Short-term expert for project evaluation - Egypt

International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas
  • Location
    Cairo, Egypt
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    Mar 12

Position description

The international Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Cairo Office in Egypt intends to recruit an Expert to undertake a final Evaluation in the framework of the Action “Enhancing water productivity by improving on-farm irrigation management in Minya and Fayoum, Egypt”, financed by the European Union and implemented by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Deadline for submission of the application: 22/03/2020, 12:00 am GMT+2

Contract duration: Up to 30 working days on a part-time basis over the 4 weeks period of the contract.

Expected start of assignment: At the end of the selection process, ideally by 25th of March 2020

Duty station: ICARDA Cairo Office, Egypt

Remuneration: will depend upon qualifications and experience of the selected candidate.

1. BACKGROUND 

In 2009 the Government of Egypt (GoE) prepared the ‘Sustainable Agricultural Development Strategy towards 2030, which aims to modernize agriculture and make efficient use of the available natural resources. The main strategic axes of the Governmental policy document are: i) to promote the sustainable use of natural agricultural resources, ii) to increase land and water productivity, iii) to improve the competitiveness of agricultural products. The overall goal is to improve food security of the rural inhabitants and to reduce poverty rates in rural areas. Recent Governmental policies in rural development emphasized the needs of expediting the steps that can boost the economy and improve productivity. The following top priorities were set up by the Government: a)making more land available for agriculture and b) ensuring adequate food supplies at affordable prices.

The EU Joint Rural Development Programme (EU-JRDP) financed by the European Union in 2014 is in line with the above mentioned Governmental rural development policies. EU-JRDP is an area-based initiative implemented by the Italian Development Cooperation in Matrouh, Minya and Fayoum Governorates. The EU-JRDP aims to strengthen the capacities of rural associations, both farmers and non-farmers, in terms of sustainable management of local resources and to explore new and innovative solutions for generating income. The EU-JRDP overall objective is to improve the quality of life of the people living in the rural areas with special focus on the sustainable management of territorial resources. The EU-JRDP specific objectives are:

  • To increase sustainable agricultural production by managing water resources more effectively and adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP);
  • To improve rural livelihoods by promoting income-generating activities (agricultural/non-agricultural) and making best use of local resources.
  • To familiarize himself/herself with all relevant project documentation including: The Project Proposal, Budget for the Action and updated Logical Framework Matrix; General Conditions applicable to EU financed grant contracts; Interim Narrative and Financial Reports; the Communication and Visibility Plan.
  • To establish contact with key project stakeholders including the EU-JRDP PMU, EU-JRDP Regional Officer in Minia and Fayoum; Ministry of Agriculture officials in both governorates; representatives of other EU-JRDP grant projects, other project stakeholders and final beneficiaries including farmers and water users’ associations.
  • To carry out field missions to Minia and Fayoum governorate for the collection of information and data needed with the assistance of ICARDA staff and field ARC officers.
  • Preparation of weekly timesheets and brief reports detailing meetings held and site visits made.
  • Candidates’ applications will be screened against the criteria and ToR and will be included in the final list of endorsed candidates.
  • Youngest candidates will be preferred in case of a final equal score.
  • ICARDA is committed to increasing women representation in its workforce and strongly encourages applications from qualified women.

Based on the 2nd call for proposals made by the Italian Embassy in Cairo for Scaling up Good Agriculture Practices in the Governorates of Fayoum and Minia to increase crop water productivity by improving on-farm irrigation management, ICARDA submitted a concept note followed by a full application document aiming to implement this action. The Italian Cooperation and the EU-JRDP management approved the proposed action presented by ICARDA. In November 2017, ICARDA signed a contract for “Enhancing water productivity by improving on-farm irrigation management in Minya and Fayoum, Egypt”. The duration of the contract was 24 months then extended to another 5 months until April 30, 2020. The location of the action is the rural areas of the Fayoum in Awlad Mohamad and Bahr Byahmou and Minia in Hafez El-Sharkia, Abou Korkas. This action targeted to generate significant knowledge and understanding associated with on-farm adoption of new and improved practices and change in targeted communities. The targets for this work include systems components to measure and improve on-farm irrigation management and how farmers make adoption decisions. The project actively worked with all partners and stakeholders to develop continuous linkages and feedback between science and its application in the fields.

2. OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTION

The overall objective is to sustainably improve the livelihoods of resource-poor rural communities in Minya and Fayoum governorates in Egypt by introducing open-source solutions for enhanced water productivity.

Immediate objectives

  • Improve the productivity of small-scale farming systems through more effective and efficient use of water and land resources.
  • Improve farm profitability by scaling out improved irrigation and agricultural practices.

3. PURPOSE OF THE FINAL EVALUATION 

The main purpose of the independent and external final evaluation is to assess whether the project has been implemented successfully in terms of achieving the objectives that have been set, and to learn from and propose potential improvements for implementation of similar future project interventions. It is also a purpose of the final evaluation to determine whether those responsible for implementing the project were capacitated in carrying out monitoring and evaluation of the Action. The final evaluation should therefore be done in a participatory manner, including the project’s stakeholders and beneficiaries in the work so that the review can also be a learning process for them.

4. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FINAL EVALUATION EXPERT

The Expert will be recruited on a short-term basis to undertake a final evaluation of the project, “Enhancing water productivity by improving on-farm irrigation management in Minya and Fayoum, Egypt” which implemented by ICARDA in collaboration with Agricultural Engineering Research Institute (AEngRI) of the Agricultural Research Center (ARC). The final evaluation will review the implemented activities, expenditures incurred, constraints encountered, the final outstanding activities to be undertaken and assess the impact of the project action, identify the lessons learned and how the sustainability of the project’s interventions can be ensured.

The expert will be based in ICARDA Cairo Office in Egypt. The expert will report directly to the the EU-JRDP PMU and work closely with ICARDA’s project leader and EU-JRDP units in Mina and Fayoum. His/her duties will include the following:

  • To familiarize himself/herself with all relevant project documentation including: The Project Proposal, Budget for the Action and updated Logical Framework Matrix; General Conditions applicable to EU financed grant contracts; Interim Narrative and Financial Reports; the Communication and Visibility Plan.
  • To establish contact with key project stakeholders including the EU-JRDP PMU, EU-JRDP Regional Officer in Minia and Fayoum; Ministry of Agriculture officials in both governorates; representatives of other EU-JRDP grant projects, other project stakeholders and final beneficiaries including farmers and water users’ associations.
  • To carry out field missions to Minia and Fayoum governorate for the collection of information and data needed with the assistance of ICARDA staff and field ARC officers.
  • Preparation of weekly timesheets and brief reports detailing meetings held and site visits made.

On commencement of the assignment, the Expert will receive all available information from the project leader and appropriate visits and meetings will be arranged with the project’s stakeholders and final beneficiaries.

4.1 Methodology of The Final Evaluation 

The evaluation will be based on the findings and factual statements identified from review of relevant documents including the project contract documents, implementation reports, in addition to the baseline and follow-up reports produced by the project and the different promotional materials. The Expert will also undertake field visits and interview the stakeholder’s including the target beneficiaries, and government officials (both at regional and district levels). Participation of stakeholders in the review should be maintained at all the times, reflecting opinions, expectations, and vision about the contribution of the project towards the achievements of its objectives.

The primary source of information for the evaluation shall be interviews with beneficiaries, public officials and stakeholders within the communities where the project has been implemented. Information contained in the project’s documentation and reports will be an important source of background information, which will help the expert to elaborate questions and identify interviewees.

5. EVALUATION ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED

The Expert, upon signature of the contract, will be provided with a detailed “Evaluation Matrix” to be used to develop a project-specific matrix. Below are some examples of the questions in the matrix.

5.1. Quality and Relevance of Project Design

Assess the appropriateness and relevance of the project design and activities towards expected goal, purpose, and outputs; and assess what adjustments should have been made, if any.

Have the changes that have taken place been relevant to the needs and priorities of the intended beneficiaries, and to the conditions of families living in poverty?

5.2. Efficiency of Planning and Implementation

Assess to what extent the available resources have been used economically in delivering the project outputs/results, in terms of quantity, quality and timeliness (efficiency).

