Consultancy for Developmental Evaluation (DE) of UNICEF’s New Internal Communication and Staff Engagement – Phase Two, Home-Based, 75 days (estimated) over six months, from January to June

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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, evaluate

In the UNICEF Strategic Plan (SP) for 2022-20251, UNICEF recognizes Internal Communication and Staff Engagement (ICSE) as a vital organizational enabler in executing its Strategic Plan (SP) and achieving the organizational goals and targets laid out in it. This represents a strategic shift in the relevance and criticality of UNICEF’s ICSE function, with new, globally networked, organization-wide ICSE collaboration structures piloted from September 2022 to December 2023 to deliver on the SP.

UNICEF Evaluation Office (EO) embarked on a transformative journey by initiating a dynamic and learning- centric approach through a developmental evaluation (DE) in December 2022. This evaluative endeavour, characterised by its emphasis on growth and advancement, spanned from December 2022 to December 2023. It strategically encompasses the pivotal pilot phase dedicated to implementing the innovative ICSE networked collaboration structures aimed to deliver on the SP. The outcomes of this developmental evaluation have yielded invaluable insights, underscoring the imperative for a subsequent phase of this evaluative process. Identifying this need is a testament to the commitment to continuous enhancement and informed refinement, propelling UNICEF's drive toward effective ICSE institutionalisation and ultimately fulfilling the SP’s aspirations.

These Terms of Reference (ToR) describe the main purpose, primary users, objectives, tentative learning matrix, proposed methodological approach, associated risks, and required qualifications for an embedded evaluation consultant to undertake the second phase of the developmental evaluation. The second phase of this evaluation will be conducted between January and June 2024.

In 2021, UNICEF senior management recommended centralising the ICSE function in the Division of Communication (DOC, now known as Global Communication and Advocacy, GCA) and requested relevant divisions and the Global Staff Association to strengthen the ICSE function, using available resources. This proposal is built on the findings of the 2019 Independent Task Force (ITF) report on Workplace Gender- Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Harassment and Abuse of Authority2. The ITF report highlighted a crucial concern: UNICEF's prevailing internal communication approach, instead of serving as a cornerstone for fostering a healthy organizational culture, exhibited traits of risk aversion, top-down dissemination, and unidirectional flow. In response, UNICEF engaged in a change management process on internal communication that sought to strengthen UNICEF’s internal communication so that it can support change management and knowledge sharing and ultimately increase staff satisfaction and motivation.

The ICSE SP enabler vision and first-ever Global Internal Communication and Staff Engagement Strategy for 2020-2030 outline UNICEF’s goals and approach to strategic internal communications.

These are:

  1. ICSE GOAL 1: Improvement of Values-Based Behaviours – increase staff awareness and practice of UNICEF’s Core Values to help ensure all behaviours of staff are fully aligned with them;
  2. ICSE GOAL 2: Acceleration of Organizational Results – Increase staff awareness and engagement on how to accelerate the achievement of UNICEF’s global targets in all SP Goal Areas; and
  3. ICSE GOAL 3: Synergized Digital Internal Communication Ecosystem – improve ICSE, engagement, and collaboration among all staff globally through user-friendly and integrated digital ICSE sites, channels and tools.

In the Strategic Plan 2022-2025, ICSE became, for the first time, a vital organizational enabler known as “Strategic internal communication and staff engagement”. This enabler aims to foster inclusive, transparent, constructive, and authentic exchanges between staff at all levels of the organization for enhanced awareness, agile collaboration and connectedness – advancing UNICEF’s programmatic priorities and co-creating a values- based organizational culture”.3 Including ICSE in the Strategic Plan represents a remarkable shift in UNICEF to raise the relevance and criticality of the ICSE function to allow for greater awareness, transparency, collaboration and connectivity across the organization.

To deliver on these goals, a new way of collaborating across the organization has been proposed, using existing communication resources (human and financial) to learn and incorporate lessons into a full rollout of ICSE as a Strategic Plan enabler. The piloting of collaboration structures took place from September 2022 to December 2023.

The recent Evaluability Assessment and Formative Evaluation of UNICEF Positioning to Achieve the Goals of the Strategic Plan 2022-2025 noted that the efforts to improve ICSE as part of the new Strategic Plan are ongoing, and UNICEF has been working to build a bottom-up, consultative approach to internal communications in line with the 2020-2030 strategy. Despite this, the perception of ICSE as being top-down persists. It was also noted that UNICEF staff would benefit from shorter, sharper communications and more visual or multi-media content due to the large volumes of information being disseminated.

The DE has been critical and timely in supporting the development of this crucial enabling function within the organization. As a result of the DE, the need to conduct the second phase of this evaluative exercise has been identified.

Evaluation rationale: As part of the roll-out of ICSE as a Strategic Plan enabler and to build on the findings of the Developmental Evaluation of UNICEF’s New Internal Communication and Staff Engagement Collaboration Structure (2022-2023), planned between December 2022 and December 2023, and the Evaluability Assessment and Formative Evaluation of the Strategic Plan, UNICEF seeks to conduct the second phase of the DE led by its Evaluation Office (EO), that takes stock of the evolution of ICSE in UNICEF, reviews progress in the institutionalisation of the function and implementation of the collaboration structures, identifies good practices and lessons learned, and provides recommendations for course correction.

