Organization: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Despite high urbanization rates over the past decade, Afghanistan remains an essentially rural society, with an estimated 70% of the population living in rural areas. As such, agriculture is of crucial importance to address persistently high poverty rates and to contribute to the economic development in the country. 61% of households depend fully or partially on income derived from agricultural activities, while their poverty rates are higher than average. Up to one third of the Afghan population faces food insecurity, but levels vary significantly between areas. The target provinces of the Sustainable Livelihood and Social Development Project (SLSD) are among the more food insecure areas, with an estimated 46% of the population in Paktya being food insecure.
The Government of Afghanistan has recognized the importance of agriculture for the social and economic development of the country. While the sector receives more attention and successful national programmes, such as the National Horticulture and Livestock Project, have been expanded to the South East, the basic infrastructure and service delivery remain weak. In Khost for example, less than 10% of farmers report having access and/or making use of public extension services. Insufficient irrigation infrastructure imposes an important constraint on agricultural production, with almost half of the farming households in Afghanistan citing a lack of irrigation water.
Although the south-eastern region of Afghanistan has a poverty level significantly higher than the national average of 35.8%, namely 47.9% in Khost and 60.6% in Paktya, it was particularly deprived of development efforts of the last years.
Livelihoods options are limited and consist mainly of subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry and local trade. Agricultural productivity is low due to insufficient irrigation systems, lack of quality agricultural inputs, and affected by recurring floods and droughts. Disputes around land and water are a main source of conflicts, due to unclear legal frameworks and weak conflict resolution mechanisms. Access to basic services such as electricity, health, education and fundamental resources such as water is very limited.
1.2. Programme background
The SLSD programme is a three phase programme implemented by The Liaison Office (TLO), which started in June 2013 and is expected to last until December 2022. Currently the programme is in its second phase, which started in June 2016 and will last until May 2019. The overall budget of the programme amounts to CHF 14 mio, out of which phase 1 used CHF 3.2 mio and the current phase 2 has a total budget of CHF 4.9 mio.
The overall goal of the programme is to contribute to inclusive socio-economic development of rural communities in Khost and Paktya through natural resource management and income opportunities benefiting both men and women while strengthening local communities and service delivery institutions.
In view of continuing its contribution to the agricultural sector in Afghanistan in the most efficient and best possible way, SDC intends to commission an external review to assess on one hand the key achievements and results of TLO and on the other hand to get concrete insights and recommendation for the design of the third phase.
1.3. Objectives of Phase 2
The outcome objectives are that 1) target rural communities improve livelihoods and 2) local communities and institutions improve capacities and deliver better services. It is planned that the second phase of the project will reach out to over 6’500 families or 45’500 people. The project will work directly with Community Development Councils (CDCs) and the District Development Assemblies (DDAs) of 16 districts in 2 provinces (Paktya and Khost).
1.4. Switzerland’s strategic orientation as of 2019
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the Development Agency of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and responsible for the overall coordination of Switzerland’s international development activities and cooperation in Afghanistan. The overall goal of the new Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Afghanistan 2019-2022 for domain 2 “Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, where this project belongs to, is that smallholder farmers sustainably improve their livelihoods and enhance their resilience. The domain has two outcomes: 1) “Smallholder farmers increase their productivity and income, and food insecurity is reduced” and 2) “Smallholder farmers sustainably manage their natural resources and become more resilient”. Swiss interventions shall strengthen public service delivery and promote sustainable natural resource management. Disaster Risk Reduction measures will be mainstreamed throughout the domain.
2. Scope and Objectives of the Review
2.1. In General
With the main goal to have a strategic control of the SLSD programme, SDC is commissioning this review in order to assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and impact primarily of the second phase of the SLSD project, however the previous work done by TLO in the first phase should also be briefly looked at, in order to get an overview of the overall project outcomes and impacts on livelihood improvement over the last 5 years (2013-2018). Further to that the review should provide concrete insights and recommendations to SDC for the development of the third phase of the program, aligned with SDC’s strategic priorities for Afghanistan for 2019-2022. The review shall take place in both projects provinces Paktiya and Khost.
2.2. In Particular
The external review should particularly focus on the following aspects/questions:
a. Evaluation of current phase:
· The overall effectiveness of the project from a results-based perspective;
· The overall direct and indirect results (outputs and outcomes) of the project produced through the utilization of SDC financial and technical assistance during the phase;
· What are the major external and internal factors influencing the achievement of the project?
· The level of acceptance of TLO by beneficiaries, communities, stakeholders and authorities;
· How effective has been the collaboration with relevant governmental departments, particularly PAIL
· Are the current promoted income generating activities for the poor and women effective enough?
· To what extend have aspects of gender and governance been considered during the implementation?
· How is the current monitoring and evaluation mechanism assessed? Does this mechanism serve as a feedback system for improving project implementation? Make recommendations on improving the project M&E systems for improved future integration of economic and financial analysis concerns.
· A financial and economic analysis to be conducted preferably through a ‘Cost Benefit Analysis’. If it is not feasible (monetarizing outcomes) the review team is expected to provide a short justification and conduct a ‘Cost Effectiveness Analysis’ instead.
b. Recommendation for next phase:
· What are the good practices and the lessons learnt from the second phase of SLSD that could be replicated and up scaled in a next phase?
· What are the proposed measures and alternate implementation approach to make the program more effective and efficient?
· What income generating activities should be promoted for the poor and women?
· While overviewing the effectiveness of the implemented subprojects, at which level (community, district or watershed level) interventions could be more effective in improving livelihoods coupled with targeting more beneficiaries?
