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Consultancy - Guideline to Promote Psychosocial Support for Children and Adolescents on the move, in the Different Stages of Their Journey - LAC Region

Panama City

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Panama City
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Youth
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Social Affairs
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
  • Closing Date: 2022-08-23

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.

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 fulfil 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.

UNICEF promotes the rights and welfare of all children and adolescents in everything we do. Together with our allies, we work in 190 countries and territories to transform this commitment into practical actions that benefit all children, especially focusing our efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded, worldwide.

The UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office is based in in Panama, operating in 36 territories, including 24 country offices.

UNICEF works to put the rights and well-being of the most disadvantaged children at the heart of the social, political, and economic agenda, in line with our equity focus, working across our organization and with our partners in government, civil society and the private sector to support shifts in public policy, fuel social engagement, and increase investment for children.

For information of the work of our organization in the LAC Region, please visit our website: UNICEF LAC Region  

For every child, protection

UNICEF is responding to children on the move in communities of origin, when they are in transit, reach their destination and when they return. Programmes are implemented with government and other partners to address violence, to support registration, with reception centres, care facilities, education and health care, legal support, psychosocial support, social security and to facilitate cross border collaboration, among others. The responses have been along the migration routes and within country responses.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) describes mental health and psychosocial support as “any type of local or outside support that aims to protect or promote psychosocial wellbeing and/or prevent or treat mental health conditions” (Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2007).  UNICEF’s 2019 Technical Note promotes the use of the composite term MHPSS as it connects community programs that focus on resilience, support, and activating coping mechanisms and programs that address target groups in need of specialized support (UNICEF, 2019).

UNICEF’s Operational Guidelines on Community-based MHPSS in Humanitarian Settings defines wellbeing as “the positive state of being when a person thrives.” Wellbeing is commonly understood to encompass three domains: personal wellbeing, characterized by positive thoughts and emotions; interpersonal wellbeing, including nurturing relationships, a sense of belonging, and the ability to be close to others; and skills and knowledge which include capacities to learn, make positive decisions, and effectively respond to life challenges and express oneself. Resilience, another term commonly used within the field, is described as “the ability to overcome adversity and positively adapt after challenging or difficult experiences” (UNICEF, August 2018). 

In 2020 a global review of ‘What Works to Protection Children on the Move’ (UNICEF, 2020) identified that MHPSS interventions while useful in some cases for this group of children, they were not always the most effective. In Latin America and the Caribbean region, during 2020 and 2021 an evaluation was conducted of the interventions implemented by UNICEF during the period 2017-2020, related to the care and protection of children on the move in the countries of the north of Central America and Mexico. It noted some recommendations and challenges related to the implementation of psychosocial support for children on the move and their families. Further, last year UNICEF analyzed the psychosocial support interventions that it is implementing in the different migratory contexts in the region. The report found that the majority of the PSS interventions were related to positive parenting, wellbeing activities, awareness raising and behavior change, help and hot lines, workforce strengthening, and advocacy and evidence. It confirmed the need to differentiate the modalities of psychosocial support according to the different stages of the migrant child’s journey, meaning in the community of origin, transit, destination or return (UNICEF, 2022).

Both reports highlighted the need for strengthened human and institutional capacities of UNICEF, civil society organisations and State bodies, to provide psychosocial care to children on the move in the region. For children on the move this service is delivered in a complex environment, with differentiation required between origin, transit, destination, and return interventions.  as well as the multi-directional nature of migration including circular migration, multiple migration attempts, and internal displacement often proceeding multi-national travel.   

Recognising the specific complexities for this group of children, this assignment will define an evidence-based guideline for psychosocial support for children on the move interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

How can you make a difference?

Purpose of the Assignment

Under the overall guidance of the Child Protection Specialist on Migration, in close collaboration with the Child Protection Specialist in Emergencies and the Regional Advisor Child Protection, the purpose of this assignment is to develop a Guidelines for psychosocial support interventions for children on the move.

The Guidelines will be specific to the psychosocial care of children on the move and their families. It will consider the different stages in the migration process (community of origin, transit, destination, or return), whether they are alone or with family, taking into account their age and maturity, gender, ethnicity or disabilities. It will consider the migratory context, particularly, the differentiation between interventions in the short, medium and long term.

