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International Consultant for conducting a study of youth activism in Republic of Moldova

Terms of Reference

International Consultant for conducting a study of youth activism in Republic of Moldova

The Good Governance Program of Soros Foundation-Moldova (SFM) seeks an international research consultant to carry out a national study on youth activism.

Period of Commitment: 20 days, during September – November 2016
Language: Fluency in written and spoken English is essential.
Location: Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Start Date: September 15, 2016

To apply please send your applications, by August 15, 2016, 17.00 (Chisinau time), to the following email address: foundation@soros.md and pculeac@soros.md with the subject „Good Governance Program – International Consultant”

1. Background
One of the key distinguishing features of an open and democratic society is the active and meaningful participation of citizens, including young people, in public, political and civic spaces, where they can demand their rights, contribute to the decision-making processes, help solve community issues and demand more accountability and transparency from public authorities. The Soros Foundation – Moldova has a strong commitment to include youth in its civic participation activities, the main objective being to support relevant community initiatives that contribute to an improved governance by generating demand for transparency and accountability from public authorities. In order to better inform its activities of supporting young people as drivers of change in the country, the Good Governance Program of the Soros Foundation – Moldova will conduct an exploratory exercise to collect relevant data about youth and youth-led activism in Moldova. Good Governance Program's mission is to contribute to an increased transparency, accountability, effectiveness and efficiency of the government in alignment with European standards

2. Purpose of the study
The scoping will provide clear data, both qualitative and quantitative, to help the Soros Foundation – Moldova identify who the young activists that work on Foundation’s priority areas are (rather than scoping the youth field per se), to what extent they are able to participate in the creation of open societies, how they are organized, how they influence their communities, how effective they are and what they might need to work more effectively to achieve their vision. Given this theoretical framework, the study should include a wide range of youth activists in formal and non-formal organizations, established and emerging ones, e.g. politically affiliated, independent/ volunteer, youth networks, youth movements, umbrella organizations and other forms of youth activism that can be reached out to, in Moldova.

The main deliverable of the scoping exercise will be a comprehensive report (of about 30 pages) that must present and assess the following:

  • Definitions. Who do we talk about when we talk about young people as agents of change in the country (what age group and what experiences are we referring to)?
  • Who are the young catalysts of change? What are the formal and informal organizations and emerging movements (scouting element of the mapping) that we are looking at? Who are the ones making innovating/coming up with new solutions, etc.? What are they doing? Through what means -- movements, new NGOs, music/art, inter-generational movements, etc.?
  • Theory of change. Organizations’ / movements’ vision, theory of change, advocacy techniques and tactics, links to local communities and religious scholars/communities. What is working and not working? How and why is it working or not working and by what criteria (design, structures, processes, etc.)?
  • Financial and non–financial resources. What are the financial and non-financial resources that these organizations have? Non-financial ones include volunteers, for example. What is the prevalence of different kinds of support from external actors to youth activists/ youth-led organizations in Moldova? Are youth CSOs able to register and function with ease? How do youth-led organizations/ young activists perceive and judge the contribution (positive and negative) of different kinds of support from external actors? What kinds of support from external actors are youth-led organizations/ young activists seeking in the context of the Republic of Moldova and what would it enable them to do?
  • Diversity of youth perspectives and voices that make up the context. Youth is not a homogeneous group. Which young people have a space/ are encouraged to contribute? Who is not included in formal organizations? Are they allowing their constituencies of young people to play decision-making roles? Is there a gender balance? Are there colleagues from diverse backgrounds?
  • National trends in youth activism. What does innovation mean in youth activism in the Republic of Moldova? What new methodologies are used by young activists? What is their impact?
  • Specific external / contextual opportunities and threats: political opportunities, revision of legislation, international frameworks, etc. How do young activists deal with security concerns? What are intergenerational opportunities? How do youth engage with groups that aren’t just youth focused/centered?
  • Gap and strengths analysis and strategic and operational recommendations to the Soros Foundation - Moldova on how to engage with youth stakeholders (established and emerging, new and existing grantees) and collaborate in Foundation’s priority areas.
  • Inspiring practice examples and the criteria used for the selection.

3. Methodology
The data for this scoping exercise would be based on desk and field research in the Republic of Moldova. The methodology should ensure that the scoping engages with a diverse range of stakeholders operating within the Republic of Moldova, including the new actors identified. The international Consultant will include in the methodology the following (but not limited to):

  • Detailed work plan of the research activities to be carried out
  • Selection criteria to be used for selecting the interviewees
  • Desk review of data sources (reports, reviews, existing evaluations, research and studies, etc.). A method of analysis for documents will also be developed by the consultant undertaking the exercise.
  • Semi-structured interviews with young activists, independent or representatives of established and emerging local and national organizations of young people, movements, academia and research centers, media, student associations, and other relevant actors. Other possible methodologies to be used: the listening and learning methodology, appreciative inquiry (supporting youth activists to focus on what they would like to achieve), focus groups, surveys, etc.

4. Workload

  • Developing the structure of the research and of the methodology to be used – 4 days
  • Developing the research questions and the questionnaires, together with Country Consultant – 3 days
  • Conducting the interviews on the ground – 5 days
  • Analysis of the collected data and development of the first draft of the report – 5 days
  • Developing the final report (incorporating comments and feedback) – 2 days
  • Public presentation of the final report, in cooperation with the Country Consultant, and final debriefing with SFM – 1 day

5. Roles and responsibilities
The International Consultant in partnership with the Country Consultant is responsible for the specific design of the methodology, development of research questions and questionnaires, data analysis, and for the co-writing of the report and the presentation of results together with the Country Consultant.

The Country Consultant will be responsible for informing and adapting the design and implementation of the methodology in a manner which is most relevant for the local context. Guidance for the methodology (process, methods, tools and ethics) will be provided by the International Consultant who will be working closely with the Country Consultant through Skype calls and emails.

6. Qualifications for the International Consultant

  • Outstanding research, writing and analytical skills, with a minimum of 8 years’ relevant experience with a focus of working with youth-led processes that emphasize youth empowerment
  • Excellent skills in written English
  • Experience in data collection (participatory tools, interviews, focus group discussions if appropriate, observation), documentation, data storage, coding, analysis and reporting
  • Experience in multi-stakeholder project and team management, and in particular, partnering with local counterparts
  • Strong communication and facilitation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work in, respect and adapt to diverse environments.

7. The offer will include:

  • An outline of the proposed approach including the consultant’s vision and understanding of the youth activism theme and youth role in community action for improved quality of the governance
  • Proposed methodology outline
  • Curriculum Vitae (including the research experience, knowledge of the youth sector, youth activism in the context of good governance)
  • Financial offer (indicating costs/day in US Dollars, including any taxes payable by the contracted expert)

8. Selection criteria
The contract will be awarded based on the following criteria:

1. Quality of the technical proposal

  • best qualifications and experience;
  • proven knowledge of the domain;
  • prior experience in conducting similar research studies;
  • a well substantiated vision of the work to be conducted and methodology to be used,
  • a professional, rational and innovative approach to the task.

2. Cost of services
3. The ratio of the quality of the technical proposal to the cost of services will be of 85% to 15%

For additional information please contact Petru Culeac, Program Director pculeac@soros.md, or Alexandru Musteata, Program Coordinator, amusteata@soros.md