TERMS OF REFERENCE
National Social Pension results assessment
HelpAge began a policy-oriented project funded by the LIFT donor consortium in 2014, called Strengthening the Ministry of Social Welfare To Fulfil Its Role in Expanding Social Protection. The project aims to help build the capacity of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement (MSWRR) to clarify its mandate on social protection as a whole and make informed decisions in relation to specific programmes, particularly its new universal social pension scheme. In December 2014, Myanmar’s government approved the National Social Protection Strategic Plan, which laid out eight flagship schemes including four cash transfers. A universal National Social Pension was introduced in 2017, now reaching about 188,000 people, but there has been no study to document its benefits.
One activity of the project is as follows:
Activity 6.7 National Social Pension results assessment: Qualitative research will be carried out to understand how the National Social Pension is impacting families and how the cash is being used. This assessment will be carried out in a limited number of sample areas.
B. Purpose of the activity
The purpose of this assessment is to explore how the National Social Pension has affected recipient older people (individually and in relation to their households and communities) and local governance. This will be done through top-line, mostly qualitative research relying on semi-structured one-to-one interviews.
C. Key research questions
The assessment will examine the following main issues, using these guiding questions with three groups of respondents – (1) social pension recipients, (2) members of their family, and (3) local leaders under Ward/Village Tract authorities:
Individual and family level (pension recipient and family)
• How is the pension spent?
• Who controls the pension money?
• What are the social pension’s main perceived tangible benefits?
• What are the social pension’s main perceived intangible benefits?
Local government level (Ward/VT authorities)
• How did introduction of the social pension change the nature of services provided to the public?
• How did introduction of the social pension change the nature of interactions between local leaders and households?
• How did introduction of the social pension change the perceptions of local leaders about their role?
• How did introduction of the social pension change perceptions of households towards local leaders and the government?
D. Scope of Work and Methodology
Methodology: The assessment will be conducted through semi-structured interviews. The interviewers will use a questionnaire, with a fixed set of questions and some skip patterns, similar to a quantitative survey which allows for tabulation. However, the format will allow space for open-ended responses or elaboration by the respondents in addition to responses within fixed parameters. The interviewers will encourage the respondents to explain in detail and will capture the elaboration via recording and transcription. The results will thus include aspects of quantitative and qualitative analysis. The tools for the research will be provided by HelpAge, so the Consultant team will not need to develop them but only comment on how best to revise them for the national context in Myanmar.
Scope of work: The assignment includes the Consultant to carry out these specific tasks:
- Mobilize a field team of at least two skilled interviewers. See below.
- Join a field pilot with the HelpAge team to test the tools and refine the approach as needed. This will take up to two days in the field plus travel time (pilot site will be within 4 hours’ driving time of Nay Pyi Taw). The pilot location is not part of the Sample below. Tentative timing is mid-January 2020.
- Identify the respondents in the sample areas. HelpAge and the Consultant will jointly select the target communities, based on the Sample parameters below. HelpAge will facilitate government approvals, but the Consultant is expected to make logistical arrangements and appointments in advance. The Consultant is responsible for selecting respondents that match the criteria in each sample community.
- Prepare and conduct fieldwork in all 11 communities, after the pilot. The Consultant team will visit the sample communities to make general arrangements for the field visit, and confirm final arrangements and choice of participants. Interviews should be audio-recorded with the Consultant’s equipment, to enable transcriptions.
- Documentation: Word-for-word transcription of all interviews in the original Burmese plus an English translation will be produced by the research team and shared with HelpAge, with the respective speakers identified clearly.
- Tabulate the question responses that are quantifiable. These questions will be agreed in advance.
- Analyse the transcripts/recordings of interviews including open-ended responses, in light of the tabulations.
- Produce the report. Revise and finalize based on feedback from HelpAge or DSW.
Sample: The 11 sample communities of the field work are proposed as follows. Applicants may propose alternative sampling (including other States/Regions), if there is justification, which can be the basis for further negotiation with HelpAge.
• Mandalay Region
o 1 Ward (not Mandalay City)
o 2 Villages
• Kayin State
o 1 Ward
o 2 Villages including at least one that is remote, or conflict affected
• Shan State
o 1 Ward
o 2 Villages including at least one that is remote, or conflict affected
• Yangon Region
o 2 Wards
HelpAge aims for a variety of contexts, though with the understanding that the size of this purposive sample will be too small to be representative. To the extent possible, the survey should aim to analyze results in light of the following 3 variables associated with the pension recipient: (1) gender, (2) functional ability (disability and movement beyond the home), and (3) living arrangements.
The respondent sample will be the following per community:
• 3 recipients of the social pension (indicatively 2 in 80s, 1 is 90+; and 2F for each 1M)
• At least 1 member of each recipient household (3 interviews total)
• One or more representatives of W/VT authority (may be interviewed together)
This means 7 interviews per community and 77 interviews total in the 11 sample communities, excluding the pilot area. Two skilled field interviewers are required. About 1 hour per interview is estimated. This implies perhaps 1 day per community for a team of 2 persons, but applicants may propose alternative timing, with justification. Field work does not need to be held on consecutive days as long as the timeline (see below) is respected.
Interviewer 1 Interviewer 2
Morning Recipient 1 Family member of Recipient 1
Morning Family member of Recipient 2 Recipient 2
Afternoon Recipient 3 Family member of Recipient 3
Afternoon W/VT authority (interviewed by both interviewers)
E. Key steps in the process and timeline
Questionnaire development Oct-Nov 2019
Sample selection and logistics arrangements Nov-Dec
Field work Jan 2020
Data input, transcription Feb 2020
Analysis and report writing Mar-April 2020
The field work will be carried out in January 2020 following the pilot field work with HelpAge (around mid-January, to be discussed). The report should be finalized by end April 2020. There is limited flexibility in the timeframe. The project funding ends in June 2020 so applicants would need to make firm commitment to a timeline that allows the activity to be completed in time and payment settled.
The assessment will lead to these outputs:
- Data file and tabulation of response inputs (Excel): For questions that can be tabulated
- Transcription of all interviews in two languages, English and Burmese
- Basic documentation to identify respondents, plus photo
- Report: A report of about 20 pages plus annexes, in an outline to be developed but which generally follows the line of questioning in Section C above.
HelpAge seeks a Consultant team of at least two Myanmar nationals, with the following qualifications:
• At least three years of experience in implementing qualitative and quantitative research
• Demonstrable experience producing similar assignments
• Relevant experience in coordinating field work/data collection
• Strong interviewing skills
• Experience communicating with persons of diverse backgrounds in Myanmar
• Understanding of socio-economic development and the social of Myanmar
• Ability and willingness to follow provided research guidance strictly
• Strong writing skills in English with a clear, simple writing style
• Ability to translate and transcribe notes very precisely into English (attention to detail)
• Myanmar language fluency
• Appropriate IT/computer skills