Terms of Reference for Continental Study on Children without Parental Care in Africa
P.O. Box 3243 Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area), W21K19, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: (+251 1) 551 3522 Fax: (+251 1) 553 5716 Website: www.acerwc.africa
TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR CONTINENTAL STUDY ON CHILDREN WITHOUT PARENTAL CARE IN AFRICA
THE AFRICAN COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD (ACERWC)
The African Union developed Agenda 2063 as the strategic blue print encapsulating seven aspirations for the continent of Africa. For the realization of this agenda, Aspiration six provides for people driven development. Paragraph 53 under aspiration six infers that the precursor to having people driven development is the full implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). It is from this provision that the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) enunciated Agenda 2040, a document that is meant to ensure full implementation of the ACRWC. Agenda 2040 has ten aspirations, which when realized, will become an inevitable launching pad for the realization of the continental agenda.
It is however important to know that there are certain prerequisites for making all the aspirations a reality. One indispensable condition is for the children to grow up in enabling environments where they can realize their full potential. In light of this, the Preamble of the ACRWC underscores the need for every child to grow up a family environment in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. This will ensure full and harmonious development of the child’s personality. Be though as it may, the continent of Africa is face with a challenge where children are without parental care and some are at the risk of losing parental care. The travesty about this scenario is that there has not been a continental effort to appreciate the scale of the predicament. Globally though, there are about 220 million children without adequate parental care . One in 10 children under the age of 18 years lives with neither biological parent and various national demographic studies show that a good percentage of these are orphans with one or both parents dead. The ACRWC in Article 19 posit that ‘every child shall be entitled to the enjoyment of parental care and protection and shall, whenever possible, have the right to reside with his or her parents.’ This provision of the Charter is premised on the understanding that parental care is the first level of protection for children.
In the absence of parental care, children are left at a higher risk of discrimination, abuse, exploitation, and inadequate care as their wellbeing may not be properly monitored. As such, a family environment is recognized as one of the prerequisites for the optimum development of a child. In cases where a child is not able to live within a family, efforts must be made to ensure that the mode of care provided to the child is temporary and that continuous efforts are made to place them within a family. This philosophy is the basis for the growing momentum for other care options that are in the best interests of the child.
Much as there are many such children in need of parental care, in Africa, domestic adoptions and other family based solutions (such as foster care, kinship care, Kafalah and others) are not sufficiently promoted, developed or applied. As a result, many children end up in institutional care and some are given for international adoption. Yet, Africa is not well equipped in law, policy and practice, to uphold appropriate childcare and protection when they are adopted internationally. Institutional care on the other hand, also has its own problems in that in the absence of child protection systems, children often receive inadequate care and are vulnerable to emotional, sexual and physical abuse and exploitation. Their life chances and potential are affected. This is particularly also worse for children with disabilities as they are institutionalised even where parental care could easily be provided. Domestic, family based care helps children to grow in an environment with strong bonds with their carers and their physical and cognitive development is greatly enhanced. As such, local and traditional family based options of care for children in need of parental care ought to be promoted. However, many countries in Africa do not have adequate systems to preserve and strengthen families and communities to be able to provide care to children without parental care. There is therefore a need to promote an integrated approach and ensure that coherent alternative care systems, focusing on family based local solutions are promoted in Africa.
However, much as the phenomenon of children without parental care is a growing one in Africa, there is a big evidence gap in terms of the scale and magnitude of the problem, as well as the programmatic responses. To date, no comprehensive study has been conducted at the continental level, covering all countries as well as the various forms and of care and the gaps and challenges in ensuring that all children have access to parental care.
In response to the realization of the need to intervene in ensuring that the issue of children without parental care needs attention, the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee adopted an annual resolution on the Rights of the Child (A/C.3/74/L.21/Rev.1), focusing on Children Without Parental Care (CWPC), as one of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The Resolution urges governments to put in place programs, policies and investments to better fulfill the rights of children without parental care, ensuring that the professionals and systems serving them do so with a rights-based and participatory approach. Adoption of this resolution, creates the momentum to take action for improving the situation of millions of families and children around the world.
