International Consultant for documentation ‘Putting knowledge to work to achieve rights and results for children returned from conflict zones in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan’

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Application deadline 4 months ago: Friday 23 Sep 2022 at 21:55 UTC

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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.


More than 30,000 individuals, including family members, from more than 80 countries are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join Da’esh and other UN designated terrorist groups. While some family members joined voluntarily, many others were forced, manipulated, or coerced to travel with family members or to follow them. Moreover, thousands of children were born into the conflicts in Syria and Iraq to foreign parents.

Although many foreign terrorist fighters were killed during the last battles to capture territory from Da’esh in Syria and Iraq, a large number of individuals, especially women and children, fled the fighting and were transferred to camps. In addition to the caseloads in Syria and Iraq, there are hundreds of women and children in situations of detention in Afghanistan. They are living in highly precarious situations.

Recognizing these challenges, some countries have made the political decision to repatriate their citizens, with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan accounting for a large majority of repatriations, having brought back more than 800 people, including 579 children. Tajikistan repatriated 141 children; the last return operation took place at the end of April 2019, repatriating 84 children from Iraq. In March 2021, after long preparation, Kyrgyzstan returned 79 unaccompanied children from Iraq.

UN country teams across Central Asia have worked with governments on these efforts, including ensuring that policies and practices are in line with children’s best interests and comply with global best practices on Children Affected by Armed Conflict and child protection principles and norms, including the Global Framework for United Nations Support on Syria / Iraq Third Country National Returnees.


The purpose of the assignment is to support UNICEF’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and the four UNICEF Country Offices in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in documenting good practices and lessons learned in ensuring the rights and results for children returned from conflict zones in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and on this basis to develop a model framework which can be shared with other countries to inform their repatriation and reintegration efforts.

Specific objectives of the assignment are to:

For public use:

  1. Produce country snapshots, providing visually appealing and reader-friendly overviews of repatriations and reintegration support to children returned from conflict zones, assessment of impact and results, good practices, lessons learned, and potential for replication.
  2. Produce a minimum of three case studies, one focused on a child(ren) returned together with his/her mother, another one on a child(ren) without parental care reintegrated into extended family, and another one on a child(ren) without parental care accommodated in residential care.
  3. Produce a compendium of good practices and transferable lessons learned (model framework) as well as policy/advocacy messages in ensuring the achievements of rights and results for children returned from conflict zones that can be used to inform the reintegration practices in other countries.

For internal use (UNICEF and EU):

  1. Produce a summary of lessons learned, emerging needs and recommendations for how to improve support to governments in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in ensuring the achievements of rights and results for children returned from conflict zones.


The international consultant will work closely with UNICEF’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, as well as programme focal points in each of the four UNICEF Country Offices in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. For this purpose, UNICEF will establish a reference group.

The international consultant will design the framework, methodology and tools for the documentation, conduct a desk review of relevant documents, collect quantitative and qualitative data in each country (including field visits to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan), analyse the findings and produce the country snapshots, case studies, compendium of good practices and transferable lessons learned (model framework) as well as the summary of lessons learned.

UNICEF COs will provide support during the data collection in the field, including interpretation. As for the case studies, UNICEF COs will provide a photographer and UNICEF Communications colleagues will assist in polishing the case studies.

Tasks & Deliverables

The consultancy will start on 28 September 2022 and will be completed on 28 February 2023. It is expected that the consultant will perform the following tasks and provide the following deliverables within the given timeframe:

1. Desk review, inception report and tools


1.1 Develop an inception report on the proposed work and approaches to be used for documentation

1.2 Conduct a desk review of regional and country offices reports, documents, strategies, and other related documents, which will be shared by the regional and country offices for documentation

1.3 Prepare a preliminary work plan with timeline for documenting each case in agreement with the UNICEF reference group

1.4 Design the data collection tools (FGD guide, KII questionnaires, etc.)

Deliverables and Timeframe:

1.1 Draft inception report, including methodology and timeline - 6 days, by 5 October 2022

1.2 Draft data collection tools - 6 days, by 13 October 2022

1.3 Finalization of inception report and data collection tools, incorporating feedback of the UNICEF reference group - 2 days, by 28 October 2022

