Consultant – Midline Evaluation, FARM Program- DRC

Programs Anywhere, United States


Description

Background:

Mercy Corps has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since August 2007, with a staff of approximately 400 working in North and South Kivu. Mercy Corps’ national office is in Goma with sub-field offices in Katwe, Mweso, Butembo, Kitchanga, Kiwanja (North Kivu), and Bukavu (South Kivu). Current Mercy Corps’ activities focus on the provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in camps of internally displaced people, and large-scale WASH infrastructure and service delivery development in urban centers. Mercy Corps also has Food Security, Economic Recovery/Development and Governance programs, with an increasing shift towards transitional and integrated development programming. The DRC team has a strong commitment to providing entrepreneurial and innovative solutions to development challenges, and is actively seeking and facilitating market-based solutions.

Purpose / Project Description:

The Food Security and Inclusive Access to Resources for Conflict-Sensitive Market Development (FARM) program works to improve access to, control of, and utilization of land for approximately 35,000 households in North Kivu and improve targeted market systems through increased cooperation between market actors in selected value chains, contributing to food security. FARM puts emphasis on improving access to land through improved service delivery and dialogue platforms for the benefit of the target population. In parallel, FARM facilitates linkages between farmers, agri-businesses, private sector actors, cooperatives and government in order to strengthen and diversify the target market systems.

FARM is a five-year program, including one year of inception phase and four years of implementation. The program is currently at the end of its third year of implementation and several activities have already started. As a consequence, changes are already being observed in intervention communities.   

Consultant’s Objectives:

This external evaluation will seek to determine the extent to which FARM has achieved the objectives set out at the beginning of the program – combining analysis of secondary data, testing assumptions, accounting for external factors and risks, quantitative and qualitative assessments in all target localities to a high threshold of data reliability.

Consultant’s Activities:

The Consultant will:

  1. Provide feedback on the quantitative data cleaned and validated by the FARM M&E team.
  2. Conduct a quantitative data analysis that goes beyond descriptive presentations of data and provides general trends for control and experimental groups, as well as for ethnic minority groups.
  3. Review the secondary data and analyze qualitative data from KII and Focus Group Discussions from experimental and control groups collected by FARM’s M&E team and a local consultancy firm, in order to triangulate data from quantitative findings and determine the matching degree between experimental and control groups.
  4. Present the findings to Mercy Corps’ staff through a Powerpoint presentation and an evaluation brief of 3 pages maximum with highlights and graphics that illustrate findings.
  5. Develop a comprehensive midline evaluation report that explicitly addresses the key themes of the program (resilience, conflict, ethnicity, and gender) and provides recommendations for program and beneficiary targeting strategies.

Gender Integration:

The consultant will engage with the Mercy Corps DRC Country Gender Manager to ensure that the study is conducted through a gender lens and with Search For Common Ground, and Mercy Corps’ partners in the implementation of FARM project, to ensure the application of Do No Harm principles.

Consultant Deliverables:

The Consultant will provide the following deliverables:

  • Provide feedback on the quantitative and qualitative data cleaned and validated that will be sent to the FARM M&E team, by email.
  • An accessible dataset covering all the analyzed data will be developed and handed over to the Mercy Corps M&E team. The analyzed data will consolidate findings from all localities, from both experimental and control groups.
  • An evaluation brief of 3 pages maximum, with findings, highlights and graphics that illustrate them.
  • A comprehensive midline evaluation report including (where relevant) tables, maps and graphs shared for review by Mercy Corps. The report will highlight considerations on ethnic affiliation, gender, age and disability aspects and will propose relevant recommendations to increase inclusion of vulnerable groups.
    • Provide Mercy Corps staff with the opportunity to respond to the findings of the report. Up to three rounds of comments by Mercy Corps will be provided with the consultant expected to provide a revised report within five working days after each review. Both parties commit to wrap up this phase of back and forth within a maximum of 3 weeks.
  • Amend the report following feedback from Mercy Corps and send it back to Mercy Corps for final validation.
  • Conduct a presentation of the study findings and recommendations to the FARM team remotely, by skype.

Qualified applicants will have the following minimum requirements:

  • Strong statistics background – acquired through academic studies, practical experience or both.
  • Demonstrated experience with a mixed-methods data collection approach.
  • Knowledge of Targeting Sampling strategies. Previous experience in studies targeting ‘Hidden Populations’.
  • Demonstrated experience in adaptive management and in supporting teams that work in challenging operational environments, where security constraints impose limits to research and require research plans to be constantly adapted.
  • Demonstrated, strong ethical approach to data protection.
  • Strong understanding of resilience frameworks.
  • Knowledge of the Eastern DRC context.
  • Oral and written English fluency required. Advanced reading skills in French required, but French fluency would be preferred.

Timeframe / Schedule: 

The timeline for this midline assessment is approximately 20 days.

It is anticipated that the data collection will be conducted exclusively by the FARM MEL team over a total period of approximately one (1) month, beginning in July. The consultant will only be involved in data analysis, which will start from Mid of July 2020 and will submit the draft report no later than August 31st, 2020.

The Consultant will report to:

FARM PAQ Manager

The Consultant will work closely with:

FARM MEL team and FARM Program Director

Application Requirements:

  • CV and cover letter
  • Two references
  • Detailed budget
  • Proposed workplan
  • Writing sample in English