Through PMSPL II, Social Impact supplements the monitoring and program management efforts of USAID/Lebanon staff and verifies, monitors, and supports USAID program performance in Lebanon. The period of performance of this project is September 2015 – September 2020.
Under this contract, Social Impact has been asked to support a mid-term performance evaluation of a USAID-funded activity, the Livelihoods and Inclusive Finance Expansion (LIFE) through the provision of a consultant who would act as the Team Leader (TL) of the evaluation.
USAID’s LIFE project is a five-year (2016 -2021) $20.3 million project aimed at improving economic opportunities for low-income individuals and microenterprises by advancing the business skills of small entrepreneurs and expanding their access to financial services. LIFE is expanding finance to unbanked and previously excluded microbusinesses, leading to wider access to credit, checking accounts, debit/ATM cards, credit information, and financial literacy training through our partners, including commercial banks, microfinance institutions, and stakeholder NGOs. LIFE is a follow-on to a previous USAID project that focused mostly on building the capacity of the microfinance sector to reach sustainability. Under the previous project, the Lebanese Microfinance Association was established, and LIFE has to-date delivered its final assistance to the Microfinance Association and is encouraging the Association to seek its own sources of funding in order to ensure its sustainability. Following LIM, USAID believes that it has successfully graduated the microfinance sector from assistance and should now focus its assistance on the livelihoods of end-beneficiaries.
The LIFE project has three components:
- Inclusive Finance Policies enacted through empowered local organizations: With a focus on elevating the discourse on access to finance and banking services to the national level, the project works through the Lebanese Microfinance Association (LMFA), commercial banks, and other stakeholders to develop policies that promote a vibrant, sustainable financial sector that economically empowers the unbanked, low-income, and underserved clientele, particularly in rural areas;
- Expanding the range of products available to poorest: The project is improving the ability of commercial banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) to increase their range of products and services and expand their reach of clients and borrowers to include microenterprises and the poorest, with an emphasis on higher-risk, conflict-affected areas (areas where economic pressures and social tensions have increased significantly as a result of the high influx of refugees). This requires an emphasis on youth, those currently without a bank account, the disabled, and low-income women-headed households; and
- Livelihoods and business support: This involves providing customized business management training, technical know-how, mentoring, and basic business development skills to micro, mostly family-owned enterprises to give them the skills they need to grow their sales and income. Often, the objective is to enable these small businesses to position themselves to gain access to commercial finance for the first time, a critical ingredient for business growth. The project provides small grants that generally support technology adoption for improved productivity.
The purpose of this evaluation is not only to assess the performance of Palladium under LIFE but also to closely examine and analyze the underlying methodology of the project’s strategic approach. The evaluation should also recommend whether USAID should further pursue its activities in this field and whether it should continue with the same strategic approach. Specifically, the evaluation will review the rationale, past experiences, current performance to date, and likely impact of the three respective aspects of the LIFE approach outlined above.
Social Impact is recruiting a Team Leader for the LIFE midterm performance evaluation with a minimum of 12-15 years of experience and a professional background in international development and a robust knowledge of financial inclusion, access to finance, livelihood, and support to associations. This person shall be responsible for coordinating and directing the overall evaluation, including preparation and submission of the draft and final evaluation report. The Evaluation Team Leader, a local expert and PMSPL II staff members are to conduct the evaluation. The Team Leader will be hired for the duration of the evaluation and reports to the PMSPL II Chief of Party in Lebanon, and to Social Impact’s Project Manager in Arlington, VA. The expected LOE for this assignment is 45 days.
- Provide technical expertise and lead efforts in evaluation design, methodology and data collection instruments.
- Agree with USAID/Lebanon a methodology matrix that will answer the objectives of the evaluation questions.
- Conduct interviews, site visits, document review and focus groups as needed.
- Provide leadership for the team and coordinate activities as necessary;
- The team leader is responsible for analyzing information collected through desk reviews, field interviews, and other proposed methods, and presenting interim findings to USAID/Lebanon.
- Lead the preparation and presentation of the evaluation key findings and recommendations to USAID/Lebanon;
- Taking into consideration feedback from interim findings presentations, the team leader is responsible for writing the draft evaluation report and submitting it to USAID/Lebanon.
- The team leader is responsible for responding to USAID comments on the draft report and submitting a final report to USAID/Lebanon.
- Professional background in international development and strong working knowledge of economics and evaluation methodologies.
- Ph.D. or advanced degree in economics, microfinance, entrepreneurship, or related social/political science field.
- A minimum of 12 - 15 years’ experience in the design, implementation or evaluation of economic development projects within foreign assistance programs.
- Broad-based knowledge of constitutional, legislative and regulatory framework for microfinance development internationally.
- Strong knowledge of USAID regulations related to Economics and Microfinance.
- Ability to clearly and consistently organize, manage and present complex information to a broad array of target audiences.
- Ability to work independently and to perform and prioritize multiple tasks.
- Ability to work collaboratively and collegially with teams of varying skills in a cross-cultural environment.
- Experience working on issues related to gender in the context of local governance and local development is preferred.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Overseas and Middle East experience preferred.
About the Organization
Social Impact is a global development management consulting firm. We provide monitoring, evaluation, strategic planning, and capacity building services to advance development effectiveness. We work across all development sectors including democracy and governance, health and education, the environment, and economic growth. Since 1997 we have worked in over 100 countries for clients such as US government agencies, bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, foundations, and nonprofits.