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, Protection
Background and Scope of Work
UNICEF mandate is to ensure that children’s life, wellbeing, and rights are protected and supported. UNICEF works worldwide to strengthen institutional and governmental systems protecting children and adolescents, promoting their rights and supporting their development in a safe and conducive environment. UNICEF promotes community-based actions and programming to empower families and communities in attaining their needs fulfilled and caring for the most vulnerable groups. In a great variety of settings, from war-torn countries to disaster-affected areas, from low- to middle- and high-income countries, UNICEF commitment is to ensure that special attention is given to the most vulnerable children and adolescents so that their fullest potential can be achieved.
Protecting children and fostering their psychosocial wellbeing entails multiple actions that UNICEF carries out together with governmental counterparts and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). In Italy, UNICEF work focuses on tailored programs addressing the needs of the most disadvantaged children and caregivers, including migrant and refugee children and youth inside and outside the reception system, alternative and foster care for separated and accompanied children, including those of migrant background, children at risk of protection risks and/or developing psychosocial distress, or whose mental health and psychosocial wellbeing is undermined. Key elements of the Programme are composed by capacity building for frontline workers and practitioners, evidence generation and advocacy – also in cooperation with the Italian National Committee for UNICEF.
According to the data of Italy’s Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, as of January 2022, there were 11,542 unaccompanied and separated children in Italy, of whom 11,227 (97.3%) were boys and 315 (2.7%) females arriving primarily from Bangladesh, Tunisia and Egypt for boys and Côte d’Ivoire, Albania and Somalia for girls. The recent influx of Ukrainian children is also putting new challenges to the reception system. As of April 1st, and since the conflict in Ukraine started, 55.711 Ukrainian people have been official registered in Italy, of which 28.537 women and 22.398 children. The number is to be considered underestimated, since a number of children, especially those evacuated from Institutions in Ukraine, have been not registered. The number of separate minors (14-17 years) are increasing, all claiming to join mothers or grandmothers in Italy, while it is likely that the number of unaccompanied children will increase.
Despite the efforts of the Italian Government, challenges are still faced in relations to ensuring protection and social inclusion for refugee and migrant children: the highly fragmented system generates disparities in terms of quality of services, care and capacity of frontline workers across the Country. At the same time, whilst some unaccompanied and separated children hosted in reception centres demonstrate resilience and a strong willingness to move forward on their migratory project, emotional difficulties of others are clearly discernible in the feelings of apathy, disconnectedness and incapacity to relate to others. These difficulties are also triggered by their long stay in the reception centres and their very young age.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) is an institutional priority for the UN and for UNICEF and is critical to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The UNICEF Strategic Plan 2022-2025 identifies MHPSS as a priority area, building upon existing programming through child protection, education and health, shaped by actions and standards set out in the Child Protection Minimum Standards (CPMS), Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs) and the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies.
According to recent UNICEF State of the World’s Children 2021, 13 per cent of adolescent worldwide is estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder. Covid-19 emergency is exacerbating the risk of worsening of mental health wellbeing status. The risk for mental health conditions and psychosocial problems among children and adolescents is exacerbated also when they are exposed to poverty, violence, disease or humanitarian crises. This is of meaning when it comes to migration population – including unaccompanied children – who faced in their journeys dramatic events that could undermine their mental health status if not well supported.
In March 2021 the European Commission issued two milestone documents regarding the protection, inclusion and participation of children in Europe. The EU strategy on children’s rights provides the framework for EU action to better promote and protect children’s rights, while the Child Guarantee is the dedicated programme to combat the child poverty and social exclusion of the most vulnerable children, to ensure they have access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition. UNICEF is cooperating with the European Commission and the National Authorities to pilot the Phase 3 of the Child Guarantee. Children with mental health issues form one of the most vulnerable groups identified, and it is expected that relevant efforts of the authorities will be reflected in the upcoming Child Guarantee National Action Plan.
