Consultancy: Data for humanitarian contexts - D&A, DRP - NYHQ, Requisition# 517599
New York City (United States of America)
As a first step towards supporting the development of stronger, more agile data systems that are better positioned to provide the key outcome level data required in a humanitarian/fragile settings, a desk review is proposed to examine.
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.
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Background & Rationale
UNICEF’s 2017 Data for Children Strategic Framework identified both administrative data and data for humanitarian settings as key priorities where UNICEF could strengthen our work to make use of data for children. These are not entirely separate areas however, and administrative data systems can be an important source of data in a humanitarian setting, especially when recent data from household surveys or censuses are not available. In this context, they are important both for baseline data for planning prior to the emergency, and capturing data that can help quantify the nature and scale of impact at the local level - which enables a more thorough understanding of areas of need, and therefore more targeted response. New administrative data systems are often established – particularly in protracted emergency settings. This may be necessary in some circumstances due to a complete collapse of or absence of existing systems, but in many cases may end up duplicating government information structures to address the specific needs of the context, due to a lack of flexibility and responsiveness in existing data systems, or a lack of knowledge about how these could be used. In the long term, these parallel systems risk undermining national information systems which may take a significant time to recover or re-build, and can divert highly limited resources.
Humanitarian/fragile settings also provides specific challenges due to the vulnerability of affected populations, access and equity issues related to security and logistics, and engagement with the target population. The need to strengthen community feedback and involvement in the system has been highlighted by the IASC and EMOPS (UNICEF’s Division of Emergency Programmes) as a key gap in the current approach. Disaster response has also been flagged as a key opportunity for improving data systems where these did not previously exist – such as catch-up campaigns for birth registration in the Pacific Islands following Cyclones Pam and Winston, and social welfare systems in Nepal following the earthquake in 2017.
UNICEF is a lead in three Clusters (and two additional areas of responsibility) under the coordinated response to emergencies - and frequently plays a key role in the recovery phase as the emergency response leads back into more routine development support. EMOPS is currently developing a system for the Clusters to draw key data together from the various sources that exist. The Emergency Preparedness Platform (UNICEF’s internal planning platform for emergencies) is also being re-developed. Including administrative data as key baseline and emergency response data source (where practicable) would provide a significant opportunity to integrate administrative data sources into emergency planning and preparedness in countries (particularly those with strong admin systems and high risk), and allow for faster identification of baseline datasets to be used as common operational datasets by all actors engaged in emergency response. Children on the move, often as a result of a humanitarian crisis, is also a key area of work for the organization and priority for data improvement.
A range of work that is broadly related to this topic is underway at headquarters – including the development of guidelines on data privacy and protection for administrative data systems (particularly including vulnerable populations), the use of biometrics as an identifier for mobile populations, and data sources on children on the move; however there is a need for a more overarching understanding of where the priorities need be to have the greatest impact and be able to make the most use of existing data systems.
As a first step towards supporting the development of stronger, more agile data systems that are better positioned to provide the key outcome level data required in a humanitarian/fragile settings, a desk review is proposed to examine:
Priority data and key sources required for planning prior to an emergency situation (data preparedness). The consultant will be expected to produce a paper that examines, among other questions:
- What are the categories of emergencies (sudden-onset disasters, epidemics, conflicts) we’re preparing for and/or what are the sectors that we want to examine across these types of crises?
- What do we want to be prepared to do:
- respond to the crisis
- keep systems resilient/operating (related to both response and continued development progress)
- keep development progress on track through the crisis/recovery
- Are there differences in these requirements based on the time elapsed in different types of crises?
- What priority data and key sources required as the situation moves into the recovery phase?
- What levels of disaggregation per UNICEF sector or Cluster are required?
For data that should or could be best managed through an administrative data system, a review of existing resources and experiences should draw together current guidance for:
- System preparation and resilience,
- System recovery,
- Scaling / “flex” in systems to meet sudden changes in demand, infrastructure and access,
- Approaches to integrating emergency response data into routine systems,
- Data linkage mechanisms with the Clusters,
- Using disaster response as an opportunity to improve administrative data systems, and
- Information flows, protocols, and data protection frameworks between Administrative Systems and UNICEF deployed systems (eTools, EPP)
A gap analysis will then be undertaken to set priorities moving forward.
The work will be based on a review of the literature and case studies from within UNICEF (HQ and Regional Offices) and external partners where available – drawing on evaluation reports, internal documentation and (remote) semi-structured interviews with key project staff.
In keeping with the purpose outlined above, the work is anticipated to have four key outputs
- An inception report outlining the consultant’s understating of the assignment, proposed outlines for each of the deliverables, and a reference list of materials and individuals to be consulted throughout the process.
- A document outlining a) key data needs and requirements and b) preferred & potential sources of those data for a range of humanitarian settings and c) how those may change over time as a humanitarian situation evolves. This document will need to address the range of sectors/clusters of key interest to UNICEF and the key types of humanitarian settings.
- An overview of existing resources, key lessons and findings around the characteristics of admin data systems that support their use for humanitarian data and examples of how these have been applied. While this should not duplicate existing tools - the document should be structured in such a way as to provide practical step by step support for UNICEF country offices, partners, and national governments seeking to strengthen their capacity in this area.
- A gap analysis outlining key priorities and recommendations for the work program moving forward. In particular, this should prioritize work that would be required to strengthen the product of output 3 to provide a comprehensive set of guidance for programs and countries. This should be produced as both a report for UNICEF as well as a summary presentation for relevant internal stakeholders.
It is anticipated that an initial outline/ approach for each component will be shared early in the development of the documents, and that a near final draft shared for review and comment by the internal advisory panel (at least 15 days prior to the deadline). The final product should reflect key feedback from this process and be at a stage ready for format editing and publication.
The work may be undertaken remotely, although there are advantages to the consultant being available in New York. All work equipment (laptop, phone etc.) will need to be provided by the consultant.
Start date: 1 December 2018 End date: 1 March 2019
Estimated number of working days
10 December 2018
Phase 1: Data requirements
7 January 2019
Phase 2: Guidance and recommendations
4 February 2019
Phase 3: Gap analysis
1 March 2019
Key competences, technical background, and experience required Deadline
- At least 5 years of experience in data management, research or relevant system work related to data systems.
- Experience working with administrative data systems and humanitarian settings is required.
- A post graduate degree in social statistics, demography or other field relevant to the work of the consultancy.
- Proven research skills (including quantitative analysis) and demonstrated record of peer-reviewed publications.
- Experience formulating guidance documents and tools
- A solid understanding of UNICEF's core areas of work and familiarity with the UN emergency cluster response system.
- Excellent written and spoken language skills, another UN language would be an asset.
Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.
With the exception of the US Citizens, G4 Visa and Green Card holders, should the selected candidate and his/her household members reside in the United States under a different visa, the consultant and his/her household members are required to change their visa status to G4, and the consultant’s household members (spouse) will require an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) to be able to work, even if he/she was authorized to work under the visa held prior to switching to G4.
At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage