Local consultancy on Modelling of community-based social services for children in selected districts (Agjabedi, Shirvan) of Azerbaijan
Modelling of community-based social services for children in selected districts (Agjabedi, Shirvan) of Azerbaijan
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Azerbaijan has achieved noticeable progress in economic and social development since its independence. The progress of poverty reduction as well as in other social development areas has benefited from the rapid economic growth and the country’s rich oil income that allowed the government to expand its budget expenditure in social sectors. ILO World Social Protection Report (2017) states that the Government’s investment to social protection shares approximately 8% of total GDP. However, current social protection programmes are focusing on social assistance through cash transfer and financial schemes. One of the key components of the social protection - social services is still in an insufficient level both in terms of scope and quality.
Social service is understood as one that address both the social and economic vulnerabilities and include preventative, responsive and promotive elements. Social services, on its own are composed of the set of interventions, programs and benefits provided by governmental, civil society and community actors and aim to create protective environment for healthy development and well-being of the vulnerable families and individuals. Adoption of the “Law on Social Services” (2011) brought advanced mechanisms for providing social services and is an important step forward in strengthening this system in the country. It offers a framework for the provision of social services to persons and families experiencing hardship. The law aims to improve targeting and channel social services and scarce financial resources to those persons and families experiencing hardship and prevent factors deteriorating living conditions of people, hampering their social and psychological conditions and leading to segregation from the society.
However, often the good principles recognized in laws and conventions adopted by the country are not followed by good practices. Current status of social service system in Azerbaijan is characterized with those limitations: - insufficient number and quality of the community-based and non-institutional alternative services; high reliance on institutional care; and weak independent monitoring and referral mechanisms and many more challenges seriously hinders the possibility for citizens, and for children to receive services meeting their individual needs. Despite some recent positive advancements, the country is still in its early stages of developing social work profession.
Often overlooked, social services play a critical role in strengthening resilience and capacity of families and individuals to cope with and overcome diverse shocks, such as poverty, emergency, physical and mental health problems of a child or a parent, death of a parent, social exclusion, etc. Combined with cash transfers and other public services, which when provided in isolation do not suffice to address many of the underlying and interlinked causes of family vulnerabilities, social services help in protecting children, families and other vulnerable groups from a host of social and economic hardships.
Community-based programs of social service provision can work to enable families to build on their own strengths and capacities to promote the healthy development of children. While these programs come in different forms, they have a common goal of increasing the level of family functioning and reducing involvement in the child protective services and juvenile justice systems. Community-based programs are embedded in communities and can also contribute to the community-building process.
A fundamental characteristic of community-based programs is that social service providers and families work together in relationships based on equality and respect. Programs work with families to mobilize formal and informal resources to support family development, and advocate with families for services and systems that are fair, responsive, and accountable to the families served.
Non-governmental and private social service providers are important players in community-based programs, as they can help to identify vulnerable families and children in need and facility coordination across different agencies in the delivery of social services.
In view of these questions, the UNICEF-Government of Azerbaijan Country Program of Cooperation 2016-2020 has defined the priority target to develop a child-centered and equity focused social services system with strong synergy among various service providers, a national mechanism to identify the most deprived children, and efficient and effective national and local referral system to the relevant services and facilitate cash and other in-kind assistance so to provide deprived children with access to inclusive social protection. The draft Social Services Strategy with Action Plan developed recently with UNICEF’s technical assistance also prioritizes Community-based and family support service development through a Minimum Package of Social Services (MPSS). With the purpose of final endorsement of the Strategy, UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population (MoLSPP) agreed on piloting the implementation of this strategic intervention. This project will be under the leadership of the MoLSPP with close collaboration of other relevant state entities and non-governmental partners.
The pilot project is intended to implement in two districts (Agjabedi and Shirvan). The total number of children in Agjabedi is 10.088, of which 1723 are children with disabilities. The total number of children in Shirvan is 6194 of which 646 are children with disabilities.
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The objective of this project is modelling minimum package of social services for vulnerable children (children with disabilities, children in conflict and contact with law, children living in the risk of institutionalization) and families in the two districts. The services will be provided according to the quality standards on social services for children developed as part of the Minimum Package of Social Services. The project will support the creation of community-based integrated social services system in the local level with strengthened capacity of CSO/NGO’s.
Service providers will be responsible for the delivery of the following minimum package of social services for children in Shirvan and Agjabedi districts:
- Social work (identification of vulnerability (including health, education, violence, neglect and abuse as well as those with special social support needs), assessment, referral, case management) for children and families;
Social services for children with developmental delays and disabilities and support with inclusive strategies:
- social work with families;
- psychological support for children;
- child development services (occupational therapy, art therapy, providing basic life skills, etc.)
- pedagogical services.
Social services for children in conflict and contact with law (including victims of violence)
- social work with children and families;
- psychological support for children;
- pedagogical support;
- legal aid and legal representation.
In the period of August 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, the following deliverables are expected:
- General overview of the districts social development status including brief information on the needs of the children and Draft plan for organizing services by the end of September 2018;
- By the end of the assignment minimum 200 children and their families per district (totally 400 children) are provided at least with one component of the minimum package of services;
- Documenting the cases of children received social services, through working UNICEF-provided online database of children;
- Conduct minimum 3 awareness rising activities (round tables, community meetings) on major local child issues;
Submit monthly narrative and financial reports on implemented activities and results.
- Minimum 3 latest years of proven experience in providing social services for vulnerable children;
- Physical presence in the districts selected for the assignment (availability of an office will be an asset);
- Access to the local authorities of districts (Agcabedi and Shirvan) and proven previous successful cooperation;
- Strong knowledge of the developments in the district, particularly on social development challenges and problems of vulnerable children;
- Strong understanding of UNICEF’s mission and mandate, as well as its development role and position on children’s issues;
- Proven ability to produce communication and media products with focus on non-traditional media;
- Proven ability to demonstrate initiative, flexibility and drive for results;
- Strong proposal and report writing skills.
The contract with service providers will cover the period 1 August 2018 to 30 June 2019 (11 months).
Budget is to be proposed by potential applicants and agreed with UNICEF in line with UN rules and regulations and based on optimal cost of services. UNICEF does not provide or arrange health insurance coverage. Payments will be processed based on satisfactory completion of the tasks and submission of monthly narrative and financial reports.
Interested organizations must submit the following documents/information to UNICEF for application:
a) A full project proposal (including budget);
b) CVs of key staff and plan for recruitment of new employees;
c) Detailed information on the previous assignments/projects.
Applications may cover the required services fully or partially in one or both districts and interested organizations are requested to clearly specify the scope of activities and geographic locations in proposals.
Deadline: 26 July 2018, 5 PM Baku time
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UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
- Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
- Location: Baku (Azerbaijan)
- Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
- Children's rights (health and protection)
- Social Affairs
- Civil Society and Local governance
- Closing Date: 2018-07-26