The Evaluation of the project “Sustainable Natural Resources Management for Enhanced Pastoralist Food Security in the Borena Zone, Ethiopia”

Country: Ethiopia
Organization: Government of Switzerland
Closing date: 10 Jan 2021

Title: The Evaluation of the project “Sustainable Natural Resources Management for Enhanced Pastoralist Food Security in the Borena Zone, Ethiopia”

Organization: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Embassy of Switzerland in Ethiopia.

Duration: Between January and April 2021

Number of days: 23 days maximum

Contract Type: Consultancy

Closing date: 10 January 2021

1. Purpose

This Terms of Reference (ToR) provides the framework for the evaluation of the project “Sustainable Natural Resources Management for Enhanced Pastoralist Food Security in the Borana Zone, Ethiopia”,** hereafter NRM-Borena. NRM-Borena is a long-term initiative that aims to improve the food and nutrition security and the resilience of (agro-) pastoralist communities in the Borana zone of Oromia National Regional State through context-specific and sustainable natural resource management practices, and through enhanced pastoralist income diversification. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has supported the NRM-Borena since June 2015 with an inception phase followed by a first phase from September 2016 to December 2021 with a total budget of CHF 8.6 million. The project is implemented in 16 kebeles found in Dillo, Dhas, Dire, Miyo and Wachile woredas of Borana Zone, Oromia National Regional State, Ethiopia.

The purpose of the evaluation is to assess specific aspects of the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability of the NRM-Borena project in achieving its objectives. The evaluation will include gender, transversal good governance and conflict sensitivity dimensions in the programme delivery and is expected to generate learning and recommendations for SDC and the relevant stakeholders. The evaluation should also inform the possibility of a next phase of the project, and identify areas for enhanced synergies with other projects[1] within the food security domain of the Swiss Regional Cooperation Programme for the Horn of Africa covering Somalia, and the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya and Ethiopia. Specific interest lies thereby on mutual learning with the “Strengthening Livestock Sector in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) Counties Programme (LSS)” implemented in Kenya.**

2. Context

Ethiopia’s livestock sub-sector contributes to about 45% of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to more than 20% of the total GDP, and to 13% of national exports. Livestock is the key determinant of food security for pastoralists. While pastoralist areas cover 60% of the country‘s land mass, their specific needs are insufficiently addressed by national laws and policies.

Arable agriculture, which has better defined rules and regulations overall, often overshadows pastoralism, in a context where the peripheral lowlands have been historically side-lined by the central government. These realities, alongside socio-economic, environmental, and institutional challenges, have increased the vulnerability of pastoralist communities overall, particularly in the Borana zone of the Oromia National Regional State. In Borena zone, rangeland productivity has significantly dwindled in recent years mainly due to advancing bush encroachment, overgrazing, soil erosion, inappropriate and poor quality water developments, demographic pressure, recurrent drought and the weakening of traditional rangeland management systems. Other factors contributing to the weakening of pastoralist livelihoods are competing land uses (grazing vs. farming), the increased incidence of resource-based conflicts, a high prevalence of livestock diseases, and a government strategy to foster sedentarization for an easier availing of social services. With such challenges, an increasing number of Borena pastoralists are poorer today than two decades ago. Despite these challenges, initiatives to improve the situation have been ongoing, though mainly of short-term and humanitarian aid in nature, with weak harmonization and coordination systems.

Borana pastoralists are patriarchal society where key decisions are largely made by men. Women’s participation in customary institutions managing natural resources such as water and grazing land is therefore quite limited. In addition, polygamy and harmful traditional practices (e.g. female genital mutilation, levirate marriage) alongside negative attitudes towards girls’ education have kept women in poverty traps and increased their vulnerability.

3. Sustainable Natural Resources Management for Enhanced Pastoralist Food Security in the Borana Zone, Ethiopia

NRM-Borena is a mandate project implemented by a consortium of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (consortium lead) and Welthungerhilfe in cooperation with the National Regional Government of Oromia and with Community Initiatives Facilitations and Assistance (CIFA), a local NGO from Borena zone. The government partners involved in the project are Oromia Pastoralist Areas Development Commission (OPADC), Bureau of Finance and Economic Cooperation (BoFEC), Yabello Pastoral and Dryland Agriculture Research Center (YPDARC), and Oromia Disaster Risk Commission (DRM). The Peace and Development Centre (PDC), a non-for-profit and non-governmental organization registered in Ethiopia, has also recently joined the project for implementing the governance component of the project.

