National Consultant - Social Protection Management Information System (MIS) Strengthening
Application deadline 4 months ago: Friday 18 Dec 2020
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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.
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In Ghana, UNICEF cooperates with the Government and other partners to defend the rights of children, strengthen systems and improve access to quality inclusive social services. With offices in Accra and Tamale, the UNICEF team seeks to achieve results in strategic programme areas. The overall goal is for every child to survive and thrive, to live in a safe and clean environment, to learn, to be protected from violence and exploitation, and to have an equitable chance in life. The current Country Programme of cooperation is aligned with the Government priorities, the UN Sustainable Development Partnership (UNSDP) and Key Results for Children (KRCs) in the West and Central African Region (immunization, nutrition, learning outcomes, ending child marriage and ending open defecation). UNICEF main strategies include evidence-based advocacy, system strengthening, integrated programming across sectors, emergency preparedness and response, and innovation.
The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme was introduced in 2008 and is administered by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and managed by the LEAP Management Unit (LMU). LEAP provides financial support to the extreme poor and vulnerable families who have members that fall into at least one of the four categories: elderly (aged 65 and above), severely disabled who are unable to work, carers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) and pregnant women or families with infants under 12 months. As of December 2018, LEAP had reached over 213,000 households in all districts across the country and, by December 2019, over 330.000 households. Since its introduction, the LEAP programme has progressed through many implementation revisions and improvements, from manual processes to automated data capture, storage and payment. As a result, the programme has seen improved accountability and transparency over the years.
UNICEF has over the years supported LEAP in improving its operations to be able to use its resources efficiently and effectively. UNICEF’s support has focused on important pillars of LEAP’s operations including Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Independent Monitoring Checks (IMC), improved targeting processes, targeting expansion, communications, data management and Management Information System (MIS) development. The programme is currently undergoing key operational changes notably a shift to the use of modern technology that promises to streamline key processes and to improve programme delivery and efficiency. As the programmes also transitions into a new phase in 2020 and 2021, some key programme features such as re-assessment of households which has not been implemented since the inception of the programme has become a priority for government as well as other operational pillars such as case management and effective engagement of decentralised structures in programme management.
Purpose of the Assignment
This consultancy seeks to provide the LEAP Management Secretariat (LMS) with technical support on several priority workflows over the coming months. This includes providing back-office services in support of the roll-out and strengthened design of decentralised information management systems, emergency payments, data management for beneficiary reassessment exercises, linkages with other social service information systems such as the Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR), the Single Window Citizens Engagement Service (SWCES), the National Health Insurance Schene (NHIS) and Ghana Health Services (GHS), as well as capacity building of the LEAP MIS and M&E teams for all the above.
Specific Tasks and Outputs
A. Continue to enhance LEAP information managements systems in line with new programme operational developments such as emergency cash transfers and reassessment
LEAP is currently going through several important programmatic transitions that will require modifications of its information management systems. This includes the development of specific information management and payment modules for emergency deployment, including the use of mobile money transfers, as well as the information systems and protocols that will be required to implement re-assessment. Under this line of work, the consultant will present the following tasks and outputs:
- Output 1: Report detailing adjustments to LEAP MIS and GNHR to support emergency cash transfers.
In order to facilitate new approaches to enrolment and payments, the consultant shall help identify specific processes for data sharing between LEAP, GNHR, SWCES, GhIPPS, NADMO and payment platforms such as TelCos. This should result in several specific recommendations as well as checklists and guidelines for stakeholders to follow. Adjustment should be made to the LEAP MIS and GNHR to support emergency payments for COVID and other emergencies, including recommendation for future structures that need to be put in place on data sharing arrangements for determining eligibility, establishing payroll, conducting payment and e-monitoring to ensure effective emergency cash transfers.
- Output 2: Report detailing adjustments to LEAP MIS and GNHR for reassessment.
As LEAP works on its reassessment strategy, the consultant will be called upon to provide technical inputs to the reassessment workshop including a presentation, and position paper. Additional adjustments will be necessary to the LEAP MIS and GNHR databases to accommodate reassessment of beneficiaries and their exit or transitioning off the programme to other programmes. It should also identify concrete next steps and tasks to be done to support MIS for subsequent phases of the reassessment process.
B. Provide technical support for the national roll-out of LEAP E-reporting and Decentralised MIS to all MMDAs in Ghana
With the LEAP E-reporting tool and the E-MIS currently being rolled out beyond the initial pilot areas to cover the entire country, there is a need to provide technical backstopping to the LEAP Management Secretariat during the roll-out and to address user-challenges as they arise. The LMS will require support in developing a FAQ and concrete practical user guides for troubleshooting technical issues. It will also be necessary to integrate the data flowing from these new tools into updated LMS dashboard for monitoring and reporting and empower the M&E and MIS teams to systematically utilize it for programme strengthening.
