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Background and Context
The process of de-institutionalization (DI) of substitute care for children in Slovakia has been implemented systematically since the 1990s and continues to be one of the main priorities of the Slovak Government. The objectives of the transformation and DI of the substitute, or alternative, care system are to reduce both the number of children placed in institutional care, as well as the negative effects of such care on the development of children.
The overall de-institutionalization process in Slovakia officially started with the adoption of the ‘Strategy for the De-institutionalization of the System of Social Services and Alternative Care in the Slovak Republic’ (the “DI Strategy “) in November 2011. The DI Strategy was later followed by the ‘National Action Plan for the transition from institutional to community-based care in the social services system 2012–2015’ and the ‘National Action Plan for the transition from institutional to community-based care in the social services system 2016 – 2020’ (the “DI Action Plans”).
The system of substitute care for children in Slovak Republic is based on a continuum of care organized in three distinct pillars:
- ) prevention of separation of child from birth family;
- ) provision of family-based substitute care (kinship care, foster care and professional substitute care);
- ) provision of residential substitute care (large and small scale).
According to its strategic documents on DI and substitute care for children, the overall strategic goals are: (i) to create conditions for children to grow up in their natural family environment, in the care of their parents; and (ii) to provide the necessary conditions so that children in need of substitute care can grow and develop in the best possible substitute family- or community-based care environments.
To achieve those two strategic goals, the country needs to be able to monitor progress made in creating those conditions and environments and to evaluate the strategic outcomes that this process is intended to generate for children and their families; for example, a decrease in the number of children who require substitute care, a decrease in the number of children in institutional substitute care and an increase in the share of children in need of substitute care who are placed in family- or community-based care.
A comprehensive and inter-operable monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework for substitute care for children and sufficient M&E capacities to implement the framework need to be further strengthened in Slovak Republic. The overall DI Strategy is reviewed by the Government on an annual basis through an Expert Committee that reports to the Cabinet of Ministers.
Slovak Republic has some important elements (e.g., data collection, limited analysis) already in place, but these would need to be brought together in a comprehensive and inter-operable M&E framework of substitute care for children. The country recognizes that such a framework is an essential vehicle for improving policy outcomes and ultimately (i) helping families to cope with difficulties and (ii) providing the children in need of support or protection with the best possible environment in which they can grow and develop their full potential. There is also a recognition that an effective M&E framework will support the attainment of the objectives set out in the DI Strategy.
To understand how successful the process of the DI of the substitute care of children in Slovak Republic has been, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (MoLSAF) is ready to monitor the effectiveness of the latest reforms and developments undertaken in the country. For this, the MoLSAF of the Slovak Republic has requested the European Commission (EC) to provide technical assistance in developing a national M&E framework and building capacity of the relevant staff in applying the framework. In response to this request, EC DG REFORM and UNICEF formed a partnership to assist the MoLSAF of Slovak Republic in developing M&E framework and in building capacity to implement and evaluate it and develop it further over time.
To successfully achieve the objective of the EU funded project (Action), UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECARO) intends to engage a project focal point/associate to support and work with the team of international experts and Slovak Republic MoLSAF during the implementation of the Action. The current ToRs sets out tasks and responsibilities needed for the project associate.
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Scope of Work
The core group to support the implementation of the project (Action), consist of: a) an international expert on DI/child care systems – who will serve as a senior expert to provide expertise and support in the area of DI and childcare/child protection system reforms; b) an international expert on data and M&E to provide high level expertise on the development of the national M&E framework; c) a national project associate (Slovakia-based) to assist and support two international experts with the development and delivery of the key tasks, and implementation of the Action on the ground.
Overall, the national project associate will serve as liaison between UNICEF Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECARO) and the team of the Slovak Republic MoLSAF in the implementation of the Action and provide on the ground support to the implementation of the Action’s activities. Such support includes admin/ logistical support for organization of in-country missions of UNICEF’s experts, facilitation of various working meetings with the MoLSAF and other stakeholders, coordination of additional services (e.g., translation, etc.). Besides, it is expected that the project associate will review working documents (produced by international experts) in English and in Slovak to ensure correct use of terminology as per the key legislative documents on child legal protection and substitute care system for children in Slovak Republic.
