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Consultancy for providing technical assistance to the implementation of the assessment on school drop-outs among children of families receiving targeted social assistance in selected districts

1. Programme information:

Programme (No. & Name) : Policy, Planning and Advocacy
Project   (No. & Name)   : Social and Economic Policy Analysis and  Situation Monitoring
Activity Reference    :            039-Y-Y-201-12-005

2. Background and Context:  (Attach background documents, if necessary)
One of the six strategies of the State Programme on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development for 2003-2005 was to ensure a better social protection system for the vulnerable/low income families. Therefore, it was decided to establish a targeted social assistance scheme, the implementation of which started in 2006. Several legislative amendments have since been made since the inception of the programme to ensure better targeting and better protection of vulnerable families.
Targeted social assistance is a service provided by the government to households below the poverty line and an influential mechanism to eliminate risks of such households. However it has a temporary nature and does not secure people from poverty. At current stage it implies providing social services to households living in extreme poverty and also introducing mechanisms to find a way out of this situation. From this perspective in addition to the targeted social assistance, additional benefit package is now being piloted in four districts. It is envisaged that apart from cash assistance, vocational and specialized education as well as employment oriented social rehabilitation programs will be offered to and implemented for the low income families. These include 13 social rehabilitation projects.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (MLSP) is responsible for delivering the assistance through its central and local structures. As Azerbaijan is quite a centralized country, re-distributional services like many other services, are provided by the central government. The Parliament, Milli Majlis, plays a role in adopting/amending the legislative base including the eligibility (needs) criteria every year, which is then approved by the President. Currently apart from raising per capita income of family members to 60 AZN, for each child under 1 additional 20 AZN is provided.

According to the studies carried out among families benefiting from TSA one of the key reasons for increasing the risk of vulnerability is having many children and people with disabilities in the family. In 2008, 45% of 144,178 families receiving TSA had 3 or more children. About 47% of family members were children and 13% people with disabilities.
Because education of children including education in early years plays a key role in the future and vulnerability status of the family, it is important to make sure that when families fall below certain living conditions education of children do not suffer significantly. Early drop-outs or non-attendance to early childhood development programmes has huge negative consequences on future earnings of the family members. Taking this into consideration, the MLSP and MoE have decided to have an assessment of the current status in regard to school/kindergarten attendance in the families receiving assistance in order to identify the risk factors and respective actions. Conducting the study in pilot districts will allow the currently implemented social rehabilitation projects to be adjusted to better support families in this regard and will among everything help improve the legislation base and provide inputs for the development of the state programme on social rehabilitation of low income families.

3.  Purpose of the assignment

Under the overall supervision of the Planning/Child Protection Officers of UNICEF and in collaboration with the respective department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and, the Consultant has the responsibility for supporting the preparation, implementation and completion of the assessment. The consultant will advise the Ministry and UNICEF during questionnaire design, sampling, training, field work, data entry, data processing and report writing.

4. Duty station: Baku, Azerbaijan/selected districts

5. UNICEF Supervisor:  Programme and Planning Specialist/Child Protection Officer

6. Major tasks to be accomplished:

 Based on the inputs from MLSP, MOE and UNICEF prepare the questionnaire and organize the pretest
 Plan for data entry and data processing tools
 Prepare sampling framework for the study
 Conduct fieldwork training for the local staff of MLSP
 Monitor the implementation of the field work, ensure quality assurance
 Supervise data entry and conduct data analysis
 Prepare draft and final reports in close consultation with MLSP, MOE and UNICEF

Outcomes and deliverables:
 Final questionnaires and sampling framework – 30 April
 Training conducted by  - 14 May
 Fieldwork completed by – 11 June
 Draft report by – 23 June
 Final report by – 30 June

7.        Time-Frame: 24 days spread over 12 April – 30 June 2010

 3 days for questionnaire design and pretesting
 1 day for sampling
 2 days for training
 10 days for monitoring the fieldwork
 6 days for analysis and preparing the draft report
 2 days for preparing the final report

8.        Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:

• Advanced university degree in social sciences;
• At least 8 years of proven previous experience with similar studies/surveys
• Good knowledge of social protection reform initiatives around the world, especially in middle-income countries
• Strong quantitative, analytical experience and research skills including data analysis skills
• Good working knowledge of statistical analysis programmes, such as SPSS
• Strong training and communication skills
• Proven report writing skills
• Fluency in Azerbaijani and English

9. Approval procedures, logistics and payment:

• MLSP and UNICEF hold the copyrights for the assessment. The document (including raw materials, recordings, etc.) may not be reproduced, distributed or published without the written permission from UNICEF.
• UNICEF will share with the selected consultant all the relevant materials it possesses as well as support the review with the required expertise.
• UNICEF, MLSP and MOE will review and provide feedback on the draft report
• UNICEF will translate the draft and final documents into English
• All the travel documents need to be submitted in hardcopy within two weeks after travel
• UNICEF will pay  30% of the total cost in advance, the next installment will be paid after satisfactory evaluation of the final report

10.     Application:

Interested individual should send:
a) a cover letter;
b) individual resume;
c) reference of previous relevant work (if applicable);
in a sealed envelop/email to:

Head of Section
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
24 S. Dadashev St., AZ1073
Baku, Azerbaijan

or send the documents mentioned above electronically  to by 5 April 2010.

All applications will be treated with strict confidentiality. UNICEF is an equal opportunity employer.

UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potentia



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