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Independent Evaluation Consultancy for the Project: Civil Society United Against Torture (2017-2021)

1. Introduction

The OMCT.

The OMCT works with around 200 member organisations which constitute its SOS-Torture Network, to end torture, fight impunity, and protect human rights defenders worldwide. Together, we make up the largest global group actively standing up to torture in more than 90 countries. Helping local voices be heard, we support our vital partners in the field and provide direct assistance to victims. Our international secretariat is based in Geneva, with offices in Brussels and Tunis.

The Project: “Civil Society United Against Torture.”

The Civil Society United Against Torture project has been designed in cooperation with members in our SOS-Torture Network between 2016 and 2017. It is intended to build toward a holistic response to the main needs we see in the global anti-torture movement: strengthening compliance with the UN Convention against Torture, mobilizing to end impunity, victim redress, and protecting those most vulnerable to torture and other ill-treatment.

The overall objective identified for the Project is:

to contribute to the greater prevention of, accountability for, and protection against torture around the world, enabled by empowered national Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) advancing the implementation of the Convention Against Torture, in particular in challenging environments and for sectors with specific and/or multiple vulnerabilities.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. Mobilizing and empowering CSOs around the world to engage with the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) and to actively work on compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture, including in highly challenging environments;
  2. Building three regional litigation groups in the OMCT Network to reinforce litigation against torture and other ill-treatment on behalf of victims of torture, and increased capacity to foster redress;
  3. Conducting collective, regional research and advocacy to deepen understanding and strengthen protection of groups especially vulnerable to torture and other ill-treatment.

Further information about the OMCT and its activities with the UN Committee Against Torture can be found on the website, as well as the OMCT’s CAT Blog, or through our social media outlets on Facebook and Twitter.

Project External Evaluation

A provision was made in the original project for an external evaluation to be conducted by an independent evaluator during the implementation of the project. However, for various reasons (including changes in country situation, activity implementation delays, the Covid-19 pandemic, etc.) the OMCT sought and was granted extensions on two of the main grants supporting the project (from the EU and the Dutch MFA).

Relevant Staff, Partners, and Beneficiaries: The various actors in the programme will help evaluate the project, notably: the OMCT Staff and Executive Council, co-applicant partners, member organisations and other partners in the countries we focused on in the project (in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the MENA region), other organisations in the SOS-Torture Network, members of the Committee Against Torture and its Secretariat, participants in activities, and, if possible, victims of torture and their families assisted.

Relevant environment: The evaluation of the Project takes place in a highly diverse human rights and civil society milieu. On the one hand, the OMCT International Secretariat is based in Geneva with access to and interaction with all of the United Nations Treaty Bodies, Human Rights Council, Office of the High Commissioner, and other international human rights organisations – making up an environment generally supportive of human rights and enabling a high level of access and good information. On the other, the Project is also implemented in communication and coordination with our many Network Members based in the capitals or other regions of their home countries, including in highly challenging countries where torture may be considered systematic and/or where we see the so-called ‘closing civil society space’ tendency, characterized by diminishing fundamental freedoms, restrictive legal frameworks, and harsh backlash against civic organizations and activists, members of political opposition, and independent media. Though not affecting all countries where the OMCT has Network Members, this situation is in particular affecting sensitive anti-torture and impunity work. And finally, the context also includes civil society organisations which are working in countries where torture is or was until recently systematic and almost ubiquitous, including in countries of Central America, Central and West Africa, the MENA region, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and in South and Southeast Asia.

Funding source: The main funding sources for the Project are: the European Commission, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. The total amount available for the evaluation is capped at EUR 20.000.

Period covered: This evaluation is examining the work under this project during a global period from 1. April 2017 through the present and up until 31. December 2021.

2. Objective and Scope of the External Evaluation

The present evaluation is to assess the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability of the project, including its value to the direct and final beneficiaries. The evaluation should seek to identify strengths, weaknesses, and lessons learnt from the Project’s implementation thus far, and provide practical recommendations that the OMCT can implement to improve performance in the next phase of OMCT’s global Anti-torture Programme activities.

