REQUESTS FOR PROPOSAL: IRAQ OVERSIGHT AND IN-COUNTRY MONITORING

Purpose of Monitoring

Vital Voices is seeking in-country monitors to provide program monitoring and oversight on GBV activities in Iraq under the Voices Against Violence Initiative (VAV). Since 2013, Vital Voices has implemented the Voices Against Violence Initiative, a public-private partnership led by Vital Voices and funded with support from the Department of State and the Avon Foundation for Women. The program, led by a Consortium of allied organizations is designed to ensure that survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful traditional practices around the world have better access to the services, protection, and justice they deserve. Activities in Iraq include the provision of direct services and cash assistance for survivors of extreme forms of GBV through local Iraqi organizations.

Monitoring is intended to ensure that activities are occurring as scheduled and to provide some insight into the quality of activities completed and the impact that these activities are having on local partners, survivors of GBV, and their community.

The onsite monitoring and oversight will serve the dual and mutually reinforcing objectives of accountability and learning.

  • Accountability: The oversight and monitoring will assess and report on the performance of the program to help Vital Voices present high quality and credible evidence to DRL and its partners, as well as the general public, by making clear that cash assistance is distributed as intended and activities occur as scheduled, highlighting any red flags, and ensuring that any challenges are communicated in a clear and timely manner.
  • Learning: The oversight and monitoring will provide data to illuminate the reasons why certain activities occurred or not and if they had the desired results for survivors, to draw conclusions and recommendations, derive good practices and opportunities for learning at the programmatic level but also contributing to VAV’s subaward and contract activities in Iraq. Therefore, it will provide evidence to inform operational and strategic decision-making. It will contribute to Vital Voices and donor learning agendas.

Monitoring activities will be expected to occur on a monthly basis on-site in Iraq. Activities will primarily be based in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, but may expand to include additional sites in other regions of Iraq during the contract. The contractor will be expected to submit an observational report of their findings due 30 days following monitoring activities on a rolling basis throughout the length of the contract. The contractor will not be expected to provide an in-depth analysis but will be expected to provide sufficient data for Vital Voices staff to analyze monitoring findings.

Background

Program Objectives and Activities:

Activities in Iraq support the first objective of the VAV to increase access to global resources for survivors of extreme forms of GBV that allow them to address their urgent needs in the aftermath of violence or the threat of violence. Activities in Iraq support the following outcomes under this objective:

  • Survivors and potential targets of extreme forms of GBV are provided with needed urgent assistance;
  • Survivor-centered, tailored systems and mechanisms are established, capable of addressing and adapting to survivors’ unique urgent needs and circumstances and mitigating risk; and
  • Increased organizational capacity of local organizations who are able to respond to the needs of survivors.

The provision of urgent cash assistance is the single most significant activity under the award, with Vital Voices funding approximately $32,000 in urgent assistance cases for  an average of 10 survivors in Iraq each month through established LOA partners. The fund functions as a resource of last resort for survivors who have experienced or are facing imminent risk of extreme forms of GBV. The fund necessarily balances the financial risk inherent in providing direct cash assistance through strict vetting procedures and the specific needs of survivors and organizations serving them through survivor-centered and trauma-informed practices. This is an ever-evolving process of revision to maintain tailored systems to meet survivors needs while mitigating risk.

The third outcome was recently added to address the need for more comprehensive support services and greater organizational capacity to reduce reliance on the urgent assistance fund. . In addition to case assistance and comprehensive case management services,  activities may include staff training, development of organizational systems, and support for service centers. Monitoring will need to cover all of these activities.

Timeframe and Deliverables:

Phase 1

 (September 1, 2021 – November 15, 2021)

  • Submit Technical proposal and methodology of data collection
  • Meet with all partners in Iraq, Vital Voices staff and key stakeholders to identify expected results, indicators and generate a situation analysis report.
  • With inputs from the Vital Voices’ team, review projects’ documents including inputs, activities, and outputs,
  • Field monitors’ monthly on-site visits to Iraq partners.
  • Review existing tools, and indicators in use by Vital Voices’ Iraq partners
  • Finalize the monitoring methodology in coordination with Vital Voices staff with an opportunity for comment from the Department and additional stakeholders, as appropriate.

Monthly consultation with Vital Voices staff.

