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Mexico: Evaluation on the relevance and effectiveness of sports programming for refugee inclusion and protection

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Mexico: Evaluation on the relevance and effectiveness of sports programming for refugee inclusion and protection

Deadline for application: 
09 Feb 2020
Country(s) that the job is based in: 
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Job type: 

1. Introduction

UNHCR works with and for more than 70 million forcibly displaced and stateless people world-wide. The majority of these people are internally displaced within their own country (IDPs) or have crossed an international border and are refugees in other countries. Both refugees and IDP’s find themselves in new locations and communities which are often new and strange to them. When forced together through circumstances beyond their control such as war and conflict, it is common for both forcibly displaced and host communities to face increased personal conflict, psychological distress and isolation. This can impact both individual and community well-being, social cohesion and the ability to participate in one’s own community.

The Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF), founded by the International Olympic Committee at the end of 2017, uses sport to improve social inclusion, social cohesion and psychosocial wellbeing for forcibly displaced young people across the globe. With solutions in mind, it is now widely believed that sport can play an important role in addressing some of the many challenges that young people and their communities face, when they are forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict and war.

The Global Compact on Refugees which was affirmed by Member States in December 2018 “represents the political will and ambition of the international community as a whole, for strengthened cooperation and solidarity with refugees and affected host countries”. Article 44 “recognizes the important role that sports can play in social development, inclusion, cohesion, and well-being, particularly for refugee children (both boys and girls), adolescents and youth.” Sport can provide much needed opportunities and is seen as the vehicle for delivering many of the elements required to achieve positive protection and development outcomes, rather than being the change itself.

2. Background

Sport has always been found in refugee settings. The predecessor of UNHCR, the International Refugee Organization (IRO) worked with refugees to organize sports activities in European refugee camps following the Second World War. More recent UNHCR archive records clearly show that sports activities have been widely present in refugee situations but have not necessarily been recognised as having a direct humanitarian benefit. During the 1990s and 2000’s records show that this starts to change, as sport becomes more visible as an intervention, particularly with recognition of the link to the Convention on the Rights of the Child Art. 31 on the right to play and the beginning of an understanding of the gender dimension of sport.

This evolution in understanding has led UNHCR, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and now the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) to believe in the potential of sport to meaningfully contribute to UNHCR’s core mission and protection mandate and the IOC mission to build a better world through sport. Building on a longstanding partnership, UNHCR and the IOC have since 2014 been working together to develop a dedicated “Sport for Protection” approach. The aim of the approach is to increase the protection space for displaced and stateless children and youth through the vehicle of sport. Projects developed to date have included for example, the establishment and rehabilitation of sports facilities to ensure safe spaces for young people to play, dedicated programmatic interventions that use sport as the tool to achieve protection outcomes and efforts to provide opportunities for young people to become champions for life through their participation in ‘organized’ sports activities. Projects promote the participation of adolescent girls, young women and other marginalized groups, bring refugee, IDP and host communities together, as participants, coaches, leaders and supporters with the aim of sharing common experiences and breaking down barriers and stereotypes, in the process strengthening resilience and psychosocial wellbeing. While sporting talent may be discovered and referred, sports excellence is not the objective of Sport for Protection projects.

Building on this, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), UNHCR and Terre des hommes (Tdh) collaborated in the development of the “Sport for Protection Toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings”. The Sport for Protection toolkit has a distinct theory of change and focusses on three specific categories of protection outcomes - social inclusion, social cohesion, and psychosocial well-being. The objective of the toolkit is to provide young people aged 10 – 24 years with a safe and supportive environment where they have opportunities to build their skills and bring about a positive change in their own and the lives of the others. Prior to the release of the Sport for Protection toolkit in October 2018, UNHCR and the IOC/ORF partnered on the development and implementation of a number of Sport for Protection projects. These projects were implemented in refugee and IDP situations in Jordan, Ethiopia, Colombia, Rwanda, Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Turkey. New projects are under consideration in Uganda, Bangladesh and Colombia and will be developed based on the guidance outlined in the Sport for Protection toolkit.

