Kenya: EXTERNAL EVALUATION OF THE ECOLOGICAL ORGANIC AGRICULTURE (EOA) INITIATIVE IN AFRICA (2014-2018) TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE CONSULTANCY…

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Organization: Biovision
Country: Kenya
Closing date: 20 Feb 2018

Project: Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative

  1. Background
    The Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative is an African Union-led continental undertaking established in 2013 and currently implemented in eight countries (Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda). It is implemented under the guidance and oversight of the AU chaired Continental Steering Committee (CSC) to establish an African organic farming platform based on available best practices, and to develop sustainable organic farming systems and improve seed quality. Its mission is to promote ecologically sound strategies and practices among diverse stakeholders involved in the production, processing, marketing, and policy-making to safeguard the environment, improve livelihoods, alleviate poverty and guarantee food security among farmers in Africa. The goal is to contribute to mainstreaming of Ecological Organic Agriculture into national agricultural production systems by 2025 in order to improve agricultural productivity, food security, access to markets and sustainable development in Africa. In addition, these efforts are hoped to reduce exploitation of the organic farmers in Africa.
    The initiative embraces holistic production systems that sustain the health of soils, ecosystems, and people, and relies on ecological processes, biodiversity, and cycles adapted to local conditions rather than reliance on the use of external inputs with adverse effects on people’s total health (human, animal, plant and environmental). The EOA initiative was started in response to the African Union Heads of State and Government’s call for the promotion of organic farming in Africa. The African Union Commission, in collaboration with several civil society organizations supporting ecological organic agriculture, organized an inception workshop in May 2011 in Thika Kenya, with financial support from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) to discuss how to implement this decision. The workshop successfully resulted in a roadmap, concept note and an African Organic Action Plan to mainstream ecological organic agriculture into national agricultural production systems. The action plan was later submitted to donor agencies for financial support and SSNC responded by supporting a pilot project undertaken in six countries (Eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda; Southern Africa: Zambia; and Western Africa: Nigeria) while Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) came on board to support baseline studies in Benin, Mali,and Senegal with coordination by Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT). Further planning meetings were held culminating in the development of an 8-country project proposal supported by SDC for an initial period of 5 years (2014-2018) while SSNC with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida) supports the EOA Initiative in some Eastern Africa through civil society organizations from 2014 to date. The African Union also supports EOA through funds provided by the European Union .
    The Initiative’s five-year Action Plan and implementation has been anchored on six interrelated pillars: (i) Research, training and extension, (ii) Information and communication, (iii) Value chain and market development, (iv) Networking and partnership, (v) Policy and programme development, and (vi) Institutional capacity development. In the current SDC contribution, the initiative is driven by the first three technical pillars and the fourth one for coordination, management, and networking, basically integrating (iv), (v) and (vi).So far, the four objectives of the EOA Initiative are:

