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International Individual Consultancy for the provision of Capacity Development support to the health sector professionals, in relation to the development of adolescent girls and boys in Montenegro

Podgorica (Montenegro)

UNICEF Montenegro is seeking for International Individual Consultancy for the provision of Capacity Development support to the health sector professionals, in relation to the development of adolescent girls and boys in Montenegro.

 
1. BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
 
Adolescence is one of the most complex developmental and transitional stages in the lifespan marked by physical, psychological (cognitive and emotional), and social changes . Recent neurological studies show that this period is marked by intense brain activity. This activity is bringing new cognitive skills that enhance the ability of adolescents to reason and to think abstractly, as well as to re-build and reinforce early years’ interventions or to remedy previous difficulties.
Adolescents develop a sense of identity, and develop socially by creating new relations (with both peers and adults), and experimenting with new behaviours as they transition from childhood to adulthood. As biological maturity tends to precede psychosocial maturity, there may be a disconnection between physical capabilities, sensation seeking and impulse control. This may lead to risk-taking behaviours that have short-term and sometimes longer-term consequences, for example in relation to health.
Linked to this is an increasing desire for autonomy, independence and responsibility, which can be accompanied by the need to detach from parental authority and control.  At the same time, there is a growing concern among youth about what others, and particularly peers, think of them. For some, this increases their vulnerability in decision-making and their behaviours that can have long-lasting impacts on their future development.  The majority of young people, however, explore and experiment in ways that contribute to their development rather than undermine their health and well-being.
Coming to a sense of overall personal, and particularly sexual identity is a critical task during this developmental period , ,  and is mediated by key stages in the move from child policy and systems to adult systems such as health, education, work, justice and social protection . In this regard, addressing increasing developmental challenges and opportunities has implication on a public policy design which has to be anchored to the conditions and aspirations of both its target group and the political objectives set by the respective public authorities.
Overall understanding of youth policy points to the fact that it should ensure the development of ‘packages of opportunities and experiences’ for young people by following human rights based, holistic, integrated and contextualized approaches  so that they can achieve their full potential. Failing to do so, it results in producing risks of a delayed process of transition which may have a severe impact on life projects of young people in the long-run, as it does affect their access to social security schemes, professional development and, not the least, the self-esteem and resilience .
More specifically, the Committee on the Rights of the Child provided States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child with authoritative guidance “on the legislation, policies and services needed to promote comprehensive adolescent development consistent with the realization of their rights”  The Committee notes that ‘adolescence is a life stage characterized by growing opportunities, capacities, aspirations, energy and creativity, but also significant vulnerability. The potential of adolescents is widely compromised because States parties do not recognize or invest in the measures needed for them to enjoy their rights. The costs of inaction and failure are high: the foundations laid down during adolescence in terms of emotional security, health, sexuality, education, skills, resilience and understanding of rights will have profound implications, not only for their individual optimum development, but also for present and future social and economic development.’
At the present time, the culture and practice of public dialogue on adolescent development and youth issues in Montenegro is limited as they are not always recognized as a resource to be invested in, and they are not prioritized in the public policy agenda .
Although adolescents in Montenegro (aged 10 to 19)  make up approximately 14 per cent of the country’s roughly 620,000 population, these girls and boys have a low level of democratic participation. Disparities, exclusion, inadequate education often blight the lives of the most vulnerable adolescents, particularly those from the Roma minority, those with disabilities, adolescents in the care of the state, and adolescents presenting challenging behaviour. There is a global consensus that such life experiences undermine the abilities of young people to thrive, and succeed in school and beyond and to build relationships and support networks. Young people themselves, the society they live in, and the public services that serve them need support to harness the potential of adolescents to tackle the most challenging issues that they face.
In this regard, UNICEF Montenegro supports system strengthening as well as reform in the justice, health, child protection, and education sectors to fulfil the rights of children from early childhood through adolescence. On the other hand, UNICEF strives to empower the most marginalized adolescent girls and boys with social, emotional, and cognitive knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about their own lives and future; to be civically engaged; and to be supported by parents, communities, as well as enabling policies and social services to reach their full potential.
Recently conducted Capacity Analysis of Education, Healthcare and Social Protection Systems related to Support for Adolescent Development in Montenegro  provides a thorough overview of the systems’ ability to provide services tailored to the needs of adolescents. The analysis was preceded by a review of the existing international standards and instruments relating to the rights of adolescents and their position with respect to the aforementioned sectors. When it comes to healthcare, there is an abundance of clearly defined sources referring to adolescent related services, set up mainly by the World Health Organization. Then again, when it comes to the social protection system, far fewer sources relating to this target group were identified such as the ‘UN Human Rights and Social Protection Framework’ under the auspices of the UN Institute for Social Development and the International Labour Organization. Finally, there are numerous sources referring to child-friendly schools, but they do not treat adolescents as a separate category. The aforementioned framework served to define 21 standards and 67 criteria relating to this area, with respect to which tools for data collection and their subsequent analysis were defined.
The analysis showed that, within health sector adolescence is perceived as a separate development stage resulting in changes in adolescents, in the society’s relationship toward them and in their obligations and responsibilities. Despite that, treatment of the adolescent as an autonomous being depends of the health workers’ individual perception of to what extent they consider an adolescent to be an ‘adult’. In addition to that:
• Although, health workers are convinced that adolescents should be taking more responsibility for their behaviour, they do not consider them as mature enough to make responsible decisions about their health. Therefore, according to them, involvement of parents of adolescents in decision-making about health is needed.
• Communication between doctors and adolescents usually starts within the Counselling Offices, regular medical examinations and during lectures on prevention and responsible health behaviour at schools and it is usually one sided. Though, it is necessary to involve adolescents in creation and evaluation of the services for them, this is rarely case.
• Information about their health, adolescents mainly sought through informal sources, such as internet and from their peers. Some adolescents improve level of their knowledge about their health during doctors visit in their school. However, these lectures are attended by few pupils since most of them find it unappealing. Finally, this results in adolescents not being sufficiently informed about their health and available services.
• Adolescents health is not being considered as a separate issue when planning improvements in healthcare and system lack with the health care workers who are trained to work with this subpopulation (except the paediatricians, who are more sensitive). The mental health of adolescents is an area that has not been given enough attention. Too, early identification of the problems in adolescence is very rare, since the health workers see parents as the main responsible.
• Communication with other sectors is not sufficiently developed and it happens seldom: lectures are happening usually at the initiative of the school, NGOs are perceived as the mechanism to reach vulnerable/marginalized social groups and there is not clear division of duties and tasks withing the different health institutions.
 
2. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVE(S)
 
UNICEF globally invests in the opportunity for adolescent girls and boys to acquire critical assets as they grow; the abilities, skills, values and experiences to participate, advocate, fully function in multiple life domains, to avoid risky behaviours and become economically independent. Through global programmes that link health (sexual and reproductive health, mental health), education (cognitive skills, social and emotional intelligence) and protection (access to services of social protection, preventing poverty, adversity and exclusion), UNICEF seek to empower adolescent girls and boys to participate actively within their families, communities and wider society.
The aforementioned analysis of the education, health and social protection systems in relation to supporting adolescent development in Montenegro showed that professionals in these three sectors largely do not perceive adolescence as a specific development stage. As a result, Montenegro is not putting a focus on adolescents to promote the realization of their rights, strengthen their potential contribution to positive and progressive social transformation and overcome the challenges they face in the transition from childhood to adulthood in an increasingly globalized and complex world.
The purpose of this consultancy is to design and facilitate a capacity development workshop for health sector professionals, and thus allow them to better support adolescent girls and boys in Montenegro.
 
The objectives of the assignment are threefold to:
1. Develop a training material and deliver a training conceptualized around the rights of the adolescent boys and girls and to highlight the importance of multi-sectoral cooperation. Specific attention should be given to:
a. General Comment no. 20 (2016) on the implementation of the rights of the child during adolescence, Committee on the Rights of the Child;
b.  General comment No. 4 (2003): Adolescent Health and Development in the Context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
c. Findings of the UNICEF commissioned Capacity Gap analysis of the health, education and social protection systems to support adolescent development  including sections which define adolescent development;
d. Relevant health sector strategies and legislation, the National Strategy for Improvement of Quality of Health Protection and Patient Safety for 2012–2017, the Strategy for Improvement of Occupational Medicine 2015–2020, the Strategy for Improvement of Safety and Health at Work in Montenegro 2016–2020, the Strategy for Preserving and Improving Reproductive and Sexual Health 2013–2020, the Strategy of Montenegro for Drug Abuse Prevention 2013–2020, Prevention of Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol-Caused Disorders in Montenegro 2013–2020 and The National Strategy for Fight against HIV/AIDS 2015–2020,
e. Youth Strategy 2017-2012
f. Place specific focus on issues such as adolescent participation and prevention of risky behavior.
2. Make sure that the special attention is given to the rights of adolescents who require particular attention, such as adolescents with disabilities, minority adolescents and boys and girls, etc. in regard to their psychological and physical specificities.
3. Ensure that the model of facilitation includes enough space for interaction with the participants, discussion and best model practices, as well as practical assingments as applicable.
4. Provide participants with how-to-do tools to ensure adolescent girls and boys receive tailored services and support and are gradually more involved in the creation and monitoring of policies and services which affect them.
5. Throughout the training, collect the feedback from education sector professionals and incorporate it so as to fine-tune the designed training programme (for its future use and possible accreditation),
6. Produce a short report about the conducted workshop- lesson learned, striking statements, evaluation of the workshop.
It is expected from the consultant to deliver to the UNICEF Country Office in Montenegro a draft plan of work and other materials to be used in the workshop, prior this activity.
 
3. SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES
The consultant is expected to use the following methodology:
- desk review,
- consultations with the UNICEF Country Office in Montenegro
- design of the capacity development workshop agenda and training materials (e.g. presentations, handouts, check lists, case studies, etc.)
- preparation of the final report, which will include the finalised training materials.
Activities and Tasks
The following tasks need to be accomplished:
1. To develop a training material, conceptualized around the health rights of the adolescent boys and girls; importance of multi-sectoral cooperation; specific role of the health care sector in improvement of the position of adolescent girls and boys (including ones requiring particular attention) in Montenegro and available services. The training should consider the current capacities in the health care (as gleaned from the Study) and build on them accordingly.
2. To deliver to the UNICEF Country Office in Montenegro a draft plan of work and other materials to be used in the workshop, prior to this activity. This will likely include: draft agenda, workshop/work groups materials, check lists, evaluation sheet for participants, and suggestions as to how to ensure that the training is relevant to the entire group, and ideas for practical assingments, etc.
3. To deliver two two-day workshops for groups of 30 professionals in the health care sector (doctors, nurses, psychologists in health institutions and other health workers). The training will be attended by up to 60 participants total (30 per workshop), and will be held in Podgorica, Montenegro. 
4. Produce an illustrative and concise report about the conducted workshop.
 
4. KEY DELIVERABLES AND TIMEFRAME
The Consultant will be engaged in the period from 9 April 2018 until 30 June 2018 for a total of 19 working days. S/he will spend up to 5 working day in Podgorica, Montenegro while rest of the time s/he/ will be home based.

The Consultant is expected to produce the following key deliverables with the following deadlines:

 Key Deliverables

Number of days

Timeframe

 

Desk review of available documents

4 days

Mid-April

Development of the training material for professionals from the health sector on the development of adolescent boys and girls in Montenegro

6 days

Early May

Two two-day trainings for 60 professionals (total) from the health sector on the development of adolescent boys and girls in Montenegro

5 days

May

Report and evaluation sheet about the conducted workshop

2 days

Early June

Adaptation of the training programme, based on participants’ feedback

2 days

June

Total number of days

19 days

 
 
5. ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES
 
The consultant will be supervised by the UNICEF Social Policy Officer and is expected to have regular communication with the supervisor of this consultancy.
An international consultant is required for this consultancy.
This assignment will commence on 9th April 2018.
The candidates are requested to submit their financial offer consisting of fee for the services to be provided, travel and subsistence costs, as applicable.
The consultants’ fee may be reduced if the assignments/deliverables are not fulfilled to the required standard. In a case of serious dissatisfaction with the consultants’ performance the contract may be terminated in line with UNICEF procedure in such matters and as spelled out in SSA.
 
6. QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE OF SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES
- Postgraduate diploma or degree in medicine, (child) psychology or other relevant social science.
- At least five years of experience and expertise in medicine, health sector, psychology, child rights, or protection of adolescents. Experience working with adolescents requiring support would be an asset.
- Excellent command of English, whilst knowledge of Montenegrin language will be considered as an advantage.
- Familiarity with the local context in Montenegro with respect to the health system is a strong asset.
- Experience in working as part of a facilitation team.
- Strong communication and training facilitation skills, with proven ability to engage with people from diverse backgrounds, with different strengths, needs, interests and abilities.
- Previous work experience with UNICEF will be considered as an advantage.
 
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: Podgorica (Montenegro)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Sexual and reproductive health
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
  • Closing Date: 2018-03-21

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