Consultancy for an assessment into the opportunities and challenges for the Early Childhood Development system

Country: Uganda
Organization: Aga Khan Foundation
Closing date: 13 Apr 2020

Terms of Reference – An assessment into the opportunities and challenges for the Early Childhood Development system to deliver quality, integrated ECD support to ECD service providers

Introduction and Background

Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and the Madrasa Early Childhood Programme (MECP) have been working in partnership with ELMA Philanthropies to improve the wellbeing of boys and girls aged 0-8 in Kampala, Wakiso, and Mukono Districts in Central Uganda. Since July 2017, the project built on existing ECD programming these three district authorities and worked with 80 primary schools, 40 ECD centres, and 14 health centres to benefit an estimated 59,280 children, 2,000 parents, and over 500 frontline workers. The four project outcomes were to:

  • Improve care practices including cognitive stimulation and nutrition, among caregivers of boys and girls aged 0-3
  • Strengthen the capacity of caregivers to support primary school readiness for boys and girls aged 3-5
  • Increase the capacity of primary schools to support successful transition and retention of children aged 6-8
  • Strengthen government system for the delivery of integrated ECD services at the district level

To reach these outcomes and achieve the objectives, AKF and MECP delivered multiple interventions including; i) professional development of ECD caregivers and lower primary teachers; ii) establish an Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) committees; iii) delivered a responsive parenting package (Care for Child Development) through health teams to reach household, and; iv) internal impact assessment.

AKF and MECP are interested to learn more about how the interventions have enabled the formal system to assume an integrated approach to delivering ECD. While the IECD committees are functioning, AKF and MECP would like to investigate if these are an appropriate solution, if so, how these could be more effective, how to address bottlenecks in the system, and what a variety of stakeholders consider to be the greatest opportunities and challenges to developing an integrated ECD system.

Study Objective

The main purpose of this assessment is to investigate the opportunities and challenges to the ECD system delivering quality, integrated support to ECD service provider (e.g. preschools, health centres, etc.). To achieve this, the consultant(s) will need to assess existing government frameworks and policies for ECD, review of relevant project documents, conduct in location interviews and focus group discussions with principal system actors, and any other data collection required to answer the key questions.

Study Focus

The four specific objectives of the study are to determine the:

  • Current effectiveness of the ECD system to provide quality support to ECD service providers
  • Contribution of project interventions toward improving the ability of the system to provide quality support to ECD service providers over the last two years
  • Challenges the system actors face in delivering quality support to the ECD system providers
  • Opportunities to improve the ability and functionality of the ECD system to provide quality support to ECD service providers

To achieve this is expected for the consultant(s) to assess system functionality, process (e.g. planning, implementation, review, etc.) and budget allocations as well as any other the consultant(s) consider to be important to answering the above.

Methodology

i. Study Area: The study will be conducted in three districts and project target sub-counties/divisions in parenthesis namely; Kampala (Makindye, Nakawa, Kawempe), Wakiso (Bussi, Kasanje, Namayumba, Kakiri, and Wakiso SC), and Mukono (Mukono municipality, Nakisunga, Kyampisi, Kasawo).**

ii. Study population: Respondents will include; i) district and sub-county officials from departments of administration, community development, education, health, production, planning, and water, and; ii) ECD service providers and frontline workers**

iii. Sampling Procedures: respondents will be chosen based on their system roles and functions as well as their overall engagement with the project and the IECD committees**

iv. Data collection: It is expected for this to be a qualitative study with quantitative data added (for example through survey data) where deemed appropriate by the consultant(s). It is also expected for the consultant(s) to source data from both primary and secondary sources. **

Key Deliverables

AKF and MECP expect the consultant(s) to deliver:

  1. Inception report to be signed off by AKF to clearly articulate:

  2. Study plan and timelines (must include how the study will ensure gender responsiveness and social inclusion)

  3. All data collection tools

  4. Data management plan (including data confidentiality and security)

  5. Data analysis plan with proposed disaggregation of data and dummy tables if required

  6. Child safeguarding and protection protocols

  7. Respondent consent form

  8. Data collection report to demonstrate progress and share any challenges

  9. Draft study report for AKF and MECP to provide feedback (must include all data sources (primary and secondary) and data analysis

  10. Final study report based on the feedback provided by AKF and MECP. This will be delivered in hard copy and soft copy. All annexes and supporting documents will be shared in soft copy only.

The draft and final reports must be delivered to a professional standard, bit in terms of language, data presentation, and formatting. It is expected for the report to be no more than 25 pages in length not including annexes. These reports will be delivered in and format agreed by AKF, MECP, and the consultant(s) and be clearly outlined in the inception report.

Expected Timelines, Deliverables and Due Date

Inception Report – Submit Inception Report including methodology, data collection tools, sampling, data analysis plan, work-plan and tools -**15th April 2020**

Data Collection Report – Progress report and challenges to date – 15th May 2020

Draft Report: this will follow the format provided and should include all preliminary analysis and findings clearly outlined under each study area – 29nd May 2020

Feedback from AKF/MECPU: AKF EA will have five days to comment and provide feedback on the draft report – 12th June 2020

Final Report: The final report should adhere to the reporting guidelines/format specified by the client – 19th June 2020

Consultancy Period and Fees

It is expected for the consultancy to start on Wednesday 15th April 2020 and finish with the delivery of the final report on Friday 19th June 2020. Payment of all consultancy fees and agreed costs will be disbursed in three instalments, 40% on signing of the contract, 20% on receiving the draft report, and 40% on sign-off on the final report. All consultancy fees will be liable to withholding taxes as per Ugandan law.

The consultant(s) will report to AKF Country Manager, but will collaborate and work with the broader AKF and MECP teams including, but not limited to, MECP Programme Director, MECP M&E lead, AKF M&E team in country and at the regional level, and the Regional Education and ECD Advisor.

Desired competencies and qualifications for this assignment

The applicant’s team should have the following qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in social sciences with academic experience in ECD desirable
  • Experience in delivering assessments of system and organisational functionality
  • At least seven years proven professional experience in conducting related studies and application of appropriate qualitative approaches to deliver high quality reports
  • Demonstrated data analytics and evaluation
  • Experience implementing safeguarding and protection protocols when working with children and vulnerable populations
  • Experience working in Uganda and the East African region in general
  • Excellent written communication skills in English

How to apply:

Please submit your qualifications, a potential quotation, and samples of your past work to [email protected] if you are interested.

Deadline 13th April 2020 and MECPU will contact the successful consultant by 14th April 2020

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