VCA Mid-Term Review: Terms of Reference for VCA Zambia Local Consultant

  • Job Type: Consultancy
  • Location: Zambia
  • Date Posted:

Company Name: WWF Zambia

Company Summary:

Job Description:

Climate change impacts everyone everywhere, but not equally. Specific groups such as women, youth, Indigenous peoples, and marginalised ethnic groups are far more vulnerable to climate shocks. Yet, these groups barely have a say in climate decisions, both at national and global level.
To that end, with the financial and technical support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) under the ‘Power of Voices’ (PoV) framework, organisations in the Global South and North, namely Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), Fundación Avina, Slum Dwellers International (SDI), SouthSouthNorth (SSN), Hivos and WWF-Netherlands established an alliance known as the Voices for Just Climate Action Alliance (VCA). The vision of this Alliance is that “by 2025, local civil society groups have claimed a central role as empowered innovators, facilitators and advocates of climate solutions.”
Since 1 January 2021, the Alliance Partners have been working together to deliver an adaptive programme of activities which is being implemented over a period of five years in six regions namely Bolivia- Paraguay, Brazil, Indonesia, Kenya, Tunisia, and Zambia, as well as a Dutch and global component. The Partners have put structures and processes in place that have laid a solid foundation to tackle the climate challenges using a flexible and adaptive learning centred approach. These include the Steering Committee, Joint Programme Team (JPT), Programme Advisory Committee (PAC), National Advisory Committees (NAC) and several key Task Forces (TF) such as Finance, Communications, and Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (PMEL) as well as the Regional Teams (RT) and the Global Programme Team (GloPro).’
This document is the Terms of Reference for a Local consultant to document and lead a learning process in Zambia that is part of an overall VCA programme Mid-Term Review for the period 2021- mid-2023. A report of the process has to be delivered by the end of July 2023
Climate change is considered to be the biggest threat to the modern world. The mean global temperature has increased by +1.3 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline with increasingly frequent and extreme climatic events, threatening to drive another 100 million people into poverty by 2030. Climate change is a “crisis multiplier” with effects on poverty, ecosystems and water, food and energy security. The Covid-19 pandemic may further exacerbate climate change impacts, resulting in significant backsliding against the Sustainable Development Goals.
Like many countries around the world, Zambia is also facing the effects of climate change. Between 2004 and 2014, Zambia was one of the world’s fastest growing economies with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth averaging 6.7% per annum. Growth slowed to an average 3.4% per annum from 2015 to 2017, due to falling copper prices, reduction in the country’s power generation, and depreciation of the kwacha.  The adverse impact of the COVID–19 pandemic further led the economy into a deep recession with real GDP contracting by about 4.9% in 2020. Half of Zambians, the majority being women and young people, still live in poverty, a situation worsened by the slump in economic growth and rising inequalities in recent years. Industrial activity and natural resource exploitation is on the rise in a bid to boost economic growth while a growing population has led to increased demand for agriculture and housing. On the other hand, high poverty levels have also fueled the unsustainable use of natural resources, which the rural and urban poor depend on for their food, water and energy security. The unsustainable exploitation of natural resources has exacerbated the impacts of climate change, while financing systems for climate action remain weak. Climate change is taking a toll on Zambia in many ways. The increasing incidents of droughts, floods, rising temperature, heat waves and wildfires have led to energy shortages, crop failure, water insecurity, collapse in fish stocks, increased health risk, pressure on ecosystems, among others. There has never been a greater urgency for Zambia to work in new ways to fight against the climate crisis. Climate change is not a remote prospect; it is a crisis now!
Voices for Just Climate Action
The Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) is a 5-year programme (2021-2025) supported by the Dutch government under the “Power of Voices” framework. The programme aims to scale up Zambia climate action response targeting vulnerable communities. This action recognizes that climate change is not only an environmental problem but also a societal challenge that brings in ethical and human rights issues. Climate change affects the enjoyment of indivisible, interdependent and interrelated human rights, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest and threatening to increase existing inequalities between the rich and poor, ethnicities, sexes, generations and communities. The greatest burden falls on those already in poverty and on underrepresented groups such as Indigenous peoples, the rural and urban poor, women and youth, although they are the least responsible for climate change.
We are at a critical stage, not only in our fight against the climate crisis, but also in addressing the economic and social challenges to transform our societies in a sustainable, just and inclusive manner. VCA therefore seeks to drive locally-shaped solutions to climate change challenges by empowering local civil society groups and citizens to have their voices heard and be advocates and co-creators in finding solutions. Civil society needs to engage and especially amplify the voices of those who have been left at the margins of decision making and climate action to influence climate change policies. Business as usual approach to climate action will no longer suffice and is no longer appropriate.
VCA Vision: A Zambia where civil society is heard & respected by influencing and co-creating locally relevant, inclusive and fundable climate solutions that deliver real benefits to people & nature as part of a local & global response to this crisis.
 VCA Alliance Partners: The programme is being implemented through an Alliance of five partners consisting of WWF Zambia, Hivos Southern Africa, Akina Mama wa Afrika, South South North (SSN) and Slum Dwellers International (SDI).
VCA Focus Areas/Districts –: VCA operates in the Lower Kafue Basin and Lusaka Province regions across 10 Districts namely; Luangwa, Rufunsa, Chongwe, Lusaka, Kafue, Chirundu, Siavonga, Chikankata,
VCA Target Groups: The target group for the VCA intervention in Zambia is centred around those who are most vulnerable to climate change impacts: women, youth, urban poor, rural communities, and marginalised groups. Women, young people and other marginalised groups often have critical perspectives on power structures and alternative approaches to the climate crisis. This Alliance sees harnessing these diverse perspectives, alternative approaches and women’s leadership as key to ensure the voices of marginalised groups are heard.
Thematic Areas: VCA targets five key thematic areas; water, food, energy, health and gender in relation to climate change. These thematic areas will thus form the basis of our climate action which is focused on advocacy while emphasising a rights-based and intersectionality approach to amplify civil society voices in climate action.
Thematic Areas
Strengthening the resilience of natural freshwater and critical human water systems to reduce risks for communities facing high water stress, inadequate water quality, and impacted by floods and droughts
Innovative food system approaches to improve access to sustainable, diverse, and nutritious food and ensure food security. Sustainable agriculture which addresses the threat to livelihoods and food and nutrition security through crop failures resulting from climate impacts
Strengthening energy security of Zambians in the face of energy shortages as hydroelectric power is exposed to the variability of rainy seasons. Addressing the unsustainable use of natural resources resulting in deforestation as the rural and urban poor continue to depend on wood fuel for energy
Strengthening the capacity of urban poor communities to cope with climate-related hazards resulting from poor access to sanitation and drinking water, inadequate solid waste management and insufficient infrastructure for water and sanitation which leads to disease outbreaks, particularly during flooding episodes
Strengthening the feminist and transformational leadership capacity of CSOs, women’s networks and youth groups to amplify their voices for inclusive, rights based and just climate transition. Recognizing that the socio-economic and political challenges that communities face are interlinked and therefore, that the solutions to emerging challenges such as the climate crisis require an intersectional approach for the overall scaling of climate solutions, especially for women.
VCA Strategies:

