National Evaluation and Governance Expert Consultant for the Mid-Term Evaluation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Capacity Building (ZIM-ECO) Project – Harare

Full Time
Posted 2 years ago

Purpose and Objectives of the Evaluation

Since the first phase of ZIM-ECO is coming to an end in August 2022, the project’s mid-term evaluation is being carried out to assess the progress made by the project against the project outputs and indicators. In-depth analysis will be needed to review the results achieved under the ten project activities as outlined in the project document.

The mid-term evaluation should establish the relevance, sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency of the Project.  To this end, the evaluation should measure the impact of the project towards increased citizen participation in democratic process (UNDAF Outcome 2).

The analysis and recommendations presented by the evaluation mission will be useful to ZEC, development partners and UNDP in measuring the contributions made by the project and in guiding future support for strengthening electoral system and processes in Zimbabwe, notably through ZIM-ECO Phase Two.

Firstly, the evaluation will assess the effectiveness of the implementation strategy to ascertain whether the specific and overall interventions and approaches including the theory of change were appropriate and effective. This will include:

  • The implementation modalities, in particular the effectiveness of the funding approach;
  • Partnership arrangements, institutional strengthening, and beneficiary participation;
  • Cost effectiveness and efficiency as well as sustainability of the Project; and
  • Linkages, synergies and coordination with other Projects/programmes.

Secondly, the evaluation will also assess the Project design and assumptions made at the beginning of the Project and the development process. In this regard, the evaluation will place emphasis on:

  • The extent to which the Project results have been achieved, partnerships established, capacities built, and cross cutting issues such as gender equality have been addressed;
  • Whether the Project implementation strategy has been optimum and recommend areas for improvement and learning;
  • Assess the project contribution to achievement of UN Country Programme Documents (CPD), UN Strategic Plan and Government of Zimbabwe development goals and results;
  • Assess the relevance and strategic positioning of this project’s support in the context of Zimbabwe as well as the overall contribution of the project to democracy in Zimbabwe;
  • Draw, based on above objectives, lessons and recommendations for sustaining the project results, and providing guidance for the future strategic direction;
  • The capacity building approach including training design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation initiatives will also be evaluated;
  • Programme accountability in as far as communication and visibility is concerned.

Scope of the Evaluation and Timeframe

Duration: Twenty-seven working days.

Coverage: At national and sub-national level (two field visits to provinces).

Target Groups and Stakeholder Coverage

  • National level stakeholders:  ZEC officials, other government officials working on electoral issues, development partners (notably the project partners EU, France, Japan), electoral experts, civil society organizations, including the Electoral Resource Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN), other electoral stakeholders, UN agencies and UNDP projects;
  • Local level stakeholders: District Election Officers, relevant government officials and civil society representatives.

The tentative schedule will be the following:

  • Desk review and preparation of design (home based) – 2 days;
  • Briefing by Development Partner/UNDP – 1 day;
  • Finalizing design, methods & inception report and sharing with reference group for feedback – 3 days;
  • Stakeholders meetings and interviews – 5 days;
  • Field visit(s) outside Harare – 5 days;
  • Analysis, preparation of draft report, presentation of draft findings – 5 days;
  • Stakeholder meeting to present draft findings – 1 day;
  • Finalize and submit report (Home Based) and review brief – 5 days.

Methodology of the Evaluation

The evaluation should be based on the five criteria laid out in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) Principles for Evaluation of Development Assistance, as defined in the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) guidelines.

The evaluation should be based on an analysis of secondary and primary data collected from various sources, including project quarterly reports, implementing partners’ (IPs) reports, minutes of project board meetings, interviews with key informants and focus group discussions (FGDs) with project beneficiaries. The evaluation will take a “theory of change’’ (TOC) approach to determining causal links between the interventions that have been supported and observed progress at the country level. The evaluation exercise will be consultative and participatory, ensuring representation of both women and men, entailing a combination of comprehensive desk reviews, analysis and interviews, as highlighted above.

