NESFAS is hiring an independent consultant to Develop Social Audit Approach and Pilot Implementation

Background. The North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) is undertaking the project “No One Shall Be Left Behind Initiative: Biodiversity for Food, Nutrition and Energy Security for 3000 Households in Meghalaya and Nagaland, North East India” supported by Rural Electrification Corporation Foundation, New Delhi.

NESFAS is committed to empower the 130 participating communities especially marginalized groups, to understand their own rights and entitlements and to actively participate in the social monitoring and evaluation of all NESFAS supported schemes. NESFAS also considers it imperative to strengthen social and ethical accountability and transparency in all institutions supporting these communities and therefore there is a need to harmonize the vision/goals and objectives of NESFAS schemes with the situational reality at the grassroots level.

NESFAS acknowledges that control by the communities over developments affecting their lands, their scheduled areas and resources will enable them to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations, needs, traditions and identity. It recognizes that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development. It also acknowledges that the indigenous peoples of Meghalaya traditionally possess a shared sense of responsibility for the preservation of their lands and territories and for the upbringing, training, education and well-being of their children consistent with the rights of the child;

NESFAS therefore recognizes that it is necessary to create an awareness amongst the members of the 130 participating communities of the need to measure, understand, report and ultimately improve its social and ethical performances.

NESFAS is therefore eager to undertake Social Audits which are essentially participatory and open processes of enquiry to listen, understand, measure, verify and report for the improvement of the social performance of NESFAS schemes.

Objectives. The principal objectives of the Social Audit of NESFAS are therefore the following:

–  To secure the participation of community members in monitoring and evaluation of all NESFAS funded development schemes;

–  To promote transparency and accountability and therefore increase the effectiveness of NESFAS funded development schemes;

– To get an understanding and feedback from marginalized and excluded groups particularly women and young people of the social, economic and cultural relevance of NESFAS schemes in their areas and their performances thereof;

– To create awareness amongst local communities of the contribution of their own knowledge and practices to the well being of all people and thereby empower them to take appropriate decisions on all matters that affect their collective life.

Terms of Reference and Deliverables of Current Consultancy Call.  NESFAS is therefore seeking to hire an experienced consultant who is familiar with Social Audit approaches, methodologies and experiences to undertake the following activities and produce the deliverables mentioned below:

–  Develop an approach paper as to how this Social Audit could be practically undertaken taking into account the above background and objectives of NESFAS (Deliverable 1);

–  Once the approach paper is accepted by NESFAS, the Consultant will work out with the Executive Director of NESFAS the modalities as to how a pilot Social Audit could be undertaken with a specified time (Deliverable 2);

– The approach paper will also indicate the additional manpower that is likely to be required and the needed qualification (Deliverable 3);

– The Pilot Audit exercise will also test the guidelines of the Approach Paper and develop training materials and suggest possible resource persons from within Meghalaya who could be trained for future Social Audit interventions (Deliverable 4);

– The Consultant will record the independent assessment of the participating communities relating to project performance with the aim of improving organisational performance and behaviour of local agencies involved in the village and for measuring the effects and impact of NESFAS on the community (Deliverable 5).

– The Consultant will also create awareness and sensitise all community members of the importance and usefulness of social audit and enlist their support in its conduct (Deliverable 5);

– The Consultant will also encourage and assist public authorities involved with the participating communities in proactive and voluntary disclosure of information on development schemes (Deliverable 6).

– The Consultant will also prepare action plan for conduct of future social audits of NESFAS schemes in other selected villages (Deliverable 7).

– The Consultant will assist the Executive Director of NESFAS to identify and engage or set up a suitable local Social Audit Committee for developing and undertaking suitable social-audit mass-awareness campaigns, as well as training of local persons identified for undertaking grass root level social audit of developmental programs.  The Committee shall have at least women SHG members and there must be a representative of young people. The Committee shall hold regular meetings and keep minutes and other records thereof (Deliverable 8).

The Consultant while undertaking this consultancy will take proactive action to ensure that the unique knowledge and traditional practices of the scheduled tribes of Meghalaya diligently accumulated through generations of interaction with nature and recorded in stories, mythologies and other oral traditions is respected and acknowledged throughout the Social Audit process.

The Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Meghalaya. The Consultant shall also ensure that the Pilot Social Audit process shall pay attention to the following rights of the indigenous peoples of Meghalaya and the issues thereof:

–  The people of Meghalaya have the right to self determined economic, social and cultural development as long as it is pursued in a collective spirit of partnership and mutual respect;

– The people of Meghalaya have the right not to be subjected to destruction of their culture, their lands, their scheduled areas and their natural resources;

–  The people of Meghalaya have the right to maintain, protect and develop manifestations of their cultures such as historical sites, local food systems, ceremonies, technologies, traditional medicine and agricultural practices based on agroecology and agrobiodiversity;

– The people of Meghalaya have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations and as the situation of local communities varies from place to place they have the right to demand that this diversity is taken into account in all future development schemes.

–  The people of Meghalaya have the right to revitalise, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions and philosophies.

– The people of Meghalaya have the right to their traditional  system medicine and to maintain their health practices including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals.

–  The people of Meghalaya have the right to protect and make known their contribution in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for food security and for the development of new plant varieties;

– The people of Meghalaya have the right to protect their children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development;

–  The people of Meghalaya have the right to have access to all forms of assistance from the Government for the enjoyment of the above mentioned rights.

Requirements:

  • Master’s Degree in any field with experience in Rural Development and the conduct of Social Audits or knowledge of the leading South Audit experiences in this field in India and abroad. Also to submit their previous experience in relation to audit.
  • Experience with participatory project monitoring and evaluation approaches.
  • Skilled writer to deliver report of good standard in time.
  • Ability to ensure that the assignment is undertaken with the prior and informed consent of participating communities.

Basic Terms and conditions:

  • The expected start of the work is on December, 2020.
  • Duration: 2 months
  • A fee will be paid based on NESFAS project policy and the timely delivery of satisfactory outputs.

How to apply?

Interested candidates can mail their CV at infonesfas@gmail.com on or before 19th November, 2020, before 5:00PM.

  • For more information contact + 9856800587 or write to infonesfas@gmail.com

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