Consultancy: Research & Learning Partner for Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Livelihoods Project in Refugee Settlements in Uganda. 195 views0 applications


Consultancy: Research & Learning Partner for Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Livelihoods Project in Refugee Settlements in Uganda.

Title: Request for Research & Learning Partner

Location: Uganda – Contract Allows Remote

Dates of Assignment: June 20, 2022 to March 31, 2025

Scope: BRAC USA is recruiting a research and learning partner to develop a learning agenda and oversee an evaluation on an early childhood development (ECD) and livelihoods project in refugee settlements in Uganda.

Background: Working in the Rhino Camp and Imvepi refugee settlements in northern Uganda, BRAC will bring together two evidence-driven models to support vulnerable children and families in humanitarian contexts: the Humanitarian Play Lab (HPL) and Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) approaches. With funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, BRAC will combine these intervention models for the first time to support a two-generation approach for refugees and host communities, creating an opportunity to generate new evidence for effective approaches to both early childhood development and livelihoods in a humanitarian setting.

BRAC’s Humanitarian Play Labs are an adaptation of its Play Labs, a low-cost, play-based ECD model to promote positive developmental outcomes for children from backgrounds of poverty, aged 3 to 5. Humanitarian Play Labs are contextualized to ensure that children and caregivers impacted by conflict and crisis receive additional play based behavioral and psychological support. Pioneered by BRAC Institution Institute of Educational Development (BIED), part of BRAC University, with support from the Play Consortium, an advisory committee consisting of scholars from Columbia University and the University of Cambridge, the model is based on global best practices and growing evidence on play-based early learning. Results from recent evaluation of the Play Labs in Bangladesh by the University of Cambridge found that children who scored below average at baseline were able to catch up to their peers over their two years in the Play Labs, indicating the Play Labs’ ability to level the playing field in terms of school readiness regardless of socio-economic status. Recognizing that children in humanitarian and fragile settings are often exposed to particularly high levels of stress, BRAC began adapting the Play Labs for the humanitarian context starting in 2017 in Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The result was the Humanitarian Play Lab (HPL) model. Working in Rhino Camp in northern Uganda, BRAC has already established ten HPLs serving 411 children and their caregivers.

BRAC invented the Ultra Poor Graduation Approach in 2002 in Bangladesh to help break the poverty trap for those outside the reach of most other development interventions. The UPG approach offers a transition for the poorest people to sustainable livelihoods, autonomy and dignity. It has been adopted in more than 50 countries, with its impact demonstrated in multiple large-scale randomized controlled trials.

For the current project, BRAC will identify 700 households using its UPG selection criteria, which in this case will require households to have at least one child aged 3 to 5. These children will be enrolled in newly launched HPLs. BRAC will also identify an additional 2,950 children for enrollment in the HPLs by applying a vulnerability criteria which will focus on vulnerable and marginalized children who do not have access to ECD services.

Opportunity: BRAC seeks an experienced research and learning partner to:

  1. Develop a learning agenda for combining HPL and UPG in a humanitarian context; and
  2. Serve as a PI on an evaluation for this new intervention in collaboration with BIED (BRAC University) researchers and other external research partners.

To develop a learning agenda, the research and learning partner will be expected to conduct workshops with BRAC staff, map key external stakeholders, and conduct interviews with peer organizations, subject area experts, and partners such as the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The final Learning Agenda will be a 15- to 20-page document that highlights key pieces of existing evidence, identifies measures and tools for data collection and assessment, and unanswered research questions. The learning agenda should conclude with recommendations for an evaluation of the project, including recommendations for sampling and what measures and tools should be used for data collection. This information will be the basis for a research study design and IRB protocol application, which the partner will also be responsible for.

Although we expect details of the recommended study design to emerge during the learning agenda process, we anticipate this being a process evaluation that will include baseline and endline surveys of participants, plus qualitative research through key informant interviews and focus group discussions. We anticipate that the evaluation will measure progress in children’s learning, development and well-being; improvements in caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, practices and well-being; improvements in families’ welfare in terms of livelihoods and social protection; and insights into how best to integrate these two different programs in a humanitarian context. We expect the research and learning partner to offer recommendations as to whether the existing set of ECD measurement tools BRAC uses in other contexts (including the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Weschler Pre-Primary Scale of Intelligence, and Checklist for Independent Learning and Development) are appropriate for the given context.

