Dexis Consulting Group

  • Education, Resilience and Conflict Consultants

    Posted Date 1 month ago(6/6/2019 3:22 PM)
    Job ID
    2019-1902
    # of Openings
    4
    Job Locations
    US-DC-Washington DC- Headquarters
    Job Area
    Implementation and Management Solutions
    Clearance Level
    Not applicable
    Expiration Date
    8/31/2019
    Type
    Consultant
  • About Us

    Are you passionate about driving programs focused on foreign assistance? Do you want to be part of an organization that offers meaningful assignments and opportunities to expand your skills and expertise? At Dexis, you will experience a corporate culture of inclusiveness, fairness, and trust. You will be given the means and mentorship needed to succeed, and your creativity will be rewarded.

    About the Position

    The purpose of the Education Support Initiative (ESI) contract is to recruit, hire and maintain technical, professional, operational, and support staff that supply services to the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Education Office and education sector. It includes full-time positions as well as short- and medium-term consultants.

     

    In recent years, building resilience to recurrent crisis has emerged as a USAID priority. Large-scale, recurrent humanitarian emergencies cause loss of life, livelihoods, dignity, and aspiration; negatively affect national and regional economies; and are extremely costly in terms of recurrent humanitarian spending. USAID's investments in building resilience help share and shift the responsibility for managing risk, investing in resilience, and responding to shocks when they do occur from donors to governments, communities, and the private sector. The overriding aim is to reduce costs of recurrent crises, including the unsustainable costs of responding to large-scale humanitarian emergencies in the same places every few years. USAID issued policy and program guidance on Building Resilience to Recurrent Crisis (2012) to help guide multi-sector strategic planning at the mission level; however, it focuses almost exclusively on climate shocks and stressors.  

    Many of the USAID missions implementing resilience programming are in the Africa Bureau. As part of growing the understanding of what factors improve the resilience of households and communities, USAID’s Africa Bureau aims to understand two things: first, how education or education systems contribute to improved resilience to shocks and stressors that may otherwise undermine economic growth, education, health, or other critical development outcomes; and second, how improved resilience contributes to stronger education or learning outcomes and systems. This work would build on the initial learning in the 2017 Resilience Evidence Forum Report and draw on the analytical approaches used in the 2018 USAID-commissioned report on Health, Resilience, and Sustainable Poverty Escapes.

    USAID’s 2018 Education Policy recognizes that in order to support the journey to self-reliance, “education in partner countries must have the capacity to embed effective approaches to improving learning and education outcomes, to innovate, and to withstand shocks and stresses” (p. 17).  The 2019 USAID Policy Framework equally stresses the importance of resilience as part of ensuring that the journey to self-reliance, and agency investments in this process, are not derailed in the face of complex crises and natural disasters. USAID views capacity building at various levels of an education system as vital support in a country’s journey to self-reliance, as it enables partner countries to prevent, mitigate, and recover from crises that might otherwise set them back.  As UNESCO-IIEP (2011) guidance argues, resilient education systems maintain education delivery during crises, and good "educational planning anticipates and analyses risks contribut[ing] to building systems that are more resilient and therefore less impacted by emergencies" (p. 23).    

     

    USAID hypothesizes that:

    1. Education is a resilience capacity that helps maintain, accelerate, or increase other important development outcomes in the face of shocks or stressors. Individuals and households with higher levels of education are more likely to be resilient to a wide range of shocks and stressors because they have a better employment potential and income-generation capacity, a stronger social network, and an ability to adapt to new environments more easily. This may be particularly true for women. If this hypothesis is true, then because education attained cannot be taken away or lost, education may serve as a sustainable pathway out of poverty. Please see this methodological note for more information about USAID definitions of poverty escapes.
    2. Improving resilience capacities of households, communities, and systems can maintain, accelerate, or increase the growth of education outcomes in the face of shocks and stressors. For individuals, households, and communities living with the shocks and stressors of crises or conflicts, they will need specific resilience capacities to maintain their access to quality education. At the systems level, education systems up to the federal level need organizational resilience capacities to maintain quality, safe service provision.