3. Purpose and Scope

Purpose and Objectives

The ORF and UNHCR are now ready, to design and implement the first full projects based on the Toolkit’s Sport for Protection approach. This new phase provides an opportunity for the two organisations to pause and work to understand better whether the original assumptions about the potential of organized sports activities to increase the protection space and protection outcomes for children and youth remain valid. With this in mind, UNHCR’s Sport Section in the Division of External Relations and the Olympic Refuge Foundation are planning to evaluate 2 joint projects, one reaching completion of its funding period and another midway through.

This decentralized evaluation is intended to bring evaluative evidence of the contribution that Sport for Protection projects can have on protection objectives for refugee and IDP young people. The evaluation will explore whether and how sports activities have contributed to the overall protection objectives of the operations for both girls and boys, young women and young men as well as examining what has worked well or less well in this regard. The evaluation will further look at intended and unintended outcomes of the projects and collect lessons learned from the different project locations.

The evaluation will also contribute to the very limited knowledge base of the sport sector and the humanitarian sector regarding sports-based interventions, specifically for the protection of young people in refugee and IDP situations. This will potentially allow for course correction in ongoing projects, informing future project and programme development and potentially contributing to the strengthening of the Sport for Protection Toolkit. The evaluation will also provide a baseline of understanding for future evaluative work and understanding of the protection outcomes that sport can achieve pre-toolkit.


The proposed evaluation will be conducted in two country locations, Rwanda and Mexico.

Rwanda offers in many ways a classic protracted camp-based refugee situation, with the majority of refugees hailing from two country locations, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. UNHCR/ IOC/ ORF have had a project in situ in five camp locations since 2017, with the funding due to cease at the end of 2019. Rwanda provides the opportunity to examine one of the first projects developed by the partners following the development of a good sense of what the Sport for Protection approach might look like, under the UNHCR/ IOC partnership.

Mexico offers a different operational context with young people and their families on the move and often residing amongst hosting communities in precarious legal situations in rural peri-urban and urban environments. The geographical spread of project locations is broad and offer different challenges in each location.


The primary audiences for the evaluation are the UNHCR Sports Section, the UNHCR Rwanda and UNHCR Mexico operations, the IOC and the ORF and NOC’s of Rwanda and Mexico. Other interested stakeholders are expected to include the UNHCR Education Section and Child Protection and Youth Unit, the broader Olympic movement, Sport for Development and Peace Community and UNHCR operational and implementing partners.

4. Evaluation approach

4.1 Proposed Evaluation Questions

This evaluation seeks to address the following key questions, which are expected to be further refined during the inception phase. Evaluation criteria pertaining to effectiveness, relevance and sustainability will be of particular interest:

  1. Do organized sport and sports-based activities contribute to increased protection space for displaced (and host community) children and youth as a part of the broader protection architecture? If so, how? What have been the main intended and unintended outcomes?

  2. What are the key factors that contribute to and/or hinder organized sports activities increasing protection space, and how can these factors be practically supported and/or mitigated? Who are the key stakeholders in the process, how can they be further supported to maximize any positive outcomes?

  3. What does the evaluation tell us for future programming vis-a-vis the “Sport for Protection” approach outlined in the UNHCR /IOC /TDH “Sport for Protection Toolkit” – particularly in terms of what specific practices could be scaled up, scaled down or piloted elsewhere. What are the key recommendations for Sport for Protection programming in displacement situations moving forward?

4.2 Evaluation Methodology

This evaluation is intended to be both retroactive and forward-looking, combining both process and performance evaluation approaches. The evaluation methodology should use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. UNHCR welcomes the use of diverse and innovative evaluation methods. Data from a wide range of sources and a representative range of stakeholders will need to be triangulated and cross validated so as to ensure the credibility of evaluation findings and conclusions. Data collection is expected to comprise of: 1) desk review and content analysis of relevant background as well as programmatic data and documents; 2) focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and rapid surveys (as appropriate) with UNHCR staff, implementing and operational partners, key interagency stakeholders , development partners and key donors, and; 3) field data collection in the selected country contexts involving a mixed-method approach, which in addition to the above may also include paired-interviews, participatory appraisals, outcome mapping and problem ranking exercises etc.,

The Evaluation Team will be expected to refine the methodology and final evaluation questions following the initial desk review, country visit and key informant interviews undertaken during the inception phase. The final inception report will specify the evaluation methodology, and the refined focus and scope of the evaluation, including final key evaluation questions, data collection tools and analytical framework.