Based on this research plan, BRAC will then engage its own Independent Evaluation and Research Cell (IERC), based in Kampala, for data collection for this evaluation. The research and learning partner will need to work closely with IERC along with researchers at BRAC University and elsewhere serving in an advisory capacity and potentially as co-PIs. Although we expect the research and learning partner to offer a high level of input into the research design, we anticipate that data collection will include baseline and endline data collection for 1,000 program participants and qualitative interviews with at least 40 participants and stakeholders. The research partner (serving in the capacity of the PI) will analyze and report on this data received from IERC. We anticipate that baseline data collection will start by November 2022.

The full length of the engagement is approximately three years, but most of the work will be completed within the first four months, with analysis and reporting at two additional touch points throughout the remainder of the project, and endline analysis performed after the completion of the project in 2025.

Core responsibilities, deliverables and timeline: The core responsibilities of the research partner are:

  • Co-create, with BRAC and partners, a learning agenda for the layered approach of HPL and UPG.
  • Appoint a staff member as the lead PI on the study.
  • Work closely with and coordinate with the respective program teams, enumeration team, and partners in Uganda and elsewhere.
  • Create a research protocol for IRB approval and deliver these approval documents to BRAC USA.
  • Work closely with BRAC and partners to ensure data collection tools are appropriate to the setting.
  • Conduct data analysis and report writing.

The project’s main deliverables will include:

  • Draft learning agenda (July 30, 2022)
  • Completed learning agenda, following BRAC’s feedback (August 15, 2022)
  • IRB packet (August 20, 2022)
  • Mid-project report (February 1, 2024)
  • Final research report (July 1, 2025)
 

Application Instructions: Please submit a technical proposal, a detailed CV of the proposed lead PI and core team members for this evaluation, and a proposed budget and brief budget narrative by June 3, 2022. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We have included for your use an outline of the technical proposal (below).

BRAC USA values a diverse workforce and is an equal opportunity employer. Personnel are chosen on the basis of ability without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, marital status or sexual orientation, in accordance with federal and state law.

Eligibility: The research and learning partner must have experience co-creating learning agendas and research study designs with large international development organizations, and must have an experienced and qualified PI for the proposed evaluation. In addition, candidates must be available for a virtual interview in early June and must have existing capacity to meet the deadlines specified above. Institutions that cannot meet these eligibility requirements are discouraged from submitting an application.

Technical Proposal Guidelines: Please address the following questions in a narrative not exceeding five pages, single-spaced:

  1. Project management
    1. Name and brief description of the organization that will manage the contract
    2. Associated researchers starting with the lead PI (name, designation, institutional affiliations)
  2. Evidence of effectiveness
    1. Please articulate why you are the appropriate research and learning partner for this evaluation. In doing so, you may discuss:
      1. Your experience co-creating learning agendas and study designs with implementing organizations such as BRAC
      2. The expertise and value-add of the research team, including similar engagements that you have completed
      3. Your experience conducting research in the regions where the implementation is taking place
    2. What are your early thoughts or ideas on the learning and agenda and research plan? How will you work with BRAC to co-develop these?
  3. Mitigating risks
    1. Are you fully available to complete the project according to the proposed timeline? What challenges, if any, do you anticipate affecting the project timeline and deliverables?
    2. What other risks, if any, are anticipated during the course of the research, and what steps will be taken to mitigate them?
  4. Budget and budget narrative (no more than 1-page)
    1. Please include the total budget requested along with a high-level breakdown of major line items.
    2. Please include a brief description justifying the major cost drivers of the evaluation.
    3. The budgeted amount should not include enumerator training and data collection, which will be handled by BRAC’s IERC and funded separately.Competitive bids will demonstrate high value for money.

Evaluation Criteria: Applications will be evaluated based on five criteria. Strong applications will meet all criteria defined below.

  1. Partner expertise: The research partner (including the PI and core researchers) has the expertise needed to successfully complete the project.
  2. Partner experience: The research partner has demonstrated experience conducting similar research in similar contexts. It is preferred that candidates have at least one staff member with experience in ECD. Experience with research on livelihoods is also welcome.
  3. Partner capacity: The research partner has demonstrated that they have the capacity to complete the project deliverables in the timeframe specified.
  4. Communication and collaboration: The research partner has a strong ability to communicate and collaborate with a large international development organization, facilitate discussions remotely with a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders, and bring diverse perspectives to the table in order to formulate a strong research and learning agenda.
  5. Value for money: The research partner has prepared a competitive budget that represents good value for money.

