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ToR of ORS firm

Income Support Program for the Poorest (ISPP)-JAWTNO Project

TERMS OF REFERENCE

Operational Review Services (ORS)

 

 Background

 

The Income Support Program for the Poorest (ISPP)-JAWTNO (ISPP-Jawtno, the “Program”) - a co-responsibility cash transfer (CCT) safety net program, implemented by the Local Government Division with the help of  the World Bank, provides income support to poor mothers in 444 Unions in 43 of the poorest Upazilas in Dhaka and Rangpur Division. The objective of the Program is to (a) increase mothers’ use of child nutrition and cognitive development services, and (b) enhancing local level government capacity to deliver safety nets.  Quarterly cash transfers are made to eligible households based on four types of co-responsibilities related to ante-natal care (ANC) and growth monitoring and promotion (GMP) activities.  Implementation is based through the Safety Net Cell (SNC) at the Union Parishad, which is responsible for overall coordination and monitoring of the Program, and involves partner stakeholders including Community Clinics (CC) to deliver services and awareness sessions and Union Post Offices to make electronic payments to beneficiaries using Postal Cash Cards upon compliance with co-responsibilities. 

 

The Government has received a Credit from the International Development Association (the “Bank”) in an amount equivalent to US$250 million, toward the cost of the ISPP-Jawtno, which includes a technical assistance component to support and facilitate implementation of the CCT program for targeting beneficiaries, including enhancing local-level government capacity and monitoring and evaluation of the Program.  The Government intends to apply a portion of the proceeds of this Credit to eligible payments for an Operational Review firm. 

 

The Program is at the last stage of its implementation phase with an official closing date of June 15, 2022. An operational review of the last 6-8 months of project activities is expected to provide a qualitative assessment of the Program’s operational aspects.

 

Objective

 

The objective of the assignment is to review the program implementation activities on the ground through process evaluations and spot checks to:

  1. Validate that program implementation is as per ISPP Operations Manual.
  2. Assess whether program benefits are reaching the intended beneficiaries, including small ethnic communities and groups.
  3. Assess whether the payment and distribution methods are functioning smoothly.
  4. Evaluate roles of stakeholders at the Upazila and Union level.
  5. Provide feedback to LGD with evidence-based recommendations on future improvements where/when necessary.

Description of Activities

 

Methodology

 

The Firm will be responsible for two main tasks: (1) process evaluation and (2) spot checks.  A variety of quantitative and qualitative tools would be used to accomplish the objectives of the process evaluation and spot checks. These tools might include, but would not be restricted to direct observation, in-depth interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions. The data acquired will be critically analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques.

 

Process Evaluation

 

The process evaluation will provide a qualitative assessment of the project’s operational aspects. It will assess administrative issues and constraints for a sample of locations and consolidate feedback from different stakeholders on the implementation of the program. The firm will observe and assess the activities of all implementing partners, including the SNC, CCs and the social mobilization and CNCD services firm.[1]  This will help the Government understand the effectiveness of key components of the Program and its partners.

 

The process evaluation will be carried out to assess whether:

  1. Field operational processes are adequate and are being carried out by LGD and its implementation partners as laid out in the operational manual/ implementation plans. These include training, beneficiary outreach, service delivery, community social mobilization, compliance verification, payments, and case management;
  2. There are barriers to program implementation, service utilization, unexpected situations, or unanticipated effects that require adjustment of implementation strategies;
  3. Program staff are able to deliver services, and
  4. Target populations have been reached, and beneficiary women are receiving the intended services and cash transfers.

 

Spot Checks

 

Union level spot checks will provide feedback on program implementation; impact of CNCD sessions; utilization of program benefits and progress in harmonization of SSN implementation at the local level.

 

Spot checks should include, although is not limited to:

  1. Beneficiary surveys providing a quantifiable assessment of performance from a representative sample of Unions, and
  2. Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) assessments on a random sample of beneficiaries to track the extent to which beneficiaries are improving their knowledge about nutrition and child cognitive development and adopting relevant behavior change.

 

Sampling

 

ISPP is implemented in 444Unions in 43 of the poorest Upazilas in Rangpur and Mymensingh Divisions.  The Program is at its last stage of implementation with six months of services, compliance and payment activities to be observed.  At least 20 percent of all implementing unions (or 90 unions) must be covered through the operational review.  This can be done by observing 15 unions each month, with no more than 2 unions taken per upazila per month. A work plan for the duration of the assignment specifying unions to be covered each month must be shared with the Project Management Unit for approval.