5. Organisation and conduct of the evaluation

5.1 Evaluation Management and Quality Assurance

This evaluation will be co-managed by the UNHCR HQ Evaluation Service (ES), the UNHCR HQ Sports Section and the ORF. The UNHCR Sports Section with the co-management and support of the Olympic Refuge Foundation, will be responsible for:

(i) Managing administrative day to day aspects of the evaluation process;

(ii) Acting as the main interlocutor with the Evaluation Team;

(iii) Facilitating communication with relevant stakeholders to ensure evaluators receive the required data;

(iv) Facilitating communication with relevant stakeholders to ensure technical guidance on content, and

(v) Reviewing the interim deliverables and final reports to ensure quality, with inputs from the UNHCR Rwanda, Mexico operations, and other HQ entities.

The ES Evaluation Manager will share and provide an orientation to Evaluation Quality Assurance (EQA) requirements at the start of the evaluation. Adherence to the EQA will be overseen by the ES Evaluation Manager with support from the UNHCR Evaluation Service as needed.

The UNHCR Country Offices concerned will designate a focal point that will assist the Evaluation Managers and Evaluation Team with logistical and administrative arrangements. The Evaluation Managers will remain in close contact with the designated focal point in each location to facilitate mission arrangements.

The Evaluation Team will be required to sign the UNHCR Code of Conduct, complete UNHCR’s introductory protection training module, and respect UNHCR’s confidentiality requirements. In line with established standards for evaluation in the UN system, and the UN Ethical Guidelines for evaluations, evaluation in UNHCR is founded on the fundamental principles of independence, impartiality, credibility and utility. These inter-connected principles subsume a number of specific norms that will guide the commissioning, conducting and supporting the use of the evaluation. This includes protecting sources and data, informed consent, respect for dignity and diversity and the minimisation of risk, harm and burden upon those who are the subject of or participating in the evaluation, while at the same time not compromising the integrity of the evaluation.

A Reference Group may be established with the participation of the key internal, and external, stakeholders to help guide the process. Members of the Reference Group would be asked to:

· Provide suggestions to identify potential materials and resources to be         reviewed and key contacts to be considered for key informant interviews.

· Review and comment on the draft inception report.

· Review and comment on the data collection and data analysis       instruments  that will be developed by the Evaluation Team.

· Review and comment on the draft final reports, validate emerging findings    and conclusions.

· Advise on the focus of the evaluation recommendations that will form the     basis of the Management Response to the review.

The final evaluation report is subject to approval from the UNHCR Head of Evaluation Service. Upon completion, the final evaluation report will be published on the UNHCR and ORF websites and will be shared with the Head of ORF, Head of the UNHCR Sports Section and UNHCR Representative and Senior Management Team in Rwanda and Mexico, with the request to formulate the formal management response. The completed Management Response Matrix will also be made available in the public domain.

5.2 Expected Deliverables and Timeline

The request for Expressions of Interest will be issued in January 2020, and the selection process and signing of contracts is expected to be completed by February 2020. We anticipate the inception phase for this evaluation would commence in March 2020. An indicative timeline for the evaluation is outlined below. The evaluation is expected to be completed in a maximum of 6 months.

Phase 1: Inception including:

  • Initial desk review

  • 1-week inception visit to Rwanda and Mexico country operations and key informant interviews

  • EQA review on the draft inception report

  • Circulation for comments and finalisation

Final inception report – including methodology, final evaluation questions and evaluation matrix.

Week 1-6

Phase 2: Data collection including:

  • Key stakeholder interviews and FGDs (max. 2 weeks in country and remotely as required); in depth document review; field visits as required.

  • Validation workshop on preliminary findings, conclusions and possible recommendations (in country).

  • Stakeholder feedback on preliminary findings and emerging conclusions.

Validation/Sense-making workshop on preliminary findings, conclusions and possible recommendations at stakeholder workshop in country.

Week 7-12

Phase 3: Data Analysis and Reporting including:

  • Analysis and write up.

