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International Consultancy to Support the Development and Strengthening of the Social Work Practice and Child Protection in Abkhazia

Sukhumi (Georgia)

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Sukhumi (Georgia)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Protection Officer (Refugee)
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-17

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International Consultancy to Support the Development and Strengthening of the Social Work Practice and Child Protection in Abkhazia

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.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

Introduction

UNICEF has been supporting the development of social work for vulnerable children and their families in Abkhazia since 2016. UNICEF, in cooperation with local partners, developed a "Conceptual Framework for Social Work Practice" in Abkhazia as well as a "Training Curriculum for Social Workers". A pilot social work project was then launched in early 2017 in three districts of Abkhazia (Sukhumi city, Gali and Gudauta) and a first group of social workers were recruited, trained and began to support case management in their respective districts.

In 2019, the social work model was expanded to cover five more districts of Abkhazia due to the growing number of signals being received from non-pilot districts and the increased demand from key stakeholders. A second group of social workers were subsequently recruited and trained and began to provide social work services in August 2019. The expansion also required the enhancement of the social work model's organizational structure and improvement of job descriptions of staff to include a tiered structure which now includes a supervisor and senior district social workers. An enhancement of basic internal procedures and relevant guidelines for case management, as well as the improvement of case recording and monitoring tools also were undertaken. These activities were carried out by UNICEF in consultation with international social work experts and existing local social workers.

UNICEF now provides comprehensive support to the 32 social workers who are providing services throughout Abkhazia. Given the limited social work knowledge and experience within the region, as well as the challenging context in Abkhazia characterized by underdeveloped referral mechanisms and social services, it becomes especially important to continue the provision of technical assistance to the social workers by international social work experts in order to enhance internal capacities and support sustainability.

In addition, there is an increasing need for UNICEF to continue its efforts to facilitate closer cooperation with stakeholders on child and social protection issues as well as to raise awareness of local decision-makers on internationally recognized child-friendly approaches to various child and social protection issues.

Objective 

UNICEF seeks to engage a group of international consultants to undertake, in close cooperation with UNICEF's Sukhumi Field Office, external supervision of the social workers in Abkhazia by reviewing casework being implemented by social workers, conducting in-service training of social workers and other specialists working in the sphere of child protection on social work-related topics, supporting the improvement of information management in social work in Abkhazia and by supporting the raising of local stakeholders' awareness on various topics related to child and social protection.

Interested experts should apply as a team of consultants for the whole consultancy.

 Deliverables and Timelines

  1. Key Action: Provide external supervision to the social workers and supporting staff

 External supervision will be carried out using several modalities.

Monthly supervision (one half-day session) with senior social worker staff, including senior district social workers, social work supervisor and the local social work coordinator, will be conducted and include discussion of the overall progress and difficulties encountered, as well as planning activities with the assistance of the consultant(s). Minutes and action points will be developed as a result of each session. Progress on the implementation of action points will be discussed and monitored during the following meetings.

Quarterly all-group supervision (a half-day session) will be conducted and will aim at keeping the seven district and Sukhumi city groups of social workers connected with each other and should serve as a platform for peer-to-peer learning on a regular basis. In particular, innovations and unknown updates from each district office should be reported and most complex cases should be discussed.

On-demand supervision sessions should be conducted for individual social workers or for a group of social workers in cases of an urgent need to consult on issues arising during his/her work upon request of the supervisor. This might include the discussion of concrete cases and include suggestions on how to elaborate, change or adjust the individual work plans with children and families. In addition, individual supervision should support the social workers' psychological wellbeing and prevention of professional burnout.

 Deliverables:

  • 10 half-day quality supervision sessions with senior social service staff;
  • 4 quality half-day all-group supervision sessions;
  • Quality on-demand supervision sessions for social workers.

 Delivery Period: November 25, 2019 - October 31, 2020

 Number of Working Days:  32

  •  10 working days for senior staff supervision (Each session will include 0,5 day for delivery and 0,5 day for preparation/follow-up; i.e. 10 days in total for a group of consultants for 10 sessions)
  • 4 working days for all-group supervision (Each session will include 0,5 day for delivery and 0,5 day for preparation/ follow -up; i.e. 4 days for a group of consultants for 4 sessions)
  • 18 working days for on-demand supervision (Approx. 1,5 working days (12 hours) per each of 12 months, i.e. 18 days for a group of consultants throughout the consultancy).

