Consultancy: Supply Chain Specialist, Strengthening Country Vaccine Forecasting Processes, MSDEU, UNICEF Supply Division, 7 months (Home-based)

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UNICEF is looking for a consultant to support the development of a vaccine forecasting toolbox and related training materials to be used by countries.

The consultancy is 140 days over a 7 months period. It is a home-based consultancy with 2 expected trips to Copenhagen of approximately 1 week each.


Gavi’s strategy for the 2021-25 period (‘Gavi 5.0’) focuses on increasing equity of immunization programmes by reaching marginalized children in the world’s poorest countries with the objective to save millions of lives. Effective and accurate vaccine forecasts are critical to ensure that country immunization programs sustainably reach unreached children with life-saving vaccines in different country settings.

In 2019, the Monitoring, Strategic Data and Evidence Unit (MSDEU) of UNICEF Supply Division and the UNICEF Programme Division started the initiative to develop and implement a tailored strategy and an action plan to support countries strengthening their capacity to develop more accurate vaccine forecasts. The first phase of the initiative concentrated on learning from countries that routinely produced accurate forecasts through the implementation of an assessment. Based on the findings from the assessment, UNICEF developed a strategic guidance document on strengthening the vaccine forecasting processes at country level, which provides countries with five high-level strategies to guide the design, planning and implementation of their forecasting strengthening interventions.

The second phase of the initiative consists of developing generic, adaptable and easy to use operational tools, based on the learnings from the assessment, as well as other international best practices in forecasting, and directly supporting countries in strengthening their forecasting capacity through a tailored implementation of the strategies and/or the forecasting operational tools.

UNICEF is looking for a consultant to support the development of a vaccine forecasting toolbox and related training materials to be used by countries.


The objective of this consultancy is to coordinate and develop a collection of vaccine-focused forecasting tools, guidance and training materials in coordination and collaboration with UNICEF partners. The consultant will oversee all aspects of the development of the contents of the toolbox and ensure that the developed materials reflect current vaccine forecasting best practices, are user oriented, and proactively integrate the guidance and approval of relevant UNICEF forecasting partners and stakeholders. The vaccine forecasting toolbox will support countries in their efforts to strengthen vaccine forecasting processes and capacity.

Scope of Work:

Under the supervision of the Supply Chain Monitoring Specialist in MSDEU, the selected consultant will undertake the following activities:

Conduct desk review of internal and external documentation on the demand forecasting and supply planning for vaccines and other health commodities to inform and help prepare for the design and development of the forecasting toolbox content. (10%)

The consultant will conduct a review of existing health commodity forecasting literature. The objective of this review is to identify relevant material that the vaccine forecasting toolbox material can be based upon.

Ensure the integration of partner guidance and buy-in on all toolbox materials. (5%)

As the toolbox development coordinator, UNICEF is responsible for routine meetings with UNICEF forecasting toolbox partners, and the consultant will participate in the planning and facilitation of the meetings. The toolbox will include guidance on forecasting of vaccines and related supplies, cold chain equipment and microplanning to reach the zero-dose children. The objectives of these meetings are to ensure that partner feedback is proactively considered in the design and finalization of the toolbox content and that there is a common vision of the final version of the toolbox for all involved partners. The consultant will play a key role in managing partner relationships and expectations on this project.

Conceptualize, design, and develop toolbox materials and, where relevant, directly collaborate with partners to design and develop tools or content. (60%)

The majority of the consultant’s time will be dedicated to the development of the contents of the vaccine and related supplies forecasting toolbox. The toolbox should synthesize and reflect guidance from previously developed partner materials, knowledge from UNICEF demand forecasting subject matter experts, as well as the consultant’s own forecasting experience. UNICEF’s partners will also provide technical inputs into the development of the toolbox materials. The consultant will directly and regularly collaborate with some of these partners to develop the tools, particularly in the development of the guidance manual for vaccines and related supplies forecasting (Tool #3).

The design and content of toolbox chapter for vaccine and related supplies should be organized and clear in its presentation of information. The content should also be user-friendly in their design in order to ensure the widest adoption by users. The toolbox will be made up of five components, and they are briefly summarized as follows:

Tool 1: Assessment tool for forecasting and supply planning

Country gaps in forecasting capacity, skill, knowledge and other related system barriers should be assessed and documented to better target forecasting capacity building efforts. The consultant will develop a diagnostic tool (in MS Word or Excel) that will systematically assess and identify vaccine forecasting areas of improvement. The tool could implement a scoring system based on broad functional areas to be defined by the consultant. The assessment tool could be standardized and allow comparability between countries, time periods and implementation contexts, but also needs to be flexible to meet the requirements of each country.

