International Consultancy for Technical assistance to Government of Tajikistan to introduce innovative approach to improve coverage & access by adolescents to virtual friendly counselling services (P4/P5), Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Dushanbe

In the scope of the Country Programme for 2016 -2020 (joint programme of cooperation between the Government of Tajikistan and UNICEF), adolescent development and participation (ADAP) is one of the critical outcomes to achieve. The introduction and strengthening of a gender-responsive adolescent mental health programme (AMH) will empower adolescents to have options to make choices, exercise decision-making and improve their access to competent services that respond to their needs. UNICEF Tajikistan - in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection as well as other partners - is thus aiming to increase access by adolescent girls and boys, especially those who are vulnerable and out of the system to quality psychological support and counselling services. The interventions will be designed to provide psychological support and counselling to adolescents, boys and girls at different entry points, taking into account gender-responsive strategies, dimensions and specific profiles. In December 2016, the Government of Tajikistan approved the National programme on Adolescent development and social participation with a special attention to strengthen adolescents’ access to mental health services. With UNICEF support, the ongoing intervention consists of provision of both, professional and peer counselling services in selected regions that have reported high suicide rates in Tajikistan.

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Post Title: International Consultancy to provide Technical assistance to the Government of Tajikistan to introduce innovative approach to improve coverage and access by adolescents to virtual friendly counselling services through a web-based platform.
Level of consultancy: P4/P5
Duration of contract: September 2017 - April 2018 (8 months)
Location: Dushanbe, Tajikistan

BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION:

In Tajikistan, adolescent girls and boys face a number of challenges related to quality of the basic services responding to their needs.

An estimated suicide rate for Sughd Region (2009-2010) of Tajikistan was calculated as 12.2 suicide cases per 100,000 young people of ages 12– 24. Based on this data the female suicide rate is significantly higher than suicide rate for young males. Within Sughd, Panjakent District was found to have the highest suicide rate of 32.6 young persons (per 100,000). In Panjakent, the rate was 41.4 for females and 24.0 for males.

The suicide study emphasized that there are social, cultural, and religious differences in reasons to commit suicide among young people. Gender norms and expectations can influence the mental wellbeing of both adolescent girls and boys, and could potentially lead to depression, risk-taking behaviors and suicide. For example, according to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2012, from women aged 25-49 surveyed, 15 percent reported having married before the age of 18. Where families are poor, the marriage of girls is perceived an opportunity to reduce household expenses. In addition, given the weak state of the economy and discrimination faced by women in employment, some of the families report that there is not sufficient incentives to support daughters wishing to pursue higher education. A complex set of social and cultural determinants such as family trauma, early forced marriage, interpersonal violence, loss of a loved one through migration, death or separation, loss of job or other economic hardship- are all potentially damaging to a young person’s mental health. Setbacks and hardship have especially negative effect on mental health of a young person if he or she has poor coping mechanism to respond to diverse stresses including limited self-awareness, resilience capacity, low tolerance, inability to cope with conflict constructively, and no knowledge on where and how to seek support.

The social sector infrastructure, some inherited from the Soviet time, in Tajikistan provides a diverse range of social services.

The health services that are available to adolescent boys and girls are not adapted to adolescents’ needs, hence not adolescent-friendly, and in particular, mental health and psychosocial services are underdeveloped. UNICEF supported establishment of 26 Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS) at primary health care level. These services are providing basic psychological support to vulnerable and at risk adolescent boys and girls as well as youth. However, with current capacity of YFHS including those available in Sougd region only one third of the country is covered. In 2013 alone, about 11 per cent of adolescent boys and girls, who sought services at YFHS, requested psychological and counselling support while the capacity of YFHS staff to provide such services is limited.

Tajik society has limited appreciation for the importance of mental health promotion and well-being. Hence, mental health seeking behavior among the population is low.

Families experience serious stigma with resultant feelings of shame and guilt if a member of the family suffers from mental illness and, in extreme cases, the mentally ill individual is abandoned by the family and ends up being a permanent resident of a psychiatric hospital. There is much gender bias in mental health and psychiatric services, and violence against women is widespread in Tajikistan

Furthermore, providing mental health and counselling services for young people requires further specialization, an area of expertise that is currently underdeveloped and/or not systematically available across the country.

