TOR- Consultancy, Baseline Survey: Adolescent Girls Empowerment and Protection Project (AGEPP) Phase 2

June 14, 2022
Application deadline closed.

Job Description


Terms of Reference for Adolescents’ Protection and Empowerment Program Assessments

International Rescue Committee 


Duty Station: Freetown



Job Title: Consultancy, Baseline Survey: Adolescent Girls Empowerment and Protection Project (AGEPP) Phase 2
Location: Sierra Leone  Employee Type: Consultancy
Employee Category: Consultancy Reports to: WGPE Coordinator
PROJECT TITLE Adolescent Girls Empowerment and Protection Project (AGEPP) Phase II
OBJECTIVES To support the empowerment of Adolescent Girls through relevant education, knowledge, and skills for obtaining their full potential and inclusive participation in society.
LOCATION Bo District in the Southern Province

Karene and Falaba Districts in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone.


This project seeks to ensure that adolescent girls in Sierra Leone are empowered and motivated through relevant education, knowledge, skills, and inclusive participation in decision-making within family and society. As such, the overall goal of this project is to support the empowerment of adolescent girls through relevant education, knowledge, and skills for obtaining their full potential and inclusive participation in society.  Although the project will primarily focus on adolescent girls over a three year period, it is cognizant of the fact that their empowerment cannot be fully achieved without change occurring within the family and the community. Therefore, this project will also target female caregivers of the girls, male leaders within the community, boys and the community at large. Using learning from the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ebola, and other natural disasters such as mudslides that have occurred in previous years, which resulted in increased vulnerability and SGBV incidence among adolescent girls as well as teenage pregnancy and female genital mutilation (FGM), the project will seek to bring about changes that will build resilience in the communities and will allow them to take full ownership of the problems and solutions of their adolescent girls leading to the reduction of early marriage and teenage pregnancy. To be able to achieve this effectively, the project will also explore through research, “The impact of climate change on adolescent girls.” The project is aligned with the following Outcomes of the IRC’s Strategic Action Plan 2022-2024: – Youth have market-relevant livelihood, literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills.  Women and girls are protected from and treated for the consequences of gender-based violence.  People develop their livelihoods and recover from shocks. It is also aligned with the Government of Sierra Leone’s proposed National Development Plan 2019–2023  and policies for 2023 with respect to women and girls.


Adolescent girls are one of the most vulnerable groups in Sierra Leonean society because of the deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes regarding women and men’s roles and responsibilities in society. They are vulnerable to a number of protection risks, such as early marriage, early/teenage/unintended pregnancy, childbearing, exploitation through worst forms of child labour, severe neglect, as well as sexual and gender-based violence including Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).  They are deprived of the ability and right to make their own decisions or to take part in decision making on issues that affect their lives as decision making rests mainly with men – fathers, husbands, brothers, and there is male dominance especially in rural communities.  According to the Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey 2019, the median age for first marriage for women is 19.8 years with 11.4% of girls married between the ages of 15-19. Also in Sierra Leone, 21% of women aged 15-19 have started childbearing (i.e., they have already had a birth or are pregnant with their first child). Data gathered by Rainbo Initiative in their clinics also shows that 79.7% of sexual assault survivors were aged 11-20 years in 2020, and over 56% in 2021.   In addition, in 2019, it was found that 83% of Sierra Leone women aged 15-49 have undergone FGM and 71% of women in the same age gap had undergone FMG by the age of 15.


In particular, adolescent girls are still plagued by issues of early marriage, sexual exploitation and abuse, teenage pregnancy, harmful practices of FGM and unequal opportunities for education, decision making and properties or resources. Social and gender norms remain entrenched in many communities.  It is therefore not surprising that key recommendations for next steps in the Mid-Term Review of the National Strategy for the Reduction of Adolescent Pregnancy and Child Marriage 2021 include:- (i) “Continue to support more community engagement with men, women, boys & girls, and awareness-raising among parents and guardians on the importance of investing in adolescent girls and the need to end child marriage and adolescent pregnancy”; (ii) Continue to identify and support leaders from chiefdoms and communities as champions to promote adolescent pregnancy and child marriage reduction.


In emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, women and girls face specific gender-related risks, including an increased risk of gender-based violence.  During the height of the first wave of the pandemic in Sierra Leone (May-June 2020), the WGPE sector of the IRC carried out a safety audit in the communities in which the AGEPP Project was being implemented.  The report findings showed that the most reported violence against women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic was Intimate Partner Violence. The women and girls interviewed during the survey attributed this abuse to the government restrictions such as lockdowns and curfews which meant women and girls were trapped in their homes for long periods with their abusers. The lack of food and essential non-food items in the homes and the increased prices of consumables left the women and girls vulnerable not only within their homes but also to men in positions of trust who used their power for sexual exploitation in exchange for these necessities. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, women and adolescent girls in Sierra Leone were plagued by their lack of a voice/participation/access in terms of health, education, participation in the formal labour market, exposure to domestic violence and access to finance.  This situation was further diminished by the pandemic and the consequent diversion of resources and priorities to the country’s COVID-19 response policy.


It is against this background that this project in continuation of the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Project 2019 – 2021, will seek to continue addressing this problem through an effective partnership with local actors including community-based structures.  The project will build on the learnings of the AGEPP and is designed as a holistic approach targeting the adolescent girls, women, boys, men and traditional/religious leaders in the selected communities and aimed at delivering interventions which align with the strategies, policies and key actions identified by the Government of Sierra Leone.


The purpose of the AGEPP II Project’s baseline study is to help key project stakeholders focus on achievement related to a limited set of expected outcomes; and to empower them to collaboratively measure and review these outcomes. Aligned with this purpose, the baseline study is designed to achieve four specific objectives:

  • To support a better understanding of the implementation context for the AGEPP Project at the onset of the project.
  • To help validate the assumptions in the project’s Theory of Change (ToC) and targets of the indicators in the project’s Result Framework (RF).
  • To establish starting points or baselines for all indicators in the RF, suggesting revisions in their formulation if the need emerges;,
  • To provide recommendations for the implementation of the results-based monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) plan for the project; and
  • To help explain data limitations at the onset of project implementation, and how these gaps will be dealt with as part of the project’s first year workplan




Project Key Performance Indicators

The baseline survey is required to produce data on the following indicators for the project. All data is to be disaggregated by: sex and cadre; age (<18, 18+); disability status and location as a minimum. For the target adolescent girls, further disaggregation by younger (10-15 years), and older (16-19 years) is mandatory. More importantly, the denominators (D) and the numerators (N) must be specified per each indicator. The indicators are included in the project’s Result Framework (RF) (available upon contracting).


The Consultant will serve as the lead coordinator of this baseline study and be responsible for its design, the development and use of appropriate data collection tools, analysis of collected data, and the writing of a final report summarizing the findings. Specifically, the mandate of the consultancy is to:

  • Design – Work with both MEL and WGPE Coordinators during an inception phase to finalize a detailed methodology and workplan for this study.
  • Lead and coordinate – Recruit and orient competent and well-prepared research teams, and act as lead technical coordinator for the baseline study.
  • Assure quality control – Provide oversight and quality assurance during sampling, development of data collection tools, data collection and entry, analysis of the data collected, and report writing.


The baseline study will be overseen by IRC’s WGPE Coordinator and MEL team. A more exact consultative and decision-making management structure with clear roles and responsibilities will be determined during the inception phase of the study.


The following elements should guide the design and implementation of this baseline study:

  • The study should consciously apply survey methods that are gender and youth-sensitive and highlight participatory approaches.
  • The geographic scope of the study will be aligned with the targeted areas, schools, households, and individuals targeted by the project as laid out in the project description. Purposive and typical-case sampling can be used to assure that the scope of the study is consistent with the budget and timeline available.
  • The data collection approaches, and specific tools used to establish indicator baselines should be adapted to assure the appropriateness and reliability of the data collected.


Outcomes, indicators, and data collection methods for each indicator, are included in the project’s RF. The baseline study is expected to collect data for all indicators in the RF. The final, integrated baseline study report produced by the Consultant will be expected to provide specific suggestions on how the project’s RF could be improved, and how quantitative and qualitative indicators within the RF might need to be adjusted. 


