UNICEF International Consultancy Opportunity! Social Protection Financing and Programming for Cash Plus National Systems in Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR), Remote/ Home Based: Apply!!

For every child, that’s why UNICEF is here

Background and Justification

The Eastern and Southern Africa region (ESAR) has seen a steady increase in social protection coverage over the past 2 decades, with most countries in the region having at least one well-established national social protection programme. Currently, the majority are social assistance programmes, either unconditional cash transfers or a mix of public works and unconditional cash transfers. However coverage of social assistance, especially for children, is still very low in the region with less than 1 in every 10 children accessing at least one government social assistance programme. Inadequate funding for social protection program expansion remains a huge challenge, in addition to fragmentation of interventions, weak coordination among stakeholders and limited use of evidence.

UNICEF is providing technical support to government social protection systems in all 21 countries in the region, with prioritization to supporting government programmes to be more inclusive and effective in reaching children, respond during shocks and link to other key services and information. The Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office supports UNICEF COs in this endeavor, both in terms of technical assistance and backstopping while also pushing strategic engagement in the sector by COs. This includes two key priority areas of focus, the first being improving sustainability of national social protection systems through identification of durable financing solutions (both domestic and development assistance) and institutionalizing social protection in policies and legislation. In addition, appreciating the impact that cash transfers in particular have on both monetary and multidimensional child poverty, increased effort is being made to improve linking of social assistance recipients with basic social services and information, through cash plus. While progress is being made, there are still gaps in regards to implementing these priorities effectively in the region.

The purpose of this consultancy is to support the regional office and specifically, countries in ESA region, to improve coverage, sustainability and impact of social protection programmes. This will be done through a review of various SP financing strategies for both social protection and nutrition, as well as identification of measures to scale up cash plus programmes and technical support to countries to implement these measures in line with global and regional guidance. While the focus of the consultancy is to review opportunities across varying contexts within ESAR, it may also be relevant to include experiences of countries from outside of the region that may offer contextually relevant approaches, opportunities and entry points for COs in the region.

Scope of Work

Under the supervision of the Regional Social Policy Advisor, and in collaboration with the regional nutrition team where appropriate, the consultant will provide technical support to the RO and COs in generating evidence and recommendations for nutrition responsive and shock responsive social protection financing and expansion of cash plus pilot programmes to broader systems.

Activities and Tasks: 

  1. Review the array of current social protection financing strategies being used in different contexts across the region (and outside where relevant) with a focus on different approaches being utilized, pathways and strategies to support sustainable, progressive and contextually appropriate increases in domestic spending on social assistance in ESAR.
  2. Identify approaches that are applicable to shifting the needle on how governments can progressively increase domestic spending on social assistance with a focus on the spending evolution, different modalities in use, and including linkages to any revenue models that are available (i.e. tax earmarking, social protection funds, tax reforms, etc.).
  3. Undertake a deep dive analysis into current efforts and best practices on financing approaches for shock responsive social protection, notably in response to climate shocks and related hazards, looking specifically at financing models, use of alternative and innovative financing, climate funds, etc.
  4. Work with the nutrition section to undertake a comprehensive mapping of cash plus interventions in the region (drawing from the recent SADC mapping of nutrition responsive social protection and UNICEF ESARO case studies) to expand understanding of best practices and opportunities for expansion of scalable cash plus to additional sectors. This includes completion of a shared spreadsheet by social protection and nutrition and other teams that maps social protection programmes and linkages with nutrition and other sectors.
  5. Provide targeted technical support to at least 5 Country Offices in the region to identify concrete action plans towards sustainable child focused SP programming and financing and expanding cash plus including strengthening nutrition responsive social protection systems (in alignment with global and regional guidance).

Work relationships:  The Consultant will work under the overall supervision of the Regional Social Policy Advisor with support from the social protection specialist, public finance specialist and in close collaboration with colleagues in the regional Nutrition team. The Consultant will be expected to engage regularly with select UNICEF COs in the region, both for gathering relevant information for the assignment as well as through targeted technical assistance to strengthen capacities to implement nutrition sensitive social protection programming and financing.


Specific outputs that this work will contribute to include:

  1. Evidence produced to strengthen financing of social protection programming, including shock responsive SP and nutrition sensitive SP, that includes review of current SP financing profile in the region, SRSP financing approaches, and a detailed report that provides different approaches and opportunities to move towards progressive increase in domestic spending on social assistance in ESAR;
  2. Identification of approaches to move cash plus programming from pilots/testing towards national systems including production of a brief on financing opportunities for expansion of scale of cash plus nutrition programmes, and a report that provides entry points and recommendations to systematize cash plus programming, both for nutrition and other key sectors for children; and
  3. Capacity of ESARO and select COs is strengthened to apply findings and recommendations identified in outputs 1 and 2, as well as the recently released global guidance on nutrition sensitive SP, to develop country level action plans for social protection financing and programming.