Location: From home (via Skype)

 

  1. Key Action: Provide support to the management of the social work programme during the review and monitoring of social workers' casework 

Review of casework (each district up to one day - up to eight work days in Abkhazia; one day per district) will be conducted twice during the consultancy period and should aim to ensure the monitoring of all case management aspects carried out by social workers as well as the quality of social work and to identify areas for improvement. It will be carried out by the local social work supervisor and the local coordinator with the assistance and under the supervision of UNICEF consultants and should include a structured review of all aspects of case management implemented by social workers, in particular:

  • Case file monitoring - ensuring that all stages of case management are comprehensively recorded and regularly updated by social workers with the use of case notes and agreed upon forms;
  • Monitoring timescales for response, case decision making support and follow-up as well as case prioritization by social workers according to risk level;
  • Checking that UNICEF child protection best practice guidance and social work principles which include for example participatory approaches to decision-making, action in the best interests of the child and ethical principles of social work are respected and followed;
  • Analyzing trends in the caseload (in general, per district group and per social worker) to inform programming;
  • Providing overall analysis of the activities of the social workers undergoing supervision;
  • Identifying capacity building needs of social workers as well as areas for further improvements related to case management tools and mechanisms of work used by social workers;

Technical advice on the specific aspects of casework should be provided to social workers and their local supervisor and coordinator during review. Conclusions and recommendations for improvements in relation to issues identified in the course of monitoring should be developed and shared with UNICEF upon completion of each review.

Deliverables: 2 quality casework reviews; recommendations. 

Delivery Period: November 25, 2019 - October 31, 2020 

Number of Working Days:  44

(Each review: 1 day to prepare, 8 working days to conduct, and 2 days for development of recommendations, follow-up = 11 days x 2 reviews = 22 days per consultant; up to 2 consultants from the group will be involved simultaneously = 44 working days).

Location: In Abkhazia (review) and from home (preparation and follow-up) 

  1. Key Action: Conduct in-service trainings and workshops for social workers and other relevant stakeholders 

Based on the assessment of capacity building needs of social workers as a result of ongoing casework review and external supervision, the consultants will identify, in close coordination with UNICEF, topics for additional capacity building and conduct trainings/workshops for social workers and other relevant child protection actors in the following three areas:

  • Clinical knowledge and skills to work with families, including but not limited to motivational interviewing, counselling, work with various groups of vulnerable children and families, identification and response to violence against children (VAC), including joint trainings with other relevant professionals;
  • Networking and multidisciplinary/participatory approaches to child protection, including joint trainings with community level para-social workers and members of local commissions dealing with issues of minors and other relevant stakeholders in each district;
  • Case management procedures, case recordings, reporting and evaluation of work, including coaching sessions particularly involving senior district social workers, local social work supervisor and the coordinator of the service aimed at enhancing internal capacities of the senior staff to manage the work of the social service;

Deliverables:

  • 2 quality three-day trainings focusing on social workers' clinical knowledge and skills; good quality detailed training session plans and training materials.
  • 4 quality one-day trainings (each covering two districts) for social and para-social workers, and 8 quality one-day trainings (each covering one district) for social workers and key district-based CP actors including members of local commissions for issues of minors aimed at developing participatory approaches to case management.
  • Quality coaching sessions on case management procedures, case recording as well as reporting and evaluation of work mainly targeting senior social service staff.

Delivery Period: November 25, 2019 -October 31, 2020

Number of Working Days:  32

  • 10 working days for trainings to improve social workers' clinical knowledge and skills to work with families (each training -2 days to prepare, 3 days to conduct; 5 days x 2 trainings = 10 days; one consultant from the group will be engaged);
  • 5 working days for trainings with para-social workers (1 day to prepare training module, 4 days to conduct four trainings; one consultant from the group will be engaged);
  • 10 working days for trainings with districts-based CP actors (2 days to prepare training module, 8 days to conduct four trainings; one consultant from the group will be engaged);
  • 7 working days for coaching sessions on case management procedures, case recordings well as reporting and evaluation of work (one consultant from the group will be engaged).

