Regional Research on Girls’ Activism and Leadership for Climate Justice in Asia-Pacific Consultantcy. At Plan International

Plan International, Asia-Pacific Hub Terms of Reference

Introduction Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. As an independent development and humanitarian organisation, we work alongside children, young people, our supporters, and partners to tackle the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children. We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood and enable children to prepare for and respond to crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national, and global levels using our reach, experience, and knowledge. For over 80 years we have been building powerful partnerships for children, and we are active in over 75 countries.

Background The Asia-Pacific region is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts due to a combination of geographic exposure to environmental shocks and stressors, and underlying systemic inequalities. As a result, disasters in the region, particularly water-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and storms, have affected 6.9 billion people in the past 50 years.[1] The geographic and demographic scale of the region challenges its people to address the rapidly increasing temperatures and fluctuating frequencies and intensities of disasters while also contributing to the progress of key goals in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Climate change poses disproportionate risks to different groups of people due to vulnerability and exposure. Groups who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally, or otherwise marginalised are especially vulnerable to climate change. Due to the combined effects of age and gender discrimination, girls, especially adolescent girls, are particularly vulnerable to climate change which has serious implications on their rights and development. Climate change magnifies the existing inequalities girls and young women face including their unequal access to health, sexual reproductive health and rights, education, participation, and protection. For example, girls and women face increased vulnerabilities to all forms of gender-based violence, including conflict-related sexual violence, human trafficking, child marriage, and other forms of violence. At the rate disasters are disproportionately affecting girls’ access to education, 12.5 million girls, specifically, may be prevented from completing their school each year by 2025.[2] Food shortages have seen young girls forcibly married as a negative “coping strategy” for many families impacted by environmental disasters.[3] It is estimated that 40 to 68 per cent of girls and young women, including those with disabilities will experience sexual violence and other types of gender based violence, before the age of 18.[4] Studies also suggest that in tropical cyclones in Bangladesh and the Philippines, girls and women are more likely than boys and men to suffer poor mental health, intimate partner violence and food insecurity.[5]

The COVID-19 pandemic and the socio-economic impacts of climate change and other natural and man-mad disasters have intersected to negatively affect girls and young women further. Due to droughts, rural girls and women spend more time fetching water and walking longer distances. With imposed social distancing and travel restrictions in place during the pandemic, the absence of clean water makes menstrual hygiene management an even greater burden which can lead to health complications and other consequences like school dropouts or increase in adolescent pregnancies and child, early and forced marriage.[6]

Although international laws frameworks such as Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) are increasingly acknowledging the interlinkages between climate change and gender equality[7], governments in the Asia-Pacific region must reflect this into their policies and commitments. More importantly, governments must recognise the disproportionate impacts climate change has on girls and young women by strengthening their meaningful participation in climate decisions and action. But many climate change policies, from the local level to the global level, founder on the lack of “political will” — the unwillingness or inability of government officials to enact policies. Recently, the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women focused on the Climate Change, Risk Disaster Reduction and gender equality at the centre of solutions. At the country level, local government officials in Bangladesh have expressed support and have taken part in the Youth strikes, while activists have been invited to become “young experts” on the country’s parliamentary standing committee in the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change. However, leaving behind girls and young women will limit the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities and countries to climate change.

At the same time, girls and young women are not waiting to voice their concerns and demand climate justice. Across the region, young advocates are building and leading movements demanding action from their governments despite the shrinking civic space. Youth activist, Mitzi, and her organisation, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines raise awareness of the implications of the climate aspect while demanding accountability from national leaders. In 2021, this youth-led organisation mobilized hundreds of activists during climate strikes, facilitated community education sessions and reached millions online through various campaign initiatives.[8] Australian, Izzy Raj-Seppings has led thousands of students in “School Strike 4 Climate” protests and joined seven other young activists on a Class Action against the extension of a coal mine.[9]

Plan International APAC Hub’s 2021 Asia-Pacific Girls Report[10] found that digital technologies and social media played a significant role in the successes of youth movements. Another report found that youth are not only using social media to learn about climate change but also to amplify their advocacy.[11] The “Youth Leading Learning in Climate-Resilient Value Chains in the Pacific” project builds young people’s knowledge about climate-resilient agriculture practices. As well as building the technical capacity of young male and female farmers, the project uses social media and digital technologies to support the documentation and dissemination of best organic farming practices for enhancing climate-resilience.