  • EQA review of draft report, circulation for comments.

  • Stakeholder feedback and validation of evaluation findings, conclusions and proposed recommendations.

Draft final report including recommendations (for circulation and comments).

Week 13-18

Phase 4: Finalisation of evaluation report

Final Evaluation Report (including recommendations and standalone executive summary).

Week 19-22

6. Evaluation team qualifications

The evaluation will be undertaken by a team of qualified independent evaluation consultants, comprising of at least a designated Team Leader and one Team Member. Gender balance in the evaluation team will be considered during the selection process. Evaluation Teams are expected to demonstrate evaluation expertise as well as expertise on sport for protection or sport for development in displacement situations/refugee settings, and knowledge of sport for protection approaches. They should also have knowledge of UNHCR’s protection mandate and operational platform. Members of the Evaluation Team must be willing and able to travel to Rwanda and Mexico and ideally be able to work in the required languages of English, Spanish and French. Further required skills and qualifications are outlined below:

Evaluation Team Leader:

  1. A post-graduate or Master’s degree in social science, development studies, international relations or economics plus a minimum of 12 years of relevant professional experience in humanitarian and/or refugee response settings.
  2. Minimum of 5 years of evaluation experience with demonstrated ability in mixed research methodologies in humanitarian and/or refugee operations.
  3. Proven experience in research and/or evaluation in refugee settings, and/or with vulnerable and marginalised groups (particularly youth) is essential. Knowledge of sport for protection-related evaluation(s) in humanitarian and/or refugee settings is highly desirable.
  4. Proven track record in successfully leading an evaluation team and managing fieldwork in humanitarian and/or refugee response environments.
  5. Demonstrable technical expertise in sport in refugee settings, including relevant analytical frameworks and programming approaches and standards.
  6. Institutional knowledge of UNHCR’s protection mandate and operational platform.
  7. In-depth knowledge of and proven experience with various qualitative and quantitative data collection, analytical methods and techniques – with particular emphasis on qualitative and participatory, conflict- and gender-sensitive approaches.
  8. Experience in generating useful and action-oriented recommendations to senior management and programming staff.

Evaluation Team Member(s)

  1. A post-graduate or Master’s degree in social sciences, development studies, international relations, or economics plus a minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience, ideally in humanitarian and/or refugee response settings, particularly with vulnerable and/or marginalised groups.

  2. Minimum of 4 years’ experience supporting quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis for evaluation purposes (preferable) or operational research in humanitarian and/or refugee response settings, with particular emphasis on qualitative data, participatory, conflict- and gender-sensitive approaches.

  3. Demonstrable knowledge and experience of research and/or evaluation of sport in refugee settings is highly desirable.

  4. Good knowledge of humanitarian and/or refugee response programming, relevant analytical frameworks and programming approaches and standards.

  5. Proven expertise in facilitating participatory workshops involving different groups and participants.

  6. Excellent communication and presentation skills.

How to apply:

Application Process

This evaluation requires a minimum 2-person team. Applications can be submitted either by individuals, who UNHCR will place in a team, or as a team. It is important to note only individual contracts can be issued to respective team members, and payments will be made by deliverable.

Interested candidates should submit a brief (maximum 5 page) technical proposal outlining how they understand the TOR and proposed methodology. Indicative budgets should be prepared in line with the expected deliverables outlined in section 5.2 and should include any anticipated overhead costs (e.g. translations services) and in-country data collection costs, which are expected to be sub-contracted by the Team Leader directly and remain subject to requisite non-disclosure arrangement. Travel costs and DSA will be paid separately. Interested candidates should also submit completed UNHCR Personal History Form (P11 form - https://www.unhcr.org/how-to-apply.html) for each individual included in the proposal, and a brief cover letter (2-page maximum) to include availability as per indicative timeline, and an outline of how the applicant(s) match the required skills and experience outlined in Section 6. We also request three recent examples of relevant work and the contact details for three references.

Full applications should be submitted electronically to the UNHCR Evaluation Service at hqevaser@unhcr.org with the subject line “Last name, First name. Application Sport for Protection Evaluation”. The deadline for applications is midnight Sunday 9 February 2020.

Language(s) of the attached materials: 

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