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International consultancy for providing technical assistance to the Government of Tajikistan to strengthen and improve capacity of the national professionals to effectively respond to adolescents mental health programme needs.

Dushanbe (Tajikistan)

The International Expert will be responsible for developing modules for human resources development on adolescent’s mental health and delivering ToT for a pool of national experts assigned by the Government of Tajikistan.

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Post Title:  International consultancy for providing technical assistance to the Government of Tajikistan to strengthen and improve capacity of the national professionals to effectively respond to adolescents mental health programme needs.

Level of consultancy: P4

Duration of contract: 10 months (2018)

Location: Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Deadline: 13 February 2018



Suicide is of the leading causes of death among adolescents. In 2011, UNICEF-Tajikistan commissioned the study on Prevalence and Dynamics of Suicide among Children and Young People, designed by Columbia University, in response to a request by the Governor of Sughd after a perceived increase in suicide rates was noted within Sughd Region, especially among young people and most particularly among girls. 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 125– 24. Based on these 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.

There are social and cultural differences in causes of suicide among adolescents. Trauma, interpersonal violence, loss of a loved one through migration, death or separation, economic hardships are potentially damaging to young people’s wellbeing. It has worsening impact on adolescents’ wellbeing due to poor coping strategies, low resilience and lack of access to quality services. People in Tajikistan, especially young people have little knowledge of the causes, management and psychosocial needs of persons with mental health problems. They tend to experience stigma, with accompanying feelings of shame and self-blame.

Mental health care in Tajikistan is currently provided in public psychiatric facilities, with no functional community services. In Tajikistan, there are two large psychiatric hospitals; however, there are no psychiatric services for children and adolescent including emergency psychiatric or psychological support. In 2008, Tajikistan launched a mental health program with technical support of the WHO Country Office.

Some NGOs in the country are involved in mental health; however they cover a limited number of beneficiaries. A Centre on Mental Health and HIV/AIDS was established in 2006 with the support of the Global Initiative on Psychiatry. The Centre aims to support people with mental health problems in developing vocational skills and to better integrate them into local communities. The Centre provides training to psychiatric Institutions, hospitals and NGOs.

UNICEF assisted the Government of Tajikistan in establishing 21 Youth Friendly Health Services at primary health care that provide basic psychological support to adolescents and youth. In 2013 alone, about 11 per cent of adolescents who sought services at YFHS requested psychological and counseling support. In 2015, 21 managers of YFHS contributed in testing of a new training module on adolescent –Life cycle with elements of counseling and support. The module contains topics related to reproductive rights and health, gender and prevention of violence, mental health and how to cope with stresses including implications of at risk behaviors among adolescents. 

Academic institutions specializing in psychology and mental health include the Faculty of Psychology at the National University of Tajikistan (NUT), Department of Psychology at Tajik-Slavonic University in Dushanbe, Khudjand State University in Soughd, and Department Psychiatry at Tajik State Medical University. However, psychology and psychiatry in Tajikistan have become less attractive to students at the universities. The recruitment of professionals in psychology is increasingly difficult, primarily because of little knowledge among the population and decreased demand for mental health services.

The Mental health programming for adolescents is fragmented in the list of key priorities for National Health and Education Strategies for 2016-2020. The following challenges contribute to limited access of adolescents and youth to mental health services across the country:

  • Limited capacity of local mental health professionals on management of suicidal behavior among adolescents
  • Limited availability of mental health services for population in general and for school age children in particular
  • Insufficiency of teaching materials on management of variety of distress syndromes and suicidal behavior among adolescents, including pre-and post-graduate curriculum;
  • Low awareness and limited involvement of communities, families and peers in providing support to adolescents with suicidal ideation.



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.

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.

