Terms of Reference for Consultancy

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Terms of Reference for Consultancy

Afghanistan SPEDAH Project (Support to Primary Education in Distant Areas of Helmand)
Final Project Evaluation
Today: APRIL 15, 2015


Education in Afghanistan
There is a history of attacks on schools in Afghanistan. Dating back to the Soviet War, which began in 1979, schools have served as a target for bombings and violence. There has been repeated backlash from conservative groups when there are attempts to increase enrollment. The situation worsened when the Taliban claimed power in 1996 and forbade girls to attend school. Although this law has been rescinded, many are reluctant to send girls to school and there is ongoing violence against schools that teach girls. By 2003, it was reported that approximately 80% of Afghan schools had been damaged and/or destroyed. The situation was worse in rural and remote areas (Glad, 2009).
As a result, only 28.1% of the Afghan population is literate, and only 12.6% of girls can read (CARE, 2013). Girls’ education has been a particular challenge in Afghanistan. The gender parity index for primary school enrollment is 0.63, but this disparity can be even greater in rural areas. Given the shortage of schools, many students find themselves living far from a school. Girls who are in remote or rural areas are especially disadvantaged (IRC, 2012). 77% of the Afghan population lives in rural areas.
Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, there has been a widespread “back-to-school” movement encouraging students to return and schools in violence-afflicted areas to reopen. As a result, school enrollment has increased eightfold between 2001 and 2011 and more than 400 schools have been reopened (UNICEF, 2011). However, significant challenges remain within the education sector in Afghanistan. There remains almost 5 million students who are out of school, 60% of whom are girls (UNICEF, 2011). This does not include the 1.2 million children who are enrolled, but are permanently absent from class. There are only 9,000 schools to serve the entire school-age population. There is also a shortage of teachers and a lack of professional development opportunities for those that do exist (IRC, 2012).
IRC Education Programs in Afghanistan
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has been implementing education programs in Afghanistan for over 20 years. Between 2010 and 2011, the IRC reached over 5,000,000 beneficiaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan through education, protection, community-driven reconstruction, health, economic recovery and development, and emergency response programs.

The IRC was a key member of the Partnership for Advancing Community Education in Afghanistan (PACE-A) along with the Aga Khan Foundation, CARE, and Catholic Relief Services. This partnership collaborated with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to improve education access across Afghanistan through the establishment of Community-Based Education (CBE) programs. The PACE-A initiative provided CBE opportunities to 106,510 students (67% female), supported 1,925 School Management Committees (SMCs), and trained 1,400 teachers in key teaching techniques (IRC, 2011).

  1. Description of the project

The SPEDAH project, the first year of which started in July 1, 2012, expanded Community-Based Education (CBE) access to Helmand, building on the BEACON model, but has been managed separately by the IRC Kabul and Helmand offices. The second and third years of this project, which began on September 1, 2013, will also continue to expand CBE across Helmand by continuing 81 classes from the first year of the project and opening 41 new classes over the next two years for a total of 3,821 students in three districts (Nawa, Marjah and Garamsir) of Helmand province.

During the first year of the project, the BEACON model was extended to Helmand Province, which contributed to the expansion and improvement of CBE and ultimately contributed to realizing the Ministry of Education (MoE) Education Interim Plan (2011-2013).The Interim Plan was developed to support and accelerate MoE efforts in providing education throughout the country, and was created in response to donor requests. The MoE under sub-program 1.1 of the Education Interim Plan is aiming to achieve the establishment of 38,400 primary and accelerated learning CBE classes by 2014. The process of the MoE gradually taking over the leadership and management of the CBE is referred to as CBE Transition/Handover. BEACON and the DANIDA-funded SPEDAH project will complement the anticipated on-budget funding to MoE, while building the capacity of the MoE, teachers and community members to assume full responsibility for CBE in Afghanistan. The IRC through this project and through BEACON plays a pivotal role in facilitating this transition with its unmatched agency experience, wide geographical coverage, deep community connections and solid working relationship with the MoE.
The SPEDAH project responds to the key challenges of the lack of quality learning opportunities, the limited availability of suitable teachers, and the insufficient involvement of parents or caregivers in the education of their children. The project’s ultimate goal is for children and youth to have the knowledge and skills to be productive members of Afghan society.
Objectives and outputs of the project/activity:
The goal of the project is for children and youth to have the knowledge and skills to be productive members of Afghan society. To achieve this, the project will deliver the following intermediate results:

  1. Children (at least 50% girls) and youth in remote and rural areas benefit from conducive learning environments

  2. Teachers (at least 25% women) are able to use appropriate and effective teaching methodologies

  3. The Ministry of Education (MoE) at all levels has increased engagement and ability to lead CBE in Afghanistan

  4. Communities actively engage in education activities in close relationship with the MoE and other stakeholders

The IRC will significantly contribute to enhancing the capacity of project beneficiaries in becoming active participants in Afghanistan’s rebuilding process by 1) expanding access and improving the quality of education for children, youth and adults, with a particular focus on girls; 2) actively engaging communities; and 3) working together with the MoE to further enhance the recognized Community-Based Education (CBE) system.

