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Request for proposals: Independent Expert Review for Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development (PRIMED) project

Status: Closed

  • Consultancy

Organisation: BBC Media Action

Deadline: 10/09/2023

Location: Remote/online

BBC Media Action is looking for external experts to lead a final review for a large media ecosystem support programme that has been funded by the British Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.

The review is expected to start in late October and be concluded no later than mid-March 2024. Please see below for further details.

Background on the programme.

PRIMED is a 4-year programme, aimed at encouraging healthier information ecosystems where a steady flow of trusted public interest media content is more freely and widely available.

It has three stated outcomes:

  1. Improved capacity of participating media outlets to manage their organisations and deliver public interest content
  2. Better informed, coordinated and magnified sectoral support for and in defence of media freedom
  3. Enhanced evidence and learning within and beyond the programme, together with strong networking and policy engagement to facilitate and contribute to more coherent support for media freedom.

The programme has been working in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Bangladesh, supporting several media outlets and working with sectoral partners to promote legislative and regulatory reform, gender inclusion, freedom and safety of journalism. The programme is also designed to generate insights into five key learning questions, to be shared with the wider media development sectors alongside policy recommendations.

The review

PRIMED is now in its final stages. Alongside the programmatic reporting and the Consortium’s own evaluation efforts, two external interim reviews have been conducted in years 2 and 3. With a large volume of data collection, analysis and policy initiatives being conducted in this final year, a more extensive review by a team of experts is now planned.

This final review will reflect on the entire programme, its performance, achievements and lessons learned. It will also specifically examine the learnings, conclusions and recommendations compiled by the Programme as part of its formal outputs, as well as the wider learnings and recommendations extracted from how the programme was conducted overall.

The review team is expected to consist of two external experts who will be contracted by BBC Media Action. They are expected to be doing most of the reporting, with further contributions from an FCDO-assigned reviewer.

The experts will be invited to review all programme documentation and theoretical framework, go through the data that has been collected, review other information and analysis provided by the Consortium, conduct interviews with partners in-country and across the Consortium and report on their findings.

Final reporting will consist of two products. Firstly, the experts will be asked to write concise summary text to be added to the funder’s template for the programme completion review, providing an assessment of whether the programme has achieved its target outputs, outcomes and impact, whether it represented value for money and what lessons has it offered for the funder.

Secondly, the experts will be required to submit a full report to cover areas where more detailed analysis is required. The format for this second report is open to the experts to decide, but should address the following questions:

  • Does the programme’s theory of change stand? Is there evidence to suggest the links in the theory of change are functioning, that outputs are feeding into outcomes and impact (including with respect to outcome 3) and why/why not?
  • Are programmatic data and evidence collection methods robust enough to support reporting against results framework targets? Is there sufficient evidence to claim attributability?
  • What are the perceptions and views of stakeholders on how the Programme has affected their work?
  • How effectively has the Programme incorporated inclusivity and gender sensitivity?
  • How has the Programme responded to changes in the environment, including changes to the political economy in the countries?
  • How was learning generated by the programme? What systems supported or enabled this, and what were the constraints to learning? Did the programme’s in-built learning component shape its implementation? Has it provided sufficient evidence and useful recommendations to inform future programmes and interventions
  • How well was the programme governed? How effective was the consortium approach? What were the challenges and benefits and how were these handled?
  • How effective was the relationship between the funder and implementers? How well did the FCDO manage the programme?

Expected level of effort and activities

The review will be largely desk-based, with all interviews expected to be conducted online. It is estimated that a total of 20-30 days will be required, split between two experts. Proposals are welcome from individuals or from teams of two (or more) experts working together, as long as there is a clear rationale for the proposed approach.

BBC Media Action will provide logistical support in arranging meetings and interviews with stakeholders and its programme team will also stand by for specific queries as they arise during the review. Other than specific dates where participation in wider events is required, the review process is flexible within key target dates as indicated below.


  • 10 Sep 2023 – Deadline for Submission of Proposals
  • 18 Sep –  Reviewers selected
  • 29 Sep – Reviewers contracted
  • 16 Oc t–  Initial review meeting with BBC Media Action programme team and provision of documentation for review
  • 30 Oct to 1 Nov – Participation (in person or online) in a programme workshop in London with additional time allocated to one-on-one interviews with Consortium members
  • Nov-Dec –  Desk review of programme documentation, supported by BBC Media Action programme team and other Consortium representatives as needed
    Interviews with local partners and other stakeholders, facilitated by BBC Media Action programme team Further discussions with the FCDO programme team and reviewer
  • January 2024 –  Attend two online thematic and other dissemination events where PRIMED will publicly share its initial learnings (exact dates to be confirmed)
  • 31 January –  Submit dra 1 of the final report and FCDO summary text for review by FCDO and BBC Media Action programme teams
  • Feb/March –  Attend one final dissemination event, produce final dras following receipt of comments from programme teams, hold a final meeting with FCDO and BBC Media Action to discuss any final top-level conclusions


  • Summary findings for the relevant sections of the Funder reporting template (1-3 paragraphs on each section, up to a page on a few headline sections)
  • A detailed report on the findings of the review, with analysis of the specific questions listed above (no specific format)
  • Summary of key conclusions, lessons and recommendations emerging from PRIMED extracted from the report above

Selection and award process

Proposals are welcome from those with relevant expertise and experience. Experts must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Experience in conducting qualitative monitoring and evaluation exercises for donor-funded programmes and writing reports to high professional standards
  • Experience in the media and journalism sector, ideally including a strong grasp of regulation, markets, the business of media and funding for public interest content
  • Regional and thematic expertise: Reviewers will ideally have familiarity with at least one of the PRIMED countries (Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh) or other relevant experience in similar environments, including countries that are fragile or in transition.

The experts must be independent and impartial. They must not be engaged by any of the organisations involved in the implementation of PRIMED or those benefitting from or working with PRIMED in any of the three countries. Individuals or organisations who are themselves engaged in the implementation of current media development programmes will not be considered.

Interested, qualified candidates should submit their CV and a cover note (in English, PDF or Microsoft Word format) highlighting relevant experience, confirming you are able to meet the schedule and required deliverables, and providing a cost per day. Where the proposal is sent from a team of reviewers, please provide information on all members of the team, division of labour and approach.

Please include the title of the position applied for in the subject line. Only applicants with a separate cover letter will be considered. Please do not send certificates or other attachments. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

Interested experts should send their response to shobhana.gurungpradhan@bbc.co.uk by 11 pm BST on 10 September 2023.

Learn more here about the call and apply.

PRIMED is led by BBC Media Action and implemented by a consortium including International Media Support (IMS), Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) and Free Press Unlimited (FPU). The Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and Communication Initiatives (CI) are two further technical partners. Local partners in the target countries include 11 media outlets and five other sectoral actors. Other stakeholders whom the programme has engaged extensively include regulatory bodies, government ministries, local NGOs, unions and sectoral coalitions.


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