Near East Foundation

External Evaluation: ABWA Project

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Job Overview

Near East Foundation, Iraq

ABWA External Evaluation

 

Application Deadline:  5 July 2024

Location of Consultancy:  Al-Anbar, Iraq (Heet, Ramadi, and Fallujah)

Purpose

The evaluation aims to critically examine project performance. The evaluation will engage project stakeholders to obtain the most objective information possible to evaluate the performance of the project and determine whether it was successful in meeting the stated objectives. The assessment—based on participant observation and participatory processes—will also capture unanticipated and ancillary results, in addition to documenting lessons learned for broader dissemination. It will provide a framework for “double-loop” learning by allowing NEF to improve the implementation of future planned activities and to refocus activities based on knowledge of these lessons learned. Through this evaluation, the assessment team will analyze the extent to which NEF meets its stated goals and objectives and will compare the results to the baseline data and targets. The evaluation will answer questions related to the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability of the project so lessons can be learned to improve actions, planning, and decision-making.

Background Information

Project: Anbar Business & Workforce Advancement for Improved Living ‎Conditions (ABWA), funded by GIZ under Assisting Reconstruction and Improving Living Conditions in Anbar (ARILA).

Duration: 25 months project, from October 2022 to October 2024

Geographical focus: Three target districts – Heet, Ramadi, and Fallujah – in Al Anbar Governorate, Iraq.

Project approach: Siraj model of community-based business hubs, comprising an organizational toolkit and eight integrated services.

Target beneficiaries: Entrepreneurs in Anbar

Key results: To increase incomes and job opportunities provided through micro-, small and medium ‎enterprises by improving the business development and support environment and facilitating ‎access to capital and networks for entrepreneurs in Al Anbar Governorate.‎

 

ABWA‎ is a 25-month project funded by GIZ to equip and roll out structured business activation services in three locations covering three ‎districts – Heet, Ramadi, and Fallujah – in Al Anbar Governorate, Iraq., with the objective to enhance income levels and job opportunities for micro, small, and medium enterprises in Al Anbar Governorate by improving the business development and support environment and facilitating access to capital and networks for entrepreneurs. Master Trainers and Coaches deliver the services, including market ‎assessments, outreach, selection of ‎participants, and structured training for soft skills and business development for 580 participants.‎ NEF then offers tailored coaching, mentorship, ‎and resources to further support participants who have ‎finalized business growth plans.‎ They will also receive targeted financing and advanced support using Siraj business acceleration, ‎adaptation, and resilience services. Additionally, NEF will provide technical and financial support ‎to selected MSMEs to build evidence of solutions that can increase their resilience. Finally, NEF ‎will conduct a tracer study which will commence after the distribution of grants to analyze the ‎impact of project interventions.‎

Theory of Change

The project envisages that:

  • If a conducive business development support environment reduces risk, increases access to capital ‎and networks, and provides access to high-quality, targeted services for entrepreneurs‎,
  • Then market-oriented SMEs will grow and facilitate job creation‎.

Outputs and Expected Outcomes

See the project indicator table (Annex 1) HERE.

Evaluation Questions

NEF will evaluate the extent to which the project achieved the objectives. This project has few limitations, geographical limitation to target only three districts (Heet, Ramadi, and Fallujah) may exclude other areas in Al Anbar Governorate that could benefit from similar interventions. Also, the short-term nature of the project (25 months) may not be sufficient to measure the long-term impact on income levels, job creation, and business resilience. It is therefore important for this evaluation to capture the expected results.

 

The evaluative questions will be aligned with the OECD/DAC Evaluation Criteria. While all six criteria provide useful frameworks around which a project evaluation can be constructed, NEF will base the evaluation around the following criteria and questions:

 

Relevance: the extent to which the project objectives and design respond to targeted participants’ needs.

  • Question 1: Was the intervention appropriate and effective for the targeted beneficiaries and communities based on their needs? (also includes analysis of context-responsiveness and quality of design)

 

Coherence: the extent to which the intervention was compatible with other interventions or policies in the area.

  • Question 2: To what extent did the project align with the broader policy landscape in the area and/or synergize with other interventions led by NGOs or government agencies? How could this have been improved/strengthened?

