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Terms of Reference for National Consultant to manage development of a National Strategy for Children 2015-2020

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND

 

Terms of Reference

for National Consultant to manage development of a National Strategy for Children 2015-2020       

 

1.         Program information:                       Azerbaijan Country Program 2011-2015    

Program (No. & Name)                     Improved attitudes towards fulfillment of child rights

Project   (No. & Name)                     CRC Coordination and Monitoring

Activity Reference                             Technical support to Strengthen the Evidence based Advocacy for Child Rights

2.            Background and Context: 

Azerbaijan is a resource-rich country, which weathered the recent global economic crisis much better than many other countries. In 2012, 3 % of GDP was allocated for Education, 1.2 % for Health and 3.6 % for social protection including all pensions - low compared to the rest of the region. As a result of earlier double-digit economic growth, the poverty rate has fallen sharply, from 49 per cent in 2001 to 6 per cent in 2012[1] largely due to increase in real wages and social cash benefits. At the same time, only 25% of the recipients of the Targeted Social Assistance lived below the national poverty line suggesting that the programme remains insufficiently targeted. The Government intends to advance to the “second generation” of social protection reforms, which will aim to develop a broader set of social services that could address the root causes of poverty[2].    

 

The coverage and quality of preschool education for children 3 – 5 years old remains challenging: enrolment is only 14.8 per cent in 2013 with disparities between urban and rural areas: 21.8 and 8.1 per cent respectively. This shows a downward trend compared to 16.9 per cent in 2011 (24.6 per cent for urban and 9.2 for rural areas)[3]. There is also clear evidence that the secondary education system currently is not of high quality, including low success rates in university entrance exams, low scores in the PISA international testing, and the high number of families who seek assistance from private tutors for their children to pass their university entrance exams. Children with disabilities and girls who have entered child marriages are not attending schools while IDP children face challenges in access.

 

Despite the efforts of the Directorate for Child Protection and Deinstitutionalization, at the end of 2012, there still were 42 institutions, which serve more than 8,300 children, out of which about 1/3 were children with disabilities.[4] Currently, 168 children aged under 3 are in baby homes under the Ministry of Health[5]. Reforms are slow, mainly due to challenges in coordination between different Ministries, and there is a need to build substantial community-based services to support families so that they do not have a need for institutional care.

 

The social inclusion of children with disabilities remains a serious challenge in Azerbaijan, which ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. According to official statistics, there are more than 62,000 children with disabilities registered across country, with less than 10% of them receiving education services. Due to lack of community-based support services, many children with disabilities grow in isolation at home or sent to large-scale residential institutions. Lack of adequate health and social services are the main barriers to the full development of children, whose rights are enshrined both in the UN CRC and the national Law on the Rights of Child. In 2013, 520,793 people with disabilities receiving pensions and benefits were registered; 62,866 of them are children (2.5% of child population).[6]  

 

 

According to the official statistics, the number of children in conflict with the law who committed a crime and were convicted has been declining since 1995. In 2012, 466 children went through justice system.[7] The majority of the cases concerned robbery (231 cases) and only 42 were grave crimes. In most cases, it was boys aged 16-18 who participated in the crimes in groups.

 

Due to the very low share of health sector expenditure in GDP (1.2% in 2012), the Government is unable to fulfil all its commitments to children. According to UN estimates, under-five mortality in Azerbaijan U5MR was 45 in 2011, which is high for an upper-middle income country, but also represents a halving of Under-Five Mortality Rates since 1992. The Government has initiated health system reforms, but much remains to be done to increase the quality and accessibility of health services.  

