National Expert to conduct ethnographic review in target areas of Dusti and Kulyab, Khatlon Region

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Application deadline 28 days ago: Friday 2 Sep 2022 at 23:59 UTC

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UN Women, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women has been created to accelerate up the process of meeting the needs of women and girls across the world. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programs and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. UN Women is at the forefront of the global drive to remove gender barriers and end discrimination, because we believe in a world of justice and human rights for everyone.

About 85% of Tajik labor migrants are male and 20% migrate with their wives. In 2016, 50% of households in Tajikistan were female headed, with 87% of children remaining behind with a single parent. Many Tajik men working abroad gradually cease contact with their families and stop sending remittances, opting to build a new life in Russia. This has led to the existence of an extremely vulnerable and marginalized group in Tajik society, the so-called ‘abandoned families’ or ‘families left behind’ of migrant workers. Women and children left behind suffer from poor wellbeing, including mental health, with women and children experiencing negative mental health outcomes, compounded by limited services and support. The current CFP targets families left behind by migrant workers (with women - left behind in focus) and communities where they reside prioritizing the most vulnerable families, including those with a member facing disability.

Families left behind often struggle to access rights and protections, incl. limited access to legal remedies and discrimination in the application of law. Women often unable to divorce their absent husbands or obtain court ordered alimony and child support. There are no functioning systems to identify and register families left behind and a limited awareness of available services. Rural women left behind lack equal access to property, land, and credit making them dependent on the other family members and increasing their vulnerability to poverty. This leads to economic and other forms of violence against the women left behind. Traditionally, wives live with their in-laws, therefore legally claiming a domicile after divorce or abandonment is difficult. Women have limited access to justice due to the lack of money for documents and lawyers or lack of information about legal protections. Practically, no or few initiatives target ‘families left behind’.

The joint (with IOM, UNICEF and FAO) project Empowerment of ‘Families left behind’ for improved Migration Outcomes in Khatlon, Tajikistan (MMPTF-funded), a part of which will be implemented jointly with the CSO - UN Women’s Responsible Party, observes a comprehensive approach, attention to good governance and capacity of local systems, a need to build awareness, knowledge and attitudes of the local population and a focus on longer term transformative gender investments. The project enjoys support and cooperation of Local Authorities; Committee on Women and Family Affairs (CoWFA) and its local Departments, Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP) and its local Departments, Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population (MoLMEP) and its local Departments, Migration Services (MS) and Departments of Agriculture.

The prevalence of VAWG in public and private sphere is driven by multiple factors, especially by patriarchal social structures and norms (that becomes even stronger recently), deep-rooted gender inequalities, lack of adequate education. Gender-related social norms influence the specific knowledge, attitude and behaviors towards women at various levels, starting from the legislation, going to violence-related patterns at the community and individual levels. In this regard, while the Constitution of Tajikistan guarantees equal rights for both men and women; in reality, women and girls continue facing significant barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health, education and economic services. In Tajikistan, women left behind by migrant husbands often face social stigma, exacerbated by negative social norms and traditional attitudes towards the status and rights of women in the family and society. The wives they left behind are solely responsible for generating family income to support children and elderly family members, despite limited access to education, resources, microcredit, social safety nets and employment opportunities, especially in rural areas. Sometimes wives left behind are completely and financially dependent on their husband's relatives, they do all the care work, run the household, look after the domestic animals, without having the opportunity and time for self-education and / or self-financing. There are cases when the husband's relatives stop supporting such families and kick them out of the house.

The Ethnographic Team will be consulting with Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG). The MPTF Joint Migration Project developed and selected a Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) that are interacted with local civil society representatives who claim to protect the best interests of the project's beneficiaries (migration/women's rights/community development). A Project Civil Society Reference Group (PCSRG) with representatives of 7[1] leading national NGOs working in relevant project areas will provide advice on beneficiary perspectives and filed implementation via online or face-to-face meetings. The UN Women Project Coordinator will coordinate the activities of the SCRG with the project and with the national experts hired for the project implementation.

UN Women in Tajikistan intends to hire 2 National Experts (further “Ethnographic Team) to conduct ethnographic review on evidence of communities’ attitude/acceptance of VAWG and, by presenting 8 (eight) case studies, identifying new social norm holders to create a demand within communities and individuals for formation a public opinion on illegality of violence and harmful practices and stressing it as crime.

Consultative Center TOMIRIS, Women Lawyers for Development, Bonuvoni Fardo, Bonuvoni Khatlon, Chashma, Rural Aid.

Duties and Responsibilities

Goal and objectives:

The objective of this assignment is to conduct the ethnographic review of harmful social norms, contributing to the demonstration of gender-based violence in families left behind, and identify influencers and ‘new’ social norm holders (positive deviants and influencers of community Core Group) in order to create awareness of the community and individuals about the illegality of violence and harmful practices. Engaging grassroots activists will diminish the risk of community resistance to openly reflect on norms, attitudes and behaviors sustaining VAWG. The Responsible Party - PO “Gender and Development” will assist to adapt the existing methodology in consultation with the International GALS consultant and ethnographic team.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Under the supervision of the UN Women Project Coordinator and in close cooperation with UNW Responsible Party (PO “Gender & Development”) Team and consultation with certified GALS’ facilitator on application of GALS principles/participatory methodology in ethnographic overview, the Ethnographic team shall:

  1. Develop a methodology for 8 “case studies” of relation to VAWG against women and girls. Each “case” will include: 3 levels of socio-ecological model (family, community/mahalla, district); different research methodologies, minimum 3 interviews per case study, total 24 interviews; minimum 3 mini- focus group discussions (FGDs) per case study with 3-4 interlocutors, total about 24 FGDs, covering about 80 persons; visual observation/joint participation, 3 different age/generation groups with different strategy;
  2. Conduct a consultation (on-line or off-line) with UN Women, PO “Gender and Development” and representatives of the project Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) on application of study methodology to gather recommendations for improving the final methodology;
  3. The PO “Gender and Development” will assist ethnographic team in conducting 4 site visits to the target areas to collect information for 8 cases using open observation, conduct focus group and interviews. Roll out ethnographic review in 2 target districts - Dusti and in Kulyab area of Khatlon region, cover 8 households in total and 60 active citizens in total incl. duty bearers, right holders and formal/informal civil society representatives);
  4. Submit a draft report on findings of the ethnographic review to UN Women and facilitate its review and feedback collection. To support the first draft, the Ethnographic Team will produce translated and transcribed notes of the FGDs and Survey Instruments, incl. preliminary analysis of data collected;
  5. A half-day validation workshop should be organized by the PO “Gender and Development” to obtain feedback from relevant UN stakeholders and representatives of the project Civil Society Reference Group. The Ethnographic Team will draft the agenda, develop the presentation and present the findings. The Ethnographic Team will be supported by PO “Gender and Development” by compiling a report on the received feedback.
  6. Submit final report on deliverables, recommendations and lessons learnt to UN Women and PUNOs, and other key partners.

Note: In total, the Project expects to receive 8 “study cases”, conducting 24 interviews, holding 24 mini focus groups, involving of 8 households and covering 80 women left behind (3 different age/generation groups with different strategy) and 60 active citizens (duty bearers, right holders, formal/informal civil society representatives).

In implementation of variety of action steps, the Consultant must consider different groups of beneficiaries (a woman, a girl, a woman affected by migration, a woman living with HIV, a woman-invalid) in concrete districts – Kulyab and Dusti.

Expected deliverables



Timeframe to provide deliverables


Consultancy plan is presented by Ethnographic Team and approved by UN Women

August 29, 2022


Ethnographic Team developed a methodology for 8 “case studies” of relation to VAWG against women and girls, with 3 levels of socio-ecological models; different research methodologies. Conducted in total 24 interviews; hold 24 mini-focus group discussions (FGDs), covered about 80 persons (3 different age/generation groups with different strategy) in targeted regions (Dusti and Kulyab).

August 31, 2022


Rolled out ethnographic review in 2 target districts - Dusti and in Kulyab area of Khatlon region, covered 8 households and 60 active citizens (duty bearers, right holders and formal/informal civil society representatives).

Ethnographic Team conducted a consultation with UN Women and representatives of the project Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) on application of study methodology to gather recommendations for improving the final methodology.

September 30, 2022


Submitted a draft report on findings by the Ethnographic Team of the ethnographic review to UN Women for review and feedback. In the first draft produced and presented the translated and transcribed notes of the FDGs and Survey Instruments, incl. preliminary analysis of data collected.

The ethnographic team presented the findings at the half-day validation workshop organized by the Responsible Party “Gender and Development” to PUNOs and representatives of the project Civil Society Reference Group for feedbacks in Dushanbe.

October 31, 2022


Ethnographic Team submitted final report on deliverables, recommendations and lessons learnt to UN Women and PUNOs, and other key partners

November 28, 2022


Core Values:

  • Respect for Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism

Core Competencies:

  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
  • Accountability
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Effective Communication
  • Inclusive Collaboration

Please visit this link for more information on UN Women’s Core Values and Competencies:

Functional Competencies:

  • Possesses the ability to work independently, under pressure and meet deadlines;
  • Good knowledge of technical area;
  • Good organizational skills and ability to pay close attention to detail;
  • Analytical and research skills and training skills;
  • Experience in report writing.

Technical competencies:

  • Experience working under minimum supervision and tight deadlines;
  • Computer literate (being able to use MS Windows, office applications, Internet search);
  • Proven track record and experience in gender-related work, and in particular- on SGBV and girl child rights.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Undergraduate (Bachelors) University degree in education, gender or social development, human rights, law, humanitarian sciences, social studies, economy or related field.

Working Experience:

  • A minimum of 3 years of experience in the area of gender-based violence and related themes;
  • A minimum of 3 years of experience in working with UN CEDAW Convention;
  • A minimum of 3 years of working experience in business processes of state structures and services on their operational ability to respond to SGBV, for example, system-wide principles to respond to incidents, protect victims, and investigate and refer cases;
  • Prior experience in the work environment of an international agency, NGOs, UN, or international institutions;

Knowledge of languages & additional requirements:

  • Proficient knowledge of Tajik and/or Russian languages Application Process

The application should include:

  • Letter of Interest;
  • Personal History Form (P-11 form) - including past experience in similar assignments; can be downloaded at a signed [scanned] copy should be submitted;
  • Financial Proposal: Specify a total lump sum amount for the tasks specified in this Terms of Reference.
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