 

Effectiveness: the extent to which the project achieved, or is expected to achieve, its objectives, and its results, including any differential results across groups.

  • Question 2: To what extent were the objectives achieved and are likely to be achieved?
  • Question 3: What were the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the objectives?

 

Impact:  the extent to which the project has generated or is expected to generate significant positive or negative, intended or unintended, higher-level effects.

  • Question 4: What changes – expected and unexpected, positive and negative – were experienced by the targeted beneficiaries and stakeholders and were these changes felt equally across target groups?
  • Question 5: How did the intervention cause higher-level effects (such as changes in norms or systems)?
  • Question 6: Are any of the changes “scalable” or “replicable” that could be leveraged in future project designs?

 

Sustainability: the extent to which the net benefits of the intervention continue or are likely to continue.

  • Question 6: To what extent are the benefits of the project likely to continue after funding ends?
  • Question 7: What are the primary factors contributing to and undermining the prospects for sustainable results?

 

Efficiency:  the extent to which the project delivered, or is likely to deliver, results in an economic and timely way.

  • Question 8: How well were resources used? (comprises economic and operational efficiency, as well as timeliness)

 

The evaluation will supplement the key themes outlined above with an analysis of the following:

Learning: What aspects of the project worked well? Which aspects of the project could be improved upon? Why? Was it due to external or project-specific factors? The analysis should be linked as much as possible to specific sub interventions/project activities, demographics, economic conditions, externalities, business choices etc. to turn data into knowledge.

Proof of concept: Did foundational assumptions underpinning program design hold true and therefore derive impact? If yes, did they follow the anticipated logical progression as captured in the theory of change? If not, why was this?

Replication and multiplication of project outcomes: Does the project design lend itself to scale-up? How can the team capitalize upon successes achieved moving forward? Is the model applicable to other regions in Iraq?

Evaluation Methods

The evaluation will use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. It will be participatory, and utilize qualitative methods (i.e., interviews, focus groups) to engage direct beneficiaries and government stakeholders. Data sources will include project documentation and secondary data, project baseline and endline surveys, project records and reports, field observations, focus groups discussions, and key informant interviews.

Anticipated Level of Effort: Up to 15 days.

Evaluation Timeline & Deliverables

The evaluation will be implemented at the end of the project and finalized by the time of submission of the project’s final report.

Evaluation Launch: 15 August 2024

  • Pre-framing meeting and development of methodological framework
  • Finalized plan and methodology (at the end of the preparatory/documentation phase) to guide the work
  • Data collection
  • Interim Report ‎
    • Interim report 1 (documentary analysis and methodological framework) will be produced no later than 10 days ‎after signing the contract and starting the mission. This report will include an analysis of the situation and ‎existing documentation, a description of the methodological approach, the main results expected at the end of ‎the mission, a work plan and a detailed timetable. This report will be shared with the NEF for review and ‎possible comments. The NEF will also solicit feedback from program partners (GIZ) for review and possible ‎‎

Evaluation Draft: 30 September 2024

  • Restitution session (presentation by the consultant)
  • NEF will provide a template with required sections and a Table of Content.
  • NEF will review and provide feedback within one week of the submission of draft report.

Final report: 15 October 2024

  • Nef return comments on the report
  • The final report should address all comments & feedback from NEF.
  • Validation/finalization

Evaluation Findings Dissemination

The final product, as well as an abbreviated synopsis of the evaluation findings, will be published on the NEF website for public consumption. Additionally, the findings will be shared directly with GIZ. The NEF team has relationships with the local stakeholders and NGOs, which will allow for the sharing of evaluation findings and exchange of lessons learned to improve future programming.

Selection Criteria

  • Expertise in gender sensitive, external evaluations, experience in the analysis of change and learning processes. 30 marks.
  • Expertise in evaluating projects of similar scope and nature. The consultant should provide a list of evaluated projects. NEF will reach out to a selected few for reference checks. 40 marks.
  • Overall quality of the proposal. 20 marks
  • Knowledge of micros-, small, and medium enterprises in Iraq. 10 marks.

More Information

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