 

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is less than 0.2[8] per cent among the adult population and still concentrated among certain high-risk groups, mainly injecting drug users and commercial sex workers. Population of injecting drug users and sex workers is estimated to be 71,283 (2011) and 25,054 (2011) respectively. 0.2 per cent of the sex workers are living with HIV (2012)[9].   People with HIV are severely stigmatised, and comprehensive knowledge of HIV and its prevention is very low even among young people: only 4.8 per cent of girls/women and 5.3 per cent of boys/men have a comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS.[10]

 

Number of people living with HIV is estimated to be 10,000 (2012); percentage of young people aged 15 to 24 who are living with HIV – less than 0.1 for girls/women and 0.2 for boys/men (2012). 3,800 adults are in need of ART, while actual ART coverage stands at 24 per cent (2012). Reportedly 22 children are receiving ART. Very few facilities are providing HIV services integrated with other health services[11]

 

Suicide is another important issue. In the absence of official statistics, anecdotal evidence suggests that in 2012 there were 482 suicides registered (105 of them were females and 34 were school children and teenagers)[12]. Since the beginning of 2014, 19 suicides have been already reported by different media. Lack of adequate and community-based psycho-social support services further exacerbates the fragile situation.

  

Use of information and communication technology has been on the rise. Proportion of households with Internet access at home has increased to 64.4 per cent in 2012 (compared to only 16.6 per cent in 2005). Internet is used to search for information (29.5%), communicate (29.7%), and increasingly to deal with public authorities (12%). Mobile phones have also been extensively used and in 2012 on average there were 105 mobile phones for 100 people[13].   

 

Use of the social media has also been increasing. As of February 2013, number of Facebook users in Azerbaijan exceeded 1 million (12.21 % of Azerbaijan population and 24 % of the total number of Internet users). By the number of Facebook users Azerbaijan is ahead of many others post-Soviet countries such as Georgia, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Belarus, Armenia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan[14].  

 

No data and evidence is available in public domain on the scale of child labour, sale of children, child prostitution, trafficking in children and other child protection issues. The country has a child protection system, which involves many government organizations, sometimes with overlapping duties and mandates. The complexities of this system results in unfulfilled rights of many vulnerable children in need of protection and services. A crucial figure is missing in the system – the figure of the social worker that should be part of the key decision making bodies of the child protection system.      

 

Consultancy under the current ToR will aim at development of the National Strategy for Children 2015-2020 that would ensure prevention of child rights violation, effective assistance and support to all vulnerable children and their families and communities. The Strategy will be in alignment with the approved Azerbaijan 2020: Vision on Future Strategy Document. Details of the assignment are provided below.    

 

3.            Purpose of the assignment:

 

The purpose of this assignment is to develop a National Strategy for Children 2015-2020 through broad consultative process with stakeholders. The Strategy would address key child protection issues and suggest the approach to their solution through strengthening respective mechanisms and systems (amending legislation, ensuring adequate resource allocation, introducing new mechanisms of service delivery, etc.). National Strategy for Children would ensure prevention of child rights violation, effective assistance and reintegration of children into their families and communities. It is expected that the Strategy after being discussed and agreed with all stakeholders will be officially endorsed by the Government of Azerbaijan.

 

The implementation period is: March – May 2014.

 

Key intended users of the Strategy and related products:

· Government of Azerbaijan

· UNICEF and its partners

 

 

4.            Duty station:        Baku, Azerbaijan

 

 

5.           

 

6.            Deliverables

 

The development of the Strategy needs to be guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recommendations of the UN CRC Concluding Observations 2012. In the course of the Strategy development, broad consultative and consensus-building process with all key stakeholders from Government and NGOs needs to be ensured.

 

The National Consultant will ensure the Strategy is built through a broad discussion and consultation with all stakeholders and its submission to UNICEF and the State Committee for Women’s and Children’s Affairs. The Committee will be the key partner in the Government with whom all the work on the Strategy needs to be agreed and coordinated. The Strategy shall correspond to the priorities identified in the Azerbaijan 2020: Vision on Future Strategy Document.        

 

The Consultant will produce the following deliverables

· Work plan for the development of the Strategy (by 1 March 2014);

· First draft Strategy developed and presented to UNICEF Azerbaijan Country Office  (by 30 May 2014); 

· First round of stakeholder consultations held (throughout April and May 2014);

 

The Strategy will include (but will not be limited to) the following items:

- Situation analysis of the key child protection issues in Azerbaijan (with the most recent data and references to the sources)

- International trends and best practices

- Target groups of the Strategy

- The Strategies’ goal and objectives

- Main pillars of the Strategy

- Strategy implementation roadmap (what needs to be done, how, by whom and when)

- The Strategy’s expected results

- Review of the key policies and legislation in the area of child protection and identification of the key gaps that need to be addressed to implement the Strategy

 

Substantively, the Strategy will focus on the following child protection issues:

- Child poverty;

- Child abandonment;

- Institutionalisation of children deprived of parental care and children with disabilities;

- Child disability;

- Violence, abuse and neglect against children;

- Sale of children;

- Child labour (including child prostitution);

- Access and protection of children in contact and conflict with the law;

- Early marriage;

- Drug abuse;

- Child suicide and psycho-social needs of adolescents;

- Early childhood development;

- Trafficking in children.

