Consultancy Feminist Movement-Formative Research

Job Overview

Formative research: Feminist and Women’s Movement in Iraq

(for individual consultants or consulting teams or firms)

Updated: 19th September 2022


1.    Background

The feminist or women’s movement in Iraq, activists, Women’s Rights and Women-Led organizations (WROs and WLOs) in their diversity (and whether they self-identify as ‘feminist’ or not), has had a long history and development together with the Iraqi state and, as in other parts of the world, have contributed to promoting social justice and gender equality in the country. The challenges the movement has been facing bear witness to the overall issues of state fragility, violence, economic duress, and crises affecting the population and civil society in general in the context. They also entail specific barriers to mobilization relating to the very agenda the feminist or women’s movement tries to pursue for equality and women’s rights. This includes for instance resistance and backlash, the constant multiplication of priorities and chronic lack of support and funding.

The last episode of violence linked to ISIL occupation and leaving many basic needs unmet, the political developments over the past few years and months, as well as the current political transition of the humanitarian sector and decreasing funding, among other factors, create new dynamics for many WROs, WLOs and activists. This triggers questions to re-evaluate the state of the feminist or women’s movement, its development, and strategies to grow and ascertain itself as a powerful social movement aiming at fostering gender equality and women’s rights in Iraq.

Oxfam in Iraq has been working since …in humanitarian response and development programming in the country. As part of its 2021-2026 strategy in the country and especially under its Gender Justice Programme, Oxfam aims in particular at supporting the feminist movement, WROs and WLOs in their struggle and endeavors for gender equality and women’s rights. In this perspective, Oxfam in Iraq is seeking to establish a stronger knowledge base through formative research for its programming and advocacy in support to the feminist movement in the country.


2.    Objective of the research

The proposed formative research aims to create a knowledge base for Oxfam’s programming and advocacy in support to the feminist or women’s movement in Iraq.

It aims in particular to assess the state of the movement, its characteristics – seen in a dynamic manner in its interactions with a complex context, its conditions of development, priorities, challenges, needs and expectations. While the research is to take place towards the end of Oxfam’s and partners’ “Women and Girls Rebuilding a New Iraq” project (funded by GAC), the research pursues a broader objective of knowledge and analysis development beyond the boundaries of one project and towards a longer-term, strategic effort.

It aims as well to establish key entry points and recommendations to improve Oxfam’s work to support the empowerment of the movement. The research will seek to do so with awareness of power relations between Oxfam as an international NGO (and the international community in general) and the movement in such endeavor.

3.    Scope of the research

The research will explore the state of what may constitute the feminist or women’s movement in Iraq. It will do so, starting from an understanding that a “feminist” framing might not in itself necessarily be the most direct rallying concept or that there might be different, locally nurtured visions of feminism not necessarily anticipated by Oxfam in its current work. To that purpose the research will start by defining some criteria for identifying the feminist or women’s movement while remaining flexible to new learning.

The research will examine the diversity of the movement, not limiting itself to mapping established organizations or alliances. It will rather examine its dynamic composition and inclusive/exclusive trends, identifying the roles of e.g. activists, formal and informal groups, campaigns, WROs, WLOs, other actors of the civil society such as academia or the media.

The research will focus on the developments of the movement nowadays while understanding the impact of its progression and dynamics throughout history and in the recent context.

The research will focus on the movement in general across the country, with the understanding that the movement may be different or follow different trajectories in KRI and in Federal Iraq. In that view, the research will not necessarily delve into comparative analysis but rather outline the dynamic relations, challenges and perspectives for the movement across all lines.

Exploring the state of the feminist or women’s movement in Iraq, the research will in particular focus on the following questions:

  • What is the current feminist or women’s movement in Iraq? In particular, tentatively:
    • What is the composition of the movement? How diversified and inclusive is it – including with emerging feminist voices? What are the movement’s different relations to power?
    • What are the various priorities and visions of feminism (how transformative etc.) pursued and developed in the movement?
    • How networked, cohesive, visible, and rallying is the movement? What are the main trends and dynamics?
  • What are the expectations, challenges, needs and opportunities of the feminist or women’s movement and its supporters in Iraq? In particular tentatively:
    • How is the movement and its agenda(s) impacted by domestic and structural factors, by societal conservative trends or openings, by external factors linked to the action of the international community or others?
    • How does the movement perceive its influence with international interlocutors?
    • What risks and challenges, opportunities and openings do the movement see in the present and near future? What can international, feminist-leaning organizations do to support the feminist and women’s movement in Iraq and for an enabling environment?

4.      Methodology

The methodology will include:

A literature review (desk review). The consultant will propose the scope and depth of such review as background to the research, considering the subject matter of the research while considering the restrictions in the timeframe (see hereafter).

Preliminary mapping of the feminist or women’s movement, as identification of key stakeholders who will be part of the data collection process. This will include relevant national and international actors to ensure capturing comprehensive data from all parties.

Primary data collection – both quantitative and qualitative. The consultant is encouraged to propose specific feminist research methods, explaining how these will inform the research.

Other methods upon needs.

The consultant is invited to propose a methodological offer matching the expected objectives and scope of the research.

