Terms of reference for Evaluatio

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                           Terms of Reference for External Evaluation

"Improving the Livelihoods of Vulnerable Populations in Farkhor and Hamadoni Districts of
                Khatlon, Tajikistan in a Participatory and Sustainable Way"

     1. Background to the project

 The project to be reviewed is implemented by ACTED (Agence d’Aide à la coopération technique
 et au développement, or Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development), with implementing
 partners the Agricultural Information Network (AIN) and the International NGO Training and
 Research Centre (INTRAC). It aims to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable rural populations in
 Tajikistan’s Khatlon province, through an integrated approach consisting of two interlinked
 components:
      promotion of inclusive and pro-active local governance structures
      promotion of agricultural livelihoods and local economic development

 The project, funded by the European Commission TACIS programme (Technical Assistance to the
 Commonwealth of Independent States), started in December 2007 and is due to be completed in
 December 2009.

 ACTED conducted two baseline surveys, with local government representatives and the public in
 February-March 2009, and with agricultural groups and cooperatives between July 2008 and
 March 2009. Output monitoring was reported at the mid-point of the project in December 2008.
 Monitoring visits by the EC were conducted in July 2008 and April 2009.

 The final, external evaluation will build upon this M&E information to date, by assessing the
 relevance, impact and effectiveness of the program and providing recommendations for future
 projects in this field.

 It should be noted that this project is complementary with another of ACTED’s EC-funded projects
 over the same time frame, and the two partially geographically coincide in the Khatlon region. In
 order to efficiently use resources and ensure a joined-up evaluation process and conclusions,
 ACTED deems it preferable to contract the same consultant to conduct the required evaluations
 for both projects – see separate TOR for External Evaluation of "Supporting the Land Reform
 Process in Sughd and Khatlon, Tajikistan".

     2. Objectives of the evaluation

             2.1. Impact and effectiveness

 The evaluator should assess the impact and effectiveness of the project based on the project
 proposal. In particular, the following questions should be answered:

 a) Project relevance

 -   Were the project interventions (methodologies and activities) relevant to achieve the project
     objectives?
 -   Did the project adequately adjust to changing situations or contexts?

 b) Involvement of beneficiaries and partners

 -   Was the selection of target areas and villages appropriate for reaching the most vulnerable
     households most in need of assistance in agriculture and governance?
 -   Were the target households identified by the community?



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-   Did the interventions address the community’s priorities?
-   Were beneficiaries sufficiently involved in the project implementation? Was there feedback
    from beneficiaries to project implementers?
-   Did the farmers self-select with whom to conduct joint purchases and sales?
-   Was women’s participation in CBOs and cooperatives encouraged?
-   Did relationships between the implementing partners (ACTED, AIN, INTRAC) contribute
    toward project results?
-   How has the relationship been between implementing partners and government authorities?

c) Impact of project

-   Did the project contribute to the achievement of the overall objective of the programme, i.e.
    improving the livelihoods of vulnerable rural populations in Tajikistan’s Khatlon province?
-   What were, if any, the innovative and successful approaches that are of relevance to other
    actors active in the livelihoods sector?

-   Were the expected results in the following sub-components realised?
           o CBO engagement in economic and social development and in livelihood activities
               (e.g. knowledge of CBO roles, organisational strengthening of CBOs)
           o Channels of communication and cooperation between local authorities and CBOs
               at the jamoat level (e.g. CBO lobbying abilities, government knowledge of CBO
               roles)
           o Farmer organisation into agricultural groups and cooperatives (e.g. management,
               marketing)
           o Agricultural extension services (e.g. knowledge of farming techniques, techniques
               adopted, AICS strengthening, AIC specialists’ performance)
           o Market linkages and farmer access to market information services (e.g. input
               purchasing, contracting of the association of input suppliers, uptake/use of
               established MIS, access to information on market opportunities)

-   What, if any, were the unintended impacts of the project intervention, both positive and
    negative?
-   What were the external constraints to achieving better effectiveness and how well were they
    mitigated?
-   Are the apparent impacts attributable to the project’s interventions?

    Note: ACTED will be responsible for collecting survey data to quantify the achievement of the
    project’s specific objective (i.e.increased household incomes, increased agricultural incomes,
    and increased agricultural yields), although the external consultant may choose to also
    integrate these areas into their qualitative tools used.

