Terms of Reference: Final evaluation of the SDG Joint fund project, Social Protection for the Sustainable Development Goals in Malawi: Accelerating inclusive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (2020 to 2021)

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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1. Introduction

  1. These Terms of Reference (TOR) are for the final evaluation of the joint programme on Social Protection for the Sustainable Development Goals in Malawi: Accelerating inclusive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SP4SDG). This activity evaluation is commissioned by three UN agencies in Malawi; World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and International Labour Organization (ILO). The evaluation will cover the period from January 2020 to December 2021. Geographically, the evaluation will cover two levels: firstly, the national social protection system and secondly, the local government (district) level. The districts will be determined based on the 2020/2021 lean season response.

  2. SP4SDG is a UN Joint Programme that aims to support the Government of Malawi (GoM) to enhance the Malawi social protection system to meet emergency food needs and reduce the vulnerability of those most at risk of food insecurity by 2022, while strengthening the social protection system for all vulnerable households across the lifecycle. The programme combines advancing an innovative Shock-Sensitive Social Protection (SSSP) prototype with reinforced financial structures and the transformation of existing policies into legal frameworks to enhance the existing social protection system to be more robust, comprehensive and sustainable, leaving no one behind.

  3. SP4SDG will directly contribute to the 2019-2023 United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) in its alignment with Outcome 7: Households have increased food and nutrition security, equitable access to WASH and healthy ecosystems and resilient livelihoods as well as to the Country Decent Work Country Programme 2020-2023 (DWCP), . Priority 3: Enhancing and Extending the Coverage and Quality of Social Protection, Outcome 3.1: Enhanced quality and coverage of social security schemes and Outcome 3.3: Quality and coverage of Malawi’s social protection interventions and institutional capacity enhanced.

  4. These TOR were prepared by WFP Malawi, UNICEF Malawi and ILO Malawi based upon an initial document review and consultation with stakeholders and following a standard template. The purpose of the TOR is twofold. Firstly, it provides key information to the evaluation team and helps guide them throughout the evaluation process; and secondly, it provides key information to stakeholders about the proposed evaluation.

2. Reasons for the Evaluation

5. The reasons for the evaluation being commissioned are presented below.

2.1. Rationale

6. The evaluation is needed at this time for the following reasons:

  • To assess the extent of achievement of the results and targets set out in the results framework; and

  • To understand the extent to which the programme has contributed to accelerating progress towards the sustainable development goals, focusing on social protection.

  • The evaluation is needed at this time to meet commitments made to commission an evaluation for learning and accountability: i. The funds are to be spent by December 2021. ii. Many staff across the 3 UN agencies are project funded, meaning after December 2021 their posts may not exist (i.e. postponing until after project implementation ends runs the risk of an evaluation without the technical leads). iii. From the beneficiary side, the cash component will run until March 2021 – whilst there is some flexibility about when we can collect data, if it is delayed too far (i.e. to August/ September 2021) there is a risk of beneficiaries confusing it with upcoming 2021 lean season work.

7. The findings will provide the Government of Malawi, WFP, UNICEF, ILO and other key stakeholders valuable lessons on what has worked and what has not worked in the acceleration of SDG targets for consideration in the design and implementation of other similar programmes in future.

2.2. Objectives

8. This SP4SDG evaluation will serve dual and mutually reinforcing objectives of accountability and learning.

  • Accountability – The evaluation will assess and report on the performance and results of the SP4SDG. This evaluation will, therefore, ensure that the Development Assistance Committee of the Economic Cooperation and Development (DAC/OECD) evaluation criteria of Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact and Sustainability are adequately covered.

  • Learning – The evaluation will determine the reasons why certain results occurred or not to draw lessons, derive good practices and pointers for learning. It will provide evidence-based findings to inform operational and strategic decision-making. The evaluation will deepen knowledge and understanding of underlying assumptions that guided the design and implementation of the programme. Findings will be actively disseminated and lessons will be incorporated into relevant lesson sharing systems.

  • Given the amount of social protection work (see Annex 6) being implemented in Malawi, this evaluation will put more emphasis on learning through consolidation of lessons in ways that will enhance design and implementation of social protection activities to ultimately better serve target beneficiaries and the lives of members of their communities.