Kenya: CONSULTANT: External Evaluation vocational skills training programmes for youth – Eritrea

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Organization: Norwegian Refugee Council
Country: Kenya
Closing date: 22 May 2018

Evaluation Terms of Reference
NRC Eritrea Vocational Skills Training for Youth

Dates: JUNE – AUGUST 2018



1 Background information

1.1 Background on the context

Eritrea is situated in the drought-prone region of the Horn of Africa, and is one of the least developed countries in the world. The country’s economy is struggling. Investment levels are low, unemployment is high and prices of imported commodities, including some of the country’s staple foods, are increasing steadily, making it very difficult for ordinary people to make ends meet.

Decades of conflict and severe drought have adversely affected Eritrea's agriculture-based economy. For the last 17 years, the country’s economy has been dominated by a resource sapping "no war, no peace" situation with neighbouring Ethiopia, leading to increased military spending and a closed, heavily guarded border.

A growing number of young people opt to leave the country to escape poverty and the mandatory national service that often lasts a lifetime. Some escape through dangerous migration routes and risk being trafficked or tortured for ransom. Those who leave without permission risk a long prison sentence if they return. Those who remain behind are hiding in fear of being forcefully recruited by the military. Many end up as refugees in Ethiopia and Sudan.

At the end of 2016 UNHCR estimated that almost 460,000 Eritreans lived as refugees or asylum seekers worldwide. Those leaving Eritrea are mainly young people and include a high number of unaccompanied children. Ethiopia and Sudan are the two main countries in the region receiving Eritreans. Almost 24,000 – or an estimated 2,000 per month – entered Ethiopia in 2017, according to UNHCR. The total number of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia was almost 165,000 at the end of 2017. And in early 2017, the UN reported that 136,000 refugees, mostly Eritrean, were living in eastern Sudan – a majority of them in the Shagarab camps, reportedly home to more than 90,000 Eritreans.

Many of those who have left Eritrea stay in Ethiopia and Sudan only for short periods before embarking on dangerous journeys towards Europe. As refugees or migrants, Eritreans are exposed to major protection concerns such as human trafficking, smuggling, kidnapping and torture for ransom. Many suffer months of detention and brutality in the hands of human traffickers and smugglers before attempting to cross the Mediterranean on overcrowded and unsafe boats. Although the numbers appeared to have dropped in 2017, young people continue to leave Eritrea, citing the country’s mandatory national service, lack of education and livelihood opportunities and poverty as the main reasons for leaving the country, although the government of Eritrea refers to those who leave as economic migrants.

Despite Eritrea’s continuing efforts to improve the education situation in the country since independence, school enrolment remains low. According to the Government’s Education Sector Analysis 2017, more than 220,000 children of primary school age were out of school in 2013. This represents a third of all primary school aged children. The enrolment rate at primary level is significantly worse among rural populations, which the government estimates to be at 65 percent, and access and quality in less-resourced schools is limited. These challenges are equally reflected in secondary levels, where more than 168,000 youth are out of school.

The existing system for vocational skills training in Eritrea, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system, requires investment and is accessible only to those who graduate from secondary schools. Very few skills training opportunities exist for youth who have dropped out of school or did not get the opportunity to enrol in secondary school. As a result, the country has not been able to achieve the objective of ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to vocational training and life skills programmes, as outlined in SDG4 and SDG8. This has resulted in high levels of idle youth who have no skills that can help them engage in livelihood activities. The government’s efforts to provide youth with skills for jobs was previously supported by humanitarian and development organisations. However, since 2011, when international NGOs where excluded from carrying out activities in Eritrea, there have been large unmet needs in this sector.

1.2 NRC’s activities and presence

NRC has been operational in Eritrea since 2013, working in partnership with the Ministry of Education to support education initiatives across the country. In order to respond to the needs of vulnerable youth who are not in education, employment or training, NRC’s main focus is to support youths to acquire vocational skills that they can apply to generate sustainable incomes. NRC has also provided primary schools and training centres with solar power, ensuring students have access to electricity for computer laboratories and lighting.

As one of only two international NGOs in country, NRC currently operates in three zobas (regions) namely, Anseba, Gash Barka, and Northern Red Sea.

1.3 NRC’s intervention specific to the evaluation

NRC in partnership with MoE has been providing vocational skills training to Eritrean youth since 2015, offering instruction in a variety of vocational skills including pottery, weaving, electrical installation, fishing and net making, masonry and concrete works. In order to ensure the quality of the training, skills trainers at the VST centres undergo short trainings in learner-centred methodologies and pedagogical skills. Once youth complete their training, they are examined and certified by the Departments of Adult Education and TVET. Youth are then supported with start-up inputs (kits/capital) to enable them to begin using their skills to generate an income. Since 2015, through the partnership more than 550 out-of-school youth have been provided with vocational skills training.

