Terms of Reference – Baseline Study


Terms of Reference – Baseline Study


  1. Background

WUSC is a leading Canadian international development organization that works with and through its southern partners to promote sustainable development. Founded in 1957 and currently working in 22 countries worldwide with an annual budget of approximately $45 million dollars, WUSC’s mission is to foster human development and global understanding through education and training. Our internationally recognized programs support youth, women and other marginalized populations, focusing on three thematic areas of education, employment and empowerment. Globally, WUSC works with a network of higher education institutions, civil society organizations, private sector partners, professionals, students, volunteers, faculty and community leaders that can be leveraged to support our work. 

Canadian Leaders in International Consulting Inc. (CLIC), founded in 2007, is a professional services firm that provides high quality technical assistance and strategic advice in governance, institutional development, restoration and capacity building to public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  CLIC works extensively in conflict and post conflict environments providing livelihood and stabilization services. In addition, CLIC conducts research, implements monitoring and evaluation and development projects globally with a focus on the broader Middle East and North Africa. Over the past 3 years CLIC has implemented, or is currently implementing, contracts in Iraq with the WB, UNDP, the ILO and several international organizations and bi-lateral funding agencies.

WUSC and its consortium partner, CLIC, are implementing the Training And Workplace Advancement Solutions for Opportunities in the Labour Force (TAWASOL) project in Iraq. TAWASOL, a project funded by Global Affairs Canada, aims to enhance economic empowerment for female and male youth in Iraq; through establishing more inclusive employment environments enabling youth to make the transition from training to employment, and increasing more equitable participation of male and female youth graduates in the workforce. The TAWASOL project will be implemented over a period of five years, from April 2023 to March 2028 in four locations in Iraq (Baghdad, Basra, Najaf and Mosul).  With unemployment a driver of youth discontent that can lead to radicalization (Global Partners Governance, 2020), a project that enables female and male Iraqi youth to participate more meaningfully in the country’s economy and earn sustainable livelihoods will also contribute to a more peaceful future for Iraq and help reduce potential for future cycles of conflict, terrorism, violent extremism, instability, and displacement.

TAWASOL will build on the partnerships with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA) at the national level and with local Governorates, VTCs and private sector employers. Current and new partnerships will be nurtured in the four Governorates where the project will focus – Mosul, Najaf, Basra and Baghdad – and where the expected outcomes have strong potential to influence broader system change. These new partnerships will include four Technical Universities (TUs) that deliver 2-year technical diploma programs in such areas as mechanical and electrical engineering, and medical, business administration, accounting and other technologies. Since VTCs focus on shorter term skills programs linked to trades in areas such as construction, vehicle maintenance and repair, hospitality-related, and administrative support, the inclusion of TUs will help optimize reach to a deep pool of youth transitioning to employment, and associated skill sets sought by employers. Other ‘ecosystem actors’ – key stakeholder groups that together with training institutes influence the future livelihoods of youth in Iraq – who will be partners include local private sector associations, local governments, civil society, and local youth themselves. All of these actors will be engaged toward enhancing programs, services, innovations, and approaches that address several interconnected challenges contributing to the youth unemployment crisis in Iraq. 

WUSC is now seeking a team of qualified consultants to conduct a comprehensive gender responsive baseline study for TAWASOL.  

  1. Objectives of the study

The purpose of TAWASOL’s gender-responsive baseline study is to support key stakeholders to define, measure and document project’s achievements in terms of a set of expected outcomes; and to empower them to collaboratively measure progress towards them, as well as review them as needed and appropriate. Aligned with this purpose, the baseline study will be designed to achieve four specific objectives:

  • support a better understanding of the implementation contexts for the project before the beginning of the implementation;
  • provide evidence to validate the assumptions in the project’s Theory of Change (ToC) as well as to inform the program implementation strategy, also gaining insights on community members perspectives and experiences, to revise and update the program design as appropriate;
  • establish baseline values for all indicators in the Performance Measurement Framework (PMF) and their relevant disaggregating, recommending adjustments in their formulation if the need emerges and supporting the definition of their end-of-project targets;
  • gather and analyse quantitative and qualitative data on gender and power dynamics to inform the program gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) strategy;
  • provide recommendations for the development and implementation of the results-based monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) plan for the project, including (but not limited to) future data collection exercises.
  1. Scope and research questions

A preliminary list of research questions that the study is expected to answer can be found below, as well as the list of indicators to inform. Please note that the list will be expanded and finalized  in consultation with key stakeholders during the inception phase of the study.