 

Scope of Work

 

Through the combination of process evaluations and spot checks, the Firm will gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of ISPP-Jawtno processes and outputs / outcomes by reviewing the following activities and processes during the course of the project:

 

  1. Stakeholder training:  A variety of training has been provided to different stakeholders through the course of implementation.  The review will gather feedback on the timeliness, coverage and effectiveness of the training, including any feedback for improvement. The report should distinguish between the different trainings and trainees, including whether training was targeted at the District, Upazila or Union level.
  2. Community social mobilization:  The firm will review the effect of community social mobilization.  This should include any change of understanding, attitude and practices among community members and partners of the Program. 
  3. Service provision:  The firm should evaluate NGO and CC service delivery capacity, regularity of service provision in sample locations, applicability of CNCD curriculum to different beneficiary groups, quality of training for project personnel, and quality of beneficiary training material and delivery. The Firm will be expected to record the repercussions of Covid 19 on beneficiary households and the role of the Program in their lives during the pandemic era. 
  4. Compliance: Compliance is registered when beneficiaries swipe their Postal Cash Cards (PCC) and provide their biometric data at the POS machines provided at each service delivery location.  This records attendance at each session through the MIS and generates a payment list.  The Firm will conduct a review of compliance monitoring process design and ease of transaction, ease of existing compliance reporting procedures (e.g. transfer of attendance data), and feedback mechanisms. Service delivery locations in all the sampled Unions should be observed. The firm must record any precautionary measures adopted by the Program during the COVID-19 period and the impact of these measures on the beneficiaries.
  5. Payment transfer: The Firm will conduct are view of all aspects of the payment process including, payment processes (POS at Union Post Offices), payment grievances, issues related to disbursement, reconciliation, lapses/malpractices, etc. Payment locations in all the sampled Unions should be observed.
  6. Case management: Case Management is a continuous process during the payment-compliance cycle which tracks changes in beneficiary household information, and addresses beneficiary grievances. Changes and grievances may be related to shifting of beneficiary category; graduation from the Program, and issues related to payments, among others.  The Firm will review all aspects of the case management system, at the Union level, including types of cases; duration and nature of case resolution; grievances lodging and resolution process, including time duration. 
  7. Safety Net Cells: The Firm will review the performance and effectiveness of SNC operations as a one-stop-shop center for beneficiaries, including their role in monitoring and reporting on Program implementation.

 

Additional Duties and Responsibilities

 

The Firm will also be responsible for the following aspects related to conducting the operational review:

 

Hiring and training of staff: The firm will ensure that every person who takes part in the assignment is properly trained and clearly understands the details of the program.  All training material, including the Operations Manual, as well as any other additional material deemed necessary, shall be distributed to the staff.

 

Resource mobilization:  The Firm will mobilize necessary human, physical and financial resources to complete the tasks assigned as part of the consultancy. This would include the logistics (offices, office furniture, communication setup, transportation, office supplies, computers, printers, scanners, photo copiers, maps, survey material, etc.) as well as sufficient resources for management and oversight for appropriate quality control.

 

Institutional arrangements:  The Firm shall ensure that appropriate reporting structures are in place to manage the Operational Review process.

 

Reporting and Deliverables

 

The firm will report to the Project Director, ISPP-Jawtno Project, Local Government Division and will be required to produce the following outputs:

 

  1. Inception Report, which will cover, but is not limited to,
    • A comprehensive and detailed plan for the process evaluation and spot checks, including sampling methodology.
    • Drafts of relevant survey tools.
    • Core team details, including roles and responsibilities.
    • A detailed monthly work plan with specific timetable on Union coverage.
  2. Draft Operational Review Reports (3).  Reports will be submitted every ten weeks, covering findings from the process evaluation and spot checks of the previous two months.  The report should include recommendations and lessons learned for any future rollout of the Program.  Up to three draft reports will be submitted for the duration of the assignment.
  3. Presentation of Draft Report (3). The Firm will present its findings to the PMU following submission of each Draft Report. 
  4. Final Operational Review Reports (3).  Based on feedback from the PMU, the Firm will finalize and submit the final reports no later than two weeks after receiving comments.

 

In addition, the Firm is expected to provide the following:

  • All evaluation tools, including survey questionnaires, focus group discussion guides, etc.
  • Data from process evaluation and spot checks: A soft copy of the quantitative and qualitative data collected, and its comprehensive analysis will be provided.
  • Any other report specifically requested by the Client. 

 

Time schedule for deliverables

 

Inception Report

Within two weeks of contract signing

Draft Operational Review Report and presentation

Within two weeks of completing every three months of the review services

Final Operational Review Report

Within two weeks of receiving feedback on draft report. 

 

Duration

The duration of the assignment would be Nine (9) months and the agreed time schedule of tasks must be followed strictly. 

Qualification/Experience of the Consultant

 

The Firm should fulfill the following criteria:

  1. At least 10 years of experience in Process/Program/Project evaluations. Field based monitoring and evaluation of Processes/Programs/Projects would be a distinct advantage.
  2. The firm should have a sound financial record, with three years’ of audited accounts
  3. The firm should demonstrate an understanding of various M&E frameworks that are used to analyze the Processes/Programs/projects from both qualitative as well as quantitative points of view. It should be familiar with modern tools and techniques being used internationally for process reviews and participatory assessments.
  4. The firm should demonstrate an understanding of local cultures with an ability and capacity to work in local languages.
  5. The firm should ensure that its personnel meet the highest standards of qualification, technical/professional competence and experience necessary for the successful implementation of the assignment.

