Evaluator – Global Shelter Cluster Strategy


Terms of reference for consultancy


Purpose: The Global Shelter Cluster (GSC) seeks to evaluate its Strategy 2018-2022, to assess progress in its implementation, identify achievements and possible gap areas, make recommendations for the last year of implementation and inform the development of the next GSC Strategy.

Audience: The GSC Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) will use the evaluation to disseminate achievements and address possible shortcomings and gaps in the implementation of the current Strategy. The GSC partners will use it to inform the development of a new strategy for the period 2023-2027. GSC co-lead agencies and partner agencies will use it for internal advocacy with senior management for increased recognition and support to the shelter sector. Donors are key stakeholders in the GSC Strategy process so that there is clear inclusion of their preferences and priorities, as applicable, and for increased mobilisation of support. Other global clusters will use it as a reference and to identify possible areas of joint action. OCHA will use it for information and advocacy purposes as relevant. The report will be public and available at sheltercluster.org.

Commissioners: This evaluation is being commissioned by the GSC co-lead agencies, IFRC and UNHCR.

Reports to: The evaluation will be overseen by an evaluation management team comprised of the GSC SAG co-chairs and one SAG member representative.

Timeframe: This assignment is for a maximum of 50 working days, from November 25, 2021 to February 28, 2022.*

Location: Home based with possible visits to Geneva during the SAG retreat on 9-10 December 2021, and other dates to be confirmed for consultation and/or presentation.


Following the 2005 Humanitarian Response Review commissioned by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, the IASC initiated a humanitarian reform process to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response by ensuring greater predictability, accountability and partnership. The cluster approach is one of the key developments resulting from the humanitarian reform. It strengthens system-wide preparedness and technical capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies by ensuring that there is predictable leadership and accountability in all the main areas of humanitarian response. It was designed as a way of addressing gaps and strengthening effectiveness of humanitarian action. By clarifying the division of labour, and better defining organisations’ roles and responsibilities, the cluster approach helps ensure predictability and accountability.

In December 2005, the IASC Principals agreed to designate global cluster leads in nine areas of activity, which later on was extended to eleven. The Global Shelter Cluster (GSC) is one of these areas and comprises a very diverse and broad network of humanitarian operational agencies, research and academic institutions , donors, service providers and other stakeholders encompassing a wide range of disciplines and expertise, with the shared objective of strengthening the shelter and settlements response to humanitarian crises.

In order to effectively meet its global responsibilities, the GSC agreed to organize and coordinate its activities through a management approach that allows participation and at the same time streamlines decision making. The GSC management structure includes a Strategic Advisory Group (SAG), which works to advance the cluster strategic direction, overall work plan, and advocacy. The SAG is composed of agencies and institutions of the Global Shelter Cluster based on agreed criteria.

The SAG developed and endorsed the current GSC Strategy for the period 2018-2022 (Annex 1), based on the priorities identified by GSC partners through an extensive consultation process. The GSC Strategy 2018-2022 aims to strengthen shelter and settlements responses that build resilient communities. The GSC Strategy includes four pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Coordination. Coordination contributes to a localized, predictable, effective and timely response.

  • Pillar 2: Advocacy. Increased recognition of shelter and settlements in humanitarian response and recovery.

  • Pillar 3: Evidence-based response. Shelter response informed by evidence, best practice and learning.

  • Pillar 4: Capacity. Shelter sector capacity to address ongoing and emerging challenges.

Evaluation objectives and scope

The objectives of the evaluation are to:

  • Assess progress and achievements in the implementation of the GSC Strategy 2018-2022, including unintended results.

  • Identify possible gap areas, including both expected results that have not been sufficiently achieved and issues that may have been missed in light of the changing context and humanitarian trends.

  • Provide recommendations for adjustment and corrective action for the last year of implementation of the GSC Strategy 2018-2022.

  • Provide recommendations for the GSC Strategy 2023-2027.

The primary unit of analysis is the GSC, as the network of partners with the shared objective of strengthening the shelter response to humanitarian crises. The scope focuses primarily on global level performance and results. The evaluation should center on the GSC activities in advancing the GSC Strategy. It includes country-level clusters only in assessing the role and function of the GSC in support of country-level shelter cluster deliverables. The period of analysis is 2018-2022.

Evaluation criteria and key questions

In meeting the objectives set out above, the evaluation will consider the following criteria and key questions:

Effectiveness and impact:

  • To what extent have the strategic aims and results been achieved?

  • What are the contributing and/or mitigating factors for achievement?

  • What positive and negative changes, intended or unintended, have taken place as a result of the implementation of the GSC Strategy?


  • Did the GSC Strategy enable access to additional funding and support the GSC fundraising efforts?

