Minority Rights Group International (MRG) Deputy Director, Claire Thomas, writes this opinion piece for the Thomson Reuters News Foundation.+ LEARN MORE
Evaluator for Ceasefire project – civilian-led reporting of human rights violations
Final Evaluation – Terms of Reference and call for Expressions of Interest
Protecting human rights of vulnerable citizens in Iraq funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights
Deadline for application: 24th March 2017
1.Background of the project
This project aimed to develop innovative ways to allow real time, civilian-led reporting of human rights violations affecting minority communities, women and internally displaced people in Iraq with a particular focus on those in conflict and difficult to access areas. The project was conceived prior to the ISIS invasion and occupation of considerable areas of Iraq in 2014. This change in context affected the project and led to changes in activities. The project included capacity building for local partners, learning by doing through small grants, research and publications analysing violations reported and verified and linked national and international advocacy.
The project was implemented by MRG (based in the UK) in partnership with four organisations, ASUDA (Association for Combating Violence Against Women) – based in Baghdad, Hammurabi Human Rights Organisation based in Baghdad, Essex University (based in Colchester, UK) and Ceasefire based in London. Other than Iraq, activities also took place in Brussels, Geneva, New York and some other international advocacy locations.
More information about the project can be found on the MRG website here.
The results planned for the project were as follows:
Overall objective: To protect the human rights of vulnerable civilians (incl. minorities, IDPs, women) in Iraq
OVI: Increased protection of the fundamental freedoms of vulnerable communities in Iraq, including women, minorities and displaced people. Positive changes in national legislation, or national or IGO policy in target countries.
Specific Objective: To increase the capacity of civil society organisations and other civilian activists to monitor and report grave human rights violations against vulnerable civilians in Iraq and to advocate for increased protection by local, national and international actors
1/ Civil society organizations are able to effectively monitor human rights abuses and alert relevant stakeholders of serious abuses.
2/ National and local human rights CSOs develop in a way that is sustainable and sensitive to the serious security situation and the risks faced by civil society.
3/ National and international actors use civil society reports and invite representatives to input to policy formation.
- Regular and reliable information on human rights violations against vulnerable civilians in Iraq reported by civil society in a timely and transparent manner to local, national and international authorities and the media.
2.Strengthened ability of civil society organisations in-country to report grave human rights violations in a secure way and to support human rights defenders.
- Greater priority given to civilian protection of vulnerable populations, particularly women, minorities and IDPs, in country plans drawn up by international agencies and in cooperation with national governments and other actors.
- Establishment of civilian-led monitoring (CLM) as a reliable and recognised technique, with wide potential application to a range of human rights situations, particularly where security and access of traditional monitors is compromised.
A copy of the full project logframe is also available on request.
2. Evaluation Objectives
The objectives of the Final Evaluation are:
A. Assess the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and impact of the project in relation to the objectives and supporting outputs set out in the proposal documentation and furthermore, provide MRG and partners with an opportunity for ‘structured evaluative learning’, with the aim of learning from the design and implementation process.
B. Based on the findings of the evaluation, develop a set of suggestions and key recommendations for future and continued MRG and partner activities. Also make recommendations to any other stakeholders as appropriate.
3. Key evaluation questions
Referring to the project documentation, did we complete all of the activities as planned to a reasonably high quality? What problems were encountered at this level? How did changes on the ground in Iraq affect our plans and was our reaction and changes to plans appropriate and timely? How did any problems affect the activities and to what extent were they overcome?
Where completed as planned, did the activities contribute to the planned results? Where this was so, refer to evidence. Where not so, what factors intervened and explain how they impacted. Suggest ways that MRG and partners tried to overcome any problems and how successful this was (or not). Document any changes in the external environment that may have helped or hindered the project. Discuss the extent to which they were foreseeable and the extent to which the programme design took into account foreseeable risks and context changes. If there were any unplanned results (positive or negative) explain what these were and how they came about.
