Review of progress against ARASA’s Strategic Plan (2019-2022) and mid-term evaluation of SRHR Programme

For the Call of Expression of Interest for this Consultancy (to review ARASA’s Strategic Plan (2019-2022) and mid-term evaluation of ARASA’s SRHR Programme), click here.

Deadline for submission: 28 February 2022

Background and Context

The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) was established in 2002 to galvanise a movement of progressive civil society actors to advance a human rights-based response to HIV in southern Africa. In 2019, ARASA adopted a new strategic plan, with the goal to promote respect for and the protection of the rights to bodily autonomy and integrity for all in order to reduce inequality, especially gender inequality and promote health, dignity and wellbeing in southern and east Africa. Also in 2019, ARASA received funding for a 3-year programme titled “My Body is not a Democracy” and focused on promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights through a bodily autonomy and integrity framing, which operationalised a significant component of ARASA’s Strategic Plan.

ARASA areas of focus for 2019-2022

  1. Promoting the rights to bodily autonomy and integrity: ARASA will promote social justice, Universal Health Coverage and the achievement of the SDGs (with a focus on Goals 3, 6 and 10) through respect for and protection of the rights to bodily autonomy and integrity, equity, equality and ensuring accountability to regional and international health and human rights instruments.
  1. Transforming culture and discourse: ARASA will seek to influence culture and discourse on bodily autonomy and integrity, recognising that cultural and religious influencers such as media, artists and community leaders can help shape cultural and religious norms that influence how the rights of bodily autonomy and integrity are valued and upheld.
  1. Removal of structural barriers: ARASA will focus on the removal of structural barriers – such as national, regional and international policies and laws on gender, SRH, sexual orientation and gender identity – that prevent accelerated progress on rights-based responses to HIV, TB and SRH, in particular for people living with HIV, key populations and other vulnerable communities.
  1. Protection of civil society space: ARASA will focus on protecting the rights of civil society advocates to expression, association and engagement – to ensure their full and critical role in rights-based action on HIV, TB and SRH that responds to the real needs of communities.
  1. Sustaining and increasing health financing: ARASA will focus on holding national governments, regional institutions and international donors to account for their funding commitments for HIV, TB and SRH, and ensuring sustained and increased investment – especially in structural interventions and programmes for key populations and other vulnerable communities – in order to achieve the SDGs.

The implementation of this Strategic Plan is guided by our Programme Theory (Annexure A).

ARASA’s Theory of Action / Programme Theory

We are convinced that, in order to protect and promote the rights to bodily autonomy and integrity to achieve health, dignity and wellbeing for sustainable development in southern and east Africa, ARASA should recruit, retain and develop competent and skilled staff; mobilise sufficient and sustainable resources; coordinate a sustainable partnership of like-minded progressive national and regional civil society organisations; forge and strengthen partnerships with strategic regional and international partners; and engage at the regional and international levels with key influencers[1] in political, health and financing institutions in an approach that elevates key and emerging policy issues from local and national levels to regional and international platforms.

We believe that this should be supported by capacity strengthening efforts and the provision of technical assistance for policy makers and civil society at the regional levels along with the creation of spaces for inclusive and meaningful horizontal learning, dialogue, networking, consensus building, solidarity and collaborative advocacy action. Also, at the regional level, ARASA should spearhead advocacy and provide evidence and policy options to key influencers.

This will result in increased coordination, understanding, capacity, agency and strategic alliances amongst civil society, which will be used to mobilise communities at the local level and to advocate to national decision-makers for positive changes to laws, policies and financial allocations. Likewise, key influencers at national and regional levels will have increased understanding of the need for human rights to be respected and protected if health, dignity and wellbeing are to be enjoyed by all in southern and east Africa and use this to work towards positive changes to laws, policies and financial allocations.

As a result of the civil society advocacy for positive changes and subsequent positive changes in law and policy spearheaded by key influencers, young women, youth and marginalised people will enjoy respect for bodily autonomy and integrity; human diversity and dignity; agency for health; gender equality and equity. This will ultimately result in health, dignity and wellbeing in southern and east Africa.


Scope and Objectives of Strategic Plan

ARASA wishes to engage a consultant(s) to conduct a review of progress against the Strategic Plan (including a mid-term evaluation of the “My Body is not a Democracy” programme – See Annexure B: ToR for mid-term evaluation of the “My Body is not a Democracy” Programme) and submit a comprehensive evaluation report reviewing:

  1. progress made to date against the Strategic Plan, its goal, outcomes and related targets; and
  2. progress against the goals, outputs and anticipated outcomes of the “My Body is not a Democracy” programme.

The evaluation will cover the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2021 and will allow ARASA to make appropriate adjustments for the further implementation of the Strategic Plan as well as for the potential review of the Strategic Plan.

The objectives of the review are:

  • To review progress made to date against the goal, outcomes and outputs of the Strategic Plan as defined in the Results Framework (including the quantitative and qualitative targets/ indicators of “My Body is not a Democracy Programme”) to assess the extent to which there has been progress against these matrices during this period.
  • To assess the extent to which the ARASA’s new strategic direction has gained traction at national and regional levels with ARASA partners and key stakeholders and whether it is making the anticipated contribution towards the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights in southern and east Africa and ultimately the reduction of inequality, especially gender inequality and promotion of health, dignity and wellbeing for sustainable development in southern and east Africa.
  • To analyse the soundness of the Theory of Change to achieve the goals and outcomes identified in the Strategic Plan.
  • To analyse which, if any contextual changes may have influenced the implementation of the Strategic Plan and / or whether the organization has adapted appropriately to the changing context to deliver on the Strategic Plan and what, if any changes are needed to continue to do so during the remainder of the Strategic Plan period.
  • To draw lessons (including on challenges and obstacles faced) and make recommendations for the implementation of the Strategic Plan during the remainder of the Strategic Plan period and for a potential review of the Strategic Plan.

