USAID/Colombia is seeking a short-term consultant to form part of a team in conducting a rapid education and risk analysis (RERA). A RERA is a “good enough” situation analysis of educational institutions, learners, and their communities as a dynamic system of relationships involving assets and multiple contextual risks. A RERA integrates key methodological elements of a rapid education needs assessment and contextual risk analyses, such as conflict analysis, disaster risk assessment, and resilience analysis, to inform USAID strategy and programming. Importantly, a RERA investigates how risks impact the school community, how education influences risks, and how contextual risks influence each other.
Colombia is a middle-income country and one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. However, the country is highly vulnerable to a range of natural hazard impacts, and endured nearly half a century of intense armed conflict. Longstanding violence and instability are rooted in territorial control by illegal armed groups and terrorist organizations, resulting in a large internally displaced population. The 2016 peace process has demobilized the largest and longest standing guerrilla group, but rival armed actors have now sought control of isolated communities and territories, particularly in areas along the coasts and the border with Venezuela. Issues such as inequality, poverty and corruption remain as key challenges over the next few years.
It was in the midst of these ongoing stresses that Venezuelan migrants began to arrive in Colombia. With an estimated 45,000 Venezuelans crossing the Colombian border daily in search of food, health care, and economic opportunities, the pressure on Colombia to respond to the Venezuelan exodus is growing every day. Of those migrating, about 40,000 return to Venezuela; up to 2,000 remain in Colombia; and an estimated 3,000 continue their journey to Ecuador, Peru, and other South American countries.
Today, an estimated 1.6 million Venezuelan migrants and returnee Colombians have come to Colombia. By 2021, that number is estimated to increase to 3.8 million people. Colombian officials estimate that the humanitarian crisis could cost over USD 1 billion in 2019 alone.
Since 2016, more than 20,000 Venezuelan children have been enrolled in Colombian public schools located near the border. The GOC suspects there are many more that are not being tracked, and that many other Venezuelan families are not enrolling their children out of fear of being identified as irregular migrants. In addition, as the immigration crisis progresses more children are entering into Colombia and families are settling into locations further removed from the border further straining the education system.
Access to quality education is a challenge in Colombia, even before the influx of Venezuela migration. Retention rates are low, as two out of every ten children living in rural Colombia never attend school, and half of those who gain access to education do not advance beyond a primary level of education (five years of education). By the time they reach the age of 17, almost 75% have left the education system. This means that children and youth aged 12, 13, and 14 face an uncertain future, with little education and scarce or non-existent job opportunities, making them extremely vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups or illicit economies.
These challenges are compounded for immigrant children as, although policy dictates they are allowed to attend school, assessments do not correctly match them to their academic level and they are currently not eligible to earn certificates, degrees or diplomas.
The Local Consultant will be a core member of the RERA Team and carry out a RERA in accordance with the USAID RERA Toolkit [https://eccnetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/RERAToolKit_508.pdf].
The Local Consultant will have a dual role. She/He will provide logistical, administrative and organizational support the overall planning and implementation of the RERA, and will provide substantive contributions to the RERA as requested. She/He will serve in in a collaborative manner and in line with the RERA Toolkit, and engage a broad array of partners and stakeholders–both in Dhaka and in Cox’s Bazar—with the highest level of tact, sensitivity, and organization. The Local Consultant’s role is central to maintaining the quality and legitimacy of the RERA process and findings.
The Local Consultant will:
- Hire local transportation for the RERA Team to cover all fieldwork sites
- Arrange meeting space for the RERA Team in Bogota.
- Arrange stakeholder meetings for the RERA Team and maintain the RERA Team’s daily schedule.
- Conduct advance school site preparations for primary data collection, in line with the RERA Toolkit and in close consultation with the USAID Mission and key partners.
- Provide written recommendations on the names, organizations and contacts of potential stakeholders and partners whom the RERA Team should interview/contact for data collection, analysis, and general consultation and coordination.
- Provide written recommendations and inputs for customizing the RERA methodology to Colombia and input into the RERA design plan.
- Support the desk review of existing literature and identify secondary sources relating to conflict and peacebuilding, as requested.
- Support the planning of and participate in stakeholder consultations at designated moments during the in-country process, including validation meetings with key stakeholders and partners on preliminary conclusions, and recommendations at the end of fieldwork.
- Support the planning of primary data collection, including training and the conduct of key informant interviews and focus group discussions and facilitate and/or participate in key informant interviews and focus group discussions, report on data, as necessary.
- Provide inputs into final report, summary report and briefings, including power point presentations, and lessons learned report.
- Participate in team meetings and external briefings
Location: The consultancy will have three phases: (a) remote desk planning and research, and (b) field implementation of primary data collection in Colombia, and (c) remote data analysis and final report drafting. Field-based research will involve travel within Bogota and to other cities in Colombia to be determined by USAID.
Timing (dates are subject to USAID approval and might change): The consultancy will run from March – June 2020. Remote planning and desk review will be carried out in March. Field implementation of the RERA will take place at the end of March and early April for approximately two weeks. Remote analysis and final report writing will take place from April to June.
Reporting: The Local Consultant reports to the DevTech Program Director through the RERA Team Leader. The Local Consultant will collaborate closely with all other team members.
- Participation in regular RERA Team calls
- Participation in inception and post-fieldwork consultations with stakeholders
- Written recommendations for adaptation of the RERA methodology
- List of names and contact information for key informants
- Written inputs to the desk review, as required
- Schedule of school site visits
- Contracts with logistics/transportation vendors
- Report of findings of designated interviews and focus groups
- Coded interview notes/Inputs for database
- Participation in in-person meetings with USAID and partners
- Written inputs to the draft and Final RERA report
- Daily updates during data collection fieldwork to Team Leader/Core Team
The Local Consultant should possess the following attributes and experience:
● Logistics and organization of transportation
● Experience in managing operations, administration and organization, including scheduling and maintaining stakeholder communications
● Experience in the field of education, violence prevention or disaster risk reduction preferred.
● Active networks of contacts
● Experience working with USAID either as a contractor or staff member.
Level of Effort: 32 days
Period of Performance: March – June 2020 (Dates might change subject to USAID approval)