Purpose of the Assignment
The purpose of this assignment is to provide CP and MHPSS technical support to frontline workers, practitioners, UNICEF partners (including NGOs, CSOs, etc.) institutional counterparts, the MHPSS community of practice and any other relevant stakeholder with whom UNICEF works in partnership. The individual contractor will work under the supervision of the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Expert and the Child Protection Specialist.
The contractor will design, plan and deliver capacity strengthening initiatives (trainings, webinars, orientation sessions, etc.) through face-to-face and remote modalities, under the guidance and instructions of the MHPSS Expert. In line with the capacity building work implemented by UNICEF so far, the individual contractor will contribute to scale up a twofold action; strengthening MHPSS systems and improve MHPSS services delivered to vulnerable children, adolescents, youth and caregivers.
While the focus of the capacity building pillar is mostly oriented to consolidate and enhance the area of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, it is expected that the contractor will support as needed in other technical areas, concerning Child Protection, such as child safeguarding and alternative and foster care.
In doing so the contractor, will:
- Design and deliver training packages, in appropriate format and content as needed and decided internally within the Child Protection/MHPSS team and following the instructions of the MHPSS Expert.
- Test training modules and operational toolkit in different locations and operational settings (including formal/informal centres, schools, remotely, emergency/non-emergency structures, etc.).
- Provide technical support to relevant civil society organizations (including faith-based ones), institutions, and other partners, and provide technical guidance, as needed and relevant, to strengthen practitioners’ and frontline personnel’s skills and competence concerning MHPSS national and international guidelines, minimum standards, and safety requirements (such as child safeguarding).
- Under the guidance of the Child Protection Specialist and the MHPSS Expert, conduct assessment and monitoring activities and analyse needs, progresses, gaps and bottlenecks of key thematic areas (CP and MHPSS related).
- Facilitate information and knowledge exchange, sharing of relevant practices and lessons learnt among MHPSS providers (including capitalising on the existing MHPSS community of most promising practices) and key stakeholders to facilitate inter-coordination, professional peer-to-peer support, complementarity of interventions, service quality, integrated case management and harmonisation of interventions. This will be done through ad hoc initiatives including, the organisation of periodic updates and exchange sessions.
- Support as needed the development, domestic contextualisation, testing and roll-out of key technical tools, including manuals and training material.
Work Assignment Overview
|Tasks / Milestone||Deliverables / Outputs||Timeline / Deadline|
|Design, development, testing, domestic contextualisation, roll out and delivery of training packages and operational toolkits, in multiple formats as needed and decided internally within the Child Protection/MHPSS team and under the supervision and guidance of the MHPSS Expert||Training tools and complementary material is developed||Ongoing|
|Training and capacity building events are organised, planned and promoted in consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders|
|Training modules are successfully delivered in line with established workplan and under the guidance of the Child Protection Specialist and the MHPSS Expert (this output may involve travel to multiple field locations)|
|Upon training delivery, an assessment of the conducted activity is carried out to adjust the content as needed and improve future events|
|Provide technical support to relevant civil society organizations (including faith-based ones), institutions, and other partners, and provide technical guidance, as needed and relevant, to strengthen practitioners’ and frontline personnel’s skills and competence concerning MHPSS national and international guidelines, minimum standards, and safety requirements (such as child safeguarding).||Organization of interagency thematic meetings and ad hoc learning and sharing sessions||Regularly|
|Delivery of ad hoc learning sessions to UNICEF partners||Regularly, as needed|
|Supporting the MHPSS Expert in producing operational guidance and other practical tools for service providers and frontline personnel||Ongoing|
|Conducting in person and remote capacity building session in collaboration and with the engagement of UNICEF partners|
|Facilitate information and knowledge exchange, sharing of relevant practices and lessons learnt among MHPSS providers and key stakeholders to facilitate inter-agency coordination, professional peer-to-peer support, complementarity of interventions, service quality, integrated case management and harmonisation of interventions. This will be done through ad hoc initiatives including, the organisation of periodic updates and exchange sessions.||Supporting established processes to increase inter-agency sharing and coordination in the field of MHPSS||Regularly, as needed|
|Developing communication material informing on UNICEF-supported capacity building initiatives and learning opportunities for inter-agency knowledge and practice sharing, and promoting showing cases of MHPSS promising practices – under the guidance of the MHPSS Expert||Ongoing|
|Contributing to the recently established community of practices of promising and good practices in the field of MHPSS|
|Supporting in conducting assessment and monitoring activities and analyse needs, progresses, gaps and bottlenecks of key thematic areas (CP and MHPSS related), under the guidance of the Child Protection Specialist and the MHPSS Expert.||Support in conducting CP and/or MHPSS needs assessments concerning children, adolescents, youth and caregivers (tools will be identified and adapted under the guidance and support of the CP Specialist and the MHPSS Expert)||Regularly, as needed (maximum twice during the contract period)|
|Supporting in monitoring activities will be carried out, as needed and based on program priorities.||Regularly, as needed|
|Contribution to analysis and reports produced upon each assessment and monitoring activity implemented|
Estimated Duration of the Contract
7 months (May – December 2022)
Individual Contractor’s Work Place and Official Travel
The assignment will be home-based in Italy. The Individual Contractor is required on a full-time basis for the period of the contract.
