United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Roster of Individual Contractors/Consultants (Research on Education and Development)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Job Description

The purpose of this call is to solicit applications from individuals who are interested in working with the Research on Education And Development (READ) unit in a consultant/individual contractor capacity.

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.

For every child, Research

The Office of Research-Innocenti (OoR-Innocenti) is the dedicated research office of UNICEF. It undertakes and commissions research on emerging or current issues of relevance for children in order to inform the strategic directions, policies and programmes of UNICEF, Governments and their partners. The Office explores emerging issues, identifies research gaps, brings together existing researchers, and supports or undertakes research and Data Collection to address critical questions and to inform policy dialogue and implementation at country level.

Education is a key focus of UNICEF Innocenti, with research on education and learning to support the implementation of best practices for education systems, policies and programmes. Working with UNICEF Headquarters, regional and country offices as well as universities and international partners, the education team supports 50+ countries worldwide in conducting evidence-based reviews and field research.

Activities in the READ (Research on Education And Development) unit are carried out in six main streams: a) Teacher motivation, attendance and of time on task (‘Time to Teach’ project)

‘Time to Teach’, one of READ team’s research projects, focuses on the determinants of teacher motivation, attendance and of time on task in 20 countries across Africa, influencing national policy and building national capacities in mixed-methods research through in-country training. ‘Time to teach’ is so far active in East and Southern Africa, West and Central Africa and Morocco.

b) Positive deviant practices and behaviors at school level (Data Must Speak project)

Since 2019, in line with UNICEF Foundational Learning and Numeracy (FLN) Programme, Data Must Speak (DMS) identifies positive deviant schools (i.e. schools that outperform others in terms of learning, equity and retention even though they operate with equivalent resources and contexts). The research explores why those positive deviant schools are outperforming others and investigates how these behaviors/practices could be optimally scaled in lower performing schools. DMS is demand-driven and uses a co-creation and co-implementation mixed-methods approach combining quantitative, qualitative and participatory implementation research as well as behavioral and scaling science, to improve uptake, replicability and sustainability. The research is so far undertaken in ten countries in Asia and Africa.

c) Digital learning (Learning Passport and Akelius projects)

The digital Learning Programme investigates the development, implementation and effectiveness of digital learning across various settings (no/low/high connectivity), modalities of use (blended/remote learning), populations, and education goals. Building mixed methods research into large scale digital learning partnerships such as the UNICEF-Akelius foundation partnership and the Learning Passport provides evidence on how to operationalize Reimagine Educations goal of delivering world class digital learning solutions to marginalized children. Currently research is being undertaken with digital learning in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece, Lebanon, Mauritania, Serbia and Timor Leste.

d) Girls’ and marginalized children’s education (Let Us Learn (LUL) project)

The LUL project investigates how innovations in education delivery can increase opportunities to access and improve learning for the most marginalized children with a specific focus on girls. LUL programme and mixed methods research is undertaken in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal.

e) Early Childhood Education (including in reference to Covid-19)

The early years of a child’s life are critical to building the foundations of learning that help them succeed in school and beyond. READ is establishing a new research portfolio focused on early childhood education. Priority activities for this year include an evidence review of what works, how and in what context, in improving equitable access to and learning quality in pre-primary education. The team is also developing and trialing resources to support parents and caregivers of children with disabilities during remote learning.

f) Sport for Development (S4D project)

In countries around the world, sport, recreation and play are improving the health and well-being of children and youth. Sport for development (S4D) organizations harness the power of sport as an inclusive mean of helping children to improve their health; to develop their social, educational and leadership skills; to empower them; and of course, to play and have fun. S4D protects children’s right to play while contributing towards the Social Development Goals. Our research, in partnership with the Barca Foundation investigates the best practices that Sport for Development (S4D) organizations could follow to ensure optimal child outcomes in terms of education, health, empowerment, protection and life skills.

- The purpose of this call is to solicit applications from individuals who are interested in working with the Research on Education And Development (READ) unit in a consultant/individual contractor capacity. Following the close of this call, an initial screening and short list will be made, from which selected candidates will be interviewed by READ senior staff. Approved applicants will be placed on a pre-approved roster which will remain valid for a period of 24 months.