The overall objective of the project is to improve the food and nutrition security and the resilience of (agro-) pastoralist communities in the Borana zone through context-specific and sustainable natural resources management practices as well as enhanced income diversification strategies. The project assumes that (1) if communities, together with customary institutions and local government bodies, ensure the sustainable management of the prevailing natural resources within the territory, then their food security will be improved through direct consumption of their outputs, or through the additional income generated by natural resource management activities, thereby improving their livelihoods and (2) if the capacity of local government partners improves thanks to a direct participation in project implementation, then the chances of project sustainability will be maximized while building GoE’s credibility to directly manage other donors’ funds. The following outcomes directly contribute to achieving the overall objective:

  • Vulnerable pastoralists have increased access to pasture and water resources from rehabilitated and/or improved rangelands. This outcome is achieved through rehabilitating and improving rangelands and strategic water points as well as strengthening their management systems.
  • Pastoralist women incomes are increased while diversifying their livelihoods (increasing pastoralist women income). The project achieves this outcome through mobilizing and organizing women into natural resource and dryland agriculture-based income generating groups while giving them appropriate training on financial management, business planning, basic numeracy skills and group management.
  • Natural resources management interventions are better coordinated, harmonised, and their knowledge management system enhanced to properly document and scale up promising practices. Through accomplishing this outcome, the project aims to foster regular coordination meetings, organizing knowledge sharing events and documentation of best practices for scaling up purpose.
  • Local governments and customary institutions collaborate to exercise accountable and inclusive governance and provide effective services related to natural resource management and conflict prevention. The project aims to develop linkages between local government and customary institutions, to develop the framework conditions required for successful implementation of the other three components of the NRM-Borena.

4. Objectives and scope of the evaluation

As indicated above, the evaluation will assess relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and identify and document lessons learned, best practices, gaps and recommendations. In view of consolidating the Swiss food security portfolio in the Horn of Africa, which covers Somalia, lowlands of Ethiopia and northern Kenya, a focus will also be put to see potential synergies and complementarities between the NRM-Borena with other projects funded by Switzerland especially with LSS programme implemented in Northern Kenya and interventions funded by other donors in Borena zone.

5. Guiding questions

The following non-exhaustive key tasks/questions should be addressed:

Relevance

  1. How relevant are the project objectives and activities to address the challenges (degradation of rangelands and water points/access to pasture and water, effect of climate change, gender-disparities regarding access to resources and income, weak coordination and knowledge management, weak participation of pastoralist population) faced by the target community (pastoralist men and women in Borena zone)?

  2. To what extent is the project aligned with development plans at the local level and the national government strategies and policies? To what extent is the project contributing to strengthening local institutions and enhancing local ownership for resilience building?

  3. To what extent is the project design responsive to achieve the project objectives? Which project interventions/strategies (water structures rehabilitation, women economic empowerment, rangeland management, etc) are the most and less relevant in addressing community needs in the mid- and longer-term?

  4. To what extent has the contingency fund of the project and adaptive programming contributed to the overall project goals and what role have they played in sustaining development gains by addressing immediate community needs resulting from recurrent crisis?

  5. What is the (potential) relevance of the project beyond the Ethiopian Borena zone (to the Kenyan FCDC[2] ASAL Counties specifically)?

Effectiveness: Evaluate the extent to which the project is delivering on the outcomes expected to achieve the overall goal;

  1. To what extent have vulnerable pastoralist communities increased their access to pasture and water resources from rehabilitated and/or improved rangelands and water resources?

  2. To what extent have pastoralist women increased their income and diversified their livelihoods due to the intervention of the project? What are the effects on the relation between women and men at household level and in the communities in general? What gaps remain to be addressed in this respect?

  3. To what extent has the project contributed to better coordination and harmonization of interventions by communities, GOs and NGOs operating in Borena zone? To what extent has a sustainable system for knowledge management been established to enhance proper documentation and scaling-up of promising practices?

  4. To what extent did the local government and customary institutions collaborate to exercise accountable and inclusive governance and provide effective services related to natural resource management and conflict prevention? To what extent has the transversal governance component contributed (or will likely contribute) to achievements within the different components of the project?

  5. In how far has the project sought exchange with local structures in neighboring countries (Kenya, Somalia) to increase the outreach of the project or/and benefit from experience exchange?

Efficiency:

  1. How efficiently were resources utilized compared to achieved outcome results (cost-benefit) and taking the project implementation timelines (time efficiency) into consideration?

  2. How efficient was the partnership between the consortium members? Is the role of the consortium members and other project partners evident in the delivery of the project outcomes through the different levels of engagement – community, local, regional and national levels? Were the project coordination mechanisms and leadership in project implementation fit for purpose to achieve timely project results?

