Afghanaid is a British international NGO that has been working in Afghanistan since 1983. Headquartered in Kabul and with 5 other offices across four provinces, Afghanaid’s work helps community-based recovery and development in some of the most remote areas of the country. A small marketing and fundraising office is based in London. 157 national and 8 international personnel are employed in Afghanistan.
Afghanaid works alongside poor Afghans to enhance their opportunities and capabilities to achieve sustainable and equitable economic and social development. Afghanaid does this through a range of programme interventions that support grass-roots development of basic services, such as water and sanitation, access roads, education facilities and other community infrastructure; improved livelihoods, through natural resource management, agricultural and small enterprise development, and improved access to markets; as well as humanitarian assistance. Gender mainstreaming, local governance and community development are integrated into all of Afghanaid’s work. The results achieved have earned Afghanaid
1.1. Project description
“Women’s Economic Empowerment Project II. – Strengthening sustainability of female led community based organisations in Badakhshan province” (WEE II. project) is a follow up of the highly successful Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Project implemented by Afghanaid in Badakhshan province from 2013 to 2016. The WEE project provided over fourteen thousand poor and marginalised women with knowledge, skills and tools to earn income. While describing the impact of the WEE project as impressive, the final evaluation raised concerns about the sustainability of the 128 women-managed CBOs created in the process. These CBOs play a crucial role in sustaining the income of the beneficiaries by enabling them to access markets, credit, training and support. The collapse of the CBOs would substantially reduce their earning and growth potential, undermining the economic and social gains of the WEE project.
WEE II. is a nine month project that started in July 2016 and will finish in March 2017. It is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) through the British Embassy in Kabul. The project is being implemented in 8 districts of Badakhshan, namely Argo, Baharak, Darayem, Faizabad, Jurm, Keshim, Shuhada and Yaftal.
The project’s goal is that women in target areas benefit from strengthened sustainability of their CBOs, consolidated income gains and deepened economic and social empowerment so that not only the gains from the earlier UK-funded project are protected, but also fresh UK funding entrenches the economic empowerment of an estimated 8,520 women. The project aims to strengthen women-managed CBOs, enabling, in turn, their members to sustain their income-generating activities. These activities are tailored to the existing capacity and vocational focus of the CBOs, which work in horticulture, fruit and vegetable processing, animal husbandry, dairy processing, poultry-rearing, beautification, embroidery, tailoring, confectionary, knitting, and apiculture.
WEE II. is expected to achieve the following results:
(Targeted project participants (all women) have strengthened management of their CBOs)
(Target project participants (all women) have improved market access for their CBOs and their individual members through the cooperatives, saving groups and/or alternate structures)
Women led CBOs have established strong links with government departments
2. The Consultancy Assignment
2.1. Purpose of the independent final evaluation
In line with Afghanaid’s policy to promote accountability to stakeholders, and to use lessons learnt for improving future programming, an external end of project evaluation has been planned. In line with Afghanaid’s policy, an end-of-the project was planned in order to promote accountability to stakeholders and learning lessons which would help in improving future programming. The evaluation will assess the performance of the project against the log-frame indicators, and document lessons learnt and best practices. This will enable FCO and Afghanaid to know whether Project Cycle Management (PCM) and other good practices in development programming, guided the implementation of the project. For this purpose Afghanaid intends to commission an individual consultant, who specializes in women’s economic and social empowerment through diversification of their livelihood opportunities, to conduct this evaluation.
2.2. Key objectives of the evaluation
The evaluation has two explicit objectives that are explained below:
To independently verify (and supplement where necessary), WEE II. Project’s achievements as reported through its Quarterly Reports and defined in the project log-frame;
To assess if the project was good value for money, measured by:
How well the project met its objectives;
How well the project applied value for money principles of effectiveness, economy, efficiency in relation to delivery of its outcome;
What has happened because of FCO funding that wouldn’t have otherwise happened; and
1.1. Verification of commissioning organization’s reporting
The first task of the final evaluation is to verify achievements of the WEE II. project. The record of achievement is documented in past Quarterly Reports and progress against the targets set in the project log-frame. This exercise could include verifying information that was collected by the project team for reporting purposes and verifying/supplementing this data, if necessary, with additional information collected through primary and secondary research. Verifying the achievements against the milestones and targets set in may not present the full picture, as there were other activities and results occurring outside of the log-frame. These may require examination in order to respond to some of the evaluation questions. Verifying reporting will also necessarily include a review of the data and systems that were used to populate results.