Despite the evident leadership of girls and young women on climate justice, few studies have focused on their advocacy and political engagement[12] towards achieving the climate justice, gender equality and sustainable development agenda. While literature on the increased vulnerabilities women experiences due to climate change, as well as their climate action have become more prevalent in recent years, there remains a gap on the unique lived experiences of girls and young women who continue to face persistent challenges when doing their work and advocacies on issues that ultimately affect their own lives.

Research objectives

  • To identify and analyse emerging trends/patterns of girls’ and young women (15-24 years old)’s civic engagement and activism for climate justice and inclusive societies including issues they are advocating for and barriers they are facing in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • To analyse the rising role of digital technologies and social media in youth activism and engagement and how it can be used to influence social change and promote gender equality;

    -To better understand how girls and young women are using their voice and power to engage in decision making process as well as in the spaces they have created on climate justice.

Research questions

  • The research shoul aim to answer the following key research questions:
  • What is the situation and impact of existing civic space as well as enables and barriers to girls and young women activists for mobilisation and building their movements both online and offline platforms in Asia-Pacific, and in comparison, with global trends?
  • What tactics, approaches, and tools are being used by girls and young women activists in Asia-Pacific for mobilisation and building their movements in challenging the shrinking civic space?
  • What is the level of political involvement of girls and young women activists in decision making space at local and national levels where the female leaders (including top positions) and politicians might provide safer space and more opportunities for climate justice and girls activism?

Scope of Work

The consultant shall lead the following process in consultation with Plan Asia and Pacific Hub team, Country Offices, and Global Hub colleagues

· Develop youth-friendly tool and materials for the research

· Conduct desk review of available publications, reports, research, recommendations, materials, and tools, related to youth activism and climate justices in Asia and Pacific and other regions

· Conduct survey translated into local languages (as necessary) with girls and young women advocates in Asia and Pacific region

· Conduct In-depth interview, Key Informant Interview, Focus Group Discussion, and case studies with identified participants in 3 countries

Suggested research methods

· Desk research will include a literature review that identifies and analyses:

o the landscape of youth activism for climate justice and inclusive societies in Asia and the Pacific and

o the existing laws, policy, international treaties, plan of actions, etc. on climate change and/or climate justice in Asia and the Pacific

o the role of social medial and digital tools for girls and young women activism and how it influences their climate activists and their movement building

o the enablers/opportunities and barriers to girls-led youth activism,

o the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and shrinking civic space towards young environmental rights defenders or climate justice activists on their engagement and activism for climate justice

· In-dept interviews with selected female youth advocates representing vulnerable group for gender equality to understand their experiences, motivations, and reasons for becoming involved in political action or social movement, how gender inequality, gender norms, and intersectionality impact their activism for climate justice, what support they need from state and non-state stakeholders, and how they engage men and boys as allies. **

· Focus Group Discussion (FGD): to collect and understand the perception and attitude of girls and young women activists in three selected countries on their activism in climate justice or the political engagement in environmental spaces **

· Key informant interviews with selected representatives from youth-led, adult-led civil society organisations, and/or female politicians/policy makers to obtain their views on youth civic engagement and activism for gender equality and climate justice**

· Case studies or success stories of female youth advocates for climate justice. Case studies will be contributed by Plan International Country Offices in the region.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the consultant(s) will not be expected to travel. Data will be collected remotely with the support from Plan APAC and Country Offices.

Key Deliverables

The consultant will directly report to the Regional Civil Society, Youth, and Advocacy Lead and work in close collaboration with the APAC Regional Research Working Group[13]. The following deliverables are expected from the consultant (s) after signing the contract:

Table of Deliverables / Deliverable / Format / Length / Due

  1. An inception Report, at a minimum and to be should include:

1.1. A tentative list of available literature, relevant documents and data sources to be used

1.2. A detailed methodology for research

1.3. A detailed work plan with timeline, estimated no. of work days for each deliverable and date for deliver

1.4. A tentative structure/outline of the final research report **

Word / Not more than 15 pages / By May 20, 2022

  1. Tools and materials submission according to the final inception report / As appropriate (PDF, Word, survey link, etc.) / N/A / By June 10, 2022 /
  2. Draft research report (containing findings of desk review, interviews, social listening and case studies) /

    Word doc / Maximum 30 pages / By July 10, 2022

  3. Final research report (containing findings of desk review, interviews, social listening and case studies) /Word doc/ Maximum 30 pages / By August 20, 2022
  4. A PowerPoint presentation of a summary research key findings / PowerPoint / N/A / By August 31, 202

Budget The consultant should propose budget including VAT together with the proposed methodology in the research proposal for this consultancy work. The consultant is invited to submit a single budget for this consultancy. Payment will be made based on agreed amounts in the consultant’s contract, and upon approval of invoices.

