International Consultancy : Study on options for maintaining Malawi’s Social Registry Information

  • Contract
  • Malawi


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, safety

Underlying poverty and vulnerability to repeated shocks are severely affecting the lives and economic prospects of millions of Malawians. The 2017 Integrated Household Survey (IHS 4, 2017) estimated that more than half of the Malawian population (51.5%) is living below the national poverty line. In rural areas, this percentage rises to 59.5%. As compared to 2010, the IHS 4 reported an increase of national poverty levels (by 0.8 %) while ultra-poverty declined from 24.5 % to 20.1 %.

Poverty is multidimensional, and determined not only by income, but also by deprivation and vulnerabilities: 56.1% of the Malawian population are multi-dimensionally poor, and an additional 27.2% live near multi-dimensional poverty (Human Development Report 2016). Sixty three percent of children are multidimensionally poor in Malawi; which is higher than the monetary poverty rates for both children and adults.

The frequent shocks in Malawi including floods, droughts, macroeconomic instability and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, are contributing to aggravate this situation. Every year, for the last 10 years, close to 2 million people in Malawi have been in need of emergency food assistance. And in 2021, a caseload of nearly 200,000 households was added due to emerging needs in urban areas related to the socio-economic effects of COVID-19.

Recent years have seen a sharp increase in the number and coverage of social protection programs worldwide and the broader institutionalization of social protection systems. While many countries still face significant fragmentation, there is a growing trend towards integration of different functions underlying the delivery of social protection programs. One notable example is the harmonization of outreach, intake, registration and assessment of needs and conditions for multiple programs via social registries. This trend has been exacerbated by an increased interest on leveraging social protection systems for humanitarian responses and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Unified Beneficiary Registry (UBR) is a social registry that provides a single source of households’ information, helping harmonize targeting processes for social support programmes in Malawi. It was created in 2016 as part of the efforts to continuously improve and harmonize targeting across most interventions under the Malawi National Social Support Programme II (MNSSP II, 2018- 2023). From 2018, the UBR has been the main source of data for targeting new Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) beneficiaries, and has also been used for the identification of beneficiaries under the annual Lean Season food insecurity response and other shocks, thus constituting a positive example of Shock-Sensitive Social Protection. Other potential areas of expansion for the registry include agriculture and education.

Much as the UBR has been used for targeting and retargeting for social support and emergency programmes, the extent to which the information it contains has been used has depended on the availability of recent and complete data records across Malawi’s 28 districts. Therefore, there is need for exploring realistic and cost-effective options for maintaining at least a core set of indicators in risk-prone areas continuously updated in order to facilitate the leveraging of the UBR for shock-responses.

Much as the UBR has been used for targeting and retargeting for social support and emergency programmes, the extent to which the information it contains has been used has depended on the availability of recent and complete data records across Malawi’s 28 districts. Therefore, there is need for exploring realistic and cost-effective options for maintaining at least a core set of indicators in risk-prone areas continuously updated in order to facilitate the leveraging of the UBR for shock-responses.

How can you make a difference?

The consultant will be required to develop a methodology, to be refined in the inception report, to lay out the approach to the assignment. The methodology must include a detailed workplan.

Following the approval of the methodology, the consultant will conduct a desk review and an analysis of options for regularly updating Malawi’s UBR information. The report shall include specific sections on the practicality of each option presented for the context of Malawi (e.g. on-demand solutions vs. limited literacy levels), its costing implications and its potential for the effective use of UBR data for emergency responses. The report shall be validated by key stakeholders. Comments and modifications will be addressed by the consultant iteratively until a final version of the report is accepted. The consultant is expected to facilitate stakeholder’s consultations.

The assignment will be structured around (i) an inception report, detailing methodology and workplan; (ii) a draft report for discussion with the stakeholders; and (iii) a final report.

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

Academic qualification: Advanced degree in Political Science, Development, Humanitarian Affairs or related disciplines.

Work experience: A minimum of 10  years’ professional experience in social protection and/or humanitarian affairs, better if applied to areas related to social registries and beneficiary databases or Management Information Systems (MIS).  Experience in developing countries, including at least 3 years in Sub Saharan Africa, is required. Additional experience in Malawi will be considered a strong asset.

Technical skills and knowledge:  Advanced knowledge and understanding of social protection and humanitarian affairs. In depth understanding of the concept of social registries and the challenges for its operational implementation in developing countries, with at least 2 years of experience related to social registries in Sub Saharan Africa. A minimum of 6 years of experience in assignments related to the design and/or operations of management information systems for the provision of social support and/or humanitarian aid. Proven ability to work in collaboration with Government institutions.

Competencies: Intermediate knowledge of the Microsoft Office Package is required. Ability to work efficiently in a time-bound manner, delivering high quality products through participatory processes.

Languages:  Excellent written and spoken English is required.

Please refer to the attached full Terms of Reference Download File TOR for Study on options for maintaining Malawi’s social registry information.pdf for more details on the consultancy and requirements.

How to apply…

Interested consultants should provide the following:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Brief technical proposal (no longer than five pages) demonstrating the consultant’s understanding of the assignment and approach/methodology to the assignment
  3. Financial proposal including a breakdown of their all-inclusive fees (including professional fees, travel, living cost, visa and other costs). Complete the attached form Download File Financial Proposal for Consultancy.xlsx.
  4. References details – at least 3 references with whom the candidate has worked closely, including the current supervisor.

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.

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.

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.

Remarks:

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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