1.2. Assessment of value for money
The final evaluation should assess the extent to which the delivery and results of the project are good value for money. Value for money can be defined in different ways, but at the minimum the evaluation report should include an assessment against:
How well the project applied value for money principles of effectiveness, economy, efficiency in relation to delivery of its outcome;
What has happened because of FCO funding that wouldn’t have otherwise happened.
1.3. Evaluation questions
The independent evaluator should respond to the questions below, s/he should use her/his discretion in the level of effort used to respond to these questions. The evaluator is encouraged to structure his/her research questions according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact.
Has the project contributed to achievement towards the SDGs at the provincial level and to what extent?
To what extent did the project target and reach the poor and marginalised?
To what extent did the project mainstream gender equality in the design and delivery of activities (and or other relevant excluded groups)?
How well did the project respond to the needs of target beneficiaries?
Did the project make sufficient progress towards its expected outcomes and to what extent (e.g. fully achieved, partially achieved, not achieved)?
To what extent are the results that are reported a fair and accurate record of achievement?
To what extent has the project delivered results that are value for money?
To what extent has the project used learning to improve delivery?
What are the key drivers and barriers affecting the delivery of results for the project?
To what extent did the commissioning organization deliver results on time and on budget against agreed plans?
To what extent did the project understand cost drivers and manage these in relation to performance requirements?
What were the constraints that hindered the project implementation (e.g. political, religious and security) and were these managed effectively?
What mitigation measures were adopted to overcome the challenges faced by the project and what were the success rates of these measures?
To what extent has the project leveraged additional resources (financial and in-kind) from other sources? What effect has this had on the scale, delivery or sustainability of activities?
To what extent is there evidence that the benefits delivered by the project will be sustained after the project ends?
How many people are receiving support from the project that otherwise would not have received support?
To what extent and how has the project affected people in ways that were not originally intended?
2. Evaluation methods
The consultant commissioned to conduct the final evaluation and the commissioning organization are jointly responsible for choosing the methods that are most appropriate for demonstrating impact. Evaluation methods should be rigorous yet at all times proportionate and appropriate to the context of the project intervention. Where possible, the evaluator is encouraged to triangulate data sources so that findings are as robust as possible.
2.1. Different approaches to assessing impact
Although it is not strictly mandatory, the evaluator is encouraged to apply a mixed-methods approach for assessing impact. This would combine qualitative data to provide an explanation of ‘why’ and ‘how’ the project has achieved the type and scale of results that are quantitatively observed.
Assessing impact through experimental or quasi-experimental approaches
To definitively attribute impact, then the establishment of a counter factual is required: e.g. What would have happened to beneficiaries in the absence of the intervention? Evaluator is encouraged to consider the extent to which approaches, such as measuring the difference between treatment and control groups, can be successful in capturing impact while also balancing concerns relating to proportionality.
2.2. Indicative materials to review
Relevant to review documents may include:
Afghanaid’s original application for WEE II. Project funding;
MoU with FCO for funding;
Updated versions of project log-frame;
Studies undertaken by the project;
Financial information / information on resources spent;
Published materials (e.g. to demonstrate sharing of learning with others);
Additional documents considered to be relevant.
2.3. Indicative methods for conducting primary and secondary research
Relevant primary and secondary research may include:
Interviews with project staff involved in the management and delivery of work;
Focus group discussions with ultimate beneficiaries;
Field Surveys covering project partners and other stakeholders;
Review of secondary sources and published studies, measuring impact where possible through comparison groups and other quantitative methods;
Assessing the authenticity and quality of reported data through sample checks and source verification.
3. Contractual and reporting arrangements
3.1. Profile of the Independent Evaluation provider
The Independent Evaluator should be an independent consultant or a consulting firm meeting criteria described below.
