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Terms of Reference for Study on the current dynamics of civic space in Somaliland Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) – Somaliland

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  • Contract/Consultancy

Job Description


Study on the current dynamics of civic space in Somaliland Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)

Terms of Reference

Project background

The project ‘Expanding Civic Space, Empowering Youth and Women to Contribute to the Governance and Development processes in Somaliland’ is implemented by the ‘Dan-Guud Consortium’ and funded by the European Union. Under the ‘Dan-Guud’ umbrella, SOYDAVO leads three other co-implementing organizations: YOVENCO, SONSAF and Media INK. The project is also supporting other youth-led organizations such as MASAF. The project effectively kicked off in January 2020 and will end in December 2022.

The project aims at improving the role of women and youth CSOs in the decision-making and political space in Somaliland. This will be accomplished by empowering CSOs to act as both a driving force for good governance and accountability as well as a mobilizer for related grassroots movements.

The project is pursuing three specific objectives in order to fulfil the project’s overall objective. These are:

  1. Establish an evidence base on the opportunities and challenges that CSOs face within the broader environment.
  2. To improve the transparency of the draft policies and feedback by the CSOs.
  3. To improve the campaigning and participation of the CSOs in elections and democratic processes.

Specifically, the project aims to increase women and youth participation in Somaliland elections and democratic processes.

The purpose of this call for consultancy is to conduct a baseline study on the current dynamics of civic space in Somaliland Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to influence public policy and decision making at national, local community levels.

Purpose of the baseline survey

Currently, there is a lack of updated research on the current dynamics of civic space in Somaliland. The few recent studies either focus on a sector that is not related to good governance (e.g., health sector) or explore civil society’s role as a potential governance actor without first acknowledging the internal and external challenges it faces.

The baseline survey seeks to get a fairly detailed understanding of the civil society operating environment in Somaliland. This understanding will be critical in the programming and execution of the Dan-Guud project in this rapidly changing freedom of assembly, association and expression environment. The baseline will among other things, establish the extent to which the legal framework governing the civil society facilitates realisation of right of assembly, association and expression, capacities of CSOs and access to networks for support (locally and internationally) in the event of threat to the civic space.

The baseline survey would form a good baseline for Dan-Guud project to set determine priority issues to pay more attention to in terms of addressing constraints to the civic space. It will also establish relationships between CSOs themselves, between CSOs and the state and between CSOs and the private sector; based on these findings, the study will recommend how such relationship (CSOs/community/state) can be strengthened for a more coordinated and complementary approach to addressing development challenges.

To achieve the foregoing, the Dan-Guud Consortium seeks to commission a civic space/CSOs enabling environment study covering all the six regions of Somaliland. As has been indicated in the preceding sections of these ToRs, the findings will inform Dan-Guud’s programming priorities as well as the monitoring and evaluation plan.

Study objectives and scope of work

The main objective of the baseline survey is to undertake an assessment of civic space/civil society operating environment in Somaliland including mapping of existing civil society capacities. This is based on understanding that some work on civil society mapping and assessments has been carried out and hence validating some of the earlier assessments/mapping will be important particularly in keeping abreast with changing dynamics on freedom of assembly, association and expression, the cornerstone of CSOs facilitative environment.

The following are the objectives of the baseline survey:

  • To identity the legal framework (laws, policies, administrative procedures) governing the civil society sector and whether it facilitates or hinder civil society actions
  • To identify the extent to which the political and social environment affects (positively or negatively)
  • To identify capacities of CSOs and networks including the media working/focusing on women and youth issues
  • To assess what networking, joint programming and coordination initiatives for CSOs working on youth and women issues are in place and whether these initiatives have facilitated CSOs to realise their missions and objectives
  • To identify what resources (financial, human, networks) CSOs have access to in furtherance of their objectives. This would include resources to address threats to civic space including:
    • Local networks
    • Lifeline Embattled CSOs Assistance Fund
    • UN Special Rapporteur on Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association
  • To recommend strategies for addressing identified needs
  • To collect baseline data for results indicators for the project

The study will be conducted in Somaliland, particularly project target areas including Borama, Hargeisa, Burao, Berbera, Erigavo and Lasanod.