Make an assessment as to whether the results achieved are likely, over the longer term to achieve or contribute to the achievement of the specific objective of the project and comment on whether this is likely to be sustained. If it is unlikely that all or part of the purpose will be achieved, or even if achieved, may well not be sustained, why is this and is this something that could have been foreseen or overcome?
Additional evaluation questions:
- What effect has the project had (if any) on the capacities of those trained and supported to represent the rights and interests of their communities through advocacy campaigns? What input have other organisations or individuals had in supporting and developing partners’ and trainees’ capacities in addition to or alongside MRG’s input?
- In relation to the advocacy work, what was possible to date in relation to ensure that internationally accepted human rights standards are implemented in the treatment of target groups in Iraq? Were the project objectives realistic given the time frame and the context at the point that the programme was designed?
- To what extent have grassroots communities benefited from the project? How has the team managed to balance work inside and outside major cities?
- How effective has the technological approach to collecting and analysing monitoring data been? What contextual factors have helped and hindered this approach? Why has it worked or not worked? How replicable is it and what factors would need to be considered if a similar project were being considered in a new context?
- Were the publications produced in this project timely and relevant? Were they of an appropriate quality? Did they address the issues of importance to the target communities? Did they reach and influence intended audiences?
- Evaluation workplan/inception report
- Preliminary findings ( max. 5 pages) at mid-term of the evaluation period
- Final evaluation report (min 20 pages, max 35 pages excluding annexes – including 2-3 page executive summary)
5.Experience and Expertise required
* Extensive knowledge and experience of working on minority rights, women’s rights including knowledge of relevant debates and international standards
* Very good knowledge of Iraq (recent events, politics, governance, social issues, gender, security)
* Experience of comparable evaluations and strong track record of evaluations carried out on projects with similar elements
* Familiar with and able to comply with all EU evaluation requirements
* Ability to speak, read and write both Arabic and English
* Expertise in human rights monitoring and violation reporting systems
* Expertise in working with or evaluating projects involving cutting edge information technology solutions to social problems
* Experience of carrying out or evaluating training, capacity building, advocacy and work with smaller NGOs in difficult contexts would also be helpful
* Travel in some areas of Iraq will be needed for this evaluation but this will be primarily in the KRI area and in Baghdad only.
The evaluator will need to be independent of MRG and project partners, its donors, the project targets and participants and will need to demonstrate that no perceived or actual conflict of interests would arise during the evaluation.
6. Report submission, timetable and budget
The evaluation should be carried out between April 2017 and Sept 2017. An inception report should be submitted within one month of contract signature, a 5 page statement of preliminary findings should be submitted no later than 30th July 2017, a draft evaluation report should be submitted no later than 1st September 2017. MRG and partners will submit comments within 10 working days and the final report responding to all comments must be submitted by end of September 2017. The evaluation team will then submit a translation of the report into Arabic by the end of October 2017. The evaluator/members of the evaluation team will also be required to participate in a recorded interview discussion about the evaluation to create an audio record or podcast which will be available on MRG’s website to make the evaluation findings available in more accessible ways. A project advocacy event will take place in Europe (probably in Brussels and probably in late May or early June 2017) so the evaluator/a member of the evaluation team should be available if possible to attend this and the evaluation budget should include the costs of attending that event.
The budget for this piece of work including the evaluators’ fee(s), all travel, communication, insurance and other costs is in the region of €8,000.
7. How to apply
If you are interested in being considered for this opportunity, please send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org by 24th March 2017.
* Brief (max 4 page) CVs of all evaluation team members
* Cover letter – indicating relevant experience and knowledge and how you meet the candidate requirements
* At least one, but if possible two, similar completed evaluation reports.
* Workplan including methodology, timetable, budget for the evaluation including brief assessment of security context and plans for country visit.
* The names of 2 references who can speak to your team members’ relevant experience and suitability.