Consultant for the Development of the Impact Study of ASEAN DSE 2017-2021

Terms of Reference


About the ASEAN Foundation 

Three decades after ASEAN was established, ASEAN Leaders recognised that: there remained inadequate shared prosperity, ASEAN awareness and contact among people of ASEAN. It was of this concern that ASEAN Leaders established the ASEAN Foundation during ASEAN’s 30th Anniversary Commemorative Summit in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on 15 December 1997.      

After its establishment, the ASEAN Foundation has been tasked to support ASEAN’s community building efforts by promoting greater awareness of the ASEAN identity, human resource development, people-to-people interaction, and close collaboration among the business sector, civil society, academia, and other stakeholders in ASEAN.

We continue to complement ASEAN priorities. To date, we work to strengthen the ASEAN Community.

We work in four thematic areas of education, arts and culture, media development, and community building. We provide support in the form of scholarships, fellowships internships and exchanges. We organise meetings, conferences, roundtables and workshops in support of the ASEAN Community.


About the ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ASEAN DSE) Programme

ASEAN DSE is a flagship programme under the ASEAN Foundation’s partnership with SAP to engage and prepare today’s youth for tomorrow’s ASEAN. One of ASEAN DSE’s objectives is to promote ASEAN awareness among youths across the region, the ASEAN Blueprint 2025, ASEAN Community, and socio-cultural pressing issues in the region. Another objective is to equip tertiary students and educators with digital skills, particularly data analytics skills, they require to thrive in digital economy and Industrial Revolution 4.0.

ASEAN DSE was recognised by the 10 ASEAN leaders as a creative Digital Initiative at the 31st ASEAN Summit in 2017 in Manila, the Philippines, and acknowledged by the ASEAN leaders as a Digital Skills Development initiative to prepare ASEAN youth to be future-ready at the 35th ASEAN Summit in 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY) and Education (SOMED) have endorsed ASEAN DSE as one of the initiatives which contributes to the realisation of the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth and Education 2016 – 2020. It also has been adopted as one of the activities that supports the achievement of the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2021-2025.

ASEAN DSE is manifested in two main activities: the enablement session and competition.

ASEAN DSE enablement session is data analytics training using SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) as the main tool for data analytics. It is targeting students and lecturers at the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) across the 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS). The session aims to get students and lecturers familiar with SAC as one of the platforms for data analysis and analytics and allow them to explore data analytics skills and other relevant skills (critical thinking, analytical thinking, and problem-solving skills) using SAC. Another objective of the session is to encourage students to participate in ASEAN DSE competition:

ASEAN DSE competition is a regional data analytics competition targeting tertiary students across the 10 AMS. In the competition, the students use SAC to develop data-backed proposals to address pressing socio-economic issues in the region across the six United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, namely (1). SDG 3 – Good Health and Well- being, (2). SDG 4 – Quality Education, (3). SDG 5 – Gender Equality, (4). SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, (5). SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure, and (6) SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities. In 2021, the focused SDGs are as follows: (1). SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, (2). SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, (3). SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, (4). SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, (5). SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, and (6). SDG 13 – Climate Action. The competition is held at the national and regional levels with the national level conducted in the 10 AMS and the regional final hosted by the ASEAN country chairing ASEAN. Each national final is attended by 10 shortlisted teams, and the winner of each national final will go through the regional final.

Since its inception in 2017, ASEAN DSE programme has engaged and empowered 16,409 students from 370 higher education institutions across the 10 AMS. It has inspired 2,260 students to successfully come up with data analytics proposals which can help address socio-economic issues in the region. 87% of students partaking ASEAN DSE programme believed that it helped them improve their analytical & critical thinking skills as well as making decision and problem-solving skills. It also helped 73% of the students participating in the programme to understand the ASEAN Blueprint 2025 and ASEAN Community better.

Further information on the ASEAN DSE can be obtained from ASEAN DSE Booklet 2020.


Objective of the Study

The objectives of the Impact Study are as follow:

  1. To assess the impact of the ASEAN DSE programme on the improvement of data analytics skills and other relevant skills: critical thinking and problem-solving skills, during the programme implementation period from 2017 to 2021.
  2. To assess whether or not the ASEAN DSE programme supports the current works of its beneficiaries who are already employed. If the answer is a Yes, to what extent it provides the support.
  3. To examine and document the success factors which enables/disables the programme to create/not to create the impact
  4. To document lessons learnt and best practice of the ASEAN DSE programme


Scope of the Study

The Impact Study is expected to ascertain whether or not the ASEAN DSE programme has been impactful on the lives of its beneficiaries in terms of the improvement of their data analytics skills and other relevant skills: critical thinking and problem-solving skills, during the programme implementation period from 2017 to 2021. It will subsequently delve deeper into whether or not the programme supports the current works of the beneficiaries who are employed and in what specific ways the programme provides the support. Moreover, the Study is expected to examine and document the success factors that enables and disables the programme to create and not to create the impact which eventually will be used as the basis for the ASEAN Foundation to re-orient, re-direct, and re-structure the programme in the future when deemed necessary. This includes but not limited to (1). The design, implementation, format, and quality of all segments of the programme: enablement session, call for applications, storyboard submission, national finals, and regional final, (2). The necessary support given by the ASEAN Foundation to the beneficiaries when they were developing data analytics storyboards, and (4). SAC


