United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (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.
We are recruiting to fill the position below:
Job Title: National Consultant – Support to Develop a Parental Engagement Programme for Nigeria
Job No: 553463
Contract Type: Consultancy
Duration: 3 months
How can you make a difference?
Purpose of this post:
- UNICEF is now developing a Parental Engagement Programme to expand its work with parents of young children as part of its Early Childhood Care and Development Education (ECCDE) strategy and to systematically integrate this work with its ongoing efforts to strengthen systems, increase access and improve learning in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Education more broadly.
- A key output of the Early Childhood Care and Development Education ECCDE strategy is to engage parents and community members as key partners in quality ECD and early learning, as evidence shows that parents tend to be more receptive when they are part of the learning process and are acknowledged as an important source of information.
- The Parental Engagement Programme, which will be a key activity under this output, thus aims to set up a parenting information network that provides increased awareness for parents (household) and caregivers through engagement in learning in the home and community, including early stimulation for babies and infants, reading at home and making books available.
Scope of Work
- This consultancy will aim to develop the Parental Education Programme, namely the objectives, structure, approach, content, and results frameworks, to fulfill the intended outcomes as defined by the Education section’s Early Childhood Care and Development Education (ECCDE) strategy and other relevant documents.
The programme is expected to:
- Increase parents/ caregivers’ knowledge of the importance of children’s early years, including both formal early childhood education and engagement with responsive caregivers, and
- Effect tangible behavioral change in their parenting practices, play-based engagement with their children, and demand for early learning services. It will do this by employing principles of effective practices for adult learning, early childhood development, educational psychology, and behavioral science. Parents will be exposed to new knowledge, attitudes, positive social norms, and recommendations for practices that can contribute to the quality development of the early children aged 3-5 years and will be engaged in experiential learning to practice their implementation with the support of qualified professionals, community actors, and peers.
- The Care for Child Development recommends play and communication activities for families to stimulate the learning of their children. Through play and communication, adults learn how to be sensitive to the needs of children and respond appropriately to meet these needs. These basic caregiving skills contribute to the survival, as well as the healthy growth and development, of young children.
- It is expected that this programme and the resource packs developed will be distributed and used by parents and guardians as part of sensitization and outreaches in community learning hubs/centers and informal gatherings within the community setting.
- Some of the materials will also be used for capacity building, monitoring, and mentoring of community volunteers who serve as parental champions.
- This work will build on UNICEF’s previous distribution of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials to parents and learners but will aim to address the bottlenecks associated with their limited reach and volume, lack of interactivity, and limited personalization to parents’ needs.
- The Parenting Education Programme will thus aim to develop an Early Childhood Parenting Information Portal, delivered via the Nigeria Learning Passport, to provide tailored, interactive resources to improve parenting skills especially on play-based early learning within the home and community environment.
- These resources will be available in engaging visual, audio, and slide presentations, as well as fun pictures and simple texts.
- These presentations aim to make learning relevant for parents with diverse levels of educational attainment themselves, speakers of diverse languages, families in hard-to-reach areas (e.g., areas with limited internet connectivity) and those with disabilities by presenting information in families’ mother tongue languages, in multiple formats (e.g., online and offline), and in accessible and engaging ways.
Under the supervision of the Education Specialist, the consultant will be responsible for the following:
- Development of key messages that are inclusive, culturally relevant, gender-responsive, developmentally appropriate, and progressively sequenced to accompany children as they grow older and enter different developmental stages. These messages are to be disseminated via digital forms including SMS, USSD, and print format.
- They must support parents/caregivers/families, including those with low literacy, on the importance of engaging in and supporting play-based learning at home. UNICEF will support their translation and adaptation into multiple languages.
- Develop a digital and print format resource pack (complete with PDF guidance and interactive audio and video) for parents to promote learning at home, including play-based physical, cognitive and socio-emotional activities to promote holistic child development in a play-based and age- and developmentally-appropriate way.
- These activities must be based on evidence and best practices for supporting young children’s early learning and development, including, for example, their pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills, and must be aligned with the developmental milestones associated with early school readiness.
- Development of take-home packages (play materials/kits, textbooks, worksheets, etc.), including instructions and guidance to parents on the use of such packages to enhance learning (using formats and content that build families’ confidence and skills).
- The consultant will also provide support to adapt the take-home packages into different languages suitable for their context.
- Development of a comprehensive action plan for testing, refining, rolling out/distributing, and using all of the above-outlined materials, including a communication and engagement strategy for working with key stakeholders to ensure relevance, uptake, and sustained use, as well as a monitoring strategy (methods, tools, and timeline for data collection). This will include the development of a monitoring framework that covers reach and uptake, effective implementation
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have:
- Advanced Degree (minimum Master’s) in Early Childhood Care and Education, educational or developmental psychology, or related field.
- At least 8 years of experience and demonstrated experience in Early Childhood Care and Development Education (ECCDE)
- Technical expertise in early childhood development and education
- Experience in developing children’s books and materials for early learning
- Specific experience in developing video, audio, and flash content; designing and developing interactive learning content, developing digital educational content/open educational resources/web-based content is required;
- Detailed knowledge and demonstrated experience with the design of accessible digital content, namely according to the principles of Universal Design for Learning, especially for users with low
- Demonstrated experience in designing and developing outreach messages and materials for parental engagement in children’s learning/development, focused on early literacy and numeracy
- Excellent workshop facilitation and training skills, especially with parents, community members, and government officials.
- Deep familiarity and understanding of pre-primary context and culture in Nigeria or other developing contexts, especially sub-Saharan Africa and specifically West Africa.
- Excellent oral and written communication in English is required.
Application Closing Date
11th August, 2022.
How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online
For every Child, you demonstrate:
- UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).
- 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.
- Please submit your all-inclusive financial and technical proposal along with the application. Application without these will not be entertained
- 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.
- The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract.
- Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations, or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.