Evaluation Consultancy, Financial Exclusion Programme in Rwanda, Zambia and Sierra Leone, Remote

Comic Relief

Comic Relief (CR) is seeking a consultant/team to undertake the final evaluation of the Branching Out: Financial Inclusion at the Margins programme co-funded by Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA). The Terms of Reference is here.

In October 2017, JOA and CR joined forces to address financial exclusion in Zambia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. The partnership committed to driving forward frontline financial inclusion which aims to bank the unbanked, invest in digital financial services that reach last-mile communities without access to financial services, and to increase the capacity of the regulatory authorities responsible for overseeing financial services. The programme is operating in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Zambia. Our current expectation is that the evaluation will focus only on projects funded in Rwanda and Zambia as the only project in Sierra Leone is not thematically related to the others. However, the programme also funded work operating across all three countries and at a global level. Therefore, we would like to discuss the merits of also including these grants with the shortlisted evaluators.

The consultant(s) will conduct a review of two projects funded in Rwanda and nine projects in Zambia, analysing secondary data and undertaking participatory methods, to understand what impact the projects had on financial inclusion at the policy, institutional and field level. The assessment will determine what lessons can be learned from the organisations’ approaches and whether they are replicable in other similar contexts, as well as formulate recommendations for avenues of expansion of financial inclusion programming in both countries. We particularly welcome applications from teams of consultants whose members are either based in one of/both the two countries, or who can bring first-hand knowledge of the Rwandan and Zambian financial inclusion contexts.

The purpose of the evaluation is to identify and interrogate outcomes achieved through the Branching Out: Financial Inclusion at the Margins programme and assess their impact on financial inclusion in Zambia and Rwanda.

This evaluation intends to provide evidence on the extent to which the organisations we supported were successful in furthering financial inclusion in Rwanda and Zambia, particularly in regard to bottom of the pyramid communities, digital financial services, and the growth of policy environments conducive to greater inclusion. With this evaluation we intend to provide evidence not only about ‘what works’, but also on the ‘how’; that is, what are the conditions that can foster effective and active engagement of communities, supervisory bodies and financial service providers. Therefore, the intended audience of this evaluation includes both programme stakeholders (delivery partners and the two funders), as well as other stakeholders in the wider financial inclusion sector.

We expect that much of the research for this evaluation will involve analysis of secondary data about the programme. Therefore it is anticipated that most of the work will be desk-based (e.g. reviewing reports produced by funded partners, internal monitoring data, relevant case studies, background research, etc.). However, we would also like the evaluation to be as participatory as possible within the given budget and timeframe, to fill the gaps in the secondary data and to add voice from the funded partners, through key informant interviews, focus groups and/or peer learning workshops (either remotely or in person if possible/feasible). In addition, we welcome applicants to suggest other participatory approaches that they feel would be appropriate.

We expect this piece of work to ideally be conducted between June and August 2022, however we are open to discussing alternative timelines with the selected candidate. The consultant(s) are expected to produce the following deliverables:

  • Remotely attend an introductory meeting with CR;
  • Develop a learning plan (evaluation framework) that includes refining the learning questions and focus of the evaluation after the initial desk research and consultation with funded partners;
  • Undertake an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data already available;
  • Conduct interviews with funded partners and other key informants;
  • Facilitate any group learning sessions that might be required;
  • Facilitate a remote findings session with CR and funded partners;
  • Produce a final report containing an executive summary and recommendations for funders and organisations involved, that takes on board at least two rounds of feedback from CR and JOA;
  • Possibly produce additional learning output/s to share knowledge within the sector;
  • Remotely attend a final debrief with CR and JOA.

Applicant’s Profile and Competencies:

  • Sound and proven experience in conducting evaluations and assessments for international development programmes
  • Significant expertise in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
  • Significant expertise in financial inclusion or related fields
  • Ability to clearly communicate accessible findings and recommendations to a variety of audiences and stakeholders, i.e. without using jargon
  • A strong understanding of the context of financial inc/exclusion in Zambia and/or Rwanda; previous working experience in Zambia and/or Rwanda is desirable
  • Experience in facilitating learning and participatory processes to validate and integrate research findings into actions
  • Experience in conducting phone-based/remote interviews
  • Experience in facilitating workshops and other learning activities online

Budget available: GBP 31,500 including all fees, expenses and taxes (if applicable). Agreed expenses for travel and other costs can be claimed against receipts. Value for money will be considered when analysing the tenders.

How to apply

Tenders will need to include (4 pages of A4 max.):

  1. Supporting statements as to how you fulfil the applicant’s profile and competencies
  2. A description of the suggested approach and methodology
  3. Team composition, roles and responsibilities
  4. Your approach to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults; logistical and management planning; quality control by supervisors; data cleaning and editing before any analysis
  5. The name and contact details for two independent referees.

Annexes should include:

  1. A budget for the work including figures for fee rates, participation costs, expenses and VAT (please be sure to differentiate VAT from other expenses) where applicable
  2. CVs of relevant team members (max. 2 pages per person)
  3. A breakdown of the expected allocation of days, including key milestones and accompanying timeline
  4. Two examples of relevant, previous work by the applicant (ideally of a comparable nature/scale)

Applications must be submitted by 9am (UK time) on Tuesday 10th May 2022 to Emma Frobisher ([email protected]) with the subject ‘*Branching Out: Financial Inclusion at the Margins – Final Evaluation’*. Any applications received after this time will not be considered. If you have any queries in relation to your submission or to any requirements of this tender, please contact Sian Herschel ([email protected]).

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to discuss their proposals in more detail at Comic Relief’s discretion. We have held interview slots on 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 30th May. If you anticipate any issues with availability on these dates, please state this in your cover email and we will do our best to accommodate you.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their application is complete and meets the requirements laid out in this Terms of Reference. Failure to comply may lead to your proposal being rejected. Please ensure that you read and fully understand the requirements of this consultancy.

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