International Consultant - Provide technical and programmatic reviews of the Psychosocial Support programming in UNICEF country office and develop a three-year strategic costed action plan, Damascus, Syria

Organization: Unicef

Country: Syria

City: Damascus, Syria

Office: UNICEF Damascus, Syria

Closing date: Monday, 13 July 2020

International Consultant - Provide technical and programmatic reviews of the Psychosocial Support programming in UNICEF Syria country office and develop a three-year strategic costed action plan

Job no: 532580

Position type: Consultancy

Location: Syrian Arab Rep Division/Equivalent: Amman(MENA)

School/Unit: Syria

Department/Office: Damascus, Syria

Categories: Consultancy

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The population in Syria for past 10 years have been experiencing a crisis which had negative compounding effects on their psychosocial wellbeing. Multiple displacement of populations which greatly disrupted their normal families, communities, livelihoods and social life, plus affecting the functioning of formal government institutions which provided basic services to the population which mostly left families and children extremely vulnerable due to numerous challenges or risk including; separation of families, occurrence of unaccompanied children, children without parental care due to death of parents/caregivers and siblings, abusive family environment, negative attitude of parents who were impacted by psychological distress and negative coping mechanism including to use of violent discipline and other practices which affects family and community interconnectedness and relations.

These experiences often led to increased psychological distress, and in the long term may affects the mental health and social wellbeing of the population which if left unattended or unaddressed negatively affects the growth and development of children and social fabric of families and communities amongst other effects including post-traumatic stress disorders.

There have been attempts by numerous actors including government facilities or institutions who are currently providing basic social services including Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) to the population in needs as a result of the crisis from different sectors in either Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps, collective shelters or in host communities. However, there is need to collaborate and coordinate with the different actors and sectors on common strategy and approaches using a standard national manual.

There are multiple partners and numerous manual used by both humanitarian actors and public services providers in Syria to provide Mental Health and Psychosocial support (MHPSS) , therefore, a need arose to harmonize and standardize implementation of PSS in country in manner that is efficient and effectively addresses the needs of the population especially given that the country has experienced 10 years of conflict and most people have been exposed or experienced violence which had negatively impacted on them mentally and psychosocially, affecting especially children and women in varying degrees requiring redress.

Therefore, Syrian Commission for Family Affairs and Population (SCFAP) is leading this process in collaborations with other line ministries to harmonize the MHPSS manual to be used by all actors for a comprehensive and holistic response to community’s needs. And there is need to established linkages with other sectors through a reliable referral pathway or mechanisms to holistically address the needs of children and families including engaging with other actors and government institutions such as health, education, social welfare, universities across the country to enable comprehensive services provision and holistic approach to address needs of the population through provision of better quality and specialized services.

The year 2020 have also experienced the outbreak of COVI19 pandemic which is also impacting on the life of the people in Syria and execrating the existing psychosocial problems which requires amore swift MHPSS response due to it negative implications streaming from government response measures which includes restrictions of movements, closure of schools, social and physical distancing which further weakens the children and families ties and support systems and further social isolation and violence against women and children cases are being reported. All these circumstances whether stable or humanitarian would require an efficient and effective MHPSS intervention by all actors across the country to address needs of population.

UNICEF Syria country office have been engaged in PSS programming and uses global strategies and approaches adapted to the needs of the Syrian children and families while providing services to the most vulnerable in both humanitarian and development settings. UNICEF designs PSS interventions as an integrate part of child protection programme implemented both in schools, childcare institutions, communities and in IDP and refugees camp setting using both static facilities such as child friendly spaces and mobile teams to access children in hard to reach areas in country. Providing PSS services across all level of pyramid and mainly referring children to level 4 for specialized care and support which is not easily available and not well monitored or documented.

There has been no formal evaluation of the PSS intervention in country since 2010/12 to date and no standard manual for PSS implementation in country ,hence, the government is restricting scale up of PSS activities by limiting that not more than 30% of partners total budget should be spent on PSS due to lack of clarity or quality assurance on PSS interventions or services provision.


The main objective of this consultancy is to support UNICEF develop its strategic plan for PSS for the next three years based on the technical assessment of the merit of the current UNICEF Syria Psychosocial Support programme in line with international standards for PSS programming, its alignment to UNICEF global strategies for better results for children in both humanitarian and development context and document best practices and lesson learnt for scalability based on practical recommendations.

Specific objective:

Review UNICEF Syria PSS programmes conformity to international standards e.g. regional priorities and approaches, UNICEF CCC and Child Protection Minimum standards 2019(MHPSS standard 10)

Review the Syria country office PSS programmes in view of checking for;
Relevance (review whether current PSS interventions is required or appropriately addresses the needs of vulnerable children and their families)

Efficiency (Review current PSS intervention for value for money)

Effectiveness (review whether current PSS interventions meets needs of vulnerable children and their families)

Sustainability (Review how current PSS interventions delivered by UNICEF and partners positive impacts can be sustained/continues even when UNICEF stops funding the activities to benefit of families)

Quality of programming (Review whether current interventions meets minimum required standards and delivers basic package of services required in PSS programme)

Develop an inception report with detailed action plan for the assignment to achieve these objectives.