Study Questions

The Impact Study is expected to respond to the following set of questions classified into three elemensts of the programme as follow:

Programme Design and Relevance

  1. Are the problem that the programme is trying to address and the approach to address it are clearly defined and conceived?
  2. Are the targeted beneficiaries clearly identified?
  3. Does the programme support UN-SDGs and ASEAN priorities?
  4. Does the programme support the promotion of ASEAN awareness?
  5. Is the programme relevant to upskilling necessary skills for the beneficiaries to thrive Industrial Revolution 4.0 and digital economy?

Programme Effectiveness

  1. What are the major programme’s major achievements, please explain in detail in terms of impact which include the improvement of beneficiaries’ data analytics skills and other relevant skills: critical thinking and problem-solving skills?
  2. Does the programme support the current works of its beneficiaries who are already employed? If the answer is a Yes, to what extent it provides the support?
  3. Does the programme help beneficiaries understand about the pressing socio-economic issues across the region?
  4. Does the programme help beneficiaries understand about data analytics and its applications in a real life?
  5. Does the programme help beneficiaries understand about SAC, its features, and its applications?
  6. Does the programme help beneficiaries understand about ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community and ASEAN Foundation?
  7. Does the programme help beneficiaries understand about UN-SDGs?
  8. Does the programme help beneficiaries understand the importance of data analytics on solving issues across the region and globe?
  9. Does the programme support the ASEAN Work Plan on Youths and Education?

Programme Efficiency

  1. Does the programme provide necessary information and resources for beneficiaries to register in the competition and submit their storyboards?
  1. Are the programme resources (financial, physical, and manpower) adequate in terms of both quantity and quality?
  1. Is the format of the programme which comprises enablement session, call for applications, storyboard submission, national finals, and regional final suitable enough to achieve the objectives of the programme: to improve data analytics skills and other relevant skills of the beneficiaries, increase their awareness of ASEAN, and raise their level of knowledge on UN-SDGs and data analytics?
  2. Is SAC system supportive enough to support the programme achieve its objectives?
  3. How effective is the program in reaching its target audience (15 to 30 years old in full-time education) within each ASEAN country?
  4. Is the program effective on the social media platforms (Facebook group, Instagram, Website) in reaching the target audience? How prominent is our social media presence? (can be in comparison with competitor’s programs).



Format of the Impact Study will be both qualitative and quantitative.



The consultant should provide details in respects of the following elements: 

Consulting and Scoping: The selected consultant(s) should work with the ASEAN Foundation relevant staff to have a much better understanding of the Study and its expected outputs and outcomes. This Consulting and Scoping also aims to provide more comprehensive information of the ASEAN DSE programme which eventually would help the consultant(s) to come up with an Inception Report.    

Review of Project documentation: The ASEAN Foundation anticipates that this will involve reading and reviewing of the ASEAN DSE programme-related documents and supporting resources, including but not limited to (1) final programme reports from 2017 to 2020, (2) programme proposals from 2017 to 2021, (3) programme evaluation surveys, (4) programme survey summary reports, (5) programme booklets, and (6) SAC.  This is to give the consultant(s) more information on the programme. This also involves literature review on the impact of capacity building programme on skills development and/or employability. In this section, the selected consultant(s) is also required t construct a theory of change, identify detailed Study questions, Study methods (mixed method) and instruments, and stakeholder mapping.

Inception Report: The consultant (s) will prepare the Inception Report which outlines study methodology, study questions for interview, focus group discussion, and survey, outcomes, and indicators and present it to the ASEAN Foundation relevant staff and/or SAP for feedback. In a meeting with the ASEAN Foundation staff and/or SAP, the consultant(s) will test the evaluation questions and get endorsement on the proposed approaches and methods.  

Collecting and compiling data: The consultant(s) will compile and collect data on the ASEAN DSE programme’s beneficiaries and stakeholders involved in the programme between 2017 and 2021. Data will be aggregated according to the agreed outcomes and indicators out of the consultation and scoping. The second part is the more in-depth information/data collection and analysis. The specific methodology and analytical framework will be finalized during the inception phase and will be approved by the ASEAN Foundation. This section will involve the following activities:

Interviews and discussions with key stakeholders: The ASEAN Foundation expects semi-structured interviews primarily face to face and otherwise by phone to be conducted with key informants including students participating in the national finals and regionals, participants of the enablement session, university coordinators supporting the hosting of the enablement session, the ASEAN Foundation’s Board of Trustees (Ambassadors of the 10 AMS to ASEAN), and/or any other stakeholders involved in the programme.

