Catholic Relief Services, acting as prime recipient on behalf of the Changing the Way We CareSM consortium, is soliciting expressions of interest (applications) from organizations which- with limited financial and technical support- have the capacity and commitment to implement projects and activities focused on participation of people with lived experiences.
The applications will be respectfully reviewed in a process described in the Call for Expression of Interest - see the full package of documents HERE. However, submission of an application does not guarantee funding/technical assistance from CRS.
1. Program Description
Changing the Way We Care
Changing the Way We Care (CTWWC), a global initiative, was launched in October 2018 by a consortium of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Lumos Foundation, and Maestral International. CTWWC is led by a Global Director and overseen by a “Governing Board” consisting of senior representatives of consortium member organizations, which now include CRS and Maestral.
CTWWC is designed to promote safe, nurturing family care for children reintegrating from residential institutions and children at risk of child-family separation. CTWWC has three main components: (1) Governments promote family care through improvement and uptake of policies, investment in social workers, and other social service staff and the national and community systems that serve vulnerable children and families; (2) Children stay in or return to families through family strengthening that includes the voice of children, community engagement, and transitioning institutions to family support initiatives; and (3) Family care promoted globally, through global, regional and national advocacy to advance policies, best practices and redirection of resources by donors and policy makers.
CTWWC is currently demonstrating care reform in Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, and Moldova, with influence and advocacy activities at the regional and global levels. The global effort uses learning and evidence from CTWWC demonstration and other countries to influence policies and practice that support family over institutional care.
Recognizing the considerable achievements in Moldova’s long process of care reform, and fully committed to enabling local solutions to reform’s challenging last steps, CTWWC supports a “collective” approach to program planning, implementation, and monitoring. That approach consists of sharing a common agenda (the recently approved National Child Protection Plan), coordinating mutually reinforcing activities, using a unified measurement system for the work of the Collective, and manifesting a “continuous communication” approach. CTWWC/Moldova supports the activities of the collective as a “backbone” organization, providing coordination and secretariat functions. Infrequently, when expertise is required but not available locally, CTWWC may also act as technical contributor by accessing international experts through its global team. Lastly, CTWWC/MD occasionally acts as a conduit for funding. It is in its capacity as funder that this Call is issued.
CTWWC’s lead organization in Moldova, Catholic Relief Services, is a US non-governmental organization registered in Moldova on December 4, 2020, under No. 457335.
Key definitions and concepts to be considered for this Call for Expressions of Interest:
- Person with Lived Experience (PWLE): someone with personal experience of the care system. This term includes children in different forms of alternative care, care leavers and parents or care givers of a child who has experienced alternative care. This can include biological parents, foster families and kinship carers. For the purpose of this Call, PWLE does not include residential care staff.
- Alternative Care: A formal or informal arrangement whereby a child is looked after at least overnight outside the parental home, either by decision of a judicial or administrative authority or duly accredited body, or at the initiative of the child, his/her parent(s) or primary caregivers, or spontaneously by a care provider in the absence of parents.
- Capacity Building: the process through which individuals, organisations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time.
- Care Givers: A person with whom the child lives who provides daily care to the child, and who acts as the child's 'parent' whether they are biological parents or not. A caregiver can be the mother or father, or another family member such as a grandparent or older sibling. It includes informal arrangements in which the caregiver does not have legal responsibility.
- Care Leavers: A person who has left care usually at the legal age, 18 years in most countries. They are young adults who are no longer in the care system but have been affected by it in their past. As they navigate their life in mainstream society, their vulnerability arises because of the lack of guidance and safety nets that children growing in families naturally have.
- Children: a person under 18 years old
- Children and youth in care: With reference to care, it means a child or young person who has experienced family separation, institutionalisation or some form of alternative care.
- Meaningful Participation: when participation is not tokenistic or simply a tick box exercise. For participation to be meaningful PWLE must understand the purpose of their participation and the level of influence they can expect to achieve. PWLE are listened to and their ideas properly acted upon. Finally, that they receive adequate feedback and follow up from their participation.
- Participation: Being involved in decision making. This incorporates being involved in your own care planning, right up to co-producing services or influencing policies.
- Peer to Peer Support: When people use their own experiences to help each other. There are different types of peer support, but they all aim to: bring together people with shared experiences to support each other; provide a space where you feel accepted and understood; treat everyone's experiences as being equally important; involve both giving and receiving support.
