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U-REPORT Programme Consultant

La Paz (Bolivia)

The consultant is expected to develop a U-Report strategy and scale up the initiative at national level with a concrete plan to reach into communities, gather relevant information, and use it to empower them to address child and adolescent relevant issues as well as use this information to exert influence on local, regional and national stakeholders as part of a larger governance and accountability strategy. He/she is also expected to ensure that information collected feeds into UNICEF and the Government of Bolivia’s overarching goal to narrow inequality gaps, with special consideration of indigenous peoples, and to position children and adolescents as a cornerstone to Bolivia’s sustainable development.

Background of Assignment:

Adolescence is a critical transitional period that is distinct from childhood and adulthood, where children experiment with new ways of doing things, take on additional responsibilities, and push for independence. Owing to scientific advances in the past decade, more is known than ever before about the growth of the human brain from birth to adulthood. The latest evidence confirms that the adolescent brain is a “work in progress,” undergoing quite substantial developments, which affect emotional skills as well as physical and mental abilities.  In a nutshell, adolescence represents a window of opportunity to build on early investments as well as to provide a second chance for those who have not fared well in early childhood.  

Unfortunately, the energy, idealism and creativity of young people often remain untapped by institutions set up as basic service providers, and especially schools. In Bolivia, adolescents are prevented from reaching their full potential because of various educational barriers. Around 151,000 adolescents are out of school, while four out of ten adolescents don’t complete secondary education. Access to school varies depending on the family’s economic status and where they live. Many families migrate into urban areas for employment, and adolescents are often required to contribute to the family’s income. In addition, those left behind face a greater risk of marginalisation, poverty and adverse effects on their access to education as services get reduced. Indigenous girls between 12 and 17 years of age living in poor families are the most disadvantaged and have the highest probability of not attending school. 

There is a growing need to focus on adolescents' transition from primary to secondary school, as well as retention and completion of a quality and relevant secondary education cycle. Innovative non-formal learning opportunities, both in and out of schools, can help provide 21st century competencies and skills for gaining adequate employment. 

Adolescent girls are in need of special guidance and opportunities as they are faced with overwhelming gender inequality in society, the second highest gender-based violence (GBV) rates in the region, combined with high levels of teenage pregnancy. Recent health data show around 12 pregnancies per day among children of 10 to 12 years of age, and pregnancies among adolescents aged 15 to 19 years old also remains a critical challenge. For many girls taking control of their sexuality is difficult in a macho and conservative society. As one sixteen-year-old mother of a three-month-old-baby said,  “I wish that I had known about family planning, I would have gone to school and studied design and then thought to have children.” 

Violence in schools is still a reality in the country, affecting boys and girls of all ages. Children and adolescents are usually victims of fights, bullying and intimidation by peers in combination with the use of corporal punishment as a common and accepted disciplinary method. In addition, they are exposed to the use of alcohol and drugs, and do not have the necessary institutional support to be prepared to face these issues.  

Evidence shows that when adolescent girls and boys are supported and encouraged by caring adults, along with policies and services attentive to their needs, they have the potential to break long-standing cycles of poverty, discrimination and violence. One of UNICEF’s main priorities is to support adolescents to become agents of change and positively contribute to their country and future. 

As a result, within the new country programme of coopeation for 2018-2022 between the Plurinational State of Bolivia and UNICEF a strong focus is put on adolescents and their participation at different levels and spaces. An adolescent participation strategy has been developed to promote and strengthen youth engagement. An important element of this strategy is the put in place of a communication platform that will enable youth to have increased access to information and participation on key issues that concerns them.  

This platform U-Report – is a social monitoring tool designed for youth and other community members to strengthen community-led development, citizen engagement and access to and use of real-time monitoring and participation platforms. It allows youth to speak out via SMS and other channels – through polls and unsolicited messages – on what is happening in their communities. It provides a forum to amplify their voices through local and national media and acts as a citizen-sourced, real-time data point for key stakeholders, service providers and decision-makers about the issues being faced in communities. The platform also feeds back useful information to the U-Report participants so they are empowered to work for change and improvements in their localities themselves. 

U-Report is based on a global model that has been successfully deployed in a range of other countries, including Uganda, Nigeria, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Indonesia. In the LAC region countries such as Jamaica and Mexico have initiated similar work.  