Tool 2: TOR for forecasting teams

Forecasting teams play a critical role in leading vaccine demand forecasting efforts at the country level. The consultant will develop a terms of reference document that will outline the various roles and responsibilities of these teams organized under each of the phases of the forecasting process (data collection, cleaning, forecast development, budget advocacy, etc.) This TOR will provide guidance on the suggested activities of each forecasting team member and the required professional competencies to execute those activities.

Tool 3: Guidance/manual on forecasting methodology, including data requirements, triangulation, consideration of equity & sample SOPs (30-40 pages)

The central component of the vaccine forecasting toolbox is forecasting guidance manual. The manual will provide its readers a broad overview of country-based vaccine demand forecasting principles and processes, and will describe the steps, activities and resources required for each element of the forecasting process. It will provide guidance on the best practices of each phase and also explain concepts related to forecasting, such as quality data, data triangulation and equity forecasting. The document will also include various sample templates and forms, including sample standard operating procedures.

Tool 4: KPI reference sheets for forecasting performance indicators (4-6 pages)

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide prioritized measures of system performance. The consultant will develop and design indicators to measure the performance of country-based forecasting activities in collaboration with relevant experts. The measures should be clear and adaptable to various country forecasting contexts. The developed indicators will be documented in reference sheets, which will define such things as the purpose of the indicator, how it is calculated, and the source of the reference data. The consultant will also provide recommendations on how to integrate the use of the indicators into routine country supply decision-making and planning.

Tool 5: Forecasting Tool in Excel

The consultant will review and conduct an analysis of current and past vaccine forecasting tools used by country EPI programs, UNICEF SD, and partners like WHO, Gavi, CHAI, JSI and others to document common forecasting tool requirements. The consultant will then design and build an Excel-based forecasting tool aligned to the methodologies presented in Tool #3.

The objective of this tool is to provide a standardized platform for vaccine forecasting to meet country forecasting and planning needs. However, in its design, the developed tool should also consider internal global UNICEF and Gavi forecasting methods, processes and timelines as relevant. The tool should be flexible, user friendly and easily maintained by its users. The design logic and forecasting assumptions behind the developed forecasting tool will be fully documented by the consultant as it will potentially serve as a prototype for a future online version to be determined based on the availability of future project funding and resources.

Conceptualize, design, and develop learning materials to train learners on the developed toolbox materials. (20%)

Once the toolbox materials have been developed, the consultant will develop training materials to more effectively support their implementation. The consultant will develop a PowerPoint-based training module for each of the five tools developed. The modules will systematically review the content of the tools and/or provide instruction on their use to learners. These tutorial presentations will be clearly organized and implement interactive learning principles. This would include brief question and answer sections or mini-exams to test learner knowledge and comprehension of tool-related learning concepts. The audience of the training would be those involved in the forecasting process including the forecasting team, if required. The training would be facilitated by country-level or regional forecasting experts.

Monitor and manage project milestones and related risks and present progress updates to stakeholders. (5%)

The consultant will provide overall project management leadership and oversight responsibility. The consultant will develop and monitor a work plan and drive project team and stakeholder progress against agreed upon project milestones. Routine reports on project-related progress, delays and risks will be expected from the consultant.

How can you make a difference?

Deliverables/Outputs :

– Tools 1 to 5: 5 months after contract starts (60%)

– A Power-Point training programme covering Tools 1-5: 7 months after contract starts (20%)

– Toolbox development is implemented as per workplan, stakeholder inputs are regularly received, and all stakeholders are continuously engaged: Ongoing- (Payment at end of contract 20%)

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Public Administration, Business Administration or Management, Public Health, Pharmacy, Supply Chain Management, or related field.
    *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.•Minimum 5 years of progressive work experience at national and/or international levels in either public and/or private sector in domains such as supply chain, demand planning and forecasting, business analysis, and/or data analytics/management.

    •Experience with forecasting of health products, particularly in the context of developing countries. Specific experience in forecasting of vaccines and related supplies is preferred.

    •Experience in the conceptualization, design, and development of user- and learner-oriented technical guidance and training materials.

    •Demonstrated experience in the management of complex, multi-faceted projects requiring the consensus of diverse stakeholders.

    •Experience working in a multi-cultural environment and/or developing country situation is an asset.

    •Work experience within the UN or a similar organization / NGO is preferred.

    Technical knowledge

    •Experience in the forecasting of health commodities and an expert-level of knowledge of demand forecasting principles, methods, and tools.

    •Knowledge of end-to-end public health supply chain processes in developing countries.

    •Experienced use of Microsoft Office Suite, with advanced tool design competencies in Microsoft Excel is a strong asset


    Proficiency in English is required. Fluency in French is an asset

Qualified candidates are requested to submit:

  1. Cover letter/application.
  2. Financial quote at a daily rate in US Dollars including all taxes.
  3. P11 form if not applying through UNICEF Employment site
  4. At least 3 Reference contacts from recent Supervisors

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies

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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.


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.

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