Consultant – Gender & Technology Scoping Study (Digital Menstruation Education in Papua New Guinea)

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Application deadline in 5 days: Monday 28 Jun 2021


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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 fulfilling 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, a better future

UNICEF works to ensure the rights of all children in the East Asia and Pacific Region. This means the rights of every child living in this country, irrespective of their nationality, gender, religion or ethnicity, to:

  • survival – to basic healthcare, peace and security;
  • development – to a good education, a loving home and adequate nutrition;
  • protection – from abuse, neglect, trafficking, child labour and other forms of exploitation; and
  • participation – to express opinions, be listened to and take part in making any decisions that affect them

How can you make a difference?

The Gender Section, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) is seeking a Gender & Technology consultant to lead the scoping study of the potential to deploy the Oky app in PNG.


Menstruation is still taboo and shrouded in secrecy around the world. Adolescent girls face multiple challenges to menstrual health and hygiene. One of them is access to accurate information about periods and puberty, what is happening to their bodies. Girls often meet silence, myths, or misinformation. Too often they are shamed and bullied, face restriction and social isolation for what is a natural reproductive function.

Menstrual health and hygiene education programmes exist but are mostly paper-based with topdown information or delivered by teachers and adults who often have little or no training, resources, or time.

More and more children and adolescents go online to search for health information, especially during the Covid19 pandemic internet use has increased significantly. But while girls search the internet for information about health, puberty and menstruation, it is difficult for them to find trustworthy, quality content developed specifically for girls. Menstruation information online is often too scientific, or not in local languages, or ripe with contradicting information.

However, if designed with a girl-intentional approach, digital platforms and applications can offer opportunities for girls to access the information they want, in their own homes, on the devices they use everyday. Digital can support and complement in-person menstruation education and deliver girl centered information on periods and puberty, and individual cycle tracking, directly into girls’ hands.

The solution – Oky Period Tracker App for girls, by girls.

Oky is the first-of-its-kind open-source mobile phone period tracker and menstruation education application co-created with and for girls in LMICs, as part of a multi-platform product series. Oky illustrates innovative tech design that tackles both: the taboo, stigma, misconceptions, and lack of quality information related to menstruation and reproductive health for girls, and the gender digital divide. Oky is built together with girls to meet their digital realties (connectivity, devices, literacy, gatekeepers) and to increase girls’ digital literacy while learning about their body, puberty, and reproductive health. Oky’s vision is to spark the digital ecosystem to accelerate gender transformative innovations and to bridge the gender digital divide via co-creation of digital technology with girls and young women and foster their digital skills development. As the Oky app scales across countries and regions, adapted to local contexts and supplemented by relevant multi- platform products by partners and girls themselves, the Oky scaling approach deploys a new and innovative business model via franchise licenses to local partners, a concept commonly used in the private sector, but little explored in humanitarian settings and development aid. The franchising model allows Oky to scale outside of Unicef, while adhering to Oky principles and being affiliated with Unicef as the founding partner.

Find out more about Oky.

  • Visit the Oky website
  • Download the English version of the Oky app
  • Oky video clip – 1-minute introduction clip
  • Oky blog – how Oky was co-created with girls
  • Oky brochure – for a brief Oky overview
  • Oky presentation – 8th Virtual MHM Conference in May 2020
  • FT article about Oky
  • Oky podcast – Unicef GBViE series

Oky for Papua New Guinea (PNG)

The digital landscape in PNG is very different to other markets where Oky is deployed, and the gender digital divide is stark, with girls and young women facing key barriers to mobile phone ownership and usage such as affordability, accessibility (including limited access to identification documents, electricity and limited mobility to access network coverage), safety concerns, and usability and skills.

UNICEF together with UNFPA have identified a need for a product like Oky in PNG to provide menstrual health and hygiene and reproductive health information to girls, and there is a unique opportunity to deploy Oky as simplified digital product(s) that are relevant for the context and that would meet the needs and digital realities of girls in PNG.

Oky has been planned from the onset as a multi-platform product, to exist as a suite of different digital products and platforms under the Oky brand. Oky products are expected to look different in different markets, according to each country’s digital landscape and girls’ access to and use of digital technology in that country. Oky may exist not only as a smartphone app, but also as an interactive voice response (IVR) product that runs on basic phones with the Oky content repurposed as audio, or as a simple chatbot, or as a KaiOS app that can run on low-cost ‘smart feature’ phones such as the JioPhone, which are rapidly gaining popularity in markets where the gender digital divide is largest, and are specifically designed for a wide range of users, including those with lower levels of technical literacy, and who had not previously used the internet or typed on keypads – therefore helping drive digital adoption for women and girls.

