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Evidence-based decision-making Expert Consultant

  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location:
  • Grade: Consultancy - Consultant - Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date:
BACKGROUND

USAID Research in Education for Transformative Opportunities (RETO) (2021-2024) (“the Activity”) seeks to create the demand for sustainable, effective solutions for youth violence prevention through evidence-based education programming across Northern Central America. RETO aims to build the capacity of at least 1,200 key education stakeholders across the region, including youth, to identify gaps in their knowledge, execute focused search strategies for relevant evidence, and translate the results into actionable guidance for education programming and policymaking to ultimately prevent violence across El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

IRC leverages its Evidence to Action (E2A) team to provide strategic guidance to put evidence into practice, ensuring that youth also have a direct role in enhancing programs and policies that impact them. To drive this work, IRC has formed a core team of 11 national organizations, respected thought leaders and existing USAID partners across the three countries, including youth advocates, researchers, policy advocates, educators, and representatives of the private sector.
RETO works toward its goal through four complementary objectives:

1. Existing evidence and knowledge on education’s role in violence prevention is gathered and curated to address the expressed needs of key stakeholders.
2. Evidence is translated and disseminated for utilization by key stakeholders.
3. Customized, demand-driven technical assistance provided to key stakeholders to help them utilize research findings and related best practices.
4. Countries’ knowledge systems strengthened to improve the use of evidence and data in decision making around education for youth violence prevention.



JUSTIFICATION
In Result 3, on the Annual Plan Year 1, is an activity area 3.1.1 named Provide on-call evidence-based decision-making support. This mean that RETO will also provide ongoing technical assistance to Ministries of Education and other key education stakeholders on the value and need for understanding and using evidence during policy and program design. RETO considers that our Country Technical Teams (CTTs) needs a Expert Consultant to design and implement a diagnostic tool with teams from key stakeholder institutions in the education sector to better understand how these actors use evidence in their work, their challenges, and specific areas for capacity development. The identified areas for capacity development will be featured in the country evidence reports. This information will then serve as the basis for the development of a comprehensive KES capacity development plan, including both trainings on knowledge product use and on-call support for Y2 and Y3.
In addition, this consultancy, the consultant will provide a technical proposal to use in Y2 and Y3, to how the CTTs will invest time in sitting with key education stakeholders to understand their daily routines and decision-making processes, working with them to identify opportunities to increase the use of evidence in policy and program design. This “test kitchen” approach will allow CTTs to troubleshoot and innovate with key education stakeholders to make feasible, discrete, yet impactful adaptations to their processes to increase the role of and demand for evidence.

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this consultancy is to generate a country report on a capacity consultation for the effective use of evidence (ICA-EUE) with key actors in youth violence prevention. Also, RETO needs to develop a strategy and a methodological proposal for capacity building for the effective use of evidence on violence prevention.

ACTIVITIES and DELIVERABLES
The ICA-EUE Expert Consultant will include the following 4 phases, each lasting approximately 1 month in each country. The consultant will have flexibility to work with IRC and its Partners local teams.

Phase 1: Design of the ICA-EUE Methodology (Approximately 10 days)
Develop and define evaluation criteria* (based on RETO 3 and the 3.1 intermediate result) and protocols for the consultation (interviews and focus groups), as well as survey instruments for KES. The interview protocols should include a quantitative and qualitative tool to examine the participants’ overall perceptions to understand their daily routines and decision-making processes, working with them to identify opportunities to increase the use of evidence in policy and program design.
Review and make adaptation to the Self-Assessment Tool on Evidence-Based Practices. The purpose of the Evidence-Based Management (EBM) self-assessment tool is to help practitioners and organizations consider the extent to which they adopt the basic principles of EBM and to identify organizational strengths and areas for improvement. The basic principles of EBM and to identify organizational strengths and areas for improvement. The self-assessment tool views EBM as a decision-making process based on three sources: 1) best available research evidence, 2) program and project implementation experience* and 3) client characteristics, values, and preferences. It is important to note that in the following points the word "practice" refers to all an individual's professional activities and not to a single intervention or program.
Review the list of key education stakeholders identified and prioritized in the Key Stakeholder Analysis and their social relationships (previously developed by RETO) to determine which institutions and individuals will be addressed by the different data collection techniques in this consultancy.
Begin compiling information related to evaluation criteria for each KES.
The design process should include a desk review of similar studies conducted and of databases in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to inform the development of evaluation criteria.

