The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a leading global relief and development organization, established in 1933, and currently working in 42 countries worldwide. The IRC has been working in Bangladesh since October 2017, and currently implementing various Health and Protection focused projects, targeting the Rohingya refugees in Teknaf and Ukhia area of Cox’s Bazar district. To date, the IRC has secured funds from different institutional donors including DFID, ECHO, UNFPA, and Comic Relief and is in the process of securing funds from other donors including UNHCR, UNICEF and Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The country Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for a period of 20 months through September 2020 has just been approved, with a focus on Health, Protection, Education and Economic Well-being outcomes, targeting both refuges and host communities.
High-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs provide the foundation for children’s future academic success, health, prosperity and well-being. A large body of scientific evidence emphasizes the need for increased investment in early childhood, particularly for children experiencing conflict, crisis and displacement. These children are deeply vulnerable to the long-lasting effects that prolonged stress has on the developing brain, yet early interventions have evidence-based ability to prevent and mitigate these negative effects.
In December 2018, Sesame Workshop (SW) was awarded $100 million by LEGO Foundation for a 5-year project to support learning through Play in humanitarian settings, with a specific focus on children ages 0-6 affected by the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh as well as children affected by the Syrian crisis in Lebanon and Jordan. The LEGO Foundation’s investment builds upon the work currently underway through the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change grant to transform the language, early reading, math, and social-emotional skills for young children affected by the Syrian war in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The MacArthur-supported initiative combines the depth of in-person services through programs targeting caregivers and children, with the breadth of mass media, through the creation of a new children’s television show to reflect the realities of children affected by the Syrian conflict. For more information, please visit: http://refugee.sesameinternational.org
Reporting to the Education Coordinator for IRC-Bangladesh and Senior Technical Advisor for Early Childhood Development, the ECD Specialist will serve as the Bangladesh-based technical lead to assess the feasibility of implementing and/or providing technical support to partners in Bangladesh, and to provide technical mentorship for the development of a 5-year proposal, workplan and budget. This work will be conducted during the 6-month inception phase (January- June 2019), which is the first phase of the 5-year program. The ECD Specialist will work in close collaboration with the Bangladesh-based Project Design Specialist, IRC sector coordinators (health, education, protection), as well as external partners focused on implementing ECD programs within Bangladesh.
As our Early Childhood Development Specialist, you will be responsible for three key objectives:
1.Technical support: Assess the feasibility of adapting and implementing IRC’s models of Early Childhood Development programming, including programs supporting caregivers (e.g. home visiting, parenting counselling and support groups integrated into health, protection and education programs), and programs supporting children (e.g. informal play and learning spaces integrated into health, protection and education programs; and non-formal play-based preschool programming); contribute to the successful completion of inception phase deliverables by providing technical support for the development of the proposal, workplan, advocacy plan, research agenda, and budgets, in close coordination with the Project Design Specialist. Develop ECD staffing plans, prepare job descriptions, interview, recruit and onboard staff.
2.Partnerships: In coordination with country team, the STA-ECD and relevant staff from Sesame Workshop, develop and strengthen positive relationships with ECD-focused organizations and networks, technical implementors, government agencies and donors within Bangladesh.
3.Representation: Represent IRC and the ECD team inside Bangladesh at strategic meetings and events in close coordination with the Country team and the STA-ECD.
•Review IRC’s existing models for ECD programming designed for the MacArthur-supported ECD initiative in the Middle East.
•Conduct participatory action research with children, caregivers and service providers to inform strategies for adaptation or integration of existing IRC/SW ECD program models
•Map existing service platforms within the Rohingya refugee response and host communities that would could provide opportunities for the integration of ECD programming
•Provide technical support for the development of proposal materials including the narrative, workplan, advocacy plan, research plan and budget
•Assist in the development of ECD staffing plans for the IRC-Bangladesh team, preparation of job descriptions and interview and recruitment processes
•Develop technical trainings and assist in the onboarding process for relevant staff
•Identify key priorities, opportunities and challenges for program monitoring and evaluation data collection and analysis based on the country context realities that will inform the development of a global M&E system, to be led by an M&E specialist
•In coordination with the Deputy Director of Programs and Country Director, represent the IRC at relevant ECD events for UN, international and national NGOs, line ministries, and key ECD actors;
•As ECD focal point at country level, participate actively in external coordination forums; participate in internal coordination and management meetings to promote effective and efficient information sharing, problem-solving and decision-making;
•Establish and strengthen relationships with partners engaged in programming relevant to ECD;
•Provide technical support and assistance to ECD partners and other actors, as requested;
•Participate in relevant partnership meetings with SW, LEGO, BRAC and others.
•Work in close collaboration with the Partnership unit to engage in partnership planning as needed.
Key Working Relationships:
Position Reports to: Education Coordinator and Senior Technical Advisor, ECD
Position directly supervises: N/A
Other Internal and/or external contacts:
Internal: Project Design Specialist (Bangladesh), IRC Sector Coordinators (Bangladesh), other IRC programs and support departments
External: Partner NGOs and relevant Ministries
•Postgraduate degree or equivalent work experience in early childhood development, social work, or education
•Experience in managing and/or technically supporting early childhood development, education or child protection programs
•Excellent facilitation skills with documented experience of capacity development of staff and partners
•Prior experience and excellent understanding of working in emergency settings or insecure environments
•Strong leadership, management, project planning, monitoring and evaluation, analytical social skills
•Budget planning and management skills, previous experience developing and effectively implementing multi-million, multi-donor grants is an advantage
•Strong written and oral communication skills, appropriate in a multi-cultural environment and effective in representation and coordination with external actors
•Promotes teamwork, appropriate in a multi-cultural environment, flexible and able to handle stress and pressure with professional grace
•Able to respond rapidly to changing environments and multitask
•Excellent Computer skills: MS Word, Excel
•Fluency in Bangla and Rohingya is a plus, and excellent English (written and speaking).
The IRC and IRC workers are required to adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and implements policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.