5.    Deliverables

  1. Literature review: Draft and final literature review.
  2. Preliminary mapping of the feminist or women’s movement and key stakeholders: stating the criteria and resulting, overall mapping.
  3. Tools for data collection: Draft and final primary data collection tools.
  4. Data: Primary data collection; to be completed no later than 31st December 2022.
  5. Analysis: Draft and final analysis.
  6. Final report: Draft and final report; to be completed no later than 5th February 2023.
  7. Final presentation of the findings of the research (logistics and organization to be led by Oxfam: tentatively as part of Oxfam’s project’s closure ceremony in February 2023, exact date TBC) – with selected audience to be confirmed in light of the results of the research.

The documents will be presented in both Arabic and English. And all original collected data should be shared with Oxfam team with information on the people who participated in the data collection and contact information.

6.    Dissemination, publication, audience

The audience will include: Oxfam in Iraq, in MENA region and globally, and key Oxfam Partners from civil society (in transparency with the consultant). Selected donor(s), including the donor of the project.

Depending on the final product and based on agreement from Oxfam’s commissioning country office and the consultant, dissemination can be made to other similar INGOs who might benefit from the information and donor community, and academia.

Disclosure: Although free to discuss with the authorities on anything relevant to the assignment, under the terms of reference, the consultant is not authorized to make any commitments on behalf of Oxfam. All data collected as part of this consultancy belongs to Oxfam and public dissemination of the data and evaluation products can only be done with the written consent of Oxfam.

7.    Supervision and management

Oxfam’s Project Manager (Women and Girls Rebuilding New Iraq) in coordination with the Gender Justice Programme Manager, the Gender and Policy Coordinator and the Policy, Advocacy and Communication team will provide technical and practical supervision of the assignment.

8.    Ethical requirements

Care will be taken to maintain safe programming and safeguarding in the research process.

The research will follow responsible and ethical data policies. Research participants will be provided with the necessary information about the research so that they can provide their informed consent (with the option of being able to retract it if the need arises) and will be provided with the mechanisms available to them in case a problem arises (Ethics Point, etc.). In particular, interlocutors working on women’s rights and gender equality might face different risks in the context or feel the information they might share could be seen as sensitive. In this view, it is expected that the Consultant abide by ethical standards and with a feminist and safe approach when interviewing participants. Also, interviewees will have the option to be anonymous if they so wish and may opt out of the research at any time. Data will be stored safely – with identifying information removed if requested – and will be deleted when no longer needed.

9.    Logistics and Constraints

Considering the limitations of movements due to the COVID 19 pandemic and access challenges, international consultants may not be able to travel to Federal Iraq depending on different nationalities. Therefore, it is recommended to organize an in-person consultative event(s) in Erbil or Sulaymaniyah or to form a team including Iraq-based counterparts and adopt a flexible work approach.

10. Timeframe

September – February 2023

The research will be launched as soon as possible from the time of contracting the selected consultant and not later than early November 2022 and must be completed no later than 5th February 2023 in the last version of the deliverables, approved and validated by Oxfam.

All data collection itself must be completed by the end of December 2022, while analysis, report writing, and review/validation can happen in January 2023 and up until 5th February 2023.

The indicative working days for this consultancy are between 40 to 45 working days or less and it should be reflected in the work plan and budget.

11. Budget

The consultant’s full financial plan for their fees using the template attached with a detailed breakdown of costs:

The consultant budget should include, but is not limited to, all projected costs for the assignment among them:

  1. The rates per day per individual in the teams with indicative LOE.
  2. The costs of translation of materials for the training (if needed).
  3. The costs of engaging local trainers (if needed) to support the delivery in Arabic.
  4. Per cost category (e.g. daily fees, equipment)
  5. Per Phase/Deliverables.

Oxfam will be responsible to cover the following costs:

  1. Transportation & accommodation for the consultant to travel to the country (Iraq) (if not in-country).
  2. Transportation & accommodation for the consultant and participants while in the country.
  3. The venue, meals, and other needs for the implementation of the programme.


12. Required experience and expertise

The consultant – whether an individual, team, or firm, should demonstrate the following minimum requirements:

  • Educational background: Educational background in gender or feminist studies, social or political sciences, or similar, relevant fields;
  • Overall expertise and experience, demonstrated through lists of similar assignments, projects or activities, lists of publications, samples of reports, …:
    • Solid experience in research in a relevant field;
    • Solid theoretical background and knowledge of the development of social and feminist movements;
    • Direct experience of research and/or programming work in the Middle East, preferably in Iraq or in a similar conflict and fragile context;
  • Specific experience:
    • Direct experience of engagement at different levels of a feminist movement, from grassroots groups and activists to established Women’s Rights Organisations, formal and informal stakeholders, and diverse actors of civil society beyond NGOs; Capacity to reach out to and interact for research purposes with a variety of stakeholders in a flexible and ethical manner;
    • Demonstrated capacity in both quantitative and qualitative research; practice of feminist research methods is an asset;
    • Practice of developing and presenting research for an audience of practitioners, decision-makers and/or for programmatic purposes;
  • Other skills and commitments:
    • Fluency in English and Arabic;
    • Ability to travel to KRI and possibly Federal Iraq;
    • Familiarity with Oxfam’s mission; adherence to the organizational code of conduct and safe programming principles.

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