In accordance with the MoE’s NESP II, the CBE Policy guidelines state that access to education should be provided equitably to all school-aged children. Over the first year of the project, the IRC recruited 143 teachers and enrolled 3,821 students in 96 CBE, 5 Multi Grades System classes (MGS) and 21 ALP outreach classes across Helmand Province. In addition, 460 students from the community started attending classes during the first year on their own. Their formal enrollment in school started during the first year and will be completed during year 3.

The project target was to make sure at least 50% of all students are girls, but that target was surpassed, with girls representing 58% of students enrolled in Accelerated Learning Program classes. In addition, upon the MoE’s request, the IRC will train a number of the teachers in the Multi-grade system; a part of the training is completed and the process is in progress in providing trainings for the rest of the MoE teachers in all targeted 27 hub-schools for up to 15MoE teachers in each hub-school total (405 MoE teachers).

SPEDAH Achievements to date:
Children of Helmand province have been deprived from education services due to the persistent armed conflicts. Nearly half of the few existing MoE schools are closed or not functioning. Girls in the three target districts are not attending any formal schools. Thus this project is the only schooling opportunity for both boys and girls in the target villages after years of ongoing armed conflicts. Presently IRC supports 3,821 students (58% female) and 143 teachers (30% female) in 96 regular primary classes, 5 MGS and 21 accelerated learning classes in three districts (Garmsir, Marja and Nawa) since July 2012. By the end of this project the students of the primary classes will graduate from grade 3, the students of MGS will be graduated from Grade (1&2) and the students of the accelerated learning classes (all girls) from grade 6.

The project is also building the capacity of the MoE at hub school, district and provincial levels for a better support both of the project and MoE schools. This support is realized also through the establishment and support of the three Provincial CBE Officer (PCO) positions for the Helmand province. Such positions already existed in 18 other provinces, including in 5 other provinces where IRC is implementing the education program.

This external evaluation comes at the chronological end-point of the SPEDAH project (end of SPEDAH of all 3 years) held on (August 31, 2015). It is a final, formative evaluation what objectives are to help determine (what components and project aspects worked well and why, which were not worked well and why) to remain as lesson learned for the rest CBE program implemented by various CBE counterparts and the MoE. The evaluation should provide pertinent information, statistics and judgments that assist the implementing organization, MOE and DANIDA to learn what has been accomplished technically, as well relevant to management, financial and cost efficiency, and personnel information and findings. In summary, the evaluation should help re-focusing and strengthening the CBE process based on SPEDAH project lessons learned.


The evaluation questions that should be asked are those to gauge the quality, relevance and level of satisfaction with SPEDAH activities that have already occurred, and forward looking questions which inquires about particular elements that might be different—should be considered in the actions of the process to be taken in account by the MoE. To the extent possible, the questions should be technical and management priorities for the most parts asked of SPEDAH direct beneficiaries (SPEDAH Staff, Classes Teachers, Local Communities, DEDs, PED and the MoE). Emphasis should be centered to the direct project components or the practices that should be altered, terminated, diminished, increased or perhaps carried out in different manners. Suggested or illustrative asking areas are grouped based SPEDAH program objectives as below:

What changes/improvements related to the project objectives as following has been seen?

  1. Children (at least 50% girls) and youth in remote and rural areas benefit from conducive learning environments

  2. Teachers (at least 25% women) are able to use appropriate and effective teaching methodologies (CBE policy procedures and the INEE minimum requirements)

  3. The Ministry of Education (MoE) at all levels has increased engagement and ability to lead CBE in Afghanistan

  4. Communities actively engage in education activities in close relationship with the MoE and other stakeholders

What changes/improvements related to results as following has been seen?

  1. The CBE, MGS and ALP classes are established and supported

  2. Learning and other supportive materials are distributed

  3. Learning environments improved to meet the INEE minimum standards

  4. Teachers are recruited

  5. Teachers are trained and supported

  6. Teachers’ salaries are disbursed

  7. Strengthen leadership role of MoE and coordination for CBE at the national and sub-national level

  8. Joint planning for CBE implementation and reinforcing the CBE Policy guidelines application conducted

  9. School clusters and the role of hub schools are strengthened

  10. Communities mobilized and School Shuras established

  11. Training of School Shuras conducted

  12. Conceptual, technical and social linkages between School Shuras, hub-schools and MoE
  13. Research Study Completed

Related to best practices:

  1. What innovative solutions and strategies could further advance the implementation of stated project objectives in line with CBE policy?

