Consultancy for Capturing Learning From DRC Civil Society Model Programming

Danish Refugee Council

  • Who is the Danish Refugee Council?

Founded in 1956, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a leading international NGO and one of the few with a specific expertise in forced displacement. Active in 40 countries with 9,000 employees and supported by 7,500 volunteers, DRC protects, advocates, and builds sustainable futures for refugees and other displacement affected people and communities. DRC works during displacement at all stages: In the acute crisis, in displacement, when settling and integrating in a new place, or upon return. DRC provides protection and life-saving humanitarian assistance; supports displaced persons in becoming self-reliant and included into hosting societies; and works with civil society and responsible authorities to promote protection of rights and peaceful coexistence.

DRC’s Civil Society Engagement Unit (CSEU) has been operational since 2019, the primary role of the CSEU is to support and strengthen DRC’s overall engagement with civil society. This support is guided by the pursuit of DRC’s ambition to contribute to local civil society agency, space and capacity to enable the fulfilment of rights of people affected by conflict and displacement. The CSEU provides strategic, analytical and operational support to engagement with relevant local, regional and transnational civil society across DRC global operations.

  • Purpose of the consultancy

The DRC CSEU seeks a consultant to 1) capture and document learning mid way through a 4-year program that aims to support the sustainability of strategic local partners; and 2) support the 3 country offices implementing the program with embedding relevant learning methodologies for the remainder of the lifespan of the program.

The purpose of capturing and documenting this learning is two-fold. First, to produce high quality case studies for the donor funding the program (DANIDA). Second, to produce high quality case studies for internal learning purposes, as this program is considered as “model programming” from which learning generated will be shared across the organization and potentially used to create guidance for replicability.

While the consultancy places an equal balance on both these priorities, all bidders are encouraged to carefully review annexed guidance from DANIDA to understand the breadth of donor requirements for the case studies.

  • Background

DRC’s engagement with civil society has increasingly become a strategic priority for the organization, as a result, in 2018 DRC began to invest more strategically in strengthening the agency’s direction and engagement with civil society partnerships. Notable achievements include: the establishment of a Civil Society Engagement Unit at headquarters in 2019, with dedicated human resources to drive the agenda forward; the development of a Global Civil Society Engagement Strategy that frames strategic thinking and ambition in 2020; and the launch of a global learning initiative on DRC’s current engagement with civil society across global operations in 2021-22. Keeping with its commitment to improve how we engage with local civil society partners, DRC is simultaneously investing in programming that puts into practice our strategic thinking; in addition to global resource development to support country operations to be able to implement accordingly.

DRC is one of DANIDA’s strategic partners. Through the 2022-2025 Strategic Partnership Agreement with DANIDA, DRC is implementing a program that supports the sustainability of our equitable and strategic local civil society partners over a 4-year timeframe (2022-2025). This investment will culminate in a replicable DRC model for supporting the sustainability of equitable and strategic civil society partners by investing in resource development on ‘how to’ and documenting learning coming out of the implementing DRC country offices. This model embodies building self-sustaining local leadership and response capacities of civil society and recognizing that sustainability is maximized by investing in our partners over longer period through diverse and tailored interventions. Examples of current sustainability interventions include:

  • organizational development support to partners (including through external experts)
  • flexible funding for partners (to invest in sustainability initiatives)
  • supporting fundraising opportunities of partners
  • supporting partners with strategic planning and business planning
  • planning for a responsible phased transition in the partnership

The country offices implementing the program are Kenya, Yemen, and Myanmar.

For more information on DRC’s overall approach to engaging with local civil society partners, refer to DRC’s Global Civil Society Engagement Strategy

For more information on how DRC defines equitability, refer to this guidance note annexed to the Strategy:

  • Objective of the consultancy

The purpose of the consultancy is to capture learning and develop 3 thematic case studies at mid-term implementation of a 4 year program.

The consultancy includes supporting 3 DRC country offices – Yemen, Kenya, and Myanmar – to review plans for the final 2 years (2024/25) of the project, advise on methodologies at appropriate milestones to generate learning, and together with the country offices develop a plan to generate learning at the country project level. This support could be an online training or online coaching sessions on proposed methodologies for DRC country staff.

