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International consultancy for the development of a desk review of existing innovative programs on early learning in Latin American and the Caribbean countries

Panama City (United States of America)

The purpose of the consultancy is to prepare a desk review of existing innovative programs on early learning in the Latin American and the Caribbean region and their level of scalability.

THE UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF)

TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR INDIVIDUAL CONTRACTOR/ CONSULTANCY

FOR

International consultancy for the development of a desk review of existing innovative programs on early learning in Latin American and the Caribbean countries 

Level of experience:   Junior [] 1-3yrs           Medium [X] 4-10yrs   Senior [] more than 10yrs

Location: Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean [LACRO]

Language(s) required: Fluency in English and Spanish is required

Closing date for applying to this consultancy: August 7, 2018

Duration: 4 months (aprox.)

Estimated start date of this consultancy: August 20, 2018    Estimated end date: December 10, 2018

BACKGROUND:

In the first years of life, children establish the cognitive, emotional, and social foundation upon which they can build their futures. Early childhood is the most significant developmental period of life. A baby who is stimulated, continuously engaged in interactive activities, hugged, comforted, and spoken to is more likely to fully develop cognitive, language, physical, emotional, and social skills; all of which are vital for success in school, in the community and subsequently in life.

UNICEF advocates for and promotes an integral approach to early childhood development (ECD) that includes: early learning and quality education programmes, maternal and child nutrition, protection, health care interventions and family support services. Providing children and their caregivers adequate Multisectoral interventions and special services is determinant for their present and future wellbeing.  

Studies in many countries and from different disciplines show that participation in early childhood development (ECD) programmes lead to higher levels of primary school enrolment and educational performance, which consequently have a positive effect employment opportunities later in life[1]. On the contrary, children who do not enter school in a timely manner and lack the necessary skills to learn constructively are more likely to fall behind or ultimately drop out of school, often perpetuating a cycle of poverty.

In 67 countries with available data, nearly 57 million children aged 36–59 months, 69 per cent, do not attend an early childhood education program[2]. Few children, especially those from the poorest households, attend preschool programs which helps them foster cognitive and language development, social competency, and emotional development. These skills are critical for school success. Additionally, data shows that the most disadvantaged children are those who miss out from these opportunities. Even in countries where most children attend early childhood education programs, children from the poorest quintile are less likely to access those programs.

In the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, Early Childhood Development continues to gain significant support from most countries. This is a gradual shift from a major ECD coverage concern to a rights-based approach that emphasizes on having equal access to essential quality health, nutrition, protection, and early learning services for young children, especially for the most vulnerable. Parents and caregivers are also supported and engaged in nurturing care and positive parenting with their young children.

This increased support is an indication that LAC countries are considering preschool attendance necessary for children. This trend in preschool attendance, however, is inconsistent amongst countries.  Some countries have very high coverage and attendance rates, while others are very low.  Children in the lowest quintiles, with disabilities, living in rural areas, and/or are part of indigenous communities are at a particularly high disadvantage.

In the region of Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • Only 6 out of 10 children between 3 and 4 years old participate in early childhood education (ECE) programs.
  • Children in the wealthiest households are 2.5 times more likely to attend ECE programs than children from the poorest families.
  • Children attending ECE programs are twice as likely to have an adequate Early Childhood Development.
  • Children without birth registration are more than 8 times less likely to attend ECE.

The desk review of the existing innovative programs on early learning supported by UNICEF in the region, will allow UNICEF LAC to present to the UNICEF country offices and regional partners:

  • The level of scalability of their early learning programs;
  • Recommendations on how to strengthen innovative programs that are still not prepared for scaling up;
  • Experiences of five different programs that are ready to be scaled up by their governments, based on an assessment of impact, risk, cost-effectiveness, financial implications and availability of partners.

UNICEF LAC Regional Office will organize a steering committee to support the consultancy and to guarantee that the different programs will represent the main challenges as well as risk factors that young children and families are facing in the region such as violence, migration and poverty; as well other categories like ethnicity and disabilities. 