Scope of work (Work assignment)  

  1. Develop a Bolivia U-Report strategy, adapting to local needs.  

  1. Implement, test, and launch it as soon as possible; including setting up and coordinating a technical steering committee. 

  2. Assist in setting up the U-report website including setting up of sub-thematic technical groups of respondents. 
  1. Create Standard Operating Procedures to be followed by all users of the U-Report platform.  

  1. Create a Roadmap of integrating U-report into common/shared initial set of priorities that are in line with key partner priorities.  

  1. Assist in setting up media launch of U-Report - Working with the UNICEF CO Communications section, design awareness raising and advocacy plan to run both national and subnational communication campaigns across all media outlets (print, radio and TV, as well as strategies for reaching venues of community activism and dialogue).  

  1. Monitoring, analysis and evaluate aspects of the U-Report roll-out process.  

  1. Conduct the training for the trainers (ToTs) of partner’s focal points on the utilization of U-report at partner premises.

  1. Evaluate partner usage of U-report and understanding incentives and constraints involved between high level users and low level users.  

  1. Set up a system to ensure that the information collected via U-report is available to the program sections to guide their activities.

  1. Train and Mentor partners.

  1. Ensure that project deliverables are provided on time and on budget.

  1. Work directly with mobile operators/third party to procure short code and negotiate SMS across all network providers cost. 

  1. Develop recommendations regarding other digital initiatives, platforms, and tools that UNICEF Bolivia could support to foster adolescent and youth engagement.

 Expected Deliverables & Work Schedule:  

  1. U-report strategy and documentation (guidelines & standard).  

  1. U-report up and running in Bolivia with specific focus in the four priority regions - sub-thematic groups in place to respond to critical unsolicited questions raised by children/youth; selected programs/partners’ priorities, and capacities for 2019 U-report polls.  

  1. U-report Website up and running.  

  1. U-report Media campaign launched . 

  1. Steering committee in place.

  1. Awareness raising and advocacy plan in place.  

  1. Recommendations for other digital platforms for youth engagement to be supported by UNICEF. 

Final Output/Product  

U-Report fully adapted and being used by various partners in Bolivia.  

Desired background and experience  

Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:  

It is required that the program officer has:  

  • At least four-five years of experience in supporting and coordinating project activities across a large organization and with other international partner organizations 

  • Progressively responsible professional work experience in communication, education, and technology fields, some of which should be in an international setting 

  • A Master’s degree (or equivalent experience) in International Development, Business Administration, or another related field 

  • A strong understanding of UNICEF programmes, policy, and principles, including knowledge of communication, technology, user-centered design, youth participation and partnership goals, as well as sound interpretation and judgment to present these programmes and policies in a way that enhances UNICEF’s image 

  • Knowledge of current trends in youth participation and new media, as well as a good understanding of development issues, world affairs and current events 

  • Proven ability to manage relationships with UNICEF partners, including youth coalitions, universities, intellectual leaders, UN organizations, NGOs and the private sector 

  • Proven skills in communication, networking, strategic thinking, advocacy, negotiation, and ability to relate this to new media and young people 

  • Proven ability to conceptualize, plan and execute ideas as well as to transfer knowledge and skills 

  • Proven capacity to work with and lead collaborative teams across different locations and with different technical skills 

  • Experience managing projects with strong technology components 

  • Strong writing and communication skills and the aptitude to handle competing messages and priorities with multiple audiences 

  • Experience working in complex, resource poor contexts is a plus 

  • Very good interpersonal skills, skilled at persuading, influencing, relating and networking 

  • Creative, innovative thinker who can also translate ideas into practical applications 

  • Language: Fluency in written and verbal Spanish is a must; competence in at least one other UN language is preferred 


Consultant’s Work Place  

  • Consultant will be based in the UNICEF La Paz Country Office; with frequent travel to the field.

  • The consultant will be required to travel locally throughout Bolivia with focus on the four programme departments. Payment for travel will pay according Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) rates. 

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: La Paz (Bolivia)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Documentation and Information Management
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Civil Society and Local governance
    • Criminology, Police Affairs and Anti-Corruption
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
  • Closing Date: 2018-09-29

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