Specific activities would include:
- Output 3: Short report outlining support to roll-out of e-reporting and e-MIS.
Supporting the trainings on e-MIS and e-reporting with technical content as necessary and providing back-office troubleshooting for issues that arise in testing the decentralised software. Developing an FAQ and simple how-to videos for users, accessible from the E-Reporting and E-MIS tools. (Including a. simple guidance on how to access system, b. basic guidance inside the system for how to use it, c. inputting Opps manual into the MIS)
- Output 4: Training report for LMS M&E and MIS staff
Developing an updated LMS dashboard with renewed indicators in easy-to-use format for decision making and publicly available on the LEAP website, as well as, if relevant, to the Social Protection Directorates M&E Dashboard. Conducting a training to LMS staff – particularly the MIS and M&E team – and share documented step by step processes on how to operate the MIS and M&E system, to troubleshoot common problems from the backend, and demonstrate how to draw out and utilise useful indicators for day-to-day management – training materials and conduct session.
C. Strengthen the functioning of LEAP MIS and interoperability with other services in the linkages / Integrated Social Services Initiative (such as GHS, NHIS, SWIMS, GNHR and Single Window Citizens Grievance Centre) as well as with GhiPPS
LEAP’s MIS currently has a module for linkages, but this will be tested in the coming year and will likely require adjustments and strengthening as the Integrated Social Services initiative continues to provide lessons. This may likely require adjustments to the information systems and technological tools of counterparts, for which UNICEF and LMS will require an expert with technical knowhow of information systems to engage and follow-up with such partners. The work includes establishing functional linkages between LEAP e-MIS, SWIMS, GHS E-Tracker, NHIS, GNHR and the Single Window Citizens Engagement Services (SWCES). A further concern is the expiration of E-zwich cards for payments, as occurred for 8.700 LEAP beneficiaries in Northern and Upper East regions in 2020. The process of card expiry and renewal should be systematized in order to be as painless as possible for beneficiaries.
- Output 5: Report detailing adjustments to LEAP E-MIS Linkages Module
As part of linkages, LEAP beneficiaries should receive priority access to social services and healthcare. These services should be complementary, as should be their staff and their information systems at decentralized level. The LEAP e-MIS Linkages Module will be tested, likely resulting to adjustments in its design as well as new how-to-tools for its use (in relation to activity B.1) They may also have bearings for data-sharing and operational protocols within LEAP and externally, particularly with the Social Welfare Information Management System (SWIMS) that is currently being rolled out using PRIMERO software. Other services involved in the linkages pilot are also operating with information management systems, such as the Ghana Health Services that is working on an e-tracker tool for community health home visits and for which interoperability with LEAP E-MIS would also be desirable. This would presumably be done via Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) but may also require the consultant to weigh in the discussion to ensure that programmatic operational protocols are complementary. Part of this work would likely involve working on strengthening unique ID’s for individuals across programme MIS, but also uniform geographic/institutional entity identification for integration.
- Output 6: Report detailing adjustments to Single Window Citizens Engagement Service
Additional adjustments will be necessary to the LEAP MIS to: (i) receive Complaints/grievances/Cases from the SWCES; (ii) for the LEAP MIS to send information to the SWCES to enable resolution of cases in the SWCES MIS; and (iii) to provide an interface where SWCES staff can quickly verify beneficiary information to enable them respond to information requests from the LEAP beneficiaries. Moreover, this could include reviewing processes for case management utilizing the Single Window services by exploring the possibility for DSWOs to be decentralised agents of single window. The consultant will explore the possibilities for this between the different programmes and services, develop the relevant interfaces, and prepare tools for training of stakeholders by LEAP, GNHR and SWCES.
- Output 7: Report detailing support given to ensure electronic linkages between SP sector MIS for Integrated Social Services
The National Health Insurance Authority’s MIS would ideally be linked up to the LEAP and GNHR databases to permit a more direct sharing of information about eligibility for NHIS exemptions. The consultant will specifically work on this from a technological stance, but also provide advice for data-sharing protocols and MoUs. The focus will be on ensuring that eligible premium-exempt categories can easily remain enrolled. This could be by automatic renewal triggered by certifying authority. Moreover, the consultant will advise on a module for supporting SMS-based indigent-category renewals at the NHIS, as this service is currently only available to premium paying adherents to the scheme.
