Minority Rights Group International (MRG) Deputy Director, Claire Thomas, writes this opinion piece for the Thomson Reuters News Foundation.+ LEARN MORE
EVALUATION CONSULTANCY ON MENA PROJECT
MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP
Title of project: Strengthening Human Rights Advocacy for Freedom of Religion and Belief in the Middle East and North Africa
Evaluation consultant (s) required to evaluate the above project.
BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT
This programme promotes minority protection and religious freedom in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The programme approaches the issue of freedom of religion in a way that is sensitive and inclusive – protecting both non-Muslim and Muslim religious minorities. The programme has concentrated work in Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon with some work on Syria with those in the diaspora.
The programme increases understanding of the specific vulnerabilities facing religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa region, and strengthen the capacity and commitment to address these issues among human rights activists, and among decision-makers locally, nationally and internationally.
Since 2011, following the Arab spring, the MENA region has witnessed extreme levels of turmoil, including wars on many fronts and the emergence of political and societal challenges, most notably the growth of religious extremism and sectarianism. The scenario for religious minorities in all countries across the region is precarious – although to varying degrees – and continues to drive large-scale forced migration.
Most critically, civil war and the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria led to gross human rights violations. Iraq’s religious minorities – including Armenian Christians, Baha’i, Black Iraqis, Chaldo-Assyrians, Faili Kurds, Kaka’i, Sabean-Mandaeans, Shabak, Roma, Turkmen, Yazidis – faced a situation of unfolding catastrophe.
Yazidis suffered especially egregious and large-scale abuses at the hands of ISIS. In other MENA countries – Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia – ISIS offshoots are also now active, and religious minorities are increasingly under threat. In Eqypt, while freedom of religion is constitutionally protected, serious levels of harassment are an ongoing challenge, including attacks on Coptic Churches and Sufi shrines.
Civil society organizations fighting for freedom of religion and belief, and representing religious minorities in the MENA region have limited capacities and influence at this time. The programme focuses on developing high-quality local skills and capacities to promote international standards on freedom of religion, and support these activists to effectively present their cases internationally at the UN and EU, increasing international support and pressure for freedom of religion in MENA.
The objectives of the Final Evaluation are:
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
Provide MRG with an opportunity for ‘structured evaluative learning’, with the aim of learning from the design and implementation process.
Make recommendations to any other stakeholders as appropriate.
Key evaluation questions should be considered on the outcome and impact level.
These should include an evaluation workplan/inception report in English, preliminary findings at mid-term of the evaluation period in English and final evaluation report. We anticipate that this will need to exist in two versions.
EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE REQUIRED
* Extensive knowledge and experience of working on minority rights, NGO capacity building, including knowledge of relevant debates and international standards
* Very good knowledge of the Middle East region, particularly FORB and minority and human rights issues (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.
* Experience of carrying out or evaluating training, capacity building, advocacy and work with smaller NGOs in difficult contexts.
* Travel to visit participants in at least 3 countries. Evaluators should bear in mind that beneficiaries may be located in remote regions not in capitals.
The evaluator will need to be independent of MRG, 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. MRG will only reveal the organisations that we have worked with to the selected team so your application should include a list of organisations that you have worked for or have an association with so that we can assess whether any conflict of interest might arise.
For reasons of security and preserving the safety of those to be interviewed, the evaluation team should include a member who is already in Egypt (and if not an Egyptian national have permission to work there) or should have or should not need entry clearance/work permission a visa to visit Egypt to carry out this work.
Candidates should note that MRG is also currently advertising for a consultant/team to evaluate a linked programme of work in Egypt and that synergies and cost saving might be possible if the same team applies for both opportunities. Please visit the jobs page of our website for more details.
For more details on this consultancy, click on this link terms of reference
HOW TO APPLY
If you are interested in being considered for this opportunity, please send the following to:
firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon GMT 28th Jan 2019.
* Brief (max 4 page) CVs of all evaluation team members
* Cover letter – indicating relevant experience and knowledge and how you meet the task /candidate requirements.
* Workplan including methodology, timetable, budget for the evaluation including brief assessment of security context and availability /sketched plans for fieldwork. (Max 4 pages please)
* At least one, but if possible two, similar completed evaluation reports.
* The names and contact details of 2 references who can speak to your team members’ relevant experience and suitability.
* A list of individuals and organisations with which you have/have had relationships which might compromise your perceived independence/might mean a potential conflict of interest arises and the nature of the relationship.
MRG will endeavour to shortlist potentially strong candidates on 29/30th January 2019 and may need to speak to strong candidates in the week commencing 4th February 2019 and we hope to have made an appointment by mid-February.