2. Duration of roster-based consultancies: Consultancy arrangements may range from a fixed number of days to 11.5 months, depending on demand, project specifications and funding availability and will be subject to UNICEF General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants / Individual Contractors. Click here to view General Terms & Conditions for Consultants and Individual Contractors  General Terms & Conditions for Consultants and Individual Contractors 3. Supervision and work arrangements: Consultants who are selected from the roster will work under the supervision of the Chief of the READ Unit or other staff in the unit. Consultants may either be locally based in Florence (in which case they will need to have / get a valid permit of stay in Italy) or may work remotely, depending on requirements for each position. Longer-term consultants of six to 11.5 months will usually work full-time all working days and will be entitled to 1.5 days of leave per full worked month plus 10 official UN holidays. The Office of Research will not cover travel expenses to take on the assignment. The work may include incidental travel to participate in field work, workshops or conferences; such travel will be governed by UNICEF travel policies for consultants.

How can you make a difference?

4. Specific activities Selected Consultants/Individual contractors will work under the supervision of the Chief or other staff in the READ unit and may be expected to perform any of the the following activities to support the implementation of Innocenti’s research portfolio on education and learning, the consultants will perform any of the following activities: • Implementation of quantitative and qualitative research. This may involve the cleaning, coding and Analysis of survey, interview and focus group discussion data.

• Production of written outputs including policy reports, working papers, blog posts and policy briefs. This may involve undertaking literature and policy reviews, conducting comparative analyses, writing up findings, and working with a team of copyeditors and graphic designers.

• Development of new research proposals and other fund-raising activities • Research dissemination. This may include supporting the organization of dissemination events (remote or onsite) and the development of background documentation (e.g., concept notes, invitations, media products, infographics, slide decks, etc.).

• Contribution to the Office of Research work programme and support to the cross-cutting research agenda To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have qualifications and/or specialized knowledge/experience required and desirable for being included in the roster:

Advanced university degree in behavioral science, economics, education, statistics, social policy or related social sciences.

• A minimum of five years of progressively responsible professional work experience at national or international levels in Design and implementation of rigorous research, with developing country level experience essential; • Demonstrated experience in qualitative and/or quantitative research and evaluation designs and methods, including experimental and quasi-experimental methods; • Experience in writing research proposals and other fund-raising activities • Data and analytical skills and extensive knowledge of common statistics software packages (e.g. STATA, R, SPSS); knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) an asset; • Experience in managing large rounds of data collection and related trainings; experience in using common online / offline data collection packages (e.g. ODK, Kobo, SurveyCTO) an asset; • Excellent written and oral communication skills and excellent attention to details; • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work well as part of a geographically dispersed team and to forge and manage partnerships; • Commitment to UNICEF’s core values of care, respect, integrity, transparency and accountability; • Ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment; experience working in the UN or other international development organization an asset.

• Fluency in English required; Fluency in French desirable; Fluency in another UN language an asset 6. Instructions for applicants

To apply, please submit your CV and clearly include in your Cover letter the following information: • preferred work stream (a)‘Time to Teach’; b) Data Must Speak; c) Digital learning; d) Girls’ and marginalized children’s education; e) Early Childhood Education; f) Sport for Development), note that you can apply simultaneously to more than one work stream; • preferred type of consultant (Quantitative researcher, Qualitative Researcher, Mixed-methods expert); • all-inclusive daily/monthly fee rate in USD (excluding mission travel cost that will be funded by UNICEF separately as required and in line with UNICEF’s policies and procedures); You will notice that you are also asked to include this in your application form but we would also like to see it in your cover letter; • contact details (including emails and telephone numbers) of two professional referees.

Any application missing these elements will not be considered.

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.

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.

Depending on the type and length of contract, you may be eligible to the 10 official UN holidays and receive Paid Time Off (PTO) credit at the rate of one- and one-half days (1.5 days) for each full month of service, to be credited on the last calendar day of the month, and up to 17 days for a maximum of 11.5 months contract.

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.

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