International Consultancy at UNICEF May, 2024

Job no: 572423
Contract type: Consultant
Duty Station: Nairobi
Level: Consultancy
Location: Kenya
Categories: Education

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.

                                                                             TERMS OF REFERENCE

Background and Justification

UNICEF has adopted a global Sustainability and Climate Change Action Plan that marks a transformation of how the organization embeds sustainability and climate change in its programing and advocacy work. A key objective of the plan is to empower every child through their life course with the developmental opportunities, education and skills to be a champion for the environment. Education is a central sector in and through which progress on the climate agenda for children can be achieved. Adapting essential social services, such as education are one of the best ways to reduce the vulnerability of children now, whilst equipping children with the education, skills and opportunities prepares them for a climate changed future.

The intersection of Education and Climate has also become a priority area for UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), with “learning and skills for all children and adolescents” and “climate resilience, adaptation and children” prioritized as regional flagships in the office’s Collaboration for Children (C4C) approach (2022–2025), which unites UNICEF ESAR country offices and ESARO around shared priority areas of the UNICEF Strategic Plan to move the needle on a set of critical results for children and adolescents in the region.

Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) has been experiencing a severe learning crisis for decades.  In 2022, learning poverty in in sub-Saharan Africa was estimated to be 90% in 2022, meaning that 9 out of 10 children are either out of school or cannot read and understand a simple text by the age of 10.  Emergency-affected children are at the epicentre of the learning crisis, they face the highest learning poverty rates in the region and are less likely acquire foundational skills.

Meanwhile, ESA is also one of the regions hardest hit by the effects of climate change, including rising temperatures, extreme weather events such as droughts in the Horn of Africa or Southern Africa, and tropical storms and floods, especially along the South African coast to the Indian Ocean.  The majority of children and adolescents in the 21 Eastern and Southern African countries are rated as “extremely highly” or “highly” at risk to climate and environmental hazards.  As a region, ESAR has seen the highest increase in children affected by humanitarian crises worldwide, and climate change is a big contributor to this.

Climate change exacerbates existing challenges to learning and adds another layer of complexity to the existing learning crisis. Children’s education is severely impacted by climate change when education systems are not climate resilient and when children are forced to drop out of school due to direct impacts, such as damage to educational facilities, or indirect impacts, such as the economic coping mechanisms of families.  New evidence confirms the correlation between high climate risks and poor learning outcomes; children who are already at risk of dropout face an even higher risk when exposed to crises worsened by climate change and environmental degradation.

The ESARO Education Section is in the process of expanding its Climate and Education agenda and has prepared a preliminary concept note on Education in the Face of Climate Change:  A Reality for Eastern and Southern Africa, which articulates UNICEF’s approach to support education systems, education stakeholders and children and adolescents in the ESA region to develop the policies, structures and capacities to mitigate and adapt to climate change and become more resilient to the environmental challenges and natural hazards ahead. UNICEF is on the ground before, during, and after climate change impacts, including crises. The organization achieves results through cross-sectoral and systems strengthening approaches and launches tailored innovations in areas affected by climate change. In many locations in the region, UNICEF implements key programmes components for climate action in and through education, which can be grouped into the following pillars:

  • Pillar [1] (foundational) ​Risk informed education systems, policies and plans that integrate sustainability and climate action
  • Pillar[2] ​Climate resilient and green school facilities
  • Pillar [3] ​Protection of educational continuity
  • Pillar [4]​ Disaster risk reduction, climate education and empowerment of children and young people​

Education systems need to be able to prevent and mitigate the risks of climate related disasters to protect the right of every child to education, and UNICEF is uniquely positioned to harness the transformative potential of education for climate.