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We are the world’s largest development organisation, dedicated to empowering people living in poverty. We operate across 11 countries, touching the lives of 1 in every 55 people

About Spreading proven anti-poverty solutions born in Bangladesh to countries around the world.Company Overview A global leader in creating opportunity for the world’s poor. What started out as a limited relief operation in 1972 in a remote village of Bangladesh, has turned into the largest development organisation in the world. Organising the poor using communities’ own human and material resources, we catalyse lasting change, creating an ecosystem in which the poor have the chance to seize control of their own lives. We do this with a holistic development approach geared toward inclusion, using tools like microfinance, education, healthcare, legal services, community empowerment and more. Our work now touches the lives of an estimated 138 million people, with staff and BRAC-trained entrepreneurs numbering in the hundreds of thousands, a global movement bringing change to 11 countries in Asia and Africa.

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0 USD Uganda CF 3201 Abc road Consultancy , 40 hours per week BRAC

Consultancy: Research & Learning Partner for Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Livelihoods Project in Refugee Settlements in Uganda.

Title: Request for Research & Learning Partner

Location: Uganda - Contract Allows Remote

Dates of Assignment: June 20, 2022 to March 31, 2025

Scope: BRAC USA is recruiting a research and learning partner to develop a learning agenda and oversee an evaluation on an early childhood development (ECD) and livelihoods project in refugee settlements in Uganda.

Background: Working in the Rhino Camp and Imvepi refugee settlements in northern Uganda, BRAC will bring together two evidence-driven models to support vulnerable children and families in humanitarian contexts: the Humanitarian Play Lab (HPL) and Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) approaches. With funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, BRAC will combine these intervention models for the first time to support a two-generation approach for refugees and host communities, creating an opportunity to generate new evidence for effective approaches to both early childhood development and livelihoods in a humanitarian setting.

BRAC’s Humanitarian Play Labs are an adaptation of its Play Labs, a low-cost, play-based ECD model to promote positive developmental outcomes for children from backgrounds of poverty, aged 3 to 5. Humanitarian Play Labs are contextualized to ensure that children and caregivers impacted by conflict and crisis receive additional play based behavioral and psychological support. Pioneered by BRAC Institution Institute of Educational Development (BIED), part of BRAC University, with support from the Play Consortium, an advisory committee consisting of scholars from Columbia University and the University of Cambridge, the model is based on global best practices and growing evidence on play-based early learning. Results from recent evaluation of the Play Labs in Bangladesh by the University of Cambridge found that children who scored below average at baseline were able to catch up to their peers over their two years in the Play Labs, indicating the Play Labs’ ability to level the playing field in terms of school readiness regardless of socio-economic status. Recognizing that children in humanitarian and fragile settings are often exposed to particularly high levels of stress, BRAC began adapting the Play Labs for the humanitarian context starting in 2017 in Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The result was the Humanitarian Play Lab (HPL) model. Working in Rhino Camp in northern Uganda, BRAC has already established ten HPLs serving 411 children and their caregivers.

BRAC invented the Ultra Poor Graduation Approach in 2002 in Bangladesh to help break the poverty trap for those outside the reach of most other development interventions. The UPG approach offers a transition for the poorest people to sustainable livelihoods, autonomy and dignity. It has been adopted in more than 50 countries, with its impact demonstrated in multiple large-scale randomized controlled trials.

For the current project, BRAC will identify 700 households using its UPG selection criteria, which in this case will require households to have at least one child aged 3 to 5. These children will be enrolled in newly launched HPLs. BRAC will also identify an additional 2,950 children for enrollment in the HPLs by applying a vulnerability criteria which will focus on vulnerable and marginalized children who do not have access to ECD services.

Opportunity: BRAC seeks an experienced research and learning partner to:

  1. Develop a learning agenda for combining HPL and UPG in a humanitarian context; and
  2. Serve as a PI on an evaluation for this new intervention in collaboration with BIED (BRAC University) researchers and other external research partners.

To develop a learning agenda, the research and learning partner will be expected to conduct workshops with BRAC staff, map key external stakeholders, and conduct interviews with peer organizations, subject area experts, and partners such as the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The final Learning Agenda will be a 15- to 20-page document that highlights key pieces of existing evidence, identifies measures and tools for data collection and assessment, and unanswered research questions. The learning agenda should conclude with recommendations for an evaluation of the project, including recommendations for sampling and what measures and tools should be used for data collection. This information will be the basis for a research study design and IRB protocol application, which the partner will also be responsible for.

Although we expect details of the recommended study design to emerge during the learning agenda process, we anticipate this being a process evaluation that will include baseline and endline surveys of participants, plus qualitative research through key informant interviews and focus group discussions. We anticipate that the evaluation will measure progress in children’s learning, development and well-being; improvements in caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, practices and well-being; improvements in families’ welfare in terms of livelihoods and social protection; and insights into how best to integrate these two different programs in a humanitarian context. We expect the research and learning partner to offer recommendations as to whether the existing set of ECD measurement tools BRAC uses in other contexts (including the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Weschler Pre-Primary Scale of Intelligence, and Checklist for Independent Learning and Development) are appropriate for the given context.

