Terms of Reference: Analyzing and Recommending Monitoring and Evaluation Systems

In November 2020, Rainforest Alliance launched Forest Allies a community of practice focused on protecting, restoring, and enabling responsible management of tropical forests. As part of this launch RA is introducing the concept of Integrated Community Forest Management, a conservation and development strategy which recognizes and builds upon the strong link between economic and ecological resilience. This is achieved by placing forest communities at the heart of safeguarding and restoring our world’s forest.

In 2021, the Rainforest Alliance plans to partner with an external expert to develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation system which will assess the outcomes of our ICFM approach across our global portfolio of projects.


About the Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working in more than 70 countries at the intersection of business, agriculture and forests. The Rainforest Alliance is creating a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities. By bringing farmers, forest communities, companies, and consumers together it addresses some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today.

About the Project

The Rainforest Alliance has both deep and broad experience in partnering with forest communities, local associations, and governments to build viable community forest enterprises. Over the past 25 years, the Rainforest Alliance has successfully worked with communities in Mexico and Guatemala to establish enterprises which provide strong livelihoods and safeguard key tropical forest areas through responsible forest management. While success has been realized in these geographies and more broadly community forest management is considered an effective conservation strategy, challenges in scaling community forestry in tropical forests across the world do remain. The Rainforest Alliance seeks to understand, address and overcome many of these challenges through our approach to Integrated Community Forest Management (ICFM).

An important aspect of implementing ICFM is having the systems and mechanisms in place to monitor outcomes, measure impacts and learn from our efforts through credible data. The Rainforest Alliance intends to move from a project by project measurement of our work with forest communities to a consistent global approach across our portfolio. In order to select the best approach possible suited to monitor ICFM it is important to first understand the possibilities, best practices and leadership organizations working in the monitoring and evaluation field which are suited to meet the complex needs [social and environmental] of the ICFM approach.

More specifically, we aim to create outcomes in the following 5 areas:

The monitoring and evaluation approach applied to the ICFM portfolio will report on these 5 outcome areas and will inform result-based claims for private sector partners who are investing in the projects. In addition, the approach will need to consider consistency with reporting to major donors in order to be efficient. Rainforest Alliance envisions that the selected approach, or combination of approaches, will monitor progress towards our 5 outcomes in a certain project area over time.


The consultant selected by Rainforest Alliance will provide insight and analysis into the various applicable approaches for monitoring and evaluation to be potentially included in the Forest Allies initiative. Upon finalization of this exercise the Rainforest Alliance forests team will have a clear understanding of the 1) techniques for measuring social capital of forest communities, enterprise viability, forest quality (deforestation & degradation), and other key elements of the ICFM intervention (see Annex 1, including the resource needs, pros/cons and potential implications for each, 2) identify leading resources and tools relevant to monitoring progress of the ICFM intervention, including but not limited to guides/manuals, indicator sets and data collection and analysis, and 3) recommend an approach or combination of approaches to meet the needs of Forest Allies.

The results of the analysis will be used by the Rainforest Alliance to inform the selection of an approach, as well as help to identify external expert(s) as potential partners for the next phase of development which will include design, build out and baseline assessments.

Scope of Work & Deliverables

The consultant will conduct a systematic review and analysis of existing monitoring and evaluation approaches in the forestry sector which can be applicable to the ICFM approach and goals of the Forest Allies. Findings of this analysis will be discussed in a report. .

Topical scope

The monitoring and evaluation approach will need to consider the following elements in terms of scope:

  • Focus on tropical forests with global applicability across Latin America, Asia and Africa
  • Consider the likeliness that forest types will vary based on geography, community rights and access e.g. natural forest, dense agroforestry, plantation, etc.
  • Inclusive of both social and environmental indicators
  • Potential for measuring the attribution of the financial and in-kind investments made by Forest Allies members
  • Assess the progress and outcomes of community forest enterprises, the area they have rights and access to, and trends across the broader landscape of which they are a part of.
  • Provide a common ground applicable for most actual community forest projects donor reporting requirement


Consultant will deliver a final analysis to the Rainforest Alliance in the form of a report. At minimum, the report should include:

  • Overview of approaches considered and analyzed
  • Resource needs for and benefits/limitations of each approach
  • Identification of existing “ready-made” approaches or tools which can be leveraged including but not limited to M&E approaches, indicator sets, field methods, assessment tools etc.
  • Identification of organizations and/or individuals considered leaders in monitoring and evaluation, in particular in forest and communities monitoring.
  • Recommendation of an approach or combination of approaches to meet the needs of Forest Allies

An executive summary which reports outcomes of the review exercise and the recommendations will also be delivered in a PowerPoint presentation format. And, the consultant will be expected to present their results to the Rainforest Alliance Forests Community of Practice.


The work will begin as soon as a consultant is identified, the final deliverables will be due 30 days from the beginning of the project.


Candidates will have experience in monitoring & evaluation tools, techniques, and approaches. Ideally, they will have practical experience in implementing various monitoring & evaluation frameworks. Experience in understanding and measuring both environmental and social outcomes is desired. As the focus of the monitoring and evaluation program will be on forests, forest management and the impacts of such on livelihoods it is important that the consultant has experience working in these fields.


Please send a proposal stating how the assignment will be approached, a proposed outline of level of effort and budget, and CV to forests@ra.org no later than March 8, 2021. 

Annex A: Integrated Community Forest Management Pathway

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