Terms of Reference
Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We work alongside children, young people, our supporters and partners to tackle the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children. We support children’s rights from birth until adulthood and enable children and young people to prepare for and respond to crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national, regional and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge. For over 80 years we have been building meaningful partnerships for children, and we are active in over 75 countries. For more information, please visit https://planinternational.org/
Globally around 21% of young women were married before their 18th birthday: 650 million girls and women alive today were married as children. 12 million girls under 18 are married each year. 25 million child marriages have been prevented in the last decade thanks to progress made. South Asia had the largest decline in the prevalence of child marriage during this time, from 49% to 30%. But progress must accelerate or more than 120 million additional girls will marry before their 18th birthday by 2030.
Child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) is a harmful practice, form of gender-based violence and a violation of children’s rights and the rights of girls and women, as well as a fundamental impediment to human development. In some circumstances, it can also amount to gender based violence. While boys are also affected by child marriage, it has particularly adverse effects on girls and young women, curtailing their education, social engagement and economic empowerment, violating their sexual and reproductive health and rights, limiting their autonomy and placing them at increased risk of violence. CEFM has serious life-threatening and long-term consequences for girls and women, as well as their communities and societies.
CEFM is a human rights violation. Despite laws against it, this harmful practice remains widespread. CEFM can lead to a lifetime of suffering. Girls who marry before they turn 18 are less likely to remain in school and more likely to experience domestic violence. Young teenage girls are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s, and their children are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life.
Gender equality is one of the 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and includes a target on eliminating Child, Early and Forced marriage. Plan International Asia Pacific Regional Hub (hereinafter referred to as Plan International APAC) has identified elimination of CEFM as one of its strategic priority areas for influencing and programming.
III. Implementing a dynamic and holistic approach to ending CEFM in Asia Pacific: Time to Act!
Plan International’s work preventing, reducing, and eliminating CEFM in Asia-Pacific spans more than a decade and is led by Plan International APAC. While it draws from and supports the Global 18+ framework and related Theory of Change, this work has taken on a distinctive character in Asia-Pacific, utilizing comprehensive programmatic and influencing interventions and processes to effect change. It draws heavily on the knowledge and expertise we have developed over the last 10 plus years.
Plan International APAC’s work on CEFM has evolved into a regional initiative called Time to Act!. The initiative, launched in 2018, builds on a decade of previous CEFM focused interventions. It places a strong emphasis on influencing and youth-led advocacy and activism, while maintaining a firm commitment to evidence-based action and interventions, partnerships, and addressing root causes by tackling harmful gender stereotypes and cultural norms. Time to Act! focuses on four key areas of interventions, which – when combined as part of a holistic strategy – our research and evidence indicates are most effective to increase efforts to end CEFM: continuous education, youth economic empowerment, protection from violence, and knowledge and education on sexual and reproductive health rights and strengthening related services.
IV. Plan International Asia Pacific Regional Hub’s evolving CEFM research agenda
Over the past decade, Plan International Asia Pacific Regional Hub (APAC) commissioned a number of important pieces of research on CEFM. The first research, completed in 2014 in partnership with The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), explored the perceptions of different stakeholders about the causes and consequences of CEFM and the efficacy of Plan International programming in addressing these factors in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. The second research study, completed in 2015 with Coram Children’s Legal Centre, gathered in-depth and detailed evidence on the root causes of CEFM practices in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan. In addition, the research informed the development of an index for measuring factors associated with the acceptability of CEFM (CEFM Acceptability Index), which is used by Plan International to inform programming, track progress and improve the effectiveness of Plan International CEFM interventions.
These research studies informed the development of the Plan International global 18+ Theory of Change (ToC). The ToC states that, to eliminate CEFM, programmes must work at multiple levels to achieve this; with girls to build their capacity and agency, with families and communities to change socio-cultural norms, values and attitudes and with institutions to implement laws, policies and public services.
