Evaluation of SCA’s Support to Civil Society in Afghanistan
Background: SCA’s support to and engagement with civil society
Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) works with a range of civil society organizations (CSOs), from community-based organizations at the district and even village level to national NGOs and NGO networks. Broadly speaking, the CSOs that SCA works with contribute to basic service provision, undertake awareness-raising campaigns and / or carry out advocacy, in areas where government access is limited, insufficient or absent altogether. In the majority of cases, SCA provides financial support to the partner organizations, as well as various forms of assistance for organizational capacity development, such as training, consultancy, networking services, the facilitation of access to government, and study visits.
SCA runs four large programmes in the fields of Health, Education, Rural Development and Rehabilitation of People with Disability. All four programmes engage with and provide support to CSOs, whether by means of formal funding and capacity development agreements, or by more informal cooperation and inclusion into SCA’s activities at the project / field level.
In 2010 SCA founded a Civil Society Unit (CSU), dedicated solely to the promotion of civil society in Afghanistan, with the aim of strengthening and formalizing SCA’s longstanding support for and engagement with civil society in Afghanistan. The CSU’s work is broadly divided into three components:
1. capacity development support to Afghan civil society and local communities, primarily through the Small Project Funds (SPF) and the Organisational Development Funds (ODF).
2. improving internal cooperation to mainstreaming SCA approaches to working with civil society;
3. support and contribution to strengthen networking and advocacy of Afghan civil society.
Purpose and objectives
The purpose of the evaluation is to provide a formative assessment of SCA’s support to civil society in Afghanistan, in order to provide recommendations for the development of SCA’s next strategic plan, due to enter the planning phase at the end of 2013. This will include identifying the results to date of that support since 2007, when SCA started small grants schemes for civil society, and appraising the approach and methods used by SCA in its engagement with civil society in terms of relevance, efficiency and effectiveness. In doing this, the evaluation will address the question, to what extent are the activities of SCA’s civil society support contributing to achieving the civil society development objective:
A vibrant and pluralistic civil society that is scrutinising and demanding accountability of the state’s commitments and actions, and is an engine for development and contributes effectively to reducing poverty in all its dimensions in Afghanistan.
Evaluation objectives are:
- To assess the scope and diversity of SCA’s support of and involvement with civil society in Afghanistan;
- To assess civil society partner involvement in SCA operations, especially related to advocacy and capacity development, and to gauge to what extent Afghan partners contribute to the achievement of SCA’s strategic objectives;
- To assess whether SCA’s engagement with civil society is relevant to the Afghan development context, particularly the current processes of transition towards Afghan control over security in the country and continued donor-led efforts towards economic and social transformation;
- To identify the intended or unintended results of SCA’s engagement with civil society;
- To appraise the SCA’s overall approach and the specific methods it deploys to support civil society in terms of relevance and effectiveness, drawing attention to good practice;
- To identify key factors either enabling or constraining SCA’s engagement with civil society;
- To identify lessons learnt and to provide SCA and its civil society partners with recommendations for optimizing results within SCA, while working with relevant national ministries and government bodies and agencies at provincial and district levels, and also while coordinating with INGOs and Afghan NGOs more generally.
The evaluation will include an overall appraisal of Swedish Committee’s support to both civil society in Afghanistan as a sector and specific civil society organizations. This will involve providing a qualitative assessment of SCA’s overall approach and strategy for capacity development in relation to SCA’s organizational strategy and development policy, the current development needs and social and economic context of Afghanistan and the organizational development and capacity development needs of the civil society organizations SCA works with and supports. The evaluation shall also help SCA to assess how the CS program is reflecting international policy discussions and more specifically with regards to SwedishMFA/Sida guidelines for CS work and Forum Syd agreement requirement.
In addition, the evaluation will include an analysis, through a desk study of SCA strategic and programme documents, of how wider changes in SCA’s organization over the period 2007 to the present day have affected its support to civil society and consequent results, as well as how the changes in SCA’s approach have been tracked in the documentation.
