National Individual Consultant – Qualitative data collector for study on effectiveness of COVID-19 response in Education

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Application deadline 9 months ago: Thursday 3 Mar 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.


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in closure of schools for long periods. This left an estimated 511,318 children and adolescents enrolled in 2,076 primary and secondary schools and around 2,200 early learning centres without access to learning. The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) in collaboration with UNICEF Lesotho, Local Education Group (LEG) which has members such as World Bank, International/National non-government organizations, UN agencies came up with a sector specific COVID 19 Preparedness and Response Strategy to promote safe reopening of schools and Early Childhood Education (ECE) Centres and ensure that children continue to live in an environment free from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect with supportive families even during the pandemic. The Response Strategies were aimed at: ensuring continuity of learning, safe reopening of schools and ECE Centres, support to teachers and community level awareness about importance of going back to school. The primary funding came from Global Partnership for Education.

UNICEF Lesotho has commissioned UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti to undertake a desk review to assess the effectiveness of the interventions put in place as well as those ongoing in response to COVID-19. The desk review will help in drawing lessons learned and identify some best practices to inform the learning recovery as well as support from partners to build resilient education systems which are resilient to future shocks. The desk review will focus on three key areas of the COVID-19 response in education: (1) remote learning; (2) back to school; (3) safe school operations.

UNICEF Lesotho seeks to work with a local individual consultant who will undertake the qualitative data collection in Lesotho, specifically through in-person Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews with stakeholders, which may include Ministry of Education officials, head teachers, teachers, parents/caregivers and students. The qualitative data will be used as part of the desk review and final report, which aims to inform policies and strategies on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 response in education in Lesotho.

How can you make a difference?

The consultant will be involved in the development of the workplan, conduct field work and undertake FGDs and individual interviews, and support translation and transcription of tools and data from Sesotho to English. UNICEF and partners expect to use the qualitative data collected to feed into the desk review analysis of the effectiveness of the COVID-19 response in education in Lesotho. The analysis will serve as empirical evidence for a report to be drafted by UNICEF’s Office of Research – Innocenti upon completion of data collection.

The consultant will attend an inception meeting where the data collection tools will be finalized, followed by a training workshop. UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti will assume responsibility for:

• Developing the initial sampling design in collaboration with UNICEF Lesotho

• Providing research protocols, including protection protocol, and data collection instruments

• Training the consultant in advance of data collection tailored to the needs of the study

• Analysis of qualitative data collected

• Drafting of final report to be submitted to UNICEF Lesotho

The consultant will work under the overall supervision of Chief Basic Education and direct supervision of Adolescent Specialist and liaise with education experts at UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti on a regular basis . S/he will provide a package of support to the research project, which includes the following:

1. Develop workplan for conducting field work: The plan should describe in detail how the consultant will manage the field work and timelines based on the selected sample, respondent groups and associated research instruments. The plan should have a separate section that discusses potential risks and considerations of the data collection generally in the context of Lesotho and should also take into account the clearance processes required by central, local, and learning centers authorities, where applicable. Ethical considerations in relation to working with children, adolescents as well as adults should be discussed, identifying potential risks and vulnerabilities, and ways to mitigate them.

2. Attend training provided by UNICEF researchers: The training is intended to introduce the consultant into the specifics of data collection tailored to this project. It will include in-depth discussions of ethical considerations and protocols.

3. Preparation work prior to undertaking fieldwork: Reviewing, providing feedback, and translating all data collection instruments (English to Sesotho) that will be provided by UNICEF experts. The following instruments are envisaged for data collection but are still to be agreed:

a. Focus group guide for children

b. Focus group guide for teachers

c. Focus group guide for parents/caregivers

d. Interview guide for headteacher

e. Others as provided

4. Undertake qualitative data collection, based on the pre-agreed sample and instruments, ensuring timely completion and recording of all interviews and FGDs, and completion of documentation related to these data. The sampling envisages approximately 12 interviews and FGDs but is still to be confirmed by UNICEF Lesotho and UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti.

5. Ensure completion of debriefing form for each interview site, including observations of the school’s context, respondents’ conditions and interactions, challenges experienced throughout the data collection process, and other observed information relevant to the data collection.

6. Quality assurance and delivery of transcribed and recorded Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and interviews. Final data to be provided in English.