In November 2019, during the 34th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), the Committee resolved to undertake a continental research on the nature and scope of children without parental care and those at the risk of losing parental care. SOS Children’s Villages, UNICEF and ACPF committed to support the ACERWC this endeavor.
2. Purpose of the study
The purpose of the continental study is to generate information on the current situation of children without parental care. This information will help to establish baseline figures, explore the various childcare options and practices, government structures, policy and regulatory environment, institutional arrangements (in terms of government, faith based institutions and other traditional systems), gaps and strengths from country up to continental levels. The study findings will be used by the ACERWC in execution of its mandate on the subject matter. The study will also be used by RECs/RMs, member states and civil society as a guide and for benchmarking in the process of understanding the contemporary children without parental care. The study would also support governments and other authorities in Africa in translating the UN resolution into concrete steps and actions so that every child grows up in a safe and loving family, or when such is not possible in a highest possible quality alternative care.
3. Rationale of the study
There has not been a comprehensive study at continental level on understanding the nature, scope and conceptualisation of children in need of parental care in Africa. What exists however are capsule studies whose geographical scope is limited to certain national jurisdictions and lower. This is a first initiative at continental level to be commissioned by the ACERWC to explore the notion of children without parental care in Africa. The lack of timely and reliable quantitative and qualitative data on children without parental care is a major obstacle in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of comprehensive response strategies that are in the best interests of the child. Indeed, the systematic collection of accurate data on the numbers and characteristics of children in care, the root causes of child-family separation and the function of the child protection system as a whole is crucial and can help ensure better policies, improve the state’s ability to protect and promote children’s rights and lead to sustainable reforms and better outcomes for children.
Further, data collection and dissemination in the area of child protection continues to be haphazard and often relies on NGOs to interpret the available data. National child protection policies often lack monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks including an agreed set of national child protection indicators, and child protection data systems vary greatly in terms of their level of development. It is therefore difficult to trigger AU legislative initiatives without a sound evidence base and strong child protection data systems.
Since the study is the first of its kind focusing on CWPC by the Committee, it will seek to meet the following objectives:
- Establish evidence on nature and magnitude of CWPC in Africa in order to guide a continental normative and programmatic response
- Build an evidence based foundation for addressing the root causes and drivers of CWPC in Africa
- Conduct a critical analysis of the current normative frameworks and their symbiosis with the African conceptual understanding of CWPC
- Map out alternative care options and programmatic responses that are in the best interest of the child and meant to address the issue of CWPC in Africa; And identify policy frameworks and practices in terms of necessity and suitability
- Recommend ways in which the ACERWC, RECs and member states can work more effectively in responding to CWPC and the impact thereof
5. Research Questions
- What is the African definition of CWPC and what are the various manifestations of it? What is the magnitude of CWPC in Africa? What are the underlying causes and drivers of CWPC in Africa? What are the disparate groups of CWPC?
- What are current normative frameworks in member states that respond to CWPC?
- What institutional structures and mechanisms exist at national level, regional and continental levels exist in addressing CWPC? What is the level of their technical and resource capacity in addressing CWPC on the continent?
- What programmatic responses and care options are in place to address the issue of CWPC? And identify policy frameworks and best practices in programmes that address the issues of CWPC
- What opportunities exist in the broader child protection discourse that can be used to deal with the issue of CWPC? How can the various stakeholders exploit these opportunities?
- What strategies can be employed in addressing the underlying reasons for CWPC? Which stakeholders are and should be involved in this, at national, to regional and continental levels?
- What ex ante mechanisms can member states put in place in addressing CWPC?
