P4EC is hiring a Consultant for Final Evaluation of the EU-funded project

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Terms of Reference

For final evaluation of the Project “Improving access to community-based early years and preschool support services for vulnerable children with special needs in Moldova”.

Job title:                             Consultant for Final Evaluation of the EU-funded project entitled “Improving access to community-based early years and preschool support services for vulnerable children with special needs in Moldova”

Project life         :              January 2016 – December 2018

Reporting to       :              Task Manager – Irina Spivacenco (Partnerships for EveryChild)

Start Date           :              November 2018

1.      Project background

The project Improving access to community-based early years and preschool support services for vulnerable children with special needs in Moldova” is funded by the European Union.

The overall objective of the proposed action is to improve access to community-based early years and preschool support services for vulnerable children with special needs (CWSN) in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The action focuses on CWSN and their families because the support services currently available in Moldova are inconsistent and do not address the full range of their needs.

The key specific objectives are designed to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of and cooperation between LAs and CSOs working with CWSN, enabling them to better facilitate access to early years and preschool support services, and
  • Develop and test a model for community-based early years and pre-school support for CWSNs, along with the capacity needed to roll it out nationally if found to be successful.

The action will build the technical and collaborative working capacity of key target groups, including professional staff from LAs and CSOs, kindergarten teachers and administrators, parents, and the general public. It will provide them with knowledge and understanding of the needs and rights of young vulnerable CWSN, the importance of inclusive education during the early years period, barriers faced by CWSN as well as their parents and carers, and practical skills to support CWSN and their families. The action will also engage the media in order to challenge stigma around disability and to raise awareness and understanding of the needs of CWSN in the wider community.

The proposed action intends to achieve the following specific results:

  • Increased cooperation between CSOs and LAs under the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family (MLSPF) resulting in joint projects implemented in project districts;
  • Increased capacity of CSOs and LAs to promote access to community-based early years and preschool support services for CWSN, resulting in a number of new services and models put in place in project districts;
  • Increased support to vulnerable parents and carers of CWSN, resulting in reduced isolation, enriched parent-child relationships, increased awareness and utilisation of services; and
  • A tested model for community-based early years and pre-school support for CWSNs, along with the capacity for national rollout, resulting in national and local authorities’ commitment to the new services, models and approaches.

The community-based early years and pre-school support programmes for children with special needs are piloted in 5 districts – Cahul, Ungheni, Falesti, Nisporeni and Calarasi and are the following:

  • Portage – home care and education support service for families with children who have special needs;
  • Mellow Parenting – course of therapy for parental skills development and strengthening of relations between parents and children underpinned by attachment theory, social learning theory and elements of cognitive behavioral therapy;
  • Makaton - a language program, involving the use of signs and symbols to help people communicate.
  • Communication through Music - therapeutic programme that achieves outcomes drawn from Music Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy;

2.      The Scope of the Project Final Evaluation

Partnerships for Every Child is looking for a consultant to carry out the project final evaluation of its EU-funded project Improving access to community-based early years and preschool support services for vulnerable children with special needs in Moldova”. The evaluation is conducted as an end of the project and will focus at the entire implementation period. The overall purpose of the evaluation is to assess the processes and achievements made to draw lessons and make recommendation on further developments in the area. The final evaluation will consist of an analysis of the undertaken activities, achieved outputs and outcomes, project effectiveness and sustainability in the project districts and possibilities for nationwide dissemination and replication of the developed models for community-based early support for CWSN.

3.      Purpose of the Final Evaluation:

To explore the following questions:

  • To what extent did the project achieve its overall objectives?
  • What and how much progress has been made towards achieving the overall outputs and outcomes for improving the access to community-based early years and preschool support services for vulnerable children with special needs?
  • Was the project relevant to the identified needs?
  • To what extent are the benefit of the projects likely to be sustained after the completion of this project?
  • What was the outcome of the capacity building activities delivered to the target groups in terms of the quality of the piloted programmes/services provided to children and families?
  • What was the level of collaboration/involvement of local governmental actors in tackling the new models of community-based early years support services and their level of accountability for the implementation of the service?
  • Have the professionals and the wider society became better aware of and started to better understand the challenges faced by families of with children with disabilities as a result of the project activities?
  • What has worked particularly well?
  • What challenges and obstacles were identified in the implementation process?
  • Which project activities, strategies, processes are leading to the desired outcomes and outputs (effectiveness)?
  • What lessons have emerged, and what are the recommendations for further developments in the early intervention support for CWSN?

4.      Methodology:

Suggested evaluation tools:

  • Analysis of the project’s documents (project proposal, logical framework, baseline analysis, progress reports, training materials developed, periodic internal monitoring reports etc.)
  • Review of interviews with children and their parents that have benefited from project support; these interviews will be conducted by P4EC during October 2018 and the data shared with the evaluation consultant
  • Key-informant interviews (face-to-face and remote) with a sample of parents of children with special needs, representatives of national authorities (Ministry of Education, Culture and Research and Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection), representatives of local authorities implementing partners, other civil society organisations with which the action is aligned, and partner organisations HealthProm and Mellow Parenting;
  • Focus group discussions/interviews with practitioners involved in piloting of the models of early years support for CWSN – Portage, Makaton and Communication through Music.

5.      Timeframe and payment

The Project Final Evaluation will involve a maximum of 11 days’ work in November 2018, and the final report should be submitted no later than the 10th of December 2018.

Payment will be made in 2 stages: 30% on submission of the agreed MTR work plan and 70% on approval of the final report.

6.      Competencies

Essential

The selected external consultant shall have the following expertise and qualification:

  1. Master’s Degree or equivalent in disability studies, social and business sciences or other relevant;
  2. Have extensive expertise, knowledge and experience in the field related to the development of intervention and support policies and services for children with special needs/disabilities;
  • At least 10 years of experience in working with international organizations and donors;
  1. Have demonstrated an extensive experience with result-based management evaluation methodologies;
  2. Have strong analytical skills;
  3. Have demonstrated expertise in qualitative evaluation methodologies, and participatory research techniques, including interviewing and involving vulnerable children in research;
  • Have demonstrated experience of conducting similar project evaluations and producing a comprehensive evaluation reports in English;
  • A strong background in social science or related subject;
  1. Be independent of P4EC.

Desirable

  1. Previous experience of evaluating and assessing the impact of projects working in child welfare and protection; and the principles of children’s rights and child protection;
  2. Previous experience of having conducted evaluations for EU-funded project.

7.      How to apply

Consultants meeting the person-specific requirements should email their applications to [email protected] by 5pm CET on the 24th of October.

Applications should include the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Technical proposal
  • CV including 2 professional referees including one former client who knows your work
  • An example of your work (Please provide a copy of an evaluation or piece of analysis you have authored – this will be treated in confidence)
  • Budget

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