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CALL: For the final evaluation of the "Danube Connects" Project, The Grant Implementation Unit offered by the Austrian Development Agency project "Danube connects" is seeking an external evaluator/evaluation team

02 May 2018

 

 


 

Terms of Reference (ToR) for

Final Evaluation

 

 

For the final evaluation of the "Danube Connects" Project, The Grant Implementation Unit offered by the Austrian Development Agency project "Danube connects" is seeking an external evaluator/evaluation team with extensive experiences in the evaluation of development projects on EU Strategy for the Danube Region and EU CBC Programmes

 

DEADLINE for Proposal Submission: 16th May 2018 by 5:00 PM. To be sent at: 

danube.connects@madrm.gov.md 

Project Title: “Danube connects“ 

Country: Republic of Moldova 

Project Number: 8331-00-2015 

Project Duration: 1 February 2015 – 31 October 2018 

Project Budget: EUR 479,930.00

 

Name of Partner Organisation: Applicant - Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment

 

Local Project Partner - State Chancellery of the Republic of Moldova

 1.    Introduction/Background

 

At the national level, before the “Danube Connects” project was started, there was no European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) unit/ secretariat that would work on the implementation of the Strategy. Due to the lack of funds for EUSDR implementation and promotion in the Republic of Moldova (Moldova), national experts, delegated to the Priority Areas Steering Groups, could not attend the meetings or other joint events of the Steering Groups. Consequently, Moldova was not actively taking part in the development of joint European ideas or projects emanating out of the priority areas. This was especially important with regards to Priority Area 09 "Investing in People and Skills", where Moldova should have steered together with Austria. The single financial tool which was especially designed for the EUSDR priorities’ implementation, for which Moldova is eligible, was the Danube Transnational Programme (DTP) 2014-2020.

Strengthening the synergy between the national strategies/programmes and cross-border, transnational programmes and the EUSDR was needed, in order to increase the role of the strategy and enhance the implementation process. Aiming at avoiding overlapping in financing local projects from different national and international programmes/initiatives, and at the same time identification of the sectors, initiatives that need assistance, an implementation unit assisting the coordination process could speed up the process. Such a unit with the role of EUSDR secretariat was created within the “Danube Connects” project.

Taking into consideration the EUSDR priorities and those that have been established for the next cross border and transnational cooperation programmes (such as a better environment with cleaner water, the skills of the people (education), economic and social development, environment, protected biodiversity, more efficient cross-border flood prevention, improving transport and energy connections, cheaper and more secure and safe energy, the “Danube connects” project was expected to facilitate the achieving of international and regional commitments of Moldova. 

Moreover, despite the fact that the Republic of Moldova has been participating in the European Union – funded Programmes since 1996, the coordination system in the field of cross border cooperation in Moldova was rather simple and underdeveloped.

Therefore, in order to meet the requirements set by the European Commission for the new programming period 2014-2020, the Republic of Moldova had to apply the new ”shared management” principle, according to which a new management and control system, as well as the national legal framework,  had to be developed and implemented, with active participation of all relevant stakeholders.

The overall project objective is to strengthen the capacities of Moldovan institutions at central, regional and local levels, to participate in development projects by creating an efficient coordination system at national level of the initiatives/programmes/instruments addressing regional development and cross border cooperation issues.

 

Purpose

 

According to the project concept, an independent final evaluation of the project will be commissioned with the aim of enhancing accountability. Focus will be on by assessing the achievements and challenges incurred, as well as the sustainability of the achieved results.

 2.    Objective

 

The main objective of the evaluation is to assess progress towards the achievement of results (at output and outcome level), as a basis for deriving overall conclusions, lessons learnt and recommendations.

 

Under the relevant OECD DAC evaluation criteria (relevance, impact, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability) the evaluation will analyse the following points: 

a)    the design and coherence of the project including the design of the log frame matrix and present the underlying theory of change and its assumptions. 

b)    the extent to which the project has already achieved its objectives and results or is likely to achieve them, including the extent to which the lives of the project beneficiaries (women, men, girls, boys) has already been improved. Also the extent to which supported institutions have already benefitted people. 

c)    the  strengths and weaknesses in terms of planning, management, implementation and monitoring 

d)    the extent to which cross-cutting issues (gender and environment mainstreaming) were applied 

e)    the project`s progress in promotion the EUSDR and Moldova’s participation in cross border and transnational programmes (with a bigger emphasise on DTP 2014-2020), in terms of its mandate and the planned actions 

f)     the impact of the project actions and practical updates to the log frame matrix for the next implementation period, as well as follow up activities when the project ends. 