    This work has four primary objectives:

    1. Describe and synthesize how education serves as a resilience capacity and a sustained pathway out of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.
    2. Describe and synthesize how other types of resilience capacities improve education outcomes at the individual/household or systems level.
    3. Explore how trends or findings differ in conflict-affected countries.
    4. Discuss policy implications for USAID programming, including the journey to self-reliance, in a way that can be leveraged by Resilience Focus Countries.

    This work should leverage existing, publicly available data sets that provide panel data or nationally or sub-nationally representative data at the household or individual level that can allow for comparisons over time. The data sets can be unique to a country or used internationally or regionally. Data sets leveraged can come from a wide variety of sectors beyond education. Sample data sets of interests could include, but are not limited to:

    The geographic focus should remain on sub-Saharan Africa, with emphasis on specific countries to be determined in consultation with USAID.

     

    In addition to leveraging existing data sets for synthetic purposes, consultants should review existing education and resilience data and programmatic or evaluation reports from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as relevant education and resilience policies to supplement findings or trends in the synthetic review and support the discussion of policy implications.

     

    Finally, consultants should also propose 1-3 country specific reports that may involve primary data collection, such as key informant interviews of stakeholders or life history interviews with beneficiaries of programs. These country specific reports should be outlined, budgeted, and incorporated in the workplan, but ultimately are dependent on Mission concurrence.

     

    Research Questions:

    USAID anticipates refining the research questions in consultation with the consultants. Key questions may include:

    1. To what extent does education serve as a resilience capacity that leads to a sustained poverty escape in sub-Saharan Africa? For which types of households? Under what types of circumstances?
    2. What types of resilience capacities seem to lead to improved education outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa? For which types of households? Under what types of circumstances?
    3. What are common shocks or stresses to the education system? Does education sometimes serve as a shock or stress?
    4. How does violent conflict affect the ways in which education serves as a resilience capacity in sub-Saharan Africa? The ways in which various resilience capacities lead to improved education outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa? Particular sub-questions may include:
      • What types of households are most and least likely to remain resilient in the face of conflict?
      • Are there gendered differences or impacts?
      • To what extent is the climate-conflict nexus visible? How does it impact education or learning outcomes?
      • Are resilience capacities in response to a violent conflict different than what households use in response to other shocks and stressors?

    Responsibilities

    The consultants will be responsible for outlining and describing their specific approach to data collection and analysis, including specifying the datasets used and the countries of focus, in order to answer the research questions. The contractor will collaboratively work with USAID to refine the research questions. The contractor will leverage USAID staff to vet policy recommendations.

    The specific tasks are:

    1. A planning meeting will be held (involving the Contractor and USAID) at the initiation of this assignment and before the data collection begins. The purpose of the meeting will be to:
      • Review and clarify any questions on the SOW
      • Clarify team members’ roles and responsibilities
      • Review and finalize the assignment timeline
      • Review and clarify any logistical and administrative procedures for the assignment
      • Refine and finalize the research questions
    2. In advance of starting the work:
      • Prepare a list of datasets that will be used to respond to the questions.
      • Outline an analysis approach.
      • Prepare a list of countries that will be the focus of this paper.
      • Review all relevant USAID policies and programmatic or evaluation documents (to be provided by USAID). This phase will require consultations with the Center for Resilience, the Office of Education, the Africa Bureau, and potentially USAID Missions.
    3. Work with USAID to define key hypotheses linked to education and resilience, which may be tested in the final synthesis.
    4. Complete the analysis.
    5. Prepare a synthesis of the findings in alignment with the agreed-upon methodology.
    6. Develop policy-relevant recommendations.

