The Carter Center is seeking a consultant to design and conduct an evaluation of a peer-to-peer mental health support pilot project in Myanmar. The project would contribute to building resilience of communities in conflict environments by increasing access to informal psychosocial support services, particularly for those in vulnerable groups. These services will be provided by ethnically diverse women’s civil society organizations.
The project is expected to run from July to November 2022. The consultant will have 20 days to conduct a remote evaluation, including a final report due by November 30.
Background and Context
Decades of conflict, military rule, and poverty in Myanmar have contributed to persistent adverse mental health outcomes in many sectors of the population. However, most people have historically had little or no access to mental health care, as this has long been a low priority for government, and the needs far exceed the availability of services. Scarce resources are concentrated in the private sector, and those who cannot afford private mental health care often go without care. In addition, mental health care is widely misunderstood and stigmatized.
The situation has significantly deteriorated since the February 1, 2021, coup. The military regime responded to peaceful protest with lethal force and mass detentions. As protest evolved into armed resistance, the regime has responded with extreme violence. Medical staff, who were key organizers of protests and strikes, have frequently been targeted, and medical services have been deeply affected, further reducing access to mental health care.
An important consequence is the impact on mental well-being, as more people are affected by stressor events, notably violence, displacement, economic decline, and COVID-19. This includes Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), protestors, detainees, combatants (soldiers, defectors, fighters in ethnic armed organizations, and civilians), as well as the families of those imprisoned, injured, or killed. Women, youth, ethnic minorities, and rural populations have been particularly impacted by violence and displacement. Economic decline and job loss have affected women disproportionately. Although post-coup mental health survey data is very limited, analysts have noted that the increased stressor events, combined with the significant decrease in the number of working health care staff due to their prominent role in the civil disobedience movement, have severely exacerbated the mental health situation. In addition, an indicator of mental health concerns, identified through Carter Center social media monitoring, is that violent content regularly forms a large percentage of the weekly top 100 most interacted with Myanmar-related posts on Facebook.
Contributing to resilience, however, many communities in Myanmar have a history of civil society and community networks providing basic health and social services, particularly in ethnic areas, largely due to limited government services.
Objectives: The pilot project will train staff and volunteers of women’s community and faith-based organizations in peer-to-peer counseling skills. The skills trainings will expand knowledge of participants about mental health, increase the capacity of women’s organizations to contribute to building mental health supports in their communities, and reduce stigma surrounding mental health. The project will provide non-mental health specialists with the knowledge, skills and professional mental health support needed to increase community access to basic mental health support. If successful, the project could potentially be expanded to other organizations and geographic areas in Myanmar
Pilor Project Timeline: The project to be evaluated will be executed in three phases: Phase 1 from June 15 – September 15, 2022, consisting of three sets of training at basic, intermediate, and advanced levels; Phase 2 in October 2022, consisting of a workshop for training participants; and Phase 3 in October and November 2022, in which participants will implement skills learned.
Task Summary: The consultant will work alongside the project to design and conduct an evaluation that will 1) document project results, 2) identify achievements, impact and lessons learned; and 3) apply this this information to assist team members in designing a larger scale project, if warranted. The findings of the evaluation are expected to provide a comprehensive analysis of the project’s achievements and lessons learned, in order to contribute to accountability and learning within The Carter Center and inform future peace/health project phases and work in general. The primary users of the analysis will be The Carter Center and project partners. The evaluator will address criteria based on the following criteria:
The Carter Center seeks to assess the extent to which the objectives and activities of the intervention respond to current need in Myanmar.
- To what extent did the program meet the needs of partner CSOs in Myanmar?
- To what extent are the objectives of the program valid? To what extent can The Carter Center continue to engage in the Myanmar CSO sector with the focus on mental health in the most useful and effective manner to the benefit of our partners and their beneficiaries?
- To what extent were the activities and outputs of the program consistent with the intended impacts and effects?
Effectiveness and Efficiency
The Carter Center seeks to evaluate whether its intervention has contributed to intended objectives in a timely fashion. The Center is seeking an analysis of how well project interventions aligned with stated objectives and what changes were made to the intervention’s design during implementation.
- To what extent has the program reached the specific objectives and expected results it planned to achieve?
- To what extent have efforts to achieve the objectives progressed within a reasonable time frame?