Indicators in the Project’s PMF
1 % of female and male youth in target communities who report being able to participate in household (financial and family) decision-making (disaggregated by sex and age)
2 Level of self confidence of female and male youth to advocate for themselves in the workplace (disaggregated by sex and age)
3 Empowerment Progression Index 
4 # and % of engaged employers with new established opportunities for internship, apprenticeship, and/or on-the-job-training (disaggregated by sex and age)
5 # and % of engaged TIs with updated support services for youth making the transition to employment (disaggregated by type)
6 Perception of safety, trust and respect in the workplace among employees (disaggregated by sex and age)
7 # and % of female and male youth in target communities securing employment and self-employment 6 months after graduation (disaggregated by sex and age)
8 Gender gap in employment and self-employment 6 months after graduation
9 Degree to which female and male youth in targeted communities actively pursue private sector employment or self employment opportunities (disaggregated by sex and age)
10 # and % of engaged employers reporting plans to adopt inclusive and gender responsive HR policies (disaggregated by sex and age)
11 Level of satisfaction among the employees about the changes in HR policies (disaggregated by sex and age)
12 % of female and male youth trainees reporting having accessed the entrepreneurship support services, including loans (disaggregated by sex and age)
13 % of female and male youth trainees reporting satisfaction with the entrepreneurship support available to them (disaggregated by sex and age)
14 # and % of employers who are satisfied with the relevance and quality of the curricula of selected training institutes (disaggregated by sex and age)
15 % of female and male youth trainees who are satisfied with the quality, accessibility, gender sensitivity and market relevancy of training curricula in selected institutes (disaggregated by sex and age)
16 Level of awareness of female and male youth on employment opportunities (disaggregated by sex and age) 
17 % of female and male trainees reporting satisfaction with the career guidance and support received in their training institute (disaggregated by sex and age)
Research questions
1 What are the current perceptions of private sector employers of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector? How likely are they to hire graduates from TVET programs? Is there a difference for them between hiring young women vs young men?
2 What types of entrepreneurship support is currently available to young men and young women studying at TVET institutions? Is this support aligned with the needs of young men and young women?
3  What types of support do TVETs currently offer to young men and young women to secure employment opportunities after graduation?  Is this support aligned with the needs of young men and young women?
4 To what extent is the current TVET curriculum aligned with labour market needs? What strategies are currently used to understand labour market needs? 
5 What HR policies to private sector employers currently have in place? To what extent are these policies inclusive and gender sensitive?  
6 What do young men and young women consider as the key elements of economic empowerment? And how do they see the path to realize it? How is this different for young men vs young women?
7 What are youth’s expectations when enrolling in TVET training? And when seeking a job in the private sector?
8. Are young men and young women interested in home/blended learning approaches? How may this impact their decision making ability and power within the home? 
9. What are perceptions amongst families of youth around self-employment vs private sector employment? How does this influence choices made by young men and young women?

WUSC will be conducting a Gender equality and social inclusion integrated labour market analysis concurrently with this gender-responsive baseline study. The teams conducting both studies will be asked to coordinate under the leadership of the WUSC team in order to ensure streamlined processes of data collection across the two studies, explore synergies and minimize duplications of efforts.  

  1. Study approach and methodology

The preliminary draft of the methodology for the study should be included in the submitted proposal.

The following elements should guide the design of the overall methodology and, during the inception phase, the development of the tools for this baseline study:

  • The study should not only consciously apply qualitative and quantitative research methods that are gender and youth-sensitive, but also adopt as much as possible participatory and feminist approaches, engaging in consultation with stakeholders and participants at all stages, from the design of the methodological details to the analysis, interpretation and dissemination of all collected data;
  • The geographic scope of the study will be aligned with the areas targeted by the program’s interventions, as laid out in the project description;
  • The data collection approaches and specific tools used to establish indicator baselines should be adapted to the local contexts, to assure the appropriateness and reliability of the data collected.

Additionally, the methodology described in the proposal should provide explicit details on the process to determine the selection of respondents for the qualitative data collection, the key elements in the sampling strategy for the quantitative data collection, as well as details on how key ethical issues related to the data collection, analysis and dissemination processes will be addressed. 

  1. Key Activities and Deliverables

The selected Consultant will have overall responsibility for the design of the methodology and implementation of the study, and for ensuring quality and timeliness of all deliverables. The Consultant will be tasked with designing the methodological details of the study, including the choice of the appropriate sampling/selection strategy, as well as with the data collection tools development and piloting; the enumerators’ recruitment, training and supervision; data entry and analysis; report writing and dissemination of findings for validation with stakeholders and participants.  

The key activities and deliverables expected from the Consultant(s) for this assignment are as follows:

