Request for Proposal of Services:
Final Evaluation of the Carter Center’s Strengthening Citizen Voices to Advance Electoral Reform and Democratic Governance in Liberia
The Carter Center is seeking a consultant to conduct a final evaluation of a program funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
The Carter Center’s Democracy Program seeks to advance democratic elections and governance in Liberia consistent with universal human rights. During Liberia’s 2017 presidential and House of Representatives elections, with support from the Government of Sweden, The Carter Center capacitated the Liberia Election Observation Network (LEON), an umbrella organization with national coverage and a presence in each of Liberia’s 73 electoral districts. (LEON) was formed as a nonpartisan civil society network of four large Liberian organizations representing all aspects of society, including women, youth, people with disabilities, and religious groups. It comprises the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP), the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), and the National Union of Organizations for the Disabled (NUOD).
With Carter Center support, LEON trained and deployed Liberians to observe and report on the 2017 presidential and legislative electoral process. It had long-term observers in each of the country’s 73 electoral districts and over 1,000 short-term observers at work on each election day. LEON’s nonpartisan observers reported on the electoral process in real time using online tools. Using this information, LEON issued reports and press statements on aspects of the electoral process and emerged as a recognized and respected voice on election-related issues in Liberia.
Since the 2017 elections, The Carter Center conducted a second phase of programing with LEON from 2018 – 2021 to gather and share information about governmental issues, encourage citizen engagement, build confidence in government, and support peaceful electoral processes. Through its initiatives, the project seeks to strengthen citizen voices to advance electoral reform and democratic governance. The project includes a focus on women, youth, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities and is focused on six main areas of activity: advocating for electoral reform; encouraging constitutional reforms; observing legislative by-elections; monitoring the legislative branch to improve transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement; conducting surveys and discussion groups to ensure citizen input on legislative and government programs; monitoring the effects of social media on Liberia’s democracy. The program also included cross-cutting activities to support LEON’s organizational capacity and development.
The total timeline for the evaluation is estimated to be 10 weeks or less. Travel to Liberia is contingent on proposed evaluation methodology and health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.
Background and Context
The Liberia Elections Observation Network (LEON) was launched on May 25, 2017, as a partnership between The Liberian Crusaders for Peace (LCP), the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), and the National Union of Organizations for the Disabled (NUOD). This newly formed network serves as a unique platform
in the Liberian political landscape that emphasizes the participation and representation of marginalized segments of the Liberian people, in particular women, youth, and persons with disabilities.
The steering committee guides program implementation, sets organizational policy, and manages public, narrative, and financial reporting. Currently, a seven-person secretariat includes finance and logistics officers along with regional coordinators, who also serve as national-level observers/analysts. All the secretariat personnel are currently part-time. LTOs operate in each of Liberia’s 73 electoral districts, apart from Monrovia where each team covers two districts.
Programming has been conducted in two phase, with phase one focused on LEON’s formation and observation of the 2017 national elections and phase two focused on building LEON’s organizational capacity and engaging in substantive programming in the field of democracy and governance durin the period between elections. While we hope that an evaluation can do a review of work around the 2017 national elections with national elections in 2023, we anticipate that majority of review of this evaluation will be focuse don this second phase of programming.
Phase 1: 2017 national elections. In advance of the 2017 national elections and with support from the Embassy of Sweden, The Carter Center provided technical and financial assistance to LEON to organize a robust long-term observation of the 2017 general elections. Supported activities included development of TORs for the secretariat staff and observers, training on the technical requirements of observation and the practical skills required to recruit, train, and manage observers in the field. As a result, LEON recruited and trained a cadre of 146 long term observers (LTOs), ensuring 2 LTOs per electoral district. Operating in teams of two, the LEON LTOs observed and reported on the exhibition of the voters list, political party primaries and nomination of candidates, campaign period, electoral violence, polling, counting and results tabulation for both rounds of the election, and the postelection period. LEON gained experience in administering citizen surveys, and implemented three surveys over the 2017 electoral period. LEON trained approximately 1,000 short-term observers (STOs) to observe and report on the first and second round of polling across all 73 electoral districts. Based on the reports from the LTOs and STOs, LEON released eleven detailed and well substantiated public statements, which served as a reliable source of information on the electoral process for citizens, candidates, and election administrators.
During the 2017 pre-election, election, and post-election periods, LEON grew from a new organization with limited knowledge of election observation to a functional network with the technical and logistical expertise to deploy more than 1,000 STOs country-wide on election day. With technical assistance from the Carter Center, LEON played an important role in the Liberian electoral landscape and brought greater attention to the issue of marginalized communities in the electoral process.
Phase 2: 2018 – 2021 — gather and share information about governmental issues, encourage citizen engagement, build confidence in government, and support peaceful electoral processes. Following the 2017 elections, The Carter Center and LEON entered into a second phase of programming from 2018 -2021 geared towards building LEON’s capacity through implementing activities and strengthening organizational systems and structures.