  3. Based on the risks identified during the planning and implementation period, how did the project mitigate these risks to achieve the project objectives?

Sustainability

  1. To what extent has local ownership been established at the level of pastoralist populations (women and men), customary institutions, local governments and local NGO partners? How did the project manage to do so?

  2. How do you assess the likelihood of the project results/benefits to continue after the intervention ends?

  3. To what extent is the knowledge, information and experiences documented and shared during the project implementation at the local, regional and national levels and what is the project’s potential to influence future food security and resilience interventions and strategies?

  4. How effective was the chosen approach to share responsibility with communities, local NGOs and government entities in order to strengthen their technical and financial capacity and ownership for the project outcomes and impact?

Gender, good governance, diversity and conflict sensitivity

  1. To what extent was the project implemented in a conflict-sensitive manner (identification of project sites and communities, selection of beneficiaries, approach to rehabilitation of rangeland and water points, etc.), promoted the do-no-harm principles and contributed to reduction of conflicts among and within communities?

  2. How has the program contributed to women participation and empowerment (decision-making, livelihood support and access to resources and investments) and transformation of gender relations at household and community level? What gaps remain to be addressed in this respect?

  3. How has the program contributed to enhanced local governance effectiveness and efficiency, social accountability, participation, transparency, non-discrimination, and rule of law in relation to the project objectives?

Lessons Learned and Recommendations

  1. What lessons can be learned from the programme thus far in regard to its relevance, coherence, effectiveness, impact, efficiency and sustainability, gender equity, transversal good governance and conflict sensitivity and ways of bringing about positive change at systemic, operational and institutional levels?

  2. What are the recommendations for future engagements/subsequent project phases looking at the project focus area, set-up, partnerships, modalities and approaches, etc.?

  3. What are the good practices and methods that could be expanded to other similar areas/communities (outreach) and scaled-up? What would be effective ways to scale up?

  4. In what ways can the approaches applied by the project be expanded to the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya and to Somalia and taken up by the LSS project specifically?

Assessment Grid

In addition to the above questions, the consultant must complete an Assessment Grid for the DAC criteria (attached to ToR) at the end of the evaluation process and include it in the evaluation report (in the appendices).

6. Suggested Methodology

The evaluation will be conducted in close collaboration with the Swiss Cooperation Office in Addis Ababa, consortium members (Helvetas and Welthungerhilfe) and the implementing partners. SDC will directly manage and oversee the evaluation process. The evaluation methodology will be guided by the objectives and the scope of the evaluation while exhaustively addressing the key evaluation questions. The evaluation is expected to provide quantitative and qualitative data through:

• Desk study/review of all relevant project documentation including e.g. project documents, work-plans, reports (including progress, annual, baseline reports, lessons learnt from the use of the contingency fund), minutes of programme steering committee, among others.

• In depth interviews and focus group discussion to gather primary data from key stakeholders, including pastoralist women and men, customary institutions, local governments, other initiatives, using a structured methodology.

• Interviews with relevant key informants.

• Observations (field visits using checklist to be developed by the consultants in collaboration with SDC).

A detailed method of evaluation should be outlined in the evaluation inception report before any field missions are carried out.

7. Deliverables

The following products are expected from the evaluation:

  1. An evaluation approach paper and a work plan (inception report) to be developed by the evaluation team, approved by SDC and a briefing session held before the start of the evaluation mission. The inception report should describe key stages of the review process, provide timeline and establish clear roles and responsibilities in the review process.

  2. An evaluation report (max. 25 pages, excluding the executive summary and annexes) with an analytical review and recommendation part. The report should take the guiding questions and respond to the evaluation guidelines.

  3. Presentation of the outcome of the evaluation before the final reports are produced.

  4. Presentation to project key partners (to be agreed upon).

8. Review Team

For the evaluation, a gender-mixed team comprised of an expert with international experience and local expert(s) is preferred. The rational and the strength of the composition of the evaluation team should be clarified in the application proposal.

The lead expert is expected to have robust skills in evaluation methodologies and professional experience in conducting project and process evaluations, including in complex settings with a multitude of stakeholders and in fragile contexts. Additionally, the lead expert needs theoretical and practical knowledge of food security (including WASH), natural resources management, livelihoods and resilience building particularly in lowland and pastoralist contexts, as well as on good governance and gender. He/she should have expertise in systemic development approaches. The local experts should have an excellent understanding of the local context and be able to work in Borena zone of Oromia regional state, Ethiopia. Strong analytical capacity combined with ability to synthesize/communicate findings and recommendations and report-writing skills are required.