            2.2. Efficiency

-   Was the project managed efficiently, in terms of human capital, staff, financial and other
    resources versus the results?
-   Were the ACTED and partners’ implementation structures appropriate? Was the division and
    coordination between implementing partners’ roles efficient?
-   What were the external constraints to achieving better efficiency and how well were they
    mitigated?
-   Were synergies with other local governance and agricultural actors (local and international)
    capitalised on?
-   Did the project contribute to the process of land reform (covered by other ACTED projects)?
-   What evidence is there (if any) that learning (M&E), from this project or previous projects,
    were incorporated into the project’s implementation strategies? This includes learning from the
    two EC monitoring visits.




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                2.3. Sustainability

-   Were environmentally sustainable agricultural techniques promoted in the project’s extension
    services?
-   How, if at all, did the project interventions contribute toward administrative reforms
    (decentralisation)?
-   To what extent were the risk mitigation and sustainability plans in the project proposal, in addition
    to unforseen risks, addressed during project implmentation? How realistic were these?
-   What evidence is there to suggest the project’s interventions and/or results will be sustained after
    the project end?
-   What evidence is there to suggest the institutions created under this project will live on after the
    project end? If not sustainable at this point, why is this and what could be done now to strengthen
    them?
-   What are the possibilities for replication and extension of the project’s outcomes?
-   What future role could ACTED and implementing partners play in the on-going livelihoods
    improvement process?

                2.4. Findings and Recommendations

    The reviewer will provide ACTED with the findings of the review and elaborate recommendations
    and options, for potential future projects in livelihoods or related fields.
    - What are the positive aspects and how can we can build on these in the future?
    - What are the negative aspects we should avoid?
    - What could be the solutions to those problems?

        3. Methodology

    The evaluation will be based on documentation, interviews and field visits. The evaluator must
    ensure all stakeholders are involved in its research:
       - ACTED
       - AIN
       - INTRAC
       - Project beneficiaries – farmers, vulnerable households, hukumat and jamoat authorities,
           CBOs, AIN as beneficiary (for agricultural techniques and management capacities),
           Advisory Information Centres, Association of Agro-Input Suppliers
       - Other relevant government authorities
       - Other organisations active in the local governance and agricultural sectors, and interested
           observers

    The following documents will be made available for review by the evaluator (all are in English,
    some are also in Russian):
         Proposal including logframe and budget
         Two ‘baseline’ survey reports produced by ACTED in 2009
         Project interim report (narrative and budget) submitted to the EC in December 2008
         Final report to be submitted by INTRAC to ACTED in December 2009 (tbc)
         Final report to be submitted by AIN to ACTED in December 2009 (tbc)
         Two monitoring reports of the EC monitor, for monitoring visits conducted in July 2008
             and April 2009

    The minimum expectations of the evaluation methodology are that it be designed to:
         compare and interpret quantitative data with selected baseline survey results
         capture qualitative information to deepen the understanding of achievement/non-
            achieved of expected results
         investigate how the beneficiaries’ new knowledge and strengthened capacities gained
            through the project are being applied in practice
         be flexible enough to address programmatic issues as they arise while conducting the
            evaluation


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The evaluator may choose to include communities outside of the area of intervention for
comparative/control purposes, if deemed appropriate and feasible.

The external consultant is not expected to focus on output monitoring, as ACTED processes are in
place to capture this. Any final data regarding outputs will be provided to the consultant, as
available.

    4. Schedule & duration

The evaluation is expected to require a maximum of two weeks field work, during December 2009-
January 2010, in Dushanbe and Khatlon regions. Evaluation findings should be presented to
project and management staff in Tajikistan upon conclusion of the field work, and a reviewable
draft of the evaluation report submitted two weeks before the finalised report, due on 31 January
2010.

ACTED will give full support to the reviewer to facilitate its evaluation (project documentation,
travel logistics, interpretation if needed). The evaluator will work under the supervision of ACTED’s
Appraisal Monitoring and Evaluation Manager in Dushanbe.


5. Expression of Interest

Interested parties should send a maximum two-page EOI indicating their:
     experience in project evaluations (required), the Tajikistan or Central Asia context
        (desirable), and the livelihoods sector (desirable)
     proposed methodology and tools in conducting this assignment
     proposed timeline
     professional fee
                                            th
to tenders@acted.org before November 11 2009.




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