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Terms of reference for evaluating gender and women's rights programming

Deadline: 06 August 2010

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The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is a regional Foundation that is part of a global network of the Open Society Foundations. Established in 1997, and based in Johannesburg, OSISA's vision is the realization of a vibrant Southern African society in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate democratically in all spheres of life. In pursuit of this vision, OSISA's mission is to initiate and undertake advocacy work (and support initiatives by others) that seek to establish the ideals of open society in the region.

Since its establishment in 1997, the Foundation has evolved and grown in breadth and depth in understanding and engaging with the issues it advocates on - and also in numerical representation of staff, associates and partners who lead and push the open society ideals agenda in the region. For instance, from an initial focus on education and media during the conceptualisation stages of the organisation, thematic focus has since expanded to incorporate human rights and democracy-building, information and communication technologies, economic justice, HIV and AIDS, gender and women's rights, language rights, among other issues in the region of its operation; working with a staff compliment of over 60 professionals across the thematic and country offices, as well as spinoff projects and programmes. Dedicated strategic plans have also evolved guiding the Foundation's programming and initiatives in countries experiencing crises of governance (i.e. Swaziland and Zimbabwe currently), as well as those in transition from crises to democracy (i.e. Angola and DRC).

The thematic programmes are supported by overarching support units, namely: the Civil Society and Partner Capacity-building unit, which focuses on equipping partner organisations with a range of skills necessary in their work, and the Research and Publications unit which coordinates knowledge production and management across all the thematic programmes.

In addition, two key spinoff programmes have been established - the first being the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) which is aimed at boosting the capacity of human rights lawyers to effectively undertake public interest litigation to promote people's access to justice. The second is a portfolio of work around monitoring of various processes and commitments that State institutions have committed to (or are engaged in); and the Africa Monitoring and Advocacy Programme (AfriMAP) is the centre-piece of this monitoring work. A number of thematic programmes have since borrowed from AfriMAP tools and methodologies to undertake a diverse range of tracking and monitoring initiatives including HIV and AIDS resource tracking; public budgets tracking; monitoring Aid flows in the region; enhancing police oversight mechanisms; monitoring achievement of EFA goals; monitoring ICT policy developments; and anti-corruption advocacy, among others.

OSISA seeks the services of a team of consultants to undertake an evaluation of OSISA's programming in gender and women's rights in Southern Africa, since its establishment. The evaluation is designed to be an important process that should draw lessons that OSISA ought to learn from its experiences in the past decade, as well as highlight opportunities for the Foundation going forward.

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