Due Date: 10/28/20
Funder: Oak Foundation
About the Oak Foundation
The Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social, and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. Oak Foundation is family-led and reflects the vision and values of its founders. In all its work Oak pursues rights-based approaches, gender equality, and partnership with the organizations they fund. The Foundation supports civil society as a pillar of democracy and justice and nurture innovation and visionary leadership within it.
About the Issues Affecting Women Program
Based on the Issues Affecting Women Program (IAWP) Strategic Framework (2016-2020), the Oak Foundation invested USD 101,223,816 into 153 grants, in the areas of:
- Ending domestic violence against women
- Ending trafficking and exploitation of women
- Supporting women living in situations of conflict and crisis
- Ending psychological violence targeting women
These include primarily core and multi-year grants to organizations that play a movement-building role within the women’s rights movement. It also includes “exit” grants in areas where they felt a strong sense of accomplishment and/or reprioritization of theme or geography.
The IAWP has a staff of nine professionals supervised by two Trustees, and composed of a Director, four program officers, one program associate, one program assistant, and two fellows based in Geneva. The grant-making portfolios overseen by the staff have a global reach. Detailed information about the scope of their work can be found here.
About the Opportunity
The Oak Foundation is seeking letters of interest to conduct an external evaluation of the Issues Affecting Women Program’s last 5 years, which will form the basis of a strategy refresh for the period 2021-2025. The Program would like the analysis and learnings from the evaluation to feed into the strategy and planning conversations in an integrated process.
After decades of resourcing women’s movements across the world, the Foundation believes they are at a critical crossroads that requires them to pause and reflect on their next steps as a program. What do they want their unique contribution to justice to be? And how can they make lasting and meaningful change to advance women’s lives? And how can they lift themselves and their partners out of difficulties and challenges?
Oak has identified the following evaluation questions, that will be refined with the evaluation team:
- How effective has their grant-making been and what has been its impact?
- What has the IAWP helped its partners achieve over the past five years?
- How does the Foundation know they are investing in the “right” themes and geographies? To what extent have their geographic and thematic choices been the right ones to achieve their program goals?
- What is Oak’s unique contribution to the private and public funders who work in gender justice? What is Oak known for in the women’s funders landscape?
- In what ways have they contributed to building stronger movements in geographies where they fund?
- Does the impact commensurate the time and financial resources put in the work?
- In what ways is Oak accountable to their grantee community, Trustees, and themselves?
- Is Oak’s donor/partner relationships accessible and reciprocal to their partners? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their grant-making style?
- Are they clear, consistent, and deliberate about the ways in which they communicate the changes they support?
- Has the Foundation been able to exit in responsible ways?
- What has been their approach to supporting organizational development and capacity building of their partners?
- What have they learned and how do they communicate it?
- To what extent has Oak’s monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) system helped them make strategic decisions about their grant-making? What can they learn from the coding of five years of grant-making through their MEL system (Impact Mapper)?
- In what ways do they capture their learnings? What were their mistakes? What are the lessons learned that will guide their strategy refresh?
- How have they used strategic communications and what have they learned about it?
- Where does the Foundation go from here?
- What are the blind spots and gaps in their grantmaking strategy and how can they address them in the future? What should they continue to do or stop doing? Are they able to respond to diverse issues, populations, and geographies?
- In what new ways can they support their partner community? How can they be more flexible and responsive to the changing needs of their partners?
- What type of strategies and tactics have they supported (re-granting, campaigns, research, advocacy, movement building, etc) and what do they want to prioritize going forward?
Scope of Work
- In addition to evaluating the last five years of grant-making, the Foundation wants this Initiative to also take a look at the external and internal context in which the IAWP operates. They want to make sure they have a deep and meaningful system analysis of the contexts that they fund, so they can be and remain a responsive and relevant actor in philanthropy.
- The geographic scope of the review is global, as the program’s movement-building pillar has a broader geographic focus. However, there will be a special emphasis on the Balkans, Brazil, Central America, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Moldova, Bulgaria, the North Caucasus, and India.
- The evaluation will mostly focus on the broader-level aspects of the program strategy. However, the pillar-level analysis could help to illustrate certain findings or to provide a richer analysis through stories of change. The strategy refresh will need to adapt to the different levels of depth required in the evaluative analysis.