The evaluation criteria to be applied shall include:

  • Efficiency:  The extent to which the cost of the implementation of the Strategic Plan can be justified by the results, taking alternatives into account. In particular:
  • Are resources used appropriately and economically to produce the desired results?
  • Is the organisation accountable and transparent in the use of resources?

  • Effectiveness:  The extent to which the Strategic Plan has achieved its objectives, taking their relative importance into account. In particular:
  • Is the organisation achieving satisfactory progress toward its stated goal and outcomes?
  • Are selected partnerships contributing to Strategic Plan?
  • Is the theory of change sound?
  • Impact:  The totality of the effects of ARASA’s Strategic Plan and programmes which operationalise the Strategic Plan, positive and negative, intended and unintended. In particular:
  • What difference has the Strategic Plan made to key stakeholders?
  • What specific programme activities/interventions led to the difference identified in the preceding question?
  • What individual, environmental and structural effects has the Strategic Plan brought to individuals, communities, and institutions – either in the short‐, medium‐ or long‐term?
  • What specific components led to the above effects?
  • Were the desired results achieved?
  • Has the Strategic Plan realized impact as per its goal?
  • Are results intended/unintended; positive/negative, micro/macro?
  • Relevance:  The extent to which ARASA’s Strategic Plan meets the needs and priorities of target groups. In particular:
  • Is the Strategic Plan the appropriate solution to the identified problem(s)?
  • Does the Strategic Plan consider political and social tensions in its design and implementation?
  • Are the Strategic Plan’s goal and outcomes still relevant and attainable?
  • What is the value of the Strategic Plan in relation to priority needs of key stakeholders?
  • What is the value of the ARASA partnership in relation to the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
  • To what extent does the current structure of the ARASA partnership help or hinder the implementation of the Strategic Plan?
  • Is/are the problem(s) identified by the Strategic Plan still a major problem(s), particularly for the ARASA partners?
  • Are the outcomes beneficial to key stakeholders, particularly the constituencies served by ARASA partners?
  • To what extent is the Strategic Plan aligned to other initiatives or interventions by other players in the target areas (particularly ARASA partners)?
  • Sustainability:  The continuation or longevity of benefits ARASA’s Strategic Plan after the Strategic Plan period has ended. In particular:
  • Are programme activities/interventions likely to continue after donor funding ends?
  • Does the Strategic Plan integrate non‐discrimination and participation of key stakeholders into activities?
  • Do key stakeholders accept the Strategic Plan, are they willing to continue?
  • Have implementing partners and other key stakeholders developed the capacity and motivation to continue activities/interventions?
  • Can activities/interventions to operationalise the Strategic Plan become self‐sustaining financially?
  • Are the results sustainable?

Methodology and Timeframe

The review will be undertaken during a period of 5 weeks, and a final report submitted by 31 March 2022. 3 weeks shall be dedicated to desk research and field visits/ virtual interviews. The remaining 2 weeks shall be used to draft and finalise the report.

The consultant is responsible for recommending an appropriate methodology, which should include a combination of both quantitative and qualitative tools and can include a desk review, analysis of regional and national level activities and results, interviews with implementing partners and other programme stakeholders, facilitation of reflection sessions and surveys / assessments.

Deliverables

A review report shall be submitted electronically in English to the ARASA Director (felicita@arasa.info), covering all of the issues outlined in this ToR and consisting of 2 main (stand-alone) parts:

  1. Review of progress made to date against the Strategic Plan, its goal, outcomes and related targets (not less than 25 pages but not exceeding 35 pages in length); and

2. Mid-term evaluation of the “My Body is not a Democracy” programme (see ToR at www.arasa.info or email maggie@arasa.info for a copy) – not less than 25 pages but not exceeding 35 pages in length.

Qualifications and Key Skills

  • Demonstrated experience leading evaluation and review of NGO Strategic Plans (particularly related to evaluating policy advocacy-related Theory of Change processes) in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Demonstrated experience and knowledge in various methods and tools for monitoring, evaluation and learning (including Results Based Management).
  • Strong analytical skills related to quantitative and qualitative data and ability to filter for outcomes and impact.
  • Proven experience in evaluating regional or multi-country advocacy organisations and programmes implemented by civil society (including key and marginalized populations).
  • A basic understanding of key health and rights (particularly sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)) issues / challenges facing southern and east Africa (particularly regarding the status of HIV prevention, access to safe abortion, sexual orientation and gender identity and SRHR in Universal Health Coverage) will be an added advantage.
  • Ability to respect confidentiality and establish a safe (interview) setting and trusting relationship with respondents.
  • Ability to use innovative methods of data collection.
  • Flexible approach to planning and responsive to contextual changes.
  • Excellent English writing, presenting (and other communication) skills. 

Deadline for Submission of EOI

  • The deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest is close of business on 28 February 2022.

The selection process will be completed by end of February and decisions will be communicated around the beginning of March 2022. Consultants are expected to commence work immediately following contracting.

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