Terms of Reference for Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Consultancy, Afghanistan
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) consultancy to identify how DRC programmes and organizational policies can mainstream GESI considerations to maximise positive impact by determining key gender advances, constraints, inequalities, and opportunities, offer conclusions and specific recommendations, and provide tailored capacity building opportunities to DRC staff and strategic partners.
Kabul, Nangahar, Herat, Kandahar
3 months from the signature of the contract*
Decades of conflict, natural disasters and economic shocks have resulted in spiralling humanitarian needs and increasing inequalities along key vulnerability factors such as gender, ethnicity, social status, etc. In line with DRC Afghanistan Strategy 2025 and to uphold accountability commitments towards its staff, DRC Afghanistan will conduct a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) study of its programmes and organizational processes/policies with the aim of promoting equal opportunities for women, men and special interest groups to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from DRC’s work. The study will be followed by tailored training opportunities for DRC staff and its strategic partners, which focus on addressing identified capacity gaps and on promoting the implementation of key recommendations.
In light of DRC Afghanistan’s programmatic focus and leadership in the humanitarian mine action sector, a key priority of the consultancy will be increasing GESI outcomes on DRC Humanitarian Disarmament & Peacebuilding programme and provide capacity building to national mine action partners on GESI mainstreaming across the humanitarian mine action project cycle.
The current complex crisis in Afghanistan has had a disproportionate impact on women and other special interest groups, including ethnic and religious minorities. This is due to the intersection of sometimes greater impact of the crisis on these population groups and of greater limitations on their capacity to cope with shocks due to structural barriers.
For women previously engaged in a range of socio-economic activities and sectors, their ability to participate in Afghanistan social life, pursue work and earn an income has been severely hampered. Various restrictions are being put on women, creating an increasingly restrictive social environment, including: notices being posted around cities on the need for women to wear burqas or chadors; requiring women to be in the backseat of taxis (and if you are the only women then you must pay for all seats, so there is an added financial burden on the passenger); taxi drivers instructed to not give rides to women who are not ‘appropriately’ dressed; gender segregated public spaces such as parks; and, prohibitions on women traveling without a chaperone (maharam). Access to services and employment are more frequently reported to be predicated on women being accompanied by a male relative, indicating greater access limitations, economic insecurity, and infringement of rights of female-headed households. Restrictions imposed on women also had an impact on women’s work in the humanitarian sector. These were met with vocal advocacy efforts by Afghanistan’s civil society, leading to hard-won gains that enable women to continue working, yet these efforts are often at great personal risk.
The impact of the economic crisis disproportionately affects women. Women were over-represented as salaried employees working in the health and education sector. Because of this, the collapse of government services has hit this population group particularly hard. In addition, the 2021 Whole of Afghanistan assessment shows that 28% of women in Afghanistan lack national identification (Tazkira), despite being entitled by law. Without this proof of identity, women are inhibited from pursuing employment opportunities, accessing services and basic rights.
Greater impact of the current crisis and political changes is also felt among other special interest groups, including ethnic and religious minorities. Since the IEA takeover in August 2021, there have been credible allegations of enforced disappearances, unlawful detentions, and extrajudicial killings of personnel from the previous government, human rights defenders and civil society activists, journalists and media workers and persons belonging to minority groups, including minority religious and ethnic groups. These groups have experienced decades long systematic discrimination, including in relation to employment opportunities and access to social services, and this discrimination continues. They are also among the population groups that most commonly chose migration to third countries as a strategy to cope with the current crisis.
Finally, the impact of conflict, as well as a deteriorating healthcare system means that a shocking 80% of Afghan adults experience some form of disability, with women more likely to have a severe disability. This same assessment found that the chances of severe disability increase with age, again highlighting the intersectional nature of barriers and vulnerabilities faced in country.
- DRC in Afghanistan
DRC has worked in Afghanistan since the 1990s, through Humanitarian Mine Action, and expanded its scope and reach of programming in 2011 to provide multi-sector and holistic packages of assistance. We currently work in four regions of the country (West, East, South and Central), focusing on the most vulnerable and at-risk of conflict and natural disaster-affected populations, including IDPs, host communities and documented/undocumented returnees.
Under the Strategy 2025, DRC Afghanistan will implement a comprehensive programme aimed at increasing protection and enhancing inclusion across Emergency, Protection, Economic Recovery, Shelter & Settlements, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, and Humanitarian Disarmament & Peacebuilding sectors. Due to the unpredictability of the Afghan context, DRC will maintain capacity to respond to sudden and large-scale emergencies, while also promoting the transition to long-term recovery programming.
