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Consultancy: ECE Cost and Financing Consultant - Education Section, PD, NYHQ/Home based - Req # 540064

New York City (United States of America)

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Banking and Finance
    • Economics
  • Closing Date: 2021-05-14

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The consultancy will contribute to advancing UNICEF’s ambition of universal access to at least one year of quality ECE for all children, as well as to the development of practical tools to support countries in articulating their financing commitment and framework for ECE.

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, hope.


Consultancy Title: ECE Cost and Financing Consultant

Section/Division/Duty Station: Education, PD, New York/Home based

Duration: 140 days over a period of 11.5 months



If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world's leading children's rights organization would like to hear from you. For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF has over 12,000 staff in more than 145 countries.


The Education Section based in New York supports UNICEF’s commitment to advancing access, participation and relevant learning outcomes for marginalized children in its policy leadership and support to countries for excellence in programming.  Guided by the vision in the UNICEF Strategic Plan (2018-2030), Goal 2 “Every child learns”, the Education Section leads global efforts for development of evidence-based policy guidance, standard setting and programme approaches to pre-primary education. Under its Education Strategy (2019-2030), UNICEF has identified early childhood education (ECE) as one of its priority areas and strategic shifts to address the global learning crisis at its roots. UNICEF is committed to elevating the priority and status of pre-primary education by ensuring that it is systematically integrated in Education Sector Planning processes.  As part of these efforts, UNICEF Education Section is leading on a Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) project to scale up an innovative approach and global toolkit (the ECE Accelerator: Analysis and Planning Toolkit) to in-country capacity development for enhancing ECE analysis, planning and implementation (called the “BELDS approach”).

With the advent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, there has been a renewed momentum for early childhood development and ECE globally.  The inclusion of pre-primary education as one of the key indicators under target 4.2 marks a pivotal moment to spur national and global efforts to increase funding, and political will and commitment to expand equitable access to quality pre-primary programmes.

Despite recent progress in access to pre-primary education globally, more than 50% of preschool age children are missing out on pre-primary opportunities and in low-income countries, only 2 in 10 children are enrolled in early education.  A critical barrier to universal access to pre-primary education under SDG 4.2. is the lack of political will to prioritize the pre-primary subsector.  Indeed, investment in pre-primary education is grossly inadequate, with low-income countries spending only about 2.9 per cent of their education budgets on pre-primary education. The COVID-19 pandemic has further limited education investments (both nationally and globally), with the ECE subsector being most often left out of financing decisions.

There is an urgent need to protect and boost pre-primary investment and enrolment, and to garner the necessary political will and commitment to pre-primary education, particularly in low- and lower-middle income countries.  One critical pathway to achieving this change is through strengthening the data/information around the costs for scaling up ECE to meet SDG 4.2 and providing action-oriented and practical tools to support countries in articulating their financing commitment and framework for ECE.


The purpose of this consultancy is to provide technical support in the area of ECE costing/financing, focusing on the analysis of the costs for scaling up ECE to meet SDG 4.2 (i.e., universal access to one year of pre-primary education) in 6-10 countries. The consultancy will contribute to advancing UNICEF’s ambition of universal access to at least one year of quality ECE for all children, as well as to the development of practical tools to support countries in articulating their financing commitment and framework for ECE to meet the SDG 4.2 target.

Terms of Reference / Deliverables

Working with the Education Section, the consultant will provide technical expertise and support, focusing on analyzing the costs for scaling up ECE to meet SDG 4.2 across 6-10 countries (countries TBD). More specifically, the consultant will:

  1. Develop and conduct cost simulations and analysis of the costs and fiscal space needed to scale up one year of ECE based on realistic targets, across 6-10 countries (countries TBD, in consultation with Regional Offices) – the simulation results will help inform advocacy and policy making processes (such as in the context of Education Sector Planning cycles).
  2. Support capacity building, knowledge exchange and learning around the BELDS approach and ECE Accelerator Toolkit in cost/financing, through:
    1. participation in webinars, “HQ office hours”, and other types of exchange meetings/events;
    2. organization of regional webinars/workshops on ECE cost/financing upon request;
    3. contribution to development of communications assets or other learning resources, such as ECE cost/financing case studies and instruments.
  3. Contribute to the refinement and expansion of the cost/financing contents of the ECE Accelerator Toolkit, based on users’ feedback and country support experiences. This includes:
    1. gathering, summarizing or estimating cost-benefit of ECE interventions (before/during the pandemic) to strengthen political will for ECE (related to Section 1 of the toolkit);
    2. strengthening the existing ECE cost and financing tools of the toolkit with relevant guidance or additional tools (such as tip sheets, guiding questions, checklists) and case studies (related to Section 3 of the toolkit);
    3. conceptualizing and supporting the development of an interactive, user-friendly data visualization method to present country-level cost/financing information that can be included in the toolkit.
  1. Education
  • Master’s Degree in economics, education, social sciences, statistics or another relevant field. Knowledge and experience in early childhood education is a plus.

2) Work experience

  • At least 8 years’ experience in supporting finance for education with government(s) and multilateral/bilateral agencies, such as costing, fiscal space analysis, budget formulation/ execution/ reporting, and value for money analysis.

3) Competencies

  • In-depth understanding of the capacity constraints and opportunities for ECE financing within systems and processes.
  • Excellent analytical, written, and oral communication skills.  Ability to communicate clearly and sensitively with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Excellent inter-personal skills with a demonstrated ability to work in partnership with diverse teams and stakeholders.
  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment. Knowledge and experience in countries that are part of the KIX project is a plus.
  • Fluency in English. Competency in another UN language preferred.


  • Completed profile in UNICEF's e-Recruitment system and provide Personal History Form (P11) Upload copy of academic credentials
  • Financial proposal that will include:
  • your daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference. 
    • travel costs and daily subsistence allowance, if internationally recruited or travel is required as per TOR.
    • Any other estimated costs: visa, health insurance, and living costs as applicable.
    • Indicate your availability
  • Any emergent / unforeseen duty travel and related expenses will be covered by UNICEF.
  • At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage.
  • Payment of professional fees will be based on submission of agreed satisfactory 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.

U.S. Visa information:

With the exception of the US Citizens, G4 Visa and Green Card holders, should the selected candidate and his/her household members reside in the United States under a different visa, the consultant and his/her household members are required to change their visa status to G4, and the consultant’s household members (spouse) will require an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) to be able to work, even if he/she was authorized to work under the visa held prior to switching to G4.  

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

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results. View our competency framework at: Here

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, culture, appearance, socio-economic status, ability, age, religious and ethnic backgrounds 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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.

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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