2 Purpose of the evaluation and intended use

2.1 Overarching purpose

The main purpose of the evaluation is to support learning and provide guidance for the future of vocational skills training programming in Eritrea.

2.2 How will the evaluation be used?

The evaluation will be used to adjust programme implementation, improve its quality and to guide the future direction of the programme. It will also inform and feed ongoing global programme development on youth programming via skills training.

2.3 Who will it be used by?

Primarily, this evaluation will be used by the NRC Eritrea country team. In addition, the Head Office Core Competency section will utilise the learning to inform ongoing global programme development in education. Secondary users include the NRC East Africa and Yemen regional office, and NRC Education staff in the region and globally. Tertiary uses include partners, donors, and other stakeholders.

3 Scope and lines of inquiry

3.1 Scope

The evaluation will cover vocational skills training programmes for youth in Eritrea, which have been implemented across the country since 2015. The geographical coverage will include activities implemented in Keren (Anseba zoba), Aqordat (Gash Barka zoba), and Massawa (Northern Red Sea zoba). The evaluation will cover all donor funded projects since 2015, namely those funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA), and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

3.2 Lines of inquiry

The evaluation will seek to answer the following questions:

Relevance & Appropriateness

· How relevant and appropriate is the current programme design and implementation to the needs of Eritrean youth not in education, employment or training? How does this vary among male and female youth, youth with disabilities? How does this vary across locations?

· To what extent are the courses offered by the programme responsive and appropriate to the market?

· To what extent do the course structure and course content address the needs and priorities of Eritrean youth not in education, employment or training?

· What can be done to improve the relevance and appropriateness of the programme? Which programmatic areas can be scaled or adapted?


· To what extent were the goals and objectives of the programme achieved? Has the programme improved livelihood and employment opportunities for Eritrean youth?

· To what extent has the teacher training resulted in participatory, inclusive and learner-centred methods?


· In which ways has the programme contributed to the personal, social and emotional development of youth?

· What could be strengthened to achieve greater impact in areas identified as important in the lives of youth?

· How can NRC’s processes and approaches be adapted to reflect the realities of the programme outcomes/impact, in particular by looking at adapting the programme to better respond to the overarching objective of youth empowerment and social engagement?

NRC evaluation strategic focus question

· How can we ensure that we do the right things?

4 Methodology

The evaluator should submit study design and methodology, which focuses on participatory, qualitative methods. At a minimum the methodology should include:

· a desk review of key documents;

· field visit to Asmara, and vocational training centre sites in Keren, Aqordat and Massawa;

· semi-structured interviews with key informants, including MoE staff in Asmara, MoE staff implementing and supporting the program in the zobas, and VST centre staff;

· a tracer study on graduated youths – interviews, questionnaire surveys;

· focus group discussions (with transcriptions) with local business enterprises, local community representatives and current and graduated students;

· interviews with key NRC and MoE staff (finance, M&E).

5 Evaluation follow up and learning

The findings of this evaluation will be used to inform NRC Eritrea’s annual strategic planning process. Key findings will be reported to NRC’s Eritrea management team in Asmara or Nairobi.

A management response will be developed within one month of the evaluation report being finalised. This will be followed up and tracked by Youth Empowerment Project Manager.

A dissemination plan will be developed to ensure that important learning is shared with internal and external stakeholders.

6 Management of the evaluation

The person responsible for ensuring that this evaluation/review takes place is the Youth Empowerment Project Manager. The Youth Empowerment Project Manager has been appointed to internally coordinate the process and will be the evaluation team’s main focal point.

An evaluation Steering Committee (SC) will be established by NRC, with the following members:

· Steering Committee chair: Head of Programme

· Evaluation manager: Youth Empowerment Project Manager

· Steering Committee members: Regional Programme Advisor and Regional Education Advisor

The Steering Committee will oversee administration and overall coordination, including monitoring progress. The main functions of the Steering Committee will be:

· Establish the Terms of Reference of the evaluation;

· Select evaluator(s);

· Review and comment on the inception report and approve the proposed evaluation strategy;

· Review and comment on the draft evaluation report;

· Establish a dissemination and utilisation strategy.

NRC will provide: all necessary project and programme documents; administrative support for flights and visa, accommodation and transport in country; and facilitation of connections with the Ministry of Education and other relevant government officials.