The key focus of the mission for the period 2022-2025 is multi-sectoral integration. DRC Afghanistan is uniquely positioned to leverage on complementarities of its complex portfolio to strengthen the impact of its programming on hard-to-reach communities. The overall goal of DRC Afghanistan’s multi-sector programme is to promote favourable conditions for shock and displacement-affected communities to seek safety, claim their basic rights and pursue self-reliance.
DRC mission in Afghanistan currently operates across 12 provinces from four Area Offices and one Country Office. The mission includes more than 600 staff, for a projected portfolio of approximately 50 million USD for 2022.
The objectives of the consultancy are the following:
- Conduct a GESI study of DRC programmes and organizational processes/policies to:
a. Analyse factors such as gender, social status, ethnicity, etc. affects people’s differential access to DRC programmes and the work of DRC staff, including the employment and retention of employees.
b. Consult with relevant stakeholders, DRC staff and affected communities to identify key issues, capacities, needs, priorities and solutions for DRC programmes and organizational processes/policies from their perspective.
c. Provide tailored and actionable recommendations to DRC Senior Management Team (SMT) and other relevant internal and external stakeholders on how to enhance access and address underlying causes of inequity and exclusion through targeted interventions related to programmes across all core sectors (notably Protection, Emergency, Economic Recovery, Shelter & Settlements, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, and Humanitarian Disarmament & Peacebuilding), operational set up and organizational processes/policies.
- Provide tailored GESI trainings to DRC and its partners’ staff to:
a. Improve understanding of key GESI concepts and of the applications of GESI mainstreaming in humanitarian work and organizational culture.
b. For programme staff: support GESI mainstreaming across the project cycle to provide equal opportunities, increase meaningful access to activities, and strengthen program outcomes on target communities, and especially on the most vulnerable groups. The training should also include the presentation of key recommendations from the GESI study.
c. For support service staff: support the design and operationalization of organizational policies that support positive change in work culture and equal opportunities for all special interest groups, with a focus on management and human resources. The training should also include the presentation of key recommendations from the GESI study.
d. For Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) Implementing Partners: support GESI mainstreaming across the humanitarian mine action project cycle to provide equal opportunities, increase meaningful access to activities, and strengthen program outcomes on target communities, and especially on the most vulnerable groups. The training should focus on GESI concepts and recommendations for implementation that are relevant to the mine action programme only.
Key research questions to be addressed by the GESI STUDY
a. Identify key vulnerability factors impacting beneficiaries’ access to, participation in, and benefit from DRC programmes
a. What are the key factors that positively (enablers) or negatively (disablers) affect meaningful access to DRC programmes?
b. What are the underlying causes of inequality and exclusion, in relation to the key factors identified?
c. What aspects of DRC programme need to be adapted to mitigate barriers to participation as well as inequalities in programme impact/benefits for special interest groups?
b. Provide actionable recommendations for programme adaptation that are in line with the context and DRC strategy
a. What actionable steps can DRC take to mainstream context specific GESI considerations along the project cycle?
b. Recommendations should focus both on immediate changes to the current programmatic set up and on the establishment of processes to integrate GESI considerations in future programmes.
c. Recommendations should also be tailored to the intended outcome of each core sector, including Protection, Emergency, Economic Recovery, Shelter & Settlements, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, and Humanitarian Disarmament & Peacebuilding
d. Recommendations should be tailored to each step of the project cycle, including:
I. Project identification
II. Resource mobilization
III. Project design
IV. Project implementation
V. Monitoring and evaluation
- Identify key gaps and needs in terms of DRC operational set up that maintain or aggravate inequalities and exclusion of special interest groups from programme implementation
a. Through the analysis of the following factors, determine how and why any aspect of DRC current operations negatively or positive impacts access to, participation in, and benefit from DRC programmes:
I. Teams’ composition
II. Location of DRC offices/community centres/spoke sites
III. Set up of DRC offices/community centres/spoke sites (including in terms of accessibility for persons with disabilities)
IV. Engagement with local authorities and community stakeholders
V. Other relevant aspects of DRC operations identified by the consultant/other stakeholders
- Provide actionable recommendations for the adaptation of DRC operations that are in line with the context and DRC strategy
a. What actionable steps can DRC take to mainstream context specific GESI considerations in DRC operations?
b. Recommendations should focus both on immediate changes to the current operational set up and on processes to be established to ensure coherent application of the recommendations over time
c. Recommendations should be tailored to each aspect of DRC operations, including:
VI. Teams’ composition
VII. Selection of target locations for implementation
VIII. Selection of target locations for the establishment of static centres
IX. Office/base/centre set up (including in terms of accessibility for persons with disabilities)
X. External engagement with national stakeholders
XI. Other relevant aspects of DRC operations identified by the consultant/other stakeholders
Organizational processes and policies
- Identify key factors that affect the employment and the work of special interest groups with DRC
a. Conduct a detailed analysis of DRC workforce to identify trends in terms of representation of special interest groups
b. Which factors present the most challenging barriers in employment and work with DRC?
c. What are the underlying causes of inequality and exclusion of special interest groups, when it comes to employment and work with DRC?
