Terms of Reference
Final evaluation of Aswatouna (Our Voices) project in Iraq
Internews is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to empower local civil society worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect and the means to make their voices heard. For more information about the organisation please visit: www.internews. org
Background and Rationale
The Aswatouna project contributes to Internews’ ongoing efforts globally to improve access to information as a root solution to enable women and men to make informed decisions, participate in dialogue and stand up for their rights. Internews has been leading on various gender responsive programmes in Iraq including the Aswatouna (Our Voices) project, initiated in 2019, with the aim of empowering women journalists and human rights defenders to be part of public discourse and to participate equally as citizens and decision makers. This is a critical element of good governance and a fundamental prerequisite for peacebuilding, gender equality, and poverty reduction. In addition, Aswatouna’s approach is to strengthen and expand women’s voices in Iraq while engaging men in this effort to help put equal human rights, peaceful coexistence, and political and economic inclusion at the centre of the reconstruction process.
Evaluation Purpose and Objectives
The overall objective of the evaluation is to assess the effectiveness, relevance, and connectedness of the Aswatouna project, its implementation efforts throughout the lifetime of the project and the impact it potentially had on gender-responsiveness amongst its partners and stakeholders. That is in addition to drawing lessons and recommendations on future programming and the potential extension or replicability of the project’s approaches.
Over the course of the project, we worked on 5 clusters of activities responding to each of the objectives mentioned above, each cluster includes 5 activities, and each activity involves an average of 90 participant. The project focused on Northern, Central and Southern Iraq through support from three main implementing partners: Metro Centre, Peace and freedom organisation and Awan organisation for awareness and capacity building. The project targeted 3 main groups, namely women journalists working for independent and government media outlets, women human right defenders and male journalists and activists interested in gender responsiveness.
Along with assessing the impact of the ‘Aswatouna’ project, this evaluation will inform all future strategy and programming in order to better serve our target participants, partners, and stakeholders in Iraq.
Tasks to be covered during the evaluation include but are not limited to:
- Collating secondary project data from various sources including final reports, data collected post project activities carried out throughout the lifetime of the project and draw on the outcomes verified through the outcome harvesting methodology used as part of the projects’ M&E practices.
- Using robust research methods to gather primary data from various project stakeholders.
- Orienting project teams, partners, and other stakeholders on the overall roadmap of the evaluation process.
- Assessing how relevant the project was to the three main target groups and stakeholders potentially including editors in chief of media outlets, members of parliament and policy makers.
- Assessing the effectiveness of the project in meeting its objectives. For example, evaluating the capacity of journalists and WHRDs to report on SGBV issues sensitively and responsibly, the role of the content pieces produced under the project in addressing SGBV and broader gender equality issues across Iraq. Also, assessing the effectiveness of other project approaches including sub-granting mechanisms, digital, physical, and operational security training sessions, leadership and managerial training and advocacy campaigns.
- Assessing the extent to which the project has been gender-responsive within its processes and the impact of its approaches among its institutional partners and individual participants.
- Evaluating the partnerships created with other stakeholders within Iraq and identifying potential areas of improvement and recommendations.
- Assessing the project’s impact on the operational context and the difference it might have had on its stakeholders.
- Identifying key recommendations and lessons learned from the project for further media development programming in Iraq.
- Leading on and identifying ways in which the evaluation findings could be utilised by all project stakeholders including those who would potentially join in the future, in addition to processes that Internews could potentially build to ensure evaluation findings are utilised in future programming and country strategies.
- Identifying best practices and challenges for organisational learning to share with internal and external stakeholders, including the donor.
- Presenting initial findings in a data immersion session before drafting the report, with various project stakeholders including Internews staff, implementing partners and SIDA.
- Submitting first evaluation draft for internal peer review.
Questions pertaining to the evaluation objectives include but are not limited to:
- To what extent has the project and its various components responded to and more importantly was sensitive to the implementation context and its complexities?