Finally, the desk review will support all the countries in the region, in addressing strategies and finding innovative and inspiring ways to achieve the SDG’s, particularly Goal 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Target 4.2: “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.”

PURPOSE:

The purpose of the consultancy is to prepare a desk review of existing innovative programs on early learning in the Latin American and the Caribbean region and their level of scalability.

EXPECTED RESULTS (measurable results):

The Consultant will: 

  • Hold formal interviews with the UNICEF Regional Steering Committee to discuss:
    • The theoretical framework and main content that will be the baseline in conducting the desk review;
    • The establishment of a criteria to define what is innovative;
    • The establishment of a definition for scaling up (including assessment of impact, risk, cost-effectiveness, financial implications and availability of partners);
    • List of innovative early learning programs in the region and its level of scalability; 
    • The recommendations on how to strengthen experiences that are not prepared for scaling up;
    • The selection of five different programs with innovative practices on early learning in the Latin America and the Caribbean region that are ready to scale up by their governments.
  • Consult with different UNICEF Country Offices, including their partners, regarding the characteristics of the innovative programs on Early Learning. 
  • Prepare a technical document that defines what is an innovative practice on Early learning, describes the common characteristics of the selected innovative programmes; summarizes 5-existing innovative practices on early learning in 5 different countries of the Latin America and the Caribbean region, as well as measures the influence and impact of each programme within the target group.
  • The document will include key recommendations on how to improve early childhood development, early learning and pre-primary education programs, by using the evidence of the desk review.
  • The document will also include an enumeration of the main challenges that the region is facing regarding the improvement of early childhood development, early learning and pre-primary education programs. 

DELIVERABLES:

Description of Deliverables*

Delivery deadline

A technical document that defines what is an innovative practice on early learning, establishes the definition of scaling up (including assessment of impact, risk cost-effectiveness, financial implications and partners), and describes the common characteristics of the selected innovative programs, considering the main challenges and risk factors that young children and families faced in the region.

30th of September 2018

A technical document to summarize the multiple existing innovative programs in the region and their levels of scalability.

15th of October 2018

First draft of the desk review including:

The level of scalability of their early learning programs;

Recommendations on how to strengthen innovative programs that are still not prepared for scaling up;

Experiences of five different programs that are ready to be scaled up by their governments, based on an assessment of impact, risk, cost-effectiveness, financial implications and availability of partners.

15th of November 2018

Final document of the desk review.

10th of December 2018

Resource package with existing videos and key documents regarding to the topic to support follow-up actions.

10th of December 2018

*This whole process should be in line with UNICEF’s Programme Guidance for Early Childhood Development, as well as, other key documents related with the subject.

KEY QUALIFICATIONS, TECHNICAL BACKGROUND, AND EXPERIENCE REQUIRED:

  • Advanced University degree in early childhood development, education, social sciences, international development or a related field;
  • Eight years of professional work experience at the national and international levels in policy planning in a related field;
  • Demonstrated experience in the preparation and publication of books, journals, technical reports, papers and materials on topics related to early childhood development, international early learning standards, large-scale assessments and educational systems;
  • Expert knowledge on early learning and pre-primary education;
  • Knowledge and experience in strategies to implement ECD Programs;
  • Fluency in Spanish and English, excellent writing skills in both languages is required.

INDIVIDUAL CONTRACTOR’S WORKPLACE:

The consultant will work independently using their own personal premises, materials, and equipment’s, in regular communication with the supervisors and country offices through telephone and e-mail and other means.

TRAVEL (IF APPLICABLE):

Travel will be covered by UNICEF as per policy.

Travel costs will be estimated and added to the contract once they are determined based on UNICEF Financial Rules and Regulations.

Please note, for travel to countries - it will be decided based on agreements with UNICEF and contractor/consultant. For agreed country visits, the contractor/consultant will be responsible in administering its own travel. UNICEF will reimburse travel related expenses based on actual costs or on the below criteria whichever is lower and upon presentation of receipts.

Any travel involved should be budgeted according to UN Travel Standards as a ceiling.

