M&E Consultant for the „Scaling-up Playful Parenting” Project
Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant will develop an overall monitoring and evaluation project framework for collecting and analysing relevant data that will demonstrate a change in parental practices, workforce competencies, capacities of family-cantered services and changes in policies and regulations. Duration of the assignment: December 2019 – March 2020, up to 50 working days.
Children’s earliest years, starting with conception, and with a focus on the first 1,000 days (until two years of age), as well as into the following 1000 days, represent a critical phase of development. It is the time when a child’s brain forms neural connections at a speed and complexity never repeated again. It is the time when the brain is the most susceptible to positive and negative environmental influences. To develop their full potential, all children, including especially the most vulnerable ones, need nurturing care, or the conditions characterized by good health, adequate nutrition, protection from harm and responsive stimulation, including warm and rich communication and playful early learning opportunities. Caregivers and parents have a critical role to play in the development of their children, as they are the key architects of a child’s early environment by enabling the provision of nurturing care, and by nurturing responsive and playful interactions with their children that positively and permanently strengthen the actualization of their developmental potential. Unfortunately, many children are deprived of the ingredients that foster optimal brain development.
According to the Serbia MICS data, development of young children from poorest quintile lag 8 months behind children from the richest quintiles; every 10th child living in Roma settlements has children books at home; every 5th is stunted; and among general families every third young child benefits from father’s engagement in learning activities. The recent study done by the Association of Pediatricians and Institute of Psychology, as part of the standardization of developmental screening instrument, revealed that 8-12% of young children aged 0-6 have developmental risks of difficulties, while an additional 5% already express some developmental delays or disability. Therefore, in Serbia, vulnerable children such as Roma and children with disabilities, children living in rural areas and in poverty, and their parents require even greater attention.
For these reasons UNICEF, with support of the LEGO Foundation, has initiated a 5 years long „Scaling-up Playful Parenting” project that aims to ensure that young girls and boys from conception to age 6 (prioritized birth to 3), especially the most marginalized ones, have playful interactions with their primary caregivers as part of the nurturing care, in order to contribute to their full developmental potential (be creative, self-confident, curious and solution-oriented).
UNICEF Serbia seeks technical assistance to support the monitoring and evaluating of the Playful Parenting program. Technical assistance will be sought to support the development, analyses and learning outcomes throughout the 5 years of the project and ensure the evidence of effective approaches and practices, providing guidelines for scaling up.
In addition, the Lego Foundation will, in cooperation with UNICEF, lead an implementation research intended to understand the core components of playful parenting interventions at scale, including workforce and caregiver knowledge, attitudes and behaviours about playful parenting; delivery mechanisms; program dosage; effective use of technology; core components of child/caregiver everyday play that can inform and strengthen intervention quality. The monitoring data collected should 1) be of quality, 2) feed into the implementation research, and 3) be used in internal learning processes and program improvement.
Serbia is one of 5 countries involved in the implementation research led by the LEGO Foundation. The M&E Consultant will, therefore, need to align the monitoring data with the broader implementation research questions.
Work Assignment Overview:
Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant will develop an overall monitoring and evaluation project framework for collecting and analysing relevant data that will demonstrate a change in parental practices, workforce competencies, capacities of family-cantered services and changes in policies and regulations.
Duration of the assignment: December 2019 – March 2020, up to 50 working days
- Refine the Project Logframe and Theory of Change and recommend potential revisions to strengthen the chain of results and causality leading to the outcome level indicators. Include new indicators that would support the implementation research questions.
- Based on the final project logframe and Theory of Change, refine the draft of the monitoring and evaluation plan prepared, and design a detailed action plan for its implementation.
- Develop monitoring and data collection tools based on the finalized logframe, including for data collection for the implementation research (in consultation with LEGO Foundation).
- Develop a capacity building program for data collection and build capacities for the data collection on the identified/developed tools of the professionals in the field involved in data collection.
- Develop a recommendation for improving the routine data collection system(s) on a local and national level to collect data about children, families and ECD services through health, education and social welfare systems.
- 8-10 years in relevant technical fields.
- Minimum of 5 years of experience in monitoring and evaluation, research, data analyses and reporting.
- Good knowledge of data collection systems (health, education and social) in Serbia.
- Experience in monitoring and evaluating projects in social fields (health, education, social welfare) and/or behavioural change projects, preferably in relation to children and families.
- Experience in designing implementation research will be considered as an asset.
- A good understanding of UNICEF’s work in early childhood development will be considered as an asset.
- Excellent analytical skills.
- Fluency in English and Serbian.
- Prior experience with UNICEF and/or other UN agencies will be considered as an asset.
How to apply:
The application must include a financial proposal in RSD as a separate document, providing the following information:
- Daily rate (all costs included e.g. health insurance, pension, usage of mobile phone),
- Daily travel allowance for overnight stay in Serbia (including accommodation),
- Transportation costs per km (for travel within Serbia).
Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.
For every child, you must demonstrate UNICEF's core values of Care, Respect. Integrity, Trust and Accountability and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
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.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and on any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will therefore undergo reference and background checks.