The Individual Contractor will travel to field locations in Italy. The Individual Contractor will be responsible for organizing their travel. All travel expenses (tickets, accommodation, public transport, meals) will be reimbursed. The maximum amount for travel overall will be EUR 3,000.
- All UNICEF rules and regulations related to travel of Consultants/Individual Contractors apply.
- All travels shall be undertaken only upon the prior written approval by UNICEF.
- The consultant is responsible for his/her for travel arrangements. The most economic and direct route is authorized.
- Travel costs will be reimbursed after the completion of mission upon submission of the invoice together with the supporting documentation.
- The consultant must be fit to travel, be in a possession of the valid UN BSAFE certificate, obligatory inoculation(s) and have a valid own travel/medical insurance and an immunization/vaccination card.
Estimated Cost of the Consultancy & Payment Schedule
Payment will be made on submission of a monthly invoice and satisfactory completion of the above-mentioned deliverables. Please indicate an all inclusive fixed monthly fee in EUR to undertake this assignment.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- Master in Pedagogy, Social Work, Education, Psychology, Anthropology, Political Science or other related fields.
- From 2 to 5 years of demonstrated relevant professional work in Child Protection and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support implementing programmes in emergency/non-emergency and low/high-income country (exposure to a variety of contexts will be considered an asset).
- A minimum of 2 years of demonstrated relevant professional work conducting capacity building activities including development and delivery of training programs, and/or other activities aimed at the capacity building of different audiences and targets.
- Knowledge of national and local contexts with regard to Mental Health and Psychosocial Support and/or alternative care and/or migration.
- Experience in conducting similar assignments and producing similar deliverables and in thematic areas related to Child Protection and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support will be highly valued.
- Familiarity with the use of the IASC and/or UNICEF Mental Health and Psychosocial Support technical tools is appreciated.
- Capacity of engagement of Authorities, partners and relevant stakeholders is highly value.
- Excellent planning and organizational skills.
- Excellent analytical, communication and writing skills.
- Excellent ability to work in a team, under pressure and tight deadlines.
- Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.
- Fluency in Italian and English required.
- Having previous work experiences with UNICEF in the fields of CP and/or MHPSS is appreciated.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s core 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.
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.
This is a re-advertisement in order to expand the candidate pool. Previous applicants need not reapply as their original application will be duly considered.
Please include a full CV and Financial Proposal in your application. Additionally, indicate your availability and monthly rate (in EUR) to undertake the terms of reference above, bearing in mind that the maximum monthly fee for this assignment is EUR 2,850. Applications submitted without a monthly rate will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
It should be noted that selected candidate will be responsible for arranging for their own health and medical insurance. This consultancy does not provide any other benefits other than the consultancy fee and 1.5 days leave entitlement per month and the UN official holidays. Selected consultant will be responsible for complying with local tax requirements and any tax liabilities that may arise as a result of the consultancy with UNICEF.
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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