Focus group discussions (FGD): With relevant key informants and/or stakeholders involved in the ASEAN DSE programme 

Survey: Distributed to all key informants, particularly but not limited to participants partaking the national finals and regional final.  The three above activities will be undertaken online. It is essential that the consultant(s) develop and present content and format of the interview, FGD, and survey that will be applied to capture the information required and the method to be used in administering them and tabulating the results. The consultant(s) will ensure triangulation of all findings by applying a variety of data collection methods 

Stories of change: The Study should provide a number of stories of change with detail on how the ASEAN DSE’s approaches, strategies and interventions made or contributed to making a difference in the lives of direct and indirect beneficiaries. 

Analysis: Data triangulation and analysis triangulation to validate evidence and arrive at findings.


Expected Outputs 

The main outputs of the Study will be:  

  1. Inception Report - not exceeding 20 pages excluding annexes. The inception report should include: A brief summary of the desk review • An analysis of the agreed overall outcomes and indicators on which the impact will be assessed • The detailed proposal on methodologies and the elaborated analytical framework for the assessment, instruments, timeline, and process /progress indicators 

The ASEAN Foundation’s team will review/comment and endorse the Inception Report as appropriate before the consultant(s) to commence the next stage activities. Note that a few revisions might be needed prior to the approval.

  1. Main Report – not exceeding 50 pages excluding annexes. The main report should include: • Executive Summary (6 to 8 pages): The summary would need to be extractable and read as a standalone report. It will serve as an effective means of communication and will clearly answer the questions posed especially regarding impact. Introduction (1 to 2 pages): The introduction will provide details on background, purpose of the Study, methodology and limitations.  • Overall achievement on impact (10 to 20 pages): This section will provide in-depth details on the impact achieved in terms of the agreed outcomes and indicators  • Key success factors (5 to 10 pages): This section will detail the key factors that helped or hindered impact in relation to the key areas identified in the “scope of work” section  • Lessons learnt and best practice (5 to 10 pages): This section will articulate the key lessons learnt and best practice from the ASEAN DSE programme  • Implications and recommendations for the ASEAN Foundation for future improvement of the ASEAN DSE programme (3 to 5 pages) • Annex including stories of change 

The ASEAN Foundation’s team will review/comment and endorse the Main Report as appropriate. Note that a few revisions might be required prior to the approval


Expected Target Respondents

The ASEAN Foundation is expecting that up to 1,500 respondents can involve in this Study. These respondents are classified into the following levels:

  • Key informants : 500 participants engaged in most of the ASEAN DSE programme activities – development of the storyboards, national finals, and/or regional final
  • Additional informants : 500 students attending the enablement session and 50 faculty members coordinating the implementation of the enablement session
  • Other relevant informants : The ASEAN Foundation’s Board of Trustees and 10-20 judges involved in the national finals and/or regional final


Organisation of the Evaluation 

The Study will be carried out by an independent external consultant(s). The ASEAN Foundation will be responsible for managing the process and for facilitating the consultant(s)’s initial contact beneficiaries, partners, and other stakeholders. The ASEAN Foundation will establish a dedicated team to coordinate and work together with the consultant(s) for the purpose of the Study. Coordination between the ASEAN Foundation’s team and the consultant(s) will be conducted online and/or on the ground.


Work Plan

The expected preliminary work plan is as follows: 

  • July: Call for Applications advertising and recruitment of the consultant(s)
  • 1st and 2nd week of August: Signing of contract and initiation of work
  • 3rd week of August: Desk review
  • 4th week of August: Inception plan clarifying agreed outcomes and indicators, methodologies and time frames presented and endorsed (7 days)
  • Early September to end of November: Data Collection and Analysis (10 days)
  • End of November: Present draft final report to the ASEAN Foundation, key stakeholders to get feedback
  • End December: Final Report submitted to the ASEAN Foundation


Qualification and Experience

  • An advanced university degree in social sciences from a recognised university
  • Residing in ASEAN or ASEAN national
  • Minimum of 7 years of doing research/impact assessment of the projects
  • Experience in gender mainstreaming
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in programme development
  • Relevant publications on the relevant research/impact assessment
  • Experience of multi-stakeholder processes
  • Experience in conducing and analysing qualitative and quantitative research
  • Excellent communication skills incl. presentation and writing skills


Consultant Selection

Consultant(s) will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria and percentage:

  • 40% : Profile of the consultant(s), prior experience in research/impact study, publications on relevant research/impact study
  • 20% : Financial proposal
  • 40% : Rough draft of the Impact Study proposal


How to Apply

All interested applicants whether individuals/organisations/institutions to send application, stating the position with the following documents to [email protected] with copy to [email protected] – a) application letter and a rough proposal of the Impact Study (final version of the proposal will be established upon discussion with the ASEAN Foundation’s team), b) curriculum vitae,  c) samples of impact assessment report and publications, and d) financial proposal specifying a total lump sum amount highlighting deliverables, including traveling cost when deemed necessary.



INQUIRIES: [email protected]

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