6. Scope of the study
This is a continental study covering all five regions of the African continent. The study will collect information on magnitude and drivers of CWPC, existing normative frameworks, their gaps or exemplary practices in member states. The study will also harvest the available care options, both formal and informal, that are in member countries and provide a critique of these options using the best interest of the child lenses. The focus will be on the adequacy and quality of care for the child, not necessarily the existence of a parent. The study does not provide a comprehensive account of all CWPC in all African states. In addition, the study does not provide final and exhaustive figures on CWPC nor final definitions of institutions providing alternative care.
The study will employ a mixed methods approach (consultant/s can also propose and justify a more appropriate methodology which can be reviewed and accepted). The study will rely on content review from various sources including the data from member states repositories. These include national censuses, human development indices and national household surveys. At continental level, state party reports to treaty bodies contain a wealth of information on what the member states are doing on the issue of CWPC. The study will use recently published researches by child rights agencies such as SOS Children’s Villages, UNICEF, Save the Children, ACPF and other stakeholders.
Primary data can be collected in collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages and UNICEF through their country offices. Key informant interviews will be conducted with government line ministry officials and relevant stakeholders using a semi structured interview guide. A purposive sampling approach will be employed on identifying countries where data will be collected. The sampling has to take into cognizance inter alia, the five regions of the continent, language, ratification and otherwise of the ACRWC and national populations. Case studies of exemplary practices will be harvested during the primary data collection phase. These will be from at least ten of the sampled countries. A conceptual framework has to be identified to provide delineation parameters for data collection. The conceptual framework should be informed by the available normative frameworks such as the UN Guidelines for Alternative Care, and the ACRWC.
In light of COVID-19, applicants are expected to include in their bids scenarios of how they will collect data and complete the assignment in spite of the lockdowns which member states have put in place to contain the virus.
8. Reporting lines
The consulting firm/consultants will work under the direct supervision and guidance of the ACERWC through its Secretariat at the Department of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC).
The professional fee for the consultancy will be covered by SOS Children’s Villages International, Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Rules and procedures for procurement of the consultants will therefore be in line with SOS Children’s Villages.
10. Working Environment
The study uses both field visits and desk research as part of the methodology. To undertake the desk research the consultants primarily work from their duty station. Field visits will also be conducted to the selected countries with a view of collecting on the spot information for making an in-depth situation analysis. This approach may change depending on the progression of COVID-19 on the continent.
11. Expected Deliverables
- A final detailed inception report outlining the research teams’ understanding of the assignment and the approach to be employed. The inception report will be discussed prior to the commencement of the assignment in an inception meeting;
- Draft Continental Study on CWPC which will be subjected to a validation process in the form of a workshop convened by the ACERWC. The Consultants will be responsible for facilitating and rapporteuring at this validation workshop;
- A final CWPC Continental Study detailing, inter alia, state of domestication of available normative frameworks for CWPC, existing policy and legal frameworks, strategies and plans, highlighting any challenges, shortcomings and key recommendations/strategies;
- A final detailed report of a validation workshop on the Draft CWPC Continental Study
Note: All deliverables will be in English
Estimated duration of the consultancy is 90 working days, within the period of July to 15 December 2020.
The selected consultant/s will be based at their own convenient location, and will be reporting to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) on an agreed time-frame.
14. Eligibility to apply
Organizations, associations, companies, individuals and/or a group of individuals are eligible to apply for this consultancy service.
15. Application Information
a. General Information
- Applicants must submit all the required documents below
- Proposals must be submitted in English
- Costs must be quoted in US Dollars
- Technical proposals should be submitted in Microsoft Word format.
- Financial proposals must submitted in Microsoft Excel document. The document should be password protected. The bidder will submit the password only when requested by the evaluators after completing technical evaluation. The password MUST NOT be submitted with the bid application. If the Ms Excel document is not password protected, it will be grounds for disqualification.
- The financial proposal should indicate professional fees inclusive of all other costs in daily rates.