- Self-advocate: A person who draws on their lived experience to advocate for their own rights and the rights of their peers.
- Self-advocacy: The ability for PWLE to speak up for themself and the things that are important to them; to ask for what they need and share their wishes and feelings. Self-advocacy requires an understanding of rights, in particular the right to be involved in making decisions about one’s own life.
- Tokenistic: When participation is superficial rather than meaningful. This includes when participation is a tick box exercise and PWLE do not have substantial influence. It can also include when PWLE are involved only to share their personal stories.
- Youth/Young People: A person aged between 18 and 25.
2. Award Information
Purpose. Scope of Work for this Call is presented in Attachment A, which describes CTWWC objectives and proposed implementation approaches for supporting participation of PWLE in Moldova. Note that the successful applicant, and the project that the sub-recipient will implement, are subject to approval and potential amendment by USAID.
a. Period. Projects are expected to begin in September 2022 and continue for one year until September 2023, although any project duration within this period is possible and acceptable.
b. Eligibility. This Call is issued to organizations with legal registration in Moldova.
Note: Although collaboration among organizations is encouraged, to promote accountability, no joint expressions of interest will be reviewed. See Attachment C’s Certification of Intention to Comply for critical aspects of potential legal relationships. As above, CRS is not obligated to fund or provide a response to all or any respondents.
c. Amount. The total funding for the work described in Attachment A is 30,000 US Dollars. Applicants are invited to submit budgets of any amount between a minimum of 5,000 USD to a maximum of 20,000 USD.
3. Expression of Interest Response Information
All applications should consist of:
1) The following table:
To be completed by the applicant
Name of Organization Expressing Interest
Registration Number and Address
Name and Email of the Person Authorized to Make Decisions about Participation
Title of the Program to which the Expression of Interest applies
Participation of PWLE
List SOW strategic objectives that the application will focus on
2) Narrative response describing:
- why the applicant organization is best placed to implement the SOW objectives – 1-page maximum
- how the activities will be undertaken for successful and timely delivery of the objectives– 1 page maximum
3) Response Workbook Attachment B including:
- DIP – detailed implementation plan
- Past Performance Record - specifically as applicable to the SOW for which Interest is being expressed
4) Certification of Willingness to Comply with 2 CFR 200 and substantial involvement requirements as interpreted and applied by CRS. See Attachment C
Expression of Interest Submission Procedures
Responses must be written in English or Romanian and submitted in Microsoft Word and PDF formats, with the budget submitted, DIP and Past Performance Record in Excel. The email subject line should follow the following format: CTWWC/MD - Organization Name – Participation of PWLE. Responses should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, which is a limited-access address. Any questions on this Call should be documented and sent to email@example.com by August 10, 2022.
Applications/Expressions of Interest to this Call must be received no later than August 24, 2022. CTWWC will acknowledge receipt as applications are received and will contact respondents on next steps/outcomes before September 7, 2022.
Expression of Interest Review Information
The application will be reviewed by a CRS review committee based on the criteria set out below, information the applicant provides, and other publicly available information. Evaluation criteria used by reviewers will include:
Technical Capacity to Implement
Record of past performance
Experience in care reform in Moldova
Alignment between the SoW and applicant’s ongoing programs
Documented existing relationships
Credentials of staff presented as leads for implementation
Evidence of commitment to documenting and sharing learning
Relevance of proposed activities to program objectives (Attachment A)
Consideration of principles of participation (Attachment A)
Level of detail in the detailed implementation plan
Disposition towards participation of PWLE
Past performance in activities involving PWLE, participation of children, and other related activities
Reasonableness of proposed costs
Where required, the review team will reach out to applicants for clarifications; this may include bringing multiple applicants together to discuss coordination among organizations. CRS will also conduct a “due diligence” assessment of the selected applicants.
Once a successful applicant has been identified (expected by September 15, 2022), information about the organization and the project it will implement will be shared with the donor for approval, as required under provisions of the USAID cooperative agreement with CRS.
Attachment A: Scope of Work
CTWWC vision is that PWLE will have a meaningful voice and influence across all reform initiatives that directly impact them and that these initiatives will reflect the needs and priorities of PWLE. This Call is designed to advance this vision and to support organizations and initiatives that equip and mobilize PWLE to drive change in care reform at the local and national level.
Principles of Participation
The CTWWC PWLE participation strategy is underpinned by a set of principles. They have been adopted from The Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment No. 12 (2009) and broadened to include young people and adults with lived experience.