Scope of Work

  1. Goal and objective: Under the supervision of the Education Specialist – Emergencies, Resilience & Climate / Education Section, the consultant will provide technical assistance and capacity building to the Regional Office and Country Offices for integrating the climate and education programming pillars into their country programmes and supporting governments in the mainstreaming of climate change considerations into their education systems. The consultant will also support knowledge generation and the development of public goods, information exchange, partnership engagement, and resource mobilization efforts for climate change and education programming at regional, global, and country level.
  2. Provide details/reference to Annual Workplan areas covered: This assignment contributes to deepening the Education-Climate Flagship nexus and expanding opportunities, capacities and partnerships on climate resilience, greening education and climate adaptation.  This is an activity identified under Key Intervention 2.4 in the ESARO Education 2024 workplan, which is to “Strengthen multi-hazard resilient education systems that respond to the climate crisis and ensure access to safe and quality learning and MHPSS for all children and young people in humanitarian and crisis contexts.”
  3. Activities and Tasks:  The consultant will support the ESARO Education Specialist (EiE, Resilience & Climate) in advancing the regional climate and education agenda, whilst also producing a number of global priority deliverables that will benefit ESA and other regions. The consultant will be responsible for the following activities:
  1. Technical assistance and capacity building to UNICEF COs
  • Provide technical assistance to at least three country offices on the development, or deepening, of climate and education strategies and interventions and the mainstreaming of gender-responsive climate action in schools
  1. Regional knowledge generation, management, and exchange
  • Update and finalize the ESA Regional Climate and Education analysis and programme framework
  • Document promising practices of climate and education programming in select ESA countries through case studies or other documentation.  Identify and document enabling factors, good practices, challenges/bottlenecks, and lessons learnt from CO implementation.
  • Prepare key communications and advocacy materials on climate change and education in the ESA region, drafting at least one ESARO blog, one advocacy brief, briefings notes, presentations, and updating business cases and pitches with 2023/2024 results
  • Support at least 2 regional or global learning events on climate and education
  • Develop an engagement plan for COP29, in collaboration with relevant teams across HQ and RO divisions. This includes conceptualization, design, and execution of at least one high-level event; in addition to strategic inputs to policy and finance-focused events led by other PG/RO teams or divisions.
  1. Global public goods
  • Coordinate and quality assure the development of a quality gender-transformative curricular framework on climate action in collaboration with relevant UN partners and experts, with institutional contract #1 (IC1)
  • Coordinate and quality assure the consolidation and/or development of learning materials (textbooks and digital), teacher training materials and assessment assets on environmental and climate literacy and skills and anticipatory action for use by country offices, with institutional contract #1 (IC1)
  • Develop the TOR and scope partnerships for a predictive information system on climate risks and hazards in vulnerable educational institutions that informs climate action of children and local education authorities. This model will be linked to early warning systems and enhance the ability of the system to account for climate impacts on school attendance. Coordinate and quality assure deliverables under institutional contract #2 (IC2).
  • Develop guidance note for mainstreaming gender-responsive climate action in schools on gender-responsive action in schools
  1. Resource mobilization
  • Update mapping of potential donors for climate change and education in ESAR and draft a regional resource mobilization strategy in consultation with relevant offices (PPD, PFP).
  • Identify and prioritize key global, regional and country level opportunities and partnerships for climate and education programming and support RO/COs in the development of regional/sub-regional/CO fundraising proposals
  1. Work relationships:  The Education Specialist – Emergencies, Resilience & Climate will oversee the assignment and provide guidance.  The consultant will engage with selected Country Office education staff and regional/HQ climate specialists and climate and education focal points.


    5. Outputs/Deliverables:



Schedule of payment

Regional analysis and program framework on climate and education updated and corresponding PPT finalized

Mapping of donors for climate and education updated

ToR for institutional contract #1 on curricular framework and teaching and learning materials prepared and approved

31 July 2024


3 countries engaged, areas of support identified, and action plans agreed upon

Draft ESARO resource mobilization strategy for climate and education developed

ToR for institutional contract #2 on predictive information system model prepared and approved; related partnership scoping completed

Concept note / methodology for the documenting of promising climate & education practices prepared and approved

31 August 2024


ESARO resource mobilization strategy for climate and education finalized

Technical review of proposals for institutional contracts #1 and #2 completed

Inception report for institutional contract #1 approved

At least 2 communication or advocacy pieces developed

Initial data collection exercise for promising practices completed

31 October 2024


Guidance note for mainstreaming gender-responsive climate action in schools developed and finalized