 

Approach

The Strategy needs to propose workable and sustainable institutional mechanisms (focus on structures, normative framework, and capacity) to ensure

- Effective prevention of child rights violations mentioned above;

- Provision of quality assistance and remedy for all vulnerable children in need of protection;

- Reintegration of a child into his/her biological family and community.     

 

Methodology

- Desk review and analysis of the key studies, research, policies, legislation and other;

- Consultations with key stakeholders;

- Expert focus groups and interviews.   

 

 

8. Time-Frame:

 

The selected National Consultant will work during the period of March – May 2014 based on the schedule of activities to be agreed with UNICEF.

 

9. Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:

 

The qualifications, experience and competencies required from the National Consultant will be the following:

§ 5-7 years of professional experience at the national level dealing with child protection issues in Azerbaijan.

§ Experience in provision of a high level policy advice, development of policy documents and drafting the legislation.

§ Profound knowledge of legislative and normative framework for child protection existing in Azerbaijan; familiarity with international standards and norms in child protection area.

§ Familiarity with key Child Protection stakeholders and good working relations with key Government agencies and NGOs. 

§ Past experience with government strategy development will be highly regarded.

§ Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

§ Strong analytical and conceptual thinking.

§ Strong organizational skills.

§ Familiarity with UNICEF’s mission and mandate.

§ Fluency in Azerbaijani.

 

9. 10. Estimated cost :

 

Consultancy fee is to be proposed by a potential individual and agreed with UNICEF in line with UN rules and regulations.

 

UNICEF does not provide or arrange health insurance coverage for consultants.

 

 

 

14.     Application:

Interested individuals should send:

a) A Technical Proposal;

b) Individual resume;

c) Reference of previous relevant work (if applicable);

in a sealed envelope/email to:

 

Human Resources

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Dalgha Plaza, III floor

24 Neftchilar Ave,

Baku AZ1095, Azerbaijan

or send the documents mentioned above electronically to baku@unicef.org

 

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 potential.

 

Deadline for applications: 28 February 2014, 15:00 hrs. GMT +4

 

 

 

 


[1] State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan, MDG Indicators of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at http://www.stat.gov.az/source/millenium/source/MDG_en.pdf

[2] World Bank Group, Azerbaijan Partnership Programme Snapshot, October 2013, page 8.

[3] State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan, at http://www.stat.gov.az/source/education/indexen.php

[4]  Figures provided by the Ministry of Education Directorate of Child Protection and Deinstitutionalization. The Directorate runs a database of all institutions and has the most up to date information. The figures of MoE and the State Statistical Committee may differ due to various reasons, most notably due to differing definitions/reporting requirements about the number of children staying/receiving education in the institutions. Since UNICEF supported the MOE to establish their database, we tend to trust it more. 

[5] State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan, TransMonEE Database, 2013.

[6] State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan, at http://www.stat.gov.az/source/demography/indexen.php

[7] State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan, at www.stat.gov.az – Crime and Sentencing among children aged 14-18, 2012.

[8]UNAIDS, at www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/azerbaijan, HIV and AIDS estimates 2012

[9] UNAIDS, Report on the global AIDS epidemic, 2013

[10] Azerbaijan Demographic and Health Survey 2006, Baku, 2008, pages 162-163.

[11] UNAIDS, Report on the global AIDS epidemic, 2013

[12] Azadliq Radio, at http://www.azadliq.org/content/article/25222772.html

[13] State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan, at http://www.stat.gov.az/source/communication/indexen.php

[14] Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan, at http://mincom.gov.az/media-en/news-2/details/631

 

 
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