By continuing to browse this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

UNICEF Zimbabwe is inviting proposals from qualified individual consultants to design, develop and deploy the School Improvement Grant Management Information System (Open to Zimbabwean nationals only)

Harare (Zimbabwe)

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Harare (Zimbabwe)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • External Relations, Partnerships and Resource mobilization
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Documentation and Information Management
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Grant writing
  • Closing Date: 2020-11-23

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.

The purpose of the individual consultancy is to support the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) with the development of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) Management Information System to enable smooth implementation of the SIG programme in Zimbabwe.

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.

For every child, quality Education!




Design, developing and deploying the School Improvement Grant (SIG) Management Information System


Individual Consultancy  (Open to Zimbabwean nationals only)


The purpose of the consultancy is to support the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) with the development of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) Management Information System to enable smooth implementation of the SIG programme in Zimbabwe.


The School Improvement Grants (SIG) project aims at making operational a national school grants programme which will provide financially constrained schools with enough resources to address their most basic needs and meet a minimum set of school functionality criteria with the aim of improving the quality of teaching and learning at the school level and eliminating user fee costs for vulnerable students. The expectation is that this process will lead to a phased reduction in compulsory parental education costs, especially for the poor and vulnerable. In addition, by investing resources at the school level it is hoped that a ‘whole school approach’ will be strengthened encompassing issues related to teaching and learning and community involvement in the school. A ‘whole school approach’ entails that the community, school authorities and children will assess the key challenges and barriers to school effectiveness and develop a School Development Plan (SDP) to prioritise problem areas, set out solutions to the problems and strategies to realise those changes.


The grants are disbursed directly to dedicated school bank accounts from UNICEF account, and will be used to address issues of access, quality, governance and resourcing within the context of specific needs articulated in the SDP. This plan may include issues such as ensuring access to quality education to learners coming from the most marginalised households and to those with special education needs.  The plan may also focus on the improvement of quality of teaching in classrooms, materials provision (core and non-core teaching and learning materials), improvement of school facilities and effective school resource management.  Grants are disbursed to each selected school annually will fund different components of non-salary and non-personnel needs that will be in the School Development Plans (SDPs) and therefore potentially be covered by a school grants programme. These are broadly:


  • Teaching and learning materials;
  • Classroom furniture
  • Special needs provision (improved access and security for children with disabilities)
  • School running costs
  • Water and Sanitation
  • School infrastructure construction and rehabilitation
  • Income generating activities to support school

Annually depending with the budget, at least 10 million US$ is spend on SIG to the disadvantaged schools. Since its inception 2013 to date, eighty-five (85) million US$ has been invested in the SIG programme.


The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education aims at having an integrated robust School Improvement Grants (SIG) system, which facilitates payments of grants to financially constrained schools. The current SIG system is used to disburse grants directly to targeted schools with funds being availed from UNICEF in order to address issues of access, quality, governance and resourcing within the context of specific needs articulated in individual School Development Plants (SDP).

In order to process the funds into schools’ accounts, MoPSE Head office uses a system designed to capture and generate pay sheets. The system is used to capture the applications from the schools and the information is verified at different levels from the data manager, accountant and the Grants Management Coordinator makes the approval. Upon approval, MoPSE generates soft copy pay-sheet for direct input to Standard Chartered (UNICEF’s bank). This is encrypted for security and received at UNICEF Finance Section with the code to decrypt. A hard copy of the encrypted pay-sheet and a letter requesting payment with duly completed FACE form is signed by the MoPSE Director Finance and Admin and is sent to UNICEF programme section. UNICEF Finance decrypts the softcopy pay sheet and uploads the soft copy pay-sheet onto Straight to Bank platform of SCB. After the upload, the Education programme officer will access the S2B soft copy for verification purposes and process the payment.  In addition to the capturing and generating pay sheets, the system is also designed to capture acknowledgements and acquittals from schools which are consolidated at district level. Also, the system is designed to generate various reports.