Two additional pieces of regional research had been commissioned and completed, focusing on consolidating and analysing the most up to date information on the issues relevant to gaps identified in the broader body of CEFM related research. In late 2017, Plan International APAC undertook extensive research on the prevalence of Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. The resulting technical report, titled Their Time is Now: Eliminating Child, Early and Forced Marriage in Asia provides comprehensive details on CEFM in Asia and further consolidates evidence that governments, universities, civil society organizations, and Plan International have generated over the past ten to fifteen year. It analyses recent evidence on the prevalence, causes, trends, drivers and impact of CEFM and outlines actions that must be taken to tackle CEFM in Asia and the strong commitment needed from stakeholders at multiple levels. For more detail, please visit: https://planinternational.org/publications/their-time-now-eliminating-child-early-and-forced-marriage
The Time to Act! report (Plan International Asia Regional Hub, 2018) builds on the previous report Their Time is Now, and outlines actions that should be taken to prevent and eliminate CEFM in Asia. The Time to Act! report delves into emerging interventions by different international agencies and CSOs that have high potential to be successful and effective in preventing, reducing and eliminating CEFM, and highlights the factors that might lead to success. It also identifies initiatives and innovative approaches that seem most likely to eliminate CEFM if implemented at scale by governments and other relevant stakeholders in Asia and beyond. Extensive document review and interviews with a range of stakeholders were conducted in five focus countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam) to identify promising interventions and key success factors, challenges, opportunities and themes.4 For more detail, please visit: https://plan-international.org/time-act-accelerating-effortseliminate-child-early-and-forced-marriage
As part of a multi-phased research series in the countries of South and South East Asia, youthled advocacy and activism among the interventions and innovative approaches with a high potential for impact if implemented at scale by governments and other stakeholders. A comparative analysis, building on previous CEFM research studies, was undertaken with a specific focus on different aspects of youth-led activism, advocacy and engagement to eliminate CEFM in Asia. The comparative analysis resulted in Their Time is Now – Time to Act! report (2019). This comparative analysis aims to systematize the information from 10 Asian countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam), where young people have been supported by Plan International in preventing, reducing and eliminating CEFM. It also provides an analytical overview of the key enablers and barriers encountered by youth advocates. This comparative analysis report presents key findings on structural and functional aspects of the youth groups engaged in CEFM elimination, while offering a set of practical recommendations for key stakeholders. It is complemented with a Thematic Brief, serving to strengthen and further legitimize youth engagement and activism in ending CEFM across Asia. For more details, please visit: www.civilsocietyasia.org/resources/their-time-is-now-time-to-act-report
The latest research report Let’s Get Digital on use of digital technologies to end child, early and forced marriage in Asia-Pacific was published in April 2021. The digital platforms and applications allow for the creation of global networks with the ability to interact in real time. They enable access to information and the creation of communities without the requirement of physically being in the same space. They offer users opportunities to empower themselves with information, connections, and access to education, as well as means to exercise their freedom of expression and be active citizens. The research builds on the initial mapping of different digital platforms, tools and technologies in use, while providing an analysis of online solutions specifically applied to CEFM prevention and elimination an those with a high degree of replicability and scalability. The research also addresses gaps in the existing body of knowledge and provide recommendations on additional opportunities to harness benefits of the digital technologies.
V. Objectives, supporting activities and expected outcomes
The consultancy has the following objectives, supported by specific activities and resulting in concrete deliverables:
1) Conduct a literature review of similar practical tools guiding policy and practice around eliminating CEFM globally, regionally and nationally, to identify the existing body of resources produced by other like-minded organizations engaged in ending CEFM, build on it and address any gaps observed and identified;
2) Collect and analyze key information on global and Asia-Pacific specific good practice in policy-making and programming interventions to prevent, reduce and eliminate CEFM, to create a foundation for the toolkit;
3) Develop an integral and gender-transformative Regional Toolkit for Practitioners and Policy-makers on Accelerating Efforts to Eliminate Child, Early and Forced Marriage in Asia Pacific region focusing on the key programming and policy-making aspects (to be further developed and specified):
4) Validate the draft toolkit with the Plan International APAC Network of CEFM Focal Points through a series of interactive online workshops, to ensure inclusive participatory approach and ownership by the practitioners;
5) Produce an integral narrative for the toolkit, to be used for production of a printed document (which is not included in this consultancy);
6) Produce a series of solutions-oriented thematic briefs on specific aspects and themes around CEFM prevention and elimination, intended for specific target audiences (i.e. parliamentarians and policy-makers, field practitioners, religious and traditional leaders, youth activists etc.) and derived from the integral toolkit.