The consultancy also includes advising the global technical lead on how best to capture learning at the overall program level (spanning the 3 implementing country offices) for the second half of the project period.

  • Scope of work and Methodology

1) Develop 3 thematic case studies from the program. The case studies will be developed at an overall program level, based on 3 thematic areas that reflect key interventions areas in the program. All 3 implementing country programs will contribute learning to each of the 3 case studies, as such, the case studies will not be developed per individual project level (ie. one per country office). Preliminary brainstorming has been done with the DRC implementing country offices on potential thematic areas to consider exploring for the case studies. These include:

  • Capacity Development Support & Organizational Change in Local Partners:
    • What have we learned from our capacity development approach (demand driven approach)? What has worked well? What has been challenging?
    • Does the capacity development approach promote equitability in the partnerships between DRC and local partner organizations?
    • What has been the organizational change for local partners so far? What has been the value add of the program in contributing to this change?
  • Supporting Financial Sustainability of Local Partners:
    • How can financial sustainability of local partners be supported?
    • What is the potential of the alternative financing approaches being explored in the program?
    • What could alternative financial sustainability models for partners look like (beyond traditional donor dependency)?
  • Supporting Locally-Led Advocacy:
    • What has been the value add of DRC in supporting locally led advocacy? What could we do better?
    • What could a bottom up driven localization agenda look like?
  • Increased Sustainability:
    • What does it take to support increased sustainability of local partner organizations (the partnership approach, the role of the donor and the intermediary)?
    • What does it take for a local organization to be considered “sustainable”?
    • How is the concept of sustainability perceived?
    • Are partners being adequately resourced to support their sustainability?
  • Equitable Partnerships:
    • How do the DRC implementing country offices and partners perceive equitability?
    • What could DRC do more or less of? What elements have promoted equitability? What have been some of the barriers to establishing equitability in the partnership (relational, programmatic, and administrative)?
    • How has adaptive or agile program management played a role in accommodating increased decision-making and power sharing?

Selecting the 3 thematic areas to focus on will be finalized jointly with the consultant, the DRC global technical lead, and the DRC implementing country offices.

The program has in place a theory of change but no results framework or log frame. The theory of change is as follows:

IF equitable and strategic local civil society partners are identified for long term support interventions that contribute to their sustainability

AND IF these equitable and strategic local civil society partners identify relevant and effective sustainability initiatives alongside DRC

AND IF DRC commits to investing in supporting said sustainability initiatives through resource and knowledge mobilization and responsible transition planning

THEN equitable and strategiclocal civil society partners will strengthen their ability to become more resilient, thrive, and continue to effectively respond to fulfilling the rights of people affected by conflict and displacement.

It is important to note that while the 3 implementing DRC country offices are all working towards the same theory of change, there are country adaptations that reflect the context and the unique individual partnerships. Furthermore, the 3 implementing country offices are at different stages of implementation.

The 3 implementing country offices have the following strategic local civil society partners participating in the program: Kenya – 5 partners, Yemen – 2 partners, Myanmar – 2 partners. Partner perspective and inputs capturing through this learning is central.

For Yemen and Myanmar, data collection for the case studies will be done remotely/online; for Kenya it is preferable to conduct the data collection in person. Travel to Kenya for this deliverable should be combined with deliverable #2 (see below).

2) Support the 3 DRC implementing country office to generate future learning, from the last 2 years of the program. This includes reviewing existing project plans and advising on appropriate methodologies at appropriate milestones to generate additional learning outcomes for the remaining lifespan of the program. Support to DRC country offices includes developing a learning plan and providing support to relevant country office staff to use the proposed methodologies in the plan. This support to DRC staff could be through online trainings or online coaching sessions for country staff (program and MEAL staff). For the Kenya country office, it is preferable for this support to DRC staff to take place in person, in Nairobi. The learning plans will remain with the 3 DRC country offices to implement themselves during the last 2 years of the program, as such learning generated from the country office will be at their individual project level.

3) Advise DRC’s global technical lead on how best to capture learning at the overall program level (spanning the 3 implementing DRC country offices) during the second half of the project period – at the end of the program in 2025. This program will need to continue to generate learning – both for donor reporting purposes and as part of our commitment to generate ongoing learning for global learning purposes. Following deliverables 1 and 2 above, the consultant is expected to advise the global technical lead on possible future thematic areas and possible methodologies to use. Taking into consideration learning from this process and the existing resources in DRC.

