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Consultant – Midterm Evaluation

Organization: Merlin

Position: Consultant – Midterm Evaluation – Improving Reproductive Health through strengthened healthcare services in Maniema and North Kivu, DRC. Swedish International Development Agency & Merlin.

Location: DRC

 Contract Duration: 25 Days

 Salary & Benefits: Daily rate of £250-£325, return flights and accommodation

Only short-listed applicants will be contacted. Due to the urgency of this position, applications will be short listed on a regular basis and we may offer this post before the closing date.

Merlin International Profile

Merlin specialises in health, saving lives in times of crisis and helping to rebuild shattered health services. Each year, Merlin helps more than 15 million people in up to 20 countries.

Context and Background

Merlin has been operational in eastern DRC since 1997 when it established emergency medical support to populations in Maniema Province. Since 1997, Merlin has been working to save lives, strengthen local capacity, and has been among the leading agencies providing critical health and emergency response services. Through its very own mandate, Merlin is also among the very few organisations to implement health systems strengthening activities to support the fragile and transitional Congolese health system.

The Swedish International Development Association (SIDA) became a part of this effort through their programme “Improving Reproductive and Sexual Health through strengthened primary health care in Maniema and North Kivu provinces, DRC” a collaboration between SIDA, the Ministry of Health (MoH), and Merlin. While some indicators have improved over the last decade, maternal and child health in DRC remains among the worst in the Africa. Maternal mortality stands today at 670 deaths per 100,000 live births1, one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Overall Objectives (scope)

With support from the Swedish International Development Agency, Merlin is implementing a two -year Sexual and Reproductive Health project through strengthened PHC. The project was designed to support a sustainable and accessible primary health care system for vulnerable populations in North Kivu and Maniema provinces, in a context of ‘transitional health’. This involves reinforcing the capacity of the Ministry of Health to transition from emergency phase programming to post-conflict programming. As a compliment to the basic package of primary health care (PHC) support, emphasis has been placed on increasing the capacity of the targeted health structures and local Ministry of Health (BCZS) to integrate and implement SGBV, family planning and emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmOC) into the PHC system building on WHO evidence that the incorporation of vertical programmes such as EmOC into PHC service delivery has a greater impact on reducing mortality indicators. The project outcomes are:

Outcome 1 Comprehensive and sustainable PHC service delivery is implemented in the targeted HFs of Binza, Rutshuru, Punia, and Ferekeni HZs

Outcome 2 Improved reproductive health services (SGBV & EmOC) at a primary and secondary level HFs

Outcome 3 Capacity of MOH at provincial and district levels are strengthened to effectively manage Capacity of MOH at provincial and district levels are strengthened to effectively manage health care delivery in a ‘transitional health’ context

Purpose of the evaluation

In accordance with our contractual agreements with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Merlin should undertake a midterm evaluation as part of its ongoing activities. This will provide the Merlin team with evidence-based perspectives to evaluate the state of achievement of the project so far along with highlighting good practices and lessons learnt for further engagement with essential stakeholders such as BCZ, the provincial MoH, SIDA and other decision makers for the purpose of encouraging replication of project activities and interventions in other provinces in DRC. The project results will be evaluated ensuring that the project is beneficial to the communities and does not have any negative implications on the conflict patterns in the area. Additionally, the evaluation report will be part of the documentation of the project impact, results, and learning that Merlin can refer to in the future programming in other country programmes.

Following are the key objectives of the evaluation and expected research questions:

  • Assess the level of accomplishment of activities against contracted objectives and expected results
  • To what extent have the three objectives of the SIDA project been met? What are the key barriers to achievement of objectives?
  • How effective are Merlin’s planning and management tools and how can they be improved?
  • Obtain stakeholders (including beneficiaries) point of view feedback about the relevance and effectiveness of the project from the key
  • What lessons have, or can be, learned from the successes, achievements, and challenges of the Merlin programme to date?
  • Analyse the extent to which institutional capacities of local MoHs have been strengthened and where further effort could be developed to ensure an adequate exit strategy
  • How is the institutional capacity of the MoH being strengthened in project areas?
  • How can this be further developed? This will include among others:
  • Are there work plans at BCZ and BIP levels and are these monitored regularly?
  • Has access to RH increased? How many health facilities provide signal functions of BEMOC& CEMOC?
  • Is there a supervisory plan and what is the frequency of supervision?
  • Are there inventory tools and have there been any stock outs?
  • What management systems are in place and are they operational (HR plans, Logistics, monthly meetings)?
  • How many staff have received training and what proportion of them are providing services?
  • How many of those trained have acquired the right competency level?
  • How effectively are the health facilities able to order and purchase supplies and drugs from the provincial drug procurement center?
  • This is expected to be measured by 1) reviewing records and reports (supervisory reports, inventory cards…); 2) interviews with key staff members 3) observation during visits to health facilities.
  • What are the key recommendations for Merlin and MoH decision-making and future programming on how the implemented activities can be improved?