Based on this research plan, BRAC will then engage its own Independent Evaluation and Research Cell (IERC), based in Kampala, for data collection for this evaluation. The research and learning partner will need to work closely with IERC along with researchers at BRAC University and elsewhere serving in an advisory capacity and potentially as co-PIs. Although we expect the research and learning partner to offer a high level of input into the research design, we anticipate that data collection will include baseline and endline data collection for 1,000 program participants and qualitative interviews with at least 40 participants and stakeholders. The research partner (serving in the capacity of the PI) will analyze and report on this data received from IERC. We anticipate that baseline data collection will start by November 2022.

The full length of the engagement is approximately three years, but most of the work will be completed within the first four months, with analysis and reporting at two additional touch points throughout the remainder of the project, and endline analysis performed after the completion of the project in 2025.

Core responsibilities, deliverables and timeline: The core responsibilities of the research partner are:

  • Co-create, with BRAC and partners, a learning agenda for the layered approach of HPL and UPG.
  • Appoint a staff member as the lead PI on the study.
  • Work closely with and coordinate with the respective program teams, enumeration team, and partners in Uganda and elsewhere.
  • Create a research protocol for IRB approval and deliver these approval documents to BRAC USA.
  • Work closely with BRAC and partners to ensure data collection tools are appropriate to the setting.
  • Conduct data analysis and report writing.

The project’s main deliverables will include:

  • Draft learning agenda (July 30, 2022)
  • Completed learning agenda, following BRAC’s feedback (August 15, 2022)
  • IRB packet (August 20, 2022)
  • Mid-project report (February 1, 2024)
  • Final research report (July 1, 2025)
 

Application Instructions: Please submit a technical proposal, a detailed CV of the proposed lead PI and core team members for this evaluation, and a proposed budget and brief budget narrative by June 3, 2022. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We have included for your use an outline of the technical proposal (below).

BRAC USA values a diverse workforce and is an equal opportunity employer. Personnel are chosen on the basis of ability without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, marital status or sexual orientation, in accordance with federal and state law.

Eligibility: The research and learning partner must have experience co-creating learning agendas and research study designs with large international development organizations, and must have an experienced and qualified PI for the proposed evaluation. In addition, candidates must be available for a virtual interview in early June and must have existing capacity to meet the deadlines specified above. Institutions that cannot meet these eligibility requirements are discouraged from submitting an application.

Technical Proposal Guidelines: Please address the following questions in a narrative not exceeding five pages, single-spaced:

  1. Project management
    1. Name and brief description of the organization that will manage the contract
    2. Associated researchers starting with the lead PI (name, designation, institutional affiliations)
  2. Evidence of effectiveness
    1. Please articulate why you are the appropriate research and learning partner for this evaluation. In doing so, you may discuss:
      1. Your experience co-creating learning agendas and study designs with implementing organizations such as BRAC
      2. The expertise and value-add of the research team, including similar engagements that you have completed
      3. Your experience conducting research in the regions where the implementation is taking place
    2. What are your early thoughts or ideas on the learning and agenda and research plan? How will you work with BRAC to co-develop these?
  3. Mitigating risks
    1. Are you fully available to complete the project according to the proposed timeline? What challenges, if any, do you anticipate affecting the project timeline and deliverables?
    2. What other risks, if any, are anticipated during the course of the research, and what steps will be taken to mitigate them?
  4. Budget and budget narrative (no more than 1-page)
    1. Please include the total budget requested along with a high-level breakdown of major line items.
    2. Please include a brief description justifying the major cost drivers of the evaluation.
    3. The budgeted amount should not include enumerator training and data collection, which will be handled by BRAC’s IERC and funded separately.Competitive bids will demonstrate high value for money.

Evaluation Criteria: Applications will be evaluated based on five criteria. Strong applications will meet all criteria defined below.

  1. Partner expertise: The research partner (including the PI and core researchers) has the expertise needed to successfully complete the project.
  2. Partner experience: The research partner has demonstrated experience conducting similar research in similar contexts. It is preferred that candidates have at least one staff member with experience in ECD. Experience with research on livelihoods is also welcome.
  3. Partner capacity: The research partner has demonstrated that they have the capacity to complete the project deliverables in the timeframe specified.
  4. Communication and collaboration: The research partner has a strong ability to communicate and collaborate with a large international development organization, facilitate discussions remotely with a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders, and bring diverse perspectives to the table in order to formulate a strong research and learning agenda.
  5. Value for money: The research partner has prepared a competitive budget that represents good value for money.
2022-06-04

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