When the DE (phase one) is complete, ICSE will still be on its developmental journey for institutionalisation and implementing collaborative approaches with key organisational stakeholders. Phase two of the developmental evaluation will allow us to obtain more data sources, mainly through pulse checks with critical collaborators, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and surveys for a broader organisation to inform the further institutionalisation of the function and collaboration structures with critical stakeholders.

Furthermore, the new Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation (PME) position within the ICSE Team has recently been created, and the team has been in early discussions with the Data, Analytics, Planning, and Monitoring (DAPM) team on substantive integration with planning processes within the agency, which will move the institutionalisation of the ICSE forward significantly. This work falls under goal #2 of ICSE’s strategy and showcases a significant development that the developmental evaluation phase two will capture and help shape.

Additionally, goal #3 had been close to finalising the procurement of two new digital tools to be owned and launched by the global ICSE team. This has pivoted drastically with recent announcements from Microsoft, and the team has halted the previous procurements in favour of upcoming Microsoft tools that are ready for piloting in late summer and early fall, with full releases likely early next year. These new tools are powerful and include AI that may prove transformative to working in ways the ICSE team will need to respond to and plan for. The goal for the developmental evaluation phase two is to capture how this goal area will unfold with the new digital capabilities.

Goal #1 is moving forward quickly with the Division of Human Resources (DHR) and Office of Culture and Diversity. There are multiple opportunities for meaningful collaboration of the ICSE function with DHR regarding the shift to a people-centred approach and for strategic senior advising. The second phase of the developmental evaluation will capture further development of collaboration with DHR and the Office of Culture and Diversity in this goal area.

The development of understanding and institutionalisation of ICSE throughout UNICEF is on a much longer development arc. As the need for ICSE to act as an enabler becomes clearer, experiments, collaborations, and steps in that direction are forming and generating more data that the developmental evaluation could use to learn and refine the thinking and recommendations. As a result, the DE phase two will accompany ICSE until May 2024 to continue the work on the needed framework and theory development, as well as learning from concrete actions.

How can you make a difference?

This developmental evaluation (phase two) aims to aid with the process of institutionalising the ICSE function and review the implementation of collaboration structures as part of the SP enabler to allow for course correction and generate learning to inform the function's future. Using a dynamic developmental evaluation approach, the evaluation will produce evidence to understand to what extent the new ICSE strategy is implemented, how the collaboration structures are performing, and why so, to support regular reflection, learning and revision of communication activities.

The objectives of the developmental evaluation will include the following:

  • Identify the barriers and bottlenecks in the implementation of the collaboration structures with key collaborators, as well as the enablers and facilitators to achieving the ICSE goals over the coming months;
  • Identify good practices and lessons learned that can inform the way forward for institutionalisation of the ICSE function and collaboration structures, including sustainability beyond the SP in terms of resources;
  • Present the current and potential value add of ICSE, including the role and benefit it plays in facilitating both top-down and bottom-up communications and what is needed to ensure maximum value can be provided so that the vision and strategy embedded in the SP are truly realised;
  • Review internal M&E mechanisms and tools to inform institutionalisation and collaboration structures and
  • Construct the theory of change in collaboration with key stakeholders.

The developmental evaluation will inform collaboration structures with key collaborators, the Mid-term Review (MTR) process of the Strategic Plan 2022-2025, and the upcoming Programme Budget Review (PBR) process and will provide insights to senior management about the ICSE function, role, opportunities, and risks.

The learning framework will include, but not be limited to, the following areas of inquiry:

  • Collaboration structures and co-creation: The area of inquiry will look at collaboration practices and structures that are needed for UNICEF to leverage ICSE to its fullest potential as an enabler and how the act of co-creation and collaboration contributes to values-based behaviour, accelerated results, and a synergised digital ecosystem.
  • Understanding and awareness of the value and role of ICSE: The area of inquiry will explore what leaders and managers understand about ICSE’s potential value add and its role as a strategic enabler, the role and most significant value-add of ICSE in contributing to values-based behaviour, accelerating results, and synergising digital ecosystem within the organization.
  • Enabling environment for ICSE (systems, tools, governance, policy, position): The area of inquiry will explore barriers and incentives to the uptake of and use of ICSE by others within UNICEF, tools and capacity building that is needed to best make use of the ICSE function, critical components of an enabling environment for ICSE to contribute to values-based behaviour, acceleration of results, and synergised digital ecosystem.