- The primary stakeholders for this evaluation are grantee partners, Trustees, staff, and peer funders.
- The Foundation expects consultants interested in this work to propose a methodology and estimate the level of effort and time required. There is no prescription of a specific evaluation framework or methodology, but it is important to Oak that the evaluation design includes a gender and equity lens and that reflects a systems perspective. They have a preference for visual and story-focused approach. The methodological proposal should balance qualitative and quantitative data and explain how data will support the findings.
- Given physical limitations due to Covid-19, the Foundation encourages optimizing technology for remote interviews and meetings. Most of the data collection can be done virtually; however, the final workshop might require a trip to the Oak office in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Foundation believes the best evaluations and strategy design processes are the result of a collaborative effort between staff and consultants. They envision a process that is based on mutual trust, with frequent exchange and interaction, open and honest communication, and where the process is adjusted as needed. They welcome ideas from the candidate(s) of how best to collaborate for a successful process.
The process will be overseen by a steering committee consisting of the Director of the IAWP, several program staff, and the Senior Advisor of MEL. The first point of contact for the evaluation team will be the project manager, who will work as a liaison to the rest of the people involved.
The Foundation expects the evaluation to be closely linked to and inform the new strategy. To help them bridge both processes, the following deliverables are expected:
- Inception report: This will present the consultant’s understanding of the assignment, the proposed evaluation design (including sampling strategy, methodology, data collection and analysis plan, etc.), timeframe, stakeholder engagement plan (who will be involved when and what will be the spaces for individual reflection), and delivery schedule. This will be a concise document and its purpose is mostly to ensure there is agreement on scope, purpose, approach, process, and content between all parties involved before the evaluation formally starts. This report will need to be approved by the IAWP before moving on to the next stages of the evaluation.
- Draft and final evaluation reports with executive summaries: The final report will be of a maximum of 30 pages (including executive summary), although additional information can be provided as annexes.
- A visually engaging slide deck, video, and/or animation including the key findings and recommendations to be used to socialize the evaluation results with diverse audiences.
- A preliminary presentation of results with the Steering Committee.
- Design and facilitation of a one-day recommendation and discussion workshop. The objectives of the workshop include: sharing and interpretation of evaluation findings and suggest recommendations.
- Deadline for letters of interest: October 23, 2020
- Interviews for shortlisted consultants: November 2020
- Start of consultancy: December 2020
- Submission of inception report: December 2020
- Submission of draft report and workshop: April 2021
- Integration of feedback and workshop insights: May 2021
- Submission of final report: June 2021
- Presentation with the IAWP team, President, Trustees, and other stakeholders: June 2021
The candidate(s) should bring together the following skills and experience:
- Consolidated experience in program and strategy evaluation, particularly with critical systems and gender lens
- Solid theory and practice of evaluation methods and approaches
- Excellent communications skills, also for non-technical audiences
- Experience in strategy development a plus
- Experience in the design and assessment of strategies in grant-making institutions
- Familiarity with the philanthropic field and the women’s rights field
- Sound understanding of the thematic areas relevant to this strategic framework: 1) gender-based violence, 2) trafficking and exploitation, and 3) situations of crisis (psychological violence portfolio will not be part of the evaluation process as it is a new field)
- Ability to make sense of complex information from multiple sources and the ability to communicate it to multiple audiences
- Positive and flexible attitude to work collaboratively with the evaluation team to take joint decisions along the way
How To Submit a Proposal
Interested consultants are invited to submit a brief proposal individually or in teams, including the following items:
- A letter of interest introducing the candidate(s), explaining what they can bring to this assignment and why interested in conducting this work (not more than 1 page).
- A brief resume (1 page per candidate). For organizations, please include a brief summary of the organization’s mission and background too.
- A short methodological proposal (not more than a page) explaining how they would go about conducting this evaluation, including principles the evaluator(s) like to use to guide the process.
- A budget plan.
- A writing sample from the lead consultant.
- Candidate(s) who reaches the final stage of the interviews will be asked to provide the names and contact information for two recent clients who are willing to provide a reference.
Proposals will be submitted via email to Nevin Öztop and Claire Geffroy. Interviews with shortlisted candidates(s) will be conducted in early November 2020. For more information about this request for proposal, please contact Nevin Öztop.
Proposals are due October 23, 2020.