Consultant - Responding to Urgent Needs and Investing in Recovery - Central African Republic

Programs Bambari, Central African Republic


Project/Consultancy Title: Responding to Urgent Needs and Investing in Recovery - Develop the Entrepreneurial Capacity and Livelihoods of households affected by the Crisis in the Ouaka (DECLIC) Program
Project Location(s): Central African Republic
Mercy Corps works in places of transition, where conflict, disaster, political upheaval, or economic collapse present opportunities to build more secure, productive, and just communities. Providing emergency relief in times of crisis, we move quickly to help communities recover, build resilience to future shocks, and promote sustainable change by supporting community-led and market-driven initiatives. Recognizing both the great potential and the complex challenges faced by CAR and Africa Region, Mercy Corps has been implementing a range of humanitarian assistance and development programs tailored to the specific needs of the region and of those communities where we work.
Between 2019 and 2023, Mercy Corps CAR successfully completed a 12-month rapid response program – EMERGE 1 and 2 and RUNNER – to provide emergency food assistance through a combination of food vouchers to IDPs across the Ouaka prefecture, focusing on the Bambari-Ippy axis. Thus, Mercy Corps sought funding from BHA for a follow-on activity, DECLIC, to build on the success and lessons of that work and continue to meet immediate food needs while seeking ways to build sustainable food security gains.
The Goal of the DECLIC program – implemented jointly by Mercy Corps – is to provide integrated, multi-sector programming to meet immediate humanitarian needs and improve livelihoods in Ouaka Prefecture, Central African Republic. The program’s Goal aligns with BHA’s overarching mission statement to “save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the physical, social, and economic impact of rapid and slow-onset disasters” Within the scope of this Goal, the program presents four overarching Purposes. Purpose 1 covers the Food-Assistance, Economic Recovery and Agricultural sectors, while Purpose 2 focuses on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Then Purpose 3 will support the recovery of communities and households by providing market systems interventions and introduction of livelihoods support and finally, Purpose 4 will ensure to increase access to GBV services for conflict affected communities.
Purpose and Scope of the Performance Evaluation (Endline)
The purpose of the evaluation is to gather information that will assess project performance against intended objectives (and revised purposes) and enable Mercy Corps to design future programs and influence/shape its programmatic strategy. As the program is supposed to end in July 2024, Mercy Corps intends to undertake an evaluation which will include an endline survey to measure key outcome indicators for comparison to baseline status, while also conducting a performance review and qualitative inquiry to answer the following OECD-based questions:
Relevance and inclusiveness: Assess the extent to which the project’s objectives and expected outcomes/outputs were suited to the priorities/needs of the target groups/stakeholders.
  • Which target groups and individuals were reached by the interventions?
  • How effective was the targeting approach in achieving the activity goal?
Effectiveness: Measure the extent to which the project attained its objectives
  • To what extent did the project achieve its Impact Objective, Outcome Objective and Output targets? What factors promoted and/or inhibited achievement?
  • To what extent did the program meet its targets/ success indicators and deliver outputs? What factors promoted and/or inhibited achievement?
Sustainability: Measure whether the benefits of the project are likely to continue after donor funding has been withdrawn. Understand sustainability and potential for scale up or replication.
  • Are the outcomes of the project sustainable and are the benefits likely to continue after project completion? Why or why not?
  • What are the exit strategies of the project? How have they been implemented?
Specific objectives of the evaluation 
The evaluation will examine the short and medium-term outcome of the program on household food security and livelihood and identify critical lessons to inform future programming decisions. Where possible, the outcomes analysis will compare the inclusiveness, relevancy, efficiency, effectiveness, local economic impact and accountability of the implemented program. 
Two main objectives have been identified:
  • Assess the relevancy, appropriateness, efficiency and effectiveness of Mercy Corps’ response to food and livelihood insecurity. The following dimensions will be explored under this specific objective:
    • To assess the change in nutrition knowledge levels, attitudes and skills as a result of program interventions;
    • To determine what aspects of agricultural training were taken up by project beneficiaries and which were not;
    • To determine which aspects of Resilient Design were adopted by project beneficiaries and which were not and to understand why;
    • To identify any other changes at household level, intended or unintended, which have resulted from the program;
    • To provide insights into progress against set targets of the program (food security and dietary diversity, agricultural livelihoods, etc.);
    • To examine how and why the program has or has not contributed to the outcomes.
  • Identify and compile lessons learnt throughout the lifespan of the program to inform future program design in a similar context. The following dimensions will be explored under this specific objective:
  • What were the key factors of success and how can these be replicated?
  • What challenges have been faced and were successfully overcome? Why?
