Consultant – End Line Assessment at Mercy Corps

Job Expired

Job Title: Consultant for End Line Assessment

Location: Damboa, Borno
Employment Type: Contract

Purpose / Project Description

  • The ultimate goal of the REACH 4 is to enable 13,512 conflict-affected households in Damboa have improved food and nutrition security during the program’s lifetime of 12 months. Building on three years of experience successfully implementing the REACH program (1, 2 & 3), Mercy Corps aimed to meet the essential food security needs of the most vulnerable households this include the IDPs, Returnees and the Host community while contributing to a foundation for resilience in Damboa LGA.
  • To achieve this, Mercy Corps used a multi-pronged approach to increase access to both staple and nutrient-dense food through local markets while also shaping behavior change to support optimal nutrition. The program accomplishes this objective through work in food security, nutrition and household energy (fuel-efficient stoves (FES):
    • Food Security: REACH 4 worked to ensure that 13,512 conflict-affected households access nutritionally adequate and diverse foods via vouchers for nutritious food items for vulnerable households. During the phase 4, Mercy Corps explored expanding food options to potentially encourage households to purchase vegetables, fruits, animal-source foods and other fresh foods that are locally available and culturally appropriate — in addition to the staple food items that are already accessed through market vendors. Expansion of food options will have the added benefit of supporting local producers, while also ensuring these households consume essential micronutrients.
    • Nutrition: REACH 4 conducted nutrition/hygiene promotion activities as per the outcomes of the needs assessment responding to negative coping mechanisms and to promote proper hygiene practices and Infant and young Child Feeding (IYCF), and train women and men in child health and nutrition. This will emphasize behavior change communications and strategies with groups of women and adolescent girls, while also creating linkages to, and driving demand for, nutritious foods and nutrition and health services.
    • Fuel Efficient Stove (FES): REACH 4 worked to ensure that households are able to prepare staple and fresh foods safely and hygienically, a small pilot to support increased access to fuel efficient stoves (FES) for vulnerable households.
  • The purpose of the Final evaluation of the program is to (a) assess the program’s achievements of the activity in relation to the goal, objectives, results and targets (b) Evaluate the activity’s effects on the local markets, and how it affected certain groups of interest (women, men, youth, boys and girls), Evaluate the effectiveness and relevance of the modality, transfers and complementary interventions to achieve activity outcomes (d) assess the sustainability of its results, (e) Identify best practices, lessons learned, strengths and challenges in activity design, including log frame, and implementation of achieving project achievements. The evaluation is to cover all sub-sectors of the intervention.
  • The results of the Final evaluation will be used to inform the final reporting to the donor and will be shared with the food security Cluster in Nigeria and to help inform Mercy Corps’ current and future food security programming.
  • The consultant is expected to work in-country (or remotely in case of international) and to deliver a comprehensive Final evaluation report no later than February 25, 2021 – with a first draft submitted for review by February 18, 2020.

Evaluation Questions
The evaluation questions that will be considered as cornerstones for this assessment are:

  • Achievements: To what extent have the interventions adhered to planned implementation – schedules, participant targeting, resource transfer composition and quantities, inputs and service delivery, and outputs – and achieved intended goals, purposes and outcomes? Did interventions reach the appropriate target groups and individuals within the target areas? Are interventions appropriate and effective for the target group based on the nature of their vulnerabilities? How effective was the targeting approach in achieving the project goal? What factors promoted or inhibited adherence to plans and targets? How were problems and challenges managed? What lessons were learned?
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency of Interventions and Intervention Implementation: To what extent did the interventions consider the differential vulnerability by gender equity, protection, age, physical and emotional challenges of the participants, and risks to participation in various interventions in project design and implementation? How has management adapted the project design or implementation based on monitoring information and feedback from the target population? What lessons were learnt regarding program design and implementation? What was the level of efficiency with regards to cost-per-project participant, timely delivery of the goods or services, and adjusting the transfer amount based on price and need changes? How have the nutrition activities impacted the nutritional outcomes of project participating HHs, in general, and households with vulnerable participants like, pregnant women, people living with disabilities, and the elderly, in particular household with children screened with severe and moderate acute malnutrition?
  • Intended and Unintended Food and Nutrition Security Outcome: What changes has the program brought in terms of the household food consumption score, household hunger scores and coping strategy index? To what extent has the program improved household coping and adaptive capacities in the course of recurring conflicts and displacements. Include expected and unexpected, positive and negative – what factors facilitated or inhibited these changes?
  • Assess the contribution of specific interventions in improving household food security and nutrition outcome: How have the mass sensitization rallies and the vendors shop nutrition promotion during voucher distributions with informational banners led to changes in participants’ food selection pattern? How effective has, the Mother Support Groups been in passing nutritional massages? How impactful is the voucher system? How can the food intervention be improved in the future?
  • Collaborations: What is the level of satisfaction of the stakeholders including government departments, food security cluster, participants, and others?
  • Leverage and Layering: To what extent did the project leverage existing other USG and non-USG investments in the same space to facilitate linkages with complementary services, layering with earlier investments, and implementing and exit strategy to minimize the dependency on external assistance. To what extent can the benefits of the interventions be sustained after the completion of this project?