During the second phase from 2018 – 2021, programming focused on six main areas of activity: advocating for electoral reform; encouraging constitutional reforms; observing legislative by-elections; monitoring the legislative branch to improve transparency, accountability, and citizen engagement; conducting surveys and discussion groups to ensure citizen input on legislative and government programs; monitoring the effects of social media on Liberia’s democracy. The program also included cross-cutting activities to support LEON’s organizational capacity and development.
The program to be evaluated was one component of a larger Sida-funded program focused on Access to Justice. This evaluation would focus only on The Carter Center’s work with the Liberian Election Observation Network (LEON). This work was executed in two phases, with the first phase from April 2017 – February 2018 and the second phase from June 2019 – January 2021.
While this evaluation will cover both periods and feedback on our work around the 2017 national elctions would be valuable, we also recognize that this evaluation should have a reasonable scope. We anticipate the largest focus of this evaluation will be on the more current Phase 2 of programming outlined below.
The objectives as outlined in the program’s logical framework are the following:
Phase 1: Strengthening Access to Justice in Liberia: Year One Elections Programming
Intended Outcome 1.2: Reliable information provided to citizens on the implementation of election laws by a trained cadre of long-term citizen observers
Dates: April 2017 – February 2018
Phase 2: Strengthening Citizen Voices to Advance Electoral Reform and Democraitc Governance
Dates: June 2019 – January 2021
Objective 1: Improve information, citizen engagement, and confidence in government and peaceful electoral processes
Key Result 1:
Advocacy results in proposals for legislative and constitutional reform that reflect recommendations from observers around Liberia’s 2017 national elections and are consistent with international human rights
Key Result 2:
Reliable information on by-election procedures, violence prevention, and implementation of election laws provided by a trained cadre of long-term citizen observers
Key Result 3:
Through surveys reliable information is provided to the public on issues of national interest that inform policy
Key Result 4:
Legislative monitoring improves transparency and accountability of Liberia’s legislature
This program has been guided by the following Theory of Change (ToC):
IF LEON is strengthened through substantive technical, operational, and financial capacity building and also properly resourced, THEN LEON will play an integral and sustainable role in supporting credible elections and democratic governance in Liberia.
Purpose, Objectives and Scope
The Carter Center seeks to conduct a final evaluation of the program focused on the results achieved, efficiency, and effectiveness of implementation. The findings of the evaluation are expected to provide a comprehensive analysis of the program’s achievements and lessons learned, in order to contribute to accountability and learning within The Carter Center and inform future program phases. The primary users of the analysis will be The Carter Center, LEON, and SIDA.
The evaluator will address criteria based on the OECD – DAC standard.
The Carter Center seeks to assess the extent to which the objectives and activities of the intervention responded to needs in Liberia during the period of implementation.
- How did the program respond to in-country needs during the two time periods of implementation?
- Were the objectives of the programs achieved?
- In what way were different program activities relevant for the Liberian context (election observation, legislative monitoring, social media observation, election reform advocacy, surveys)?
- To what extent were the activities and outputs of the program consistent with the intended impacts and effects?
- In what ways did the program achieve success in establishing LEON as a credible voice on elections and democratic reform?
Effectiveness and Efficiency
The Carter Center seeks to evaluate whether its intervention has contributed to the intended objectives in a timely fashion. The Center is seeking an analysis of how well program interventions aligned with stated objectives, including any changes that were made to the intervention’s design during implementation. The Carter Center also seeks to assess how economically resources/inputs (funds, expertise, time, etc.) were converted to results.
- How did the program reached the specific objectives and expected results it planned to achieve?
- Did efforts to achieve the objectives progress within a reasonable time frame?
- What were the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the objectives?
- Did the intervention deliver its output and outcomes in an efficient manner? How well were resources used to produce results?
- Was the project cost effective?
- How has LEON coordinated with other civil society groups working in areas of democracy and governance? Are there ways in which this coordination could be improved in the future to strengthen the role of civil society in democratic space in Liberia?
The Carter Center seeks to identify the short-, medium-, and long-term effects produced by the intervention. These effects may be positive or negative, direct or indirect, intended or unintended. The Carter Center wants to identify how the program has contributed, or not, to changes in LEON’s ability to advance election reform, observe and report on elections, conduct surveys, conduct legislative monitoring and reporting, and conduct social media monitoring and reporting.
- Is there evidence to demonstrate that the implementation of the sub-grant projects contributed to the improvement of the technical capacity of LEON?
- Is there evidence to demonstrate that the implementation of the sub-grant projects contributed to the improvement of the organizational capacity of LEON? Are there areas of strength and weakness in LEON’s organizational structure and processes?
- How did different program activities and outputs have an impact (election observation, legislative monitoring, social media observation, election reform advocacy, surveys)?
- What evidence demonstrates that LEON has had increased success in those endeavors over the course of the two projects? What factors served to constrain them?
- How were program outputs, particularly LEON’s fact-based surveys and reports, utilized by Liberian officials, civil society actors, and other stakeholders? How were LEON’s program outputs utilized by the international community? How were LEON’s outputs utilized by LEON to advance its work and apply content?
- In what ways did program outputs have an impact on political discourse?