In order to determine the appropriate Oky product(s) for PNG, a scoping exercise is needed to determine how Oky should be deployed in PNG and on what platform(s) in order to reduce digital exclusion and bring the benefits of Oky to girls and communities affected by poverty or marginalization. This scoping work will determine what kind of Oky product(s) would be appropriate for the PNG market; what devices (and operating systems) Oky PNG should be available on; what online (or offline) platforms Oky PNG could be available on; how content needs to be adapted / localised / changed given literacy levels; how content should be delivered (via social media, IVR, SMS, USSD or even radio, to improve accessibility); partnership opportunities, including mobile operators, content partners, government partners, radio partners, etc

Based on the findings, Oky will be built out as appropriate products on appropriate platforms for the PNG context with implementing and contributing partners, to be deployed by mid-2023.

Work Assignment:

A Gender & Technology expert to lead the scoping of Oky PNG to help UNICEF, UNFPA and partners to better understand what kind of Oky product(s) would be most appropriate for the PNG context and girls’ digital realities; the pros and cons of each potential product; understand at a high level what would be involved in deploying each product; get some suggested broad processes to follow for each product; understand what would need to developed for each product type (eg. repurposing the source code and content, or creating from scratch); identify potential implementing partners for the different products; identify potential contributing partners for the different products; understand broadly how time is needed for the different products; understand broadly how much budget is needed for the different products; understand the recommended way forward from the different options available.

Key tasks include:

1. Desk review Desk review will include, but is not limited to:

  • A review of Oky, including Oky content, the different assets and the current deployment guide.
  • A review of the PNG digital landscape, including network connectivity, common device types and operating systems.
  • A review of women and girls’ access to and use of, including their access to and use of digital technology and any barriers.
  • A review of the gender landscape and gender norms in PNG.
  • A review of MHH and SRH work taking place in PNG, and identification of potential partners.
  • A review of other relevant digital products already live in PNG.

2. Stakeholder consultations and expert interviews

Interviews and consultations with at least 6 key stakeholders and experts in PNG to understand their opinions of how something like Oky could be deployed in PNG and any pitfalls or barriers to consider, and to identify any potential partners.

3. Report The consultant will deliver a final scoping report that:

  • Outlines different product options for Oky in PNG, including potential partnerships.
  • Discusses the pros and cons of each product.
  • Suggests high-level processes for developing each product.
  • Suggests high-level work plan and broad budgets for each product.
  • Recommends which product is most appropriate to take forward.
  • Provides detail on the next steps for the recommended product.

End Product:

Final report: Feasibility study on Digital Products for Menstruation Education and Cycle Tracking for Girls in PNG, including the analysis and recommendations as per tasks above.

Estimated Duration of Contract: 30 working days during the period of 1 July – 30 September 2021.

Working Location: Home-based, preferable in Papua New Guinea (PNG) or Asia Pacific region.

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

  • At least 8 years of experience in digital development.
  • Strong understanding of the gender digital divide.
  • Specific experience in working on gender and innovation projects and/or digital products and services for women and girls in a development setting.
  • Experience in writing strategies with strong technology components for women and girls in a development or humanitarian setting.
  • Experience in innovation and/or digital projects across a range of verticals (education, health,

finance, agriculture, WASH, energy etc.); specific experience for women and girls preferred.

  • Understanding of different digital platforms and the processes involved in creating products for each platform.
  • Creative, innovative thinker who can also translate ideas into practical applications.
  • Proven skills in communication, consultations/interviewing, networking, strategic thinking, advocacy, negotiation, and ability to relate this to new media and young people.
  • Proven ability to conceptualize, plan and execute ideas.


  • Specific experience working in Papua New Guinea in a digital development setting.
  • Understanding of the constraints of digital solutions for emerging markets. This should include experience developing low-bandwidth digital solutions.
  • Hands-on experience designing and rolling out digital products for target audiences in low connectivity settings (for example, adolescent girls).

Interested candidates are requested to submit CV or P-11, full contact information of minimum 3 references, availability, and proposed daily professional fee in USD by 28 June 2021****.

P11 Form.doc

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People, and Drive for Results.

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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.


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.

UNICEF is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children.

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