The Madrasa Early Childhood Programme in Uganda (MECPU) in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation and the ELMA Foundation will be implementing the Quality Responsive Care and Early Learning (QRCEL) project in Mukono, Wakiso and Luweero districts of Uganda. MECPU will implement interrelated approaches that focus on enhancing community support, improving access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) services, and strengthening systems for service provision and policymaking.
This Terms of Reference (ToR) serves as a request for a Learning Partner (LP) for QRCEL project. The Learning Partner’s core objective will be to evaluate project processes, interpret data, engage stakeholders, build local capacity, assess lasting impacts, encourage innovation, establish feedback loops, ensure cultural sensitivity, and document findings. This aims to enable evidence-based decision-making, continuous learning, and sustainable positive change within the project’s specific context.
QRCEL project aims at improving the quality of ECD support and services in Mukono, Wakiso and Luweero districts. MECP will use interrelated approaches that focus on improving access to ECD services and strengthening systems for service provision and policymaking. Specifically, QRCEL will aim to:
i.Enable sub-national and national leaders to develop their knowledge and skills to support quality ECD service provision.
ii.Strengthen the institutional capacity of sub-national government to support the delivery of quality ECD service provision.
iii.Collaborate with ECD centres to design cost-effective solutions for improving the quality of early learning environments and services for children.
iv.Co-creating and communicating evidence of ‘What Works to Improve Learning Environments and Learning Outcomes’ for young children in ECD centres to inform policy and practice.
3.Overall Goal/Scope of work
The LP in the QRCEL Project will play a crucial role in evaluating, documenting, and disseminating insights from project interventions. The LP will generate learnings from all the project interventions, engaging directly with the MECPU staff, beneficiaries and other stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of the implemented approaches and processes. Furthermore, the LP will support MECPU and its stakeholders to co-create meaningful interpretations of the project data. Their responsibilities will span diverse aspects of the project, ensuring evidence-based decision-making, fostering continuous improvement, and supporting MECPU and its stakeholders in their efforts to enhance the quality of ECD support and services in Mukono, Wakiso, and Luweero districts.
The LP will be expected to undertake the following roles and responsibilities:
1.Data Collection and Analysis:
Systematically collect and analyse data related to the project’s key objectives, including access to ECD services, institutional capacity, cost-effective solutions, and the impact on learning environments and outcomes.
Engage with community members, parents, and caregivers to gather their perspectives and insights on the project’s impact, ensuring a holistic evaluation.
Co-create meaningful interpretations of the project data with MECPU and its stakeholders to identify ‘what works’ and ‘why it works’.
Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the Human Centred Design (HCD) process in 20 ECD centres, evaluating its effectiveness from inception to implementation.
2.Stakeholder Engagement: Actively engage with project stakeholders, including sub-national and national leaders, government officials, ECD centres, educators, parents, and community members. Gather their insights, experiences, and feedback to understand the project’s impact and challenges.
3.Monitoring and Evaluation: Establish and maintain a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system to track project progress, outcomes, and challenges. Regularly report findings to MECPU.
4.Best Practice Documentation: Document best practices, lessons learned, and innovative solutions developed throughout the project. Create comprehensive reports, case studies, and knowledge resources for future reference and dissemination.
5.Policy Influence: Create evidence-based communication resources to support MECPU to inform policy and practice.
6.Regular Reporting: Prepare and deliver regular progress reports, status updates, and findings to MECPU ensuring transparency and accountability.
The LP’s role and responsibilities are pivotal in ensuring the success of the QRCEL project and its mission to improve the quality of ECD services and support in the designated districts. Through effective data collection, stakeholder engagement, and evidence-based advocacy, the Learning Partner will contribute to lasting positive change in early childhood development.
The partnership will initially be valid from December 2023 to July 2024, with a possibility of extension based on mutual agreement.
8.Key Qualifications and Experience
MECPU is seeking an experienced and committed partner with extensive knowledge of undertaking different studies and assessments to inform learning. The partner should be an institution or organisation registered in Uganda that works with community and learning sites on various research portfolio including assessment. The partner should have human resources (the team with capacity and related expertise in Education or Early Childhood Development) to carry out this assignment.
The budget will be based on need to complete the deliverables but will not exceed the pre-approved budget under the Project approved budget.
Stage Proportion of payment
Upon signing of contract and delivery of the inception report, workplan, and data collection tools. 30%
Upon conducting of field visits in project catchment areas, documentation of processes, identification of lessons and innovations. 30%
Upon approval of the final report highlighting evidence on project innovations designed, and assumptions tested. And awesome Products Approval of the final report 40%
10.Ethical Standards and Safeguarding
The Learning Partner must fully abide by AKF’s Safeguarding Manual, and all members of the Consultancy must sign AKF’s Safeguarding Statement of Commitment upon contracting. The design and implementation of the consultancy work must be in line with the research ethical standards including protection of participants from potential research-related harms, confidentiality, informed consent, beneficence, and safeguarding principles to protect respondents from potential harms such as sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, and bullying. The consultant will seek approvals at district level to gain entry permission to the districts.
11.Eligibility and Application Criteria
Consultants meeting the above criteria are invited to submit a technical and financial proposal which should include:
An understanding of the assignment based on the objectives.
Proposed methodology and approaches that will be adopted and the capacity of the firm to deliver the assignment.
Three referees for previous work done in the past 3years and their contact details.
Contact details of the consultancy firm (email, telephone, and physical address)
About Madrasa Early Childhood Programme (MECPU).
The Madrasa Early Childhood Programme, an affiliate of the Aga Khan Foundation, was established in Mombasa in 1986 to improve access and quality of Early Childhood care and services in marginalized communities on the Coast of Kenya. Evidence-based success and growing interest across East Africa led to MECP being established in Zanzibar in 1990 and Uganda in 1993. Over the last 35 years, more than 8,000 teachers have graduated from MECP professional development courses and over 1 million children reached through the programming.
About Aga Khan Foundation (AKF)
The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1967, is a member of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), (www.akdn.org), one of the world’s leading poverty solutions networks. AKDN’s integrated approach makes long-term investments, builds permanent institutions, and cultivates an active civil society, impacting tens of millions of people annually in 30 countries. Alongside its sister AKDN agencies, AKF implements innovative, community-driven solutions that are based in decades of experience, learning and evaluation. In 2019, the broader AKDN and MOES signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) until 2024 to ensure effective collaboration in five areas of collaboration; i) ECD; ii) Teacher training and development; iii) School management; iv) Information and communication technology (ICT), and v) Curriculum development and broader policy engagement.
AKF and MECP continue to work in partnership with and through Partners to improve the wellbeing of boys and girls aged 0-8 in the districts of Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Yumbe and Arua Districts.
How to apply
The bid should be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th November 2023 with the subject line title “MECPU Learning Partner”.
All materials for submission must be merged into one pdf file.
AKF/ MECPU is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is Committed to Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children and Vulnerable Adults and Expects all Staff and Partners to Share this Commitment.