While the Consultant, informed by discussions with AGEPP Project team is encouraged to suggest alternative methodologies that may be more appropriate. Presently the RF outlines five data collection methods or evidence streams to establish a performance measurement baseline:

  1. Literature search and document review, including (secondary data).
  2. Key informant interviews (primary data).
  3. Facilitated small group or focus group discussions (primary data), with target adolescent girls (10-19); target men and women in the intervention communities; Older Adolescent Boys (14-19); and mentors.
  4. Survey (primary data).


The Consultant will be expected to propose a methodology for assessing all AGEPP Indicators in the RF using a combination of the above mentioned as appropriate, however it needs to be ensured that it includes both qualitative and quantitative methods.


The Consultant will work closely with the WGPE Program Coordinator, MEL Coordinator and project team on the ground.


The baseline study will include four key phases: contracting, design of the inception report, data collection, and data analysis/report writing. After successfully completing the contracting process, the Consultant will immediately organize an initial round of consultations with key stakeholder representatives, as well as complete an initial document review to better understand the project and its needs. The Consultant will use this inception phase to assure a consensus on the baseline study’s design, outline the methodology for the study, and develop the data collection tools. Following this, the Consultant will begin data collection activities resulting in baseline data sets for each indicator in the RF. After data collection is completed, the report writing phase will consist of data analysis and consolidation, providing recommendations on targets whenever appropriate, and exchanging with IRC MEL Coordinator and WGPE Program Coordinator to refine the final report. The Baseline Evaluation must be submitted to IRC on August 12, 2022; there is no possibility for extensions. An overall timeline for the key deliverable of the four phases is laid out in the table below.


# Task/Milestone Deliverables/Outputs # of days Timeline
1 Attend inception meeting with IRC to ensure common understanding of expectations Approved inception report. The report should contain the following, among others:

  • Situational analysis
  • Understanding of assignment
  • Full methodology
  • Workplan from inception to completion of assignment
  • References
6 Jul 1 – Jul 8, 2022
2 Literature and document review
3 Review data collection tools (that will be provided by IRC) and write up assessment methodology 

(Following IRC guidance, including safeguarding, and the outlined Program Monitoring & Evaluation Framework)

4 Develop full workplan for the assignment 
5 Present workplan to IRC for review 
6 Submit full inception report to IRC for review and approval
7 Train data collectors on data collection approach and tools, including use and management of the tablet  Data collectors trained on assessment tools and methodology 5 Jul 11 – Jul 15, 2022
8 Undertake data collection Full data set available and shared with IRC   10 Jul 18 – Jul 29, 2022
9 Conduct data cleaning and analysis (following the analysis plan in inception report) and interpret results and write report* Draft report 1 shared with IRC for review 4 Aug 1 – Aug 4, 2022
10 Incorporate all comments and inputs from IRC into draft report*  Draft report 2 shared for additional review 2 Aug 5 – Aug 8, 2022
11 Incorporate additional comments and inputs and share a revised assessment report* Draft report 3 shared with IRC
12 Prepare PowerPoint Presentation and share findings with wider IRC team (during a meeting that will be organized by IRC) Share key findings using a PowerPoint Presentation  2 Aug 9 – Aug 10, 2022
13 Incorporate feedback from dissemination meeting to finalize assessment report* Final assessment report 2 Aug 12, 2022
14 Submit consultancy report Final consultancy report

* The report shall have no more than 30 pages, excluding annexes and references. The structure of the report will be discussed during inception. 


The consultant will be paid in four tranches based on delivery of key outputs below:

  • Tranche 1: Submission of approved inception report                          30%
  • Tranche 2: Submission of draft assessment report 1 shared with IRC for review          20%
  • Tranche 3: Submission of final assessment report and final PowerPoint Presentation   20%
  • Tranche 4: Submission of final consultancy report                             30%


The research for this baseline study must consciously abide IRC’s Code of Conduct and Safeguarding Policies, as well as by relevant recognized professional and ethical guidelines and codes of conduct for individual researchers. The Consultant must also be sure to obtain the relevant research permits, as required, from Sierra Leone authorities. Codes of conduct must be specifically referenced, and commitment confirmed in writing by each researcher involved in this survey. The design of the survey must clearly specify how data collection and use will be undertaken with integrity and honesty, respecting human rights and differences in culture, customs, religious beliefs and practices of all stakeholders and ensuring that the principle of ‘Do No Harm’ is incorporated. The Consultant must explain how its researchers will be mindful of gender roles, ethnicity, ability, age, language and other differences when designing and carrying out the survey. The design and implementation of the survey must strike an appropriate balance between recognition of the potential benefits of the study, and the protection of participants from potential research-related harms. Safeguarding principles to protect key informants from sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment and bullying, including child protection, must be explicit


The Consultant who will be sourced for undertaking this assessment MUST demonstrate a strong understanding of harmful gender norms, cultural and traditional practices, attitudes, and behaviors’ that relate to adolescent girls and women, especially violence against adolescent girls and women in the Sierra Leone context.