- To what extent have the Center’s capacity building activities improved partners’ ability to contribute to provision of mental health support as a part of their organization’s projects and in their communities?
- To what extent have partner CSOs increased their capacity to address mental health support-related issues?
- What were the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the objectives?
- Does the intervention deliver its output and outcomes in an efficient manner? How well are resources used to produce results?
The Carter Center seeks to identify the positive and negative, primary and secondary effects produced by the intervention. These effects may be direct or indirect, intended or unintended. The Center wants to identify how the pilot project has contributed, or not, to changes in Myanmar civil society and public perceptions of mental health.
- What evidence demonstrates that the implementation of the pilot project has contributed to the improvement of the organizational and technical capacity of partner CSOs?
- What evidence demonstrates that the pilot project’s implementation has contributed to the strengthening of CSOs to provide mental health support in their communities?
- What evidence demonstrates that the pilot project’s beneficiaries have been more successful in those endeavors? What factors served to constrain them?
- Are there other policy changes or debates that can be attributed to the programs?
Sustainability is concerned with measuring whether the benefits of an activity are likely to continue after completion of the Carter Center pilot project and after funding has been withdrawn.
- To what extent would the benefits of the program continue after completion of the pilot project?
- What are the major factors that would influence the achievement or non-achievement of sustainability of the program?
- To what extent are the Center’s Myanmar civil society partners drawing increased recognition and/or support from donors?
Deliverables and suggested timeline follow. The number of days is estimated in each case.
- Desk review of project documentation and submission of inception report. 5 working days
- Documents to be provided by The Carter Center include concept note, work plan, list of relevant stakeholders, list of participants, training calendar, information on the training, and participant surveys.
- Inception report should include a description of the following:
- Evaluation work plan and timeline
- Methodology and data collection tools
- Online interviews with key stakeholders. Center staff can facilitate scheduling calls with stakeholders. 5 working days
- Remote debrief meeting to present findings to Carter Center staff. 1 working day.
- Submission of first draft of final report for review and feedback by Carter Center staff, 5 working days. The draft should include:
- Executive summary of key findings and recommendations
- Table of contents
- Research findings
- Lessons learned
- Recommendations for design of larger scale project
- Appendices, including terms of reference, list of interviewees, research tools, evaluator’s biography, other annexes.
- Submission of second draft of final report based on Carter Center feedback on the first draft. 3 working days.
- Submission of final version of report of publishable quality within 2 days following the deadline for receipt of Carter Center comments on the second draft. 1 working day
The evaluator will report to the Myanmar Country Representative in Atlanta and will work closely with the Democracy Program and the Mental Health Program staff in Atlanta.
The evaluator will observe the highest standard of ethics and use his/her best efforts to protect The Carter Center against fraud, in the performance of the contract. In particular, the evaluator will not engage in any corrupt, fraudulent, coercive, collusive or obstructive conduct. The evaluator will agree to abide by The Carter Center code of conduct during the length of the consultancy.
The Carter Center shall have legal title to any research, statistical and other data and documentation created by the evaluator, and unlimited access to such material.
- At least 5 years of experience conducting project impact evaluations for INGOs, international organizations, or other relevant institutions. Experience in conducting evaluation of mental health projects is an asset.
- Demonstrated ability to conduct desk research and to use participatory evaluation methodologies, including collecting data through interviews, surveys and focus groups
- Familiarity with Myanmar context is an asset.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills in English
- Adaptability and experience working with conflict-affected communities.
To apply, please submit a CV and a cover letter, through the following link: https://airtable.com/shr3L4CeVDauRfMsu
The cover letter can be addressed to Jonathan Stonestreet, Associate Director, The Carter Center.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
 Aye, W.T., Lien, L., Stigum, H. et al. The prevalence of mental distress and the association with education: a cross-sectional study of 18-49-year-old citizens of Yangon Region, Myanmar. BMC Public Health 20, 94 (2020), p.2. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-8209-8
 “Mental Health in Myanmar: Challenges Pre- and Post- Coup”, Oxford Tea Circle, June 28, 2021, https://teacircleoxford.com/post/mental-health-in-myanmar-challenges-pre-and-post-coup/
 Project documents and materials are in English and Myanmar languages.
 All deliverables should be provided in English.