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Mercy Corps, an international relief and development organization whose mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities, has been running programmes in Nigeria since 2014. As part of its humanitarian efforts in the Northeast, Mercy Corps implemented 2 projects on Market, Agriculture, Livelihoods and Livestock (MALL) Program called the Poultry Development for Resettlement (PDR) and the Borno Agriculture Development Initiative (BADI).

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Individual Consultant for Learning Evaluation for Market, Agriculture, Livelihoods and Livestock Program

Locations: Damboa, Biu and Jere, Borno
Employment Type: Contract

Project Details: Poultry Development for Resettlement (PDR)

  • Through support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BGMF), Mercy Corps revitalised the poultry livelihoods and markets in the LGAs of Biu, Kwaya Kusar, Jere, MMC, Dikwa, Damboa, and Gwoza in Borno State. This project set up Poultry Mother Units where day-old hybrid chickens were reared up to 4 weeks and provided vulnerable households with egg-laying chickens. In doing so, the project benefited the population in Borno State in three key ways:
    • First, by revitalising the poultry market through the introduction of affordable, hybrid chickens.
    • Second, by providing vulnerable households with the means to engage in a safe income generating activity (poultry rearing).
    • Third, by providing households with access to a nutritious source of protein in the form of chicken and eggs, and thereby improving their nutritional status.
  • The project was implemented by Mercy Corps, in close collaboration with AMO Farms Poultry Hatchery and the Borno State Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Recovery.
  • Borno Agricultural Development Initiative (BADI): Aside from PDR, BMGF also supported Mercy Corps in introducing sustainable, smart agricultural practices to Biu and Damboa Local Government Area (LGA) in Borno State through strengthening the knowledge and skills of input suppliers and extension workers, adapting and applying Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), alongside training on modern faming techniques and testing agricultural practices in the Farmer Field School (FFS) and Farmer Business School (FBS). The extension workers and input suppliers trained seed multipliers, demonstration/trial garden farmers and selected vulnerable farmer households including IDPs, returnees and host communities.
  • The project took a market-based approach, developing and leveraging the market for seeds and other agricultural value chains in Borno State. Mercy Corps implemented all training and distributions in cooperation with input suppliers and extension workers from the government’s Borno State Agricultural Development Program (BOSADP) to ensure local government engagement.

Specific Purpose of the Assignment

  • Mercy Corps seeks the services of a consultancy firm to conduct a learning evaluation from the implementation of the BADI/PDR programs. Mercy Corps already concluded the end-line assessments of the two MALL programs and is seeking a firm to document the learning that will clearly demonstrate the key conditions, enablers, and strengths needed for a successful early recovery program, as well as learning from adaptations that had to be done to work in a fast- changing context, such as in the conflict-affected communities of Borno State. In the end, the learning evaluation aims to provide Mercy Corps with a document that demonstrates the learning from both MALL programs.

Learning Objectives

  • The learning evaluation is designed to provide insights and learning to Mercy Corps, the donor, and practitioners in the field on emerging evidence to effective approaches and models that build resilience in protracted crises and conflict-affected settings such as in the North East Nigeria.
  • The assessment is an opportunity to demonstrate the value of learning evaluations in formulating effective Theories of Change and measurement frameworks that link resilience-building strategies to humanitarian and development program outcomes.
  • Likewise, the learning evaluation seeks to document promising program approaches and contextual insights through light touch qualitative and quantitative approaches, case studies, and technical analysis that aligns a resilience approach to advance humanitarian, peace-building and development actions.
  • In line with this, Mercy Corps formulated recommended questions which the contracted consultancy firm can build on, after review of the programs’ documents and discussions with Mercy Corps.

The learning questions proposed for the evaluation aligns with the market-based approach used during program implementation, and calls for collective action around three learning areas captured below:

  • How did/does program design support local market and social systems to strengthen sources of resilience to the shocks and stresses defining protracted crises.
  • How did the programs support systems viability/household resilience in terms of:
    • Resilience for Whom? The target populations and their attributes that include location (urban, peri-urban, rural), demographic factors (sex, age, ethnicity) and livelihood (agriculture, trade, unskilled labor).
    • Resilience of What? The enabling environment, including formal and informal institutions, infrastructure, social, ecological and economic factors that impact the target population’s ability to anticipate, absorb and adapt to risks.
    • Resilience to What? The complex and compounding shocks and stresses that impact people’s capacities to achieve development outcomes.
    • Resilience through What? The absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities that strengthen the ability of target populations to mitigate risk.
    • Resilience to What End? The primary well-being or development outcomes for which we want to demonstrate resilience, and hence the minimum set of standards/principles that support individual well being in crisis contexts.
  • Looking at the program in retrospect, what would have been the ideal ToC for the programme?