- In what ways were the project’s efforts to include a focus on women, youth, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities successful?
Sustainability is concerned with measuring whether the benefits of an activity are likely to continue after donor funding has been withdrawn.
- Following this program, in what wayis LEON positioned to continue to contribute to strengthening democracy in Liberia?
- What potential is there for continued relevance for LEON in Liberia’s democratic space moving forward?
- In what ways are LEON’s structure, systems, substantive technical knowledge, and organizational capacity adequate for the organization to be sustainable? Are there particular areas that could be strengthened to increase LEON’s sustainability?
- In what ways is LEON’s voice recognized as influential by Liberian stakeholders and the international community?
- How did LEON’s activity in the period between elections contribute to its sustainability and potential to play an effective role in Liberia’s next national elections anticipated in 2023?
- In what ways LEON poised to conduct program areas (election observation, surveys, legislative monitoring, social media monitoring) with more limited technical assistance going forward?
- In what ways is LEON drawing increased recognition and/or support from donors?
- What gaps and opportunities still exist within this body of work?
- Where there are concerns about backsliding and a closure of democratic space in Liberia, are there ways that LEON or other actors in Liberia could protect against any attacks on democracy?
- What are the most useful ways the international community, including aid organizations and non-governmental organizations, can continue to engage in Liberia to strengthen democracy and governance?
- What lessons from this work can be considered “best-practice” and might be adaptable to other contexts?
The Carter Center will rely on entities to include in their proposals the proposed methodology for conducting the evaluation. At this time consider host country government directives and guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic we anticipate that the evaluation will be conducted through a hybrid model with an international evaluator working remotely and a Liberian evaluator(s) working in coordination in Monrovia. We believe that the primary sources of data can be collected and analyzed remotely, including project documents and virtual interviews with key stakeholders. Where remote data collection methodologies are proposed, consideration should be given to whether any groups or individuals may face potential protection or safety risks, and mitigation strategies can be considered for any such risks. The Carter Center looks forward to proposals that suggest the most appropriate evaluation methodology given the limitations of the ongoing global pandemic.
The total timeline for the evaluation is estimated to be nine weeks. Deliverables and suggested timeline follow.
|ACTIVITY||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6||Week 7||Week 8||Week 9|
|Virtual Data Collection||x||x||x|
|Virtual Debrief Meeting||x|
|Submission of First Draft||x|
|Submission of Second Draft||x|
|Submission of Final Report||x|
- Desk study and review of all relevant program documentation 8 working days
- Documents to be provided include program proposals, program annual narrative reports, program GAANT chart data, list of relevant stakeholders, and program outputs (public reports, statements, event agendas, etc.).
- Submission of inception report including description of the following (2 working days):
- Evaluation work plan and timeline
- Methodology and data collection tools
- Virtual sessions and, where possible, field visits to Liberia to conduct focus groups discussions and interviews with key stakeholders, etc. Carter Center staff can facilitate connecting the evaluator to or bringing together the relevant participants as necessary. 15 working days
- Virtual debrief meeting with staff in Liberia and Atlanta to present broad findings to field staff. 1 working day
- Submission of first draft of final report in English for review and feedback by Carter Center staff, 5 working days, The Carter Center reserves 5 working days for review. The draft should include:
- Executive summary of key findings and recommendations
- Table of contents
- Research findings
- Lessons learned/recommendations
- Appendices, including terms of reference, list of interviewees, evaluation itinerary, research tools, evaluator’s biography, other annexes (including pictures, if taken).
- Submission of second draft of final report for review and feedback by Atlanta-based Carter Center administrative staff. 3 working days, The Carter Center reserves 3 days to provide comments
- Submission of final version of report of publishable quality. Within 4 days following the deadline for receipt of comments.
Logistics and budget
At this time, we anticipate that the evaluation will be conducted virtually with some in-country support provided as-need by The Carter Center office.
Where necessary the Center would facilitate the travel of local partners to meeting locations in order to connect virtualy or participate in any in-person focus groups or other data collection exercises, under the guidance of the external evaluator.
The evaluation will be managed by the Associate Director in Atlanta and the Project Manager in Liberia (who will be working remotely from the UK during the time period of this evaluation).
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 (to be provided prior to deployment).
The Carter Center shall have legal title to any research, statistical and other data and documentation created by the evaluator, and SIDA/OGD will have unlimited access to such material.
- At least 10 years of experience conducting program impact evaluations for NGOs, international organizations or other relevant institutions
- Demonstrated ability to conduct field research and to use participatory evaluation methodologies, including collecting data through interviews, surveys and focus groups
- Extensive knowledge with elections, human rights, and democracy and governance programming and the Liberian context (preferably work experience in the country/region)
- Extensive knowledge with civil society, capacity building, and non-partisan civil society election observation
- Strong written and verbal communication skills in English
- Adaptability and experience working in remote and conflict-prone areas
Please send CV, cover letter, a short technical proposal (max 5 pages), including consultant fee expectations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include in the subject line: SIDA Evaluation Candidate [Your Name]. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
 All program documents are in English.
 All deliverables should be provided in English.