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MDIF seeking evaluation consultants

Media development project evaluation

Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is seeking a team of two consultants to carry out an evaluation of the set up and implementation of a loan fund project. The project provides affordable financing and technical assistance to independent media companies in select countries where access to independent news and information is under threat. Started in July 2015, the project seeks to improve the financial viability and audience reach of independent news businesses so that they are able to provide the independent news and information necessary for the development of open, thriving societies.

In a ground-breaking partnership, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) provided a  guarantee to investors in a blended-value loan fund (MDIF Media Finance, MMF), as well as grant funding for management advice and assistance for loan recipients and other select independent media.

Scope of work

The evaluation will assess the implementation, effectiveness and results of both elements of the project: (1) loan fund structure, including the Sida guarantee; and (2) provision of financing and technical assistance. It will also provide lessons learned for each part. The evaluation will address all aspects of the project in line with the results framework, including:

  • Establishment and implementation of the loan fund (consisting of two funds of $6 million each; the first is fully funded and operational, the second is planned to close to investors in 2020), including design, implementation and fundraising goals.
  • Provision of financing, including client selection and effectiveness of loans. The loan fund currently invests in 12 media businesses across 11 countries in South and Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
  • Provision of technical assistance, including quality, impact on ability to repay and targeting the needs of clients, pipleine candidates and other qualified beneficiaries.
  • Social impact, including audience reach, provision of quality information, impact on communities.

Methodology and deliverables

The evaluation will include desk research and interviews with/surveys of relevant MDIF staff, Sida staff, MMF investors, MMF clients, other media receiving Sida-funded technical assistance, and other relevant parties identified by the evaluators (subject to availability). Most interviews will be carried out online, but a visit to MDIF’s Prague office and two MMF clients should be made to make more detailed, on-site enquiries.

The evaluators will carry out an initial review of relevant documentation and set out the conceptual framework, key evaluation questions and methodology in an inception report to be delivered by 31 January, 2020. Full research, interviews, surveys and evaluation will be carried out from 15 February-31 March. A first draft report (20-30 pages, plus appendices) will be delivered by 15 April and the final report delivered by 30 April.

Experience required

The evaluators should have extensive experience of leading evaluations and have complementary skills in fund structure and media development. The evaluation will be conducted during the project cycle and will provide insight into its effectiveness to date as well actionable information that can be used to improve delivery during the remainder of the project. It will also seek to identify lessons that may inform the implementation or structuring of future projects of a similar type.

Applications

To apply, please submit a short covering letter outlining relevant experience, a CV for each consultant, a brief outline (maximum 400 words) of how you propose to conduct the evaluation and an estimated budget total to mdif@mdif.org. The maximum budget to conduct the evaluation is USD70,000.

Full terms of reference are available on request. Deadline for applications is 30 November, 2019.

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