During the evaluation, the team is expected to apply the following approaches for data collection and analysis, but not limited to the below:      

  • Desk review of relevant documents (project document, EU evaluation, annual reports, ZEC strategic plan, ZEC Gender and Inclusion Strategy);
  • Briefing and debriefing sessions with the Election Commission, development partners, current and former project staff, UNDP, UN Women as well as other partners;
  • Interviews with partners and stakeholders (including gathering the information on what the partners have achieved with regard to the outcome and what strategies they have used); 
  • Field visits to selected provinces and discussions with Election Commission and other stakeholders;
  • Consultation meetings.

While interviews are a key instrument, all analysis must be based on observed facts, evidence and data. This precludes relying exclusively upon anecdotes, hearsay and unverified opinions. Findings should be specific, concise and supported by quantitative and/or qualitative information that is reliable and valid. The evaluation methodology must be explained in detail and be appropriate and of sufficient rigor to produce valid results. Limitations to the evaluation with particular attention to the limitations associated with the evaluation methodology (selection bias, recall bias, unobservable differences between comparator groups, etc.) must be disclosed in the evaluation report.

The evaluation team will be expected to: 

  • Employ study techniques that ensure internal validity of study results;
  • Utilize social science methods and tools that reduce the need for evaluator-specific judgments;
  • Employ standardized recording and maintenance of records from the evaluation (e.g., focus group transcripts).  

Evaluation Questions


  • To what extent were ZIM-ECO technical and operational assistance relevant in addressing the needs and strategic priorities of ZEC and other electoral stakeholders?
  • To what extent were interventions informed by gender and social inclusion analyses to enhance women, youth, and people with disability meaningful participation in the electoral processes as voters and candidates?
  • To what extent was the project able to cater the needs of the beneficiaries in a changing context? If and when a change of focus or strategy was needed, was the project flexible?
  • Is there any evidence that the project advanced any key national human rights, gender or inclusion policies and the priorities of UN, UNDP, including the UNDAF?
  • How relevant was the geographical coverage?
  • To what extent was the project in line with the national development priorities, the country programme’s outputs and outcomes, the UNDP Strategic Plan and the SDGs?
  • To what extent has the project been appropriately responsive to political, legal, economic, institutional, etc., changes in the country?
  • To what extent does the project contribute to the theory of change for the relevant country programme outcome?
  • To what extent were perspectives of those who could affect the outcomes, and those who could contribute information or other resources to the attainment of stated results, taken into account during the project design processes?
  • To what extent were lessons learned from other relevant projects considered in the project’s design?


  • How effective has the project been in enhancing the institutional and professional capacity of ECN to conduct inclusive, credible and transparent elections?
  • Has the project achieved its outputs? What were the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the outputs? What factors have contributed to achieving or not achieving intended country programme outputs and outcomes?
  • To what extent the planned outputs contributed towards the achievement of the UNDAF outcome and what evidence validates these claims?
  • To what extent has the UNDP partnership strategy been appropriate and effective? What factors contributed to effectiveness or ineffectiveness?
  • In which areas does the project have the greatest achievements? Why and what have been the supporting factors? How can the project build on or expand these achievements?
  • In which areas does the project have the fewest achievements? What have been the constraining factors and why? How can or could they be overcome?
  • To what extent are project management and implementation participatory and is this participation contributing towards achievement of the project objectives?
  • To what extent has the project been appropriately responsive to the needs of the national constituents and changing partner priorities?
  • Did women and other marginalized groups directly benefit from the project‘s activities? If so, how and what was the impact?
  • Were any changes made in the project based on monitoring, assessments, context or risk analyses? If yes, how did they affect project results?


