Civil Rights Defenders seeking consultants for a workshop on the investigation and documentation of sexual- and gender-based violence

Civil Rights Defenders is looking for a consultant to design and conduct a workshop on the investigation and documentation of sexual- and gender-based violence. Please read ‘Terms of Reference’ below.

Terms of Reference

1.     Background

Civil Rights Defenders is an international human rights organisation that partners with and supports human rights defenders (HRDs) to guarantee the respect and protection of human rights. It works closely with local partners to provide skills, knowledge and resources that increase their continued presence and the impact of their work. Under the present project ‘Deter impunity and promote peace through accountability, capacity, and security in South Sudan’, Civil Rights Defenders has partnered with 10 human rights organizations in South Sudan. The project is supported by SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). Two components of this project are support for Investigation and documentation capacity and Legal action capacity to increase knowledge and skills of our partner organizations.

Civil Rights Defenders has organised multiple trainings for partner organisations related to investigation and documentation. A number of partner organizations work specifically on investigation and documentation of sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV). Given the especially sensitive nature of such investigations, and the specialized needs of survivors, partners named this as an area in which their staff would benefit from additional specialized training and support. The information they collect may ultimately be used in the work of transitional justice or other accountability mechanisms.

As such, Civil Rights Defenders is looking for a consultant to design and conduct a workshop on the investigation and documentation of sexual- and gender-based violence. The workshop should provide basic practical guidance for those gathering information about SGBV as a crime or violation of international law for accountability purposes. It should focus on ensuring that information gathered about sexual violence can be used to contribute to justice and accountability and does not undermine official investigations or efforts to bring justice to victims. The workshop will be one in a series of interventions to improve the capacity of our partners to apply international best practices and legal standards in their work.

2.     Objective of the Training Workshop

Civil Rights Defenders is organizing this training workshop to increase the capacity of its partners in investigating and documenting sexual and gender-based violence. After the training workshop, participants are expected to:

A. Understand international best practices on the investigation and documentation of sexual violence as a crime or violation of international law.

B. Understand the legal foundations for treating sexual violence as a crime or violation of international law, including understanding the kinds of evidence that could be used to prove elements of particular crimes.

C. Understand the importance of the fundamental principle of Do No Harm and a survivor-centered approach to documentation.

D. Understand how trauma may affect survivor or witness testimony, recognize signs of trauma, and mitigate risk of retraumatization.

E.     Further improve skills and create common understanding among partners on how to plan an investigation into sexual- and gender-based violence, including identifying the type of investigation, its end goal (e.g., criminal proceedings, civil litigation, transitional justice process etc. as well as available remedies) and appropriate legal fora.

F.     Strengthen existing capacity to:

  • ensure that gender awareness and sensitivity, including in relation to SGBV, is systematically integrated into their investigations;
  • plan investigations, including developing an investigation plan and executing interviews accordingly;
  • identify potential threats to practitioners, information, and victims/witnesses, and implement appropriate security protocols and/or measures to prevent or mitigate risks.
  • preserve information in accordance with the applicable admissibility rules of evidence in South Sudan, international courts and tribunals as well as (as applicable) common admissibility criteria in other national jurisdictions with universal jurisdiction; and
  • gather and manage the informed consent of victims and witnesses.

3.     Training Format and Trainers

The training will be conducted for five days for up to 12 participants from five human rights organizations we partner with in South Sudan. The training will build on the previous activities mentioned in the Background section above and should take into account the lessons learnt, the feedback from partners and the conclusions made by the consultant and Civil Rights Defenders during the follow-up process.

4.     Continuous Organisational Support

In addition to the trainings provided by the consultant, Civil Rights Defenders will follow up with individual sessions with each organisation where Civil Rights Defenders and the participants will analyse the work of the organisation considering the points addressed by the workshop and identify gaps that need to be addressed as well as potential opportunities.

Civil Rights Defenders plans to provide additional support to build on the results of the training. Participating organisations will be eligible to apply for additional funding from Civil Rights Defenders to pursue opportunities for investigation, documentation, or litigation efforts or to address gaps or weaknesses in their work that have been identified.

We will continue following the partners’ needs and activities and identify appropriate areas of collaboration.

5.     Scope of Work and Expected Deliverables

The resource person(s) under this consultancy will be contracted to develop and facilitate training workshops in Investigation of Sexual- and Gender-Based Violence. More specifically, the consultant will be expected to;

A. curriculum and facilitate five days of training on investigation and documentation of sexual- and gender-based violence in accordance with point 2 above. The contents of the workshop should be based on an analysis of the needs and capacity of the relevant organisations as described above.

B. Equip participants with the skills and tools necessary to plan and execute investigations of sexual and gender-based violence as a civil society organisation.

C. Develop pre and post workshop appraisal to identify knowledge gap, tailor the workshop content and analyse/measure results of the workshop.

D. Write a workshop report to capture the workshop content, evaluate the results achieved, document lessons learned and make recommendations for each participating organisation and for Civil Rights Defenders’ support to them as described under point 4 above.

6.     Duration of the work

This consultancy will be undertaken for 11 days during January 2024 (or as otherwise agreed with Civil Rights Defenders) including:

  • 3 days for preparation for the workshop
  • 5 days for facilitating the workshop, or as otherwise agreed with Civil Rights Defenders)
  • 3 days for compiling the report

7.     Required expertise and qualifications

Educational Background

  • The resource person should have at least a master’s degree in law or equivalent with extensive knowledge of international criminal law or criminal investigations, and in particular, experience working in the area of sexual and gender-based violence.


  • The resource person should have extensive experience on developing content and conducting workshops.
  • Field experience working on SGBV prevention and response and mainstreaming gender equality.
  • Experience in international criminal law is required, including solid knowledge of investigative standards for international crimes.
  • A strong understanding of the cultural context in South Sudan, including of the civil society space and particular challenges for investigating sexual- and gender-based violence in the country, is considered an advantage.
  • Understanding of and familiarity with domestic and regional accountability mechanisms available to SGBV survivors in South Sudan.


  • A passion for fundamental human rights and the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women as well as an understanding of and commitment to further these rights in all work is essential.

8.     Payment schedule

The consultant will receive an advance payment of 50% upon signing the contract.  The consultant will receive the remaining amount (50% of the total payment) upon the completion of all deliverables as approved by Civil Rights Defenders. 

9.     Proposals for this consultancy should include:

  • Indicative course plan or as otherwise agreed with Civil Rights Defenders
  • Financial proposal

Please send questions or a proposal to William Mapuor, , and Ebony Wade,, using the headline “Application for SGBV consultancy 2023.”