Given the overall effectiveness and focus of the programs, examine the contextual principles and parameters that can be applied, or further refined to inform collective action at the nexus of humanitarian, peace, and development programming that strengthens resilience in protracted crisis contexts.

Methodology:

  • The learning evaluation team will review program documents to understand program outcomes that can be further explored to generate the required insights and learning and their potential use for resilience and development programming activities and strategies. In consultation with Mercy Corps, the proposed methodology will be further refined to effectively respond to the identified learning questions.
  • Understanding the program outcomes (as observable behaviour change of social actors that the programs contributed to) should lead to formulation of learning statements that will be a starting point to further unpacking the program outcomes, through surveys and structured interviews that will be conducted with relevant program participants, including leadership and staff (if applicable) to consolidate learning. Also, by design, outcome harvesting should also be a complementary method to this learning evaluation.
  • Furthermore, the proposed methodology for this learning evaluation is envisaged to be participatory in approach, keen to engage participation of those with the most knowledge on the observable changes that have taken place through the contribution of the programs. In addition, the proposed methodology should provide for further substantiation of the documented learning by providing information that can verify learning and insights in order to strengthen credibility and deepen understanding of the program outcomes.

Given that the questions will still be enhanced, the Consultant is expected to expand on the following questions:

  • How did our design support or not support market resilience?
  • Which intervention models used by the program are replicable to scale? What efforts would be required to replicate and sustain these models?
  • Looking at the program in retrospect, what would have been an ideal theory of change (ToC for the program)?

To be able to develop the questions further, the Consultant is also expected to carry out the following tasks:

  • Hold a desk review/analysis of BADI and PDR documents to cull out information relevant to the learning evaluation.
  • Design a methodology that is appropriate to the context of the learning evaluation and will deliver the required outputs.
  • Build on the key questions developed by Mercy Corps and expand them to identify the other questions that will draw out outputs required.
  • Lead on tool development including the testing of the tools.
  • Submit an inception report to Mercy Corps.
  • Design the training module and train enumerators on how to use data collection tools designed by the Consultant (as required).
  • Coordinate with Mercy Corps to get updates on the progress of data collection and to discuss issues and concerns as they arise.
  • Analyse the data collected by Mercy Corps enumerators.
  • Submit a draft report by the appointed deadline.
  • Hold a feedback/validation session with Mercy Corps to present the initial draft to key staff and get inputs.
  • Submit an excellent quality comprehensive final report that has undergone editing, proofreading and formatting and includes data visualization, accompanied by a 2 to 3-pager infographics of the key findings (high level).
  • Hold a presentation of the final output to Mercy Corps and other external audiences.

To ensure the Consultant will be able to accomplish the above-mentioned deliverables, Mercy Corps will:

  • Share all relevant background documents needed for a desk review and to understand the program.
  • Hire enumerators and link them with the Consultant.
  • Oversee data-collection in all locations.
  • Share all data collected as part of surveys.
  • Provide input to all tools designed by the Consultant.
  • Provide feedback to the draft document.
  • Be available to work directly with the Consultant throughout the duration of the consultancy and to answer questions as they emerge.
  • Be responsible for handling the payment of enumerators, thus, bids should not include enumerator costs in their budgets. Furthermore, the Consultant should also not include in their proposed budget the cost of data collection devices (tablets, phones) and data management systems/servers. Mercy Corps will provide the use of Commcare and Ona for data management.

Below is an overview of the activities, their duration, and the entity responsible. The duration/level of effort included is an estimate.

DurationActivityStakeholder
1 dayReview draft evaluation SOW with the Consultant to clarify timeframe and available budget.Representatives of Mercy Corps and the Consultant
3 daysUndertake desk review of the relevant program documents such as the BADI and PDR proposals, reports, Mercy Corps strategy documents and other relevant documents.

Develop an inception report detailing the process and methodologies to be employed to answer the learning questions. This should include all tools and the important schedules for this assessment to be presented to Mercy Corps for review and further inputs before going to the field.

Mercy Corps will share the documents to the Consultant and the Consultant will prepare the inception report.
2 daysMercy Corps to provide feedback to the inception report and tools for the Consultant to incorporateMercy Corps
1 dayRefine data collection tools and translate them as appropriate based on inputs from Mercy CorpsConsultant
2 daysTrain enumerators/surveyors; pre-test data collection instrumentsConsultant with support from Mercy Corps
1 dayFinalise data collection instrumentsConsultant
10 daysData collection and oversightEnumerators c/o Mercy Corps
3 daysEncode and analyse dataConsultant
2 daysPrepare a draft report of the learning evaluationConsultant
2 hoursHold a feedback/validation workshop with key Mercy Corps key staff to present the initial findings and get feedback
2 daysProvide detailed feedback to the draft reportMercy Corps
3 daysFinalise the report (edit, proofread, lay out), incorporating the previous inputs from Mercy Corps, include data visualization and 3-5 pager infographics of the key findings.Consultant