Consultant Deliverables:
The consultant is expected to provide a means of answering the evaluation questions using both qualitative and quantitative means of data-collection, providing the sampling strategy adopting the sample size from the feed the future sample size calculator and data analysis. This will include the key deliverables of:

  • Develop an Inception Report detailing the process and methodologies to be employed to answer the evaluation questions.
  • Undertake desk review of the relevant program documents and secondary analysis to further inform the results interpretation
  • Design qualitative and quantitative data framework and tools: The external consultant is expected to conduct a mixed methods evaluation using tools and a workplan approved by the Country MEL Manager prior to the start of the evaluation. Data collection shall involve visits to a sample of project locations, meetings with program partners, targeted participants and other key stakeholders. The consultant will lead the qualitative and quantitative data collection, including supervising data collection teams, and completing the analysis within the approved timeline:
    • Qualitative: The qualitative evaluation must capture lessons learned and best practices through a variety of qualitative methods. The evaluation team will design the overall qualitative study approach and should consider a variety of primary data collection methods, including: semi-structured in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and observations. The evaluation team leader and members will be responsible for collecting and analyzing qualitative data. Data will be collected from key stakeholders through interviews, discussions, consultative processes, and observations.
    • Quantitative: The Final evaluation will include primary data collection and analysis of quantitative survey data. The Final survey tool will be designed by the consultant and must utilize the same data collection instruments, level of statistical precision, and statistical power as the baseline survey. The field operations – from hiring and training of enumerators and testing of tools – will be led by the consultant with support from Mercy Corps. The evaluation shall be designed to detect statistically significant changes in estimates from baseline to Final for key indicators
  • Quantitative designs should allow to examine statistical significant changes in estimates from baseline to Final for key indicators (sampling frame and sample size to be calculated using the revised FFP MEL guideline). In addition to the three primary indicators, the evaluator will examine other performance indicators as per the log frame
Indicator Source Indicator Data Collection Method
FFP-EFSP 2 Food Consumption Score (FCS) – Percent of households with poor, borderline and acceptable food consumption score Participants based survey
FFP-EFSP 3 Reduced Coping Strategy Index (rCSI) – Mean Participants based survey
FFP-EFSP 4 Household Hunger Score (HHS) – Prevalence of households with moderate or severe hunger Participants based survey
FAO USAID WHO Fanta Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W) & Minimum Acceptable Diet for children 6-23 months Participants based survey
Adapted from USAID/MCHIP Household Water and Sanitation Module Percent of people targeted by the hygiene promotion program who know at least three (3) of the five (5) critical times to wash hands Participants based survey
Custom Percentage of children under 5 with children with MUAC Score of 13.5cm above. Participants based survey
Feed the Future Indicator Handbook 2014 (also FFP indicator and MCHIP/USAI Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding of children under six months of age. Participants based survey
Custom Percentage of community members who report enhanced awareness and demand about product availability and benefits Participants based survey
Custom % of participating households reporting reduced expenditure on fuel Participants based survey
DHS/FFP/ CARE/WEA Average score on the program relevant household decision making index Participants based survey
  • The consultant is expected to carry out the following tasks and to produce a comprehensive Final evaluation report.
  • Train, and oversee the work of Enumerators/Surveyors
  • Prepare draft evaluation report
  • Conduct in-country presentation of findings for Mercy Corps
  • Prepare Final evaluation report and presentation
  • Draft Report brief of 4-5 pages summarizing key findings and program achievements

Below is an overview of the activities, their duration, and the stakeholders responsible. The duration/Level of Effort included is an estimate:

Duration Activity Stakeholder
Week 1-

5 Working days

Review draft evaluation SOW with the external evaluator to clarify timeframe and available budget External evaluator, Program Manager, Country MEL Manager, Humanitarian Response Director
Undertake desk review of the relevant program documents that include the Proposals, Implementation Plans, Revised Program designs and timelines, Program Implementation Reports, Mercy Corps strategy documents, Monthly PDM reports, Assessment reports and any other relevant documents.