Location: In Abkhazia and from home

  1. Key Action: Carry out awareness raising and provide expertise to local stakeholders on topics related to child and social protection 

The consultants will assist UNICEF during meetings and consultations with local stakeholders, including local authorities, and provide expert advice on topics related to child and social protection, which will contribute to the improved provision of social services for children and their families and increase the sustainability of UNICEF's initiatives in Abkhazia in the relevant field.

Topics to be covered within the awareness raising component of the consultancy will include international experience sharing - especially, from post-soviet countries - in the field of the development and provision of various social services, i.e. types of social services (including alternative care), eligibility of various groups of population to social assistance, standards of the provision of social services, principles of inter-agency cooperation in the field of social and child protection as well as programmes of special support/individual social assistance to the most vulnerable groups, including vulnerable children and families in a difficult life situation. Expertise will be provided to prevent initiatives that might negatively affect child well-being/protection in Abkhazia (e.g. establishment of residential institutions, punitive approaches towards children in contact/conflict with the law etc.) and promote internationally recognized child-friendly and gender responsive approaches to various child protection issues. Some other specific topics to be covered will include mental health services for children, prevention and response to school drop-out etc.

Alongside with the participation in meetings and consultations, the task will include a review of various documents, development of written recommendations and preparation of awareness raising materials/advocacy papers on social and child protection topics in cooperation with UNICEF and social workers operating in eight districts of Abkhazia.

Deliverables: Assistance and provision of expertise during meetings and consultations with partners in Abkhazia; quality awareness raising materials, advocacy papers and recommendations on child/social protection topics.

Delivery Period: November 25, 2019 - October 31, 2020

Number of Working Days: 18 (work will be divided within the selected group of consultants)

Location: In Abkhazia and from home

  1. Key Action: Support the improvement of case management tools used by social workers by developing a guidebook for social workers and designing a digital database

In parallel with professional capacity building and in close cooperation with UNICEF and the social workers, the consultants will enhance case-management forms and tools based on international standards as well as on practical experience of social workers in Abkhazia. In addition, the experts, in consultation with UNICEF and local stakeholders, will be required to develop guidelines for social workers on case management and record keeping. The experts will also design a digital database to ensure that data on children and families in a difficult life situation supported by social workers is collected, analyzed and used effectively.

The activity will be accompanied with relevant coaching sessions, as described under point 3 of Task 3 of the consultancy. UNICEF's local IT consultant will be engaged in the activity as it relates to the development of digital tools and database. 

Deliverables: Improved case management tools; quality instructions and guidebook for social workers; quality digital database design.

 Delivery Period: November 25, 2019 - October 31, 2020 

Number of Working Days: 20 (one of the consultants from the selected group will take a leading role, whereas the other consultant(s) will be engaged in the review and finalization of deliverables). 

Location: From home and in Abkhazia 

Total Number of Working Days: 146, including up to 80 working days in Abkhazia for all consultants from the selected group. The exact dates of activities as well as the number and duration of consultants' visits to Abkhazia will be identified in consultation of UNICEF with the consultants and local stakeholders. 

Qualifications/experience required

  • Advanced university degree in social work, psychology or other fields relevant to social work;
  • At least 10 years of practical experience as a social worker (case manager), social work supervisor or in working in other relevant functions in the field of child care/social protection;
  • Deep understanding of child care/protection systems and services; thorough knowledge of the current social environment and developments in the former Soviet space;
  • Understanding of UNICEF approaches and recommendations regarding child protection, child care and social work;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Proven experience in developing and delivering training;
  • Working knowledge of Russian and English; excellent communication skills.

 Supervision and Reporting Responsibility:

The selected group of consultants will work under the supervision of UNICEF's Chief of Sukhumi Field Office and the National Child Protection Officer, and in close cooperation with the Child Wellbeing/Protection Assistant. 

Remuneration

Applicants are required to submit a financial proposal for the requested services and travel costs. The remuneration will be negotiated between the applicants and UNICEF on the basis of an initial proposal of the applicants. While the travel costs can be paid before actual travel, the consultancy fee can be paid in one or several installment(s) after the timely submission of one or several quality deliveries and report (s) with recommendations, and its (their) approval by UNICEF.

How to apply

Each member of the team needs to apply individually stating the names of the group members they belong to and identify the parts of TOR (tasks, working days, deliverables) they are going to perform,  alongside with the fee in  the Cover Letter.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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