Phase 2 (November 2021 – December 2022)

  • Ongoing monthly on-site visits and semi-structured interviews with Iraq partners.
  • Semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, including local service providers, subawardee partners, and community members as needed.
  • Monthly consultation with Vital Voices staff.
  • Quarterly Semi-structured interviews with 10 selected beneficiaries’ of direct services and urgent cash assistance conducted in a manner that is trauma-informed and survivor-centered. The meeting schedule will be designed in coordination with local partners. Beneficiaries will be chosen for participation in coordination with Vital Voices staff and local partners and with beneficiaries’ consent to ensure their safety. Competitive proposals will include a plan for triangulating these data to adjust for necessary bias introduced by this sampling method.
  • Quarterly Review of selected beneficiary cases.
  • Monthly review of referring partner financial practices and documentation.
  • Observation of staff trainings and other activities to be determined in coordination with Vital Voices and local partners.
  • An updated version of the monitoring work plan including a schedule will be submitted to Vital Voices on a monthly basis.

The continuation of the oversight monitoring will be determined based on further approval from Vital Voices and the Department.

Monitoring Questions

  • Are adequate records kept of survivor cases and in a confidential manner?
  • Is survivor confidentiality and safeguarding properly maintained?
  • Are sufficient checks in place to avoid abuse of funds?
  • Did the survivor receive the amount of funds requested?
  • How do survivors describe their safety after receiving support? Did it meet their most immediate needs? How is this different from before receiving support? How is physical and psychological safety and well-being different?
  • How well do program activities meet the needs of local organizations serving survivors?

Monitoring Methodology

The final methodology will be developed in coordination with Vital Voices staff with an opportunity for comment from the Department and additional stakeholders, as appropriate. At minimum, the monitoring will include quarterly qualitative data gathered through semi-structured interviews with 10 beneficiaries of cash assistance and additional stakeholders as specified below, with a review of ten cases and program documents. Monitors will have quarterly access to a limited number of GBV survivors and will need to submit a plan to ensure physical and emotional safety in engagement with survivors. Detailed data collection will be conducted at partner worksites in Iraq. The monitor will design the meeting schedule with the stakeholders in coordination with local partners.

The monitoring will use randomized sampling of cases and beneficiaries with lists of quarterly cases for review provided by Vital Voices staff. Monitors will additionally be expected to complete key informant interviews with staff and other stakeholders on a monthly basis. In months where additional program activities have occurred, the monitor will observe activities for reporting purposes. Once per quarter monitoring activities will include semi-structured interviews with program beneficiaries and review of case files. Beneficiaries will be chosen for participation in coordination with Vital Voices staff and local partners and with beneficiaries’ consent to ensure their safety. Competitive proposals will include a plan for triangulating these data to adjust for necessary bias introduced by this sampling method.

Data Collection: The monitor should expect to work in Iraq directly with Iraqi partners and with some survivors of GBV in addition to reviewing program reporting materials.

  • Monthly semi-structured interviews with Vital Voices staff, local partner staff, and additional stakeholders
  • Quarterly semi-structured interviews with 10 selected beneficiaries of direct services and urgent assistance funds per quarter conducted in a manner that is trauma-informed and survivor-centered
  • Quarterly Review of selected beneficiary cases
  • Monthly review of referring partner financial practices and documentation
  • Observation of staff trainings and other activities

The contractor will update the monitoring work plan including a schedule and submit the updated version to Vital Voices on a monthly basis.

Vital Voices and DRL will have 3 weeks to review the initial work plan and provide comments or feedback.

Evaluation Submission Requirements and Team Composition

The contractor must provide information about monitoring team members, explaining how they meet the requirements in the monitoring SOW. All team members must provide a signed statement attesting to a lack of conflict of interest or describing an existing conflict of interest relative to the project or activity being evaluated. All team members must sign confidentiality statements in regards to all beneficiary data they encounter in the process of monitoring. All monitors must have training on gender-based violence and trauma-informed interviewing and.

Proposals should include:

  1. Overall description of proposed approach to monitoring
  2. Draft schedule and logistical arrangements with monitoring through December 2022;
  3. Members of the monitoring team, delineated by roles and responsibilities;
  4. Draft budget not to exceed $40,000

Required qualifications and skills:

  1. Experience in program activity monitoring and evaluation assessment;
  2. Technical subject matter expertise in gender-based violence;
  3. Expertise in trauma-informed interviewing and survivor-centered approaches;
  4. Knowledge of proper financial control and cash policies for preventing fraud and waste
  5. Experience working in Iraq, with preference for experience working in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq;
  6. Language fluency in English, Arabic, and Kurdish; and
  7. Ability to work on the ground in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and elsewhere in federal Iraq, if necessary.

Interested parties should submit proposals to humanrights@vitalvoices.org including an outline of activities to be completed, information on evaluation team members, relevant experience, and a detailed budget by August 13, 2021. Please ensure that proposal emails include Iraq Monitoring in the subject line.

Questions may be submitted to humanrights@vitalvoices.org until July 30, 2021. Please ensure that proposal emails include Iraq Monitoring Question in the subject line.