VI. Target audiences
There are different target audiences expected to benefit from this Toolkit:
a) Internally, it will further inform and strengthen designing and implementation of CEFM focused project interventions supported by Country Offices, Program Units and implementing CSO and CBO partner organizations (field practitioners), as well as related inputs into the organizational efforts to support harmonization, reform and enforcement of the relevant laws and policies regulating CEFM as a harmful practice;
b) Externally, it is expected to inform the ongoing policy-making dialogues on measures to accelerate efforts to eliminate CEFM by 2030, as well the relevant legal and policy reform processes across Asia-Pacific region. The Toolkit will be shared with and introduced to a range of civil society actors engaged in direct implementation activities. It will also serve as awareness raising resource to provide information to media and general public on key aspects of this harmful practice and its elimination;
c) Youth activists and advocates engaged in different platforms and initiatives fostering activism to end CEFM will benefit from the information provided and use the toolkit to devise their activism strategies.
VII. Suggested Methodology
At the minimum, the following methods are proposed:
Desk Mapping and Literature Review will include: • review of the existing Plan International documents and other relevant sources by key development organizations focusing on CEFM elimination; • review of thematic CEFM focused reports to identify different programmatic and influencing approaches and models guiding practical interventions on the ground; • a desk review of similar existing resources by key UN and INGOs is strongly recommended. 6 The above mapping will be conducted through a combined method including but not limited to data collection, key informant interviews and desk review and analysis. Following the initial mapping covering all the countries in Asia-Pacific with Plan International operational presence, the geographic focus will be further specified around the countries with high CEFM prevalence and significant body of experience in pursuing holistic and gender-transformative solutions to eliminate CEFM;
Key Informants Interviews: the desk mapping results will determine and inform a series of remote interviews involving key informants, including Plan International staff and/or focal points responsible for coordination of the CEFM related initiatives, as well as the representative of the key UN, INGO and CSO actors involve in CEFM elimination. Direct involvement of young people in this exercise is not expected, due to the limited time, resources and language barriers. However, all efforts will be made to reflect and document youth perspectives through information provided by Country Offices CEFM Focal Points;
Validation workshops (online): involving Plan International Country Offices CEFM Focal Points, to both collect relevant information and ensure the toolkit resonates with and responds to the practitioners’ support needs.
All the activities will be conducted online and remotely.
The Toolkit is expected to provide practical guidance to inform both implementation of project interventions and gender responsive policy-making at the national and regional levels and in the specific context of prevention, reduction and elimination of CEFM in Asia-Pacific region.
To that end and among the others, the following topics will be addressed and covered:
• Re-affirming commitment to end CEFM by 2030;
• Increased awareness on the root-causes and consequences of CEFM in Asia-Pacific;
• Manifestations and types of CEFM across the Asia-Pacific region;
• Scope and urgency of the issue justified and backed by updated data and statistics;
• Effective solutions-oriented practice with demonstrated and proven intervention models to inform programming
• Steps in preventing, reducing and eliminating CEFM, reflecting Plan International APAC’s regional Strategic Framework and related priorities;
• Multispectral approach involving multiple stakeholders;
• Systems strengthening approach to render basic services gender-responsive, age appropriate and effective;
• Policy-making and law enforcement implications, including progressive policies and laws, to inform influencing and campaigning;
• Girls- and youth-led activism as a driving force and
• Any other critical aspects jointly identified.
Primary focus will be on the information originating from Plan International experience and practice. Additional focus and attention will be given to similar relevant resources produced by 7 other key INGOs and UN agencies, obtained through literature review and key informant interviews.
Additional supporting questions clusters will be developed to obtain relevant information in identifying the key topics.
NB. The exercise is entirely desk-based and carried out via electronic communications channels, no travel or field work is required.
VIII. Key deliverables
The final expected deliverables include:
Integral narrative for the toolkit, to be used for production of a printed publication (which is not covered by this consultancy);
A series of solutions-oriented mini thematic briefs for specific targeted audiences (i.e. parliamentarians and policy-makers, field practitioners etc). based on and derived from the main toolkit contents. The consultancy will be managed by Plan International Asia-Pacific Regional Head of Child Protection and Partnerships, in close collaboration with the national CEFM Focal Points to obtain necessary information and inputs. The following deliverables are expected to be submitted by the selected consultant / team:
IX. Table of Deliverables
Deliverable / Format / Length / Due
- An inception Report, at a minimum, should include:
1.1 A tentative list of available relevant documents and data sources to be used
1.2 A detailed methodology for the desk mapping and subsequent analysis
1.3 A detailed work plan with a specific timeline, estimated number of work days for each deliverable and submission date