    1. To increase documentation of information and knowledge on organic agricultural products along the complete value chain and support relevant actors to translate it into practices and wide application.
    2. To systematically inform producers about the EOA approaches and good practices and motivate their uptake through strengthening access to advisory and support services.
    3. To substantially increase the share of quality organic products at the local, national, regional and global markets.
    4. To strengthen inclusive stakeholder engagement in organic commodities value chain development by developing national, regional and continental multi-stakeholder platforms to advocate for changes in public policy, plans, and practices.
      This evaluation is coordinated by Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT) on behalf of the CSC and SDC which has the twin functions of being the interim Continental EOA Secretariat and Executing Agency for the EOA Initiative (under SDC’s support).
    5. 1. Purpose and Objectives of the External Evaluation
      With all the interventions of the EOA Initiative having been undertaken since 2014, it was anticipated that an evaluation of the initiative is done in the 8 countries and on the institutional structures established to drive agenda of mainstreaming EOA at country, regional and continental levels in terms of policies, plans, strategies, and programmes.
      The purpose of this evaluation is therefore to:
      (1) Assess the achievements and impacts of the initiative resulting from interventions by the partners (CLOs and PIPs) and institutional structures (Continental Steering Committee, AfroNet, Regional Steering Committees, National Steering Committees, and Executing Agencies) in order to strengthen accountability to stakeholders.
      (2) Foster learning across partners and institutional structures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the EOA initiative interventions, and
      (3) Provide recommendations on actions required to increase EOA-I effectiveness, impact, and promotion to countries not covered by the current EOA-I and its funding, with a particular view towards designing the next EOA-I phase under SDC support.
      The EOA external evaluation for Phase I should be designed to show what has worked and not worked in mainstreaming EOA in various dimensions of research, value chain development promotion, and policy, etc at in relation to the project objectives and as driven by the current partner and institutional setup arrangements. Results and recommendations of the evaluation will inform the designing (including impact generating incentive-setting), programming and management of the upcoming Phase II, starting in December 2018.
    6. Objectives of the Evaluation
    7. To assess the extent to which the relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of mainstreaming EOA into national policies, plans, strategies, and programmes have contributed to expected outcomes and sustainability of the project.
    8. To review the effectiveness and efficiency of the EOA-I structural set up of EOA implementing partners (CLOs and PIPs) and institutional support structures (the AU-Chaired Continental Steering Committee, AfroNet, Regional Steering Committees, National Steering Committees, Executing Agencies and overall M&E systems) in delivering concrete results based on their mandates.
    9. To determine the number (or percent) of households who have been reached by the EOA project and in what ways.
    10. To assess effectiveness and efficiency of EOA pillar interventions in influencing farmers’ knowledge, attitudes and uptake of EOA practices and/or technologies , and the mechanisms by which this occurred.
    11. To assess the extent to which pillar interventions have contributed to key project outcomes including increased agricultural production, productivity, food security, income and farmer welfare.
    12. To assess the extent to which gender equality and access by the youth and other vulnerable groups were considered in the project budget and implementation.
    13. To draw key lessons learnt from Phase 1 of the EOA-I to inform recommendations and actions for addressing the weaknesses and challenges experienced, most appropriate and motivating funding support arrangements, future programming, implementation, monitoring & evaluation and reporting on a sustained basis at all key levels (country, regional, continental platform and AU).
    14. The Evaluation Deliverables/Outputs
      The evaluation’s findings and recommendations will be discussed with the AUC, the Continental Steering Committee (CSC) and Implementing partners (CLOs and PIPs). The consultant will submit a draft final report in both hard and soft copy at the end of the evaluation
      The expected key outputs of the evaluation are:
      (a) An inception report: Elaboration of the external evaluation methodology and tools including a detailed schedule of activities to be undertaken across the eight countries and institutional structures (work plan).
      (b) An Aide Memoire (intermediate report with key findings and recommendations). This will be presented to the CSC in May 2018.
      (c) The External Evaluation Draft and Final Reports: The report should be logically structured including the executive summary, intervention description, assessment purpose, assessment methodology, findings, conclusions, lessons and recommendations, and annexes (key officials interviewed, documents consulted, and data collection instruments). The report should respond in detail to the key focus areas described above. It should include a set of specific recommendations for each EOA implementing partner, and identify the necessary actions to be undertaken as advice in “Way Forward”
      (d) A Summary of the External Evaluation Report.5. Background Documents
      Various materials will be useful to this assessment including but not limited to:
      o AU Decision on Organic Farming
      o EOA Strategic Plan (2015-2025) and EOA Action Plan (2015-2020)
      o SDC and SSNC Project Documents (for the period 2013-2018)
      o Project Logframes (Consolidated country logframes)
      o Baseline Survey Reports 2014 (Benin, Mali, and Senegal)
      o Project Country and Consolidated Annual Reports (2014 and 2015)
      o Minutes of the Continental Steering Committee meetings (2013-2016)
      o End term evaluation Report of the Assessment of SSNC contribution to EOA in Eastern Africa
      o African Organic Conference Declarations (2012 and 2015)
      o EOA Mid-term Review Report 2016
      o Report of the Organizational and Capacity Assessment of Partners involved in EOA Initiative in Africa (2018)
      o Working document on brainstorming matrix SDC End of Phase Report requirements
      o SDC Evaluation Grid
    15. The Evaluation Methodology/Approach
      The Consultant is expected to develop an appropriate evaluation approach/methodology to address the evaluation objectives. The evaluation strategy should demonstrate a close link between the data collected for an evaluation and the methodology that will be employed to ensure the impact estimate is unbiased. The consultant(s), together with the project team and experts, will develop a detailed and appropriate approach/evaluation methodology. The evaluation methodology proposed by the consultant will need to be agreed upon by BvAT and the Consultant(s) but will include and not be limited to: a) Review of relevant documents on EOA-I including Project Document (2014-2018), Strategic Action Plan, CSC meetings reports, organizational capacity assessment, bi- and annual progress reports, monitoring reports, publications, etc.
      b) Data collection approaches and tools, focusing on structured interviews with farmers, CLOs, PIPs and various committee members (of various committees).
      c) Data analysis techniques, capturing the effectiveness, efficacy, and impact of the EOA pillar interventions.
    16. Consultants & Minimum Qualifications
      The evaluation will be conducted between March and April 2018 by a consultant or team of consultants with the team leader and partners having the following main qualifications:
      • At least a master’s degree or equivalent in agriculture, sociology, development studies, economics or related social sciences.
      • At least 5 years of experience in conducting midterm and end-term assessment/evaluations, impact assessments or similar assignments in agricultural development programmes and projects.
      • Demonstrated ability to assess complex situations to analyze critical issues succinctly and clearly and draw conclusions and recommendations.
      5
      • Proven in-depth understanding and consulting experiences on institutional set-up of complex development programmes.
      • Substantive knowledge of participatory M&E processes and experience with multistakeholder/community development interventions.
      • Consultants with base or partners in Eastern Africa and Western Africa will be encouraged.
      • Excellent English, and to some extent French, writing, and communication skills. The reports will be translated into French.
      The consultant(s) should not have been engaged in the activities to be evaluated, or responsible in decision-making roles for the design, implementation or supervision of the EOA project. The exercise will require impartiality and a comprehensive and balanced appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the project and implementation of activities being evaluated. The selected consultant(s) will be expected to adhere to a code of conduct (Statement of Ethics), and conduct self/ themselves according to the expected ethical standards.

How to apply:

Interested candidates should submit the following:
a) Technical proposal indicating their understanding of the assignment, proposed methodology for conducting the assignment and work plan.
b) Financial proposal showing the total cost of conducting the evaluation, breakdown of consultancy costs (including costing of each member the team during the entire exercise.
man-days for each team member), travel and other costs associated with this assignment.
c) At least one report of a similar assignment conducted in the past three years.
d) Detailed curriculum vitae of the consultant(s) to be involved in the assignment, with university certificates and relevant supporting documents.
e) Names and contacts of three referees (phone numbers and email).
f) A one-page write-up showing why you are most suitable for the consultancy.
If you believe you are the right candidate for the above consultancy and can clearly demonstrate your ability to meet the qualifications required, then submit the above-mentioned documents to info@biovisionafricatrust.org with the subject heading: Consultancy for External Evaluation of the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative in Africa.
The closing date for applications is 20 February 2018. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.
Biovision Africa Trust is an EOE

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