Consultancy (Transboundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA))

Oxfam Novib
Home-Based / Remote
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Not Specified


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I. Background

Oxfam is an international confederation of 19 organizations networked together in 97 countries. As part of a global movement for change, we are working together to end world poverty and injustice. We work with thousands of partners in countries around the world, and employ staff in a wide variety of posts. We work directly with communities and we work with the powerful to enable the most marginalized to be improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

Transboundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA) is a five year (2017 – 2021) program aimed at reducing poverty of communities in the transboundary river basins of Ganges-Bramhaputra-Megha (GBM) and Salween (Myanmar). The program  builds on existing knowledge and program of Oxfam teams, local partners and other regional partners in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Nepal. Oxfam and partners envisage that poverty will be reduced for marginalised and vulnerable river basin communities through increased access to and control over water resources.

TROSA is a multi-stakeholder program implementation involving both horizontal and vertical layers within the target geographical coverage. The engagement does not utilize only civic spaces but also public one through engaging with state institutions or government-centric think-tanks. The program arrangement has Program Management Unit as coordinator working with Oxfam country team who are dealing directly with local partners in implementing the program activities. In addition to the country teams, regional partners are involved to ensure the level of regional coordination and transboundary issues of the countries.    

TROSA program has four components:

  • Improve policies and practice of governments that protect the rights of communities along Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna (GBM) and the Salween river basins to water resources.
  • Improve policies and practice of private sector and other actors to respect the rights of river basin communities to water resources.
  • Strengthen capacity of river basin communities and civil society to influence trans-boundary water resource management.
  • Strengthen women’s profile and influence in dialogues and decision-making on water management and water infrastructure.

As the program started in January 2017, the program has been working with communities, women, youth, community based organizations, government officials, private companies, and non-governmental organizations to advocate for better access to and control over water resources. Throughout inception phase (January – June 2017), and foundation year (July 2017 – June 2018), the program has been reported to be on-track but lack some achievement on component two on private sector engagement. The first semester of year two is about to finish and the program now reached the middle of the period. As per Program Implementation Manual (PIM) of TROSA, a mid-term evaluation is required. This is also aligned to Common Approach to MEL and Social Accountability (CAMSA) of Oxfam Programs where all programs are envisioned to adhere to Oxfam Program Quality Standard # 6: Program relies upon partnership and alliances with autonomous, independent, accountable organisations to achieve positive changes, Standard #10: Programs engage in participatory, evidence based learning and are results based and Standard #11: Programs have explicit mechanisms and processes in place in order to demonstrate accountability. Mid-Term Evaluation is a catalyst toward achieving these standards. A Mid-Term Evaluation is, therefore, important to be carried at this stage.

This Terms of Reference (ToR) is intended to respond to the stated requirement and to assess the progress toward goal and objectives of the program. The study will identify lessons learnt and provide concrete recommendations for the refinement of the program approach, if necessary, and to inform subsequent implementation phases of the program.

II. Purpose and objectives

The overall goal of this consultancy is to assess the progress and performance of the program toward its intended results/outcomes/objectives and impacts and document program’s lessons learnt. Led by an external evaluation team, insightful views on the current approaches and strategy and progresses of TROSA program are expected from this evaluation taking the DAC’s Evaluation Criteria as the ground - the questions corresponding to each evaluation criterion are provided in later section.

The specific objectives of TROSA MTE are to:

  1. Assess and evaluate the progresses against its intended and/or unintended outcomes as per program framework and indicators.
  2. Assess the relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of the program at basin/sub-basin level focusing on transboundary and gender-inclusive aspects of the program.
  3. Analyse  the achievements, potential, opportunities and risks in making program outcomes impactful, and sustainable within the areas of working as well as other areas where the program could influence.
  4. Provide a useful and practical suggestions on improving the program implementation approach for greater impact and influence in the remainder of the program period.
  5. Identifying lessons learned on the strategic approach (strategic processes and mechanisms chosen to achieve the program’s objectives),
III. Methodology and specific TASKS

This evaluation will gather evidence on the program’s value addition on cross-cutting issues of natural resources governance and poverty alleviation from a transboundary and regional perspective. The insights and suggestions will be used for subsequent improvement in program implementation approach and practice, including more focus on partnerships and impact at various levels (sub-basin/basin/ regional level), Theory of Change, Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability (MEAL) framework, and interaction with stakeholders. The method of the evaluation is provided hereafter.

