Consultancy NRC Afghanistan Protection Research

Country: Afghanistan
Organization: Norwegian Refugee Council
Closing date: 10 Jul 2021

Consultancy NRC Afghanistan Protection Research

Duration & type of contract: 50 days (almost consecutive, except for the couple of days where deliverables are sent back to NRC for review)

Background and rationale

40 years of conflict continues to deeply affect Afghanistan with attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure as well high levels of conflict-related displacement. NRC Afghanistan seeks to protect and assist vulnerable women, girls, boys and men displaced by conflict and/or in hard-to-reach areas. Providing assistance to meet immediate humanitarian needs, prevent further displacement, and contribute to durable solutions.

Within this context, NRC Afghanistan seeks to ensure that crisis-affected communities in hard-to reach and conflict-prone areas of Afghanistan are better protected from the impact of armed conflict and other situations of violence, have increased access to information and basic services, and are better equipped to pursue dignified solutions to reduce the disadvantaging effects of their displacement through increased resilience. A key pillar of our work is to reduce the impact of conflict on civilians through community-based protection programming and advocacy on the protection of civilians.

Afghanistan remains one of the world’s deadliest conflicts with civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict. As conflict escalates across the country while the humanitarian and protection situation continues to deteriorate, NRC Afghanistan seeks to inform our programming and advocacy to better understand and empower individuals and communities to keep themselves safe in the context of armed conflict as well as prevent and respond to armed conflict-related displacement.


The main objectives for the consultancy include:

· Produce two research reports focusing on the 2 research questions under the research objectives

o What self-protection strategies do civilians utilize within the context of armed conflict in Afghanistan?

o What is the nature and patterns of displacement result as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan?

Audience and use of findings

This research is intended to be used by NRC’s protection programme and advocacy teams in order to inform programming and advocacy on the protection of civilians in Afghanistan internally and externally. It will also be used to influence NRC programming and advocacy at regional and global level. NRC wil The research while undertaken through a unified research methodology will form the basis for two research reports and accompanying outputs, including a presentation for NRC Afghanistan staff and information sharing/lobby events with key stakeholders.

The audience for the reports will include NRC Afghanistan programme and advocacy teams, national and international protection and humanitarian actors in Afghanistan, international policymakers and donors, as well as duty bearers. The final reports (or executive summaries) are expected to be translated into local language(s) in order to widen use and uptake of key findings and recommendations.

The research and reports will form the basis for public advocacy on the protection of civilians in Afghanistan and be complemented by supporting communications and media products.

Research objectives

Despite decades of conflict and displacement in Afghanistan, there remains a gap in understanding about how civilians seek to protect themselves and how displacement is one of the methods used in the context of persistent armed conflict. The research will focus on two key questions:

  • What self-protection strategies do civilians in different parts of the country utilize within the context of armed conflict in Afghanistan? (report 1)

  • What are the nature and patterns of displacement as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan? (report 2)

Through this research, NRC Afghanistan seeks to:

  • Better inform NRC protection programming and strengthen our community protection programming in Afghanistan. The research will complement our ongoing engagement with communities to identify and develop positive protection solutions grounded in community practices and provide a basis for continual learning and engagement

  • Better understand the patterns and nature of displacement as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan, in order to inform integrated programming approaches at different stage of displacement to prevent and respond to displacement

  • Advocate for the protection of civilians and principled humanitarian response, including for parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law

Research questions

Through this research, NRC Afghanistan seeks to understand:

Report 1

  • What are the positive and negative self-protection strategies that individuals and communities use at different stages of the armed conflict in Afghanistan?

  • How humanitarians can work with individuals and communities to strengthen positive self-protection strategies in principled ways.

  • The intersectionality between positive self-protection strategies, displacement, resilience, prevention, and mitigation of risk – as well as the role of humanitarians to engage in these areas.

Report 2

  • Reasons for displacement as a result of armed conflict, including the types and stages of armed conflict that lead to displacement.

  • Nature and patterns of displacement as a result of armed conflict, including who is displaced and why, for how long, and how often – as well as the relevance of humanitarian programming and planning to prevent and respond to such displacement.

If security context allows, the research will be undertaken in provinces where NRC protection teams operate, including Kandahar, Uruzgan, Kunduz and Mazar. Research, findings, and recommendations should be age- and gender-sensitive and inclusive in order to inform programming and advocacy relevant for girls, women, boys, and men.

Suggested research methods

If security allows, the research should be undertaken through mixed methods, including by undertaking desk research, surveys (limited), and qualitative methods such as focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The lead researcher will be expected to develop tools and training for field-based enumerators and staff and provide oversight of data collection.

While some key informant interviews may be required and key quotes captured and highlighted from focus group discussions, it is not expected that the researcher will gather ‘human interest stories’. However, consultation with NRC communications and media staff may be requested to inform content gathering and production.