An evaluation specialist with a minimum of seven years’ experience in programme/project evaluation in an international development context;
Experienced in results-based monitoring and evaluation;
Able to plan and design evaluation approaches and research methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative research methods. Where feasible and proportionate, the person or team should include skills and expertise required to design, plan and conduct impact evaluation, potentially using experimental or quasi-experimental techniques;
Possess relevant knowledge of subject matter and experience with women’s economic and social empowerment through diversification of their livelihood opportunities that enables the evaluator to make sure that the evaluation design and research methods are relevant and meaningful to the aims and objectives of the project and its context;
Experienced in developing and applying gender sensitive participatory research, evaluation and review methodologies in traditional Islamic cultural contexts
Able to manage a potentially large-scale and complex evaluation and research process, including interpreting baseline data and conducting a final evaluation;
Ability to design and manage data and information systems capable of handling large datasets for monitoring and evaluation purposes;
Excellent analysis and writing skills
Ability to work independently with minimum supervision
No conflict of interest with the ongoing activities of commissioning organization.
Appropriate country knowledge/experience or experience from other conflict affected countries;
Local language(s) proficiency;
Willingness to live and work in a very basic conditions during the assignment.
4.2 Management arrangements
Afghanaid is responsible for the recruitment and briefing to the final evaluator, and within Afghanaid, for the duration of the contract, the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Manager will be the point of contact. Afghanaid will also provide logistical and technical support to facilitate required meetings and interviews. The consultant will report directly to the Project Manager WEE II, while being accountable to the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Advisor for methodological issues
4.3 Deliverables and timeframe
In order to minimalize the risk of not being able to access the required project staff and key stakeholders, the consultancy is expected to start 1st March, 2016.
The consultant will submit the first draft of the report to the WEE II. Project Manager one week after the field research. The final report must be submitted maximum two weeks after the field research but no later than 26th March 2016.
The final evaluation report needs to be a substantial document that
(a) fully addresses the Terms of Reference (ToR);
(b) provides findings and conclusions that are based on robust and transparent evidence; and
(c) supplements Afghanaid’s own data with independent research wherever necessary.
The main body of the report (draft and final version) must be limited to 40 pages. A table summarising the findings according to the OECD-DAC criteria must be provided as an annexure.
The consultant will be required to complete the work over period not exceeding 22 days as outline in the table below. The consultant will include following specific activities in the assignment and will indicate the number of days they propose for each activity. Ultimately, the duration has to be discussed and agreed with Afghanaid.
Activity and Number of Days
Review of documents (literature and data from secondary sources and project related documents); development and agreement with Afghanaid on methodology, detailed planning e.g. survey, formats, meetings (3 Days)
Field visits: visiting project sites, meetings with project participants and communities in eight districts (if security permits); meeting with DoWA, DAIL, DoEDU, DoJ and other stakeholders (GIZ); meetings with project teams in districts, debriefings with the provincial project team (10 Days)
Debriefing meeting with Afghanaid in Kabul (1 Days)
Draft reports (4 Days)
Final reports (1 Days)
Travel time (actual) – international and local (4 Days)
Total ( 22 Days)
The following structure should be used for reporting:
- Purpose of the evaluation
- Organisation context
- Logic and assumptions of the evaluation
- Evaluation plan
- Strengths and weaknesses of selected design and research methods
- Summary of problems and issues encountered
- Overall Results
- Assessment of accuracy of reported results
- Summary of achievements against evaluation questions
- Overall impact and value for money
Lessons learnt (where relevant)
- Project level – management, design, implementation
- Policy level
- Sector level
Annexes (such as)
- Terms of reference for the project end Independent Evaluation
- Schedule of the Evaluation
- Evaluation framework
- Data collection tools
- List of people consulted
- List of supporting documentary information
- Details of the evaluation team
- Afghanaid’s management response to findings and recommendations
- A covering letter explicitly referring to previous similar experiences, preferably in Afghanistan
- Detailed methodology
- Work plan indicating dates and number of days for each task
- Professional fee (in USD – either lump sum or daily rate)
- Availability (date)
- Your EoI must reach by COB on Saturday, January 21st, 2017, clearly marked WEE II. Project Final Evaluation, BDK; mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contract Duration1 Month
Number of positions1