 -Travel: http://www.un.org/esa/cdo/hr/CIRCULARS/STAI20064%20- %20OFFICIAL%20TRAVEL%20(SECTION%2010).pdf Section 4, paragraph 4.2, numerals (d) and (e)

-Accommodation (Daily Subsistence Allowance, DSA): http://icsc.un.org/ (all countries and destinations can be found by navigating on the map)

FEES:

Candidates are requested to submit a financial proposal based on the deliverables mentioned above.

PAYMENT PROVISIONS:

UNICEF's policy is to pay for the performance of contractual services rendered or to effect payment upon the achievement of specific milestones described in the contract. UNICEF's policy is not to grant advance payments except in unusual situations where the potential contractor, whether an Individual consultant, private firm, NGO or a government or other entity, specifies in the bid that there are special circumstances warranting an advance payment. UNICEF will normally require a bank guarantee or other suitable security arrangement.

Payments will be made upon delivery and approval of deliverables by UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if outputs are incomplete, not delivered of for failure to meet deadlines.

Details of payments will be agreed in advance and individually between the consultant and UNICEF.

EVALUATION METHOD AND CRITERIA:

Consultants and/or Individual Contractors (CIC) will be evaluated based on a cumulative methodology, being the award of the contract made to the CIC whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

  1. Responsive/compliant/acceptable, and;
  2. Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.

Technical component score

Max. 80 points

Economical component score

Max. 20 points

TOTAL score

Max. 100 points

Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 70 points (of the total technical points) would be considered for the Financial Evaluation.

Technical Proposal

 The technical proposal should include: cover letter referring to the required qualifications, timeline, workplan, proposed methodology, and 3 contact references from previous work experience.

Technical Evaluation

Technical Criteria

Technical Sub-criteria

Maximum
Points

Education

Advanced University degree in early childhood development, education, social sciences, international development or a related field;


Master’s degree in any related field.

5

 

 

5

Maximum Points

10

Work Experience

At least 8 years of professional work experience at the national and international levels in policy planning in a related field

25

Maximum Points

25

Knowledge

Demonstrated experience in the preparation and publication of books, journals, technical reports, papers and materials on topics related to early childhood development, international early learning standards, large-scale assessments and educational systems;

 

Expert knowledge on early learning and pre-primary education;

 

Knowledge and experience in strategies to implement ECD Programs;

 

Fluency in Spanish and English, excellent writing skills in both languages is required.

 

20

 

 

 

10

 

 

10

 

5

 

 

Maximum Points

45

 

Total Maximum obtained for Technical Criteria

(Note: the total maximum score must be equivalent to the weight assigned to the technical score)

80

Minimum score for technical compliance

 

70

Financial Proposal

 In addition, separately from the technical proposal (as in another document), a financial proposal detailing the total costs of the assignment (not including costs for travel yet) must be submitted.

The total amount of points allocated for the economic component is 20. The maximum number of points will be allotted to the lowest price proposal and compared among those consultants which obtain the threshold points in the evaluation of the technical component. All other price proposals will receive points in inverse proportion to the lowest price; e.g:

                                                Max. Score for Financial proposal * Price of lowest priced proposal

Score for price proposal X = ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

  Price of proposal X

 HOW TO APPLY

To apply, click on the Apply link found either at the beginning or at the end (see example below)

Submit:

  • Technical proposal: cover letter (referring to the required qualifications, timeline, workplan, and proposed methodology, as well as contact references from three (3) previous work experiences)
  • Financial proposal
  • CV

In case of doubts please send your comments to lacro-ops@unicef.org  with the subject: International consultancy for the development of a desk review of existing innovative programs on early learning in Latin American and the Caribbean countries at least 3 working days before the deadline.

Example:
The deadline to receive applications is August 7, 2018. The pre-selection of candidates will be done after closing date. Please note only selected candidates will be contacted.

Important: In the selection of its consultants, UNICEF is committed to gender equality and diversity, without distinction as to race, sex, or religion, and without discrimination to people with disabilities.

 

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

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  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Panama City (United States of America)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
  • Closing Date: 2018-08-08

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