In Tajikistan, psychology and psychiatry disciplines have become less attractive to students at universities. The in- and post-graduate recruitment of professionals in psychology is increasingly difficult, because of little knowledge among the population, decreased demand for the service as well as low motivation with limited expertise in related area of concern. In addition, high rates of migration by trained professionals from education and health sectors abroad has further limited the availability of quality mental health services.

JUSTIFICATION:

In the scope of the Country Programme for 2016 -2020 (joint programme of cooperation between the Government of Tajikistan and UNICEF), adolescent development and participation (ADAP) is one of the critical outcomes to achieve. The introduction and strengthening of a gender-responsive adolescent mental health programme (AMH) will empower adolescents to have options to make choices, exercise decision-making and improve their access to competent services that respond to their needs.

UNICEF Tajikistan - in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection as well as other partners - is thus aiming to increase access by adolescent girls and boys, especially those who are vulnerable and out of the system to quality psychological support and counselling services. The interventions will be designed to provide psychological support and counselling to adolescents, boys and girls at different entry points, taking into account gender-responsive strategies, dimensions and specific profiles.

In December 2016, the Government of Tajikistan approved the National programme on Adolescent development and social participation with a special attention to strengthen adolescents’ access to mental health services. With UNICEF support, the ongoing intervention consists of provision of both, professional and peer counselling services in selected regions that have reported high suicide rates in Tajikistan.

Presently, the Minister of Health and Social protection has assigned to an expert group the task of revising the YFHS policy in order to transform them into Adolescents Friendly Cabinets. The regulation of the function of Adolescent Friendly Cabinet at primary health care services envisages an introduction of virtual services to better reach-out to those adolescents who are the most vulnerable and out of the system. Technical assistance is required to provide guidance and support in the design and establishment of a virtual awareness raising and counselling service to adolescents that would be complementary to the Primary Health Care system and the Adolescent Friendly cabinets.

OBJECTIVES:

The International consultant will provide technical assistance to the MoHSP to develop and test the virtual service (v-service) as the integrated component of the AFHS function in selected sites of Tajikistan.

KEY TASKS:

The International consultant will be responsible for the assignments as stipulated below.

1. Strategic directions for introduction of web-based mental health platform and v-service.
1.1 Facilitate a workshop among the key stakeholders aimed at a) raising their awareness and understanding on the rationale for, opportunities and benefits of the virtual services; b) clarify potential opportunities and challenges based on gender, disability and distant locations; c) defining scope, critical components and its cost effectiveness; c) confidentiality as the code of conduct for the v-service to ensure its reliability and quality.
1.2 Consult with adolescent boys and girls, especially the most vulnerable, in order to seek their inputs in the design of the v-service. Identify risks and vulnerabilities that could be addressed through v-services delivery. Define the role of peer counselors and approaches in engaging them through the v-service platform.
1.3 Facilitate a round table among the key stakeholders including adolescents aimed at supporting the national counterparts to optimize the scarcity of available resources and use them efficiently in order to ensure sustainability of the web-based platform and v-service.

2. Human Resources capacity building
2.1 Provide support in the development of a concept note for introduction of a web-based mental health platform and v-service that is fit for Tajikistan taking into account confidentiality of all information related to users and provided services as well as inclusion of gender appropriate approaches for both boys and girls, especially those who are most marginalized.
2.2 Development of guidelines for implementing partners (IT Company, MoE, MoHSP and NGOs) on necessary steps to start up the project and ensure an effective operation of the v-service as specified above. To develop a protocol/instruction on Code of conduct to ensure that all information related to provided services to users are confidential
2.3 Provide support in the development of a plan of action including a terms of reference for each partner including the role of the direct beneficiaries in the operation and monitoring of the v-service to ensure its quality.
2.4 Facilitate a 3-day training session for selected professionals who will be responsible to coordinate and deliver on-line services. Assist the core group of selected professionals to focus on interaction and client- oriented approach as well as ways to assure quality, assess client satisfaction as an integral part of services

3. Mentoring and monitoring
3.1 As follow-up to training, provide coaching and mentoring to ensure integration of learning into practice
3.2 Provide technical guidance to the selected local company/or institution contracted by UNICEF to design, develop and maintain the function of the virtual service.
3.3 Provide recommendations on how to use the reporting system to ensure accuracy, timeliness and completeness as well as confidentiality of data (such as gender, region, age, addressed issue) collected about clients of virtual service.
3.4 Facilitate necessary follow-up activities (such as on-the-job training and informal orientation sessions) as required.

