National Consultant Early Childhood Development

UN Children's Fund, Suva, Fiji

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
2 years of relevant work experience
Closing Date for Applications: 
7th June, 2020

Job Description

UNICEF works in some of the worlds toughest places, to reach the worlds 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, improved investments and services for young children and families

Kiribati is one of four Pacific island countries which UNICEF is supporting to develop robust multisectoral ECD policies and coordination mechanisms. The support is in line with the Pasifika Call to Action for ECD, endorsed by Kiribati, which outlines critical actions to strengthen an enabling environment to improve investments and services for young children and families. Among these key actions are:

  • Support a comprehensive assessment of the national and sub-national enabling environment for ECD, including policies, regulations, programmes/services and stakeholders on ECD that will inform next steps on ECD in the country;
  • Guide the establishment and strengthening of a multi-sectoral ECD coordination mechanism in government (may include development of terms of reference, interagency agreements, etc.);
  • Support the development of relevant policy and planning instruments on ECD, for example, National ECD Action Plan that is comprehensive, multi-sectoral and properly resourced, with clear linkages and contributions from existing sector plans and budgets;
  • Support the development of a national M&E framework and mechanism on ECD that effectively monitors the situation of young children and generates data and evidence for effective decision-making.

On 24-27 September 2019, UNICEF engaged focal points from relevant ministries in Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu for a multi-country workshop on ECD Policy Planning and Coordination held in Suva, Fiji. The ECD focal points were from the Ministries of Education, Finance, Health and Social Welfare. The workshop was led by a team from RISE Institute, a consultancy firm contracted by UNICEF which has worked across more than 50 countries supporting governments in designing and implementing ECD and early intervention policy tools.

Each country team participated actively in preparing for their country's ECD policy planning process. As concrete outputs, government participants to the workshop produced 1) a national plan for ECD mapping study, 2) outline and strategy for developing an ECD situation analysis, 3) plan for consultation workshops and high-level interviews, 4) overall ECD work-plan that outlines the steps they need to do (with detailed timelines), with the goal to have an ECD Policy or Action Plan, including an M&E framework, by end of 2020. This ECD work-plan has now been incorporated into the UNICEF-Ministry of Education (MoE) work-plan of Kiribati. In Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, ECD activities are incorporated in UNICEF's work-plans with Ministries of Education, given these Ministries lead role in ECD.

The workshop is the first of a series of three workshops on ECD action-planning, which will eventually produce relevant ECD policy or policy tools, a Costed, multi-sectoral ECD strategic plan, guidelines to strengthen ECD coordination across ministries, and an M&E framework for each of the countries. The second multi-country ECD Workshop, where countries are expected to present the results of their comprehensive ECD assessment and consultations, is tentatively planned for late May 2020.

The process for ECD policy planning that the countries committed to is government-driven with highly participatory and consultative processes so that the ECD policies and action plans reflect the ambitions, priorities and needs of the countries. Using this approach, ECD improvements are more fit-to-context and relevant.

How can you make a difference?

In Kiribati, an ECD coordination mechanism has also been established, although it needs further support to strengthen inter-sectoral planning and service delivery for young children and families. The Kiribati ECD Steering Committee was established the 3rd of September 2019, tasked to oversee, coordinate and monitor national multisectoral policies, activities and programs for enhancing ECD in the country. The Steering Committee supervises the ECD Technical Working Group, which is a multi-sectoral technical resource group for the development and implementation of a coordinated and holistic approach to support young children and their families. This Technical Working Group has been active in the country's ECD activities. It organized the National ECD Forum in October 2019, with support of UNICEF and the New Zealand government. Additionally, Kiribati government has hired a national ECD Coordinator, with funding support from UNICEF. The post is based in the Ministry of Education, and works under the supervision of the Director of Education to provide technical support to implementation of UNICEF ECD work plan under Ministry of Education

The effective work time of the contract is 6 months. During this period, the consultant will focus on overall implementation and monitoring of all approved ECD work-plan activities, including the following specific tasks:

  •  Provide technical and operational guidance for the implementation of the MoE-UNICEF work plan 2020, specifically the ECD policy planning and coordination activities, in collaboration with the Kiribati National ECD Coordinator;
  • Prepare monthly and quarterly progress reports to systematically document the results, including contributing to UNICEF donor reports and other required reporting;
  •  Support inter-sectoral collaboration through active support to the ECD coordination steering committee and working groups, including organizing and attending necessary meetings;
  •  Support liquidation process of MoE and other necessary administrative procedures as necessary in fulfilment of ECD activities.
  •  Ensure regular coordination with partners and other key stakeholders in Kiribati;
  •  Provide support to emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction initiatives, specifically relating to ECD;
  •  Provide support to Chief and Kiribati Field Office internal coordination for ensuring that programme implantation in Health & Nutrition, WASH, CPare effectively harmonized in contributing to ECD framework.
  •  Actively participate and contribute in the UNICEF Kiribati staff meetings and activities;
  • Coordinate activities and exchange information with the Chief of the Kiribati Field Office, ECD Manager in Suva, and other UNICEF sections to contribute to the achievement of overall country program objectives

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have

  • A University Degree Education, Development Studies, Social Sciences, Community Development or a related field.
  • Minimum of 5 years of professional work experience in child development, public policy, or a related field.
  • Strong experience in participatory processes and community-based work.
  • Previous work experience in the Kiribati Education Sector is desirable.
  • Ability to use computer - micro soft word, excel, internet.
  • Fluency in English, verbal and written.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment in a stressful environment.
  • Action-oriented approach and strong drive for results.
  • Highly developed negotiation and interpersonal communication skills and ability to work in a team.
  • High tolerance for operating in an environment characterized by uncertainty and ambiguity.
  • Able to work effectively in a multi-cultural environment and a high sense of integrity.
  • Able to work effectively in a multi-cultural environment and a high sense of integrity.

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.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

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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