Categories: Child Protection
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The onset of COVID 19 showed that infectious diseases can disrupt the environments in which children grow and develop. Disruptions to families, friendships and the wider community can have negative consequences for children’s well-being, cognitive development and protection. In addition, measures used to prevent and control the spread of the disease can expose children to new protection risks. Home-based, facility-based and zonal-based quarantine and isolation measures can sometimes negatively impact children and their families if either a caregiver or child is placed in a facility while the other remains at home, when they are placed outside the home in different facilities, or when measures, such a travel restrictions, are imposed and family members cannot reunite until restrictions are lifted. Children who are left alone or are without adequate nurturing care and supervision at home due to illness of the primary caregiver or who are isolated or quarantined in a facility are at increased risk of violence, sexual exploitation, abuse, and neglect, resulting in long term mental health and psychological problems . This is particularly heightened for younger children, as well as children with special needs . The urgency to handle medical response doesn’t necessarily consider other aspects of child vulnerabilities; which can be exhibited through compromised psychological, cognitive and physical wellbeing .
Health emergencies such as EVD or COVID-19 are often led by the health sector and health professionals are often the first ones to interface with families and children. It is important that during the response to such emergencies, health professionals are able to identify critical child protection issues and refer them to appropriate personnel and services. The two-way communication between parents/caregivers and separated children is essential for psychosocial wellbeing and mechanisms should be in place to facilitate. Also, policies, standards and protocols should follow a holistic approach that considers the child’s best interests as a primary consideration.
In Rwanda, the COVID-19 experience showed that some of the most vulnerable children are not benefiting from existing measures in place to contain the pandemic. Children in institutional care, detention and transit facilities are not equitably benefiting from good hygiene and social distancing as most of them are overcrowded. With sudden school closure, there was a marked increase in the number of children on the streets, and those begging door-to-door, with higher risks of being exposed to the infection and other protection violations while the whole population was staying home. Child protection professionals in districts expressed the challenging situation that they faced to reach vulnerable families in need of immediate support. The lack of minimum guidance on how to handle issues affecting children during pandemics was cited as a major limiting factor. Most of them were unable to act, especially during the period of full lockdown, despite growing cases of child abuse, abandonment and violence that were being reported from the community by Inshuti Z’Umuryango (IZU).
The current experiences with COVID-19 confirm some of the concerns highlighted by both the child protection and healthcare professionals during EVD preparedness planning pointing to the lack of synergy between the two sectors to adequately address specific issues affecting children within the community and at designated health facilities.
In order to optimize services to protect and support children and their families and address increased mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) during pandemics, it is necessary to strengthen collaboration between healthcare and child protection service provision through increasing the understanding of child protection issues among health care professionals and establishing a clear referral protocol between the two services
Both the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) and UNICEF have recommended the hiring of an expert in health and child protection to help develop guidance and tools and to provide technical assistance to both the child protection and health sectors towards improvement of protection and MHPSS of children and families during pandemics, drawing on lessons from the current COVID-19 pandemic and the recommendations made during EVD preparedness planning activities.
The overall objective of this technical assistance is to increase the understanding of CP among health professionals and establish appropriate linkages between health and CP professionals to respond to health emergencies, this entails documentation review and elaboration of materials for capacity development of both child protection and healthcare professionals to optimize services to affected children and families during current and future pandemics and other health emergencies.
Upon consultation of the health and child protection key informants and documentation and aligned to global guidance, the consultant will elaborate materials and tools aiming at increasing the capacity of staff to prepare and respond to child protection risks in pandemics. Specifically, the consultant will produce:
• A brief review of the current health response to COVID-19 and preparedness to EVD, including the national SoPs, protocols, referrals and coordination mechanisms to assess current inclusion of or referral to child protection, and identify linkage opportunities and gaps.
• A guide and SOP’s on Child Protection and MHPSS during pandemics for child protection professionals. The guide should take account of specific child protection needs resulting from the impact of pandemics.
• A simplified guide and referral protocol on Child Protection for health professionals or if possible propose content for inclusion of child protection into existing national protocols.
• A Facilitator’s training guide and participants’ handbook for child protection and health professionals
• Conduct a desk review of the existing documentation on health and child protection preparedness and response to pandemics globally and in Rwanda, including on COVID19 and Ebola, to inform ways of collaboration between the two sectors. The review would be carried out on following documents;
o The structure of the health response to COVID-19 and preparedness to EVD, including the national SoPs, protocols, referrals and coordination mechanisms and any current inclusion of child protection.
o The documentation and experiences at global level on child protection response during pandemics including on Covid 19 and the EVD
o The review of the national child protection system in Rwanda and referral pathways between health and child protection service providers at community, cell, sector, district and coordination at national level
o Asses and analyse potential opportunities to better link the two sectors through referral pathways or inclusion of child protection in national health protocols.
