Caritas

Terms of Reference for Mid-Term Evaluation

	 	 

Mid-Term Evaluation

Terms of Reference

Sustainable and Inclusive Rural Economic Development

in Kosovo (SIRED)

General information


Job title:International and local evaluation specialists for mid-term evaluation of SIRED project

Project title:Sustainable and Inclusive Rural Economic Development, SIRED

Donor contract no.:8191/00-2019

Donor:Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and Municipality of Prishtina

Project country:Republic of Kosovo

About Caritas Switzerland in Kosovo


Caritas Switzerland is an independent Swiss NGO, engaged in Switzerland and in more than 20 countries worldwide, including Kosovo. Our mission is to prevent, combat and eradicate poverty in a sustainable manner. To achieve this goal, Caritas employs a policy of equity: we support inclusive communities with opportunities for everyone regardless of their ethnic background, group affiliation or gender. Caritas Switzerland has been working in Kosovo since 1999, focusing on social inclusion, rural development and rehabilitation. Based on the Strategy 2021-2025, our central themes are Income, Climate Change and Migration. Caritas Switzerland in Kosovo is implementing a highly regarded agricultural project which aims at contributing to socio-economic development of the country by supporting farmers and the sector in income generation and new employment opportunities, funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation and Prishtina municipality. In particular, the SIRED project contributes to more sustainable and inclusive market systems through increasing participations of producers and market actors and enhancing their income and productivity, thus contributing to poverty reduction for rural populations, particularly women and marginalized groups.

Project Context and Background


After 13 years of independence, Kosovo still faces many challenges, among them weak institutions, high unemployment - particularly amongst women and girls, migration, persisting gender inequality across different sectors and discrimination of minority groups. The agriculture sector is characterized by limited production and organizational capacity, lack of access to know-how & skills as well as environmental risks. After the inception phase (March – October 2020), as of November 2020 Caritas Switzerland (CaCH) implements the project with an overall budget of 4,3 million EUR. The project commenced its implementation in March 2020 and it is expected to end in February 2023. The project aims to promote more sustainable and inclusive market systems through increasing producers and market actors and enhancing their income and productivity, thus contributing to poverty reduction of rural populations, particularly women and marginalized social groups in the municipalities of Prishtinë/Priština, Graçanicë/Gračanica, Novobërdë/Novo Brdo, Kamenicë/a, Ranil(l)ug, Shtërpcë/Štrpce, Viti/Vitina, Dragash/Dragaš, Prizren and Suharekë/Suva Reka.

Based on the market requirements and upon thorough analysis, CaCH has identified three value chains / market systems that have enough potential for economic, ecological, gender-sensitive, pro-poor and inclusive growth:

  • Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) & Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs),
  • Berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) and
  • Domestic processing of vegetables and fruits.

The SIRED project - through the Market System Development Approach (MSD) - enables market actors to develop solutions that respond to systemic constraints that impede the identified target groups to benefit from a functioning market system. Most of the causes of underperformance do not lie in the relationships between the market actors, but in interconnected supporting functions and rules that shall enhance the value chains which are to some extent dysfunctional or not adequate. The SIRED project – through its interventions – analyses the market failures and establishes partnerships with interested market actors to develop solutions to improve these interconnected functions and strengthen the specific value chains of selected agricultural sectors.

Purpose and Objectives of the Mid-term Evaluation:


The main purpose of this mid-term evaluation is to provide an independent assessment of the progress to date, through an analysis of relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, and orientation to impact and sustainability of the project. The specific objectives of the evaluation are the following:

  1. Assess the implementation of the project to date, identifying factors affecting project implementation (positively and negatively) and compare findings of the market system analysis done at the beginning of the project with the current situation. If necessary, propose revisions to the expected level of achievement of the objectives and corrective actions the project could take over achieving systemic changes;
  2. Analyse and assess, in particular, if and how the market systems development (MSD) approach has been understood, applied, adhered to and made successfully use of in the design and implementation of the project;
  3. Analyse the implementation strategies of the project with regard to their potential effectiveness in achieving the project outcomes and impacts; including expected results as per the logframe;
  4. Review the institutional set-up, capacity for project implementation, including knowledge about and experience from applying the MSD approach, coordination mechanisms and the use and usefulness of management tools including the project monitoring tools and work plans;
  5. Assess the facilitative role of the project team towards project implementation by strategic partners and other market actors;
  6. Identify lessons and potential good practices for the key stakeholders in market system;
  7. Provide strategic recommendations for the different key stakeholders to improve implementation of the project activities and attainment of project objectives.

Scope


The mid-term evaluation will cover whole implementation period until the time of evaluation, this is from

  1. March 2020 until 31. October 2020 for the inception phase, and from 1. November 2020 until 23. December 2021 for the implementation. The evaluation will analyse the whole scope of the project and its results framework, which comprises all elements of the intervention logic.

The MTE is an important learning experience that provides the project team with an opportunity to critically reflect on PCM processes, including implementation tools and methods, intervention design, management techniques and communication practices. As such, the evaluation team will apply a participatory approach to ensure that the project team will be closely involved in the entire evaluation,so that achievements as well as challenges will be discussed openly and earnestly, providing a shared understanding on how further improvements to the project can be made.

The findings of this evaluation will also assist the SIRED project to steer the project interventions towards reaching the expected results and to make timely adaptations in close cooperation with beneficiaries, partners and the donors. The MTE will seek to assess:

  • The approach of the project in terms of implementation arrangements (management structure, operational strategies, monitoring system and procedures);
  • Identify any constraints, internal or external to achieving progress;
  • Identify challenges and obstacles faced during the implementation of the project
  • Identify the degree of flexibility and adaptability to facilitate rapid responses to changes in circumstances.

The MTE will cover the project implementation period from November 2020 until October 2021 in project target municipalities: Prishtinë/Priština, Graçanicë/Gračanica, Novobërdë/Novo Brdo, Kamenicë/a, Ranil(l)ug, Shtërpcë/Štrpce, Viti/Vitina, Dragash/Dragaš, Prizren and Suharekë/Suva Reka. The evaluator/s will identify some of the potential market actors and strategic partners in some of the selected project target municipalities to conduct the field evaluation process.

The mid-term evaluation will integrate gender equality and social inclusion, specifically considering the involvement of women in agriculture and rural economic development, throughout its deliverables and process. It should be addressed in line with Gender Marker 1 policy to ensure stakeholder participation. Furthermore, it should pay attention to issues related to poverty reduction and environmental and climate resilience approaches.

Evaluation Questions


The following evaluation DAC criteria are to be used; related evaluation questions are proposed for the evaluation process. From the 6 DAC criteria will be taken into consideration relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability with special focus on the below mentioned criteria mainly. The external mid-term evaluation team is asked to pay particular attention to the following issues having into consideration the MSD approach:

Relevance and Coherence of the Project: Which changes in the relevant market systems were intended and are those changes achieved considering the MSD approach:

  • To what extent are the strategies and interventions of the project in line with the overall agriculture development context in Kosovo, Agriculture Regional Development Plan (ARDP), National Organic Action Plan (NOAP) and Kosovo Gender Equality Program (GEP)?
  • To what extent do the project interventions contribute to assessing beneficiaries’ needs in market system as outlined in Project Document?
  • To which extent were women’s empowerment, social inclusion and gender mainstreaming considered in the design of the project?
  • To what extent have market actors’ views and interests been taken into consideration that may have contributed in the systemic changes in three selected value chains?
  • How do actors from private and public sector assess the current project interventions and results achieved so far? Does the project complement and not overlap other donor funding and government initiatives?
  • Have the financial and human resources within the SIRED (team, management, administration) been efficiently allocated and does it enable learning, knowledge exchange and synergies between the staff members and the different structure units?
  • Is the project applying effectively the MSD approach and is there any systemic change visible and do they influence the project’s outcomes?

Efficiency of implementation: Evaluation of project set-up and steering:

  • Do the project team members have a clear and comprehensive understanding of the facilitator role?
  • Have the financial and human resources within the SIRED (team, management, administration) been efficiently allocated and does it enable learning, knowledge exchange and synergies between the staff members and the different structure units?
  • What potentials for improving of the efficiency of the project can be identified?
  • Is there an established results-oriented monitoring system in place and to what extent does the MRM system utilized by SIRED ensure effective, efficient and adaptive project management?

Design and Approach


The evaluation consists of several phases:

  • Contract and Kick-off meeting: The contract is signed and clarification of the TOR and the assignment takes place. First documents including available data are provided to the evaluation team as well as eventual proposed changes to ToR and approaches have to proposed at this stage.
  • Document study: The evaluation team studies all necessary project/programme documents; re-construct and analyze the intervention logic/programme theory. Existing data needs to be analyzed and interpreted.
  • Briefing with the team: An introduction meeting with the project team as well as individual meetings with project management and team members, including evaluations of the interventions and use of MSD approach, management procedures and project set-up as well as resources.
  • Inception-Phase: The inception report will serve as a roadmap for the evaluation that will ensure shared understanding between the evaluator(s), SIRED team and the ADA programme concerning workplan, deliverables and timeframes. Importantly, it will further outline the evaluation design and present the data collection and analysis methods, tools to be used and identify potential risks and limitations along with adequate mitigation strategies.
  • Field visits: Field visits to be conducted to different market actors and municipalities to validate key tangible outputs and interventions. The field visits and meetings will be used to conduct individual interviews as well as focus group discussions using semi-structured interviews.
  • Debriefing/Presentation: Presentation of key findings (feedback workshop).
  • Submission of the draft Final Report
  • After final comments submission of the Final Report.

Pls. note, as most of the project interventions are quite recent, it is early to expect definite results at the level of systemic change, and even more so on impact.