Tentative Timeframe and Estimated Working Days The assignment is estimated to be completed within 45 days starting from May 15, 2022 and to be completed by August 31, 2022. The timeframe is indicative and can be reevaluated in consultation between Plan International and the consultant (s).

Task / Timeframe / Estimated no. of work days / Deliverable

  • Hold an initial meeting to discuss the overall research, methodology, and deliverables / 15 May 2022 / 1
  • Develop and submit an / inception report including detailed work plan, methodology and research tools / 15-20 May 2022 / 5 / Inception report including detailed work plan, methodology and research tools
  • Inception report and work plan approval by Plan’s research ethics review committee / 10 June 2022 / N/A
  • Conduct desk research & survey / 10-20 June 2022 / 10
  • Conduct in-dept interview with selected female youth activists and key informant interviews / 20-30 June 2022/ 10
  • Develop a draft report and submit to Plan APAC / 1-10 July 2022 / 10
  • Draft report / Plan reviews and provides feedback on draft report / 10-15 July 2022 / N/A
  • Incorporate Plan’s feedback and submit final report / 15-20 August 2022 / 5
  • Plan reviews and approve final report / 28 August 2022 / N/A
  • Final research report / Submit a PowerPoint presentation of a summary research key findings / 28-31 August 2022

4 / PowerPoint Presentation

Total 45 days

Use of the research The primary users of the research will be Plan International programme, advocacy and campaign staff in Asia and the Pacific Country Offices. The Regional Hub will also use the findings.

  1. To strategically utilise them as an influencing tool to draw attention of the public and policy makers at national, regional, and global levels, encouraging them to increase engagement with children and youth, especially girls and female youth advocates and include them in meaningful decision-making processes.
  2. To elevate girls and young women’s voices on climate justice and highlight their concerns and solutions to the public, civil society and policymakers.
  3. to inform strategic direction and identify opportunities for Plan International and others to support and catalyse girl and youth-led movements for climate justice
  4. Intended audience of the research

The intended external audiences of the research will be governments in the Asia-Pacific region, academics, non-governmental organisations, think-tanks and civil society.

Please note that the results of this research initiative and key findings from a separate study on Asia-Pacific Girls’ Leadership, to be commissioned at the same time, will be combined in order to produce Plan APAC’s 2022 Asia-Pacific Girls Report. See the research conceptual framework below:


. Academic qualification:

· Advanced university degree in social sciences or other fields related to the scope of the assignment.

Technical Knowledge, skills and experience:

· Minimum 10 years of experience conducting and coordinating research related to youth engagement and activism, gender equality, girls’ and women’s empowerment, climate justice

· Strong understanding of the gendered challenges faced by girls and women in Asia-Pacific required.

· Experience in qualitative research methods including document review, interviews, coding, analysis and reporting required.

· Experience in using social media listening desired.

· Excellent report writing, presentation and communication skills in the English language

· Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to quickly incorporate feedback from different individuals

Evaluation Criteria

Candidates will be evaluated in following:

Criteria / Weight /

Academic qualification / 20%

Technical knowledge, skills and experience / 40%

Methodology / 20%

Financial proposal / 20%

Total 100 %

How to apply

Interested applicants should provide a proposal covering the following aspects:

· Detailed response to the TOR

· Proposed methodology

· Proposed timelines

· Curriculum Vitae

· Three references

· Example of previous work related to the research focus and scope of the assignment.

· Detailed budget, including daily fee rates inclusive of taxes, etc.

Please send your application to

referencing “Regional Research on Girls’ Activism and Leadership for Climate Justice in Asia-Pacific” in the subject line and including supporting documents as outlined. Application deadline is April 22th 2022 (5 PM, Bangkok time).