REX (Feedback – Retour d’Expérience) from the COVID-19 response
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1. Background and Rationale
The novel coronavirus "SARS-CoV-2," whose disease it causes is called COVID-19, was first reported in China on December 31, 2019. Since then, the virus has spread around the world and the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. At the beginning of April 2021, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has reached more than 131 million and the number of deaths has reached nearly 3 million people. No country has been spared.
Tdh has responded very quickly since the beginning of the pandemic with the creation of a COVID-19 response mechanism consisting of three well-coordinated groups with specific objectives:
The COVID-19 Monitoring Group with the objective of providing guidance and advice to ensure the well-being and safety of staff and beneficiaries based on the "duty of care" and "do-no-harm" principles, and to ensure adequate internal communication within the organization.
The COVID-19 Task Force with the objective of assisting the delegations in the development and operational implementation of COVID-19 responses and prevention while ensuring new funding.
The COVID-19 Technical Expertise Group with the objective of promoting good practices for the implementation of activities that limit health risks and ensure the protection of beneficiaries, including the mobilization of staff in the areas of monitoring and evaluation (M&E), knowledge management and safeguarding.
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve daily, and evidence suggests that it will last longer than expected. This pandemic highlights new ways of looking at the world, society, work, technology and the environment. It thus questions our level of preparation for such an event and invites us to think about new ways of working to best face the prolongation of the pandemic and possible future health crises.
After 12 months of existence of the Tdh response mechanism, it is useful to carry out a real time feedback (REX) on the current mechanism in order to identify in a systemic and collective way what has and has not worked, and why and how to continue to adapt in the coming months. Therefore, Terms of Reference (ToR) proposing objectives and a methodology for a REX concerning Tdh's response to the COVID-19 situation have been developed and are presented in this document.
The main objective of the REX is twofold:
To identify lessons learned and recommendations to build a return to "normal" (continuity plan).
To build up on these lessons learned and recommendations in order to be more efficient and effective in the response to the COVID-19 crisis - or any other health crisis - in the months and years to come (organizational resilience).
The specific objectives are:
To identify the strengths and weaknesses specific to the management of the COVID-19 crisis and identify areas for improvement.
To adapt and improve the COVID-19 crisis response mechanism, given that the crisis was prolonged over time, based on feedback from key actors (staff, beneficiaries and partners).To capitalize on positive and innovative actions that can be sustained outside of the COVID-19 crisis at the organizational, functional, and technical levels and thus provide the basis for a model of action in response to a health crisis.
3. Scope of application
This REX is global and covers different levels to ensure that the whole organization can benefit from its results. Information will be collected at headquarters as well as in all relevant delegations. The experiences of Tdh partners and beneficiaries will also be collected where relevant and possible. Information from other international solidarity organizations will also be considered as a source of ideas for improvement.
The management of all areas of intervention will be considered:
"Duty of care" and "do-no-harm" towards all Tdh staff (headquarters and field), volunteers and beneficiaries.
Development of new proposals and implementation of new projects to respond to the crisis (a general process has been adapted for the acquisition of COVID-19 grants).
Adaptation of existing projects to new restrictions/conditions.
Specific monitoring and evaluation system for the COVID-19 response.
Management of human, financial and material resources (investment of existing staff time, response to donor requests, access to external resources).
Internal and external communication (weekly news, dedicated SharePoint, information management).
Internal and external coordination mechanisms (regular meetings, regional coordination bodies).
The REX focuses primarily on themes related to the management of the COVID-19 crisis and the continuation of the organization's activities, including networking and operational partnerships. The themes could be broadened according to the information collected during the REX.
The information collected will be analysed at different levels:
By specific themes in relation to the regulatory obligations in terms of prevention and crisis management.
By geographical location.
By services or benefits.
4. Use and Recipients
The COVID-19 REX report has a dual purpose:
At the operational level, it will form the basis for the development of an action model for the response to health crises within the organization and to guide the related activities.
At the organizational level, it will form the basis of the "Pandemic Plan" that every Swiss organization is obliged to put in place.
Therefore, the REX report is primarily intended for the Management Committee (CODIR - who will liaise with the Foundation Board) and the heads of departments, sectors and programs. The report will also be shared with all heads of delegations and presented to all Tdh staff in a specific webinar. The results of the REX will also be shared with partners and donors when deemed appropriate.
The elements of the proposed general process are:
- Establishment of a COVID-19 REX Working Group to finalize the ToRs and regularly monitor the work of the REX consultant. The proposed composition is as follows:
o Iveth J. González, Coordinator of the COVID-19 Monitoring Group (responsible for the COVID-19 REX)
o Thomas Mauget, COVID-19 Task Force
o Virgile Debu, Risk Specialist
o Catherine Hallé, Quality and Accountability Unit
o Caroline Haroun-Germann, Personnel Health
Validation and approval of the ToR by the CODIR.
Recruitment of the consultant.
Information and request for participation before, during and after the implementation of the process.
Planning and launching the process.
Development of the REX methodology and the tools for collecting, processing, and analysing the related qualitative and quantitative data - based on proposals from the consultant in charge of REX.
Data collection (documentary reviews, individual interviews, group discussions, workshops, etc.) - on the proposal of the consultant in charge of the REX.
Processing and analysis of the data and drafting of the final report with lessons learned and recommendations. - on the proposal of the consultant in charge of the REX.
Validation of the final report by the CODIR and internal sharing (SharePoint, Webinar).
The REX will be based on the sharing of perspectives on the events from the phase of triggering the COVID-19 crisis plan to the present time through the description of what has been done / implemented.
