The Solidarity Center is seeking applications from qualified individuals to conduct an evaluation of Solidarity Center programming focused on fostering democratic leadership development.
Deadline for Application: February 12, 2024
Approximate Duration and Level of Effort: October 1, 2021 – March 31, 2024
Summary: The Solidarity Center is seeking applications from qualified individuals to conduct an evaluation of Solidarity Center programming focused on fostering democratic leadership development. The Solidarity Center intends to use the evaluation to understand and derive learning from the impact of somatic approaches on individual, organizational, and national levels and produce a synthesis of such practices/ approaches to promoting and fostering leadership among historically marginalized and disfranchised groups.
Competitive candidates will demonstrate their experience in evaluating labor programming and conducting gender-sensitive and culturally responsive evaluations. The evaluation will have a wide range of key stakeholders including workers, worker organizations and trade union representatives, government officials, program implementation staff, and facilitators, among others. This evaluation will include questions and deliverables tailored to each of these stakeholder groups. The evaluation should address the evaluation questions, which are aligned with the lines of inquiry outlined in the Evaluation Purpose section below.
Women, LGBTI workers, indigenous workers, Afro-descendent workers, and migrant workers often experience multiple intersecting forms of discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, race, and ability. Domestic workers are made vulnerable by the challenges of isolation and invisibility that accompany their working conditions. These workers carry with them a history of exploitation, resulting in a lack of recognition of their work and basic labor rights including freedom of association and speech that limit their participation in democratic reform. The nature of their work is primarily in precarious circumstances with limited or no access to basic labor protections, and their organizing efforts must contend with historic exclusion from national labor movements. Low-wage women workers in Latin America view that their exercise of power, once they take on leadership positions, looks like the employers that violate their rights, the authoritarian governments who feel no compulsion to respond to the demands of their citizens, or the hierarchical, male-dominated traditional unions and social structures around them. This cultural milieu impacts the way domestic workers exercise leadership when they rise up in their organizations or create new ones - and brings the divisionism, distrust, ego-centrism, and territorialism of the traditional exercise of power into organizations workers want to build democratically. This framework of exclusion and discrimination carries over into the current-day movement of domestic worker unions across Latin America where societal norms of “power over” reinforce division and disunity instead of strategic collaboration.
The Solidarity Center (SC) recognized the need to build and wield the power to change such conditions and cultivate and transform leadership among domestic workers who can challenge traditional images of what power and leadership look like and act like, and help to heal fissures that weaken movements. To do so, the program introduced various somatic healing techniques for emerging leaders and movement activists to recover and move past individual and organizational wounds, to understand generative (or positive) conflict among movement activists working towards shared goals, and to build unity that embraces diversity of actors and diversity of thought. The participants for this leadership development program are drawn from low-wage, informal, women, Afro-descendant, indigenous, migrant, and disabled workers - and the mentors who support participants through the process come from these same communities.
Understanding and deriving learning from the impact of such approaches on individual, organizational, and national levels is essential to the growth of strategies toward democratic leadership and structures. The Solidarity Center intends to use the evaluation to produce a synthesis of somatic practices/ approaches to promoting and fostering leadership among historically marginalized and disfranchised groups.
The evaluation will focus on program activities that began on October 1, 2021, and are continuing until March 31, 2024. The overarching objective of the program is to prepare activists and new political actors for the challenges of democratic transitions and equip them with the skills needed to contribute to effective democratic reform. Specifically, the evaluation will center on what has been a two-and-a-half-year initiative to create a space to develop new leaders by recognizing their challenges and creating opportunities for skills development to help them fully engage in the labor movement and with allied pro-democracy civil society organizations.
SC intends to continue its work in governance and leadership initiatives across the globe, especially among historically excluded and marginalized groups to ensure their interests are well articulated in the decision-making process and representation. As such, lessons from this evaluation will have immediate practical importance.
As noted above, the principal aim of the evaluation is to analyze how SC and its partners introduced somatic practices to transform the leadership of domestic workers, assess how emerging leaders influenced the implementation of international conventions, and identify lessons from this experience that might be applied in similar interventions.
There are five main evaluation questions: How have SC and its partners supported efforts to strengthen the democratic leadership of domestic workers, including through the use of somatic approaches? To what extent did the practice of somatic approaches create change in worker activists at an individual level? To what extent did leaders adopting somatic practices create change at an organizational level? To what extent did leaders adopting somatic practices create change at local and national levels? What lessons does this experience offer for this and similar initiatives going forward?
The evaluation will be based on qualitative and quantitative research, drawing on multiple sources of information to answer evaluation questions, including documents, archival records, and key informant interviews with program participants and facilitators, union leadership, key allies, and SC staff.
Countries of interest may include all or some of the following: Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay. Special interest will be given to Panama, Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Paraguay, and Chile. The Solidarity Center will work closely with the selected evaluator to determine a representative sample for this evaluation.
Workplan, Deliverables, and Schedule
● Task 1. Review documents and analyze archival records. The evaluator will review documents and analyze archival records noted above, and any additional documents and records shared at the time of the evaluation.
● Task 2. Prepare an Inception report – this report details how the evaluative research will be implemented, how stakeholders will be engaged, how evaluation questions will be addressed, and what security measures will be taken, among other components that are collaboratively determined with SC.