The consultant will be required to prepare a detailed methodology and work plan as part of the inception report, indicating how the objectives of the consultancy will be met, and how/when the various stakeholders (DRC implementing country office staff and local partners) will be engaged in the process.

  • Deliverables

The Consultant will submit the following deliverables as mentioned below:

  • Phase 1: Planning
    • Deliverable: 1) Inception Report
    • Description: A short report (max 5 pages) outlining the process including methodology, and a timeline. The inception report should be informed through dialogue with the global technical lead and the 3 implementing country offices.
    • Maximum expected timeframe: 5 working days
  • Phase 2: Case Studies
    • Deliverable: 2) 3 case studies (3 themes)
    • Description: Three case studies (max 5 pages) to be developed at an overall program level, based on 3 thematic areas that reflect key interventions areas in the program.
    • Maximum expected timeframe: 20 working days
  • Phase 3: Support to country offices & global technical lead
    • Deliverable: 3) 4 learning plans (3 country level, 1 global)
    • Description: Learning plans in place to guide the 3 country offices to generate future learning outcomes at the project level; one plan to guide HQ on how to generate future learning at the overall program level; and support to country office staff to use the proposed methodologies in the plans.
    • Maximum expected timeframe: 15 working days

The Consultant will provide the documentation by email. All working and final versions of these documents will be saved on a SharePoint folder provided to the consultant.

  • Duration, timeline, and payment

The total expected duration to complete the assignment will be no more than 40 working days.

The consultant shall be prepared to complete the assignment no later than June 1, 2024.

Payment will be provided upon completion of the deliverables according to the associated payment scheduling below:

  • Deliverable: Inception report / Case studies
    • Due Date:
      • Inception Report: Oct 1, 2023
      • Case Studies: Mar 1, 2024
    • Approving Party: Primary point of contact – Vassiliki Lembesis
    • Associated Payment: 75%
  • Deliverable: Learning plans / Country support sessions
    • Due Date:
      • Learning plans: April 1, 2024
      • Country support sessions: May 31, 2024
    • Approving Party: Primary point of contact – Vassiliki Lembesis
    • Associated Payment: 25%
  • Proposed Composition of Team

The consultant can be either an independent or a firm, the composition of the team proposed should be reasonable against the expected deliverables.

  • Eligibility, qualification, and experience required


  • Demonstrable experience leading on learning initiatives/projects/exercises, particularly related to organizational change
  • Demonstrable knowledge on localization and specifically local civil society engagement
  • Demonstrable experience in MEL, particularly in programming with local civil society component
  • Experience working in or supporting humanitarian and/or development organizations


  • Qualification:

    • A relevant Degree demonstrating ability to deliver on all the expected deliverables listed above
  • Experience:

    • A minimum of 10 years working for humanitarian and/or development organizations and/or an organization that produces practical resources for humanitarian and/or development organizations on MEL and civil society engagement
  • Skills and knowledge:

    • Strong written and verbal communication and presentation skills demonstrating ability to produce high quality materials
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills with qualities of patience, tact and diplomacy
  • Language requirements:

    • Written and spoken fluency in English
  • Technical supervision

The selected consultant will work under the supervision of:

  • DRC’s Global Civil Society Partnership Advisor, Vassiliki Lembesis, [email protected].
  • Location and support

The consultancy will be home based. The consultant will provide her/his own computer and mobile telephone. The consultant will be provided with relevant background documentation and contacts at the start of the consultancy.

  • Travel

Travel to Nairobi, Kenya to carry out data collection for the case study and to provide support to DRC staff in the Kenya country office to generate future learning.

The Consultant is expected to arrange transportation, accommodation, insurance, food and to make adequate provision in the Financial Proposal.

How to apply

To download the full tender package click HERE

For any inquiries before 14 August 2023, please contact Vassiliki Lembesis, Global Civil Society Partnership Advisor, [email protected].

Bids can be submitted by email to the following dedicated, controlled, & secure email address: [email protected]