A consultant will propose a detailed methodology to conduct the REX. This "real time" feedback will follow these general recommendations:
A. Draw on the existing document review: interim report on Tdh's overall response to the COVID-19 crisis (March to July 2020), framework documents on crisis management, report on the survey of COVID-19 focal points (April 2021), etc.
B. The basis of the questionnaires for surveys, individual interviews, or working groups should be extremely simple and open-ended. The minimum could be:
a. Were the objectives of the response clear to you?
b. What worked well in the response and why?
c. What did not work well or should be improved and why?
d. What recommendations would you make for the continuation of the response?
e. What recommendations would you make in terms of initial preparation and organization?
C. These questionnaires should be completed by different teams, involved at different levels (HQ/field, program/support, etc.). Ideally, colleagues from all levels involved and, why not, beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries.
D. Questionnaires can be completed by a team or individually.
E. If a team responds, disagreements should be identified, and contradictory responses cited.
F. Responses should be short, simple, and legible.
G. If teams are coached, then the coaches can take the notes but have them reviewed and approved by the team.
H. They must not in any way express judgment on the answers or influence the teams in their answers or in the choice of topics.
The main effect of the REX is to benefit from the experience of the actors of a project according to their own perception in order to improve the next one. It is an inductive and empirical approach.
As mentioned above, the elaboration of a simple questionnaire is a first step, the choice of respondent panels is the next, knowing that we are not looking for representativeness (since it cannot be determined) but for exhaustiveness.
Providing a framework is a proven practice for REX, especially when the organization is not familiar with this method of reporting, but the framework must respect the rules of the exercise and therefore be presented beforehand.
The work is done from Switzerland as much as possible, to facilitate face-to-face meetings at headquarters. The meetings with the delegations will be done virtually. The REX does not foresee visits by the consultant to the delegations. Sessions can be set up and conducted directly in the field (e.g. focus groups).
The consultant will provide:
An inception report including the detailed methodology for conducting the REX, the revised schedule and work plan, and the initial literature review.
A preliminary final report.
A debriefing and presentation of the REX to the COVID-19 REX Working Group.
A revised final report incorporating feedback from the Working Group and containing:
a. Executive summary.
b. Narrative report (including the methodology used to conduct the REX).
c. Summary table with key data analyses and charts.
d. Summary table with key evidence and conclusions (including positive lessons and good practices to be consolidated).
e. Lessons learned and recommendations (short, medium and long term).
f. Proposal for a draft model of action for responding to a health crisis.
- Presentation of the report to the CODIR.
7. Timeline for the consultant (total of 30 working days)
Initial literature review and initila report with detailed methodology (5 working days)
Data collection (15 working days)
Data processing, analysis and drafting of the final report (5 working days)
Presentation and debriefing of results to the Working Group (2 working days)
Review of final report incorporating feedback from the Working Group (2 working days)
Webinar preparation (1 working day)
8. Roles and Responsabilities
CODIR (Management Committee): Validate the execution of the REX and the composition of the COVID-19 REX Working Group, communicate on the REX, arbitrate on the recommendations to be retained at the end of the analysis, validate and follow up on the model of action resulting from the REX (focal point: Claudio Rini, Operations Director).
COVID-19 REX Working Group: proposal of ToRs and timeline, recruitment and monitoring of the consultant, implementation of the REX, organizes and facilitates periodic meetings, sensitizes staff on the methodology, ensures the collection of information (proposal of questions, piloting the selection of participating teams), provides operational/technical knowledge, participates in the analysis of data (ensures the centralization of results) (Focal point: Iveth González).
Staff: Professionals from all sectors involved (at headquarters and in the field) who enable the collection of data and provide their perspective and analysis.
External partners and contributors (including beneficiaries): bring their point of view and participate in the analysis (methodology to be specified).
9. Profile (skills and experience) required
The COVID-19 REX will be carried out by an external consultant, responsible for defining the methodology and facilitating the process that will enable him/her to respond to the Tdh request. He/she will have previous experience in REX, and ideally, on COVID-19, in "After Action Review" and "Real-Time Evaluation". The consultant will encourage and assist staff to look critically at their activities and formulate creative solutions to challenges they face. The selected consultant should have knowledge and experience in evaluation as well as strong personal values necessary to ensure the trust of the participants and the free sharing of opinions and views about the crisis (free speech).
The analysis of the results is likely to be much more qualitative than quantitative, which requires the ability to analyse the discourse and should lead to:
Drawing conclusions about good and bad practices
Contextualize the practices in question: are they valid for the COVID-19 crisis response only? for all pandemics? for all operations? etc.
List outstanding issues resulting from conflicting perceptions and, if necessary, explore these issues further.
The consultant is expected to identify the founding elements of an action model for responding to any health crisis, which will also feed into the reflections on the development of the future Tdh "Pandemic Plan".
The budget will be provided by the consultant as part of the financial proposal.
How to apply:
11. Recruitment process
Interested individuals will need to submit:
- A technical proposal including:
a. An understanding of the REX issues and the Terms of Reference (ToRs)
b. The proposed methodology and tools
c. The timeline presenting the details for the realization of each phase of the REX.
A financial offer including a detailed budget per item.
A CV and cover letter
Examples of similar studies
Applications will be evaluated by the COVID-19 REX Working Group. Applicants should send all documentation in electronic format to the COVID-19 Monitoring Group Coordinator at Iveth.Gonzalez@tdh.ch no later than May 21, 2021.
12. Reference Documents
or to be requested to : Iveth.Gonzalez@tdh.ch
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