International Individual Contractor – Portfolio-Lead for the Shock-Sensitive Social Protection

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, social protection


BACKGROUND


Malawi has been hit with consecutive and successive climatic shocks over the last few years. 

With a low capacity to cope and little time to recover, the country has witnessed escalating food and nutrition insecurity. For close to ten years now, Malawi has been supporting, every single year, an average of 1.8 million people (that is, 10 percent of its population) with emergency food assistance. 

With pre-existing high and chronic levels of food and income insecurity, any shock further negatively impacts the most vulnerable populations.

 Poor people are among the groups most exposed to and suffering the most from shocks, including drought or floods: Limited livelihood options, resources, and access to services mean that these households are the least able to withstand shocks. Major negative events, particularly rainfall and loss of off-farm employment, contribute to the poor households remaining in their status and also increase the likelihood of non-poor households falling into poverty.


Social Protection Programmes are currently unable to predictably meet chronic needs and systems are not prepared to effectively expand or facilitate humanitarian interventions in times of crisis. 

To date, important investments have been made in the social protection sector, but coverage has remained limited, and the system has suffered from insufficient integration in program design and consistency of programs’ objectives.


Humanitarian action has in practice been filling the gap by responding to chronic needs that ought to be addressed by social protection systems.

 In turn, the social protection system hasn’t been leveraged to implement a more cost-effective humanitarian response thereby leading to a suboptimal response, drawing on humanitarian budgets, technical expertise, and stretching the positioning of humanitarian actors as non-government stakeholders. The underlying vulnerabilities of Malawi, including chronic levels of food insecurity and high exposure to climate risks, “are an important factor in producing recurrent humanitarian emergencies”. As such, predictable seasonal patterns, and even minor weather variations currently result in a humanitarian crisis.


To tackle this issue, efforts have been made by the Government of Malawi, in line with global commitments, to expand the current coverage of the social protection system and better align humanitarian action and social protection. 

Through the MNSSP II, the government has made a strong commitment to design and implement a social protection system that: covers more people, provides complementary support to respond to the multiple and compounding needs of the population, and that is sensitive to shocks, i.e. that contributes to mitigate, respond to and recover from shocks, in collaboration with the humanitarian sector.


The covid-19 pandemic and the Government response to its socio-economic effects on urban poor puts additional pressure on the social protection system.

 The Government has designed an urban cash response and is furthermore addressing increased rural needs through a vertical expansion of the SCTP. Already limited capacities within the leading social protection ministries are further stretched.


JUSTIFICATION


Using the social protection system to address emergencies is in line with global and national commitments made towards shock-responsive social safety nets. 

The Government of Malawi in its National Social Support Programme (MNSSP II) has committed to design and implement a social protection system that: covers more people, provides complementary support to respond to the multiple and compounding needs of the population, and that is sensitive to shocks, i.e. that contributes to mitigating, respond to and recover from shocks, in collaboration with the humanitarian sector. Shock-sensitive social protection is a topic that has attracted a lot of interest from different actors, within and external to the Government, including from Development Partners, Donors, NGOs, and Government Ministries. This large number of actors creates a vibrant environment for SSSP discussions, related research, and piloting. Since 2015|16 more and more initiatives in this area take place each year.


Different actors have brought in, and partially operationalized, different approaches towards SSSP, including in response to covid-19, that fail to follow a joint vision in Malawi, despite broad guidance in MNSSP II. 

The flipside of this diverse SSSP environment is that there is a wealth of different approaches, objectives, agendas, and mandates being brought to SSSP in Malawi, creating a rich environment of expertise. However, the lack of a shared vision and fragmentation among partners is becoming increasingly palpable as more and more initiatives are being undertaken.


UNICEF’s focus on SSSP has significantly grown since 2015 and requires increased technical and operational attention. 

UNICEF MCO’s support to the Government in the area of SSSP is focussed on five key areas, i.e. (i) evidence and analysis, (ii) policy, strategy, legislation, coordination, and financing, (iii) program design features, (iv) administration and delivery systems, and (v) preparing and using the national social protection system to implement humanitarian cash transfers.