Report Structure & Content

  • Cover Page, List of Acronyms
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary: This section should be a clear and concise stand-alone document that gives readers the essential contents of the learning evaluation report, including a summary of the major findings and recommendations.
  • Methodology: This section should be sufficiently detailed to help the reader judge the accuracy of the report and its findings.
  • Limitations: This section should address constraints and limitations of the methodology, and the implications of these limitations for the findings, including whether and why any of the evaluation findings are inconclusive.
  • Results: This section should provide a clear analysis of the data gathered, co-relating the findings of the primary and secondary collection methods.
  • Synthesis, Recommendations and Lessons Learned: This is a space for the Consultant to make concrete recommendations for current or future program improvements, pull out organisation lessons learned, and generally comment on the data and the results. This section should be directly linked to the information presented in the Results Section of the report.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Disclose any conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest, including the interest of program staff in having a successful program.
  • Annexes: These should include a complete file of data collection instruments in English and translations if any; list of stakeholder groups with number and type of interactions; SOW, qualitative protocols developed and used, any data sets (these can be provided in electronic format), any required photos, participant profiles or other special documentation needed.

Timeframe / Schedule:
It is expected that the Consultant(s) will be available to start by May 24, 2022. The following are the expected milestones:

  • June 16, 2022 – Submission of the first draft of the learning evaluation report.
  • June 17, 2022 – Consultant’s presentation of the first draft/validation/feedback session.
  • June 21, 2022 – Mercy Corps deadline for consolidated feedback on the initial draft of the report.
  • June 24, 2022 – Submission of the final report.

The Consultant should provide an estimate of the amount of days/level of effort they expect. This consultancy is expected to cover an estimated period of 30 days starting on May 24 to June 24, 2022. The final invoice for services should be provided to Mercy Corps immediately after the delivery of the final learning documents due on June 24, 2022.

The Consultant will report to:

  • Mercy Corps Strategic Learning Manager.

The Consulting firm will work closely with:

  • Mercy Corps’ MEL Manager, Technical Support Unit (TSU), Programme Coordinator, MEL, Program Assurance and Quality Manager and Field Managers.

Requirements
The following are the qualifications and experiences the individual Consultant should possess:

  • Has strong experience conducting major research exercises in support of major development programmes  preferably in early recovery and resilience – in challenging operational environments, previous experience in northeast Nigeria is desirable.
  • Has a background on Development Economics, Agriculture and Livelihoods and/or Market Systems’ Development.
  • 3 – 5 years work experience.
  • Possesses a strong approach to assuring quality assurance of data collected.
  • Demonstrates an ethical approach to data collection – while still being able to meet the objectives of the consultancy.
  • Demonstrates experience in leading evaluations of humanitarian and early recovery programs responding to major disasters, with specific emphasis on market, agriculture, livelihoods and livestock.
  • Knowledge of strategic and operational management of humanitarian operations and proven ability to provide strategic recommendations to key stakeholders.
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to synthesize and present findings, draw practical conclusions, make recommendations and to prepare well-written reports on time.
  • Demonstrates experience in both quantitative and qualitative data collection and data analysis techniques, especially in emergency operations.
  • Strong skills in survey form design for mobile data collection (ODK, Ona or Commcare).
  • Experience, knowledge and clear understanding of Nigeria’s humanitarian, development and conflict contexts.
  • Data visualisation skills are highly desirable.
  • Good interpersonal skills and understanding of cultural sensitivities.
  • Fluency in English is required.
  • Impeccable English writing skill is required.
  • Has to be an individual not firm but can have a team of workers under him/her.

Assessment and Awarding of the Assignment

  • Mercy Corps will evaluate Technical and detailed financial proposals and award the assignment based on technical and financial feasibility.
  • Mercy Corps reserves the right to accept or reject one or all proposals received without assigning any reason and is not bound to accept the lowest or the highest bidder.
  • Any subcontracts under this consultancy will not be accepted.

Application Closing Date
28th April, 2022.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should send their Resume and Cover Letter in a single document to: mdg-quotations@mercycorps.org using the Job Title as the subject of the email.

Documents Required for the Proposal
Please submit the following documentation for the proposal:

  • Concept Note using Mercy Corps provided template
  • Consultant’s CV or CVs in case the applicant is a team, in which case, please identify the roles of each team member
  • 1-2 example reports from similar work, with a preference for work done in Nigeria or in Africa.
  • Capacity statement, not exceeding 2 pages, detailing work done with the same Scope of Work as this advertisement.
  • Financial breakdown ( consultancy rate per day for 30 days).
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