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Dear Sir / Madam:
We kindly request you to submit your Proposal for UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE COOPERATION FRAMEWORK 2020-2024 END OF CYCLE EVALUATION.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2020-2024 is the strategic plan of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) contributing to the national development priorities and strategies of the Government of Sierra Leone as established in the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023. Harmonized with the MTNDP, the UNSDCF incorporates the goals and principles that underpin the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It focuses on four high-level outcome areas: Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security, and Climate Resilience; Transformational Governance; Access to Basic Services; and, Protection and Empowerment of the Most Vulnerable. In each case, the outcomes are mapped to the MTNDP policy clusters they directly support, as well as to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) they are intended to accelerate toward the 2030 Agenda.
The UNSDCF is implemented at central and district levels under the leadership of the Joint Steering Committee, co-chaired by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, which ensures that response to national challenges and transformation are “Delivered as One”. It is one of the first full, new model of cooperation frameworks to be developed and implemented after the UN Reform. The UNSDCF upholds the principles of gender equality, human rights, and conflict sensitivity, ensuring that “no one is left behind”, which guide all UN system programmes and projects. It also intends to advance the United Nations Secretary-General’s agenda on repositioning the United Nations development system and responds to the Secretary-General’s call for optimizing resources and improving effectiveness of the UN’s support to countries.
As outlined on the UNSDCF 2020-2024 Evaluation Plan, an end of the cycle evaluation will be conducted during the penultimate year of the UNSDCF implementation. Guided by the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Norms and Standards for Evaluation, the UNSDCF Evaluation is a mandatory, independent, and system-wide country assessment that seeks to ensure accountability, support learning, and inform decisions regarding the design of the subsequent UNSDCF cycle as well as UN entity country programme documents and strategic plans. The evaluation will also assess whether planned UNSDCF results were achieved, and whether they made a sustainable contribution to national development processes; and delivered on the commitment to leave no one behind.
The results of the UNSDCF evaluation will be disseminated to the Government of Sierra Leone, UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, development partners, civil society, academia, private sector, implementing partners and other secondary users including the public through several platforms. The evaluation results will further provide strategic and programmatic lessons to promote accountability and visibility around the work and achievements and work of UN Sierra Leone in support of the Government to achieve its National Development Goals and the SDGs.
Background - COUNTRY CONTEXT AND UNSDCF HIGHLIGHTS
The UNSDCF Evaluation will take place amidst on-going socio-economic and political developments in Sierra Leone as detailed below.
Sierra Leone is categorized as a least developed country, with a total population of 7,092,113, of which, nearly two thirds of the population are still identified as multi-dimensionally poor. It ranks 182 out of 189 countries and territories in 2020 Human Development Index. Sierra Leone’s macroeconomic situation remains challenging despite the implementation of bold policy measures since 2018. Following the twin shocks of 2014 and 2015—the Ebola epidemic and fall of iron ore prices, the economy registered modest socio-economic gains, including positive GDP growth since 2016, before contracting to -2 per cent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic growth rebounded by 2.9 per cent in 2021 with GDP per capita of US $516, reflecting the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and government fiscal response to the pandemic. Although growth is expected to rebound at 5 per cent in 2022, structural challenges could continue to impact long-term socio-economic recovery if remain unaddressed.
Sierra Leone is ranked as the third most vulnerable country after Bangladesh and Guinea Bissau to the adverse effects of climate change. Ranking 157 out of 181 in the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, it is also one of the least able countries to adapt to climate change characterized by high vulnerability and low readiness. Since most of the population is dependent on agriculture, this significantly affects food insecurity (food shortages, hunger, and malnutrition). Due to adverse weather events (flooding), fall armyworm attacks on maize in some localized areas, high inflation rate, weakening local currency and the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the value chain, food insecurity has worsened with 3.9 million people food insecure in 2021, 2 million people chronically hungry, and 1.4 million people acutely hungry (IPC Phase 3+). The number is estimated to increase during the lean season of 2022 to 1.5 million. Moreover, Food Security Monitoring System (FSMS) in August 2021 showed a continued and steady deteriorating trend in the Food Consumption Score (FCS), with the proportion of households categorised as having “poor” FCS doubling between September 2018 and August 2021 (37 per cent). Consistent deterioration in FCS most likely reflects the impact of continuously increasing food and fuel prices given that Sierra Leone is a net importer of food.
Gender inequality and discrimination against women and girls in Sierra Leone is prevalent, with Gender Inequality Index value of 0.644, ranking it 153 out of 162 countries in the 2018. Female mortality in Sierra Leone is one of the highest in the world, with maternal mortality showing 1 in 139 pregnant women dying due to complications from pregnancy of childbirth. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) rate is high with 83 per cent of women 15-49 years in the country having experienced it. Violence against women and girls remains rampant—62 per cent of women aged 15-49 years had experienced some form of violence (i.e., sexual and/or physical) in their lifetime, and 42.8 per cent had experienced physical violence in the last 12 months. Although the prevalence of child marriage has seen a slight decrease over the years, the practice remains widespread with 29.6 and 8.6 per cent of women aged 20 to 24 years first married or in union before age 18 and 15 years, respectively. The rates of adolescent pregnancy are also high with 21 per cent of girls aged 15-19 years having begun childbearing.
