Title: Senior Researcher and Technical Expert
Location: Washington DC or can be performed off site with some travel to DC. If off-site, North America residency is preferred.
Length of Assignment and Start Date: 55 days, to start immediately.
Project: Meta-Evaluation of Strengthening Education Systems in Africa, by Building Host Government Institutional Capacity
Level of Effort: Short Term Technical Assignment for up to 55 days - One Senior Researcher/Technical Expert will guide efforts and oversee the quality of work and deliverables.
Purpose: To review the effectiveness of efforts undertaken between 2000 and 2015 to strengthen the institutional capacity of host countries in sub-Saharan Africa to build and sustain their education systems.
Contractor will conduct a comprehensive review of evaluations and assessments of education programs that were primarily or partially focused on host country institutional capacity development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) between 2000 and 2015.
- What are best practices in systems strengthening? How and why did they work?
- How can effective strategies be scaled up and sustained, politically, institutionally and financially?
- How is sustainability of systems strengthening measured? Indicators? Sustainability Plan? M&E Framework?
Contractor will perform a systematic review and analysis of the relevant research and evaluations and synthesize the overall impact of the techniques employed to build institutional capacity; note accomplishments, which ones were successful and those which were not successful; discern trends and shifts in systems strengthening areas over time; and develop policy recommendations that will contribute to future capacity development programs in the education sector. The review should include a discussion and analysis of systems strengthening in fragile and conflict-affected countries as well as in countries with stable governments.
The specific tasks are:
- Prepare an exhaustive list of evaluations of projects and other significant research studies completed in SSA over the 2000-2015 period that in part or in their entirety were designed to improve institutional capacity.
- Develop a methodology for selecting appropriate evaluations and research studies.
- Review and analyze the evaluations (including the projects themselves where necessary) and other research studies selected and develop a methodology for determining the effectiveness of their capacity building elements.
- Prepare a synthesis of the findings from the research and evaluations based on the above methodology.
- Develop policy recommendations that will help development of future capacity building programs in the education sector in SSA.
- Experienced international education researcher with a doctoral degree (PhD) in a social science or related field preferred.
- Must have excellent writing skills and high level of written English.
- Minimum of 8 years of experience in the design, implementation and/or evaluation of education systems strengthening or capacity building activities.
- Minimum of 10 years of experience working on relevant international education activities (education system strengthening or capacity building) with donor funded projects (preferably USAID/WB/DFID projects)
- Minimum 10 years of prior experience in developing countries (including sub Saharan African countries)
- Must have multiple country work experience.
- Workplan that outlines specific steps to be taken in the conduct of the research, with projected timeline.
- Including a brief description of the methodology that will be used to select appropriate evaluations and research studies.
- Final product of this investigation will be a report of no more than 30 pages excluding annexes and provided in MS Word and PDF format. It will include:
- Executive Summary of no more than three pages.
- Literature Review of existing research and program/project evaluations as noted in the Objective section. The review should also include other significant research studies conducted by USAID, universities, relevant bilateral and multilateral organizations, and civil society.
- Description of the methodology that was developed to analyze the evaluations and other research.
- Analysis of evaluations and other significant research
- Recommendations that will inform future education programming as to how it can strengthen education systems and provide insights into what gaps exist and what additional data and research is needed to close the gaps.
- Annexes containing transcripts of key informant interviews and other relevant materials.
- One to two-page practitioner briefer. The audience for this document will be education development professionals working in Africa.
- One to two-page policy briefer that includes visuals such as graphs, infographics, maps, etc. The audience for this document will be senior U.S. government officials and development professionals working in non-education sectors.
- Oral presentation to USAID and a webinar for USAID missions and Washington staff with a power-point presentation of analysis, findings and recommendations. Contractor will use USAID MS PowerPoint template: Standard Definition (4:3) / High Definition (16:9)
- Visuals in large-sized PNG format (400 KB minimum). All visuals (charts, infographics, maps, etc.) created for the report or other deliverables will be provided to USAID as stand-alone deliverables. Charts should adhere to the data visualization checklist (attached) and should utilize the USAID colors.
All deliverables will go through an iterative process responding to USAID’s review and feedback.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: February 6, 2018 or until filled.