  • Review all relevant documents, studies and available secondary data sources regarding [sector] relevant to the country and related to the research questions as well as to the performance indicators included in the project PMF.
  • Participate in an inception meeting with project staff and key stakeholders to clarify expectations of the mandate and provide contextual information necessary to produce the inception report and work plan.
  • Submit a detailed inception report and work plan, including (but not limited to) the following elements:
    • Detailed methodology to respond to each research question;
    • Sampling strategy and proposed sample size for quantitative data collection tools;
    • Selection criteria for qualitative data collection tools;
    • Detailed work plan that includes all tasks by the Consultant and team members and incorporating the overall study timelines;
    • Revised level of effort of each team member and detailed budget including professional fees, expected reimbursable, etc.;
    • All quantitative and qualitative data collection tools and protocols, as well as the plan for testing the tools, translation and/or back translation if applicable (see point below).
  • Develop all data collection tools. These tools will be reviewed during the inception phase and must be included in the inception report/work plan. 
  • Develop Enumerator Guidelines and Protocols for Data Collection and Conduct Enumerators Training following a detailed agenda and outlining study protocols (this agenda should be included in the inception report)
  • Coordinate/conduct/supervise data collection, as per the agreed methodology
  • Ensure Data Quality by supervising data collection and reviewing data entry, where applicable
  • Analyze all primary data collected, also triangulating with secondary data whenever available and appropriate
  • Draft the Study Report (to be submitted in both Word and PDF versions with all annexes and raw data files included). The Table of Contents will be provided during the inception phase 
  • Facilitate a data dissemination workshop, to present and validate the key findings with all stakeholders, as well as contribute to the interpretation and validation of the findings of the vulnerability assessment and the gender assessment that will be conducted in parallel.

Expected key deliverables are listed below:

  1. Inception report, containing detailed methodology and timeline, data collection tools and protocols, enumerators training tools, data analysis plan, informed consent forms, 
  2. Research approvals, if applicable;
  3. Final report with key findings and recommendations;
  4. PMF with updated indicators values;
  5. All raw data, recordings and notes from both the quantitative and qualitative data collection processes;
  6. Validation workshop to present the key findings to partners and key stakeholders.
  1. Timeline

The period of the contract is expected to be from the 2nd of June 2023 to 10th of August 2023. The consultant is expected to carry out all the preparation required to roll out the study as per the suggested time frame below.

OutputExpected Time Frame
Beginning of the contract2nd June
Inception Meeting2nd June
Submission of first draft of Inception Report and Work Plan (following report structure outline provided)(feedback will be shared within three working days of receipt)9th June
Submission of final Inception Report, integrating feedback from WUSC, CECI and partners 16th June
Training of enumerators18th June
Data collection, cleaning and entry18th – 30th June
Submission of first draft of Baseline Report (following report structure outline provided)(feedback will be shared within five working days of receipt)25th July
Validation workshopTBC
Submission of final Report, integrating feedback from WUSC, CECI and partners 10th August

The expected level of effort for each task leading to the above outputs should be included in the submitted proposal.

The final timeline will be discussed and agreed upon during the inception meeting.

  1. Qualifications of Consultant(s) 
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in designing and conducting similar studies and researches, collecting data and producing quality baseline studies reports 
  • Demonstrated experience in designing baseline studies, including proven experience in feminist evaluation approaches, participatory research methods, management of large amounts of qualitative and quantitative data from a variety of sources
  • Excellent facilitation skills and ability to recruit and manage facilitators for consultation with key stakeholders as well as for the collection of relevant qualitative data
  • Demonstrated experience in quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Knowledge and experience with TVET sector policies and services systems in Iraq, especially in the areas of implementation
  • Demonstrated experience in the analysis of gender equality issues of the sector is highly preferred
  • Fluency in English and Arabic is mandatory
  • Ability to produce high quality work under tight timeframes
  1. Application Packages and Procedures

Qualified and interested parties are asked to submit the following: 

  1. Letter of interest 
  2. Detailed technical proposal clearly demonstrating a thorough understanding of this ToR and including the following:
    1. Description of the Capacity and qualifications of the consulting firm, including previous relevant experience. 
    2. Description of the proposed approach and methodology, including data collection, sampling strategy, data analysis, integration of gender considerations and ethical standards, quality assurance.  
    3. A proposed timeframe detailing activities and a schedule/work plan (including a Gantt chart)
    4. Team composition, qualifications and level of effort of each proposed team member. 

Note that each proposal will be assess based on a list of criteria, including but not limited to the following elements:

  • Years of experience in the sector and the geographic context of the project, as well as with the the key stakeholder groups participating in the project’s activities
  • Documented experience in facilitation of consultations with different stakeholders groups
  • Team’s composition that include local experts in key roles, as well as strategies to recruit enumerators within the communities in the areas targeted by the projects
  • Methodological choices centered around inclusive participatory and consultative approaches, including elements of feminist evaluation approaches
  1. A financial proposal with a detailed breakdown of costs for the study 
  1. Itemized consultancy fees/costs, detailing the level of effort of each team member
  2. Itemized field data collection expenses
  3. Itemized administrative expenses
  4. Validity period of quotations
  1. Curriculum Vitae(s) of all proposed team members outlining relevant experience
  2. Names and contact information of three references who can be contacted regarding recent relevant experience
  3. A copy of a previous reports of similar recent work undertaken
  4. A Consulting Firm profile (if applicable). 

Complete applications should be submitted electronically to:

Meena Sivaloganathan, Programme Development Assistant at [email protected] with the subject line of:  ‘Tawasol Baseline Study Application’

Closing date for submission of the application package is end of business day on 23 May 2023

Please note that firms are eligible to apply for both the baseline study (see TOR also posted on WUSC’s website) and the GESI-integrated LMA, but must demonstrate the capacity to implement both assignments simultaneously.

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