Develop an Inception Report detailing the process and methodologies to be employed to answer the evaluation questions. This should include all evaluation tools, and important time schedules for this exercise, and be presented to Mercy Corps for review and further inputs before going to the field.

External evaluator
Provide feedback to inception report and tools for external evaluator to incorporate Program Manager, Country MEL Manager, Humanitarian Response Director
With input from MCN Programs team and MEL teams, refine data collection tools and translate them as appropriate External evaluator
Week 2 – 5 working days Train Enumerators/Surveyors; Pre-test data collection instruments External evaluator/MEL Officer
Finalize data collection instruments External evaluator
Oversee data collection External evaluator
Week 3 & 4 – 10 working days Encode and Analyze data (using ONA and ODK) External evaluator
Prepare draft evaluation report External evaluator
Provide detailed feedback to draft report Program Manager, Country MEL Manager, Field Manager, Technical Sector Manager, Humanitarian Response Director
Finalize report, produce presentation of findings, and share back with MC (Not more 25 pages – all other additions can be included as Annexes) External evaluator

The consultant will be provided with transportation and accommodation in-country and location of Final evaluation – but Mercy Corps will provide guidance and recommendations. The evaluation consultant will include their airfare as part of the contract which will be covered by Mercy Corps – and Mercy Corps will support with access to field/implementation sites.

Mercy Corps Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team will be available to work directly with the consultant throughout the duration of the consultancy and to answer any question as they emerge.

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 evaluation report, including a summary of major findings, lessons learned, 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 assessment of progress with respect to indicators / targets / objectives and/or evaluation questions, production of indicator estimate with tables showing the indicators, BL/EL indicator value and statistically compare the two value. Reference baseline and midterm evaluation information as well as program logic, theory of change, etc.
  • Synthesis, Recommendations and Lessons Learned: This is space for the evaluation team to think about the data and results, and make concrete recommendations for current or future program improvements, pull out organization lessons learned, and generally comment on data and results. Everything presented in this section should be directly linked back 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, 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.

The consultant should provide an estimate of the number of days/level of effort they expect is required. The figures above are estimates.

The Consultant will report to:

  • Mercy Corps‘ Country MEL Manager

The Consultant will work closely with:

  • Mercy Corps’ REACH FFP program manager, MEL Team, CASH Program Manager and Grants and Reporting Manager, Humanitarian Response Director and Field Manager.

Required Experience & Skills
The following are the qualifications and experiences the consultant should possess:

  • Strong experience conducting major research exercises in support of major development programmes – preferably in food and nutrition security – in challenging operational environments, previous experience in Nigeria is desirable.
  • A strong approach to assuring quality assurance of data collected.
  • A strong ethical approach to data collection – while still being able to meet the objectives of the consultancy.
  • Demonstrable experience in leading evaluations of humanitarian programs responding to major disasters, with specific emphasis on food security and protection in emergencies.
  • 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 clearly synthesize and present findings, draw practical conclusions, make recommendations and to prepare well-written reports in a timely manner;
  • Demonstrated experience in both quantitative and qualitative data collection and data analysis techniques, especially in emergency operations;
  • Data visualization skills highly desirable
  • Consultant is expected to have strong skills in survey form design for mobile data collection (using ONA and ODK)
  • Experience with evaluation USAID-funded projects
  • Experience, knowledge and clear understanding of Nigeria humanitarian context;
  • Good interpersonal skills and understanding cultural sensitivities;
  • Readiness to travel to North East (Damboa, Borno State) conduct direct standard assessment activities as well as field visits to program sites.
  • Master’s Degree, PhDs / Doctorates qualification.
  • 5 – 10 years Experience.

Assessment and Award of the Assignment:

  • Mercy Corps will evaluate technical and financial proposals (include accommodation, flights and enumerators management costs) 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. Only those shortlisted will be contacted.
  • Any sub-contracting under this evaluation consultancy will not be accepted.

Application Closing Date
15th February, 2021.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

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