However, since 2013 when the system was developed by a private developer, there hasn’t been any system upgrade. To worsen the situation, the source code could not be established to enable MoPSE to take over any modification required. This has resulted in many challenges as the system performance keeps on deteriorating. This has led to significant delays in processing the SIG payments. Hence the need to have a relook at the system and have a new system developed in order to make the payments timely and address the current challenges being encountered with the existing system. Following are the challenges being experienced using the current system:

  • The current system is not linked to Education Management Information System (EMIS), yet this is a critical database with all school information and is updated annually.
  • When the criteria is revised, and new fields need to be added, at the moment it’s not possible for MoPSE personnel to make any changes as the source code is not available hence the need to have a new system which will be manned by MoPSE IT department for sustainability purpose.
  • When the system was developed in 2013, some of the modules were not completed for instance reports, thus, the system is currently not able to generate reports.
  • The searching function is not working properly and whenever a search is made, the school name doesn’t appear despite having been paid in the previous year. It has also been noted that some schools are disappearing on the pay sheet and it is difficult to find these schools.
  • The system does not have a function to modify the active users. Hence, since 2013, all the users remain in the latest list, which is getting longer. Thus, the new system should have a function to sort out current users with access and previous users who no longer have access.
  • The module for acquittal was disabled as it was rigid in that if one school does not acquit then the rest of the schools cannot be paid. Since then, the team has been processing manual acquittals which is time consuming. Hence the need to have a system which can link with the districts and acquittals are submitted in excel format and exported to the system thereby removing duplication of work.
  • When reversing a pay sheet there is a missing stage.
  • When encrypting the pay sheet, previously it would be done on a client machine, but now it can only be done on the server. This poses a big challenge as the Coordinator cannot do this stage when the I. T. Officer is not there.
  • Schools not ticked by Data Manager on the pay sheet appear in the next stage, yet they should not be appearing.
  • Some schools are provided with more than one school ID generated by the system. A single unique ID should be given, linked with EMIS school ID.

Additionally, emerging programmes such as GPE Complementary funding, SIG emergency and SIG School feeding have resorted to use the Regular SIG modality following its successes since 2013. The current system does not allow the IT personnel to change the fields to suit the different types of SIG as they have different allocations without calling for support of an IT Consultant. Thus, there is need to have a new system which can accommodate all types of SIG and can be easily managed by MoPSE IT personnel.


Objective of the assignment;

The main objective is to authorize transfer of the funds to targeted schools from MoPSE head office (Department of finance and Admin) using the electronic system designed to capture and generate pay sheets. The other objectives are:

  • To create a platform that will assist school heads to receive school disbursement grants for the purposes of     school infrastructure development and improved quality of education
  • Integration of the system to existing Education Management Information System (EMIS)
  • To generate payment reports
  • To upload acknowledgements and acquittals from districts
  • To capture requests, resubmissions and rejections

The consultant will be responsible for designing, developing and deploying a customized SIG Management Information System.  The system should be able to provide the following;






Assignment kick-off,

Initial Assessment

Inception report

Commencement date + 2 weeks

Architecture Design and Prototype Development

Proposed prototype

Commencement date + 3 weeks

System Development and Deployment, Testing

Completed System

Commencement date + 6 weeks

Stabilisation & User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

UAT sign-off

Commencement date + 7 weeks

User Trainings /Workshops

Training Documentations and Manuals

Commencement date + 8 weeks

Support and Maintenance

Support and maintenance provided as and when needed

Commencement date + 12 weeks

Assignment Exit Sign-off

Exit report

Commencement date + 12 weeks

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology/Computer Science
  • At least 5 years’ experience working in Software Development
  • Familiarity with Government of Zimbabwe procedures, and specifically Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education policies, systems and procedures.
  • Experience in software development, MySQL and SQL database engines.
  • Advanced knowledge in database implementation, configuration, and troubleshooting of database instances.
  • Familiarity with standard ICT industry best practices, with emphasis on Change control and contemporary system security methodologies
  • General knowledge of Education Management Information Systems
  • Demonstrated project management experience of varying scope
  • Commitment to accuracy
  • Previous experience with NGO and Government related projects / track record is a plus



Chief Education

Start Date: 01/12/20

End date: 28/02/21

Total Working Days: 60

Payment schedule

Fees are paid based on the products delivered and under invoice presentation.  The payment of the fees will be made in accorded with the following terms:

  1. 15% at the delivery of the inception report and prototype
  2. 25% at the delivery of the complete system
  3. 30% at the UAT sign off
  4. 30% at the delivery of training, documentations, manuals, maintenance and support and exit report

Payment of professional fees will be based on submission of agreed deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant

DSA (if applicable): Not applicable, assignment is home based with local travel (to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Head Office, Harare)


Please refer to this link for TOR Annexures Download File Annexures.pdf

To apply

If qualified and interested to pursue the consultancy opportunity, please submit your technical proposal and an all-inclusive financial proposal detailing your professional fees and other miscellaneous consultancy costs for delivering the assignment as part of your online application. 

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

View our competency framework at


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Please note that UNICEF does not charge a fee or require personal banking details at any stage of the recruitment process.

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 conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

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.

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.