The evaluation should be carried out in the light of the objectives and the results of the project by using the Logical Matrix and indicators identified for the project,and will be based on the Project Applications and the Contract agreements of the four principle donors to the project – the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission, the Swiss Confederation, and the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The evaluation has four key overarching objectives, namely:

  1. Identify and assess the Project’s progress in relation to the outcomes and outputs targeted in the original project proposal, and analyse any constraints and obstacles which affected the projects’ ability to achieve the expected outcomes and outputs during the period.
  2. Identify and assess the cooperation with the OMCT’s on-the-ground Network Members and partners in the countries engaged by the project, in line with the objectives of the project.
  3. Assess if the project activities have contributed to the strengthening of the work of the OMCT SOS-Torture Network Members and partners in their work with victims, their engagement with the UN Committee Against Torture and compliance of the Convention against Torture, in their work on accountability and redress for torture and other ill-treatment, and in their work on the protection of groups vulnerable to torture.
  4. Make recommendations for the future of OMCT Anti-Torture Programmes based on lessons learnt in the Civil Society United Against Torture project.

3. Evaluation Methodology

The proposed method and approach of the evaluation should include specification and justification of the design of the evaluation and the techniques for data collection and analysis. This evaluation envisages a process of desk review of documents, plans and reports, as well as interviews with the staff responsible for the project, OMCT Network Members, and other partners as well as beneficiaries of the activities undertaken thus far in the project as mentioned above.

The method may take the OECD DAC Standards for evaluation[1] into account, as appropriate.

Upon selection and acceptance of the original summary bids being sought by this TOR, the Consultant(s) will be expected to review the project’s key documents and propose a simple evaluation method based on the Project’s Logical framework and implementation plan for consideration by the OMCT, as well as a more detailed implementation plan and timeline for the main activities and completion of the evaluation.

4. Report and Recommendations

The Consultant(s) is expected to deliver to OMCT a comprehensive written report of maximum 20 pages excluding annexes which highlights gaps, challenges, opportunities, and lessons learnt for OMCT in relation to the project’s objectives, the project partners, and the project beneficiaries. The conclusions drawn from the successes and challenges should be presented in a conclusions and recommendations section which can be used for strengthening and developing ongoing and future programmes. Taking into consideration the size and capacity of the organisation, the evaluation should seek to prioritize the production of a shortlist of practical and implementable recommendations that can aid in learning what has been achieved, improving the implementation of project’s key strategies in targeting specific goals, as well as in highlighting what can be done better in future generations of this programme of action.

5. Duration and Location

The tasks under this evaluation are to be undertaken for an estimated period of 30 working days, and must be completed by the 01 December 2021. A draft report of the evaluation will be presented to the Programme Director by the 20 of November 2021, allowing for review and feedback prior to finalization, including by participating organisations and the OMCT Secretary General and Executive Council’s Bureau. The location of the evaluation will be Geneva, Switzerland, and should include consultations conducted in-country with at least two OMCT Network Members.

A breakdown of the expected activities is provided below.

· Inception report[2] for the Evaluation;

· Discussion of the inception report with OMCT and incorporation of comments;

· Desk review of relevant documents, proposals and reports;

. Evaluation missions to two of the Focus Countries (ideally in person, unless travel not permitted);

· Stakeholder engagement (both physical and virtual via online meetings);

· Analysis of data collected;

· Report compilation with list of recommendations and draft implementation plan;

· Present and discuss the draft report, recommendations, and implementation plan with OMCT;

· First draft feedback;

· Incorporating comments and final report compilation.

6. Requirements and Qualifications

A consultant with the following skills and competencies are encouraged to express their interest:

  • Post Graduate Degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Social Science, Law, Politics, Economics, and Human Rights);
  • At least 7 years of experience and additional training in project evaluation, including in the field of human rights, and including those of a multi-regional or international nature;
  • Specialisation and additional training in human rights and experience of working with victims of human rights violations;
  • Competence in organisational development;
  • Demonstrable experience in evaluating programmes and projects across countries and also those of a regional nature;
  • Knowledge of the socio-economic and political dynamics as well as the social justice issues in at least one of the three regions of the Project (Africa, Asia, or Latin America);
  • Demonstrable knowledge and understanding of the architecture of human rights organizations in the region.