- The financial proposal should separately indicate travel costs (only unit cost per day per country - that includes per diem, accommodation and other costs)
- All required documents must be zipped in one folder before submission
- If attachments are larger than 10 MB, please upload to Google Drive and share the link in the application email
- Subject line of the bid application e-mail must be: “Bid for Continental Study on CWPC in Africa”
- Taxes and payments: As per the regulation:
- Fees for Ethiopian nationals will be paid in ETB as per the prevailing exchange rate
- Fees for other nationals will be paid through bank transfer in USD
- 2% tax will be deducted from Ethiopian consultants with business license and business TIN. 30% tax will be deducted from Ethiopian consultants with personal TIN
- 15% tax will be deducted from consultants who are non-Ethiopians
- Payment will be made in three phases based on the deliverables. Details will be communicated in contracts for winning bidders.
b. Key requirements for individual applicants
- An advanced university degree in social work, child rights and child protection, social/welfare policy, child care, or other cognate discipline;
- At least 10 years of traceable experience of working and/or conducting research, policy development and review in the field of child protection and/or child rights broadly and preferably alternative care options at African continental, regional or international levels;
- Excellent knowledge of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the work of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child;
- Knowledge of the policy frameworks for alternative care of children and excellent knowledge of care options for children without parental care in Africa;
- Demonstrated professional experience on matters related to children without parental care at regional, African continental and or international levels;
- Fluency in spoken and written English; and knowledge of other African Union languages is an advantage,
- Excellent conceptual, analytical and writing skills.
Applications from individuals must include:
- Technical (Ms Word) and financial (Ms Excel – password protected) proposals
- Updated Resume (Ms Word /PDF)
- Copy of highest degree/diploma attained
- Fully completed bid application and declaration form signed with blue pen (Annex-1)
- Soft copies of two continental or regional level researches/studies previously undertaken (Level of involvement may be verified)
- Tax identification number (if applicable)
c. Requirements for organizations, associations or companies
- The legal entity must have a minimum of one year work experience
- The legal entity must have employees meeting the requirement listed under 14.b above
Applications from organizations/associations/companies must include:
- Copy of renewed legal registration document
- Tax identification number
- Technical (Ms Word) and financial (Ms Excel, password protected) proposals
- Fully completed bid application and declaration form signed with blue pen (Annex-1)
- Company profile detailing major accomplishments – Not more than 20 pages
- Résumé of personnel that will lead the study and copy of highest degree/diploma attained
- Soft copies of two continental or regional level research works previously undertaken
(Level of involvement may be verified)
Note: Applicants not meeting minimum requirements need NOT apply or will be disqualified.
d. SOS Children’s Villages International, East and Southern Africa Regional office and all partner organizations evaluating the bid have the right to:
- Contact any or all references supplied by the bidder(s);
- Request additional supporting or supplementary data (from the bidder(s));
- Arrange interviews with the bidder(s);
- Reject any or all proposals submitted;
- Accept any proposals in whole or in part;
- Negotiate with the service provider(s) who has/have attained the best rating/ranking, i.e. the one(s) providing the overall best value proposal(s);
- Contract any number of candidates as required to achieve the overall evaluation objectives
After the bid opening, each proposal will be assessed first on its technical quality and compliance and subsequently on its price. The proposal with the best overall value, composed of technical merit and price, will be considered for final approval. SOS Children’s Villages International, East and Southern Africa Regional office has established a procurement committee to lead the overall process, review and evaluate bids and make a decision based on the criteria listed.
The ACERWC through its Secretariat at the Department of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC), UNICEF and the African Child Policy Forum will also be part of the evaluation and final decision making process to identify the winning bidder/consultant.
f. Submission address
Applicants must send the required documents to:
Note: Please refer to information under 15.a above before final submission.
g. Deadline for application
Applications must be submitted by 26th June, 2020 – 13:00 Hrs GMT/5:00 PM East Africa Time (EAT). Submissions after the deadline will not be considered.
Please find the pdf Version including the Bid Application and Declaration Form here.