ActionAid is an international social justice organisation operating in over 45 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Americas for a world free from poverty and injustice. With Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA), it aims to strengthening the capacity of active agency of people living in poverty and exclusion to assert their rights. We believe in the power of people to bring change for themselves, for communities and for whole societies.

ActionAid has been working in Thailand since 2001 and working all over Thailand with communities, civil society organisations, small schools’ networks, government entities, academia and media to support for changing the lives of the poorest and the most disadvantaged women and children.

In response to the Coronavirus, many governments have made commitments to provide financial and other resources to their citizens, either through reallocation of funds, receipt of grants and even access to loans from the IMF and World Bank for COVID-19 containment and relief measures. Unfortunately, in many instances, there has been a lack of transparency and accountability for these “COVID funds”, therefore it remains critical for citizens to hold their state to account by tracking the location, utilisation and allocation of these budgets.

Even as the world grapples with the crises brought about by COVID-19, reports show that young people are demonstrating their continued leadership in their communities and countries. Though they are some of the most affected in terms of socio-economic impacts, they are also the most active in terms of response and recovery.

Project background:

Budget tracking is already a major component of the Youth-led Digital Engagement (YDE) project, which is piloting in six countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Palestine and Zambia) between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. The project in part aims to support young people to mobilise themselves to utilise platforms and avenues available to collect data and conduct expenditure tracking to ensure transparency and accountability for the funds. By comparing budget allocation and spend data, communities will be empowered to “follow the COVID-19 money” and advocate for transparency and accountability from duty bearers. As part of this project ActionAid International Thailand has been part of second phase multi-country project tracking COVID-related public finance expenditure. ActionAid is looking for a consultant to undertake this consultancy in Thailand and work closely with Country team and ActionAid International Team.

Purpose of the research:

Provide an overview of what is happening on Budget Tracking Thailand, particularly over the past 18 months, looking at budgets funded by the government of Thailand’s own revenue or special donor / loan fund and spending for public services, for social protection and for the economic response to COVID-19.

Scope of research:

    • To ascertain organisations that have done the most systematic and effective budget tracking work (whether university departments, government agencies / audit offices, AA and partners, other NGOs, coalitions, movements or thinktanks)
    • To note and compile tools, approaches and methodologies that have been employed in budget tracking which have proved most effective. Which efforts have been most effective at involving the perspectives of (or tracking the impact on) women / youth / excluded groups? Collate the best examples.
    • What findings have been most significant / clear / useful – collate a summary of key findings and the analysis of these:
      • What has happened to government revenue / overall tax intake over the past 18 months? Have there been significant changes in tax policies in response to COVID-19?
      • What has happened to public spending on health / education / other services / social protection – which sectors have gained or lost most?
      • What economic stimulus measures / subsidies have been introduced and who have these benefited most – have they reached women / youth / excluded groups?
      • Is there evidence of misuse or wasteful or nepotistic of public funds / dodgy deals with private sector? What have been the most shocking stories / examples?
    • How have budget tracking findings been communicated and acted upon?- what has had most pick up in different media? What examples are there of changes in policies or practice as a result of budget tracking work.
    • Produce a comprehensive report and summary report of study.
    • Contribute to the global level advocacy on similar crosscutting issues on financing and spending by providing strong recommendations for national level programme and budget.

Methodology

The overall approach to research design, protocol and guidance must recognize that both the process and final products of the research should be empowering, build solidarity and shift power to young people and communities. It must follow ActionAid’s Feminist Research Guidelines, to adopt an intersectional feminist approach, ensuring participation of those who are normally excluded and have no access to resources in the pandemic.

Responsibilities of the consultant:

    • Develop detailed plan for conduction research in Thailand including methodology, questionnaire, stakeholders’ identifications, etc.
    • Collate latest data and trends on public spending on COVID-19 response in Thailand with relation to gender responsive public services, youth-led climate justice, tax reform, economic opportunities and livelihoods, and education.
    • Mapping all initiative relates to budget tracking on COVID response.
    • Follow ActionAid’s Feminist Research Guidelines, adopt an intersectional feminist approach, and ensure participation of those who are normally excluded and have no access to resources in the pandemic.
    • Document the state of the latest dealings any bi-lateral/multi-lateral funding agency with relation to COVID response – whether new loan deals are being considered or discussed (often this is kept very secretive so this may require digging e.g. with direct questions to senior officials / ministers / parliamentarians).

Deliverables:

Collate a country report based on all the above scope and methodologies and sharing with ActionAid Thailand Country Team.

Duration:

September to October 2021

Desired skills:

    • A minimum 5+ years in designing and implementing evaluations/surveys and correlation studies in young people related studies and development studies, program evaluations, etc.
    • Experience in conducting budget analysis and budget tracking.
    • Experience in studies in humanitarian crisis situations, with women and girls with psychosocial, legal, and economic interpretations.
    • Proven track records in leading study teams and producing quality reports for public consumption.
    • Quantitative research and data analysis experience using statistical software (SPSS, Stata, SAS, CISPRO and others).
    • Expertise in designing statistically significant and representative sampling strategies across multiple strata, including cluster sampling, stratified sampling techniques.
    • Proven ability to work with community and national government stakeholders.
    • Excellent writing and presentation skills.

Code of conduct:

The consultant shall abide by ActionAid’s Code of Conduct during the duration of the contract. The consultant shall also abide by ActionAid’s Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse (SHEA) and other safeguarding related policies including the Overarching SHEA and Safeguarding Policy, the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Policy, the Child Safeguarding Policy, and the Sexual Harassment Exploitation and Abuse at Work Policy. The consultant shall also abide by other core ActionAid policies such as the Anti-Corruption, Bribery and Fraud policy and the Anti-Terrorist Funding policy. Breaches of any of these policies may lead to termination of the contract. Details of those policies will be provided upon request.

How to apply:

Interested candidates are requested to submit an electronic copy of their CV and proposed consultancy fee by September 19, 2021 with the subject Research Consultancy on Budget Tracking to jobs.thailand@actionaid.org; tauhid.farid@actionaid.org.