4. Documentation of the project.
4.1 Provide report with recommendation for the next steps

DELIVERABLES:

The consultant should deliver the following:

№ Deliverables/ Expected time 

Deliverable I - 30%
1.1. Agenda of the workshop, power point presentations and handouts for participants.
1.2. The concept note with account of needs of adolescents, especially those who are the most marginalized is finalized.
1.3. The report with recommendations on how to optimize the existing resources for effective planning and function of the web-based
platform and v- service in Tajikistan is available.By the end of November 2017

Deliverable II - 50%

2.1. Guideline for design and functioning of the culturally appropriate and gender sensitive web-based platform and v-service for adolescents is available with specifications as described above. The role and mechanism of engagement of adolescents in peer counselling is described. 
2.2 Syllabus of the training programme for core specialists who will facilitate the function of the v-service is available. To ensure
a code of conduct is clear and reflected in the protocol/instruction developed for service providers. By the end of January 2018

Deliverable III - 20%

3.1 Recommendations on how to use the reporting system to ensure accuracy, timeliness and completeness as well as confidentiality of data collected about clients of virtual service are available.
3.2 At least two examples of management of a complicated case is described as a result of the provided mentoring to the local service
provider (case study).
3.3 Recommendations on how to measure the quality of the provided service are available. 
4.1 The project report and recommendations for the next steps. By the end of April 2018

QUALIFICATIONS:

 At least 10 years of proven academic and clinical experience and practice in psychology, psychiatry or public health.
 Proven previous experience in gender equality and human rights programming
 Extensive experience in psychological counselling, therapy and care, especially for adolescents, boys and girls.
 Extensive expertise in development of innovative tools and web-based technology to respond to the client.
 Strong capacity and experience in planning, development of guidelines or protocols.
 Strong capacity in development of the protocols in the required field.
 Strong interpersonal skills and team oriented spirit.
 Very good organizational, writing and verbal communication skills.
 Experience to conduct training in the specific area.
 Excellent training communication and facilitation skills.
 Fluency in English; knowledge of Russian is preferable, but not as a must.

LOCATION AND TRAVEL:

The consultant has to work on a distance and to have a travel to Dushanbe when it will be required.
UNICEF Tajikistan will cover travel related costs including UN-approved Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) of Tajikistan.

FEES and PAYMENT SCHEDULE:

The consultant will receive a consultancy fee upon submission of agreed deliverables, indicated in the table (see table above) to UNICEF and subsequent approval through bank transfer.

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS:

Consultant’s performance will be evaluated against the following criteria: timeliness, responsibility, initiative, communication, and quality of the submitted monthly progress report and associated deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or proportion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory – e.g., assignment is incomplete, not delivered or of failure to meet deadlines.

REPORTING:

Consultant reports formally to UNICEF Adolescent and HIV/AIDS Officer, under general supervision of the UNICEF Chief ADAP section, as well as under the overall guidance of the RO ADAP and HIV/AIDS advisor for CA countries.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES:
The link to review detailed Terms of Reference would be available at the following links: www.untj.org/jobs,www.unicef.org/tajikistan/resources, www.facebook.com/uniceftajikistan.
The candidates who are interested to apply for the position should follow the electronic application's instructions at:
http://jobs.unicef.org/cw/en-us/job/504959?lApplicationSubSourceID=
It requires the applicant to upload the detailed CV and academic degrees/diplomas. UN candidates should upload at least two latest performance evaluation reports.
Individual contracts should, to the extent possible, stipulate all-inclusive fees, including lump sum travel and subsistence costs, as applicable.

Deadline for applications - 12 June 2017

To view our competency framework, please click here

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable).  Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

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.
Apply
  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Dushanbe
  • Grade: Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Development Cooperation
  • Closing Date: 2017-06-12

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