1.4 A tentative structure/outline of the final toolkit.
(Word / Maximum 20 pages/ By 15 May 2021)
Literature review document, detailing out the existing similar resources.(Word / Maximum 30 pages / By 25 May 2021)
First draft Toolkit combining the findings of desk mapping, analysis and key informants interviews.(Word doc / Maximum 100 pages / By 30 June 2021)
Initial Validation Workshop to process the initial draft and address any gaps and outstanding issues.(Word doc / Maximum 20 pages / By 15 June 2021)
Presentation of the second draft of the Toolkit for written inputs PowerPoint Presentation N/A By 30 June 2021 a. Second draft of the report. (Word doc / Maximum 100 pages / By 15 July 2021)
Final Validation Workshop to address final modifications and refinements. (Word doc / Maximum 20 page /By 15 August 2021)
Final narrative for the Toolkit (and thematic briefs) (Word doc / Maximum 100 pages/ By 01 October 2021)
X. Tentative timeframe and Estimated Number of Working Days
The assignment is estimated to be completed within indicative 30 days starting in early April 2021, to be completed by 15 July 2021. The timeframe is indicative and can be re-evaluated in consultation with Plan International APAC.
Task / Timeframe / Estimated no. of work days
Hold an initial meeting to discuss the overall research, methodology, and deliverables/ By early May 2021 /0.5 .
Develop and submit an inception report, detailed work plan and methodology /By 15 May 2021/ 2.5.
Inception report and work plan approval / By 20 May 2021 / N/A.
Conduct desk mapping and literature review /By 25 May 2021 /3.
Develop and submit an initial draft Toolkit including analysis of the findings of desk mapping and Key Informants Interviews / By 30 June 2021 /25.
Conduct the first Validation Workshop to collect feedback and additional inputs / By 15 June 2021/ 1.
Incorporate the first round of Plan International’s feedback and revisions of the draft narrative /By 22 June 2021/ 2.
Hold a virtual workshop to present the second draft of the Toolkit /By 30 June 2021/ 1.
Incorporate the second round of Plan International’s feedback and submit the 2nd draft / By 15 July June 2021/ 3.
Hold the final Validation Workshop to agree the final version of the Toolkit / By 15 August 2021 /1.
Incorporate the final feedback and inputs and / By 10 September /29.
finalize the report Develop and submit Thematic Briefs / By 20 September 2021/ 4.
Submit the final master narrative report and thematic briefs/ By 01 October 2021 /N/A.
NB. The total number of working days is subject to further discussion and modification, depending on the justifiable requirements under the consultancy
• Advanced university degree in social sciences and International Development, or other relevant fields Technical Knowledge, skills and experience:
• Minimum 15 years of professional experience preferably in the fields of Gender Equality, Child, Early and Forced Marriage elimination, women empowerment, children’s girls’ and women’s rights or other related issues. Published work is a definite advantage;
• Strong knowledge of and experience working with existing relevant global data sources required; • Knowledge on quantitative and statistical analysis required;
• Robust understanding of development programming, including influencing techniques and tactics (advocacy, lobbying, campaigning etc);
• Knowledge of Child, Early and Forced Marriage dynamics in Asia-Pacific is a critical requirement;
• Successful track-record of collaboration with Plan International is desirable;
• Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to quickly incorporate feedback from different sources.
XII. Evaluation criteria
Candidates will be evaluated against the following criteria:
Criteria Weight Academic qualifications 20%
Technical knowledge, skills and experience 40%
Financial proposal 20%
How to apply:
Interested applicants should provide a proposal covering the following aspects:
• Detailed response to the TOR
• Proposed methodology: innovative approaches are encouraged
• Proposed timelines • Curriculum Vitae (in case of team’s involvement, for every team member)
• Three references
• Examples of previous work relevant for this consultancy
• Detailed budget, including daily fee rates, expenses, etc.
Please send your Expression of Interest and Application to Supornchai.Nawataweeporn@plan-international.org and firstname.lastname@example.org by referencing “Regional CEFM Toolkit Asia Pacific” in the subject line and kindly include supporting documents as outlined above.
Application deadline is 30 April 2021 (17:00 hrs, Bangkok time/ICT). The only shortlist will be contacted.