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 scope of AMH programming for 2018, UNICEF is seeking to expand its cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social protection, Ministry of Education, and university institutions to address the problem of prevention and immediate response to suicides and management of suicidal behavior among young people. Sustainability of project outcomes will be boosted through continual engagement and design of activities alongside project partners, including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, National Universities, Academic institutions, and NGOs. New training modules and materials will be formulated to complement existing curricula and training efforts



The International Expert will be responsible for developing modules for human resources development on adolescent’s mental health and delivering ToT for a pool of national experts assigned by the Government of Tajikistan.



  • In collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Social Protection, Education and Science, and national universities in Dushanbe and Khudjand cities. Examine, supplement, and update the national training curricula for mental health care professionals at education and health pre and post graduate institutes in a subject relevant to psychological developments of child and adolescent, mental distresses including suicide ideations among school age children
  • Revise a syllabus for the training curriculum on child and adolescents mental health including diverse of disorders with proposed bibliography and hours per  in the pre- and post-graduate education institutes;  
  • Develop training modules, specifically on adolescent mental health, determinant factors affecting their mental health and issues contributing to suicide ideations with account of the gender sensitiveness and other context specificities in Tajikistan in coordination with national group of experts.  The training modules follow the adults education principles should combine theory, methods of teaching, case management and other practical methods.
  • Develop training plan for 12 months and facilitate the series of trainings for master trainers (ToTs) targeting as selected pool of 20 key national trainers/professionals in mental health at health in health and education institutions.
  • Provide technical assistance to the MoES to review the draft terms of reference of school psychologists in order to improve it with alignment of international standards required to promote mental health learning initiatives in schools.
  • Develop an instrument to assess the level of competence and qualification of psychologists at in-service institute of pedagogues.
  • Develop a report to UNICEF on capacity building component of the AMH programme implementation including practical recommendations;



 The duration of consultancy is ten months and exact timing for the consultancy start up is 12 March 2018.



The consultant should deliver the following:

 Installment I – payment of 30% of contract value

1.  a) Syllabus of defined training courses, outlining the course contents, learning objectives, and list of training / reference materials for each session; as well as a package of the handouts for the training, curriculum of the faculty on child and adolescent psychology of the pre- and post-graduate education is improved;

     b) The first module to conduct the first 10-day ToT is developed in consultation with the national expert group.

     Expected time frame: By the end of April 2018


Installment II – payment of 20% of contract value

2.   c) Training plan for 10 months is developed and negotiated with UNICEF and the implementing partners.

      d) ToR for school psychologist is reviewed and improved.

      e) The second module is developed and 10-day ToT is conducted. The written feedback after each course is followed and available.

      Expected time frame: By the end of June 2018

Instalment III – payment of 30% of contract value

3.    f) The instrument to assess the level of competence and qualification of psychologists at in-service institute of pedagogues is developed.

       g) The third module is developed and 10- day ToT facilitated by the consultant and written feedback after each course is followed and available.

       Expected time frame: By the end of October 2018.


Instalment IV – payment of 20% of contract value

4.     h) Final report including findings, constraints, strengths and evaluation results of each courses are submitted to UNICEF.

        Expected timeframe: By the mid of December 2018.



  •  At least 10 years of proven academic and professional experience in the field of psychology, psychiatry or public health;
  • Proven previous experience as a trainer in the field of psychology and adolescent 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;
  • Strong managerial skills in facilitation of capacity building component and other projects;
  • Strong capacity and experience in planning, development of guidelines or protocols.
  • Strong capacity in development of the training modules 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 communication and facilitation skills.
  • Fluency in English and Russian is preferable.


 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.


The consultant will receive a consultancy fee upon submission of agreed deliverables to UNICEF and subsequent approval through bank transfer.


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. 


Consultant reports formally to UNICEF Adolescent and HIV/AIDS Officer, under general supervision of the UNICEF Chief ADAP section and in close collaboration with the national expert team under the MoES.


 The link to review detailed Terms of Reference would be available at the following links:,,

The candidates who are interested to apply for the position should follow the electronic application's instructions at:******?lApplicationSubSourceID=


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Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

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: Dushanbe (Tajikistan)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Youth
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Democratic Governance
  • Closing Date: 2018-02-13

What does it mean?

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