Sierra Leone’s youth (under 34 years old) is estimated to make up 80 per cent of the population, with those age 24 years and below making up 62.3 per cent, and 42 per cent of the population under the age of 15. In 2019, the unemployment rate is higher among youth than older people (defined as people aged 36–64) at 5.9 per cent versus 2.2 per cent, respectively. Apart from the high rate of unemployment, poverty also presents a barrier not only to the youth population, but to children as well. As many as 66 per cent of children were affected by multidimensional poverty in 2017, with more children at risk of falling into poverty as a result of COVID-19 affecting families’ livelihood. The latest National Child Labour Survey indicated that 45.9 per cent of children in Sierra Leone are engaged in child labour while 22 per cent are engaged in hazardous jobs. In 2019, child mortality rate for Sierra Leone was 109.2 deaths per 1,000 live births, with 1 in 39 infants dying during their first month of life.
According to the 2018 Integrated Household Survey, persons with disabilities makeup 4.3 per cent of the population. The Sierra Leone Multidimensional Poverty Index 2019 indicated that multidimensional poverty based on disability stood at 68.1 per cent persons with functional disabilities being poorer than those without functional disabilities. The proportion of illiterate adults is also higher among people with disabilities-46.5 per cent of people with disabilities have never been to school and 63.9 per cent were illiterate, compared to 34.3 per cent and 50.7 per cent for people without disabilities, respectively. The COVID-19 pandemic brought adverse impact to persons with disabilities, including their access to livelihood, employment and physical barriers that inhibit their access to public health information and health facilities. Similarly, the disruption of essential health services as a result of the pandemic has affected people living with communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS as there has been delays in accessing medical assistance which has in turn increased deaths in most communities. Prevalence rates for people living with HIV/AIDS is estimated at 1.7 per cent among adults ages 15-49 with 2.2 and 1.1 percent in women and men, respectively. HIV prevalence in urban areas is almost twice as high compared to rural areas, at 2.3 per cent in urban areas compared with 1.2 percent in rural areas.
Sierra Leone has demonstrated resilience by achieving significant progress in building state institutions and maintaining stability as part of its post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction agenda. The progress has not only taken place at national level but also through decentralization and strengthening of local governance as well. It has consolidated state authority, extended public services, and undertaken significant reforms in the governance and security sectors. Sierra Leone scored 51 out of 100 in overall governance, ranking 24 out of 54 countries in Africa in the 2020 Mo Ibrahim Index. The country has also conducted four elections with peaceful transfer of power in 2002, 2007, and 2018 (in 2012 there was no change of power). However, significant systemic and structural challenges remain. Public service delivery institutions are challenged by weak accountability mechanisms, while effective administration of justice is hampered by limited institutional capacity and the limited application of the rule of law. Pervasive corruption and allegations of mismanagement of public funds continue to permeate, with Sierra Leone ranking 115 out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index 2021. Despite the acclamation of the elections being peaceful, they are still characterised by heightened political tension and violence, resulting to perceptions of diminishing social cohesion. Sierra Leone ranked 50 out of 163 countries in the 2022 Global Peace Index. The political landscape remains fragile, with the potential for heightened tension between the two main political parties (largely along ethno-regional lines) to spill over to the larger society in the lead-up to the next general elections in mid-2023.
The two main political parties, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All-People’s Congress (APC) have dominated the country’s political scene for almost 70 years. Attempts by other parties to diversify the arena has remained challenging. Currently, Sierra Leone operates on a hung Parliament with a total membership of 146 Members. The ruling SLPP has 58 MPs; the main opposition, APC has 59; Coalition 4 Change (C4C) 8; the National Grand Coalition (NGC) 4; Independent MPs 3, and 14 Paramount Chiefs. Only 18 of these MPs are women, including 2 Paramount Chiefs.
Sierra Leone is one of the Mano River countries, bordering Guinea and Liberia. Sharing similar economic and social typologies, the borders between countries are porous. Movement of people and goods has increased in border areas in the last two decades, subsequently augmenting economic activities, albeit most of these activities are informal. However, concerns over security, development and humanitarian issues have been much more salient, including the spill-over of communicable diseases such as Ebola. Other challenges include trafficking, forced labour, transhumance, and irregular migration. Within the regional context affected by growing insecurity and banditism, it is also important to consider security risks, including the risk of radicalization of the youth and disenfranchised. Tensions linked to transhumance are of particular concern in the Parrot Beak area of Sierra Leone and have generally increased in the West Africa region.
 UNSDCF Sierra Leone 2020-2023, page 55.
 Norms and Standards for Evaluation, 2016.
 Guidelines for the Evaluation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, 2021.
