Target Country, a country deeply affected by conflict, is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Some conflict-affected areas receive almost no independent coverage, increasing the risk of underreporting of human rights violations. Many areas are “information black holes,” where citizens have no sources of credible information to help them participate in civic life. Capacity among journalists remains low and gender inequality persists as an overarching problem.
Internews, in partnership with local media and civil society organizations, implemented the Supporting Independent Voices project with a goal to provide independent journalists and media outlets in Target Country with the necessary editorial, physical, and digital security skills to securely produce fact-based reporting, thereby reinforcing the credibility of the media with the communities they serve. The project ran for 42 months, from October 2019 through May 2023 (including a 20-month cost extension awarded in 2021).
The project is designed on the basis of a robust Theory of Change:
- IF we improve the capacity of independent media and journalism startups to produce rights-based, innovative content which responds to community and audience needs, AND
- IF we build the digital and holistic safety of journalists and human rights defenders, with a particular focus on women; AND
- IF we provide robust media freedom monitoring and advocacy for the protection of journalists, AND
- IF we link journalists in crisis with emergency support
- THEN we will increase the availability of engaging, credible fact-based reporting/content, AND
- IF independent media and journalists have access to communities at-risk in target areas to engage with this content;
- THEN the credibility of the media and journalists will be increased with the communities they serve and communities will be more empowered to make decisions that affect their lives and to engage with local governance structures more effectively.
Evaluation Purpose and Objectives
The purpose of this final evaluation is to assess the performance and potential success of the project against expected outcomes and impact, suggesting ways of improving where relevant, and identifying any unexpected outcomes, asses the sustainability of results, It should also look at signs of potential impact of project activities on beneficiaries, assess the sustainability of the results, and generate evidence-based recommendations for future programming. More specifically, this evaluation has the following principal tasks:
- Assess the program’s M&E design and its effectiveness in capturing expected and unexpected outcomes;
- Assess the project implementation approach and processes adopted throughout the project lifecycle;
- Analyze various feedback points from the various stakeholders involved in the project, whether internal staff, external partners, or potential beneficiaries;
- Identify expected and unexpected (undesirable) outcomes and impact and the factors leading to their achievements;
- To assess the program’s M&E design and its effectiveness;
- Analyze underlying factors beyond Internews’ control that affect the achievement of the project results;
- Understand whether expected and unexpected outcomes were achieved.
- Identify factors that affected the activities, outcomes, and impacts from occurring;
- Assess the sustainability of results; and identify the factors contributing to the sustainability;
- Identify and draw lessons learned, areas of improvements and recommendations that may inform future programming in the country.
We envision a theory-driven evaluation that speaks to international evaluation criteria (relevance, effectiveness, potential for impact and sustainability, OECD/DAC) and pays particular attention to gender. We welcome the use of creative evaluation methods and approaches that will help substantiate project progress and outcomes.
The methodological approach and design of the evaluation will be developed and agreed between Internews and the evaluator. The evaluator will then be responsible for its objective implementation. The methodological approach should be inclusive, gender-sensitive, participatory, and culturally appropriate. The evaluator is encouraged to recommend a methodology that can effectively address the evaluation questions. The recommended methodology should justify the choice of data collection tools and data analysis methods that will provide sufficient evidence to answer each question. Prospective evaluators will be informed of the materials and connections/logistics that Internews will be able to provide to facilitate the evaluation activities, such as:
- Project documentation, data, and information: Internews can provide evaluators with all relevant project documentation, including project proposals, reports, and any other documentation, data, and information related to the project.
- Orientation: Internews can provide orientation to evaluators, including an introduction to our organization and project.
- Access to stakeholders, communication, and logistics support: Internews can facilitate connections between evaluators and project stakeholders, including staff, partners, and beneficiaries. We can also provide contact information for stakeholders as needed in addition to any communication and logistical support for evaluators as needed.
The evaluation should include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following tools:
- Desk review of relevant documents;
- Individual and/or group interviews with internal and external stakeholders;
- Online meetings with external stakeholders; and
- Survey questionnaires to internal and external stakeholders, if relevant.
The key evaluation questions are:
- To what extent did the theory of change align with the program’s objectives and the context in which it was implemented?
- How did stakeholders perceive the program’s relevance in addressing the identified problem?
- How did the editorial skills of local media partners and Safe Sisters fellows develop during the project implementation?
- In what ways have the local media partners and Safe Sisters fellows improved their ability to mitigate digital threats and attacks as a result of the project activities?
- What outcomes (both expected and unexpected) were achieved by the program?
- What factors facilitated or hindered the achievement of outcomes?
- What was the contribution of the program to the achievement of outcomes?
- To what extent were the qualitative and quantitative tools used to gather data effective in assessing program progress and outcomes?
- What was the quality of the data collected, and how usable was it for program improvement?
- What are the long-term effects of the program beyond its intended outcomes, and what unintended consequences emerged?
- How did the program contribute to broader changes in the media sector, such as policy reform or increased stakeholder engagement?
- How sustainable are the program results beyond the program’s lifespan, and what measures were taken to plan and ensure its sustainability?
- What are the factors that influenced the program’s sustainability, and how are they being addressed?
- What are the key recommendations and lessons learned from the project and the evaluation for further media development programming in the target country and potentially other similar contexts? What could be done better in the future?
- How will the findings of the evaluation be used to inform future programming and decision-making processes?
Timeframe and Deliverables
We anticipate around 25-35 full working days will be needed to conduct this evaluation in a flexible working manner as follows:
|Launch of ToR and bids reception||Deadline for applications: June 9, 2023|
|Appointment of evaluator and initial briefing||Appointment: by June 20, 2023 Briefing: as soon as possible upon appointment.||The consultant is expected to have initial meetings with staff in order to inform inception report (see below)|
|Inception report||By July 15, 2023||Relevant documentation will be made available and the inception report will include: Literature review Draft methodology Data collection tools Outline of final report structure|
|First draft report||By August 15, 2023||Internews staff will review the draft for further clarification, comment and structure|
|Final draft report||By August 31, 2023|
Note that the draft and final reports should be presented in English and be no longer than 30 pages (excluding any relevant annexes) and contain a concise Executive Summary of core findings and recommendations, the latter being specific and action‐oriented, and tailored to all relevant stakeholders (i.e., Internews and the donor). It should also include a methodology section, making explicit any limits to the evaluation.
Application guidelines and requirements
Applications should include the below documentation:
- A two to three-page statement of interest/draft proposal, highlighting how your methodological approach will address the scope planned for this evaluation as well as describing how your profile meets criteria (see next section);
- A CV and two professional references;
- Evidence of previous evaluation work (e.g. link to evaluation reports or PDF attachments), highlighting evaluation theories and approaches;
- A short cost justification (not included in the 2-page limit) and estimated level of effort (number of days) – including your salary history and/or daily rate for your last 3 consultancies.
- Bachelor’s degree in media, journalism, international development, evaluation or related field;
- At least 5 years of experience conducting evaluations in difficult contexts, particularly for USG donors;
- Experience with qualitative and quantitative M&E data collection and analysis methods;
- Fluent in English and Arabic;
- Excellent intercultural communication skills/cultural sensitivity and the ability to forge strong cross-cultural relationships demonstrated through previous experience;
- Strong facilitation, presentation, writing and communication skills.
- Masters’ degree or PhD in relevant field;
- Experience conducting evaluations for media development, or more than 5 years’ experience as evaluator;
- Experience in evaluation of grants funded by the US State Department;
- Experience in evaluating and analyzing social media presence and online audience engagement;
- Knowledge and understanding of the Target Country context.
Deadline for applications: April 28, 2023