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Remote consultancy: Early Childhood Development Digital Solutions, Europe and Central Asia (10 months)

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Design (digital, product, graphics or visual design)
  • Closing Date: 2021-05-11

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UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia seeks to hire a consultant to support the work on the Parenting App “ParentBuddy” and the Cboard App on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. If you have experience in the management of projects linked to the development of digital solutions, apply!

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, results

Recognising the potential of digital solutions in improving quality of life and services for children and their families, UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECARO) supports careful development and scale up of technology-based solutions across the countries in ECA region. UNICEF ECARO seeks to hire a consultant to support the work on two specific initiatives described in some detail below.

Parenting application:

UNICEF ECARO initiated development of the parenting app “ParentBuddy” as an innovative solution that should support parents and caregivers to respond to multiple needs of their children related to health, well-being and care, and learning. The app is particularly needed in the circumstances of limited direct contact with service providers, imposed by COVID-19.

The easily accessible mobile app for IOS and Android platforms, will provide evidence-based guidance that supports childcare and development as well as parental wellbeing and mental health.  In addition to ECD content across domains of health, nutrition, play, safety, responsive parenting and parental wellbeing, the app will offer functional features related to morning and recording of vaccinations, child growth and development, customizable and tailored to child’s age and gender, and other parameters. The “ParentBuddy” app is free, developed to enable deployment in several languages with centrally developed content stored in a Drupal based Content management system. The App is developed based on the prototype created by UNICEF Serbia and is further optimized to advance user experience and scalability. 

Following the careful review of the first version of the app released in Serbia (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.unicef.ecar.parentbuddy) an optimization process is initiated and is expected to result in development of the new version of the app by the end of Q2 2021.   The development process will require close collaboration and provision of inputs to the vendors tasked to optimize the app, oversight of the development process, consecutive testing and deployment. The app will be deployed in 10 countries during the next 3-6 months that will require support for the adaptation of the content and functional features to fully mirror the national contexts. 

AAC Cboard App

UNICEF ECARO has been piloting a joint initiative to bring affordable Assistive Technology for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in a few countries of the region.  An open source mobile app “Cboard” developed by Venture Fund Graduate “Cireha” is being introduced by UNICEF and partners to support young children with complex communication needs who otherwise may be left out of early childhood education services. The piloting process has generated valuable inputs already reflected through the improvements of the hybrid version of the Cboard and a specification for development of the new native version of the Cboard communicator with new features requested by the community, to further enhance its robustness. Development of long-term solutions and scale up of Cboard to new countries of the region will require technical support at the RO and country office levels.

How can you make a difference?

Under the supervision of the ECD Regional Advisor and in close consultation with the ECARO Business Analyst, Technology for Development section, the consultant will work with partners supporting development of regional digital solutions (Parenting app and Cboard) and supporting Country Offices in ECA region that are rolling out these solutions.

This consultancy will:

  1. Support the app optimization process by providing inputs and reviewing products of the app frontend and backend optimization process: provide inputs into the technical specifications, review specifications provided by vendors tasked with app optimization, oversee implementation of the vendor’s ToRs from the perspective of technical quality and timeliness, review technical reports and quotations and provide guidance to the ECD program team on technical choices which will contribute to a scalable and cost-effective software solution.
  2. Test digital solutions in terms of functionality, suitability, alignment with technical specifications at the regional and country levels. Coordinate the testing process on behalf of UNICEF, provide feedback and oversee bug fixing process
  3. Support COs to deploy solutions in their contexts (e.g in line with national immunization calendars and health check-up schedules)
  4. Support setting of the mechanism of collecting and analysis of data coming from the app background analytics to help monitor uptake and performance of digital solutions on global and country levels
  5. Provide inputs into e-learning guidelines and best practice resources that will support effective deployment and use of digital solutions across countries.  

In addition, this consultancy will explore and provide / contribute to recommendations on:

  1. Technical solutions that would enable long-term sustainability and expansion of digital solutions
  2. Partnerships for longer term sustainability of digital solutions and their implementation (particularly partnerships with technology partners)

Expected results: (measurable results)

The consultant will deliver the following outputs and products within the timeline indicated. *Noting that these timelines depend on resources and personnel being available within the relevant countries in a timely fashion.

Contractual arrangements:

  • Duty Station: The local consultant will be based remotely within Europe / ECA region.
  • Timeframe: The consultant is required for 120 days across a total of 10 months (c. 2-3 days per week). Depending on the assessed needs, additional days may be added.
  • Payment: As a long-term consultancy with on-going responsibilities throughout the consultancy timeframe, the consultant will be paid monthly based on the actual number of days worked and  on submission of the monthly deliverables as agreed with the supervisor at the beginning of each month. 

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

  • Advanced university degree in a relevant field, ideally in software engineering/computer science; or related practical experience. A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 7 years of professional experience will be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.
  • At least 5 years of experience supporting and coordinating project activities related to development of digital solutions.
  • Progressively responsible professional work experience in relevant field.
  • Extensive experience in requirements engineering related to applications for children and parents
  • Very good knowledge and experience in the software development process
  • Extensive experience in bridging the gap between technical and non-technical people
  • Proven ability to manage relationships with international organizations and diverse partners, including government, universities, UN organizations, NGOs and the private sector
  • A strong understanding of UNICEF programmes, policy, and principles, including knowledge of communication, technology, and human centered design
  • Proven experience of delivering multi-stakeholder training and capacity building
  • Excellent communication abilities, in both written and oral forms.  Consultant should be at ease in presentations and meetings with D-level (UN) or C-level (private sector) executives.
  • Extensive experience in international collaboration
  • Demonstrated ability and experience in coordination, and able to work under pressure is required.
  • Fluency in English is a minimum requirement.  Fluency in Serbian, Croatian, Montenegrin or Bosnian would be an advantage.

The ideal candidate has the following optional but highly desired competences:

  • good experience/knowledge in the full stack development (server + mobile)
  • good experience with the technology stack used in the UNICEF’s digital solutions:
    • Parenting app: Drupal, React Native
    • CBoard: Nodejs-Express, MongoDB, Cordova-PhoneGap
  • very good experience configuring and managing the hosting architecture and associated services (such as SendGrid and CDN)
  • proven experience working with the Acquia cloud platform (certification is a plus)
  • experience designing the architecture for the scalable backend solutions
  • performing load and stress testing of the backend solutions

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

http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/UNICEF_Competencies.pdf

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.

To apply: 

Candidates are invited to: 

  1. complete their UNICEF profile 
  2. attach latest P-11 History Form, CV and Motivation Letter (http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/index_53129.htm)
  3. Indicate a daily fee in USD. Applications without fees will not be accepted.

Remarks:

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

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.
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