Consultancy: Consultant to conduct a regional education-focused conflict analysis study for the Sahel, WCARO, Dakar, Senegal, 12 months

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Application deadline 2 months ago: Monday 11 Dec 2023 at 23:55 UTC

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Purpose of Activity/Assignment:

The purpose of the consultancy is to produce a regional education-sector focused conflict analysis study for the Sahel. This study aims to better understand the root causes, dynamics and triggers of conflicts in G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger), provide knowledge to strengthen education system capacity at the national and regional levels to prepare for and respond in a way that mitigates their impact on education continuity, and establish if/how in this context education services contribute to mitigate risks of violent conflict and strengthen social cohesion, and if/how effective peacebuilding initiatives are in strengthening education sector resilience; providing key evidence on these contributions for advocacy.

These three objectives will be achieved in a phased manner, as the two above-mentioned programmes have different timeframes. A first analysis is expected by end of April 2024 covering the three Central Sahel countries - Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger - and focusing on Objective 1 (root causes, dynamics and triggers of conflicts) and part of Objective 2 (education sector resilience in the face of conflict), followed by a more comprehensive analysis covering all five countries and all three Objectives in their full scopes is expected by end of 2024.


Since 2018, widespread and indiscriminate violence by armed groups has intensified in the central Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Added to social tensions, political instability and the effects of climate change, this situation has, among others, vastly increased the number of refugees and internally displaced persons, children in need of education assistance, schools closed because of insecurity, and out-of-school children, adolescents and youth.

Despite these alarming figures, public provision of education services in these countries is limited by the availability of public resources and the education sector remains one of the most underfunded sectors of the regional humanitarian response.

In this context, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) initiated, facilitated and provided seed-funding for Multi-Year Resilience Programme (MYRP) for the Central Sahel. At the same time, the Building Resilience in the Sahel Programme was also launched in 2019 with the financial support of the German cooperation (BMZ) in order to the strengthen the resilience capacities of social systems, communities, and individuals in Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Description of the assignment

Duties will involve:

  1. mixed-methods research for evidence generation, including literature reviews, analysis of data such as that of the endline/baseline surveys of the BMZ programme, and qualitative research including key informant interviews, focus group discussions and participatory approaches with children, adolescents and youth;
  2. quantitative2 and qualitative analysis of the results;
  3. synthesis, writing and presentation, to consolidate findings into a regional report that conveys both specific country characteristics and cross-border shared issues in clear and compelling fashion;
  4. the provision of technical input into advocacy and communication products geared towards resource mobilization based on the findings.

The conflict analysis will be complementary to other knowledge generation activities carried out or underway in the context of the R-MYRP programme (covering the 3 Central Sahel countries) and the Building Resilience in the Sahel Programme, BRS 2023-2027 (covering the G5 Sahel countries). The guidance should enable national governments and education clusters to draw on lessons learned for future planning, preparedness, response and recovery, as well as support them in revising and/or developing policy documents and strategies to promote social cohesion.


  1. A literature review, outlining key findings and gaps
  2. A qualitative research plan to fill evidence gaps, and outlining the proposed methodology to fill these, including questions to be asked and information products sought
  3. A qualitative research plan findings report, with key stakeholder meeting notes
  4. A draft regional conflict analysis study, for input and feedback
  5. A final regional conflict analysis, taking onboard the input and feedback received

The tentative tasks involved are detailed below.

Production of an education sector-focused conflict analysis study

The specific purpose of this study is to gain a more granular understanding of those aspects of conflict that have the most devastating impact on children’s access to education and protection, the underlying causes, triggers and dynamics of each, and produce recommendations in light of the findings as to how best preserve children’s right to education. Aspects to be considered are factors contributing to, exacerbating, mitigating or resulting from conflict, including but not limited to: Violence and attacks by state or non-state armed groups, Risks of radicalization and sparkling further waves of migration, the prevalence of insecurity and its impact on school, attendance by teachers and pupils, patterns of displacement and migration, religious affiliation, the risk of radicalization, competition for scarce resources as climate changes linking to a CCA landscape analysis, inter-communal or inter-racial conflict, Conflict-sensitivity of UNICEF and partners support to resilient education programmes (or Do No Harm), Contribution of education programmes to social cohesion and peace.

The endgame of this activity is the integration of the recommendations into long-term national sector plans and policies to support countries in preparedness and response to future crisis; findings will directly feed into advocacy and resource mobilization efforts.

  • Conduct a thorough literature review of relevant completed studies in the 5 countries, including the JENA analysis in Burkina Faso and the work of Search for Common Ground in Mali and Niger.
  • Develop a tentative report outline, research plan, guiding research questions and stakeholder mapping, for discussion and validation with the consortium.
  • Organize and conduct 5 field trips, one to each country, to collect missing data and conduct primary research (including with children and parents).
  • Conduct stakeholder consultations at the regional and country levels.
  • These trips may entail conducting surveys, key informant interviews and/or focus group discussions, in both central and remote conflict-affected areas.
  • Write-up a first draft of the report, highlighting key findings at the country and regional levels, that underscore the dynamics of conflict and how these impact education continuity.
  • Incorporate feedback on the first draft from stakeholders at the country level, consortium members, regional and global EiE players, and WCA donor organizations.
  • Present the findings of the report as required in regional conferences or meetings, noting recommendations to overcome the issues identified.