● Task 3. Submit questions for a written response. SC staff will be asked to respond in writing to questions posed by the evaluator to clarify particular issues, which emerge during the review of documents and analysis of archival records.
● Task 4. Conduct key informant interviews. Interviews will be conducted with roughly 40 people and all will be done virtually via internet/phone; each interview will take approximately 60 minutes to complete. Interviews will be semi-structured: questions will be open-ended based on a predetermined interview guide. Unlike structured interviews, the phrasing and order of questions in semi-structured interviews are not fixed and follow-up questions are used to seek clarification or elaboration of salient issues. This allows for a more conversational approach, leading to greater detail and richness of responses.
● Task 5. Prepare evaluation report. The report will present the findings of the evaluation in a clear and concise manner. The report will be roughly 30-35 pages (excluding annexes). A draft report will be sent to SC staff for review and written comment, focusing on errors of fact or omission. Based on the comments provided, the evaluator will make corrections as warranted to ensure the accuracy of the final report.
● Task 6. Identify lessons and prepare an evaluation brief. Following the completion of the report, the evaluator will prepare an evaluation brief summarizing the purpose of the evaluation, methodology, findings, and lessons learned. This resource serves as a public-facing document that summarizes the evaluative research findings, lessons, and recommendations to encourage the utilization of evidence generated.
● Task 7. Evaluation debrief meeting. The evaluator may be asked to participate in a meeting with SC and donor representatives to discuss the findings of the evaluation and associated lessons.
As described above, there are four deliverables: i) Inception Report, ii) Final Evaluation Report, iii) Evaluation Brief, and iv) Evaluation Debrief Meeting with SC and donor representatives.
- Inception report will be due to SC by March 10, 2024.
- Initial draft of the report will be due to SC by May 5, 2024. A second draft of the evaluation report will be due to SC within 5 days of receiving SC comments.
- Evaluation brief will be due to SC by May 25, 2024.
- Evaluation debrief meeting will likely be held in the last week of May 2024.
Detailed Schedule of Deliverables:
Task 1. Review documents and analyze archival records
Task 2. Prepare an inception report
Task 3. Submit questions for a written response
Task 4. Conduct key informant interviews
Task 5. Prepare Evaluation Report
Task 6. Identify lessons and prepare an evaluation brief
Task 7. Hold a meeting with SC and donor representatives
Roles and Responsibilities
The Solidarity Center will be responsible for:
- Providing technical guidance throughout the implementation of the evaluation;
- Providing access to project data and documents and facilitating access to stakeholders;
- Approving the proposed evaluation plan, including methodology, prior to the start of the evaluation; and
- Reviewing and commenting on drafts of the inception and evaluation reports, among other deliverables.
The Evaluator will be responsible for:
- Designing and conducting all necessary qualitative and quantitative assessments and fieldwork;
- Coordinating logistics for the evaluation including scheduling both in-person and virtual meetings with key stakeholders and hosting focus groups and interviews;
- Overseeing the day-to-day management of the evaluation;
- Providing regular formal and informal reporting to the Solidarity Center;
- Participating in key evaluation-related meetings (kick-off meeting, inception report meeting, draft findings meeting, and meeting to present final report and recommendations); and
- Producing deliverables in accordance with the Statement of Work and contractual arrangements.
The evaluator will report to the SC’s Deputy Director for Program Quality, Learning, and Compliance (PQLC) on all issues related to the evaluation, contracts, payments, deliverables, and commenting/responses processes.
The SC is seeking an evaluator with experience evaluating labor-oriented or democracy and governance programs, and familiarity evaluating US government grant-funded development projects. The evaluator should have excellent written communication skills in English; Spanish or Portuguese language skills are highly desired. Most of the evaluation may be conducted in the local language, but the final report must be provided in English. Should the evaluator require the assistance of an interpreter or translator for either language, the Solidarity Center will provide such services and directly cover their expenses.
The evaluator should also have knowledge of gender-sensitive evaluation approaches, preferably in the world of work. Experience with labor rights programs and working with unions and worker organizations as program partners is highly desirable. Selection of the consultant will be based on the strength of the qualifications provided by potential candidates through their application for the assignment. Interested candidates should submit their application online or directly to [email protected] by February 12, 2024, and should include the following in their communication:
- Resume and a cover letter stating the qualifications to conduct the evaluation as described above. If the evaluator intends to engage any other party(ies) the application must include a statement of qualifications for the proposed team member(s) as well as an overview of the envisioned roles;
- Two relevant evaluation samples;
- Fixed price per task based on the seven tasks listed in the work plan section of this SOW;
- A timeline outlining the schedule for completion of the tasks. The SC notes that the timeline included in Table 2 above is illustrative and is seeking a more precise outline of the schedule from the evaluator.
- Names and contacts (telephone and e-mail addresses) of three professional references familiar with your qualifications and work experience, ideally clients or supervisors for whom you have consulted or worked;
- Statement of availability for the assignment.
 This evaluation can be characterized as a single, mixed-methods case study.
 The Solidarity Center reserves the right to adjust the price per task based on the final selected sample. Any changes will be made in consultation with and approval by both the evaluator and the Solidarity Center.
The Solidarity Center cultivates the values of diversity, equality, and inclusion among its staff and partners. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected under applicable law. Candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. If you are a candidate with a disability and require reasonable accommodations to apply for this position, please contact us at [email protected].