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Consultancy: Social Worker to Strengthen Quality of Care in Shelters for Unaccompanied Children in Greece (national level); duration: 21 April - 31 December 2017

Athens (Greece)

If you are a dedicated and qualified professional seeking a unique opportunity to support the Refugee & Migrant Crisis in Europe, there is an opportunity in Athens, Greece, and we encourage you to apply!

*** This vacancy is opened only for Greek citizens


Greece is the major point of entry into Europe for refugees and migrants fleeing conflicts, with an estimated million migrants and refugees arriving in the country since January 2015. During 2016 alone, some 37% of refugees and migrants were children, including an over 2,O00 unacompanied children (UAC), who face grave protection risks, including trafficking, exploitatoin and abuse. As border closures and restrictions in Europe tightened in early 2016, refuges and migrants faced an unforeseen extended stay in Greece while waiting for their asylum claims to be processed. As of March 2017, an estimated 60,000 refugees and migrants are situated across the islands and mainland Greece. 

The national system to protect UASC in Greece – from identification and registration, to referral and protective services - has been overwhelmed light of the current crisis. The increased numbers of UAC remaining in Greece saw an increase in the need for safe and appropriate accommodation and care for them. The numbers of shelters and spaces for UAC have increased tenfold – from 423 spaces in March 2016, to 1,352 spaces in 53 shelters in March 2017. Despite this increase in accommodation, some 890 UAC remain on the waiting list for placement and child protection actors are attempting to find creative community-based solutions to support them.

The quality of care in UAC shelters in Greece varies dramatically with many shelters needing support to improve their services for vulnerable children. This is due in part to the absence of centralized efforts to orient and support shelter providers (new and old) to ensure a harmonized approach to shelters and services in line with the draft minimum standards about to be adopted by the MoLSSS, as well as due to the limited effectiveness of a monitoring mechanism to assess and enforce the standards. As a result, UAC in some shelters may be exposed to protection risks and may not benefit from the quality of care required to help them thrive. 

The National Centre for Social Solidarity (EKKA), a structure within the Ministry of Labour, is a key player in the national response to UASC and is responsible for managing the National Referral System of accommodation requests for UASC and Asylum Seekers. The Ministry of Labour, furthermore has the broader competency for child protection in Greece, led on preparing the draft minimum standards of care and has the mandate to monitor and enforce the minimum standards. Capacity building of shelter providers is needed to increase the quality of care, however austerity measures and related freezes on government hires in Greece, means that additional urgent staffing needs to help respond to the crisis cannot be met by the State. 

UNICEF's humanitarian response plan for Greece aims to ensure that protection, care and support is assured for refugee and migrant children on the move and stranded in the country, including for unaccompanied and separated children. As part of its overall goal, and in line with efforts to strengthen the broader child protection system in Greece, UNICEF has committed to supporting government actors to lead on improve the quality of care for UASC including within existing shelters. 


In light of the above, and within the framework of UNICEF's Humanitarian Response to the Refugee and Migration Crisis in Europe, UNICEF Greece is seeking to hire a Social Worker to be seconded to E.K.K.A. for a period of twelve months, in order to support the harmonisation of quality of care within all UAC shelters in Greece, in line with national standards and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity.

Major duties and responsibilities

  1. Carry out a participatory needs assessment of all UAC shelters in Greece with a view to defining capacity building needs, as informed by national and international standards of care.
  2. Draft a results-based capacity building plan[1] for shelters based on findings of the assessment. This should include efforts to increase awareness, knowledge and skills around quality of care, including through a combination of trainings, seminars and site-specific follow up and support. Capacity building should focus on all elements of improving quality of care as informed by national legal framework and any relevant policies and procedures, including: policies and procedures, management and staffing structures, physical conditions and services in shelters, case management procedures, as well as structure and scheduling of activities.
  3. Design a training package in English and Greek for shelter managers and staff based on findings of capacity needs assessment.
  4. Oversee the delivery of a set of trainings for all UAC shelter management and staff in line with findings of needs assessment
  5. Carry out on-site mentoring and follow up with UAC shelter management and staff.
  6. Provide regularly updated reports on progress towards meeting and ensure all stakeholders are informed of progress.
  7. Participate in relevant coordination meetings to ensure synergies with other government, civil society and international actors working on UAC.

Key Deliverables

  1. Draft methodology for participatory capacity needs assessment (month 1)
  2. Participatory capacity Needs assessment (month 2)
  3. Draft outline of training package (month 2)
  4. Final training package (month 3)
  5. Series of trainings for UAC Shelter staff and management (months 4-12)
  6. Reports of on-site skills building support (months 6-12)
  7. Monthly reports of progress to UNICEF (5th day of each month)

Management and Reporting

The consultant will contracted by UNICEF and seconded to the National Centre for Social Solidarity (E.K.K.A.). S/he will be managed by and report directly to the Coordinator for the Unit for the Management of Accommodation Requests for Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Minors, and work as part of that team. The consultant will work in close coordination with the Ministry of Labour and will provide monthly reports on progress to UNICEF (reporting to the Chief of Child Protection). No sensitive case data will be shared with UNICEF or any other actor without prior consent of E.K.K.A. Coordinator.

Minimum Qualification and Experience

  • Advanced professional university or technical degree in Social Work, or other field related social/humanitarian sciences. In lieu of the advanced university degree, a first university degree may also be expected.
  • At least 10 years professional experience in child protection, including at least 5 years of work experience with UASC, including provision of accommodation and comprehensive care.
  • Proven experience carrying out participatory capacity needs assessments, developing, designing and delivering training for CP front line workers, and carrying out practical on-site skills building support.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English and Greek is essential.
  • Ability to work through networking and partnership.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships.
  • Ability to work with professionals from other disciplines to deliver collaborative assessment results strengthening the quality of care provided.  
  • Ability to understand and appreciate professional roles and responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively. 

[1] The capacity building plan should include expected outcomes and outputs, a clear set of indicators including to help track improvements in quality of care, as well as a timeline and budget.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Athens (Greece)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Social Affairs
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Social Affairs
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
  • Closing Date: 2017-04-10

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