Terms of Reference: Evaluation of the Professional Development and Training Programme

1. Background

The Partnership for African Social and Governance (PASGR) is an independent, nonpartisan, panAfrican not-for-profit organisation established in 2011 and located in Nairobi, Kenya. Currently engaged in more than 26 African countries, PASGR works to enhance research excellence in governance and public policy that contributes to the overall wellbeing of citizens. In partnership with individual academics and researchers, higher education institutions, research think tanks, civil society organisations, as well as business and policy communities both in the region and internationally, PASGR supports the production and dissemination of policy relevant research; designs and delivers suites of short professional development courses for researchers and policy actors; and facilitates the development of collaborative higher education programmes. Our vision is ‘a vibrant African social science community addressing the continent’s public policy issues’.

The Professional Development and Training (PDT) Programme is one of the three building blocks of PASGR’s work. The other two are the Higher Education Programme and the Research Programme. The PDT programme aims at tooling and retooling early and mid-career researchers and policy actors by providing short courses in research methods and policy analysis to enable them generate and use high quality policy research. The target audience includes academics; doctoral and postdoctoral researchers; and policy researchers and actors from universities, research institutions, think tanks, civil society organizations, parliaments, government departments and corporate research units. PASGR has trained over 1,600 researchers and policy actors from 23 African countries since inception in 2011.

PDT is the outcome of a systematic process of course design, delivery and evaluation. During the initial development phase, PASGR partnered with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex to design, develop and deliver these courses together with African academics affiliated to PASGR. This process produced the Multi-Methods Research Course (MMRC) that consisted of an integrated suite of 12 research modules focusing on the theoretical and practical issues in the design and successful execution of a research project. These were delivered at different stages. PDT also developed policy focused short modules targeting policy actors.

In 2015, the MMRC underwent a major reconfiguring in line with PASGR’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan that set out the following as PDT’s strategic objectives:

  1. Design and deliver high quality, experiential professional training that builds policy actors’ and researchers’ skills and competencies;
  2.  Deepen delivery partners’ institutional capacity to design, deliver and accredit distinctive professional development courses; and,
  3.  Innovate in design and content to enrich participants’ learning experience, and maximise impact and reach.

In this process, the MMRC modules were restructured into an integrated Advanced Research Design (ARD) course comprising core design modules (i.e. Designing Social Inquiry; Multi-Method Strategies for Research; Critical Policy Engaged Research; and Research Ethics). This is considered as a foundational course providing theoretical and practical design skills. The rest of the modules that focus on the theoretical and practical elements of research methods became stand-alone modules and are delivered as electives. These include: Engendering Social Science Research Methods; Ethnographic and Interpretive Methods; Impact Evaluation; Survey Design; Action Research; Applied Quantitative Methods; Comparative Case Study Analysis; and Social Network Analysis. Additionally, the policy focused modules remained as stand-alone modules and include Contemporary Political Economy Analysis; Research Communication & Engagement; and Informed Research Consumers. PASGR wishes to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of this training programme in order to assess its performance as well as clarify and ensure sustained impact.

2. Purpose of the assignment

The purpose of this evaluation is to assess PDT’s contribution to the achievement of the organisation’s mission of enhancing research excellence in public policy since inception in 2011. The evaluation will also establish the extent to which the programmes outputs, and outcomes have been achieved, and its impact on the beneficiaries. Further, it will identify gaps and lessons that can be used to inform its strategic direction in the next phase, and generate recommendations for continued programme interventions and scale up.

3. Scope of work

The evaluation will cover the period from its inception to date and will include all stakeholders, that is PASGR management and staff, the Board, direct and indirect beneficiaries, funders.

4. Evaluation objectives

The objectives of the evaluation are to:

  •  Assess the effectiveness of the training programme and track impact made since inception;
  •  Assess the relevance of the training in relation to current skills gaps in policy research of the target audience;
  •  Examine and analyse factors that have impacted positively and/or negatively on the achievement of the programmes outcomes; assess the effectiveness of the implementation process including but not limited to the selection of participants and programme development and delivery process;
  •  Identify successful innovations in the programme design and implementation and their effects towards the achievement of the programmes outcomes;
  •  Examine financial viability of the programmes’ sustainability efforts;
  •  Assess effectiveness of institutional partnership strategies;
  •  Document lessons learnt and best practices; and
  •  Suggest recommendations for improving the programme’s design and implementation for scale up and sustained impact.

5. Evaluation criteria

The evaluation will use these five standard criteria: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability.

6. Method of the evaluation

The evaluation should cover the following:

  •  A review of programme documentation including the Strategic Plan, training content, participants’ profiles, past participants’ evaluations, instructors’ reports, annual reviews and reports; impact stories, and any other key programme documentation.
  •  Data collection consisting of (i) field visits for in-depth interviews with selected key stakeholders including alumni, instructors, institutions, funders, PASGR Board, management and programme staff; (ii) phone interviews and surveys with those not visited.
  •  Analysis.
  • Document findings and recommendations in formats that will be later published for internal use as well as dissemination to stakeholders including key funders.

The evaluator will be expected to include a detailed statement of the method of evaluation in an inception report showing how each of the evaluation objectives and questions will be answered.

7. Implementation process

Although the evaluator will have the overall responsibility for the carrying out of the evaluation, a participatory approach will be followed which will involve close consultation with PASGR and various PDT programme stakeholders. PASGR has set up a technical team that will assist with providing documentation, review of the inception and draft evaluation reports, setting up of stakeholder interviews and arranging for field visits.

8. Deliverables

  •  An inception report that clarifies the evaluator’s understanding of the TORs and showing how the evaluation questions will be answered including the proposed methods, sources of data and data collection tools and work plan, and how data analysis will be triangulated for validation of the findings.
  •  Draft report.
  •  Final evaluation report with clear findings and recommendations presented publishable for internal use as well as dissemination to stakeholders including key funders.

9. Duration of the evaluation

The evaluation is expected to start in February 2019 for an estimated duration of 30 working days over a period of two months.

10. Required expertise and qualification

The Evaluator shall have the following expertise and qualification:

  •  At least a master’s degree in a Social Science related discipline from a recognized university;
  •  A minimum of eight years’ experience of project formulation and evaluation in national and multi-national projects in Africa;
  •  Fluent and excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
  •  Possess ability to build strong relationships with the client, responds positively to feedback and provide timely responses to queries.

11. Application Procedure:

Interested applicants who meet the job requirements and qualifications and with the right personal attributes are invited to complete and submit the following:

  •  A Technical Proposal answering to the TORs;
  •  Financial proposal;
  •  A brief description of the Evaluator outlining recent experience in similar assignments (three assignments over the past four years);
  •  At least three references of similar assignments;
  •  Sample work that is similar to this assignment;
  •  An up-to-date CV.

All applications should be sent to PASGR info@pasgr.org by January 21, 2019. Quote “EOI- PDT Evaluation” in the subject line of your email.

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