Key guiding questions:

  • Is the project action plan used and up to date?
  • Cost and value for money: To what extent have the benefits justified the project costs?
  • What percentage of activities in the project proposal and budget have been delivered?
  • Is the expenditure incurred in line with the project budget?
  • Is monitoring data being collected as planned, stored, and used to provide guidance for future projects?
  • How have the contributions from governmental partner institutions been forthcoming (as set out in the Logical Framework Matrix), communities, target beneficiaries, other stakeholders, and authorities?
  • To what extent has there been cooperation and coordination with other EU-JRDP grant beneficiaries and other donor funded projects and programmes operating in Minia and Fayoum governorate?

5.3. Effectiveness 

Assess the major achievements of the project to date in relation to its stated objectives and intended results/outputs based on the updated log frame.

Key guiding questions:

  • To what extent the intended beneficiaries are actually benefiting from the project results?
  • To what extent the achieved/expected results will contribute to the achievement of the planned specific objectives?

5.4. Impact

Assess the extent to which the benefits received by the target beneficiaries have had a wider overall effect on larger numbers of people in the sector or districts or in the governorate.

  • To what extent is the project contributing to a long-term positive effect on livelihoods within the project’s target area?
  • How is ICARDA and ARC making a difference?

5.5. Potential for sustainability, replication, and magnification

Assess to what extent the positive outcomes of the project at purpose level are likely to continue and be sustainable after the project completion.

Identify and describe both the positive and negative lessons learned from implementation of the project and provide a set of practical recommendations for any improvements or modifications which should be adopted by similar future projects which may be implemented in Minia and Fayoum governorate.

6. Reporting Requirements/outputs and deliverables 

The final output of the final evaluation is required in report format, which should adhere to the EU standard format[1]. The comprehensive report should be submitted in the English language and should be of high quality (publishable). It should provide substantive evaluation against indicators as outlined in the project proposal and the updated log frame and should be structured in terms of issues and related findings, assessment of performance, description of best practices, conclusions, lessons learned, recommendations and/or scenarios in line with relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability. The final evaluation should focus on the key topics as mentioned above as well as be forward looking and propose practical improvements and modifications which should be adopted in the implementation of similar future projects.

The expert should present a “Methodological approach” document shortly after the signature of the contract and before the beginning of all evaluation activities, in the English language, to the EU-JRDP PMU, for approval.

The Expert should then present the Intermediate report, within 2 weeks from date of contract commencement, in the English language, to the EU-JRDP Team Leader. This report should be submitted towards the end of the evaluation and should cover all aspects of the review as detailed above.

In parallel with submission of the draft report the expert will make a presentation of his/her findings and recommendations to an invited group of key project stakeholders including EU-JRDP PMU representatives, ICARDA and ARC staff.

The expert will submit a copy of final version of the final evaluation report, within one week from the presentation date, in both hard and soft copies, to the ICARDA project Leader and EU-JRDP supervisor which incorporates comments made on the initial draft as well as any pertinent points arising during the presentation of the findings and recommendations mentioned above.

Further details on the 3 documents to be submitted by the expert (methodological approach, intermediate report and final report) will be provided in a meeting between the expert, the EU-JRDP PMU, ICARDA and ARC.

7. Payment Schedule

Payment of the Expert’s fees will be made by ICARDA in Euro (EUR) according to the following schedule:

  • 30% on initial signing of the assignment contract;
  • 20% on confirmed receipt and approval of the draft report by the EU-JRDP;
  • 50% on completion and approval of the final report by EU-JRDP.

All payments of fees made to the expert will be inclusive of transportation, accommodation, and meal costs and any other out of pocket expenditure.

8. EVALUATION OF APPLICATIONS 

The selection will be conducted by an evaluation committee formed by its Chairperson who will be nominated by the project manager. The committee will be composed of ICARDA staff with observers from the EU-JRDP PMU. The candidate will be evaluated according to the documentation presented, with particular reference to the academic titles obtained and the professional experience gained. Qualified candidates will be included in the shortlist and will be invited for an interview that will be carried out through audio/video connection (e.g. Skype), or at the premises of ICARDA in Cairo, depending on where the candidate is based

  • Candidates’ applications will be screened against the criteria and ToR and will be included in the final list of endorsed candidates.
  • Youngest candidates will be preferred in case of a final equal score.
  • ICARDA is committed to increasing women representation in its workforce and strongly encourages applications from qualified women.

Application instructions

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