Responsibilities & Lines of Communication

Merlin’s Programme Management Cycle defines the members of the organisation and external stakeholders that are Accountable, Responsible, Consulted and Informed at each stage of an evaluation. The persons named below will ensure that a suitable and quality evaluation is conducted within the parameters of Merlin’s Evaluation Policy:

Evaluation Design

Accountable: Consultant. Responsible: DCD. Consulted: CD/CHD/DCD/DCHD. Informed: All SIDA/Merlin field teams

Evaluation Management (Implementation)

Accountable: Consultant. Responsible: DCD. Consulted: CD / CHD / DCD / DCHD / PCs. Informed: All SIDA/Merlin field teams

Reporting / Disseminations

Accountable: CD. Responsible: DCD. Consulted: CD / CHD / DCD / DCHD. Informed: All Merlin DRC SIDA staff; Sida Kinshasa and Stockholm

Evaluation Learning

Accountable: CD. Responsible: DCD. Consulted: DCHD. Informed: Merlin staff field and HO

Outputs

The outputs of this midterm evaluation are: A report completed, to include (further described in section 8);

  • The achievement of the three objectives of the SIDA project.
  • Effects to date, programming approach, and key results of the project including future sustainability.
  • Recommendations for decision-making and future programming on how the implemented activities can be improved.
  • a focus group discussion held with the Country Management Team, project team, and provincial level MoH prior to drafting the evaluation report to discuss preliminary findings and recommendations;
  • A draft Action Plan that details activities and timescales to meet evaluation recommendations.

Methodology

A consultant will be recruited to conduct this evaluation. It is expected the consultancy will be completed within a 25-day period, which will cover 20 days’ field work, and five days’ analysis and report preparation, not including travel days. These dates might be subject to change depending on the security situation.

The below list – to be agreed between Merlin and the Consultant – will form the basis of the tools, techniques and approaches that this evaluation will use. Unless otherwise stated or because of mitigating circumstances (security), the evaluation will be conducted with participation with all relevant stakeholders, and in particular the Equipes Cadre de Zone de Santé, enabling the evaluation’s purpose to be communicated in an accessible way assuring the communication of the reporting and follow-up protocol.

  • Review of key project documents, including project proposal, budget, workplans, internal reports, and other documentation related to the implementation of the project
  • Review of project’s monitoring systems and HIS
  • Focus group discussions  Key stakeholder interviews
  • Other contextually relevant methodologies e.g. PRA

Report

The final evaluation report (on Merlin format) will be prepared in English (in Microsoft word and PDF versions) and will be ready for distribution after the consultancy end-date (as will be outlined in the Consultancy Contract between the selected Consultant and Merlin).

It is expected that the final report will meet Merlin standards and will be no longer than 40 pages in length (excludes annexes, cover page/table of contents). It should include, but not limited to,

  • front cover and title page,
  • acknowledgements,
  • list of contents,
  • executive summary,
  • context including purpose of the evaluation
  • methodology
  •  results and findings,
  • conclusion,
  • recommendations,
  • appendices (including TORs and Action Plan)

NB: The consultant will not be paid during the time when Merlin will be giving feedback to the draft evaluation report. It is possible further revisions to the draft report may be requested during this period.

Person Specification

Essential

Qualifications, experience and competences

  • Demonstrated experience (at least two years experience in conducting evaluations) and strong skills of conducting evaluations of development projects, in the health sector and preferably with INGOs
  • Post-graduate degree in health or public health and including an epidemiological background, or other field relevant to the evaluation of SIDA project
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills
  • Strong communication skills, with excellent written and spoken English & French
  • Knowledge and experience of work in the Great Lakes region

Desirable Qualifications, experience and competences

  • Knowledge and experience of work in eastern DRC.

To apply for this position

To apply for this job, please go to www.merlin.org.uk/jobs and apply using our online recruitment system. In order to apply for a job with Merlin online you will need to complete a short registration process and create an account – the online recruitment system explains how to do this. Once your account has been created, you will be able to save the information that you have entered in your application and re-visit it at any time before you submit it.

If you are unable to apply online please contact: applications@merlin.org.uk.

Please note that we do not accept CVs. Unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Data Protection

Please note that in accordance with the 1998 Data Protection Act, Merlin will hold and use personal information that you have given for the purpose of recruitment and employment. This information can be stored in manual and/or electronic form. This information may also be disclosed to third parties in accordance with the Data Protection Act. In cases where a job offer is conditional on ensuring that potential employees’ names do not appear on counter terrorism lists generated by the United Nations, European Union or the United States due to donor funding requirements, Merlin will use the information that you have given for checking that your name does not appear on these lists.

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