Expression of Interest: The Development Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, Research, and Learning (MEARL) Strategy and Implementation Plan

  1. Introduction

The Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) is an independent, non-partisan Pan-African 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 women and men. In partnership with individual academics and researchers, higher education institutions, research think tanks, civil society organisations, 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’.

PASGR’s mission of Advancing research excellence for governance and public policy in Africa is delivered through three core programmes: Higher Education, Research and Professional Development and Training.

PASGR seeks to develop its monitoring, evaluation, accountability, research and learning (MEARL) strategy and implementation plan with a goal of building a robust MEARL system to capture its various projects/programmes outputs, outcomes (immediate and intermediate) and long-term and lasting impact. The envisaged MEARL system should be able to:

  • Ensure accurate reporting and use of data for decision-making, uptake and sustainability of programme/project’s outcomes.
  • Ensure that all the organisation’s MEARL processes and programmes reports are captured.
  • Store all organisational reports and results for easy access by the organisation staff and smooth reporting to donors promptly.
  • Summarise deliverables for all the PASGR staff for performance management and improvement
  • Creatively integrates various tools and processes to capture appropriate indicators from processes, outputs, outcomes and impacts for the target projects/programs in the organisation.
  • Develop a dash-board for tracking the progress of indicators in real-time by program teams and management.

PASGR wishes to engage the services of a MEARL consultant to identify opportunities for appropriate interventions, including;

  • Reviewing and revising PASGR’s theory of change both at programme level and at Corporate level.
  • Developing clear results framework for each programme teams that feed into one global Corporate result framework.
  • Design and development of a detailed MEARL strategy and implementation plan aligned across PASGR’s programmes and the strategic plan (2019 – 2023).

2.0 Objective

The primary purpose of the consultancy is to develop the MEARL strategy and implementation plan for monitoring and evaluating PASGR activities. Working closely with PASGR’s programme teams, the Service Provider will develop a comprehensive MEARL strategy and an implementation plan to be used for assessing and tracking the progress of the organisation’s project outputs and outcomes. The strategy and its implementation plan is envisaged to establish the timing of the baselines and provide the roadmap to monitor, evaluate, provide basis for accountability, research and learning of the project’s/programmes contributions to achieving the desired impact of advancing research excellence for governance and public policy in Africa.

The specific objectives of the assignment include:

  • To develop a comprehensive theory of change and results frameworks, database and plans for monitoring and evaluating the PASGR’s programme activities and strategies;
  • To design, develop and establish an interactive automated MEARL system that is web-based, cost-effective and user-friendly for effective management of PASGR’s programmes/projects data and other relevant information;
  • To develop a standardized MEARL framework for inclusion of PASGR’s projects/programmes standard indicators, the targets as well as ensure alignment of these results to donor requirements and reporting.
  • Design a MEARL system that facilitates alignment /interoperability and joint reporting with the PASGR’s programme teams, the Partners and Donors
  • Work closely with PASGR’s programme teams and partners in identifying the SMART indicators for tracking progress and effective implementation of projects.

3.0 Scope of Work

The MEARL consultant will carry out and deliver on the following tasks:

  1. Review project documents including the specific log frames, annual targets and indicators, theory of change, and existing monitoring tools.
  2. Develop a comprehensive MEARL framework and road map for implementation of PASGR’s projects including:
    • An assessment of the evaluability of the various interventions conducted by PASGR programme teams.
    • The inclusion of performance indicators for the different projects/programmes (output and outcomes) with clear definitions, milestones, data collections strategies, frequency of collection, and sources of data. It should also include methodologies (qualitative and quantitative) for measuring these indicators and who is responsible for the data collection. The framework should also clearly demonstrate the assumptions/pathways through the impacts outlined in the theory of change will be measured and explained, and how the evidence for the evaluations will be generated.
    • The development of the proposed MEARL strategy should be participatory and include the views from intended beneficiaries — all PASGR staff, partners and donors.
    • The development of the strategy should also draw on existing secondary data available and ensure new data collection proposed is complementary to existing systems and data is made available to national stakeholders as far as possible.
    • Given the challenges in data availability, the MEARL implementation should also provide an indicative risk assessment on achievability of the targeted milestones in the proposed MEARL strategy.
  3. Develop the theory of change and the monitoring and evaluation strategy and plans that draw on OECD-DAC criteria related to relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability, and coherence. Both quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods to test and explore the assumptions/pathways behind the proposed impacts should be specified.
  4. The MEARL strategy should also gather robust evidence about how, where and why (or why not) the programme was effective and achieved results. Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) changes will be important to capture. The MEARL strategy should correspond to the project’s operation context, learning and operational needs, and donor requirements. It should also specify how evaluative data will be captured.
  5. Develop draft terms of reference for conducting the independent formative, mid-term review and summative evaluations for PASGR Projects/programs

4.0 Deliverables

The Service Provider will provide a final report that includes:

  • A comprehensive MEARL strategy including a detailed implementation plan for monitoring activities, accountability, research and learning what is or is not working across PASGR’s programmes.
  • A detailed theory of change and results framework capturing PASGR’s programme interventions at all levels.
  • Clear infographics showing the theory of change and result framework indicating their logical flows. This can be useful for posting on PASGR’s website and other electronic means as part of PASGR’s branding and visibility.
  • An assessment of project evaluability including proposing the different data collection approaches and methodologies (quantitative and qualitative) relevant to all PASGR’s intervention areas. This also includes a detailed plan to address any information gaps through a survey or other relevant data collection tools.
  • Detailed terms of reference for independent external formative, mid-term and summative evaluations for the programmes.
  • Findings gathered during the framework development and review of existing M&E systems, with recommendations.
  • Digestible slide deck for presenting the MEARL strategy, its implementation plan, theory of change and results framework to PASGR’s Board, partners, donors and other internal and external stakeholders.

5.0 Timeframes

It is anticipated that the assignment will be completed within a total of six-eight (6-8) weeks from the date of the signing of the contract between PASGR and the Service Provider. All work must be completed by the 30th of September 2021.

6.0 Skills and Qualifications

The Service Provider should have knowledge and experience in the following areas:

  • Not less than five years of demonstrable experience in designing MEARL strategies and implementation plan for donor-funded organization.
  • Not less than 5 years of demonstrable experience of working or consulting with international NGOs in in low and middle incomes countries, especially in Africa.
  • Experience in monitoring and evaluation of large, complex, long term programmes including the design and delivery of robust, relevant and timely evaluation strategies and reviews of development interventions using qualitative and quantitative methods;
  • Expertise and experience in designing theory change and applying robust and appropriate performance monitoring and results frameworks (including indicator development, testing and data collection and analysis);
  • At least a Master level degree in Monitoring and Evaluation with demonstrable experience in both quantitative and qualitative evaluation approaches.
  • Not less than five years’ experience in reviewing and conducting evaluation in the research and education sectors at the regional level or with regional entities would be an asset.
  • Good communication skills, both orally and in writing, and fluency in written and spoken English is a must.

7.0 Budget

The available budget for this exercise is US$ 10,000 inclusive of all relevant and applicable taxes.

8.0 Reporting

The contracted Service Provider will directly report to PASGR’s MEL officer.

9.0 Response to the EOI

Please respond to this EOI with not more than 10 pages technical and financial proposal (including the attachments) to bids@pasgr.org by 12:00pm EAT Monday August 16th 2021.

The EOI proposal should cover:

  1. Your understanding of the assignment
  2. Evidence of past work experience;
  3. A proposed approach and methodology for carrying out the assignment;
  4. Core team, responsibilities and level of effort;
  5. A detailed work plan, timeframes, milestones and budget;