The Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The communities in this region are exposed to a high range of climate hazards, and many have very low existing adaptive capacity or resources to absorb these impacts. Their vast geographic spread and remoteness of many islands, as well as population concentrations (both density and sparsity) all mean that support to build the resilience of Pacific Island populations remains an area of great need.

Plan International Australia (PIA) has recognised the need for development assistance in the Pacific and has increasing its programmatic focus in this region over recent years. At the same time, Plan International’s (Plan’s) global focus has shifted, bringing girls and young women to the fore of its work with children and young people, in line with Plan’s new global strategy “100 Million Reasons”. This priority group is particularly relevant given the age profile in the Pacific, and the importance of gender as a theme for Pacific Island nations.

The consequent PIA strategy aims to have 90% of its programs to be gender transformative by 2019. While PIA has a long history of climate change programming, with some good gender-focused interventions, none of the climate or resilience projects implemented to date have yet been considered gender transformative by the annual internal Gender Equality Self-Assessments (GESAs). As we move to increase our climate change programming in the Pacific to address the above-mentioned needs, we need to be clear on what we mean by gender transformative climate change action – i.e. to define what this means to Plan.

It’s important to acknowledge that many toolkits and research papers on the intersections of women, gender and climate change in the Pacific already exist. This research piece will aim not to replicate this body of work, but to build off this basis and provide insights to inform what gender transformative climate change programming might look like for Plan in the Pacific and beyond.

Research Objectives

The purpose of this research is to define what gender transformative climate action looks like, in order to inform future program design of Plan’s climate resilience projects that aim to be gender transformative, in the Pacific and elsewhere. In particular, the research should help PIA to:

  • Understand the impacts of climate change on girls’ and young women’s rights in the Pacific.
  • Understand the impact of gender on climate change interventions.
  • Understand why some approaches to climate interventions have benefitted girls and women and some have not.

In order the achieve this purpose, the research will:

  • Review previous Plan (primarily PIA, but also examples from other Plan offices) research, publications, and programming approaches (4CA, DRR, WASH, gender, etc.) as well as other agencies’ previous and current programming in the Pacific, Asia, etc, from a gender inclusive perspective, as well as Plan’s gender policies and theoretical frameworks in order to:
    • Identify lessons learnt on both context and approaches to successful gender-focused programming.
    • Identify which of these were or have the opportunity to be gender transformative and why/not.
    • Identify the criteria for successful replication and program elements for best practice.
    • Provide examples of gender aware/transformative programming in the Pacific and elsewhere, with analysis as to whether these might be replicable/applicable for Plan.
    • Review existing climate-related advocacy by girls and women in the Pacific to understand the needs and priorities of women and girls, and help to identify potential gaps that future programing could target for support.
    • Develop a framework or model for PIA’s gender transformative climate change programming, as well as tools to inform this programming as needed.

Research Methodology and Approach

Draft approach to be based on agreed partners and final budget. Anticipate that the selected consultants would develop a detailed methodology together with PIA and partners. An outline of key steps can be seen in the draft timeline, below.

The work will be based on both primary and secondary data sources. The desk review will include (i) existing Plan documents, which will be provided by the Plan team, including: PIA project documents and project reports, including evaluations from PIA and other Plan International climate change programming experiences; (ii) a literature review of wider documentation, including: project documents from other agencies implementing climate change projects in the Pacific (and beyond); existing research and literature into gender and climate change (especially in the Pacific), climate change in the Pacific, and mainstreaming gender; etc. Field visits will be conducted to enable to the consultant to incorporate the lived experiences and preferences of girls and women in the Pacific into the research outputs.

Initial budget constraints suggest that field visits will likely only be possible in 2 countries, however, the outputs of this research (especially the gender transformative climate action framework or model) should not be limited in their application to the locations of the field research, but rather informed by field visits to be useful across a range of contexts.

The different experiences of women and girls in different contexts should be reflected in the development of case studies, which should also highlight examples of approaches that offer results to be learnt from (be they successful or otherwise). The case studies should show diversity not only geographically – as per the country selection details, below – but also thematically, for instance examples of gender transformative climate change aspects of health or education or child protection programs, etc.

Note that as a child-rights agency, it is expected that the framework would by applicable to child-centred programming, and that as such, the primary data collection would include interactions with children, especially girls. Note also that much of the research will be secondary (of which there is a wealth of materials available); the specific research questions for primary data collection will need to be carefully refined based on the findings from the literature review. This will be an iterative process, so the results of the secondary research may well affect the design of the methodology developed for the primary data collection.

Research Outputs

All of the outputs will need to be aligned with Plan International’s gender language, policy and theoretical frameworks.  These will include:

  • A detailed methodology and set of research tools for the research.
  • A dissemination and communications plans for sharing results.
  • A set of case studies – one per country (or regionally, as appropriate).
  • A draft report setting out the findings from the research based on the agreed objectives and methodologies.
  • A final, fully referenced, and edited report incorporating any comments from the reference group. This should include a standard cover sheet; executive summary; description of background and objectives; methods and limitations; description of findings; conclusions and recommendations; any relevant annexes; full bibliography and reference list. This should also include
    – A framework or model for PIA’s gender transformative climate change programming, as well as;
    – Tools to inform this programming as needed.