  • Have resources been made available to GSC partners and benefited country-level clusters? Have they been allocated through an open and transparent process?

  • Did the activities overlap and duplicate other similar initiatives?


  • Did the GSC Strategy aim, pillars and expected results reflect the needs and ambitions of GSC partners? To what extent did the GSC partners engage and participate in GSC activities?

  • Should the priorities be changed or adjusted in light of new needs, policies and humanitarian trends?.

  • Was the GSC Strategy 2018-2022 too narrow or too broad? Is there anything it overlooked? To what extent did it address the recommendations put forward by the evaluation of the previous GSC Strategy? Do some of those recommendations remain relevant today?

  • Was the GSC Strategy relevant to the needs and evolving contexts of the country-level shelter clusters? Did it reflect their needs and priorities?

Evaluation outputs

  1. An inception note (2-3 pages long) detailing the proposed methodology, data collection and reporting plans with draft data collection tools such as interview guides, a timeframe with dates for deliverables, and travel and logistical arrangements if applicable.

  2. A session plan and facilitation services at the 2021 SAG retreat to take place in Geneva on December 9-10, to review the current Strategy and identify priorities for a new strategy.

  3. Draft report – A draft report, identifying key findings, conclusions, and recommendations will be submitted for review and feedback.

  4. Final report – Concise, written report in English (20-25 pages long maximum) with key findings and recommendations and supporting information. The final report will contain a short executive summary and a main body of the report. Recommendations should be specific and feasible. This document should be of use for discussing the GSC experience in the implementation of its Strategy internally and also with key donors and other stakeholders, and address the objectives and areas of inquiry outlined above.

  5. Annexes – Additional notes, summary of evaluation activities undertaken including interview guide, list of stakeholders interviewed, questionnaire or survey if applicable, visits conducted with dates, list of documents reviewed, timeline that captures the milestones regarding the implementation of the GSC Strategy, and any other supporting documentation as appropriate, as annexes to the report.


The specific evaluation methodology will be further detailed in the inception note in close consultation between the evaluator and the GSC evaluation management team, but will draw upon the following methods:

  1. Desktop review: Review of available documentation, relevant background documents and records, reports, and any relevant sources of secondary data.

  2. Key informant interviews: with key stakeholders, including GSC SAG members, GSC partners and donors, OCHA, and others as relevant.

  3. Focus Group Discussion: with SAG members during SAG Retreat, Donor Consultation Group and others as relevant.

Other methods, such as a possible online survey or focus group discussions, will be detailed in an inception note to be developed by the consultant, as time and capacity allows.

An initial draft report will be prepared for a review process, which should occur within 1 week of submittal of the draft report to the evaluation management team, and will involve the following stakeholders in the following order:

  1. Days 1-2 of review process: the evaluation management team to check content is in line with TOR and standards.

  2. Days 3-7 of review process: GSC SAG agencies and other stakeholders participating in the evaluation.

The review process will be followed to ensure stakeholder input while maintaining the integrity and independence of the report according to the following criteria:

· Inaccuracy. Inaccuracies are factual, supported with undisputable evidence, and therefore should be corrected in the evaluation report itself.

· Clarifications. A clarification is additional, explanatory information to what the evaluator provided in the report. It is the evaluators’ decision whether to revise their report according to a clarification.

· Difference of opinion. A difference of opinion does not pertain to the findings (which are factual), but to the conclusions and/or recommendations. These may be expressed to the evaluator during the review process. It is the evaluator’s decision whether to revise their report according to a difference of opinion.

The external evaluator will provide an independent, objective perspective as well as technical expertise to the evaluation, and will be the primary author of the evaluation report. S/he should not have been involved or have a vested interest in the GSC activities being evaluated and will be hired in accordance with the IFRC procedure for the contracting of consultants, through a transparent recruitment process, based on their professional experience, competence, ethics and integrity for this evaluation. It is expected that the evaluator will be able to conduct a reliable and informed assessment of the implementation of the GSC Strategy that has legitimacy and credibility with stakeholders.

Management of consultancy

An evaluation management team comprised of the GSC SAG co-chairs and one SAG member representative will oversee the evaluation. The evaluation management team will provide the required briefing to the consultant, provide backstop support in dealing with any questions the consultant may have regarding the scope and content of the evaluation, facilitate information and background documentation required to gather data and analysis, and monitor progress of the evaluation to ensure timely completion. Communications with the consultant will be held as required.

*Closing date: 24 November 2021. As soon as a qualified candidate is identified, the contract will be awarded.

How to apply

Interested candidates should send their CV and a cover letter to [email protected] and [email protected], outlining in no longer than 1 page how their interest, qualifications and experience make them an ideal candidate for the position. The cover letter should also include the requested daily fee in Swiss francs.

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