The stakeholders of this evaluation are: the applicant, local partners and beneficiaries (from both central and local levels). The direct beneficiary shall be the applicant and donor. The applicant is expected to take into consideration the findings of the evaluation report and update the concept of EUSDR implementation in Moldova. The donor will have access to an external assessment of the implementation success rate, besides the interim financial and interim progress reports.

 3.    Scope and Focus 

The final evaluation will focus on the project implementation during 2015-2018 period and based on the findings will provide the recommendations for the finalization of the project, considering the follow up action plan. 

The evaluation will consider both components of the intervention: (1) EUSDR implementation and (2) Support for cross border and transnational cooperation programmes. Also, all the 5 expected results of the project and the already existent institutional and strategic framework will be analysed.

The project is being implemented at the national and regional levels, therefore, its national and regional impact should be analysed, without focusing on a specific geographical area.

4.    Specific Evaluation Questions

 

Relevance

  • To what extent are the objectives of the project still valid for the partner country, the partner organization and the beneficiaries? 
  • Are the expected results/outputs of the project consistent with the outcome, immediate impact and overall goal/impact (as part of the analysis of the log frame matrix/programme theory and the presentation of the theory of change and its underlying assumptions)? 

Effectiveness 

  • To what extent has the project already achieved its results (at outcome and output level)or will be likely to achieve them by end of the project 
  • What were the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the expected results (at outcome and output level)? (Also consider any possible factors beyond the control of the project) 
  • Was the project managed as planned? If not, what issues occurred and why? 
  • To what extent have all project stakeholders collaborated as planned? 
  • Did the project contribute to capacity building as planned? 
  • To what extent was gender mainstreaming included in the project and to what extent were recommendations from the ADA gender-assessment considered and implemented?

 

Efficiency

 

  • Was the project implemented in the most efficient way (time, personnel resources)? Have any issues emerged, if so which ones and why?

 

Impact 

  • How many women, men, and people in total have already benefited from the project (immediate impact)? 
  • Which positive and/or negative effects/impacts in terms of gender can be possibly be attributed to the project? 
  • Which institutions have already benefitted from the project and how? What has changed for whom (immediate impact)? 
  • What is the impact on key-stakeholders (national, regional, local authorities, NGOs, etc.) ?

 

Sustainability

 

  • To what extent are the benefits of the project likely to continue after the withdrawal of the donor? 
  • If applicable, if the project continues is it likely to be integrated in national and local structures and/or funded by other sources? 
  • What were the major factors which influenced the achievement or non-achievement of sustainability of the project/programme?

 5.    Approach and Methods

 The evaluation consists of several phases:

 Contract and Kick-off meeting: Contract is signed and a discussion of the assignment takes place. First documents, including available data, are provided to the evaluation team.

 Desk Study: The evaluation team studies all necessary project documents; re-construct and analyse the intervention logic and theory of change and its assumptions. Existing data needs to be analysed and interpreted.

 Inception-Phase: In the inception report the evaluators will describe the design of the evaluation and will elaborate on how data will be obtained and analysed. The use of a data collection planning worksheet or a similar tool is required. First interviews take place.

 Data triangulation and quality control are very important and need to be discussed in the inception report.

 The field trip will only take place upon official approval of the inception report by the contractor.

 Field-phase: Data needs to be gathered, analysed and interpreted. It is expected that the evaluation will include quantitative and qualitative data disaggregated by sex.

 Presentation: Presentation of key findings (feedback workshop) at the end of the field trip.

 Final Draft Report: Submission and presentation of final draft report, inclusion of comments from partners and contractor.

 Final Report: Submission of final report

 For details on deliverables, please see reporting requirements under point 7.

 For the different phases it is expected that data and information will be obtained through different methods such as: analysis of documents, structured interviews, semi-structured interviews face-to face or by phone, group discussions, online-survey (if applicable), others.

 All data collected should be disaggregated by sex.

It is expected that the evaluation team will present concrete recommendations, which are addressed, to specific stakeholders.

 Moreover, the evaluation approach should include the interview of relevant stakeholders, under both project components. It is estimated that a minimum of 20-25 people will be interviewed, both at central and regional levels of administration, including the donor agency (ADA), the applicant, former National Coordinator for EUSDR and local partner. Details with regards to the sampling selection will be provided by the evaluation team as part of the inception report.

 The Guidelines for Project and Programme Evaluations developed by the Austrian Development Agency need to be followed throughout the entire evaluation process.  

 http://www.entwicklung.at/fileadmin/user_upload/Dokumente/Evaluierung/Evaluierungs_Leitfaeden/EN_Leitfaden_Evaluierung.pdf

 6.    Timetable

 Optional: A total of 20 working days is currently estimated for this assignment.