- Output 8: Report laying out proposed e-zwich solutions
UNICEF supported LEAP to re-enroll 8.700 households onto e-zwich as they were no longer receiving payments due to expired cards. This was a costly exercise that should be possible to simplify and make more efficient. The consultant will be tasked to pursuing solutions to achieve this goal, to help LMS and GhiPPS to identify in a timely manner when e-zwich cards are set to expired and manners in which they can be renewed efficiently and cost-effectively. Possibly approaches could involve adjusting MIS for expiry field for enrolment (e.g. two payment cycles before payment) to do renewal during cash-out. It would be necessary to establish agreements with PFIs and GhIPPS for this renewal process, with ideally renewal being done at the back-end within the MIS. If this does not prove possible, we should explore a temporarily digital extension to put beneficiaries on the same expiry-cycle to simplify renewal logistics.
Deliverables and Expected days
- Enhance LEAP MIS for emergency payments and reassessment
- Report detailing adjustments to LEAP MIS and GNHR to support emergency cash transfers, with attached 10-15min presentation of required data sharing and collaboration protocols and checklists for stakeholders (25 days)
- Report detailing adjustments to LEAP MIS and GNHR for reassessment and roadmap for future developments, including attached 15-20 min presentation from reassessment workshop. (15 days)
National roll-out of LEAP E-Report and E-MIS
Short report outlining support to roll-out of e-reporting and e-MIS, and links to updated FAQ and how-to-use tools for troubleshooting common problems. (10 days)
A training report for LMS staff with links to an updated dashboard for LEAP-MIS, (attached the various training materials such as the agenda, slides and activity materials) as well as guidelines for how to use the dashboard and troubleshoot common problems in the MIS for the LEAP MIS team. (5 days)
LEAP MIS interoperability with other sectors for linkages and e-zwich card renewals with GhiPPS
Report detailing adjustments to LEAP E-MIS Linkages Module with Ghana E-Tracker and Social Welfare SWIMS, demonstrating correct functioning of interoperability. (15 days)
- Report detailing adjustments to Single Window Citizens Engagement Service (SWCES) MIS (8 days)
- Report detailing support given to ensure electronic linkages between SP sector MIS for Integrated Social Services including of GNHR/LEAP, SWCES/LEAP and NHIA database, as well as in designing the new SMS renewal service for indigent categories (10 days)
- Report laying out proposed e-zwich solutions and steps taken towards their implementation to simplify the renewal of cards for LEAP beneficiaries (12 days)
Supervision and Reporting Arrangement
The consultant will report to the Social Policy Specialist with Technical oversight from the LEAP National Coordinator. He/she will be expected to work closely with a Technical Working Group made up of representatives of LEAP Management, UNICEF Ghana, the World Bank and DFID.
Payment and Payment Schedule
The consultant will be paid professional fees based on expected deliverables calculated per number of days as follows:
Deliverable 1 (25 days)
Deliverable 2 (15 days)
Deliverable 3 (10 days)
Deliverable 4 (5 days)
Deliverable 5 (15 days)
Deliverable 6 (8 days)
Deliverable 7 (18 days)
Deliverable 8 (12 days)
It is expected that the assignment will be completed within 100 days over 10 months.
Expected Qualifications, Experience, Specialised Knowledge/Skills and Competencies
- Advanced degree in Computer Science, Computer Programming or related discipline.
- At least 8 years of experience in the design, development of large scale Management Information Systems, computer programming and integration of complex data management systems.
- Experience working with national social cash transfer programmes is an asset;
- Demonstrated experience working closely with government partners and systems is required.
- Excellent analytical, communication, facilitation and capacity building skills are required.
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
General Conditions: Procedures and Logistics
- Office space will be provided by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection at the LEAP Management unit.
- The consultant will be expected to use his/her own computer/software and office supplies for the assignment.
- The assignment will be based in Accra, but the consultant will be required to travel outside Accra for workshops and field visits.
- The consultant will be paid DSA for all official overnight travels outside Accra.
- Total calculated professional fees will be paid in 7 installments based on deliverables as indicated above.
- In view of the current COVID-19 travel restrictions, and when UNICEF vehicle is available for the consultant’s field travels outside Accra, all UN protocol procedure and clearances must be confirmed prior to commencing travel. In the event that UNICEF vehicle is not available, the consultant may be reimbursed the cost for such field visits based on pre-agreed lumpsum.
A travel plan and all travel related costs must be pre-agreed with supervisor and in consultation with the Admin section.
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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.