NB: the expert may also advise on additional critical documents not listed above.
• Consult with key actors in response to pandemics in the health and stakeholders in child protection to understand the current structure, work arrangement and referral, and to establish synergetic linkages between the two sectors in optimizing care and protection of children during pandemics including COVID 19 & EVD
• Elaborate key documents (as specified in above) and facilitate validation by key stakeholders
• Conduct the training of the national team of trainers
Major Tasks, Deliverable, Date , Milestone payment %
1 Produce an inception report highlighting the methodology, tasks, roadmap and milestones for execution of the project for each deliverable
- Inception Report: covering all relevant issues highlighted in major tasks, to be completed by 24 Dec 2020, payment of 15 %
2 Conduct a desk review of the existing documentation on the health response structure to pandemics in Rwanda and global guidelines on child protection preparedness and response , including on COVID19 and Ebola, and consult with key stakeholders in the health and child protection sectors, to produce a brief report on the current situation and ways to improve collaboration
- A brief Report of the current situation and practices, to be completed by 31 Jan 2021, payment of 15 %
4 Based on the key findings of the mapping report, elaborate a comprehensive “Guide on Child Protection during pandemics” for child protection professionals and a simplified guide and referral protocol on Child Protection for health professionals
1) Comprehensive guide on child protection
2) A simplified guide & referral protocol on CP for health professionals , to be completed by 30 Mar 2021, payment of 30%
5 Based on elaborated guides, develop training materials, including the Facilitator’s training guide and Participants’ handbook for child protection and health professionals
3) Facilitators’ training guide
4) Participants’ handbook, to be completed by 30 Apr 2021, payment of 20%
5 Undertake all necessary steps to organize and conduct the training of the national team of trainers to be designated from the health and child protection key partners
- Training report , to be completed by 15 July 2021, payment of 20%
The best candidate will be evaluated and selected based on the best fit on most of the qualifications outlines above. The most suitable candidates may be invited for an oral or written interview or both.
The Technical proposal is weighted at 70% and 30% for the Financial proposal.
Please note that the final remuneration will be negotiated by Human Resources from UNICEF.
General Conditions: Procedures & Logistics
• Under the consultancy agreements, a month is defined as 22 working days.
• The consultants are not entitled to payment of overtime. All remuneration must be within the contract agreement.
• No work may commence unless the contract is signed by both UNICEF and the consultant or Contractor.
• The consultant shall not make use of any unpublished or confidential information, made known in the course of performing duties under the terms of this agreement, without written authorization from the Government Institution and/or UNICEF. The products of this assignment are not the property of the consultant and cannot be shared without the permission from the Government Institution and/or UNICEF.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
• Advanced university degree, preferably in social work, social sciences, child psychology or other related education background.
A combination of relevant academic background and work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree
• Fluent in English with good writing skills and reports editing/layout
• Previous experience of working in endemic zones on preparedness and/or response (eg: Ebola affected zone, or COVID-19) handling child protection, or as part of health response with exposure to child protection.
• Minimum of 8 years work experience in social work with a focus on either child protection, or psychology, or child care and public health or a combination of some or all.
Fluency in English. Knowledge of French and/or Kinyarwanda would be an asset
Skills and abilities:
• In-depth knowledge of child protection in emergencies including in pandemics, or health response in pandemics with exposure to child protection; familiarity with the child protection and or the health systems in Rwanda would add value
• Excellent writing skills, strong planning, organizational and analytical skills, computer skills and interpersonal communication skills;
• Ability to work with Government Officials at national and decentralized levels as well as with international and national development partners;
• Elaboration of training curriculum and good facilitation skills
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
How to Apply
UNICEF is committed to gender equality in its mandate and its staff. Well qualified candidates, particularly females are strongly encouraged to apply.
Interested candidates should send their complete Personal History (P11) form, which can be downloaded form ( http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc). or a CV/resume, as well as a cover letter explaining what makes them suitable for this consultancy. The application package should be submitted to UNICEF’s online recruitment system.
Qualified and experienced candidates are requested to submit a letter of interest including a Technical Proposal outlining a road map for review and implementation timeline. In their letter of interest, candidates should highlight their previous work experience relevant to the assignment, the attributes that make them suitable, their proposed approach to the assignment.
Only successful candidates from the technical evaluation exercise will be contacted and requested to submit their most competitive Financial Proposal.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.
01 Dec 2020
South Africa Standard Time
Deadline: 31 Dec 2020 South Africa Standard Time