 

Action

Responsible

Date

 

Submission of bid (electronically)

Contractor

 

02.05-16.05

Evaluation of offers

Contractor

17.05– 18.05

 

Contract signed and documents provided

 

Contract signed

21.05

Kick-Off meeting

 

Meeting between contractor and consultant

21.05

Desk Study

Consultant

21.05-25.05

First interviews

Consultant

28.05-08.06

Submission of draft inception report

Consultant

13.06

Inclusion of comments on inception report

Consultant

13.06-18.06

Submission of final inception report

Consultant

19.06

Field Visit, interviews etc. and feedback workshop

Consultant

19.06-29.06

Submission of draft final report

Consultant

02.07

Inclusion of comments on inception report

Consultant

02.07-04.07

Presentation of draft final report

Consultant

05.07

Inclusion of feedback in draft final report

Contractor

05.07-06.07

Submission of final evaluation report (hard copy and electronic copy) to contractor

 

Consultant

11.07

 

7.    Deliverables

 The consultants will submit the following reports:

-     an inception report (10-15 pages without annexes),

-     a draft final evaluation report (about 25-30 pages without annexes), includinga draft executive summaryand the results-assessment form provided in Annex 1 (to be completed as part of the reporting requirement)

-     and the final evaluation report (25-30 pages without annexes), the final executive summary and the results-assessment form (part of the reporting requirement)

 

All reports must be written in English, including the executive summary.

The executive summary should summarize key findings and recommendations (three to five pages) and must be submitted as part of the final draft report.

The findings and recommendations of the draft final report and final report have to be structured according to the evaluation questions. An outline of the report’s structure needs to be agreed upon during the inception phase.

On completion of the final evaluation, the evaluators will prepare a draft report containing details on the methodology and process, evaluation findings substantiated by evidence, lessons learned, conclusions and recommendations for further advancing the project objectives and grant objectives. After discussions and feedback from the contractor, the final evaluation will be prepared.

The quality of the reports will be assessed based on the following criteria:

 

  • Is the results-matrix format part of the report?
  • Does the report contain a comprehensive and clear executive summary?
  • Were the Terms of Reference fulfilled and is this reflected in the report?
  • Is the report structured according to the OECD/DAC criteria?
  • Are all evaluation questions answered?
  • Are the methods and processes of the evaluation sufficiently documented in the evaluation report?
  • Does the report describe and assess the intervention logic (e.g. log frame, program theory) and present/analyse a theory of change and its underlying assumptions?
  • Are cross-cutting issues analysed in the report?
  • Are the conclusions and recommendations based on findings and are they clearly stated in the report?
  • Does the report clearly differentiate between conclusions, lessons learnt and recommendations?
  • Are the recommendations realistic and is it clearly expressed to whom the recommendations are addressed to?
  • Were the most significant stakeholders involved consulted?
  • Does the report present the information contained in a presentable and clearly arranged form?
  • Is the report free from spelling mistakes and unclear linguistic formulations?
  • Can the report be distributed in the delivered form?

 8.    The Evaluation Team

 The evaluation team will consist of a minimum of 2 national or international members.

 Academic qualifications:

-       Master degree in public administration, public policy, international relations and related fields;

 Years of experience:

-       At least  six years’ of combined experience and expertise as a team in the field/sector of cross-border programmes and macro-strategies, project cycle management

-       At least 5 years of practical experience in conducting evaluations of strategies, policies, projects and programs;

  • Team leader has conducted at least three evaluations in the last five years ideally in the relevant field;
  • Team member has participated in at least three evaluations in the last 5 years in the relevant field;

 

Competences:

-       Demonstrated strong knowledge of bilateral and multilateral development cooperation;

-       Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the Republic of Moldova, with focus on topics such as institutional and legal framework, EUSDR, EU-RM Association Agreement, cross-border and transnational cooperation programmes;

-       Demonstrated strong knowledge about results-based management (especially results-oriented monitoring and evaluation);

-       Demonstrated experience in project cycle management and preparing and analysing theory of change;

-       Experience and expertise in evaluating cross-cutting issues;

-       Proven proficiency in English. Knowledge of Romanian and/or Russian is an asset;

-       Demonstrated interpersonal and diplomatic skills, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with all stakeholders and to present ideas clearly and effectively;

-       Sound MS Office and IT skills;

 

 

The consultants must not have been involved in the design, implementation or monitoring of this project.

