving images for specific purposes, i.e., research report and presentations. The evaluation team will assure the participants’ anonymity and confidentiality and will ensure the visual data is protected and used for agreed purposes only. In particular, the evaluation team will employ robust data security measures to further ensure participants’ confidentiality and anonymity. All beneficiary and community members identifying information must remain confidential. It is the responsibility of the contracted Consultant to anonymise all datasets or raw data and ensure that identifying personal information is not shared with UCC Program staff nor any external party.
The Consultant will ensure that the preservation of respondent anonymity and confidentiality is prioritized during data collection, management, storage and reporting. Respondent data will not be shared with third parties without prior consent from Mercy Corps. The Consultant is expected to have clear data protection protocols and policies that should be shared with UCC during the procurement process and inception phase.
The evaluation team must also ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR sets standards for the collection, storage, and use of personal data in the European Union (EU) and should be followed to ensure the protection of personal data.
The evaluation team is responsible for determining whether or not their proposed methodology would require Institutional Review Board (IRB) clearance and will be responsible for clearing the process and training if such approval is required.
ASSUMPTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
COVID-19 MITIGATION MEASURES
The spread of the novel COVID-19 virus stands to impact every facet of humanitarian and development program design and implementation. With new emergency aid and modifications of ongoing aid and development programing, adjustments and adaptations to monitoring and evaluation approaches are imperative. External Evaluators must do their part to limit human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 and ensure protection of staff and others by taking preventive measures. The evaluator is to ensure the following:
Proposed Governance Structure
RTE steering committee will be established to oversee the overall implementation of the evaluation and conducted in an ethical and transparent manner, and the findings and recommendations are implemented effectively.
The RTE steering committee should consist of key stakeholders such as partners (program or M&E) leads. The committee should coordinate regularly to review progress, provide guidance, and make decisions on any issues that arise.
The RTE Steering Committee should have the following roles and responsibilities:
The consultant/s should report to the UCC MEL Director for all the contract-related matters and aspect of the consultancy. And will report to the RTE Steering Committee on the following:
Timeframe / Schedule:
May 5, 2023 – Contract signing
May 12, 2023 – SUBMISSION: Draft Inception Report and Instruments
May 19, 2023 – Client Feedback on Draft
May 23, 2023 – SUBMISSION: Final Inception Report and Instruments
May 29, 2023 – Data Collection (multiple consultants can deploy for more efficient collection)
June 5, 2023 – Data Analysis and Report Writing
June 9, 2023 – Presentation of the Key Findings
June 12, 2023 – SUBMISSION: Draft Evaluation Report
June 19, 2023 – Client Feedback on Draft
June 22, 2023 – SUBMISSION: RTE Report (English Version)
June 30, 2023 – SUBMISSION: RTE Report Summary/External (Ukrainian/English Versions)
For the purposes of this evaluation, UCC welcomes international and national evaluators to apply.
The profile of the lead consultant is:
**Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
**Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.
**Equal Employment Opportunity
**We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
**Safeguarding & Ethics
**Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.