- Identify key factors in DRC processes and policies that contribute the inequalities and exclusion or equality and inclusion of special interest groups
a. Based on the analysis of DRC management, HR (focus of interest), finance, safety, and supply chain’s processes and policies, assess whether there are factors that can create barriers to meaningful engagement of special interest groups in DRC work
- Provide actionable recommendations for the adaptation of DRC organizational processes and policies that are in line with the context and DRC strategy
a. What actionable steps can DRC take to mainstream context specific GESI considerations in DRC organizational processes and policies and increase accountability to DRC Afghanistan staff?
b. Recommendations should focus both on immediate changes to the current organizational processes and policies and on processes to be established to ensure coherent application of the recommendations over time
d. Recommendations should be tailored to each aspect of DRC organizational policies, including:
I. HR (most relevant)
III. Supply Chain
The ultimate deliverables of this consultancy will be:
I. An in-depth report covering the research questions detailed above and including clear recommendations to promote positive change for women and other special groups’ meaningful participation in DRC programmes and organizational accountability to the various needs and preference of DRC staff.
II. Delivery of 11 tailored trainings on GESI mainstreaming in programmes and organizational processes and policies to DRC and its partners’ staff, and to MAPA implementing partners as per proposed schedule below:
DRC and Partners programme staff
DRC and Partners support service staff
MAPA implementing partners
Kabul (Country Office)
1 training session
1 training session
1 training session
Kabul (Central Area Office)
1 training session
1 training session
Kandahar (South Area Office)
1 training session
1 training session
Jalalabad (East Area Office)
1 training session
1 training session
Herat (West Area Office)
1 training session
1 training session
*The content and duration of each training session will be determined based on the recommendations of the selected consultant, in agreement with DRC team
For the purpose of managing the research process, the following interim deliverables are expected from the consultant:
I. Consultancy kick-off meeting;
II. Bi-monthly in-person/Skype meetings;
III. Short monthly report on progress/achievements;
IV. Inception report and draft of tools used for primary data collection for review and approval by DRC;
V. Draft assessment report presenting the findings for comments;
VI. Internal presentation of research findings for DRC SMT/extended SMT on Powerpoint or another visual aid of choice
VII. Final report in English incorporating comments from DRC. The report should include the following sections as minimum requirements:
a. Executive Summary
c. Presentation of findings
d. Recommendations for programmes and organizational processes and policies
e. Annexes: ToR, workplan, tools, bibliography, infographics
VIII. Two trainings delivered for DRC programme and support service staff and partners in each of DRC’s offices (5) and one tailored training for MAPA partners in Kabul (11 training sessions in total)l;
The final assessment report will be reviewed for quality and final payment will be made upon submission of a satisfactory report, completion of all planned trainings and transfer of all raw data and training material files. DRC has sole ownership of all the final data and any findings shall not be reproduced or shared without the expresses written permission of DRC.
The research study should be conducted through a combination of desk research (including GESI statistics, national policies and action plans, local research and academic studies) and an analysis of primary data collected in country or remotely (for stakeholders not located in Afghanistan only) through direct interviews and other data collection methodologies as defined by the selected consultant.
Selected methods for data collection can include:
· Carrying out consultations with beneficiaries individually or at household/community/district level;
· Conducting “focus group” sessions with community groups;
· Meeting with local service providers regarding existing/emerging GESI issues;
· Meeting with national and regional stakeholders and collaborators regarding existing programs, gaps in services and potential for collaboration;
· Conducting site visits and inspections;
· Developing, administering and analysing beneficiary questionnaires; and
· Using participatory analysis tools such as mapping and ranking exercises, activity calendars, problem/solution trees, time-use surveys and Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) Surveys
The methodology and data collection tools shall be designed by the consultant during the first phase of the contract and submitted to DRC for review and approval, in line with the timeline specified below.
The training developed as part of this consultancy should include both general/theoretical sessions on GESI and tailored recommendations for DRC Afghanistan.