 Data provided under this chapter are based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2020-2023; 2021 Update to the Common Country Analysis; 2020 Update to the Common Country Analysis; and 2018 Common Country Analysis. All of the documents indicated have all undergone multi-stakeholder review and validation, and are available online at www.sierraleone.un.org
 A hung parliament is a term used in legislatures under the Westminster system to describe a situation in which no single political party or pre-existing coalition (also known as an alliance or bloc) has an absolute majority of legislators (commonly known as members or seats) in a parliament or other legislature.
Purpose and Objectives
The UNSDCF evaluation has three primary purposes:
- Promote greater learning and operational improvement. The evaluation will provide important information for strengthening programming and results at the country level, specifically informing the planning and decision-making for the next CF programme cycle and for improving UN coordination at the country level. The UNCT, host government and other CF stakeholders can learn from the process of documenting good practices and lessons learned, which can then be shared with DCO and used for the benefit of other countries.
- Support greater accountability of the UNCT to CF stakeholders. By objectively providing evidence of results achieved within the framework of the CF and assessing the effectiveness of the strategies and interventions used, the evaluation will enable the various stakeholders in the CF process, including national counterparts and donors, to hold the UNCT and other parties accountable for fulfilling their roles and commitments.
- Deliver clear recommendations to support the next CF cycle and ensure accelerated progress towards the SDGs. The evaluation will provide important information for strengthening programming and results at the country level, specifically informing the planning and decision-making of the next UNSDCF programme cycle and improving UN coordination at the country level.
The specific objectives of the evaluation are to:
- To assess the contribution of the CF to national development results through evidence-based judgements using evaluation criteria (accountability).
- Identify factors that have affected the CF’s contribution; answering the question of why the performance is as it is; and explaining the enabling factors and bottlenecks (learning).
- Reach conclusions concerning the UN’s contribution across the scope being examined.
- Provide clear, forward-looking, actionable recommendations for improving UN Sierra Leone contribution through the UNSDCF, especially for incorporation into the new UNSDCF programming cycle. These recommendations should be logically linked to the conclusions and findings of the evaluation and should draw upon lessons learned identified through the evaluation.
- To gauge what kind of joint programmes and joint operations provided evidence of efficiency gains by reducing the cost of doing business through reducing multiple and extensive transaction costs incurred by a number of agencies carrying out their own programmes independently by combining their initiatives with other agencies
The Evaluation will cover the UNSDCF 2020-2024 implementation from January 2020 to June 2022. It will be conducted nation-wide. The results will be assessed against the identified four strategic outcomes and multiple outputs of the UNSDCF Results Framework and the indicative sub-outputs of UNSDCF Joint Workplan 2020-2023. Cross-cutting issues and normative work of the UNCT under the leaving no one behind principle (i.e. gender equality and empowerment of women, human rights, disability inclusion, and environmental sustainability) will be included in the scope of the evaluation. All UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, that implement the UNSDCF Joint Workplan will be covered, regardless of their physical presence in Sierra Leone.
The UNSDCF Evaluation will also consider any changes in context and emerging challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, and their impact on UNSDCF programming (i.e., UNCT’s responsiveness, adaptation and reprioritization) and its operations (i.e., methods for managing stakeholder participation and inclusiveness in the COVID-19 context). The Evaluation will also build on existing global evaluations conducted against the response to the pandemic (i.e. Global Humanitarian Response Plan to COVID-19 and UN COVID-19 Socioeconomic Response Plan).
The scope of the Evaluation will also assess the contribution and accountability of the Government of Sierra Leone as the primary partner to the UNSDCF, alongside the UNCT. The effectiveness of the Joint Steering Committee as the key coordination mechanism between the Government and the UNCT will be assessed. Findings and results will be useful to strengthen relevant coordination and implementation modalities for the next cycle of the UNSDCF. Moreover, implementing partners, donors, and relevant stakeholders, including target populations will also be included in the Evaluation.
The scope of the Evaluation will not extend to individual programme of activities of UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes (AFPs), but will consider the available programme and project evaluations conducted by these AFPs. Joint projects developed outside of the multiyear Joint Workplan but aligned to the UNSDCF will be considered. UNCT coordination structures that support the UNSDCF implementation, particularly on the cross-cutting issues stated above will be taken into account, including Results Groups, M&E Group, and thematic and operation groups.
The appointments and visits to all relevant stakeholders will be facilitated by the Evaluation manager as part of the inception phase, in consideration of data availability and areas for in-depth analysis and upon UN approval.
 Integrating Human Rights and Gender Equality in Evaluations, 2014.
 Guidance on Integrating Disability Inclusion in Evaluations and Reporting on the UNDIS Entity Accountability Framework Evaluation Indicator, 2022.
SEE ATTACHED DOCUMENT FOR COMPLETE DETAILS
Please be guided by the form attached hereto as Annex 2, in preparing your Proposal.
Proposals may be submitted on or before 5:00pm Sierra Leone on Tuesday, February 07, 2023and via email, to the address below:
United Nations Development Programme
Fourah Bay Close, Wilberforce, Freetown
Your Proposal must be expressed in the English Language, and valid for a minimum period of 120 days