Proposed methods:

For the different phases it is expected that data and information will be obtained through different methods such as: analysis of documents, structured interviews, semi-structured interviews face-to face or by phone meetings, key informant interviews, group discussions, survey, observation and others. All data collected needs to be disaggregated by sex, ethnicity and where feasible also in terms of disability. It is expected that the evaluation team will present concrete recommendations which are addressed to the specific stakeholders. In addition, all research questions should be addressed paying attention to gender, social and environmental issues.

Evaluation Matrix

Developing the evaluation matrix is the first task and the integral part when it comes to preparing the inception report. When developing the evaluation matrix, the evaluator(s) should follow the following elements:

  • Evaluation criteria
  • Evaluation questions
  • Indicators
  • Sources
  • Methods for data collection

The Guidelines for Project and Programme Evaluations developed by the Austrian Development Agency and OECD DAC norms need to be considered throughout the entire evaluation process. 1

Expected outputs and deliverables/Report


  1. Inception report (approx. 10-15 pages) containing appropriate methodology to be applied during the mid-term evaluation, as well as the work plan to be used during the course of the assignment is drafted, submitted, and endorsed by CACH; (please refer to ADA Guideline “Quality Checklist for
  1. a the final evaluation report (25-30 pages without annexes), the final executive summary and the results-assessment form (part of the reporting requirement); (please refer to ADA PPthe filled in Results Assessment Form.
  2. a final draft evaluation report (about 25-30 pages without annexes), including a draft executive summary and the results-assessment form (part of the reporting requirement);Guidelines “Quality Checklist for Evaluation Report (ER)”;
  3. the filled in Results Assessment Form.
  • All reports need to be written in English. The executive summary should summarize key findings and recommendations (three pages maximum) and needs to be submitted as part of the final draft report.

  • Workplan


  • 36 working days are currently estimated for this assignment. The mid-term evaluation is foreseen to start by beginning of December 2021 and to be completed by 23 December 2021. The submission of the final report until 21 January 2022.

  • The written feedback from CaCH, partners and the donors is planned to be given within maximum of two weeks after submission of the reports.

  • Evaluation Management Arrangements:


  •  Experience in working in the international development sector
    •  
  • Experience in conducting evaluations
  • Experience with evaluations of projects that use the MSD (or similar systemic) approach(es) in private sector development is an advantage
  • Excellent communication skills in English
  • Sound presentation skills
  • Professional profile of the evaluating team/company (CVs of all individuals included in the consultancy team);
  • At least 7 years overall professional experience and Master degree in relevant field as in International Development, Development Economics/Planning, Agriculture, Economics or Management and any other related university degree;
  • At least one of the experts should have a background / experience in gender mainstreaming and environmental protection.

    Additionally, the following skills are expected from:

Senior international Expert/Team Leader

General experience and skills

  • At least 7 years overall professional experience and Master degree in relevant field as in International Development, Development Economics/Planning, Agriculture, Economics or Management and any other related university degree;
  • At least 5 years of experience in working with international development and evaluating according to the OECD/DAC criteria;
  • Experience in at least 3 evaluations in position as team leader for mid-term and/or final evaluation;
  • Significant knowledge of the MSD approach;
  • Working experience in the Balkans is preferred; Knowledge of Albanian or Serbian is a plus;
  • Profound technical expertise in the field of rural development, agriculture sector development, private sector and business development;
  • Extensive expertise, knowledge, and experience in the field of evaluation of development programmes
  •  Experience of programme formulation, monitoring and evaluation and qualitative data collection and analysis;

  •  Fluency in English. Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English

Senior local expert

General experience and skills

  • At least 7 years overall professional experience and Master degree in relevant field;
  • Fluent in written and spoken English and Albanian, Serbian is considered an advantage;
  • Technical expertise in the field of rural development, agriculture sector development, private sector and business development;
  • Expertise of local and national agricultural market;
  • Experience in qualitative data collection, analysis and interpretation;
  • Excellent understanding of results-based evaluations and impact evaluations;
  • Knowledge on the MSD approach is considered an asset.

Specifications for the Submission of Offers Application process


Interested candidates/companies are requested to submit an electronic copy of their expression of interest/proposal by 15th November 2021 with the subject REF: “Mid-term evaluation SIRED” to kosovo@caritas.ch with bleci@caritas.ch in CC.

Applicants must submit:

  • The consultants’ suitability for the assignment and match with previous work experience, qualifications etc.;
  • Composition and division of work between team members;
  • Methodology that shall be used;
  • Draft work plan and suggested timetable;
  • Financial offer including budget broken down and individual daily fees;

The offer will be evaluated by using the best value for money approach (combined scoring method).

Technical proposal will be evaluated on 80%. Whereas the financial one will be evaluated on 20%.

*Note: The accommodation and transportation costs need to be included in the offer.

Annexes:


Annex 1 – Logical Framework of the SIRED Project

Annex 2 – ADA Guidelines for programme and project evaluations

Annex 3 – ADA Results Assessment Form (RAF)

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