  2. What SPEDAH innovations or impacts can be considered as major achievements of this program thus far?  What values attributed to this success?

Related to management:

  1. Is the project sufficiently staffed and managed, in order to achieve its objectives?

  2. Is the project staff able to build the capacity of Afghans in the areas of project, and improve the capacity of provincial local staff when expatriate staffs depart?

Related to partnerships and capacity-building:

  1. I Have collaboration and coordination efforts among the stakeholders improved project effectiveness? If so, how?

  2. How is the relationship between SPEDAH, MoE and other CBE providers?

  3. What is the extent of engagement of MoE staff in project-related activities, especially as it relates to CBE?

Annex 1 lists a number of suggested or elective evaluation questions, which are categorized according to the groups to whom they are directed.


The evaluation team expected to determine its own set of questions for evaluation purposes, and submit these to the Education Coordinator IRC Afghanistan for review. Copies of survey instruments and questionnaires it intends to administer must also be submitted by the end of the fifth day of work.


The evaluation team should utilize five different, yet complementary and inter-related forms of gathering information, named as following:

  1. Document review throughout the evaluation process-including project reports, relevant studies and evaluations, MoE documents:

  2. Individual and group interviews; project staff, project beneficiaries and stakeholders

  3. Focus group discussions, if time permit and are deemed useful; particularly with teacher trainers, teachers, community members and School Shuras.

  4. Visits to SPEDAH project sites, such as SPEDAH classes, District Education Departments and Provincial Education Departments’ staff at both levels

  5. The administration of anonymous questionnaires using a Likert-type or similar qualitative/quantitative scale to select groups of people involved in and knowledgeable of the SPEDAH Project.

This final evaluation should occur over a period of 30 working days, all of which will be spent in Afghanistan. The expected start date is (Sunday May 03, 2014).

  1. The Executive Summary of the evaluation report itself should briefly state the purpose of this final evaluation, the methodology utilized, findings and recommendations.

  1. The report, including the Executive Summary, provides a more in-depth treatment of the Executive Summary. It should not exceed 25 pages, excluding annexes.

The findings will mainly flow from the evaluation questions and results of those answers. However, there will likely be valuable, unanticipated findings arise that are pertinent to the evaluation. Donor, the MoE and others want to know what SPEDAH and its all three years of on-the-ground operations have shown what has worked out well and what programs elements have been less successful, and the reasons for successes and shortcomings. We wish to know what of SPEDAH accomplishments and challenges are unique to it, and which are applicable to similar programs. As this is a final evaluation, information and empirical evidence that can enhance the remaining period of project are important. Essentially, this section brings together information related to the quality of the project and for making decisions about it.

Following directly on the findings, conclusions and lessons learned, recommendations suggest the options open to Donor, the MoE for the remainder of the project and the decisions that should be made. The recommendations should be clear, useful and informative to all parties concerned with SPEDAH. The recommendations will be of immediate programmatic, administrative and perhaps financial assistance to IRC.

VIII. Deliverables:

  1. Initial briefing with IRC Afghanistan within first 3 working days. The IRC Afghanistan will provide information about the implementation of the SPEDAH project in Helmand provinces.

  2. Work plan and detailed evaluation schedule including list of planned interviews and field trips within first 5 days.

  3. The evaluation team will submit to IRC, for IRC review, copies of its survey instruments, questionnaires, interview and focus group discussion guides by the end of its first five days of work. Female members are necessary with the team while seeing the ALP classes in Helmand.

  4. The evaluation team will make a presentation on the preliminary findings, lessons learned and recommendations at a stakeholders’ meeting attended by Donor representative, the MoE, selected other donors, and the implementing organizations on a schedule determined by IRC and the evaluation team.

  5. Draft reports to IRC Education Program within 5 working days after the team complete the evaluation in presenting the results through a PowerPoint presentation.

  6. Final report both in English and translated into Pashtu will be delivered to IRC

  7. Final presentation by the evaluation team will be provided

RFQ submission and Contact Address :
Hamidullah Sediqi | Supply Chain Manager

International Rescue Committee

Taimany, Str # 4, House # 34. Kabul, Afghanistan | Rescue.org
Mobile # 0729080283 |

Annex – 1
Questionnaire (Will be developed together with évaluation consultancy)

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