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  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Yangon
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Aviation and Air traffic management/services (ATM/S)
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
  • Closing Date: 2018-07-11

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International Consultant for Technical Support for Pilot Testing of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

Yangon (Myanmar)

International consultant vacancy announcement for technical support for pilot testing of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

International Consultant for Technical Support for Pilot Testing of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

 Background

Myanmar is committed to achieving SDG Goals 4.1 on Primary Education and 4.2 on early learning. However, 2014 Census revealed that children of primary school age with a mild disability reported a lower school attendance rate than children without a disability. Less than four in ten children with a moderate disability and less than one in five children with a severe disability were attending primary school. School attendance rates are, on average, five times lower for children with disabilities than their counterparts. This is reconfirmed by a more recent qualitative study by UNICEF and MoSWRR (Situation Analysis of Children with Disabilities, 2016, MoSWRR /UNICEF) which found that children with a disability in Myanmar are among the most vulnerable. 67 percent of the children surveyed did not attend school.

Lancet estimated that around 43% of children under five in low and middle income countries like Myanmar needs early intervention services. Using proxy indicators like malnutrition, severe anaemia and congenital and acquired disabilities, it was estimated that at least 42% to 45% of young Myanmar children and families require Early Childhood Intervention services. 

Early childhood intervention (ECI) services are intensive and serve children principally from birth to age three and up to five years of age. They are tailored to meet the needs of individual children with fragile birth status, developmental delays, disabilities, malnutrition, chronic health issues that affect their development, and atypical behaviors, such as autism spectrum, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.  ECI services include a process for conducting the following activities: community outreach to identify children with special needs, universal screening of child development, referrals to ECI services, initial ECI intake, comprehensive child and family assessments, establishment of eligibility for ECI services, preparation of an Individualized Service Plan, regular home visits or visits to a daily childcare centre (usually once or twice a week), including the parents and the child caregiver, regular re-assessment and plan revision, transition services to inclusive preschools or primary schools or, if needed, special services for children with complex disabilities, follow-up services, as needed. All visits are conducted in the natural environment of the child and family and using the child and family’s daily routine as a basis.

While most disabilities can be prevented, or corrected early, there lacks integrated ECI in Myanmar. The existing services of government are hospital based and only in urban, hence, unable to support majority of children in their most important early years.

Myanmar Policy for ECCD (2014) Objective 3 stated: “Improve the development and status of children 0 to 5 years with developmental delays, malnutrition, chronic illnesses, disabilities and atypical behaviors, with a special focus on achieving the full acceptance and inclusion of children with special needs”.

Through the implementation of ECI pilot, all children from birth to 60 months of age will benefit from improved knowledge and care of their parents and caregivers on early childhood care and development. More importantly, children with developmental delays, disability and chronic illnesses will benefit most from early intervention and can transit into the inclusive preschools and schools smoothly. Developing, improving and expanding ECI and rehabilitation services will help children not only achieve their full potential, but also prevent the discrimination and stigmatization of those with special needs.

Since 2015 as part of Country Programme Document and Multi Year Work Plans, UNICEF has been supporting MoSWRR to lead other relevant ministries, professional associations, academic institutions, INGOs, NGOs working for young children and the Disable Persons’ Organizations to develop National ECI System. The Leprosy Mission Myanmar (TLMM) has been engaged through a Partnership Cooperation Agreement as per agreement with MoSWRR. With technical support from international and national consultants and facilitation by TLMM, the ECI Strategic plan was launched in April 2017. National Action Plan was also developed to initiate the pilot phase of service delivery in 2018.

The new Country Programme Document (2018-2022) and joint multiyear workplan (2018-19) with MoE and MoSWRR, emphasis was put on continuing support to Early Childhood Intervention system development. MoSWRR continues to lead high level coordination with facilitation from TLMM and financial and technical support from UNICEF. Training of core trainers on the screening and assessment tools were carried out. Advocacy and consultations with stakeholders were facilitated at each pilot site. Orientation training of volunteers on screening tools was organized. Programme guideline and procedures were developed. Preparation of M&E manuals are in process.

MoSSWRR also received funding from the central government to initiate the pilot phase in 2018-19 in 9 pilot sites across 4 States and Regions namely Yangon, Ayeyarwaddy Delta, Mon and Sagaing in Upper Burma. MoSWRR has also engaged national consultant to supervise the trainings and quality assurance of outreach services for children.

 Objectives of the Consultancy

This technical support will ensure smooth implementation and review of ECI pilot services led by MoSWRR in 9 sites starting October 2018 and provide recommendations for future scaling up.

Technical support to the National multisectoral ECI Coordination Committee, ECI Steering Committee, Task Force and 8 technical working groups (a. Advocacy and Communication, b. Intersectoral Collaboration and Coordination, c. Planning and Developing Pilot Sites, d. Service Development, e. Pre and In service Training, f. Screening and Assessment, g. Supervision, Monitoring and Evaluation, h. ECI Organization) for final steps of preparation and implementation of pilot phase of the ECI in 4 regions, Yangon, Sagaing, Ayeyarwaddy and Mon  of Myanmar for the following tasks:

  • Technical support providing oversight in field testing of adapted training modules, ECI guidelines and procedures manual and identification of needed revisions based on experience;
  • Review of implementation of Pre and in service training manuals and identification of needed revisions;
  • Review of the implementation of the service delivery models and M&E Guide and tools and identification of needed revisions for successful programme expansion in phases;

 Assignment Tasks and Expected Deliverables

Task 1:

Technical support to National multisectoral ECI Coordination Committee, ECI Steering Committee, Task Force and 8 ECI technical working groups for finalization of service delivery design, tools and instruments to initiate pilot phase of the ECI program in October 2018  (In Country)

End Product/Deliverable 1:

Field visit report on preparedness for ECI pilot phase with recommendations on finalization of service delivery design, tools and instruments

Task 2:

Technical support for continuous quality assurance during the pilot phase through field visits and review of quarterly progress reports (In Country and Home Base)

End product/ Deliverable 2:

Recommendations for adjustments for quality assurance of ECI services

Task 3:

Review of service delivery models, M&E guide and tools (In country)

End product/Deliverable 3:

Recommendations for revisions of   service delivery models, M&E guide and tools

Task 4:

Prepare final Report with recommendation for revisions (design of service, training modules, programme guideline and procedures, M&E guide and tools) and for scale up of ECI services

(Home Base)

End Product/Deliverable 4:

Final narrative report (20 pages) and power points with recommendations for revisions and for scale up of ECI services

 Qualification and specialized knowledge/experience required for the assignment:

The consultancy is expected to be conducted by a qualified professional who has experience starting up system for early child intervention services. At a minimum, the consultant is expected to meet the following qualifications:

  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: sociology, child development, public health, family health, health or educational research, or other relevant technical fields
  • More than 7 years of experience in early childhood development programmes, preferably in the Asia Pacific Region or countries with situation similar to Myanmar
  • Demonstrate expertise on setting up and review of early child intervention systems especially in developing countries, which empower parents and families
  • Demonstrate experience in capacity building of government officials and multidisciplinary teams including academic institutions 
  • Experience working in Myanmar/ understand the context of Myanmar as an asset;
  • Able to show examples of similar work done for past clients;
  • Demonstrate ability to deliver on time and with exceptional results;
  • Capable of working in sensitive situations and under tight deadlines;

 Interested candidates are requested to submit the application with updated CV and completed EOI form. 

Download File TOR_Technical Support for Pilot Testing of ECI_Advert.docx Download File EoI_Technical Support for Pilot Testing of ECI.docx

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 organization.

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