The following describes the specific tasks expected from the national project associate (details of all tasks and activities will be discussed in more detail with the selected candidate). It is important to notice that national project associate will have to work very closely with the team of the MoLSAF along the implementation of all activities:
- Acting as a key focal point for the organization of various working meetings/workshops/events in the Slovak Republic related to the Action’s activities (in close consultation with UNICEF ECARO and in accordance with UNICEF rules and regulations for outsourcing vendors, service providers). This includes:
- Admin/logistical support with identifying the venue/catering/translation/interpretation,
- In consultation with the team of MoLSAF and UNICEF, drafting agenda and the list of participants, sending out invitations;
- Acting as a rapporteur during the meetings/workshops when and if necessary and in agreement with the international experts. Drafting minutes and reports in coordination with UNICEF team;
- Participate in the assessment of the M&E aspect of the substitute care system for children in Slovak Republic. This includes:
- Provision of inputs and support UNICEF team with preparation for the ‘testing of instruments’ (pre-assessment phase): in consultation with the MoLSAF provide inputs to the mission agenda, support in organising meetings, interviews and focus groups discussions;
- Supporting international experts with preparation for and during the assessment: (i) logistical support for in-country mission – in close contact with UNICEF team, (ii) inputs to the draft documents produced by international experts, (iii) stay in close contact with MoLSAF team and UNICEF for coordination of joint activities during the assessment, (iv) ensure quality control over the translations of the key documents necessary for the assessment;
- Participation together with international experts in the ‘testing’ phase of the assessment to gain understanding on interviews and focus groups discussions;
- Supporting UNICEF in identifying junior researcher for conducting the assessment;
- Under direct supervision of the international experts, oversee the assessment together with junior researcher: data collection, recording and translation of data for international experts (who will further analyse it);
- Review and feedback to the draft assessment report; revision of the Slovak version of the assessment report and incorporation of feedback and comments of the MoLSAF in this version;
- Supporting the organization of a stakeholders’ consultation on the first draft report; (ii) compiling feedback and comments from the stakeholders for the preparation of the final report on the assessment of M&E of substitute care for children in Slovak R.
- Support international experts with the development of a proposal for a national M&E framework for substitute care for children and its implementation plan. In particular, this will include:
- Provision of inputs to the draft proposal and implementation plan for a national M&E framework for substitute care for children: revision of the draft prepared by international experts and provide inputs;
- Ensuring the oversight of the translation of the proposal and plan into Slovak language, and incorporate feedback and comments of the MoLSAF into the Slovak version;
- Supporting the organization of working meetings and a workshop with key national stakeholders in Bratislava to present the draft proposal and implementation plan: this includes logistics and inputs to the content.
- Support the international experts with the development of training program for expert trainers of the MoLSAF involved in the use of the new M&E framework. This will include:
- Provision of technical support along the process of the development of training programme which will include at least the following elements: (i) the curricula for the training program; (ii) the facilitator’s guide; and (iii) all training materials. The training program will be focused on the provision of training to the experts within the MoLSAF structure and will be based on international good practices, guidance and standards. This includes provision of feedback and inputs, oversight of the translations, incorporation of feedback and inputs provided by the MoLSAF;
- Provision of operational support for a series of meetings (approximately 3-5, exact number to be determined later) to develop the training modules on the topics that will be covered by the training of key groups of experts;
- Ensuring oversight of the translation of the training materials in consultation with UNICEF and the MoLSAF;
- Support international experts with the delivery of the training for expert trainers on the new M&E framework. This will include:
- Maintaining close contact with the MoLSAF on identifying and contracting a pool of expert trainers in collaboration with key stakeholders working on substitute care for children and on M&E in general;
- Supporting the organization of a training of trainers (ToT) (jointly with international experts) in cooperation with MoLSAF. The training will last between 3-5 full working days (depending on the scope of the new M&E framework), will take place in Bratislava and involve at least 10 expert trainers. The national project associate is expected to ensure logistical organization of the training (invitations to the participants, venue, catering, presence of translators/interpreters, needed supplies, etc.);
- In the final month of the Action, a closing event will be organized in order to (i) present the final proposals for an M&E framework for substitute care for children and its implementation plan; (ii) to take stock of the progress and results achieved throughout the Action; and (iii) to discuss the exit strategy and next steps on improving the M&E for substitute care for children in Slovakia. UNICEF and MoLSAF teams will present the M&E framework and the implementation plan developed by the Action along with other products (e.g., training program and modules).