The table below provides a summary of tasks and deliverables expected to achieve these outputs:

DeliverablesDuration(Estimated # of daysTimeline/Deadline
Development of a brief on current SP financing profile of ESAR countries20 daysBy end June 2024
Development of a brief on financing of shock responsive SP for climate shocks and other hazards in ESAR20 daysBy July 2024
Outline and draft report on SP financing strategies applicable to ESAR countries with focus on different approaches and pathways towards increase in domestic spending on social assistance40 daysBy end August 2024
Final report on SP financing strategies applicable to ESAR countries with focus on different approaches and pathways towards increase in domestic spending on social assistance5 daysBy September 2024
Summary brief of mapped financing opportunities and approaches for funding nutrition sensitive social protection expansion20 daysBy October 2024
Overview brief of mapped cash plus ongoing/developing in ESAR with a focus on opportunities to expand beyond pilots towards national system and policy reform40 daysBy January 2025
Work with 5 country offices to develop action plans/strategies/other outputs for improved social protection financing and/or cash plus programming (UNICEF focus)75 daysBy May 2025

Payment Schedule

Payment shall be made on satisfactory completion of the deliverables as detailed above, in seven payments.

Please note that the final remuneration rate will be negotiated by HR.

Desired competencies, technical background and experience

  1. Education: An advanced university degree in Economics, Public Policy, Development Studies, or other relevant Social Science field is required. *A first university degree in a relevant field combined with at least ten years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.
  2. Skills:
  • Hands on experience with public financial management (PFM) issues, specifically government budgeting approaches, domestic resource mobilization and social sector financing strategies
  • Substantial experience in the field of social assistance, cash transfer programming, social insurance (including health insurance), social services and/or labor market analysis and employment policies. Demonstrated understanding of child-sensitive social protection, disability sensitive and/or gender sensitive social protection a plus.
  • Demonstrable experience working in child-focused sectors, including, but not limited to child protection, health, education, nutrition, social protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene.
  • Excellent analytical skills and strong track record of producing high-quality publications.
  • Demonstratable experience in cash plus design and implementation an asset.
  • Understanding of public financial management reform in the Sub-Saharan Africa context is a strong advantage.
  1. Work experience: Minimum eight (8) years progressively responsible professional level experience in social protection systems, policy and financing. Specific experience in public financial management will be an asset.
  2. Must exhibit the UNICEF Core Values of:
  1. Care
  2. Respect
  3. Integrity
  4. Trust
  5. Accountability
  6. Sustainability


  1. Innovates and embraces change
  2. Manages ambiguity and complexity
  3. Thinks and acts strategically
  4. Works collaboratively with others

English both oral and written is a must. Ability to read, analyze and interpret complex documents is required.

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

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in  
    *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree. 
  • A minimum of [insert years] of relevant professional experience in 
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset. 
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset. 

For every Child, you demonstrate… 

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS).   To view our competency framework, please visit  here


UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

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. 


  • The contract will run for a period of twelve months (220 billable days) and it is expected that the consultant will be paid for completed deliverables according to the timeframe stipulated in the TOR and under the proposed contractual arrangement.
  • The consultant should be able to work remotely, if not based in Nairobi. However,  in agreement with the contract supervisor, he or she must agree on a specific window of availability to overlap with East Africa standard working hours, (i.e. any 4 hour period between 8am and 5pm, GMT+3, to be discussed prior to contract signature). During the consultancy period, the consultant is expected to participate in Social Policy team meetings and support/represent the SP team in relevant internal and external discussions.
  • For consultants based in Nairobi, access to the Regional Office will be granted and the consultant is invited and encouraged to work from the RO where appropriate, in particular to attend Social Policy team meetings and reflections, support the Social Policy team in discussions and presentations on SP financing and cash plus and joint interactions with Country Offices. Note the consultant will not be entitled to any relocation/travel allowance or DSA should they choose to be based in Nairobi.
  • The consultant may be expected to travel to up to 5 countries in ESAR where in-country technical support is required. Travel is expected to be by the most direct and economical route and reimbursement to be completed as per UNICEF policy.
  • The consultant is expected to use their own IT equipment (laptop, cell-phone etc.), where operating communication costs – long-distance calls, internet if any should be part of the overall quoted fees (no reimbursement will be applied). The consultant will be allocated an official UNICEF email address which should be used for all official communication during this assignment, UNICEF will also grant access to the UNICEF online software package (Microsoft Outlook, Sharepoint, etc.) that facilitates their work.
  • As per UNICEF DFAM policy, payment is made against approved deliverables. No advance payment is allowed unless in exceptional circumstances against bank guarantee, subject to a maximum of 30 per cent of the total contract value in cases where advance purchases, for example for supplies or travel, may be necessary.
  • 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.
  • Consultants are responsible for determining and meeting their tax or duty liabilities in accordance with local or other applicable laws. UNICEF does not issue statements of earnings to consultants.
  • Individuals engaged under a consultancy 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 the consultant contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants.
  • 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.
  • UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants 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.


  • Risks include a delay in progress of the work due to country level instabilities like elections or changes in political situation that can impact on decision making of policy makers. To avoid any foreseen and unforeseen delays, this will be mitigated having regular check in calls with targeted countries to monitor progress of the consultancy.

How to apply

Qualified candidates are requested to submit the following to the online recruitment portal (Talent Management System) or email provided:

  • Fully completed online profile (P11 form) or current CV,
  • Cover letter describing your qualifications and relevant past experiences (maximum 2 pages) which very clearly indicates your current daily fee rate in USD. 
  • Financial proposal with a breakdown of the total consultancy fees.
  • Submission of at least two evaluation reports from previous consulting assignments, and
  • Names and contacts of three recent referees who can speak to your suitability for the position.

Applications submitted without a fee/ rate will not be considered.

Deadline: 20 May 2024 E. Africa Standard Time


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