Ethics and risk

The sensitivity of topics covered may raise risks for individuals and communities involved as well as create challenges in gathering sufficient information and insights, particularly for vulnerable populations including women. In order to mitigate such risks, the research should be undertaken in areas where NRC protection teams are operational and have built relationships and developed trust with individuals and communities. In addition, the consultant should shape its methods and tools with sensitivities in mind (NRC will revise methodology and tools before the start of the research).

Care will be taken in gathering content for accompanying communications and media products, including by ensuring strict adherence to NRC SOPs for informed consent, communications with children and GBV, as well as the use of anonymized content when necessary, e.g. with sensitive protection issues.

There is no significant risk anticipated for NRC Afghanistan as a result of undertaking and publishing such research.

Key sources and people to be consulted

Primary points of contact for this research will be NRC Afghanistan’s Protection Specialist, Advocacy Manager and Protection managers.

Key sources will include NRC field staff, communities where NRC works and other protection and humanitarian actors working with displaced populations in conflict areas of Afghanistan (including IOM and IDMC, CIVIC, ICRC, Afghanistan Human Rights Commission etc.).

Written resources will include NRC’s protection strategy, field-based protection reports and desk reviews related to displacements and self-protection mechanism in Afghanistan.

Style and length of report / research products

The final research, key findings and recommendations should be documented in two final reports (both will be targeted to protection audience but the report focusing on displacement is meant to also reach a larger audience), each no shorter than 15 pages and more than 20 pages. One report should focus on civilian self-protection measures in the context of armed confliction. A second report should focus on the nature and patterns of displacement as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan.

Both should be accompanied by supporting materials, such as a presentation for key stakeholders, including NRC staff and policy makers on the key elements of the report.

Duty station

It is expected that preparations for research will commence after contract agreement where the consultant is based. For the research component, it is expected that the consultant be based in-country to better provide leadership and consultation to the field teams, if the security situation allows.

Time line

The consultancy is planned to start early August to mid-October (about 2 months and 1 to two weeks planned for the consultancy). The last deliverable (Presentation of the two reports during advocacy meetings) will extend from November until the end of the year.

Consultancy Phases


Desk reviews

Inception report

Methodology, Enumerator training and tools development

Facilitate training (2days training max)

Field assessment oversight

Data cleaning, coding and analysis

First Draft of both reports

Finalisation of the reports

Two powerpoint presentations on the key findings and recommendations of the reports **

Presentation of the two reports during advocacy meetings

Main deliverables expected and schedule[1]**

Two desk reviews** : After 15 days of the start

Inception report : After 17 days of the start

Primary data collection methodology, tools and training development

(one set)** : After 19 days of the start

Two draft reports in English[2] : 48 days after the start

Two final reports in English not shorter than 15 pages and longer than 20 pages ** : 53 days after the start

Two powerpoint presentations (10 slides) on the key findings and recommendations of the reports** : 55 days after the start

Presentation of the two reports during advocacy meetings (approximately 3 or 4) : Punctual meetings in November and December

Qualifications and experience required

  • Post-graduate research degree

  • Research experience is a requirement.

  • Research on protection and inclusion related topics conducted for humanitarian NGOs in similar contexts than Afghanistan is highly regarded

  • Familiarity with the context of armed conflict in Afghanistan; understanding and respect for protection and humanitarian work, relating in particular to protection of civilians and displacement

  • Experience in the humanitarian field is highly desirable

  • Demonstrated ability in English language skills, and in particular strong English writing ability. Fluency in Dari and/or Pashto would be highly regarded.

  • Experience from working in complex and volatile contexts and flexibility to work in uncertain environment

How to apply:

Application process

Documents to submit

  1. Cover Letter addressing how the applicant meets Required Competencies

  2. CVs for the staff who will be working on the specified activities.

  3. At least 2 samples of previous work undertaken and led by the consultant (research and reports preferably on protection and displacement related topics in a conflict affected country and preferably for humanitarian NGOs)

  4. Proposed budget detailing number of days, consultancy fees, international/national travel and per diem in case applicable, insurance costs and communication. All budgets and final quotations should be made in USD. The primary data collection will be paid by NRC. If security allows national travel to one or two field offices would be desirable to facilitate the primary data collection processes.


Invitation to Bid release (advert) : 27 June 2021

Deadline for request for any clarifications from NRC : 3 July 2021

Last date on which NRC issues clarifications : 4 July 2021

Deadline for submission of tenders (receiving date, not sending date) : 9 July 2021 19.00 (UTC +4.30)

*All times are in the local time of Kabul. Please note all dates are provisional dates, and NRC reserves the right to modify this schedule.

Please submit your bids by e-mail to:

[1] The schedule includes time for NRC revision, analysis

[2] As an indication the reports are expected to be around 15 to 20 pages

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