For this, the national project associate is expected to closely work with UNICEF and the team of MoLSAF to ensure needed support:
- Organization of the closing event (everything related to admin/logistical aspects of the event) which will take place in Bratislava with support from MoLSAF. The event will involve a wider group of stakeholders (around 50 representatives);
- Logistical support for UNICEF team traveling to Bratislava, and potential support with organisation of side meetings with the MoLSAF while in the country;
The following reporting will be required from the national project associate:
- Regular contact with UNICEF ECARO (exact frequency to be defined later)
- Regular contact with international experts on the specific activities as per agreement at the beginning of the contract
- Inputs to a six-month progress report on the implementation of the activities and log-frame (format/outline and exact timeframe will be provided by UNICEF ECARO),
- Inputs to summary reports from the key events/workshops organized in the frame of the project,
- Inputs to the progress, interim and final donor reports
Being UNICEF’s focal point in the country, the project associate will be responsible for overall logistics and admin support of the Action in the Slovak Republic in accordance with rules and regulations of UNICEF. For example, before a final commitment is made with a third party for delivery of specific service (e.g., translation), the project associate will have to seek approval/clearance from UNICEF ECARO.
Finally, it is expected to have regular Skype calls with UNICEF ECARO to review progress, challenges and next steps. Ad-hoc calls may take place as deemed necessary.
All reports to be submitted in electronic format by email to UNICEF Regional Child Protection Specialist in English.
Estimated Duration of the Contract
The estimated start date of the contract is August 2020 (TBC) with the end date – July 2021. The exact dates will be defined upon the signature of the contract. Overall, the contract will require 180 working days spread across 11 months of the project’s duration.
Work Place and Official Travel
This will be individual contractor type of contract, and home-based, i.e. in Bratislava, Slovakia. However, the project associate is expected to have regular working meetings with the team of MoLSAF of the Slovak Republic, participate in the workshops and/or key meetings as per tasks – the frequency of the engagement in the workshops and meetings will be defined in agreement with the selected candidate. There will be a need for the project associate to travel to the selected regions of the Slovak Republic (TBD later), especially during the assessment task. During these trips, the project associate will receive UNICEF standard DSA to cover accommodation, meals and miscellaneous expenses in accordance with UNICEF regulations governing travel and related expenses. All transportation costs related to the field trip(s) will be paid by the project associate and reimbursed by UNICEF ECARO once booked, with the possibility of receiving an advance payment of up to 30% of estimated travel costs, if required. The project associate is responsible for booking his/her own transportation (the most economical, direct routes) and accommodation. Travel costs must be shared with UNICEF ECARO for approval before booking. The national project associate will be closely working with two international experts.
Estimated Cost of the Consultancy & Payment Schedule
The national project associate will dedicate 180 working days to this contract and be paid based on an agreed daily rate. Payment of fees will be made upon submission of an invoice and upon receipt and acceptance of the corresponding deliverable(s), according to the following breakdown: the payment schedule will be defined in agreement with the selected candidate.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- University degree in one of the following fields is required: international development, human rights, social work, sociology, or another relevant social science field.
- Proven experience in successful coordination of similar projects and project management;
- At least six years of professional work experience in M&E and/or in the area of child protection/ social protection systems;
- Knowledge and/or good understanding of the system of substitute care of children/De-institutionalisation/child protection in Slovak Republic, and recent reforms in these areas is an asset;
- Knowledge and/or experience in conducting research or managing research project is an asset;
- Knowledge and/or experience in delivery of the trainings is an asset;
- Good knowledge/understanding of the local environment of different stakeholders and service providers (key ministries engaged in child protection/childcare system, M&E, research);
- Ability to deliver unofficial translation (English-Slovak-English) when necessary;
- Good networking and collaboration skills;
- Fluent written and spoken English and Slovak languages (able to provide unofficial translation and interpretation from English to Slovak and back), with excellent communication and presentation skills.
- Ability to be flexible and deliver results under tight deadlines;
- Excellent skills in Microsoft Office applications.
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.
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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.
How to APPLY
Candidates are invited to submit:
- Letter of interest, including your approach to the assignment and proposed fees (daly) to undertake the above TOR. Please note that applications without a proposed fee will not be accepted.
- A CV and/or Personal history form (downloadable from http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc). Alternatively, if a candidate profile in the UNICEF e-Recruitment System is available, you may download it and submit it as part of application.
- 3 references including the most recent/current supervisor
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.