Re-post: National Individual Consultant to support Ministry of Health of Montenegro to draft a National Strategy on Early Childhood Development

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Application deadline 3 months ago: Thursday 20 Oct 2022 at 20:00 UTC

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For every child, the best start to life.

After gaining sovereignty in 2006, Montenegro is on a steady path of Euro-Atlantic integration. European Union (EU) accession negotiations were opened in June 2012, while in June 2017 Montenegro became a member of NATO. EU accession process if one of the main drivers of reforms. In relation to child rights, Montenegro has signed and ratified several United Nations conventions that directly or indirectly refer to children, among which are the: Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In 2016 the Government of Montenegro adopted the National Strategy on Sustainable Development (NSSD 2030), effectively incorporating the UN Agenda 2030 into Montenegrin policy goals. The UN agenda places Early Childhood Development (ECD) as a priority for the future. Specifically, SDG Target 4.2 states that by 2030 countries should “ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.”Montenegro is an upper-middle-income country with a total population of 620,029 in 2011 (2011 Census). Children under the age of 18 numbered 145,126, or 23.4 per cent of the total population: 75,367 boys (51.9 per cent), 69,759 girls (48.1 per cent). According to the Human Development Report 2019, Montenegro ranked high for human development. However, data indicate that inequalities due to poverty and regional disparities remain as well. A 2020 Survey on income and living conditions (SILC, published in 2021) showed that 32.6 per cent of children aged 0-17 in Montenegro were at risk of poverty. Besides being disproportionally more affected by poverty compared to adults, exposure to poverty undermines children lifecycle development, especially for children under the age of 5. Poverty is known to negatively impacts children general wellbeing (ECD, nutrition, education, health, etc.) and limits access to necessary public services.Child wellbeing in Montenegro is compromised by insufficient recognition of the importance of ECD. Underlying reasons include a broad spectrum of economic, social, cultural, as well as public policy challenges, all of which contribute to less than optimal parenting skills and limited preventative measures and opportunities that could enhance child development. Some key gaps in ECD are related to inadequate nutrition, low rates of coverage with routine immunization, suboptimal preschool enrollment rates, high rates of violent discipline, relatively high “at risk of poverty and social exclusion” rates, inadequate system of early intervention for children with developmental delays and disabilities. A series of policy briefs have been commissioned by UNICEF to map ECD services and analyse system bottlenecks and have been published on UNICEF Montenegro website (

How can you make a difference?

For its 2022 workplan, the Government of Montenegro plans to adopt a national ECD Strategy, led by the Ministry of Health. The Strategy should reinforce country’s focus on building a comprehensive policy towards ensuring the best start in life for all children (from birth to school entry), and to address vulnerabilities and risks to survival and development of young children through cross-sectoral integration and multidisciplinary approaches. It should be based on the Nurturing Care Framework ( purpose of this assignment is to support the Government of Montenegro to draft the national ECD Strategy and in so doing to build a comprehensive policy towards ensuring the best start in life for all children (from birth to school entry), and to address vulnerabilities and risks to survival and development of young children through cross-sectoral integration and multidisciplinary approaches.The objective of the consultancy is to support the Working Group to be established by the Ministry of Health to prepare the national Early Childhood Development Strategy ahead of its adoption envisaged for 2022. The document should follow the government instructions for preparing policy documents, notably the Decree on the Methodology and Procedure for Strategy Paper Development, Alignment and Monitoring. The strategy should be costed and include a monitoring and evaluation framework. An International Consultant will also be recruited to provide international and comparative expert advice on ECD and work closely with the National Consultant who will work with the working group on an almost daily basis. Specifically, the ECD Strategy should aim: - to improve health outcomes for mothers and children from pregnancy to birth and in early childhood including mental health; - to improve maternal and young child nutrition, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, growth monitoring and promotion; - to improve child developmental monitoring and screening; - to develop and enhance early identification and support services for families and young children, including for families with children at risk for developmental delay and children with disabilities; - to support parents of young children, to promote caregiver sensitivity and responsiveness; - to support and counsel parents about opportunities for early learning, play and stimulation and good quality preschool education; - to provide a clean and safe environment, prevention of violence, social protection and social services. Rather than to duplicate, the Strategy should cross reference existing sectoral and multi-sectoral strategies, plans and programmes and complement them. The Strategy should take into account existing strategies, plans and policies relating to maternal and newborn health, immunization, nutrition, early and preschool childhood education, social and child protection including the Government’s multi sectoral Strategy for the Realization of the Rights of the Child 2019-2023.