The DE (phase two) will require an adaptive and dynamic approach to generate opportunities for promoting real-time learning and innovation. The first phase of the developmental evaluation oriented the key stakeholders and developed a learning framework that is subject to change based on the needs of the critical stakeholders and learning from the DE (phases one and two). The embedded evaluation consultant will be embedded with the global ICSE team and will follow the following steps to inform the methodology of the DE:

  1. Updating a learning framework based on needs: Keeping a learning framework up to date based on needs and learning generated will be essential for the evaluation.
  2. Observing: The evaluation will carefully observe the unfolding of the ICSE function and strategy, collaboration structures, materials, and activities to help identify leverage points, assess UNICEF efforts, and stay true to the core intent and principles of the evaluation. This may include (a) key collaboration moments, (b) uptake, (c) implementation barriers/bottlenecks and enablers/facilitators, and (d) other opportunities and challenges. This will also include assessing the new ICSE structure within UNICEF and its optimal positioning regarding efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Sense-making: Sense-making is mainly about making sense of the data collected through verification and triangulation. The evaluation will help UNICEF identify patterns, integrate new information about the institutionalisation and collaboration structures, and consider the implications of proposed solutions.
  4. Intervening: The evaluation will actively help shape the work of the Global ICSE Chief and Team, the institutionalisation of the function, and the collaboration structures by (a) asking questions, (b) facilitating discussion, (c) sourcing or providing information; (d) modelling solutions to address barriers and bottlenecks; and (e) making propositions to strengthen the ICSE strategy and structure. Data visualisation throughout will be highly encouraged to convey critical messages.

The evaluation has a timeline of five months, from January to June 2024. Given the nature of the exercise, which has a strong focus on agile learning and adaptation, deliverables are expected to evolve throughout the implementation of the DE. They will be adjusted and negotiated on a rolling basis with the EO in coordination with the Global ICSE Chief and Team.

The expected deliverables include the following:

  • Submission of the implementation plan for the phase two;
  • Submission of regular learning documents regarding critical moments in institutionalising the function and implementing the collaboration structures, learnings, key findings, and results, including opportunities and challenges in implementing the ICSE strategy and structure;
  • Submission of a work plan and regular monthly reports;
  • Submission of the constructed theory of change;
  • Weekly meetings with ICSE and the Evaluation Specialist in the EO managing the DE; and
  • Final evaluation report, evaluation brief, final presentation, and other materials to be prepared according to UNICEF evaluation reporting standards and guidance.

The DE will be conducted by engaging an embedded evaluation consultant to undertake the DE and provide overall quality assurance and backstopping support as needed.

The embedded evaluation consultant will be responsible for the design and implementation of the DE and ensuring its quality. The embedded evaluation consultant will be responsible for the following:

  • Update a living work plan for the evaluation, including an agreed-upon set of deliverables (which may change over time, depending on the needs of the programme);
  • Provide quality assurance of all deliverables, including regular intermediate report logs that track details of the DE and document all events that occur, i.e., planned and unplanned and associated outcomes, and the final report of the evaluation;
  • Facilitate regular meetings with senior management and key staff within UNICEF to collect data;
  • Analyse the data collected and present digestible analyses (through compelling narrative and data visualisations) regularly to programme staff and partners through the data-review process and other participatory meetings;
  • Track and communicate high-quality information to ICSE staff, senior management, and other relevant stakeholders for course correction; and
  • Collaborate with the Evaluation Office to regularly assess the performance of the DE, including the documentation of lessons learned about DE implementation.

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

  • The embedded evaluation consultant will report to the Evaluation Office while coordinating with the ICSE Chief and Team. The embedded evaluation consultant will be provided with office space within UNICEF premises for meetings. The embedded evaluation consultant should have the following experience:

    • Extensive evaluation experience (at least eight years) in international development with an excellent understanding of evaluation principles and methodologies, including capacity in an array of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods and UNEG Norms and Standards;
    • Experience with evaluating internal communication systems;
    • Familiarity with DE, including skills such as respect for local stakeholders and partners, ethical research (maintains confidentiality and anonymity when required), flexibility, energy, humility, willingness to learn on the go, and ability to resolve conflicts;
    • University degree (Master’s or higher) in international development, public policy or similar, with a robust M&E focus;
    • Extensive technical knowledge, skills and expertise in evaluation design, concepts, and approaches and evaluating complexity, in particular;
    • Strong analytical skills to support both qualitative and quantitative research;
    • Facilitation skills, mainly design and execution of stakeholder consultations;
    • Excellent oral and written communication and report writing skills in English;
    • Keen attention to detail, especially related to documenting data and associated processes;
    • Active listening, proactive learning, and time management skills;
    • Leadership and strategic thinking skills;
    • Expertise in organizational theory, development, and communications;
    • Knowledge of the UN's human rights, gender equality and equity agendas; and
    • Readiness to be in a learning role.

How to Apply:

Interested candidates must submit the following documents:

  1. Cover letter and CV, examples of previous work, and a short technical proposal on how the consultant intends to conduct the work. The technical proposal should not be longer than ten pages, should be concise and explain how the consultant understands the assignment, what needs to be done, how to do it, and when (if different from the TORs);
  2. The daily rate should indicate the expected travel budget; and
  3. A test may be administered to shortlisted candidates.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

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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