9. Synergies and common learnings with LSS Programme Evaluation in Kenya:

The Evaluation NRM-Borena will be carried out at the same time as SDC supported Programme on Strengthening Livestock Sector in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) Counties of Kenya programme (LSS) [3];

· The two evaluation processes are expected to generate common learnings and recommendations on the synergies between these two programmes.

· The evaluation team is expected to reach out to the implementation partners of the LSS programme in Kenya.

· A SDC peer review team will accompany both evaluations and ensure the linking of the two processes.

· A joint briefing of the outcomes will be expected of the two evaluation teams to inform the final reports.

· The same consultancy company or group of consultants could apply for both the assignments with adapted conditions.

10. Time Frame, Budget and Logistics

The maximum period for this evaluation by the consultant(s) is 23 working days. The allocation of working days to inception, desk review, field visits, etc. will be agreed based on the inception report.

The study is scheduled to take place between January and April 2021 along the following deliverables:

Timeframe

Deliverables

December 15 - January 10

· Announcement (with the deadline submission January 10, 2021)

Until January 31

· Recruitment of consultants and contractual processes.

Until February 28

· Conduct desk review

· Submit inception report (in English) with detailed work-plan with timeframe outlining the activities/steps to be undertaken during the consultancy

· Develop the evaluation methodology and tools for field work, including key informant interviews, focus group discussion etc. and identify people to be interviewed.

· Exchange and briefing session with SDC

Until March 22

· Carry out project evaluation both at Borena zone and Addis level (exchange with partners and relevant stakeholders)

Until April 6

· Elaboration and delivery of draft evaluation report in English to SDC for review and feedback

Until April 16

· Joint presentation/workshop to share the results of the evaluation together with the outcomes of the evaluation of the LSS project and discuss on how the assessment can be translated into concrete actions/next steps.

· SDC to provide feedback on the draft report

Until April 30

· Delivery of the final evaluation report to SDC integrating all comments and feedback

11. Award criteria

Of the valid offers submitted, the contract will be awarded to the most highly rated bid. Offers will be assessed according to the following award criteria and weighting:

Award criteria

Weighting

Proven knowledge and experience in natural resources management, livelihoods, resilience-building and development approaches including in lowland and pastoralist contexts (70%), Proven knowledge and experience in good governance, conflict sensitivity and gender approaches (30%) = 30%

**

Experience in developing and implementing quantitative and qualitative research protocols, including research methods, sampling, data analysis, and experience with reviews and assessments, particularly in lowland and pastoralist contexts 30%

Financial offer/cost of consultancy service offered 30%

Proven knowledge of the socio-economic and political context of Ethiopia and Borena zone of Oromia regional state specifically 10%

How to apply:

12. Application

Consultants invited to apply will provide a full application pack, and send it to the following e-mail address: addisababa@eda.admin.ch and specifically headed “SDC NRM-Borena Evaluation”:

The technical proposal in English (one PDF document of maximum 10 - 15 pages) should include:

· Understanding of the Terms of Reference

· Technical approach developed and detailed methodology with approach and workplan

· Composition of the evaluation team with clear division of responsibilities between team members, CVs submitted with indication of the availability of consultants.

· Provisional timetable for the evaluation

· A detailed budget proposal/financial offer

· References from two similar previous assignments

· A sworn statement as to the absence of any conflict of interest

13. Administrative and Logistical Arrangements

· The winning bidder shall be required to submit the following administrative information to be verified and validated before the contract is awarded:

Corporate person/company

· Certificate of registration/Incorporation of the company

· Latest Tax Compliance Certificate of the company

· Copies of academic certificates of proposed consultant(s)

For natural persons/individual/freelancers

· Latest Tax Compliance Certificate

· Copies of academic certificates of the consultant(s)

· Planning of field mission: The planning of field mission (i.e. hotel bookings, partner contacts, visa, and logistics) is the responsibility of the consultant. The SDC offices in Addis Ababa can facilitate contacts and advice if needed. Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation (NRM-Borena project) will provide logistical support on project sites.

· The financial proposal should include a total budget including all taxes and incorporating a budget breakdown (fees, living expenses, travel, etc.).

· Compliance with local law on taxation - Taxes, charges and social security contributions will be applicable as far as this conforms to Ethiopian legislation.

· Legal status of the consultant in the country of engagement: The consultant must have valid a work permit or equivalent authorizations before travelling, that allows such a person to live and work in Ethiopia.

Final date for submission of applications: 10 January 2021, 17.00 hrs local time, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.



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