The evaluation will necessitate careful exploration of these themes with CSU and programme staff members, civil society partners and other stakeholders at the central level, SCA’s Kabul Management Office (KMO). Civil society partners will include 4 Organisation Development Fund (ODF) partners, Afghan Midwives Association (AMA), Afghan Association of Physio Therapists (AAPT), as well as former NGO implementing partner COAR, and NGO support networks, such as ACBAR and ACSFo. Field visits will also be undertaken to two locations where SCA has project offices (POs), preferably 1. Mazar-e Sherif PO where SCA has a range of formal civil society partners, including beneficiaries of SCA’s Civil Society Unit’s (CSU) ODF and other formal partners such as, AMA and the Afghan Carpet Exporters Guild, as well as associates such as the Provincial Teachers Association. 2. Wardak where the CSU has limited active engagement and where SCA works in a less formal way with civil society organizations such as community education committees and disabled peoples’ organizations. Alternative field trip locations include, Takhar and Jalalabad.
The evaluation will be consultative and will deploy a mixture of qualitative methods of data collection and analysis, including a comprehensive review of all SCA’s relevant strategic, policy, programme and project documentation (including project proposals, needs assessment and any organizational or project evaluations that have taken place), semi-structured interviews with SCA staff, formal civil society partners and other stakeholders, as well as forms of group consultation, such as focus group discussions or workshops. The consultant will be responsible for the detailed design of the methodology, which will be developed in close cooperation with SCA at the start of the evaluation assignment.
The evaluation findings will be given context by any available analyses of civil society in Afghanistan and its capacity development needs.
The evaluation will take place between December 2011 and February 2012, according to the following schedule:
- Preparation / desk study 4 days
- Interviews and consultations, Kabul 5 days
- Field Trip Mazar (incl. travel) 4 days
- Field trip Wardak (incl. travel) 4 days
- Telephone / Skype consultations with donors 1days
- Feedback presentation (Kabul) 1 day
- Analysis and report writing 5 days
Total 24 days
Implementation and Management of the evaluation
The evaluation will be carried out by an external national or international consultant (preferably regional), who will be responsible for conducting all aspects of the evaluation and delivering the stated outputs.
SCA’s Civil Society Unit shall provide the consultant with assistance in arranging meetings and evaluation events, as well as the organizing of travel to and within the field and the provision of accommodation in the field in SCA’s guest houses.
Overall management of the evaluation will be the responsibility of SCA’s Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, while a panel consisting of SCA’s Coordinator of Civil Society, the Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, the Deputy Director of Programme Implementation and a representative of SCA’s Stockholm Management Office will select the evaluation consultant and review and approve the evaluation report.
- Presentation of preliminary findings of the evaluation to SCA staff at KMO on finishing the field work
- Draft final evaluation report with executive summary in English (to a maximum 20 pages excluding annexes) giving recommendations for SCA’s future engagement of and support to civil society which also addresses all the evaluation objectives. This report will be circulated among relevant SCA staff.
- Final evaluation report incorporating or responding to collected feedback from SCA, to be delivered no later than seven days after receiving SCA feedback.
Profile required of the evaluation consultant
- Relevant academic qualifications to minimum of BSc/BA level;
- Extensive experience in designing and implementing evaluations, in particular, of civil society capacity development projects, and / or carrying out organizational assessments;
- Extensive experience in working on civil society strengthening projects and / or providing organizational capacity development assistance, especially to CSOs, using a variety of methods and tools;
- Significant experience in the design of capacity development programmes for CSOs, teams and individuals;
- Practiced in the use of participatory methods for conducting research, planning and capacity development;
- Highly proficient in written and spoken English. Proficiency in Dari and / or Pasto an asset;
- Background knowledge of the political and cultural situation in Afghanistan, as well as experience of working in conflict or post-conflict areas desirable;
- Strong communication skills, with the ability to communicate detailed concepts clearly and concisely both in writing and verbally.
How to apply
All interested candidates should submit an offer comprising: CV and cover letter; brief methodology; proposed timetable for carrying out the assignment; and a financial offer detailing required fees and travel expenditure (local travel and accommodation in Afghanistan will be provided directly by Swedish Committee). Please mark your application “Civil Society Evaluation Consultant and send to email@example.com by 4pm Afghan time, Monday 31 October 2011.
|Job Email id:||bill.sterland(at)sca.org.af|