Strong lobby and advocacy and movement building efforts for inclusive, locally led nature based and climate adaptation solutions. Through a strong advocacy agenda, we aim to influence system-level change as the right level of change
Strong focus on learning, learning questions and mutual capacity building throughout the planning and implementation phases. An in-depth understanding of the context is essential, and the theory of change will be used to show how and why the desired change is expected to happen
Co-creation of real solutions on the ground to tackle the challenges around climate focused on water-food-health-energy-gender
Adaptive management approach which will provide the flexibility for civil society partners to adapt to changing circumstances and contexts
Linking and strengthening the re-defined narrative in the role of citizens in climate action and amplifying grass root voices through a climate movement building
Bridging divides (urban-rural, gender, youth) and linking actors through unusual and innovative partnerships that amplify voices in new unusual ways
Innovation around improving transparency and accountability on climate change impacts on communities
Knowledge Brokering and Management strategies for gathering, sharing and uptake, to ensure that locally relevant and applicable information on climate action is accessible and usable. This will include mapping key knowledge stakeholders and audiences, identify opportunities for convening appropriate fora for knowledge exchange, tailoring appropriate knowledge products to different target audiences, whether these are policy briefs, films, animations, online tools, games or other innovative products
Local COVID-19 context and policies will be taken into account with appropriate adaptation measures to program implementation to ensure safety for all

Purpose of the MTR
The main purpose of the MTR is to enable the VCA Alliance and Ministry to take stock of progress, to reflect on changes in contexts and partnerships, to learn and consider what this means for the Theories of Change in each region and the Global programme, as well as at the overall VCA programme level.
The MTR will focus on 2 aspects:
1. Programmatic focusing on: How regional and global programmes have adapted to context, and what their contributions to outputs and outcomes suggest about their potential to achieve Strengthening Civil Society and thematic Result Framework basket indicator targets. At the same time, it will also consider what this suggests about whether assumptions in their theory of action hold and support regional, global and overall programme theories of change (TOCs).
2. Partnership collaboration focusing on: leading from the south, partnership with the Ministry and the Embassies, lessons learned and good practices
Where needed, findings and lessons will support course corrections, such as strengthening partnership arrangements and adjustments of 5-year outcome targets. This is with a view to enhancing the overall efficacy of VCA during the final two years of implementation in each region and at the global level, aside from issues such as sustainability and ownership.
They will also inform recommendations on how to strengthen the quality of PMEL processes and data to enhance the evaluability of VCA and the rigour of the final evaluation to ensure alignment with IOB criteria prescribed by the Ministry.
Evidence generated by the MTR process will inform reflections on the overall VCA programme theory as the basis of recommendations to feed into the new MFA policy cycle and related updates of relevant frameworks and instruments.
Purpose of the Assignment
This TOR outlines the objectives of and role of an external consultant who will support the VCA Zambia RT in critical reflections around the following possible questions (which will be further contextualized)
1. Programme

Are we implementing programme activities as planned?  Are they resulting in the quantity and quality of results expected?  How and why or why not
Are our outputs likely to contribute to expected outcomes, including on crosscutting themes (gender, youth, climate)? How and why or why not?
Has the context or our understanding of the context changed since the programme started? Has this influenced any adaptations/course corrections to date? Will it influence any course corrections in the future?
How have we mitigated or managed risks (including SEAH, fraud and corruption) and what effects has this had?