Fluency in English is required, and additional French and/or Spanish language capabilities may be an added advantage.

7. Eligibility, Applications, and Consideration

  • Applicants can be organisations or individual consultants.
  • Applications will be accepted up to the 27 September 2021, only via email, to Carin Benninger-Budel, Director of the OMCT Anti-Torture Programmes, at: applications@omct.org. Thank you for understanding that we cannot answer phone enquiries.
  • In order for your application to be considered, please send an email indicating "EVALUATION CONSULTANCY – OMCT UNITED PROJECT" in the subject heading, with the following attachments, in PDF:
  • A Letter of Interest summarizing the Bid and the possible start date;
  • A Bid for Contract, detailing the proposed methodology, time frame, and fee (max. 3 pages);
  • Individuals: a CV/resume, with relevant evaluations completed with dates (max. 2 pages);

Firms: a list of relevant evaluations completed during the past three years (max. 1 page).

  • Due to the volume of applications, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Annex 1: Key Questions that may be addressed by the Evaluation

Relevance:

  • a) How is the idea and vision behind the project relevant to the global fight against torture and the countries where the project has been implemented?
  • b) How relevant have the project’s objectives and activities been for its direct and indirect target groups? Why?
  • c) What relevance do the outcomes and outputs of the project have in order to address the overall mission and mandate of the OMCT?
  • d) What kind of changes, or additional components could be incorporated in upcoming projects to make it more relevant with the needs of the target groups and the OMCT’s overall strategy and mandate?

Coherence:

  • a) To what extent is there internal coherence between the intervention and other interventions carried out by the OMCT in the same region and/or country (i.e. coherence with actions by the OMCT’s HRDs Programme or Child Protection Programme)?
  • b) To what extent is there external coherenece or consistency of the action with other actors’ interventions in the same context (country or region).
  • · c) Have any substantial incoherencies been found during the evaluation of the intervention, and if so what are they?

Effectiveness:

  • a) To what extent have the strategies, approaches and activities implemented contributed to achieve the overall project objective (outcome level)?
  • b) To what extent (please indicate as well a percentage for ease of reference) have the project objective been achieved?
  • c) How has the participation of the OMCT’s partners been in project design/planning and implementation? What is needed to improve participation in the upcoming project?
  • d) To what extent have gender, children’s, or other vulnerabilities and minorities concerns or perspectives been included in activities and engagement with the partners in the project?

Efficiency:

  • a) How efficiently has the project been managed? What can be done in terms of improving project management by the International Secretariat? What should be changed with regard to the planning and budgeting of the upcoming project in this regard?
  • b) the OMCT’s Network is an integral part of the project crucial for the implementation of project activities. How efficiently is this network working? What can be done to increase the efficiency of the network?

Impact:

  • a) Has the intervention contributed to any clear human rights impacts?
  • b) How and to what extent has the project contributed to strengthening civil society actions for eradicating torture and ill treatment (objective of the project on impact level)?
  • c) Are there any unintended changes (positive or negative) – and how should the OMCT adjust its actions to reduce the likelihood of unintended negative changes?

Sustainability:

  • a) What activities and / or benefits of this project will continue if finding or securing continued funding becomes a challenge in the next year?
  • b) What can be done best and by whom to ensure the project’s outcomes, momentum, or impacts are sustained? What are the lessons learned?
  • c) How can the upcoming project build onto the achievements of this phase in order to deepen their sustainability? How should the next project be designed in order to contribute best to the respective strategic objectives of the OMCT?


[1] Please see here for the six evaluation criteria identified by the OECD DAC Network on Development Evaluation (EvalNet), as well as DAC Guidelines and Reference Series Quality Standards for Development Evaluation (https://www.oecd.org/development/evaluation/qualitystandards.pdf). These standards should be used as guidance, but may in various aspects not be relevant for or appropriate to evaluating human rights work.

[2] See: https://www.unodc.org/documents/evaluation/Guidelines/UNODC-IEU_Inception_Report_Guidelines.pdf

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