  1. Method

Participatory methods such as focus group discussions and in-depth interview with key informants and program staff to systematically document lessons, insights and reflections, examples of success, failure, lessons learnt from the program are expected. The engagement with communities, partners and networks, and key external stakeholders in the evaluation process is mandatory. Desk review and field work are applied:

  • Desk Review: Key documents of the program that are expected to review include:
    • Program Inception Report
    • Context Baseline Reports and Impact Baseline Report,
    • Program Document including Theory of Change and key Strategies
    • MEAL Framework Document
    • Annual Report 2018
    • Quarterly Reports
    • Program’s achievement documents such as Outcome Harvesting, Case Studies, Stories, research report, etc.
    • Communication materials such as TROSA Learning Briefs, Visualized Materials, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook.
    • Other documents

The evaluation will provide necessary information to assess whether the program is ‘on track’ to achieve the stated outcomes and objectives.

  • Field Work: The consultant/firms will work with the PMU and country/basin partners to undertake field work in selected sub-basins/basin communities. This will provide the  consultant/firm the opportunities to have an in-depth understanding on what is happening at the ground as well as the insight knowledge per basins/working areas. The evaluation is expected to respond to the question in next section.
  • Validation meeting/workshop: Prior to finalization of the report, a presentation to relevant stakeholders including PMU country teams and regional partners is required to gain further comments or feedbacks.

Different methodologies should also attempt to validate/triangulate the findings of the desk review.

  1. Program partners and key stakeholders – tentative list

Tentative list of stakeholders to be included in the evaluation exercise is provided here:

  1. Oxfam Project Staff
  2. Regional partners (to be discussed Annex 2)
  3. Oxfam local partners (to be selected from Annex 2)
  4. Community people (Focus Group Discussions)
  5. Women leaders and youth champions
  6. District line departments in each respective basin
  7. National level government officials being engaged by TROSA
  8. Sida representative
  9. Other CBOs working in the field of water governance

The consultants/firm are required to provide an inception report with methodology, schedule and stakeholders to be included in the evaluation prior to conducting field survey.

  1. Evaluation questions

DAC’s Evaluation Criteria are applied for this MTE. Questions in corresponding to each criterion are provided here:

  1. Relevance
  1. Are the program strategies aligned with global/region’s transboundary water governance strategies/policies?
  2. Have the South Asian regional, national and community water-related platforms / committees, been synergized within the program interventions?
  3. Were these program strategies appropriate and responsive to gender and youth needs, social and cultural values, conditions and practices within the targeted communities?
  4. How satisfied are the communities with the program interventions? Are there instances of community self-initiatives and mobilization as result of the program?
  5. Effectiveness and Efficiency
  6. What progress (to what extent) has the program made against its intended outcomes / objectives?
  7. Is the current structure of the program fit for purpose (as to effectiveness and efficiency)? Are the ways of working (procedures) within the program effective and efficient?
  8. Is the team sufficiently equipped and do we have the right partners involved?
  9. Are the activities implemented in accordance with the plans? If not, why?
  10. How effective has the program been in supporting vulnerable communities’ and women’s’ awareness and capacities to influence water governance policies and practices of government and private sector?
  11. How effective civil society, river networks, communities and women have been in participating and influencing water and transboundary water governance?
  12. How efficient did the program coordinate with or make use of regional platforms, governments, think-tanks, private sector, and CSOs during the implementation of program?
  13. Were activities and outputs per partners / teams cost-efficient / good values for money?
  14. Impact and Sustainability
  15. How far has the program been successful in and linked to building the resilience of the target communities to future shocks and stresses, specifically contributing to minimize losses to assets such as physical, economic and social at household and community?
  16. What are the signs of the program brought about behavioral changes in policy and practices of relevant water governance institutions and private sector​ in respect to the rights of community people and inclusively women?
  17. What are the evidences of the changes that would be likely to continue after the program interventions? What should be done (exit strategy) to make the changes continued its existence?
  18. What are the lessons learnt as per program ToC and assumption for further improvement in the remainder of the period?

Case Studies from the field in response to above questions are requested to document so that these case studies will provide a deeper analysis of selected pieces of TROSA work and strengthen identification of lessons and evidence of what approaches have worked. Number of case studies and thematic areas need to be conducted in discussion with the project team as the commencement provide a better picture from the field.

IV. Management

This  consultancy will be managed by the PMU based at Oxfam in Cambodia. The PMU will provide overall management and assist in the entire MTE process. The management will support both technical and financial aspect of the consultancy.

4.1 Key Outputs/Deliverables
  1. Inception report outlining key methods and plan for field work.
  2. Draft Evaluation Report and Power Point Presentation of key findings and recommendations to Oxfam and partners via two events:
    1. Skypes/Webinar and
    2. Annual Learning and Planning Forum
  3. Final Evaluation Report
  4. Report of outcome-based case studies (at least 5)
  5. A four pagers Mid-Term Evaluation Summary (Communique) for public distribution and influencing purpose