The selected consultant is expected to define the study methodology, conduct data collection, and develop tailored trainings with minimum engagement from DRC team. DRC will provide administrative support in the organization of the trainings for DRC and partners’ staff. However, the consultant is responsible for independently deliver the trainings in both English and local languages (i.e. Dari and Pashto).
Please find below a tentative timeline (in months) for the assessment for reference
Consultancy kick-off meeting
Development of GESI study methodology and data collection plan
Drafting of report
Review of report by DRC
Internal presentation of findings
Development of training materials for DRC and partners’ staff
Review of training materials by DRC
Delivery of trainings (2 x 5 DRC offices)
Submission of final report and training materials to DRC
*A degree of flexibility can be granted on the proposed timeline based on consultant’s recommendations (max 2 additional weeks)
DRC will allocate a focal point that will support the selected consultant throughout the duration of the project, as well as a dedicated Accountability Specialist (pending successful recruitment) who will accompany the selected consultant during field visits and interviews with stakeholders and who will support with the trainings’ arrangements and delivery.
Following the kick-off meeting, DRC will provide selected consultant with available literature for review, as well as any other documentary materials required.
During the field visits to Nangahar, Herat, Kandahar for data collection and trainings, accommodation can be provided by DRC in DRC standard accommodation. Training halls, stationery, and refreshment for training participants can also be provided by DRC.
The cost of travel and other expenses should be included in the overall quotation for the service.
The successful applicant will be a reputable local or international firm with demonstrable experience and access to Afghanistan, and expertise in conducting large-scale field assessments. Some of the key requirements are:
- At least 10 years of experience in undertaking gender; age, gender and diversity (AGD); and GESI assessments in a fragile/developing contexts;
- Experience in conducting research and studies focusing on gender equality and social inclusion, specific experience in conducting this type of assessment in the Afghanistan context is highly desirable;
- Access to / presence of field team for data collection and trainings in Afghanistan;
- A team of researchers available in country of assignment with English and local languages (Dari and Pashto) skills;
- Experience of coordinating with a diverse set of stakeholders, including NGO staff, government institutes and officials, community members, private sector actors, and local and international NGOs;
- Experience in developing and delivering training curricula and materials, including ToT;
Documents to be submitted
DRC Annexes: Supplier Registration form, Supplier Code of Conduct, and General Condition of Contract.
Detailed proposal, outlining the proposed methodology for the work
A detailed work plan for the consultancy (see timeline above)
A CV demonstrating relevant experience to the project, including two referees (with phone number and email address)
Sample of comparable work (both research and training materials)
Detailed budget covering all fees and expenses, which details costs required for each component of the assessment and deliverables
At least 3 references related to relevant work previously conducted
COMMITMENT to principled service delivery
In light of the current context in Afghanistan and the sensitivity of the matter treated under this consultancy, the selected consultant shall commit to the following the following principles throughout the entire duration of the engagement with DRC and with regards to the use of the materials collected during the service after the end of the work:
Do no harm
Free prior informed consent
Protection of information
Non-discrimination and respect
Ethical data collection
Evaluation of consultants
· Administrative Evaluation
A bid shall pass the administrative evaluation stage before being considered for technical and financial evaluation. Bids that are deemed administratively non-compliant may be rejected. Documents listed above shall be submitted with your bid
· Technical/financial Evaluation
Technical/Finance proportion: 75/25
Minimum passing technical score 50
The technical criteria for this consultancy and their weighting in the technical evaluation are:
Technical criteria #
Weighting in technical evaluation
Technical quality of the research proposal
Demonstrated understanding of the methodology and requested deliverables, all important components of the ToR are sufficiently addressed and considered
Style, language, sophistication, and presentation
Expertise and access
Demonstrated previous experience of working in Afganistan
Demonstrated experience in conducting GESI, gender, AGD or similar studies
Must have access to or presence of a field team for data collection in Afghanistan and a team of researchers available in country of assignment with English language and Dari/Pashto language skills;
Personal Qualifications (of staff involved in the project)
A Master’s degree in economics; economic and political development; political sciences or other relevant subjects
Must have a minimum of 10 years of experience with assessments or monitoring and evaluation and experience in undertaking assessments in an fragile context
Total Maximum Score
*Financial Evaluation: the total amount of points allocated for the financial scoring component is 25. The maximum number of points will be allotted to the lowest priced proposal that is opened and compared among those firms/institutions, which obtain the threshold points in the evaluation of the technical component. All other price proposals will receive points in proportion to the lowest financial proposal using the inverse proportion principle: (lower_bid price) *(fin_weighting_proportion) / (next bid price).
How to apply
IF you are interested to apply , please see below links and send your bid as per the requirement.