 

CVs, reference evaluations and evaluation methodology need to be provided.

 9.     Co-Ordination/Responsibility

Mr. Marian Capraru, Manager, Local Expert 1, EUSDR Secretariat

Grant Implementation Unit "Danube connects", will be the contact person for this evaluation.

Contact details: marian.capraru@madrm.gov.md, +373-22-204542

 10.  Documentation

 CVs

  • Technical proposal (short description of approach/methodology)
  • Financial proposal

 

A comprehensive package of background literature, reports, data etc., including the above-mentioned documents, will be provided to the evaluation team at the beginning of the assignment.

 

11.   Annexes:

  • Annex 1. Results-Assessment Form, to be filled in by the evaluation team
  • Annex 2. Project Log frame

Annex 1: Results-Assessment Form for Final Project Evaluations

 This form has to be filled in electronically by the evaluator. No evaluation report will be accepted without this form. The form has to be included at the beginning of the evaluation/review report.

 

Title of project/programme (please, spell out):

Contract Period of project/programme:

ADC number of project/programme:

Name of project/programme partner:

Country and Region of project/programme :

Budget of this project/programme:

Name of evaluation company (spell out) and names of evaluators:

Date of completion of evaluation/review:

 

Please tick appropriate box:

a)    Evaluation/review managed by ADA/ADC Coordination Office 

 

 

 

b)    Evaluation managed by project partner:

 

Please tick appropriate box:

a) Mid-Term Evaluation           b) Final Evaluation           c) Mid-Term Review           d) Final Review                                                                                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others: please, specify:

Project Outcome  (Please, include as stated in the Logframe Matrix):

 

 

For Final Evaluation[1]: Project Outcome: To what extent has the project already achieved its outcome(s) according to the Logframe Matrix? Please, tick appropriate box

Outcome(s) was/were:

Fully achieved:

Almost achieved:

 

 

Partially achieved:

Not achieved:

 

Please, also explain your assessment: What exactly was achieved and why? If not achieved, why not? (Please, consider description of outcome and relevant indicators)

 

 

For Mid-Term Evaluation[2]: Project Outcome: To what extent do you think the project will most likely achieve its outcome(s) according to the Logframe Matrix Please, tick appropriate box

Outcome(s) will most likely be:

Fully achieved:

 

 

Almost achieved:

Partially achieved:

Not achieved:

 

Please, also explain your assessment: (Please, consider description of outcome and relevant indicators)

 

Project Outputs: To what extent has the project already achieved its outputs[3] according to the Logframe Matrix ? Please, tick appropriate boxes

Output 1 (Please, include as stated in the Logframe Matrix):

 

 

Output was:

Fully achieved:

 

Almost achieved:

Partially achieved:

Not achieved:

 

Please, explain your assessment: (Please, consider description of output and relevant indicators)

 

 

 

Output 2 (Please, include as stated in the Logframe Matrix):

 

 

Output 2 was:

Fully achieved:

 

Almost achieved:

Partially achieved:

Not achieved:

 

Please, explain your assessment: (Please, consider description of output and relevant indicators)

 

 

Output 3 (Please, include as stated in the Logframe Matrix):

 

 

 Output 3 was:

Fully achieved:

 

Almost achieved:

Partially achieved:

Not achieved:

 

Please, explain your assessment: (Please, consider description of output and relevant indicators)

 

 In case there are more than three Outputs please, state as above.

 

Impact/Beneficiaries:

How many women, men, girls, boys and people in total have already benefited from this project directly and indirectly? Please, explain

What exactly has already changed in the lives of women, men, girls, boys and/or institutions from this project? Please, explain:

Which positive and/or negative effects/impacts in terms of gender can be possibly be attributed to the project? Please, explain:

If applicable, which institutions have benefitted from this project/programme and how?

Mainstreaming cross-cutting issues:

Gender: To what extent was gender mainstreaming included in the project? To what extent were the recommendations - if any- from the ADA internal gender-assessment considered and implemented?

Environment: To what extent was environmental mainstreaming included in the project? To what extent were the recommendations - if any- from the ADA internal environment-assessment considered and implemented?

Which positive and/or negative effects/impacts in terms of environment can be possibly be attributed to the project? Please, explain

Social Standards: To what extent were the social standards monitored by relevant partners? Have any issues emerged? Please, explain

 

 

 

Overall/Other Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Please, only fill in in case this is a final project evaluation/review.

[2] Please, only fill in in case this is a mid-term evaluation/review.

[3] In case there are more than three outputs, please, add them.

 


 

 

 

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