The evaluation will use a mixed method approach consisting of both qualitative and quantitative data collections. The consultant will make extensive use of the available monitoring and evaluation data collected by program staff in Bambari. This will include, when available, program surveys and assessments, baseline, program quarterly reports (i.e. post distribution monitoring reports, shop monitoring reports, card distribution reports, etc.) and findings from beneficiary feedback mechanisms.  The evaluator will be expected to conduct the final endline survey as part of this scope of work, matching the survey instrument and sampling strategy to the baseline survey. 
The consultant is expected to review the above background documentation as part of the desk review phase of the study. A strong part of the information will come from the field data collection.
Aligning with the content of the scope of work shared for this study, the consultant will develop the methodology, the data collection tools and propose the team set up for data collection, to be validated by the Director of Program. The consultant and his/her team will collect primary data through direct interviews and focus group discussions (FGD) with program beneficiaries and other stakeholders.
The consultant may explore the different treatment groups (conditional versus unconditional vouchers and HLAVs) to understand how their outcomes and experience differed and why.
Roles & Responsibilities 
The consultant will be recruited by the CAR MEL Manager who will be his principal reference, and will receive support from this team in aligning the process with the baseline survey, and with similar evaluation exercises done in country. They can provide oversight and backstopping on various issues, including identifying and engaging local enumerators, and other context-specific tasks. The Emerge 2 Program Manager and the Senior MEL officer will help him/her to identify the relevant actors for interviews and field visits and will provide the consultant with available documentation. 
The consultant/s will be responsible for:
  • Leading the Desk Review;
  • Drafting inception report;
  • Developing the methodology, sampling design and tool development;
  • Overseeing data collection in the field;
  • Ensuring data quality;
  • Analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data;
  • Presenting initial findings to the team for initial feedback and insights;
  • Writing and validation of the final report.
Key Deliverables 
  • Inception report with proposed methodology (with due consideration of baseline survey methods);
  • Data collection tools including revised baseline survey instrument and FGD and KII guides ahead of field work;
  • Data analysis and presentation of preliminary findings;
  • Final Report (minimum of 10 pages and a maximum 30 pages, excluding executive summary table of contents and annexes;
  • PowerPoint presentation of the main findings.
Sample Size 
The consultant will determine the appropriate sample sizes considering the geographical areas, targeted groups, and the homogeneity of the target population but will seek at a minimum to match the baseline survey sample size.  If comparison of different treatment groups is to be considered, sample sizes will need to be adjusted.
This consultancy is starting in June 2024 and is expected to include approximately (43) days of consultancy. Consultant is requested to remain available for reviews and improvements until the piece of work is validated by the program leader.
A proper work plan will be developed with the consultant, but the following is suggestive of a timeline and approach:
Kick-off Meeting
Desk Review
In-country meetings with key staff
Mercy Corps Office in Bangui and Bambari
Inception Report
Mercy Corps Office in Bangui and Bambari
Preparation of survey protocols, developing tools and collection of secondary data
Mercy Corps Office in Bangui and Bambari
Survey recruitment and training
Mercy Corps Office in Bangui and Bambari
Survey field data collection
Depending of sample 
Qualitative data collection
Field and Mercy Corps offices
Analysis and Submission of Preliminary Report
Submit final Report
43 Days
General conditions of the consultancy
  • Mercy Corps will provide accommodation for the consultant in team guest houses while in Bambari.
  • Meals and other incidentals will be the responsibility of the consultant.
  • The consultant will conduct his/her work using his/her own computer. 
  • Other miscellaneous costs directly related to the task that can include photocopying of questionnaires, etc. shall be covered by Mercy Corps. Any cost needs to have prior approval from Mercy Corps. 
  • The movement of the consultant and team to and from the field will be facilitated by the Mercy Corps in Bambari.
  • The cost related to travel from/to the field of the survey teams will be covered by Mercy Corps.    
Minimum Qualifications 
At the minimum, the consultant/s must possess the following: 
  • Proven knowledge and practical experience in quantitative and qualitative research;  
  • Over 5 years’ proven experience undertaking food security and livelihood surveys, analysis and reporting;
  • Advanced degree in food security and livelihood or equivalent preferred. Knowledge on nutrition is an added asset;
  • Experience taking part in conducting a similar evaluation;
  • Excellent organizing, facilitating, presentation and communication skills;
  • Excellent report writing skills;
  • French and English fluency;
  • Experience working in an emergency context. Experience in Central African Republic is a plus.
Other :
Language: The final report must be submitted in French and English.
The Consultant will report to Mercy Corps CAR PaQ Director
Interested consultant should submit the following by May 15th, 2024:
  1. CV specifically responding to required qualifications;
  2. Two samples of reports from similar research work;
  3. References from previous similar engagement;
  4. Cost proposal – to include the professional fees, per diem and other anticipated costs.