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Consultancy: Paper on universal Child grants and Dignity and Shame, SIP Section, PD - NYHQ, Requisition #515330

Apply now Job no: 515330
Work type: Consultancy
Location: United States
Categories: Social and Economic Policy, Consultancy

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

Background and Rationale

UNICEF's work on cash transfers has expanded rapidly in recent years, and in many parts of the world, there is growing interest from governments on the potential of transfers to make a significant difference in the lives of children living in poverty, and vulnerable to poverty. Relatedly, the growing global interest in universal social protection and a Universal Basic Income is demonstrating a growing global appetite and potential for universal approaches to direct support. At the same time, debates on the effectiveness and trade-offs of alternative policy options remain very much alive. Key issues around targeting and universalism, conditionality, policy financing, variations in cash transfer core design features (such as the level of transfers, duration of participation) and their implications for policy impact on children’s outcomes and policy sustainability are widely debated.


This initiative focuses on Universal Child Grants (UCG), which typically refers to a non-contributory instrument characterised by no means-test, paid in cash or a tax transfer without behavioural conditions, on a regular basis to the primary caregiver, up until aged 0-18 or longer if children in full time higher education/training or disabled. However, recognising the plurality of social protection provision, a UCG could also, arguably refer to a multi-tiered benefit approach or a mixed-system of child benefit provision (combining non-contributory and contributory schemes) offering universal coverage rather than a single tax-financed child benefit.

This initiative aims to support and promote informed policy debate and decision-making with regards to cash transfers and the objectives of reducing child poverty and improving wider outcomes for children. Through the completion of a written report, convening of an international conference and publication of a book on this topic, the UCG initiative explores the theoretical arguments and empirics/evidence on alternative cash transfer schemes and their implications for UCGs.

As part of these activities, UNICEF wishes to commission a background paper that explores considerations of dignity and shame and what would be the impact of universalistic social protection for children and what would be the impact of UCGs in this regard. This will help inform the written report on this subject.

The commissioned paper will perform a review and discussion of both the theoretical arguments underpinning the possible ramifications of a UCG for dignity and shame and of the evidence arising from the implementation of UCGs/other cash transfers on dignity and shame.

The review of the theoretical/conceptual arguments should include a brief ‘theory of change’ at the outset, outlining how and through which channels, in principle, a UCG vs other types of transfers would influence children’s outcomes (including direct, indirect channels) with a focus on the dignity/shame outcomes.

In the review of the evidence, the paper should cover how specific UCGs and elements of cash transfers such as targeting, conditionality, duration of benefit, level of the transfer and so forth on how these influences the various dignity and shame impacts UCG. A discussion of what the available evidence on existing social protection would mean for a UCG and for children in very different contexts should also be covered (i.e. citizens/legally resident children and refugee/undocumented children). Throughout, special attention should be paid to how variations in policy design and implementation features of the UCG/cash transfer shape the outcomes of interest. This would highlight the potential advantages and limitations of relying on a universalistic, UCG approach.  

Moreover, the paper should make recommendations of how to ensure UCGs and universalistic social protection for children could be designed to be shame proof and better realise the goal of human dignity and the take up of the right of social protection.

Expected results: (measurable results)

  • Final product: a 30-35-page paper summarising the various considerations that would appraise a UCG in terms of dignity and shame considerations.
  • The principal deliverable would be a zero-draft paper outline for the author to follow which ideally reflects the approach and structure (in terms of key issues) of the report. This will be agreed between UNICEF and the selected expert author as a first deliverable.
  • A first draft paper ready for review by external expert peer and UNICEF Staff.
  • The final paper reflecting comments/amendments of review process and approved by UNICEF.

Location: Remote Based

Start date:  4 September 2018
End Date: 15 October 2018


Number of days

Delivery date

Agreed a zero-draft paper outline.


6 September 2018

First draft of paper


5 October 2018

Final paper with comment/amendments incorporated (30-35 pages).


15 October 2018

Key competences, technical background, and experience required Deadline

  • An advanced degree (Master's) in social sciences, international development, or other related field;
  • 15 years of experience in social protection, preferably with experience of research on dignity and shame in social policy and a recognised expert in the field with a strong publications record.
  • A minimum of ten years of progressively more responsible and high level professional work experience with gender, research, field programming and communication in international development;
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills, especially in synthesizing complex information for multiple audiences;
  • Fluency in English required; Knowledge of another UN language an asset;
  • Experience developing case studies, blogs, documenting lessons learned, etc. desired;

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.


With the exception of the US Citizens, G4 Visa and Green Card holders, should the selected candidate and his/her household members reside in the United States under a different visa, the consultant and his/her household members are required to change their visa status to G4, and the consultant’s household members (spouse) will require an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) to be able to work, even if he/she was authorized to work under the visa held prior to switching to G4.  

At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

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.

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