In a context where the social protection response to covid-19, but also broader moving policy pieces, e.g. the new SCTP five-year strategic plan and the possible introduction of an old age grant are changing the face of social protection in Malawi, SSSP in 2020 is at a crossroad. 

Multiple actors are increasingly leveraging the SSSP policy trend and operational successes in the area of SSSP made. UNICEF has committed to coherently advance key pieces of a shock-sensitive social protection system, that contribute to strengthening and cementing the leadership of the Government in the area. A stronger focus on horizontal expansion functionalities of the SCTP, monitoring capacities of regular and shock-responsive social protection, funding flows to support SSSP and better underlying systems (e.g. an updated Unified Beneficiary Registry) are among the priorities for UNICEF and the Government of Malawi and will be tackled in 2020 / 2021.


How can you make a difference?

    • Lead on the technical and operational assistance UNICEF is rendering to the Covid-19 Urban Cash Response together with partners;
    • Lead the operationalization of the UNICEF concept for shock-sensitive social protection, in line with ongoing grants, and partnerships with sister agencies and development partners;
    • In close collaboration with line ministries and partners, steer dialogue and process to reach an operational vision on shock-sensitive social protection agreed at Country level, ensuring UNICEF’s concept for shock-sensitive social protection and mandate to promote the rights of every child everywhere is reflected;
    • Lead on the refinement and operationalization of the nutrition-sensitive social protection portfolio of UNICEF MCO;
    • Identify opportunities, design, procure, and oversee operational and other research related to the improvement of the protection and preventive functions of the Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) including with a focus on nutrition-sensitive social protection;
    • Identify and seize entry points to translate shock-sensitive initiatives and actions in improvements for the regular social protection systems under MNSSP II, including the call centers put in place for the Covid-19 Urban Cash Response, as well as remote monitoring for the SCTP;
    • Design, develop, and oversee inputs for the in-house representation of the SSSP portfolio, including but not limited to regular monitoring and reporting systems;
    • Oversee the conceptualization and development of SSSP communication material, for both an internal and external audience and including collaboration with partners and the Poverty Reduction and Social Protection Division on a pillar III communication strategy;
    • Design, and operationalize UNICEF’s support to the Government in developing a concept for rendering, and maintaining the Unified Beneficiary Registry up-to-date based on previous work;
    • Provide technical and capacity-building support to the Poverty Reduction and Social Protection Division in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, MoGCDSW and District Councils to monitor the implementation of linkages with social protection in the response;
    • As and when delegated by the chief of section, represent UNICEF in meetings and technical discussions on social protection and the humanitarian response.


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

    • An advanced university degree or equivalent in social sciences or other relevant disciplines (s)
    • At least 6 years of relevant experience and proven expertise in the area of social protection and/or humanitarian cash-based assistance
    • Proven work experience with the Government of Malawi on issues related to social protection and/or humanitarian issues (Ministry of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare, Department of Disaster Management Affairs);
    • Previous experience in working with the Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme is a strong asset;
    • Proven knowledge in the area of shock-sensitive social protection, including global policy trends and discussions;
    • Proven knowledge in the area of humanitarian cash transfers is an asset;
    • Previous experience in working with UNICEF or other like organizations is an asset;
    • Previous experience with social protection financing partners is a strong asset;
    • Experience in working with and leading teams;
    • Excellent writing skills, analytical skills as well as good computer skills;
    • Proven skills in advocacy planning, and facilitation;
    • Strong communication skills, including with and across diverse teams;
    • Strong knowledge of UNICEF’s programming principles, including on gender equality and RBM.


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.

View our competency framework at

Click to access UNICEF_Competencies.pdf

Further details are contained in the attached Terms of Reference (TOR)

ToR SRSP Individual Contractor International.pdf

For submission for your financial proposal, kindly make use of the attached template

Template for Financial Proposal.xlsx

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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