2. Partnerships: to be detailed in Q1 and refined based on context

How have we been aiming to establish trusting, respectful and equitable relationships and governance arrangement among the different types of partners?  How or why have they worked or not and how and how is that affecting our programme results?
What approaches have we used to establish strategic relationships between the different types of partners and the Ministry and or Embassies? How and why has this worked or why not?
Are the VCA consortium partners aligned and operating towards delivering the overall Zambia and global VCA vision? Are there gaps in implementation and approaches?

3. Implications:

Based on our learning and reflection above, is there a need to update targets and or the theories of change, including the overall VCA one?
What if anything, do we need to adapt to further local ownership and leadership by Southern Actors?

The MTR process is not a data collection exercise, rather it is about analysis, reflection and learning. Such analysis will be based on data and evidence already gathered through regular monitoring outcome harvesting, and Narrative Assessment.
Once contracted the consultant will be expected to conduct a light review of key documents shared by the RT/GloPro. These will include the most up to date reports and outcomes harvested, as well as other key documents such as baselines, context analysis, strategies and original theories of change plus any documents that capture lesson learning and adaptations. This review should include recent findings from the Kenyan action research study which is a key document to prompt critical reflection on relationships within the VCA Alliance and between Alliance Members, with locally contracted partners, and with the Ministry and Southern CSO partners.
After reviewing these documents, the regional consultant will engage with the external consultant coordinating the MTR at the global level.  Together they will decide how to develop context specific questions and context appropriate methods, including reference to the Kenya case study for a one-to-two-day learning workshop to be held in July,2023 before the annual planning process.
They will also agree to the format for the country level learning reports. Context specific questions and methods should then be developed with coalition partners, including actors from the Global South. Care will be taken that the contextualization ensures local partners involvement in defining learning topics that make sense to them and safeguards the highest degree of bottom-up way of working balanced with one coherent MTR framework for the overall VCA.
Following the workshop, the consultant will prepare a short report 8-10 pages on these lessons and submit them to the independent external consultant coordinating the MTR by the end of July.
Expected activities
The local consultant is expected to carry out the following specific activities

Prior to kick off of the data collection exercise the consultant shall develop an inception report (5-8 pages) that will be reviewed by the reference group ie the MTR Regional Zambia team
Framing /research questions: working with the regional team and global consultant to contribute to the framing of the medium-term review at the country level and contextualise the research questions
Document review: review key VCA and country level documents, including the baseline, annual progress reports and outcome harvesting database
Data collection:   collect data using Key informant interviews/focus group discussions as appropriate, working with the Regional Zambia team
Workshop:  plan and facilitate a learning-based workshop for the VCA alliance and key stakeholders
Data analysis and report:  analyse the data and develop a report (8-10 pages) 

Key Qualifications and Experience
Successful candidates do not need to be evaluation experts; we are looking for consultants who meet the following criteria:
Essential knowledge skills or experience

Experience facilitating critical learning events that consider power relations
Experience working with theories of change in complex advocacy programmes
Strong analytical capacity to review and analyse qualitative data
At least 5 years’ experience in the working on climate change related projects
Ability to work on tight deadlines

Desirable knowledge skills or experience

Cultural sensitivity
Prior experience working on multi-level, multi-country international projects
English language report writing skills
Familiarity with climate change and climate justice debates and advocacy in Zambia

Outline of work plan and timeline 2023
Contracting local MTR consultants
Regional Team in consultation with global consultant
May-June 2023
Document review by local consultants
Regional consultant
June 2023
Design of regional MTR workshops
Regional consultant in consultation with Global Consultant, PTF country coaches
June 2023
Conduct of MTR workshops
Regional Teams
Writing of regional learning report 
Regional consultants
By end July
Key Deliverables Regional Level

Reflection and learning event
Learning report

Duration of consultancy
The assignment can take maximum 10 – 15 days (start June 2023 to end August, 2023)
Application procedures
Application l Submission deadline: 26th May, 2023.
Proposed start date of the assignment: 12th June, 2023.
Interested applicants should submit a 2-page concept note describing how they would approach the work and outlining relevant skills and experience together with

Cover Letter
Indicative budget (including daily or an hourly rate) in dollars

Submit the applications to the following email addresses [email protected] with copies to  [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Successful candidates will be engaged in a short interview by 1st June, 2023. If you have not heard from us by 1st June 2023, consider your application as unsuccessful.

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