  • The team should include an expert with good knowledge of social policies, civil society and relevant government bodies in Sierra Leone, especially those working on gender and the empowerment of women and girls.
  • Lead researcher/firm must demonstrate a minimum of 10 years of experience in administering gender related studies, collecting data and producing quality baseline/end line study reports, preferably in education and for international non-profit organizations or multilateral agencies.
  • Demonstrated experience in designing baseline and end line studies including proven experience in sound sampling, gender sensitive research methods, mixed methods approach (quantitative and qualitative), data collection tool development, enumerator training, etc.
  • Demonstrated experience in quantitative and qualitative data analysis.
  • Knowledge and experience in gender equality issues is mandatory; specific experience in data collection on gender norms is desirable.
  • Demonstrated capacity to respect and safeguard vulnerable populations; and
  • Ability to produce high quality work under tight timeframes.




Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a cumulative analysis methodology. The award of the Contract shall be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

  1. Responsiveness and compliance with requirements.
  2. Having the highest score out of a weighted set of technical and financial criteria (technical criteria – 80% and financial criteria – 20%)


Criteria  Weight Max. Point
TECHNICAL QUALIFICATION (max. 80 points) 80% 80
Overall Response (20 points)
Understanding of tasks, objectives and completeness and coherence of response 10
Overall match between the TOR requirements and proposal 10
Proposed Methodology and Approach (20 points)
Quality of proposed approach/methodology 10
Quality of proposed work plan 10
Technical Capacity (40 points)
Advanced university degree, and/or has master’s or PhD Degree, in any related fields. 8
Minimum 10 years of practical experience: Demonstrable experience working on women’s rights and gender equality programmes, particularly relating to women’s economic empowerment 8
Technical expertise in girls and women’s rights, particularly related to women’s economic empowerment, and violence against women, ideally alongside knowledge of sustainable rural livelihoods. Familiarity with a rights-based approach, gender and disability mainstreaming and institutional strengthening concepts 9
Strong analytical and conceptual thinking. Excellent writing skills. Excellent communication and presentation skills with stakeholders and the ability to work under pressure and commitment to work to a tight timeframe  15
FINANCIAL PROPOSAL (max. 20 points) (daily rate, lump sum, per deliverable, transportation, etc.) 20% 20
TOTAL SCORE (max. 100 points)


Only candidates who obtain a minimum of 64 points in the Technical Criteria evaluation will be considered for the Financial Evaluation.


The consultant is expected to:

  • Provide their own laptop computer and other administrative supplies.
  • Be available to work from their own office. NOTE: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IRC will not provide / allocate a desk within any of the IRC offices.
  • Cater for their own transportation and meals.
  • Be available to travel to the field sites where data will be collected.
  • Provide for their own translator and/or editor as appropriate.
  • Recruit data collectors to conduct collection and data entry. Where necessary, IRC staff will be available to assist with the logistics.


Your application should include the following:

  • A full technical proposal with the proposed workplan and methodology/approach to managing the entire assignment. The proposal must be costed (in the local currency) at each stage as outlined in the key tasks. 
  • A resume highlighting the relevant work that the Consultant has undertaken and supported by recommendation letters.
  • At least two (2) sample reports written by the Consultant while executing similar assignments. 
  • Financial Proposal: The financial proposal should provide cost estimates for services rendered including daily consultancy fees, training costs, accommodation; transport cost; stationeries, and supplies needed for training and administrative costs related to the participants during the exercise.


Applications are required by 9:00am Friday 24th Jun 2022 (Sierra Leone Time). Email enquiries and applications to Interviews will be conducted on Wednesday 29th Jun 2022