7. Additional coordination and research support as needed. This includes any requirement for documentation related to the program.

The consultant will work closely with experts from the UNICEF Lesotho Country Office, and the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. For all contractual issues (including payments) and the day-to-day activities, the consultant will liaise with the UNICEF Lesotho Country Office. The meetings with UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti will be virtual.

For technical issues related to protocols, instruments, ethics, deliverables, field work, data collection, post-data collection management, the consultant will liaise with both UNICEF Lesotho and the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. All deliverables must be approved the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in order to be considered final. The consultant is expected to use his/her own equipment, including computers and other types of hardware and software necessary for the data collection and data management. UNICEF premises will be available for meetings and consultations.

The consultant shall not make use of any unpublished or confidential information made known in the course of performing the duties under the terms of this agreement, without written authorization from UNICEF. The products of this consultancy are not the property of the consultant and cannot be shared without the permission of UNICEF. The consultant shall respect the local norms and refrain from interfering in the country's political affairs. UNICEF remains the owner of the data and UNICEF rules and regulations apply on intellectual property will be applicable where necessary.

The consultant will receive deliverable based payments and UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or portions of the payment if deliverables are deemed unsatisfactory, if incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines. UNICEF reserves the right to adapt and modify deliverables and deadlines.

The consultant shall abide by and be governed by UNICEF Procedure on Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluation and Data Collection and Analysis which can be accessed here:

The presence of the consultant in the country will be necessary as data collection activities are planned to be in-person and will require travel within Lesotho. The consultant shall follow all protocols and recommendations on COVID-19 issued by the relevant authorities in Lesotho and propose contingency plans and actions as authorities change the guidelines on COVID-19 across the country.

The contract starts upon signature and deliverables must be submitted on/before 29 April 2022 to allow for sufficient time to complete all post-fieldwork deliverables.

The project will follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Quality Assurance and Ethical Standards of UNICEF-supported studies towards results for children in the ESA Region.

Work Assignment Overview




Estimate Budget

Develop common work plan for qualitative data collection field work

Written field work plan based on pre-agreed sample of schools/stakeholders

1 day

10 %

Fieldwork instruments review and feedback, training on data collection and ethics procedures

Written feedback on data collection instruments and attendance of training

2 days

English to Sesotho translations of all fieldwork instruments and supporting materials as required

All fieldwork instruments and supporting materials translated to Sesotho

2 days


Undertake qualitative data collection in the field in Lesotho, based on pre-agreed sample and instruments

Approx. 12 interviews and focus groups; debriefing form for each school completed

8 days

Quality assurance and delivery of interview recording and transcriptions (in English)

Interview recording and transcriptions (in English)

12 days

50 %

Coordination and additional support as needed

To be agreed

3 days

Total allowable days

28 days

Payments will be made upon satisfactory completion of the work.

Administrative issues:

The selection and conditions of service of consultant will be governed by and subject to UNICEF’s Policies and General Terms and Conditions for individual consultants/contractors.

No contract may commence unless the contract is signed by both UNICEF and the consultant.

Consultant will be required to complete mandatory online courses (e.g. Ethics, Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Security) upon receipt of offer and before the signature of contract.

Consultant will be required to sign the Health Statement for consultant and to share an applicable proof of health insurance covering medical evacuation (if travel is involved) prior to taking up the assignment.

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


Masters Degree in Education, Health, Social Sciences and/or other related fields

Work Experience:

  • Proven experience in undertaking qualitative data collection.
  • Strong understanding of various qualitative methodologies, including interviews, and focus group discussions.
  • Fluency and and excellent language skills in English and Sesotho mandatory.
  • Knowledge of the Lesotho country context and major education issues.
  • Experience in interview transcription.
  • Experience in research on and with children, and familiarity with relevant practical and ethical considerations.
  • Must be available to work on project deliverables for the duration of this project

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

How to Apply:

Interested candidates should submit an online application through the Talent Management System (TMS) that consists as a minimum of the following:

-TMS Profile/ Curriculum Vitae

-Financial proposal must be ‘all inclusive’ of all expenses related to the assignment

Incomplete applications (without financial proposal) will not be considered.

If you have not been contacted within 2 months of the closing date, please accept that your application was unsuccessful. Regret emails will be sent only to shortlisted/contacted candidates.


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.

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.

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