  • To what extent have resources (financial, human, institutional and technical) been allocated strategically?
  • Could the activities and outputs have been delivered with fewer resources without reducing their quality and quantity? To what extent have the UNDP project implementation strategy and execution been efficient and cost-effective?
  • Were the project inputs and benefits fairly distributed amongst different genders while increasing access for the most vulnerable? What factors influenced decisions to fund certain proposed activities, and not others?
  • To what extent did the coordination with other UN agencies and UNDP projects reduce transaction costs, optimize results and avoid duplication?


  • What impact did the work of ZIM-ECO have on the institutional capacity of ZEC and other electoral stakeholders?
  • What impact did the work of ZIM-ECO have on the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe? Is there evidence of changes in their credibility and effectiveness?
  • What impact did the work of ZIM-ECO have on the democratic participation in elections in Zimbabwe? Is there evidence of improvements for under-represented and/or disadvantaged segments of Zimbabwe society and project’s contribution to the achievement of such results?


  • Is there evidence of knowledge transfer from the Project to ZEC?
  • Have ZIM-ECO interventions enhanced the capacity of ZEC and electoral stakeholders?
  • What is the level of ownership of ZEC towards the project?
  • Will the ZEC be able to sustain project supported interventions (programmatically and financially) after the project is phased out?
  • Is there any evidence of ZIM-ECO reduced assistance over the years due to ZEC increased ownership and leadership?
  • Are there any financial, social or political risks that may jeopardize sustainability of project outputs and the project’s contributions to country programme outputs and outcomes?
  • Do the legal frameworks, policies and governance structures and processes within which the project operates pose risks that may jeopardize sustainability of project benefits?
  • To what extent did UNDP actions pose an environmental threat to the sustainability of project outputs?
  • What is the risk that the level of stakeholders’ ownership will be sufficient to allow for the project benefits to be sustained?
  • To what extent do mechanisms, procedures and policies exist to allow primary stakeholders to carry forward the results attained on gender equality, empowerment of women, human rights and human development?
  • To what extent do UNDP interventions have well-designed and well-planned exit strategies

UNEG Norms and Standards and Ethical Code of Conduct

This mid-term project evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the principles outlined in the UNEG ‘Ethical Guidelines for Evaluation’. The consultants must safeguard the rights and confidentiality of information providers, interviewees, and stakeholders through measures to ensure compliance with legal and other relevant codes governing the collection of data and reporting on its data. The consultants must also ensure the security of collected information before and after the evaluation and protocols to ensure anonymity and confidentiality of sources of information where that is expected. The information knowledge and data gathered in the evaluation process must also be solely used for the evaluation and not for other uses. The UNEG Guidelines note the importance of ethical conduct for the following reasons:

  • Responsible use of power: All those engaged in evaluation processes are responsible for upholding the proper conduct of the evaluation;
  • Ensuring credibility: With a fair, impartial and complete assessment, stakeholders are more likely to have faith in the results of an evaluation and to take note of the recommendations;
  • Responsible use of resources: Ethical conduct in evaluation increases the chances of acceptance by the parties to the evaluation and therefore the likelihood that the investment in the evaluation will result in improved outcomes.

The evaluators are expected to provide a detailed plan on how the following principles will be ensured throughout the evaluation (see UNEG Ethical Guidance for descriptions):

  • Respect for dignity and diversity;
  • Right to self-determination;
  • Fair representation;
  • Compliance with codes for vulnerable groups (e.g., ethics of research involving young children or vulnerable groups);
  • Redress;
  • Confidentiality; and
  • Avoidance of harm.

Specific safeguards must be put in place to protect the safety (both physical and psychological) of both respondents and those collecting the data. These should include:

  • A plan is in place to protect the rights of the respondent, including privacy and confidentiality;
  • The interviewer or data collector is trained in collecting sensitive information, and if the topic of the evaluation is focused on violence against women, they should have previous experience in this area;
  • Data collection tools are designed in a way that are culturally appropriate and do not create distress for respondents;
  • Data collection visits if possible are organized at the appropriate time and place so as to minimize risk to respondents;
  • The interviewer or data collector is able to provide information on how individuals in situations of risk can seek support.