2. Data collection in the field


2.1 Collect data in-country and, if needed, remotely, e.g., through semi-structured interviews of key informants among national and local stakeholders including UNICEF, relevant ministries, NGOs, local authorities, service providers and other as well as repatriated children and women, and extended families where applicable

Deliverables and Timeframe:

2.1 Brief report, summarizing the status of data collection in each of the four countries - 20 days including travel to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, by 25 November 2022

3. Compendium of good practices and advocacy messages, country snapshots, and case studies


3.1 Based on the desk review and data collection compile the draft compendium, country snapshots, and draft the case studies

3.2 Presentation of key findings in a meeting with the UNICEF reference group

3.3 Final compendium, country snapshots, and case studies, incorporating feedback of the UNICEF reference group and Government counterparts

UNICEF Country Offices will be responsible for the validation of findings by their counterparts

Deliverables and Timeframe:

3.1 Draft compendium, country snapshots, and case studies - 20 days, by 13 January 2023

3.2 Presentation of key findings to the UNICEF reference group - 1 day, by 20 January 2023

3.3 Final compendium, country snapshots, and case studies - 5 days, by 24 February 2023

4. Summary of lessons learned and recommendations for how to improve support to governments in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan


4.1 Produce a summary of lessons learned and recommendations for internal use

Deliverables and Timeframe:

4.1 Summary of lessons learned and recommendations (8 pages max) - 3 days, by 17 February

Timeframe: From 28 September 2022 to 28 February 2023 (63 days)

Funding Source and Budget: EU Grant for Sub-regional Reintegration Project

Payment of Consultancy Fee: Deliverables 1.1, 1.2, I.3 and 1.4: 30% of service fee Deliverable 2.1: 30% of service fee Deliverables 3.1, 3.2 & 3.3: 40% of service fee

Management: The International Consultant will work under the direct supervision of the UNICEF ECARO Child Protection Specialist and UNICEF Uzbekistan Child Protection Specialist, with overall technical oversight by the UNICEF ECARO Child Protection Consultant.

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

• Master’s degree in social sciences, international law or related fields. • At least 10 years of progressively responsible professional work experience at national and international levels in conceptualizing, designing and implementing reviews of large-scale programmes in developing countries, including experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods. • Demonstrated strong technical knowledge of child protection issues in both development and emergency settings, including knowledge of the Global Framework for United Nations Support on Syria / Iraq Third Country National Returnees • Good analysis and report writing skills. • Familiarity of programming in Central Asia or similar context an asset. • Must exhibit the UNICEF Core Values of 1. Care, 2. Respect, 3. Integrity, 4. Trust, and 5. Accountability. • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of other languages used officially in countries of the Central Asia region an distinct asset. • Demonstrated ability to produce high quality evaluation and/or analytical research reports. • Proven ability to: (i) handle multiple tasks under pressure with short deadlines; (ii) ability to work independently, seeking guidance on complex issues; and (iii) excellent interpersonal skills, proven team orientation and the ability to work across unit boundaries.

Procedures and working conditions:

The candidate selected will be governed by, and subject to, UNICEF’s General Terms and Conditions for individual contracts. The work can be partially performed remotely/home-based, however requires travels to all four countries in Central Asia. All products and data developed and collected for this agreement are the intellectual property of UNICEF. The consultant may not publish or disseminate the final report, or any other document produced from this work without the express permission and acknowledgement of UNICEF.

How to apply:

Candidates will be requested to submit the following:

1. Cover letter describing motivation for the consultancy.

2. Expression of interest (EOI) demonstrating understanding of the terms of reference and proposing the consultant’s approach to the assignment.

3. Curriculum Vitae

4. Quoted daily fees in US$ (the cost of an international return flight to Central Asia, flights between the three countries of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, and in-country travel costs shall be calculated based on economy class travel, regardless of the length of travel; costs for accommodation, meals and incidentals shall not exceed applicable daily subsistence allowance-DSA rates, as promulgated by the International Civil Service Commission-ICSC).

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 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 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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