The Guidelines will answer the questions of what to consider specifically in the design, implementation, monitoring and administration of interventions for children on the move during each stage of their journey. It will also highlight potential unintended consequences that need to be pre consider during the design, as well as ways to overcome the same. It will also consider the different modalities for delivering psychosocial support (e.g. virtual, face-to-face). It will be informed by human rights and guided by the accumulated global  and regional experience of good practices in the implementation of psychosocial care and the Global Framework on MHPSS.. The guidelines will be evidence based with extensive referencing.

The Guideline also will be oriented to psycho-social support objectives like: 

- Reduce psychological suffering by adverse experiences, focusing on the acknowledgement of resilience mechanisms for children on the move and ways to supported.
- Prevent short- and medium-term sequelae, especially those that affect their ability to learn, their way of relating to others and the way they face difficult situations in the future.
- Reincorporate children and adolescents into their daily activities, especially within the family and school in long term interventions.
- Identifying situations of violence suffered for children to provide referral orientations.

It will also consider both long- and short-term interventions reflecting the stage of the migration journey. Short term could be interventions a psychological first aid approach in migrant holding stations, shelters or similar, services for psychosocial care in borders or for children in transit in host communities. Longer term could be support for at community level or at school processes for children on the move, specialized psychosocial care for children and adolescents.

Specific Tasks

The assignment will include:  
- A preparatory stage, which includes a conceptual framework for psychosocial interventions for Children: key concepts, interventions, and procedures specifically for children on the move, levels of intervention, diverse types of intervention.
- This will be complemented by the methodology for the assignment. This methodology may include consultations, evidence reviews, data gathering, etc.
- An initial outline of the guide would also be proposed.
- Draft a guideline.
- Incorporate in the Guideline a complementary bibliography of accessible documents for more information related different areas of psychosocial support interventions. 
- Final Guideline that incorporates reflections from a reference group defined by UNICEF. 
- A presentation in a power point format or similar of the guideline considering their presentation in a webinar for different actors.

A reference group will be defined by UNICEF to support the review of the reports and progress in this consultancy.

All the products will be presented in Spanish and English. 

Expected Results

The following results are expected at the end of the consultancy:
- A conceptual model and methodology for the assignment.
- A first draft of the guideline.
- A final report with a final version of the guideline.
- A power point presentation of the product considering their presentation in a webinar for different actors.


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

- Education: Master's degree in social sciences, international development cooperation or related technical fields, in combination with an academic background/ research experience in psychosocial support and/or migration is required.

- Work Experience:
  - Work experience in psychosocial support and mental health, specialized in children and it is an asset if specifically, children on the move and their families.
  - A minimum of five years working in the social sectors of international development.
  - Practical work experience in Latin America and the Caribbean.

- Languages: Fluency in Spanish and English is required. Knowledge of Portuguese will be considered an asset.

- Technical knowledge:
  - Proven experience in development of guidelines, reports or protocols.
  - Solid understanding of mental health and psychosocial support programmes in the international context.
  - A good understanding of migration and migration responses in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in psychosocial support initiatives. 

Others Skills and Attributes:
• Demonstrated excellent skills for research and systematization of information for reports.
• Demonstrated ability to work virtually and establish virtual working relationships with many partners.
• Able to work effectively in a multicultural environment.
• Basic knowledge in the use ICT tools such as email, Teams, Skype, Zoom.

Supervision: The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the UNICEF LAC Regional Office Child Protection Specialist [Migration], in collaboration with the Regional Adviser, Child Protection. 

Workplace: This is a remote, home-based consultancy. The consultant will need to have his/her own resources (laptop, internet, etc.) and tools (software, etc.) to do the job and deliver the results. 

Duration: The estimated duration of this consultancy is 65 working days within 6 months, with an expected start date of 15 August 2022.

How to Apply: The  Application should be submitted online and should include: Resume, Cover Letter and Financial proposal. Qualified candidates are requested to submit daily and monthly fees in their financial proposal.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) and the following core competencies: Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness, Works Collaboratively with others, Builds and Maintains Partnerships, Innovates and Embraces Change, Thinks and Acts Strategically, Drive to achieve impactful results, and Manages ambiguity and complexity.

To view our values and competency framework please visit the following links: Our Values and Our Competencies

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.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment. 

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. 


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. 

UNICEF only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed at

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts. 

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.