Given the sensitive nature of the topic, the consortium emphasizes research ethics in designing and conducting the assessment.

The baseline study will involve among others: review of existing literature, primary and secondary data collection, analysis, and a validation workshop. Here below is a summary of the proposed approach:

  1. Inception report and methodology workshop: During this workshop that will be attended by Dan-Guud Consortium members, representative of the EUD and select partners, the lead researcher will present the methodology to be used in undertaking the survey, the sample areas to be visited for the field research/data collection and time frame for the survey. The workshop will interrogate the draft methodology and tools for data collection.
  2. Desk review: This will involve reviewing existing literature on civic space (freedoms of expression, assembly and association) in Somaliland from government sources, academia, civil society and the media. The literature review will also identify information gaps in regard to civic space/civil society operating environment and inform the field research/data collection. Preliminary scoping by Dan-Guud indicates that information on civic space is limited and/or may need to be updated; the literature review will be important in validating this hypothesis.
  3. Field research: The researcher will provide suggestions on proposed areas to be visited including the criterion for selecting the sampled areas. These will be validated during the inception/methodology workshop. It is anticipated that data collection methods to be used in the field research will include key informant interviews and focus group discussions with identified stakeholders including youth, women, CSOs representatives, elders, religious leaders, and representatives of relevant government institutions.
  1. Validation workshopwill be held at the end of the study where the researchers will present their findings and recommendations. This workshop will be attended by Dan-Guud Consortium members, representative of EUD, key CSOs partners and representatives of relevant government departments. The workshop will interrogate the findings, noting any gaps and making recommendations to firm up the study. The researchers will have 30 days to input the recommendations of the workshop into the final report

Timing and duration

No Activity Time
1 Inception report focuses on the study design, methods, desk review, field plan and suggested research participants with clear justification. 5th December 2021
2 Field data collection 6th December- 16th December 2021
3 Comprehensive and detailed draft report that satisfactorily addresses study objectives and questions and has clear recommendations submitted for inputs and feedback. 22nd  December 2021
4 Final study with all relevant appendices submitted to SOYDAVO. 27th December 2021
4 Presentation of the key findings, lessons learnt and recommendations through a national conference for dissemination and validation purposes. 5th January  2022


  • University degree in sociology, community development, gender equality or another relevant field.
  • Minimum 10 years of experience in the use of participatory research methodologies
  • Knowledge and understanding of civil society environment in Somaliland
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Practical experience in the use of M&E tools and stakeholder analysis
  • Practical experience in the use of participatory methodologies in project implementation
  • Practical experience in both qualitative and quantitative research
  • Experience in developing/analysing communicational strategies for community-based development projects
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Fluency in written and spoken English, knowledge of Somali is an added value.
  • Good understanding of the society, culture and behaviours of the Somali communities in both urban and rural settings

Expected deliverables

  • The consultant shall submit an inception report (including the analysis done on the basis of the background material, the methodologies and data collection tools to be used and the detailed timetable for the fieldwork in Somaliland) for the consultancy to SOYDAVO
  • Draft study report written in clear and concise language and an easy to read 2–3-page executive summary. The report should include a section on recommendations both for programming and long-term policy actions. This report will be subjected to internal Dan-Guud/EUD reviews and validated in a workshop
  • Final study report incorporating comments from reviewers as well as from the validation workshop. At a minimum, the report should be in the following structure
    • Cover/Title and other preliminary pages (acknowledgements, preface, etc.
    • Executive summary (2 – 3 pages)
    • Introduction/background
    • Methodology
    • Findings (based on and corresponding to the objectives of the study)
    • Recommendations for both programming by Dan-Guud and civic space i.e., policy recommendations

How to apply?

Interested consultants/firms shall submit the following documents to info@soydavo.org not later than 30th November 2021 at 15:00hr.

  • A detailed technical and financial proposal explaining the suitability of the consultant/firm to undertake this research.
  • Updated CVs of the lead consultant (s).
  • Sample of a report of any similar activity undertaken in the last three years.
  • The contact details of three references including one reference from the most recent work you have completed.



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