 

Proposal Submission

 

Applicants will be expected, at a minimum, to:

  1. Demonstrate that the process evaluation and spot checks will be effectively managed
  2. Ensure that the findings are appropriately and sufficiently collected, collated and analyzed
  3. Include a draft work plan indicating staffing, anticipated scope and scale of coverage, and draft timetable
  4. Provide details of key staff to be employed

Annex A:  Summary of Main Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities

 

Project Management Unit (Local Government Division): Design and develop the program and the implementation plan. Forge partnerships with the following government agencies: (i (i) the DGHS to work with CCs to coordinate the ANC visits and GMP sessions and facilitate the CNCD awareness sessions; and (ii) the BPO to facilitate biometric-enabled electronic payments. Recruit a firm to conduct CNCD sessions, as well as supporting the CCs in ensuring ANC visits and GMP sessions. Manage fund flows to ensure timely payment to CCT compliant mothers. Contract independent third party process evaluation and spot check consultants. Communicate, coordinate and facilitate the work of above implementing partners.

 

Upazila offices: Through the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) with the support of the Safety Net Program Supervisor (SPS), coordination of Upazila level project related processes. The existing Upazila level Coordination Committees headed by the respective UNO act as the core institutional structure at this administrative level to support implementation and supervision.

 

Safety Net Cells: At the Union level, a SNC is set up at the existing Union Parishad Complex, staffed by a Safety Net Program Assistant (SPA), to facilitate implementation at the local level. SNC supports all administrative functions of the ISPP, i.e. beneficiary enrolment; compliance monitoring; payment; appeals and grievance redress.

 

BPO: Responsibilities of BPO include printing of JAWTNO cash cards; transferring appropriate amounts to  beneficiary accounts as per PMU instructions; conducting regular cash withdrawal camps and supporting beneficiaries in withdrawing their funds; addressing payment-related grievances; preparing and sharing a summary of all transfers made or otherwise returned, and reconciling all transactions with the PMU.

 

Community Clinics:  Community Clinics serve as the service point for ANC and GMP services.

 

Social mobilization and Child Nutrition and Cognitive Development Services:  The Projecthas appointed BRAC to work with CCs to support delivery of ante-natal care and growth monitoring and promotion services, as well as deliver CNCD services to beneficiary mothers.  BRAC is also responsible for community social mobilization activities. 

 

Beneficiaries:  Beneficiaries are pregnant women or mothers of children under the age of five from poor households.  They are expected to utilize services related to their children’s nutrition and cognitive

development against which they receive quarterly cash transfers.

 

Annex B: Project Locations

 

#

District

Upazila

Number of Unions

1

Mymensingh

Phulpur

10

2

Mymensingh

Tarakanda

10

3

Mymensingh

Dhobaura

7

4

Mymensingh

Nandail

13

5

Mymensingh

Muktagachha

10

6

Sherpur

SherpurSadar

14

7

Kurigram

Bhurungamari

10

8

Kurigram

Chilmari

6

9

Nilphamari

Jaldhaka

11

10

Lalmonirhat

Hatibandha

12

11

Kurigram

Phulbari

6

12

Kurigram

Rajarhat

7

13

Kurigram

Ulipur

13

14

Kurigram

Nageshwari

14

15

Kurigram

Sadar

8

16

Kurigram

Char Rajibpur

3

17

Gaibandha

Sadullapur

11

18

Gaibandha

Palashbari

8

19

Gaibandha

Gobindaganj

17

20

Gaibandha

Sundarganj

15

21

Gaibandha

Fulchari

7

22

Gaibandha

Saghata

10

23

Gaibandha

Gaibandha Sadar

13

24

Jamalpur

Melandaha

11

25

Jamalpur

Sadar

15

26

Jamalpur

Dewanganj

8

27

Jamalpur

Bakshiganj

7

28

Jamalpur

Sharishabari

8

29

Mymensingh

Haluaghat

12

30

Mymensingh

Trishal

12

31

Jamalpur

Islampur

12

32

Mymensingh

Bhaluka

11

33

Mymensingh

Fulbaria

13

34

Sherpur

Nakla

9

35

Mymensingh

Mymensingh Sadar

11

36

Mymensingh

Ishwarganj

11

37

Sherpur

Sreebardi

10

38

Sherpur

Jhenaigati

7

39

Sherpur

Nalitabari

12

40

Jamalpur

Madarganj

7

41

Kurigram

Raumari

6

42

Mymensingh

Gauripur

10

43

Mymensingh

Gafargaon

15