The evaluation team should delivery the following outputs:

  • Inception report detailing the evaluator’s understanding of what is being evaluated, why it is being evaluated, and how it will evaluated (methodology). The inception report should also include a proposed schedule of tasks, evaluation tools, activities and deliverables. The inception report should be drafted following and based on preliminary discussions with UNDP after the desk review and should be produced before the evaluation starts (before any formal evaluation interviews, survey distribution or field visits) and prior to the country visit in the case of international evaluators;
  • Start of mission debriefing/meeting on proposed methodology, design and work plan;
  • Presentation of the inception report to the Reference Group, including UNDP, development partners and ZEC;
  • Mid-term meeting with development partners on impressions and initial findings from the field work;
  • An exit presentation on findings and initial recommendations;
  • The draft review report within 20 days of the start date. The programme unit and key stakeholders in the evaluation should review the draft evaluation report and provide an amalgamated set of comments to the evaluator within an agreed period of time, addressing the content required (as agreed in the TOR and inception report) and quality criteria as outlined in these guidelines;
  • Final report within 30 days of the start date of sufficient detail and quality and taking on board comments from the Reference Group including UNDP, development partners and ZEC as appropriate, with annexes as required.

Evaluation report audit trail: Comments and changes by the evaluator in response to the draft report should be retained by the evaluator to show how they have addressed comments.

The reports are to include, but not be limited to, the following components:

  • Executive summary;
  • Introduction;
  • Description of the review methodology;
  • Political and development context;
  • Key findings including situational analysis with regard to the outcome, outputs, and partnership strategy;
  • Lessons learned and best practices;
  • Analysis of opportunities to provide guidance on future programming and projects;
  • Recommendations and conclusions;
  • Annexes: mission report including field visits, list of interviewees, and list of documents reviewed.                                          

The review team is required to discuss the full draft of its report prior to departure from Zimbabwe.  

Implementation Arrangements 

The evaluation team will report to the UNDP Team Leader of the Governance and Peacebuilding Unit.

To facilitate the evaluation process, UNDP will assist in connecting the review team with ZEC officials, development partners and key stakeholders. In addition, UNDP will provide operational support for organizing meetings and field visits, if necessary.    

Key project materials will be sent before the field work and will be reviewed by the team prior to the commencement of the field work. The evaluation team will prepare and share the draft inception report before the field mission. The evaluation team will be briefed by UNDP upon arrival on the objectives, purpose and output of the project evaluation.

The evaluation team will assess the project based on interviews undertaken, discussions and consultations with all relevant stakeholders or interested parties and review of project documents. As a minimum indication, the review team should consult with implementing partners, other key government stakeholders, development partners and civil society representatives. UNDP will provide guidance in identifying, contacting and arranging for discussions, meetings with the stakeholders as required.

Composition of the Evaluation Team 

The mission will consist of one international Senior Evaluation and Election Expert consultant and the national Evaluation and Governance Expert consultant. The international consultant will report to the UNDP Zimbabwe Head of the Governance and Peacebuilding Unit and will supervise the national consultant. The work of the evaluation team will be guided by an Evaluation Reference Group, which UNDP Zimbabwe will set up.

Tasks, required skills and expertise of the national Evaluation and Election Expert consultant

The national Evaluation and Governance Expert will perform the following tasks:

  • Collect and review documents;
  • Provide contextual knowledge and analysis on Zimbabwe;
  • Participate in the design of the review methodology;
  • Collect data;
  • Assess indicator baselines;
  • Actively participate in conducting the analysis of the outcomes, outputs and targets as per the scope of the evaluation;
  • Draft related parts of the review report; and
  • Assist the team leader in finalizing document through incorporating suggestions received on draft related to his/her assigned sections.

The National Consultant will work under the supervision and guidance of the International Consultant.

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