    Deliverables:

     

    The following deliverables will be produced by the consultant team:

    • Work plan that outlines specific steps to be taken, with projected timeline. The work plan should include the synthetic analysis as well as 1-3 country specific reports.
    • A pre-analysis plan which outlines the datasets, countries, analytical approaches, and key hypotheses.
    • Final synthetic product will be a report of no more than 30 pages excluding annexes and provided in MS Word and PDF format. It will include:
      • Executive Summary
      • Description of the methodology
      • Analysis
      • Findings
      • Conclusions
      • Recommendations regarding future research and programming
      • Policy recommendations particularly relevant to conflict- and crisis-affected settings as well as gender and disability inclusion, if available.
      • Annexes containing relevant materials, including hyperlinks to datasets used and USAID reports/policies/evaluations reviewed (even if not ultimately included), inclusion/exclusion criteria if used
    • Oral presentation to USAID and a webinar for USAID missions and Washington staff with a power-point presentation of analysis, findings and recommendations from the synthetic report.
    • One to two-page practitioner brief of the synthetic report. The audience for this document will be education development professionals working across the Agency. Information from country-specific reports may be integrated into the practitioner brief as relevant.
    • One to two-page policy brief of the synthetic report that includes visuals such as graphs, infographics, maps, etc. The audience for this document will be senior U.S. government officials and development professionals working in non-education sectors. Information from country-specific reports may be integrated into the policy brief as relevant.
    • Blog post for USAID’s Education Links website.
    • Country reports will follow formats similar to recent case studies: Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia.
    • Visuals in large-sized PNG format (400 KB minimum).  All visuals (charts, infographics, maps, etc.) created for the report or other deliverables will be provided to USAID as stand-alone deliverables.  Charts should adhere to the data visualization checklist and should utilize the USAID colors.
    • All deliverables will go through an iterative process responding to USAID’s review and feedback.  For example, the Final Report will go through two reviews with USAID providing feedback and the contractor providing new versions of the report.

    The contractor should submit a proposed timeline with deadlines in the work plan that allows sufficient time for USAID to review deliverables.

    Qualifications

    The specific make-up of the Consultation team is up to each Contractor to propose. The Contractor should clearly illustrate their proposed staffing plan and outline how the staffing plan will support the objectives of this scope of work. Qualifications and experience of the whole team should reflect:

    • The expected period of performance is July 1, 2019-January 31, 2020.

    • Experience using advanced statistical techniques to analyze data linked to resilience and poverty escapes, health, education, or other related fields.
    • Experience using and mining publicly available datasets that respond to the research objectives.
    • Work experience translating complex, technical information for broad audiences.
    • Experience in the design, implementation and/or evaluation of international education, education in conflict and crisis, higher education, or inclusive education programs in development or humanitarian contexts.
    • Experience in translating research findings into concrete policy and programming recommendations.
    • Excellent writing and editing skills.
    • Strong knowledge of existing datasets from a variety of sectors.

    Are you looking for a company that offers meaningful program assignments and opportunities to develop professional skills and expertise? At Dexis, staff are empowered to be part of the decision-making process and collaborate with colleagues and management across the company to satisfy our clients.  We create transparency in our operations with our clients and employees; and we offer our people opportunities to grow and challenge themselves in meaningful ways. Dexis follows a "find a way or make a way" business directive, and we’re paving the way for innovative management solutions in the global development and security assistance arenas worldwide. As a Dexis employee you will be challenged, empowered, and mentored.  That’s how Dexis goes "all in.” How will you? 

    If you are passionate about this opportunity, submit your application by clicking the apply for this job online button.

    Instructions for submission

    • Please submit the following documents for application:
    • CVs for all lead team members (please submit as one PDF)
    • A cover letter or brief proposal that clearly outlines your teams’ experience and expertise in conducting this type of project
    • An example of a related product (please submit as one PDF with the cover letter)
    • Please submit these documents by July 12, 2019, 11:59 pm.
    • Only those applicants who meet the above criteria will be contacted for interview.

    Dexis is an equal opportunity employer offering employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, citizenship, physical or mental handicap, or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran of the US Armed Forces.

     

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