The strategy should emphasize the need for strengthening coordination mechanisms and referrals at national and local levels to provide effective, efficient and quality services to young children and their families, as well as fora for sharing experiences/innovations, external advice, and oversight.

The ECD strategy should have clear linkages with SDG targets and indicators. Operationalization of the newly adopted ECD Strategy will include preparation of the Action Plan with specific activities, results, deliverables, and timeframes as well as development of the Monitoring & Evaluation Framework to measure both, progress and achievement of the Strategy results, and quality and continuity of integrated ECD services. This activity is part of the Action “EU and UNICEF for Early Childhood Development in Montenegro”.Description of the Assignment Two consultants will work together with the Working Group, the international consultant who is an expert in ECD to provide ECD-specific knowledge and guidance on ECD and international developments in the field to members of the working group and to support and guide the national expert in his/her work, and a national consultant with solid experience in supporting the development of policy documents with costed action plans and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. The national consultant should facilitate work of the working group, solicit inputs from different members, consult the international expert as needed, incorporate inputs in multiple drafts, ensure cross referencing with existing documents ensuring synchronization of activities and indicators and avoiding duplication. The following tasks are expected to be completed by the two consultants: • Review background materials (policy briefs and studies, EU and UN recommendations), and existing policies in the area of ECD to ensure synergies and avoid duplication or inconsistencies – jointly the international and national consultants. • Present to members of the working group international developments in the field of ECD, facilitate a brainstorming session on Montenegro’s ECD strategy and support the working group to identify key objectives of the strategy, followed by specific activities to reach those goals (i.e. a skeleton of the Strategy) - the international consultant will have a key role in presenting international developments while the national consultant will moderate and facilitate the discussion. • Gather inputs to prepare a first draft text of the ECD strategy (including description of activities, costed action plan and monitoring and evaluation framework) for sharing with the working group for review and feedback – the national consultant will gather and review inputs and share with the international consultant to also review and comment on. • Prepare a second draft of the ECD strategy based on inputs from the working group and share with the working group - the national consultant will lead on this but will collect inputs from the international consultant. • Prepare a slide deck about the Strategy to support the chair of the working group to present the draft document to the Council on the Rights of the Child Working Group on Early Childhood Development for their feedback and suggestions - the national consultant will lead on this but will collect inputs from the international consultant. • Incorporate additional feedback (including from the Government Secretariat reviewing policy documents) and share with the Ministry of Health for the final adoption procedure - the national consultant will lead on this but will collect inputs from the international consultant. • Participate in discussions, review inputs and make suggestions for improvement throughout the process - the national consultant will lead on this but will collect inputs from the international consultant. • Once the Strategy is adopted prepare a summary policy document (approximately 5 pages long) outlining the strategy document the national consultant will lead on this but will collect inputs from the international consultant. • Provide a brief consultancy report outlining completed tasks and containing further recommendations. The working group may convene through a series of meetings and/or in a multi-day workshop, which will be agreed on between the working group, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF and the consultants. The national consultant will be attending such meetings in-person unless all working group members are convening online. Inputs will also be collected from working group members through formal communication – mostly facilitated by the national consultant.The Strategy is scheduled to be adopted in 2022. If so, all tasks related to Strategy development should be conducted before the end of the year. Summary policy document and a brief consultancy report should be developed upon Strategy adoption, in January 2023. A more detailed timeline is presented in the Work Assignment Overview section. The national consultant is expected to work for approximately 40 working days in total. As only some desk review documents are available in English, the national consultant is expected to provide (essential) translation to the international consultant as and when required.Under the direct supervision of ECD Officer , the consultant will be responsible for delivering the follow:

Work Assignment Overview


Tasks/Milestone: Deliverables/Outputs: Timeline budget

Desk review

Desk review in writing to be used in the introduction section of the Strategy document

7 October 2022


Presentation on international developments in the field of ECD, brainstorming session on strategy to identify key objectives and specific activities

Key objectives and specific activities of the strategy identified

21 October 2022

First draft of the strategy for review by working group

First draft of the strategy for review by working group

31 October 2022

Second draft of the strategy based on review/feedback from the working group (a third draft may be required at a later date if inputs received after the second draft are substantial)

Second draft of the strategy based on review/feedback from the working group (a third draft may be required if inputs received after the second draft are substantial)

21 November 2022

Slide deck about the Strategy

Slide deck about the Strategy

5 December 2022

Final draft of the Strategy

Final draft of the Strategy

20 December 2022

Summary policy document outlining the ECD strategy

Summary policy document outlining the ECD strategy

23 January 2023

Final Report (approved and accepted by UNICEF)

Final Report (approved and accepted by UNICEF)

7 February 2023

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


  • An bachelor university degree (Master’s or higher will be considered as an advantage) in Social Sciences, Social Policy, or a related technical field;


  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience in child rights, child development or ECD;
  • A minimum of 2 years of relevant professional experience in strategic planning (including with governments), integrated and multi-sectoral approaches, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Familiarity with results based monitoring.
  • Familiarity with the Government Decree on the Methodology and Procedure for Strategy Paper Development, Alignment and Monitoring;
  • Previous work experience with UN/UNICEF or other international organization will be considered as an advantage.


  • Fluency in both Montenegrin and English is required.


  • Excellent writing skills, presentation skills, strong strategic and analytical skills.
  • Ability to work with different stakeholders.
  • Demonstrates tact and high sense of responsibility and discretion.
  • Demonstrates integrity and high ethical standards.
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA). To view our competency framework, please visit here.

Payment schedule: The payments will be made upon successful completion of the deliverables and submission of invoices as follows: 70% upon submission of second draft and 30% upon submission of final report. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs is incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines.Mandatory e-learning: Upon conducting the recruitment process and prior to the signing of the contract, the consultant will be required to complete the following online courses. All certificates should be presented as part of the contract. 1. Ethics and Integrity at UNICEF 2. Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Authority (PSEAA) 3. Prevention of Sexual Exploitation Abuse (PSEA)

Before commencement of any travel on behalf of UNICEF, the Consultants and Individual Contractors must complete course on General Information Security Awareness Course.In addition to above, any consultant or individual contractor who is issued a UNICEF email address must complete the following courses no later than 30 days after signature of contract:Fraud Awareness;General Information Security Awareness Course (only for consultants/individual contractors with a UNICEF email address). The above courses can be found on Agora through the following link: AGORA: Log in to the site (

Selection methodology: All applicants will be screened against qualifications and requirements set above. Candidates fully meeting all the requirements will be further evaluated based on the criteria below. The proposal will be evaluated against the following criteria: A) Technical criteria – Technical evaluation process / Maximum points: 70 1. Technical Criteria – please select: 1 Interview 0Desk review of CVs -70 % of total evaluation– max. 70 points • Education: 10, Previous experience: 20, Technical questions at the interview: 30;Other 10.Only candidates who obtained at least 70% of points from the technical part (who will score at least 49 points) will be qualified for considering for financial proposal evaluation.

B) Financial criteria – evaluation of financial proposal - Maximum points: 30 The applicants are requested to submit their financial proposal consisting of a professional fee for the services to be provided. The applicants are requested to submit their lump sum financial proposal consisting of a daily professional fee, proposed travel costs for north, central and south area of the country and daily subsistence allowance (DSA) when applicable which will be paid up to a maximum of the official UN rate. Reimbursement of travel costs / accommodation expenses will be based on actual expenses. Travel costs and Financial scores will be calculated using the formula [lowest offer / financial offer of the candidate x 30].

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.

Remarks: 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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