Utilize a combination of research techniques:

Review of relevant documents, studies, published evaluations of the program or specific components of the program, review of all relevant project proposal documents on design and implementation of program components, and review of all relevant data regarding indicators resulting within the time frame of the programme and best practices on the global level.

Interview key stakeholders and policy makers including

Key UNICEF partners.

Children and families

Development organizations (designers, funders, implementers, evaluators)

Government officials: MOSAL and SCFAP among others.

Document best practices and lesson learnt from current PSS programming for scale up.

Make practical programmatic recommendations to improve quality of programming and required tools or skills sets for better results for children.

Develop a strategic framework that identifies challenges, opportunities and pre-conditions to successful design and implementation of Community Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in humanitarian and moving towards resilience and developmental contexts. This should include:

Tags camp management child friendly child friendly space child protection displacement internally displaced mental health mhpss programme implementation psychosocial public services public speaking refugees social isolation social services social welfare social work subsistence allowance trainings violence against women wellbeing

Strategies for mainstreaming and integrating MHPSS within child protection, health and nutrition, education, camp management and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes

Strengthening supports within existing structures, including functional referral systems and capacity among professional and lay providers in quality MHPSS care.

Identifying, activating and strengthening local capacity; meaningful and inclusive engagement of child and family wellbeing stakeholders.

Based on the above develop 3-year workplan with achievable objectives, activities, indicators and budgets based on desk review and meetings. The plan should indicate UNICEF and other partners‘ contribution into the plan with a clear exit strategy

Scope of the Consultancy:

The scope of consultancy shall involve review of UNICEF Syria country office PSS programmes merit against set international standards, UNICEF strategies and approaches and document best practices and lessons learnt for scalability based on practical recommendations. Mainly through review of secondary information, reports from partners and qualitative information gathering through in-depth interviews with UNICEF programme teams at field offices, country office levels and regional office on programme implementation and technical guidance for the PSS programme. Finally develop a three-year PSS strategic framework and action plan for UNICEF Syria programme.


On-site working days: 14 workdays - Only missions if we secure government approval for the consultant to engage with government line ministries especially Syrian Commission for family Affair and Ministry of Social Affairs and labour.

Off-site working days: 140 work days - The consultancy shall be done mainly home-based in collaboration with UNICEF Syria country office, child protection section.

Field Missions/Travel: If government approval is obtained, the consultant shall have mission to Syria country office and engage in meetings with government line ministries and possibly UNICEF field offices and implementing partners.


Estimated Start Date: July 2020.

Estimated End Date: January/February 2021.

The selected consultant/institution will work for the period of 154 workdays within seven months (July 2020 - January/February 2021). It is envisaged: 140 workdays out of county and 14 workdays in Syria. The exact schedule of the activities will be agreed with the consultant based on the consultancy implementation progress. The deadline for submission of final deliverables to UNICEF is January/February 2021.


The consultant will be supervised and report to the UNICEF Chief of Child Protection Section The consultant will work on daily basis with UNICEF Child protection section communicating through e-mail correspondence while outside of Syria as well as support the consultant mission in the country.



By deliverable, paid in following four installments:

20% upon submission of deliverable 1 and

30% upon submission of deliverable 3,4 and

30% upon submission of deliverable 6 and

20% upon submission of deliverable 8


For individual contractors and consultants, all travel arrangements to commence the assignment, including insurance, will be managed and paid by the individual. Therefore, expected travel costs must be included as a budget item in the financial proposal. Should ‚mission travel‘ be required, UNICEF will manage and pay for travel via Travel Authorization. However, this will be subject to the following prerequisites: Medical Clearance, Security Clearance through the Travel Request Information Process (TRIP) system, the Basic and Advanced Security in the Field Trainings, Travel Visa, and liability waiver. Trip prerequisites will be met at the expense of the consultant.

Travel cost shall be calculated based on economy class travel, regardless of the length of travel. Costs for accommodation, meals and incidentals shall not exceed applicable daily subsistence allowance (DSA) rates, as promulgated by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC at The consultant must travel on UNICEF approved airlines.


1. Education: Advanced university degree in Social Works, psychology, counselling or clinical psychology. A first level university degree in Social works or psychology in combination with 12 years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

2. Work experience: Minimum 10 years of professional work experience with government ministries or national / international actors with significant levels of engagements in MHPSS work with special empathizes on focused and non-focused PSS programming. Familiarity with key issues in MENA region and previous international or local consultancy experience in same field is advantageous.

3. Technical knowledge/ competencies:

Background familiarity with programming in both development and humanitarian context.

Excellent interpersonal skills and Communicates effectively to varied audiences, including during formal public speaking.

Excellent writing and presentation skills of works/ideas.

Good ability to work effectively in a multi-sectoral environment with various line ministries and partners.

Sets high standards for quality of work and consistently achieves desired deliverables timely.

Demonstrated ability to engage effectively with, particularly at senior levels in government, humanitarian and development actors.

4. Language Proficiency: Excellent Witten and fluency in Arabic. English is desirable.

Qualified candidates are requested to submit:

Cover letter/application.

Financial quote as lump sum for professional fees, and lump sum for travel/administrative/subsistence, if applicable.


Examples of previous, relevant work as applicable

Proposed methodology/approach to managing the project.

At least 3 Referees.

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

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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.


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

Advertised: Jun 29 2020 Syria Daylight Time Application close: Jul 13 2020 Syria Daylight Time