While the methodology should ultimately be proposed by the candidates and may be subject to discussion and finalization during the contracting process, the following considerations are expected to apply. Conducting conflict analyses in three bordering countries is complex, because the team of researchers who assess conflict dynamics should at very least consult different conflict parties and take into consideration different conflict history narratives. The consultant’s proposed methodology should draw on existing renowned and recognized approaches, such as the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies guidance It should ideally include a systemic assessment of the conflict risks, based on the 4Rs analytitcal framework.

The expected stakeholder outreach and consultations should include:

  • country MYRP grantees, in Burkina Faso (Enfants du Monde, EDUCO and UNICEF), Mali (EDUCO, Plan International, Save the Children and UNHCR) and Niger (WFP, Plan International, World Vision International);
  • education cluster and LEG coordinators and members,
  • R-MYRP consortium colleagues (UNICEF, NRC, UNHCR) at the regional and country levels;
  • national authorities from the Education, Defense, Justice and Child Protection sectors;
  • religious leaders and authorities;
  • providers of non-formal or alternative education programmes;
  • conflict insiders and outsiders, reflecting the multiple parties to conflict in each context;
  • other partners and/or organizations working with education for conflict and displacement-affected children in areas impacted by the crisis;
  • UNICEF colleagues at WCARO and in the country offices, including from the programme (Education, Protection, Emergency…), partnerships, advocacy, communication and programme monitoring and reporting sections.

    Other tasks

  • Contribute appropriate content on the study development process for the programme newsletter, webinars and other communication products

  • Participate in ad hoc grantee team meetings on the implementation and progress of the assignment
  • Other tasks as required

Reporting requirements

Under the authority of the regional education advisor of UNICEF’s WCARO, and the direct daily supervision of the EiE & resilience specialist and BRS programme coordinator.

Location and Duration

The consultancy will be mainly home -based, and will require missions and travel to the five countries of the G5 Sahel: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger (approx. 2 weeks for each country). Missions to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger will be prioritized during the first part of the mission, to ensure that a first product focused on the Central Sahel is drafted by April 2024.

Project management

All activities in the context of the assignment will be developed, discussed, receive technical inputs and validation by the programme consortium members, UNICEF, NRC and UNHCR, with UNICEF facilitating this process as required. Field trips will be organized by the consultant, facilitated by UNICEF country office staff and/or education cluster coordinators.

Application process

Candidates are requested to submit

  • a technical, including: a) the proposed methodological approach, indicating research methods and team management and supervision if applicable, required inputs and collaboration modalities; b) a detailed results-oriented week-by-week workplan and timeframe, with tasks, estimated days required for each, schedule of key meetings, adequate time for feedback, deliverables, deadlines, and any other relevant considerations; c) their CV as well as those of any collaborators whose support will be enlisted in the timely execution of the assignment; and - a separate financial offer, including d) a financial proposal, indicating the daily remuneration of the lead consultant and any supporting experts, expected number of days of work by each, travel expenses, other incidental expenses.
  • Technical offers will be reviewed based on their merit, and given a 75% weight in terms of the overall ranking. For those meeting minimum requirements, the financial offer will be reviewed, and those within budget given a further 25% weight in terms of the overall ranking to determine the best technical and financial offer.

Work Assignment Overview

Tasks/Milestone:eliverables/Outputs:TimelinePayment 1A literature review, outlining key findings and gaps

  • A qualitative research plan to fill evidence gaps, and outlining

the proposed methodology to fill these, including questions to

be asked and information products sought



Payment 2- 1st field trip conducted, and research notes systemizedFebruary


Payment 3- 2nd and 3rd field trip conducted, and research notes systemized

  • A qualitative research plan findings report, with key

stakeholder meeting notes

  • A draft regional conflict analysis study meeting the scope of

the ECW Programme, for input and feedback (covering 3

countries and 2 objectives)

April 2024Payment 4- 4th and 5th field trip conducted, and research notes systemized

  • A qualitative research plan findings report, with key

stakeholder meeting notes

  • A draft regional conflict analysis study meeting the scope of

the BMZ Programme, for input and feedback (covering 5

countries and 3 objectives)

September 2024Payment 5- A final regional conflict analysis, taking onboard the input and

feedback received



To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Humanitarian assistance, education, economics, statistics, information management, or other relevant field.
  • Solid experience (at least 10 years) in the field of education in emergencies and displacement/refugee contexts, or research in these areas, at the international level.
  • Strong grounding in and understanding of the root causes, triggers and dynamics of conflict, social cohesion, and peacebuilding, ideally in the WCA region.
  • Advanced quantitative and qualitative research capacities, including the organization of surveys, conducting stakeholder consultations, organizing key informant interviews and focus group discussions.
  • Strong analytical, writing and presentation skills, to present written material in a clear, concise and engaging manner to a wide range of different audiences. Good knowledge of local education systems, initiatives and institutions related to education at country level (essential).
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to successfully manage consultation and feedback processes and interact with a variety of people.
  • Prior experience working with international development players, such as the UN, EU, bilateral donors and NGOs.
  • Advanced working knowledge of French and English.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS).

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment.

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.

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.

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