Lao People's Democratic Republic (the): Consultancy – External evaluation of the project “Safe Steps Forward: Integrated UXO Threat Reduction and Impact Mitigation in the Lao PDR”

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Organization: Handicap International
Country: Lao People's Democratic Republic (the)
Closing date: 12 Nov 2015

Context of the Evaluation

Handicap International is an independent and impartial aid organization working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, taking action and bearing witness in order to respond to their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights. Since it was founded in 1982, Handicap International has gone on to work in over 60 countries worldwide.

Handicap International has been operational in Lao PDR since 1996. It currently implements programs across 6 sectors: UXO (unexploded ordnances), Support to Local Actors for the promotion of the rights of persons with Disability, Economic Inclusion, Rehabilitation, Early Childhood Development and Road Safety.

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The current evaluation will be an end of project evaluation of the UXO Program for the period 2014-2015 funded by the European Union.

Background of the Project

Lao PDR is, per capita, the most heavily bombed nation in the world. According to US Air Force records, 2.3 million tons of bombs including 270 million of submunitions were dropped by 1973 of which up to one third failed to explode. This resulted in at least 50,370 mine/ERW casualties, including 29,469 people killed and 20,901 injured since 1964. To date, an estimated 25% of villages are still contaminated with UXO . The National Socio-Economic Development Plan identifies UXO contamination not only as a major threat to physical safety, livelihoods and food security but also a cause of poverty, primarily in the remote highlands . The UXO contamination constitutes a major barrier to local development: Agricultural activities provide employment for over 80% of the country’s population and remain crucial to poverty reduction in Lao PDR. Yet, cluster munitions prevent access to potential agricultural land and, as demand for fertile land increases, villagers take risks every day in cultivating areas affected by UXO and accidents continue to occur.

Savannakhet province was hit particularly hard during the war because of its proximity to Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The three target districts of the Handicap International project, Nong, Sepon and Vilabuly are the most UXO-affected in Savannakhet and among the poorest in the country as measured by the national poverty index.

Handicap International (HI) has been active in the UXO sector in Lao PDR since 1996, when the organisation conducted a nationwide survey on UXO pollution. HI provided technical assistance to the national clearance operator UXO Lao for several years before becoming an independent clearance operator in 2006.

HI received regular support from the European Union, with the last grant covering the period 25th October 2013- 24th October 2015. This EU funding comes in complementarity to a four year funding from the Dutch government ( July 2012- June 2016).

Handicap international develops a comprehensive approach to mine action and the current intervention includes activities across:

  • UXO Survey
  • UXO Clearance
  • Community security and safety Risk management
  • Victim assistance

Summary of the Project

Title of the action: Safe Steps Forward: Integrated UXO Threat Reduction and Impact Mitigation in the Lao PDR

Location(s) of the action: Lao PDR, Savannakhet province, districts of Nong, Sepon and Vilabuly

Total duration of the action: 24 months

Amount of requested EU contribution 1,000,000 EUR

Objectives of the action

Overall objective: A safe environment and sustainable socio-economic development in Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) affected areas in Lao PDR, in accordance with the Oslo Treaty and the National Strategic Plan for the UXO Sector

Specific Objective: The impact of UXO on the livelihood of the population of the districts of Nong, Sepon and Vilabuly in Savannakhet Province is reduced, using an integrated sector approach of clearance, risk education and victim assistance

Target group(s)

Ø At least 15,000 people from 40 villages in Nong, Sepon and Vilabuly

Ø At least 250 PWDs, including UXO survivors, members of their family or members of the families of the ones who died from UXO

Ø At least 80 police officers and head of villages

Ø At least 40 staff of livelihood stakeholders/service providers and 120 village authorities

Ø District & provincial authorities and UXO committees of the three target districts

Final beneficiaries

Ø 1,500 family members of PWDs/UXO survivors that received livelihood support

Ø The population of the three target districts (107,067 people)

Ø The NRA at national and provincial level

Ø Development organisations in the three target districts

Estimated results

Result 1: At risk communities are empowered to reduce and manage UXO risks, leading to a decrease in the number of casualties

Result 2: Access to contaminated land is increased through UXO clearance according to the prioritisation of the provincial and district authorities

Result 3: UXO survivors, their families, the families of people killed by UXO and other persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Sepon and Nong have increased access to income generation

Main activities

Result 1: Refresher training for HI risk education team, school and community-based risk education focusing on behaviour changes with identified at risk groups, training of community focal points for community-based reporting systems to provide information on UXO contamination and liaison for HI, training of police officers and head of villages on the the new provincial order on scrap metal collection, ongoing community liaison and monitoring.

Result 2: Surveying and mapping of UXO in two stages through general & technical survey, prioritisation of clearance in cooperation with local authorities, design of clearance plans and related roving & clearance operations, ongoing community liaison, training of clearance staff and monitoring and quality assurance.

Result 3: Awareness raising on disability and disability rights for PWDs, UXO survivors and their families, local authorities and livelihood stakeholders, personalized livelihood support to PWDs / UXO survivors or family members of victims, coaching of local livelihood stakeholders to include UXO survivors and persons with disabilities in their programmes and consolidation and dissemination of good practice on their economic inclusion.

Objectives of the Evaluation:

The External Evaluation of the project will assess, at a minimum, the following elements. Specific attention should be given to the overall quality of the relationship with the project’s implementing partners (the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO sector, the Ministry of Labour and social Welfare, Local authorities at provincial and district level) in each of the below considerations.