· Does it make sense to include other themes, such as access to water for irrigation and drinking in the next phase? How does that fit with the overall strategic goal of the domain?
3. Methodology of External Review
The external review will be carried out in three stages:
- Desk review: A comprehensive review of the available documents, reports and evidence will take place in the desk review stage. In this stage, SDC and TLO will act as focal points for the review and will provide the review team with the available written documentation which may include but are not limited to:
· Project documents;
· Project progress and financial reports;
· Project annual reports;
· Mission reports;
· Internal and external review reports;
· Organizational chart of the project;
· Internal SDC credit proposals;
· SDC draft cooperation strategy 2019-2022;
· Any other available relevant and important documents.
The review will be complemented by interviews with SDC and TLO staff (if needed) to provide the consultant with as much information as possible.
- Data collection and consultation in the field: In this stage of the review exercise, a participatory and inclusive approach will be used to collect primary data and verification of secondary data obtained through the desk review stage throughout the external review exercise. In this stage the review team will conduct interviews and focus groups discussions with all main stakeholders. The use of surveys needs to be evaluated by the team and prepared during the preparatory phase. As a focal point for the review, SDC together with TLO will assist the review team with arranging all required meetings and consultation sessions and forums.
- In the final stage of the review, the review team will analyze the collected data and materials to produce the deliverables of the evaluation.
The review team, nevertheless, is allowed to revisit proposed methodology and come up with a modify/revised methodology, shall the team feel such a need. In any case, the team will submit to SDC and TLO work plan of its proposed methodology. The outline may contain the following information:
· A specific and time bound work plan within the suggested timeframe
· Details of how the review exercise will take place
· Reporting, debriefing in the end
It is anticipated that the evaluation team will present its methodology and detailed work plan to a joint meeting (briefing) attended by SDC and TLO prior to stage one of the exercise.
The review team is expected to produce the following specific outputs:
- A work-plan describing how the evaluation will be carried out, bringing refinements, specificity and elaboration to the terms of reference. The work-plan shall comprise at least the following elements:
a. Overview of the mandate and expectations of the reviewer;
b. Review techniques methodology;
c. Key expected issues for all elements of the external review described above;
e. Work schedule (timeframe).
- Briefing and presenting the work plan, methodologies, procedures etc.to SDC and TLO in Kabul prior to the start of the review process.
- With SDC/TLO support, the review team will organize a de-briefing at the end of the review in Kabul presenting SDC and TLO with the initial findings and recommendations.
- Draft report, providing comprehensive and well-structured information and answering the review questions outlined above. It should be submitted no later than 10 working days after the debriefing and will be subject to SDC/TLO comments and suggestions.
- Final Report: Upon receipt of SDC and TLO comments on the draft report, the review team will revise the report and incorporate received comments and suggestions, unless not contrary to the review findings and submit it to SDC no later than 5 working days after having received the comments.
- Analytic data, calculation, assumptions are delivered in editable formats.
The External Review Report should not exceed 30 pages and summarize the key findings and recommendations, and comprised of at least the following parts:
a. Executive Summary (not to exceed 3 pages);
b. Overview of the mandate;
c. Key issues, findings and recommendations on all elements of the external review;
e. The document(s) shall be delivered in electronic format (Ms. Word and Excel), in English.
5. Qualifications and Experience of the External Review Consultant
This announcement is open to a consultant or a team of consultants (max. 3, international and national, female and male). The consultant/team shall have solid expertise in monitoring and evaluation (especially NGOs working in agriculture and livelihood) and in the field of agriculture and livelihood development. In particular, the consultant/team shall have the following expertise and skills:
- Advanced degree in a relevant field;
- At least five years of experience in reporting, monitoring and reviewing of projects in the agriculture and livelihood sector;
- Extensive experience in undertaking reviews/studies and impact assessments of development projects;
- Ability to present information in a transparent and comprehensive manner;
- Written and spoken fluency in English and in Pashtu;
- Previous work experience in Afghanistan, preferable in M&E-related fields.
The external review exercise shall be performed within a maximum of 24 working days as outlined below:
No. of work Days
Preparation (work plan, methodologies, time frame etc.) 3 days
Desk Review, 4 days
Inception report submission, 1 day
Field Work in Paktiya and Khost including desk review and travel days, 8 days
Briefing and Debriefing in Kabul, 1 day
Preparing/Writing the Review Report, 5 days
Finalization of the Report after SDC comments, 2 days
Total no. of working days, 24 days
7. Logistic and Security
The consultant/team must be able to arrange logistics (transport, accommodation, and visa) on its own account. SDC may facilitate access to relevant information, organizations and stakeholders upon request.
The consultant/team is responsible for its own safety and the safety of its staff (including relevant insurances). SDC is not liable for any kind of damage to staff or property and cannot be held accountable for any claims or costs related to injury, death, and loss of or damage to property. SDC will facilitate access to security related information and provide the team with a security briefing up-on request. All data, unless otherwise mentioned, from Central Statistics Organization (2016), Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey 2013-14. National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment. Kabul, CSO.
Interested applicants are requested to send:
· Up-to-date CVs of their proposed team member(s)
· A detailed budget including all costs related to the assignment
· A brief concept note (max. 5 pages) outlining the approach and methodology, as well as a draft work plan / timetable for the assignment
via e-mail to email@example.com with clearly marked indication “Consultancy for the External Review of Sustainable Livelihood and Social Development (SLSD) Project” written in the subject. Only complete submissions will be taken into consideration and phone calls will not be answered.
The deadline for the submission is until 04.11.2018 at 5 PM.