Users of the research

The primary users of the research will be Plan International staff – this will include programming and advocacy staff who will use the findings to directly inform their work. In this particular instance, the most relevant teams include: the Disaster Risk and Resilience (DR&R) team including advisors and program managers on climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the Gender team, and the Advocacy and Communication teams. In addition, the Gender and Inclusion team, Because I am a Girl (BIAAG) team, and the Advocacy and Policy teams at International and Regional levels will be potential users of the research.

Intended audiences of the research

The intended audiences of the research will be a much broader group than the users of the research, including donor agencies; academics; other NGOs; think-tanks; governments; UN agencies; and wider civil society.


The outputs of this research will inform PIA’s FY19 ANCP programming (among others). As such, the outputs need to be developed and the project concluded with enough time to incorporate these into FY19 project planning, which begins to be finalise from April 2018 on. The consultant needs to be prepared to start immediately. A more detailed timeline will be agreed upon finalisation of the appointment, however, an indicative draft timeline is included below.

Estimated timeline:

Mid-Dec 2017 ToRs advertised
End Jan 2018 Selection of consultant(s)
End Feb 2018 Submission of full research design approach including participatory methodology developed
End March 2018 Desk-review mapping, literature review and secondary research conducted. Field visit locations selected.
End April 2018 Field visits and analysis of results

Draft model/framework developed

Draft report submitted for review

End May 2018 Report and tools submitted
FY19* Testing and refinement of framework; develop additional guidance for tools as needed.*

* Outside of the scope of this consultancy, but important to note for context.

Country and Location Selection

The final country selection will be informed by the agreed-upon methodology and Plan and partner priorities.

A quick analysis of locations in which Plan has an existing presence or a preference to program again with existing resilience partners, six countries emerge as a first cut long-list: Fiji, Kiribati, PNG, Solomon Islands, Timor and Tonga. These six give a good spread across Melanesia/Polynesia/Micronesia, as well as geographic ‘type’ (e.g. atoll vs mountainous) and so should also incorporate a range of exposure to various climatic hazards. Plan’s/partner ability to access and gain useful data will also be important in the final country selection.

Ethics and child protection

Throughout the process, compliance with Plan’s Child Protection Policy and standards must be assured at all times. In accordance with Plan’s Research Policy and Standards, the research must ensure: appropriate, safe, non-discriminatory participation; a process of free and un-coerced consent and withdrawal; confidentiality and anonymity of participants.

The consultant is required to provide a statement within their proposal on how they will ensure ethics and child protection in the research process. This should also include consideration of any risks related to the research and how these will be mitigated, in particular with regards to the safety of in-country researchers and ensuring appropriate protocols are in place (in full cooperation with Plan).

Ethical approval is required before this research commences. ‘Ethical approval can be obtained from an institutional review board and/or a national ethics approval body. Where this is not possible, it will be required that the consultant complete an application for Plan International internal ethical approval process.

Reference group:

An informal, Plan-based reference group already exists with key inputs contributed from staff from ANO (Pacific, Programs, DR&R and ACE staff), as well as GNO, ARO, and IH. As the research proper begins, this should be more formally defined and include relevant partners, especially women and gender-focused groups based in the Pacific.


The budget must include the costs of travel and accommodation; local data collectors (if required) and associated training of local data collectors, transcription costs, etc; and any further costs associated with the research.

Note: It is anticipated that PIA’s FY19 programming will trial the research outputs, and may incorporate a ‘testing phase’ in early FY19. This will be an additional step, beyond the scope of this research piece, beginning in FY19.

Criteria for Selection

Minimum qualifications required:

  • Relevant academic background (Master’s Degree preferred).
  • Demonstrated expertise in climate change, gender and international development.
  • Extensive experience with the Pacific context
  • Significant professional background in conducting social research relating to international development, gender and climate change issues and experience of conducting research with girls and women in developing and developed countries, with experience in conducting field research of this nature and collating and analysing findings.
  • Previous experience in conducting similar work for INGOs or international donors will be preferred.

Knowledge and skills:

  • Conceptual skills/model development
  • Excellent analytical, facilitation, interpersonal, communication and reporting skills.
  • Understanding of development, child rights and gender equality and rights based programming.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.

Please note that consortia or research teams are welcomed.

How to apply

Interested consultant(s) are requested to base a proposal on this Terms of Reference including an initial work plan (to be elaborated on if awarded the assignment) and budget; CV(s), two samples of previous work and details of referees. The proposal shall demonstrate an understanding of the intent, scope and complexity of the work.

Interested consultant(s) are requested to submit an application package by end of 8 January 2018 via email to:

Pia Treichel Senior Advisor: Climate Resilience


Please note that Plan Australia’s procedures reflect our commitment to the safety and protection of children in our activities. As part of the selection process, applicants may be required to undergo psychometric assessment, police checks and working with children checks.