Assessing engaging grassroots civil society organizations in Northwest Syria (NWS) Qualitative Data Analyst.
IMPACT – Civil Society Research and Development e.V. , founded in Berlin in 2013, is a non- profit civil society organization with offices in Iraq, Turkey and Syria. Civil society support is the core of IMPACT’s mission through long-term and balanced support to individuals and organizations in the conflict and developed countries. IMPACT’s main areas of intervention are capacity building, research, peacebuilding, and diaspora engagement. IMPACT has worked with civil society organizations since 2015 and has supported capacity development and networking for civil society through numerous programmes. In addition, it has worked consistently to undertand the opportunities and challenges associated with operating in different parts of the country and how best to support local efforts. IMPACT has undertaken significant research in this field, including a multi-phase mapping published in 2022 that assessed how civic space functions in the northwest of the country. While IMPACT has worked closely with civil society organizations throughout the country, it is seeking to better understand the opportunities and potential entry points for supporting organizations in the northwest, while also assessing risks and challenges for potential programming within the framework of existing programmes and projects.
The USG-funded Syrian Civil Society Program (WIAAM III) implemeted by IMPACT aims to support the development and strengthening of civil society organizations in Syria, particularly those working seeking to protect civic space, promote social cohesion, and advance local authority accountability. The program will support the capacity-building of these organizations and provide technical assistance to enable them to effectively engage in advocacy and service provision. As part of this effort, WIAAM III is also exploring the potential to expand its work into Northwest Syria through an initial assessment. In NWS, civil society organizations face significant hurdles and challenges in effectively communicating with citizens and addressing their needs, as well as accessing and engaging across different geographic areas. Operationally, organizations lack the finances, infrastructure and resources to exercise their role as service provider. In addition, civil society lacks the necessary skills / contacts / networks to mobilize resources and often lack the technical know how to develop responsive, effective, and sustainable programming or activities. This continues to hinder the ability of civil society to build constructive communication and relationships with its constituencies, whether to meet service needs, or to develop community self-awareness. In addition, as the social and political space remains constrained by local dynamics and authorities, civil society struggles to build platforms that allow for local development through dialogue, consensus-building and mobilization of local efforts to address the needs of Syrians.
Purpose of the assignment:
The purpose is to support the WIAAM and IMPACT teams in producing an assessment on the status of civil society in the Northwerst. The assingment is to conduct the core analysis of the qualitative data and to produce initial findings and analysis for the team to further develop in the form of an assessment report. The Data Analyst will work with the MEAL Manager and IMPACT Monitoring and Evaluation Team in reviewing and analzing data collected through field visits and remote interviews. Field work will be conducted in country by IMPACT field teams with remote interviews managed by the WIAAM and IMPACT teams.
The Data Analyst will work closely with the WIAAM and IMPACT teams to perform the assingment.
The primary objectives of the assessment are to understand, research and analyze the space exercised by civil society in Northwest Syria and provide recommendations around potential engagement of civil society / community-based organizations across the operative environments of the northern Aleppo countryside such as Azaz, Marea, al-Bab, Jarablus, and the surrounding smaller population centers not under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). This should include potential entry-points to work in NWS for IMPACT and its partners and donors as well as advise on the possibility to bridge interventions in the NES and NWS. The assingnment will also highlight themes to focus on, and potentially which organizations could be best engaged in this effort. The assignment should reflect the following issues / questions:
- Operating environment(s) in which civil society organizations are operating in the Northwest of the country. This includes exploration around what legal framework(s), if any, are in place for registration of civil society organizations, as well as for how the registration process works and what potential risks and challenges exist for operating without official registration both inside or outside the country where applicable. It should also include an understanding of the operating context(s) organizations work within the area, specifically oversight, delegation or coordination or lack thereof by local authorities and stakeholders.
- Function and role of community-based and civil society organizations to better understand what kind of activities, services, role CSOs are playing within their communities. It is understood that civil society plays many roles, however, further exploration of if civil society groups are functioning as service providers / facilitators. If so, what are the thematic areas / needs that civil society is most responsive to, and why. It is important to explore how community organizations are viewed by the communities they service or address, including to convene space and dialogue around community / social issues, and if civil society is able to build trust among constituents.