7 Deliverables and reporting deadlines

The evaluator/evaluation team will submit:

· Inception report: Following the desk review and prior to beginning fieldwork, the evaluator will produce an inception report. This will be subject to approval by the NRC Evaluation Steering Committee. The report will include a detailed draft work plan with a summary of the primary information needs, the methodology to be used, and a work plan/schedule for field visits and major deadlines. With respect to methodology, the evaluation team will provide a description of how data will be collected, data sources, and drafts of suggested data collection tools such as questionnaires and interview guides. Once the report is finalised and accepted, the evaluator/evaluation team must submit a request for any change in approach to the NRC Evaluation Steering Committee. The inception report should be no more than 10 pages in length (indicative). The inception report is due in first draft by June 15th. NRC will return comments on the draft by June 22nd, and the final draft will be due on June 29th.

· Draft report: The draft evaluation report will be submitted by July 27th to the Evaluation Steering Committee, who will review the draft and provide feedback by August 10th.

· Final report: The final evaluation report should include a maximum two-page executive summary that covers the key lessons learned. The final report should be no more than 30 pages in length (indicative, excluding annexes), and should include at a minimum: executive summary; intervention description and context; methodology; findings; conclusions; recommendations; and annexes (list of interviews, documents consulted and data collection tools). The final report is due by August 24th and will be approved by the Steering Committee by August 31st.

· Presentation of findings: At the end of the field research, the evaluator/evaluation team will present preliminary findings for validation.

Reports should be submitted in Microsoft Word format, in UK English. Graphs or other graphical devices should be editable (i.e. not pictures). All references must be cited according to convention, and detailed in a bibliography, using the Harvard system as set out in the UNESCO Style Manual. All verbatim quotations must appear in quotation marks, and must not be of excessive length. All data collected under the consultancy must be submitted with the deliverables, in a widely recognised format such as Microsoft Excel.

Everything submitted to NRC must be the original work of the consultants. Any plagiarism in any form, or any other breach of intellectual property rights, will automatically disqualify the consultant from receiving any further payments under the contract by NRC, and NRC will seek to recover any payments already made.

The consultant will follow Ethical Research Involving Children guidance on the ethical participation of children. In addition, all participants in any study or other interaction will be fully informed about the nature and purpose of the interaction and their requested involvement. Informed consent must be obtained for any photographs, audio or video recordings, etc., in accordance with NRC’s policy on consent.

NRC will own the intellectual property rights to all materials submitted by the consultants under the contract. All data/material collected in the undertaking of the evaluation shall be lodged with the Evaluation Manager prior to the termination of the contract. The rights to reproduce the reports will fall to NRC and its contracted agents. NRC will be free to reproduce the materials at will and to grant reproduction rights.

8 Timeframe

The evaluation is scheduled to begin on June 1st, and last for an approximate 90 days.

The evaluator/evaluation team is expected to provide a suggested timeline and workplan for the evaluation based on these scheduling parameters and key reporting dates above, in keeping with the scope of the evaluation questions and criteria.

In the event of serious problems or delays, the evaluator must inform the Steering Committee immediately. Any significant changes to the proposed timeframe must be approved by the Steering Committee in advance.

Schedule of payments:

· 20% on signing the contract

· 80% on the approval of the final report

9 Evaluation consultant team

NRC seeks expressions of interest from individuals or joint applications with the following skills/qualifications:

Necessary skills:

· Senior humanitarian professional with a minimum of seven years’ experience implementing vocational skills training programmes for youth

· Proven experience in conducting programmatic evaluations

· Expertise in both quantitative and participatory qualitative data collection techniques, including language and note-taking skills

· Experience working in East Africa and Yemen region

· Fluency in written and spoken English, Tigrinya will be an added advantage

· Excellent communication skills, flexibility and good organisation skills.

Desirable skills:

· Experience working in sensitive political environments.

10 Application process and requirements

Application Deadline: 22 May 2018

Application Review: 23 – 25 May 2018

Bids must include the following:

· Proposal including outline of evaluation framework and methods, comments on the TOR, proposed time frame and provisional work plan

· Proposed evaluation budget, with an all-inclusive fee (evaluation fee, flights, visas, accommodation, transport, taxes etc.), and an estimation of the expected number of working days over the entire period between the commencement of the work and the approval of the final draft by the Steering Committee

· Samples of previous work, references and/or testimonies

· Cover letter clearly summarising experience as pertains to this assignment

· CVs of team members.

Submit completed bids to

How to apply:

To apply, please visit, vacancies.

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