1. Transparent and informative
PWLE are provided with full, accessible, diversity sensitive and age‐appropriate information about their right to express their views freely, how the participation will take place, its scope, purpose and potential impact.
PWLE are not coerced into expressing views against their wishes and they should be informed that they can cease involvement at any stage.
PWLE’s views are treated with respect and they are provided with opportunities to initiate ideas and activities. PWLE are treated with dignity and not stereotyped based on their age, gender, care status, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, religion (including having no religion) or any other background.
Opportunities are available for PWLE to express their views on issues of real relevance to their lives and enable them to draw on their knowledge, skills and abilities.
5. PWLE-friendly environments and working methods
Adequate time and resources are available to ensure environments are safe and welcoming for PWLE to participate, promoting non intimidating and collaborative spaces. PWLE are adequately prepared and have the confidence and opportunity to contribute their views. The approaches to working with PWLE reflect their differing levels of support and forms of involvement according to their age and evolving capacities.
Participation is inclusive, avoiding existing patterns of discrimination, culturally sensitive to PWLE from all communities, and encourages opportunities for marginalized PWLE.
7. Supported by training
Adults are provided with skills and support to facilitate PWLES’s participation effectively, provided with, for example, skills in listening, working jointly with PWLE and engaging PWLE effectively in accordance with their evolving capacities. PWLE also need training in order participate in a meaningful way.
8. Safe and sensitive to risk
Participation and expression of views involves risks. CTWWC takes its responsibility towards the PWLE with whom we work seriously. Precautions are taken to minimize the risk to PWLE of violence, exploitation or any other negative consequence of their participation. CTWWC prioritizes the psychosocial wellbeing of PWLE engaged in our participation work, providing training and additional support where necessary and appropriate.
CTWWC is committed to follow‐up and evaluation. PWLE are provided with clear feedback on how their participation has influenced any outcomes. Wherever appropriate, PWLE are given the opportunity to participate in follow‐up processes or activities. Monitoring and evaluation of PWLE’s participation is undertaken, where possible, with PWLE themselves.
Under this Call for Expressions of Interest, CTWWC is looking to support projects that will follow the participation principles outlined above and that will achieve one or more of the following five objectives:
1. Create an enabling environment for meaningful participation of PWLE in Moldova, including in Moldova’s National Child Protection Program (NCPP)
Activities under this objective will focus on creating favorable conditions for participation of PWLE and may include promoting new practices for participation, creating opportunities for PWLE to meet decision-makers, and other similar initiatives.
2. Build capacity for safe and meaningful participation
Participation of PWLE is often misunderstood. This can result in care leavers and vulnerable families lacking the skills, motivation and confidence to meaningfully engage PWLE in decision making. Similarly, PWLE - particularly those who have experienced residential care or family separation - can lack the confidence and skills to meaningfully participate in decision making processes. Under this objective, CTWWC will support activities that strengthen the capacity of PWLE and that contribute to a culture of participation which is safe, meaningful and inclusive. These may include training and/or mentoring PWLE in areas relevant and close to their needs.
3. Empower PWLE to raise awareness and advocate for care reform
Under this objective, CTWWC will support activities that strengthen the skills and opportunities for PWLE to engage in advocacy and influencing. These may include training and/or mentoring PWLE to become 'champions' advocating for family-based care, supporting PWLE to attend events and/or peer-to-peer exchanges.
4. Strengthen and elevate networks of PWLE
CTWWC strives to mobilize networks of PWLE to take a leading role in care reform at the local, national, regional and global level.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to involve PWLE in planning and developing applications for this Call.
People with Lived Experience
For the purposes of this call, CTWWC defines PWLE as:
- children in different forms of alternative care (including ”tutela/curatela”, custody, different types of placement centres and family based care, community centres, auxiliary schools)
- care leavers
- biological parents of a child who has experienced any form of alternative care
- foster parents (specifically ”APP – asistenți parentali profesioniști”)
- adoptive parents
- care givers of a child who has experienced any form of alternative care (including ”tutela/curatela”, custody)
Community of practice
In addition, and in parallel to this Call for Expressions of Interest, CTWWC will launch a Community of Practice for operationalizing the international Principles on participation of PWLE in Moldova. All organizations responding to this Call will be invited to join the PWLE Community of Practice, on a voluntary basis, and are welcome to exchange ideas, proposals, challenges and opportunities for advancing meaningful participation of PWLE in Moldova.