- Capacity and need of civil society / community-based organizations in the northwest, with a focus on overall organizational capacity (governance / administration) and as well as financial management and programme planning and implementation. Noting that different organizations have different capacity, the assignment is not expected to map and assess the capacity of specific civil society groups but rather perform an overall ‘sectoral’ analysis. The scope also includes an exploration of locally run organizations as well as those managed remotely from Turkey, not only in terms of capacity but also access to varoius stakeholder.
- Risk aversion and managing engagement of civil society in the northwest, bearing in mind risk aversion and potential red lines of stakeholders, donors, and partner organizations such as IMPACT through recommendations on how to mitigate risks of fraud and /or corruption. It is important to consider a Do No Harm approach when articulating engagement or support strategies and should reflect a conflict-sensitive analysis as well. As such, strategies for engagement should explore potential ‘light footprint engagement’ that protects civil society groups depending on the challenges in their operating context. In addition, given risk aversion, it is most important to examine what avenues exist for support in coordination with other less risk averse organizations or actors. Thinking around bottom-up engagement is most relevant and should reflect a localization approach and locally informed considerations and strategies.
- Potential entry points / geographies that IMPACT and other stakeholders can engage with or through. Bearing in mind the variance of dynamics witnessed among different local contexts in Syria, it is relevant to propose a series of locations and implementation approaches for support to civil society. If this means in geographic areas that civil society organizations have more ability to exercise civic space, or where engagement is possible based on the assessment / analysis undertaken by the consultant. This should include recommendations on how to access and approach different communities, Kurdish communities in particular, and other social groups (women, community leaders, youth, etc.) and best practices in doing so.
Scope of Work:
The consultant will undertake the following tasks and responsibilities:
- Desk review of relevant studies and literature, including previous and ongoing studies conducted by IMPACT such as the civil society mapping and the paper on economics of nonprofit
- Undertake data review and analysis of raw data produced by field visits and remote interviews to produce initial findings and / or analysis bearing in mind the following:
- Overall operating context, capacity and reach of the civil society sector
- Relationship and role of civil society vis a vis the communities they serve as well as the authorities who oversee / manage / regulate their work.
- Identify and highlight feedback on the sector can do to promote accountability, considering what input is needed to maximize their voice and impact.
- Identify potential strategies for engagement and support to civil society in NWS, bearing in mind risk aversion and red lines of partners
- Provide initial recommendations which should include potential partners, stakeholders, communal leaders, and civil society organizations involved in local governance and accountability initiatives in NWS.
The Data Analyst will be tasked with the following:
- Production of initial findings: A comprehensive analysis outlining the findings of the data collection and desk review, including challenges, opportunities, potential partners/stakeholders, and recommendations for future interventions specific to the NWS context.
- Follow up with WIAAM and IMPACT teams: Working closely on the draft of the final report to ensure it is consistent with the obejctive of the assessment, data and harmonized with WIAAM’s workplan and approach
No mandated location. The Analyst will need to make themselves available for remote interaction during working hours with teams located in in Berlin, Erbil, Syria and Turkey. The Data Analyst is expected to report to the MEAL Manager at WIAAM.
The expected number of days to complete the tasks is seven (7) working days. The anticipated timeline for this activity is starting from 25 Sep to 10 November, with data analysis beginning approximately early to mid October . Specific milestones and deadlines will be mutually agreed upon between the team and relevant stakeholders involved in the program.
for the position will be able to demonstrate:
- Minimum four to six years in qualitative data analysis
- English drafting skills and mother tongue fluency in Arabic, ability to synthesise data and present findings analytically
- Experience in evaluations and/or demonstrated skills in carrying out field research and analysing results
- A high degree of attention to detail in drafting, including both substance and editorial quality
- A pro-active and problem-solving attitude and ability to coordindate with multiple teams
- University Degree
Desirable areas of experience include:
- Proven work experience in relation to the Syrian context, with particular focus on Syrian civil society organizations and their working context
- Previous work on mapping, assessments, or MEAL reporting on Syria or other conflict contexts
How to apply:
Kindly submit an updated CV and cover letter to: [email protected] no later than Oct 01st 2023, along with a signed copy of the ToR and supporting documents which meet skills/competencies otherwise the proposal will not be considered.
Please include your financial offer in the cover letter. Contract award criteria will be a weighting ration between technical expertise and financial offers, at 60% technically and 40% financially ratio.
Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.