- Is the project doing what is relevant, needed, and important for target groups, while doing no harm?
- Is the project meeting its objectives?
- Did the project implementation have an effect or create a difference in the context, among target groups or other potential stakeholders?
- Were there any unintended outcomes that were realised because of the existence of the project?
- What are some of the processes and practices that Internews needs to adopt to ensure the evaluation findings are utilised if the project or some of its approaches are extended or replicated?
- What else could have been done to ensure stronger impact within the context and among target groups?
Internews envisions a theory of change driven, utilisation-focused and gender-responsive evaluation. We understand that most evaluation studies rely on all the OECD/DAC criteria, yet we would like to focus particularly on relevance, effectiveness, and impact. We welcome the use of creative evaluation methods and approaches that will help substantiate project progress and outcomes, particularly those that adopt non-extractive participatory methods. The methodology is expected to use mixed methods of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods in the study area. Suggestions include surveys, virtual semi-structured interviews, peer interviews, focus group discussions, etc.
Timeframe and deliverables
The set timeline expected the final evaluation report and presentation to be delivered no later than the 29th of October 2021 with an allocated budget of 10,000 USD. We consider the below as a flexible working modality:
Launch of ToR + Applications Review
July 19th– July 30th
Internews will review applications and interview applicants.
Appointment of Evaluator + Initial Briefing.
By August 6th ,2021.
The consultant is expected to have initial meetings with staff to inform inception report (see below).
By August 18th, 2021.
Relevant documentation will
be made available and the
inception report will include:
- Literature review
- Draft methodology
- Data collection tools
- Outline of final report structure
Secondary Data Review + Primary Data Collection
Evaluation of project takes place.
Data Immersion Session
By October 1st, 2021
Preliminary evaluation findings and data is shared with those invested in the process, to discuss gaps, if any, discuss data and report structure.
Evaluator is free to suggest up to two immersion sessions, if needed.
Draft Report Submission [Staff review + Internal Peer Review]
By October 15th, 2021
Internews staff & Internews Peer Research and Evaluation Manager(s) will review the draft for further clarification, comment, and structure.
Final Report Submission
By October 29th 2021.
Internews staff receives final report deliverable.
One hour presentation of findings in PPT slides.
Between November 1st – 6th 2021.
Evaluation findings is shared with other project and non-project teams.
Note that the draft and final reports should be presented in English and be no longer than 30 pages (excluding any relevant annexes) and contain a concise Executive Summary of core findings and recommendations, the latter being specific and action-oriented, and tailored to all relevant stakeholders (i.e., Internews and the donor). It should also include a methodology section, making explicit any limits to the evaluation.
Application guidelines and requirements
Applications should include the below documentation:
- A 2-3-page statement of interest/draft proposal, highlighting how your methodological approach will address the scope planned for this evaluation as well as describing how your profile meets criteria (see next section).
- A CV and 2 recommendations.
- Evidence of evaluation work (e.g., link to evaluation reports or PDF attachments), highlighting evaluation theories and approaches.
- A short cost justification (not included in the 2-page limit) and estimated level of effort (number of days) – including your salary history and/or daily rate for your last 3 consultancies.
- Bachelor’s degree in media, journalism, international development, evaluation, or related field.
- At least 3 years’ experience conducting evaluations in difficult contexts.
- Experience with qualitative and quantitative M&E data collection and analysis methods.
- Fluent in English.
- Excellent inter-cultural communication skills/cultural sensitivity and the ability to forge strong cross-cultural relationships and build trust demonstrated through previous intercultural experience.
- Strong facilitation, presentation, writing and communication skills.
- Proficiency in Arabic, or willingness to incorporate a translation into evaluation processes/costs.
- Masters’ degree or PhD in relevant field.
- Experience conducting evaluations for media development, or more than 5 years’ experience as evaluator.
- Proficiency in Arabic and English is required.