Deliverable 1:  An initial report highlighting the design and methodology of the ICA-EUE including:
The main findings of the desk review.
Selected evaluation criteria.
A geographic mapping of the KES in the specific country. The Northern Corridor of Honduras and the Western Highlands of Guatemala. And for El Salvador (West, East and Central Region)
Draft protocols/instruments for interviews, focus groups, self-assessment tool, institutional rubric and/or surveys to gather data at the KES to be validated.
A work plan for implementing the study. The RETO Senior Management team will provide feedback on this report for the consultant to incorporate in the Phase 2 reports.

Phase 2: Field Data Collection (Approximately 20 days)
Review the information coming from the SNA, Evidence Search Protocol for the specific country of the consultancy and the information that RETO has about Knowledge Products to prepare a data collection plan following the work plan outlined as part of Deliverable 1.
Once the analytical areas of the ICA-EUE and the prioritized key actors have been identified, the following steps are to conduct interviews/focus groups, consultations to apply rubrics and/or self-assessment tool in a workshop with key education stakeholders to gather data on analysis criteria for each relevant institution.

Deliverable 2: A progress report containing the following sections:
A data collection plan for gather data from institutions.
A progress update on the data collected in the field.

Phase 3: Data Analysis (Approximately 15 days)
Analyze barriers to key education stakeholders responding to the demanded needs, including their daily routines and decision-making processes, working with them to identify opportunities to increase the use of evidence in policy and program design.
Compare the findings from Phases 1 and 2, as well as the results of the SNA and Evidence Search Protocol, to inform the selection of key stakeholders and their assets. This will also help RETO to inform the approach of the “test kitchen” approach will allow CTTs to troubleshoot and innovate with key education stakeholders to make feasible, discrete, yet impactful adaptations to their processes to increase the role of and demand for evidence.

Deliverable 3: A progress report detailing the accomplishments and results of the institutional capacity assessment on the Effective Use of Evidence, including the following sections:
(1)          Description of assessment process and summary of results.
(2)          Summary of results of institutional barriers analysis to effective use of evidence.

Phase 4: Final Report (Approximately 15 days)
Compile the findings from the ICA-EUE into a final report.
Deliverable 4: The report should include three sections to explain the results of Phases 1, 2, and 3 of the study. It should also include a:
Training proposal, with contents and delivery methodology per key actor categorized for a period of 5 months (private sector, public sector, national and international NGOs, youth organizations, others).
Action Strategy for the “test kitchen” action plan to make feasible, discrete, yet impactful adaptations to their processes to increase the role of effective utilization and demand for evidence. This strategy with options of training will be based on the USAID RETO Project structure.

DELIVERABLE and PAYMENT SCHEDULE
The consultant will receive payment upon receipt and accept of each deliverable. Exact due dates will be determined in the Consultant Agreement (estimates provided below).
Deliverables (all deliverables will be writing in Spanish) APPROXIMATE Due Date
Deliverable 1:  Initial report highlighting the design and methodology of the ICA-EUE. Include findings from desk review, selected evaluation criteria, list, and map of key education stakeholders in the specific country, (Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala) draft protocols, rubrics and instruments, and draft work plan. 10 days after signing the contract
Tentative: September 16, 2022
Deliverable 2: Progress report including data collection plan and data collection update. Tentative: September 23, 2022
Deliverable 3: Progress report detailing the description of assessment process and summary of results of institutional barriers analysis to effective use of evidence. Tentative: October 14, 2022
Deliverable 4: Final report, with sections describing outcomes of Phases 1-3, and the specific action plan for the “test kitchen” action plan to make feasible, discrete, yet impactful adaptations to their processes to increase the role of effective utilization and demand for evidence. Also, a summary will be required in Spanish and English. Tentative: October 31, 2022

SUPERVISION
The consultant will report directly to Evidence to Action Senior Advisor in coordination with COP and DCOP for RETO Project.  

CONSULTANCY INPUTS
For the development of the consultancy, IRC will provide the following inputs:

Project Proposal, Work Plan, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Plan, Key Stakeholder Analysis Report, Reference Documents on Evidence for Action and all necessary reading documents for the development of this consultancy.
Preliminary instruments identified for information gathering.
Stakeholder participation and involvement plan.

The consultant per country should have computer equipment and Internet access for the development of this consultancy, as well as a license for quantitative (Such SPSS or the free option PSPP) and qualitative analysis software (NVivo, MAXQDA, others).

TRAVEL
One trip with the duration of two weeks to Honduras for field data collection in the Northern Corridor, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro in Honduras.
One trip with the duration of two weeks to Guatemala for field data collection in the Western Highlands and Guatemala City in Guatemala.
One trip with the duration of two weeks to San Salvador for field data collection West, Central and East Regions and San Salvador, as needed.
Total Trips: 1 trip, totaling 2 weeks for each Expert Consultant
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