OBJECTIVE ONE: RELEVANCE

· Are the specific objectives and expected results appropriate for the current social and political context in Lao PDR?

· Are the activities of the project designed and implemented in a way that is relevant to the needs of the project’s partners, target groups and final beneficiaries?

· Are the choice of geographic targets and partnerships relevant?

· Are the various components of the project well interlinked?

OBJECTIVE TWO: EFFECTIVENESS

· What has been the achievement of the project’s objectives and results?

· Are the result indicators appropriate for measuring the projects anticipated results?

· Have the achievements accomplished under each result contributed towards achievement of the specific objective?

· How has the project progressed in the achievement of the Specific Objective?

· Is the M&E plan effective?

· Are the resources appropriately mobilized to implement the action?

· Does the project has wider positive effects for the communities (medium / long term socio economic impact)

OBJECTIVE THREE: EFFICIENCY

· Have synergies between the project results/activities been appropriately identified and exploited?

· Is the project cost effective in its overall design?

· Are resources (human , financial , logistic) efficiently used to attain objectives

· Does this action represent good value for money

OBJECTIVE FOUR: SUSTAINABILITY

· Has HI adequately collaborated with the projects partners and other stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the project?

· Which factors put in place by the project ensure the sustainability of the expected results of the project?

· Do the partners have increased knowledge, skills and financial means to continue the activities on their own?

· Which elements have been hindering/facilitating the strengthening of capacity building of institutional actors?

· What would be priority action in the sector (recommendations)?

OBJECTIVE FIVE: ANALYSIS OF THE PARTNERSHIP AND OVERALL COORDINATION

· What has been the level of participation of the project’s partners into the design and implementation of the project activities?

· What is the level of participation of partners in ongoing problem solving and evolution of the project’s design and activities?

· Are the experiences and lessons learned from the project implementation feeding into the partners’ strategic development for the short and medium term future?

· Are the project management and coordination mechanisms appropriate and effective?

OBJECTIVE SIX: ANALYSIS OF GENDER INCLUSION

· How has gender been considered in project development phase?

· How has gender been considered in project implementation phase?

· How has gender been considered in training tools developed?

· Specific assessment of the impact of the project on both women and men?

Expected Outputs of the Evaluation

  1. During the evaluation field visit, the consultant will facilitate one ½ day key findings meeting with project staff and partners in order to present the initial findings of the evaluation and provide an opportunity for discussions related to the project.
  2. The consultant will facilitate a one day workshop with victim assistance teams and partners in order to identify existing good practices and lessons learnt from the project.
  3. Develop one evaluation report including the following elements: background of the evaluation, objectives of the evaluation, methodology, evaluation findings, results of the workshop on VA good practises and lessons learnt, recommendations for next project phase.

Process of the Evaluation & Methodology

  • Both quantitative and qualitative assessment methods.
  • Participatory methodology whereby the work engages all key stakeholders including beneficiaries, community members, local government staff

Step 0: Develop an inception report including proposed tools, methodology and work schedule

Step One: Direct meeting with HI Project team to finalize evaluation methodology and planning

Step Two: Initial desk review of project documents

Step Three: Implementation of Evaluation Interviews, focus group discussions and direct observation at national and provincial levels

Step Four: Implementation of ½ day review meeting with HI project team and partners and a one day workshop with VA team and partners to identify lessons learnt and good practices

Step Five: Submission of Draft Evaluation Report

Step Six: Submission of Final Evaluation Report

Expected Timetable of the Consultancy

Consultant Selection

· 12th – 17th November: Review of Applications and Identification of Applicant Short List

· 18th – 24th November: Interviews and Selection of Evaluation Consultant

· 25th November: Notification of Applicant Selection

Consultancy Mission

The mission should take place between November and December 2015. The below schedule represent an indicative timetable. A final schedule will be developed following consultancy selection. It is anticipated that the consultant field mission will require no longer than 10-12 days.

· 5 days: Review of project documents and preparation of inception report

· 20 days: Consultant Field Mission

· 5 days: Submission of First Draft Evaluation Report

· 5 days: Submission of Final Evaluation Report

NOTE: During the consultancy mission, all travel, accommodation and workshop costs will be provided by Handicap International

Consultant Qualifications

· The qualified candidate will have at least 5 years’ experience in project assessment and evaluation on development/humanitarian work.

· His/her background and/or area of expertise will include work in the field of Mine Action.

· Good Research and monitoring and evaluation skills including participatory methodologies

· Working knowledge of people with disability and gender issues locally

The following additional qualifications will be considered as highly desirable:

· Experience in Lao or Southeast Asian Context

How to apply:

Applicants should submit the following to Handicap International.

CV of the Consultant and any team members

One Cover Letter

One Proposal including the following components:

· Background and Experience of the Consultant

· Proposed Methodological Approach

· Proposed Budget Plan

· Proposed Work Plan (including specific dates)

Submissions can be accepted by email or hand delivery to the listed addresses:

By Email: Please submit to Mark Morrison, Coordinator of Operations for Handicap International in Lao PDR: [email protected]

By Mail or Hand Delivery, please submit to: Handicap International Lao PDR

51/1 Hong Kae Road

Ban Sisangvone

Vientiane, Lao PDR

The deadline for applications is the 12th November 2015.

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