One RO/CO funding proposal for climate and education drafted

1 TA mission completed and report approved.

Inception report for institutional contract #2 approved

Draft report / mapping of promising practices finalized

Engagement plan for COP29 finalized

1st regional learning event completed

31 December 2024


Second RO/CO funding proposal for climate and education supported

Guidance on school climate clubs developed and finalized

2nd TA mission completed and report approved

2 case studies of promising practices finalized

COP29 engagement supported

28 February 2025


Third RO/CO funding proposal for climate and education drafted

Draft deliverables for institutional contracts #1 and #2 reviewed

Third TA mission completed and report approved

2 additional case studies of promising practices finalized

2 additional communications or advocacy pieces finalized

30 April 2025


Final deliverables for institutional contracts #1 and #2 quality assured and approved

Technical assistance to three countries provided as per agreed-upon action plans

Three countries supported in rolling out the guidance on gender-responsive climate action in schools and climate clubs

Final report on promising practices approved and disseminated

2nd regional learning event completed.

30 June 2025



12 months



Payment Schedule

The payment schedule is outlined in the table above and is in line with the satisfactory completion of the associated deliverables.

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


Desired competencies, technical background and experience

  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields: education, public policy, environmental and/or social sciences.
  • Minimum eight (8) years’ work experience in education policy and programming with a focus on climate change and environment.
  • Proven experience in programme assessments and strategy development
  • Understanding of education systems and policies related to environment, climate change and green skills
  • High level of analytical ability to analyze qualitative and quantitative data
  • Demonstrated ability to produce high quality, concise, analytical and insightful reports and presentations in English
  • Excellent communication, facilitation and presentation skills
  • Proven ability to conceptualize, innovate, plan and execute ideas
  • Ability to manage competing priorities under pressure, whilst maintaining attention to detail and meeting deadlines
  • Experience in capacity building, government relationship building, training and/or facilitation an asset.
  • Previous experience working in the ESA region is an asset
  • Knowledge of the United Nations system or other international organizations is an asset
  • Knowledge of international development, humanitarian issues and children’s rights is an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of other languages relevant to the ESA region is an added advantage.
  • Must exhibit the UNICEF Core Values of:
  1. Care
  2. Respect
  3. Integrity
  4. Trust
  5. Accountability
  6. Sustainability

Competencies: list the competencies that the consultant should have for the assignment:  Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness, drive to achieve results for impact, thinks and acts strategically, works collaboratively with others, innovates and embraces change, manages ambiguity and complexity


Administrative Issues

  • The consultant/contractor is expected to be based remotely with anticipated travel.  They should have some regular availability between 10 am to 4 pm Nairobi time to enable the delivery of technical assistance to country offices and the regional office during their working hours.
  • As part of this assignment, an estimate of three (3) technical assistance missions to ESAR country offices are foreseen. Pending prioritization of staff participation from UNICEF management, travel to participate in COP29 may also be included. The consultant will arrange her/his travel as and when they take place, and related costs will be reimbursed per UNICEF travel policy.
    • Travel Clause
      • All UNICEF rules and regulations related to travel of Consultants apply.
      • All travels shall be undertaken only upon the prior written approval by UNICEF.
      • The consultant must be fit to travel, be in a possession of the valid UN BSAFE certificate, obligatory inoculation(s) and have a valid own travel/medical insurance and an immunization/vaccination card.
  • Progress meetings will take place throughout the contract duration as needed.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.


  • No office space/equipment will be provided.
  • As per UNICEF DFAM policy, payment will be 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 advances purchases, for example for supplies or travel, may be necessary.
  • 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 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.


The main risk is that the consultant will not deliver quality work on the deadlines required.  These will be mitigated by (1) recruiting a candidate who has the required technical skills to complete the assignment with quality and availability for the working days required, (2) implementing quality control of the deliverables, and (3) having weekly (and more regular if needed) meetings with the consultant to check on progress and agree on any adjustments required.


How to Apply

Please include a full CV, Cover Letter, and a writing sample of no more than 5 pages (ideally a policy advocacy document) in your application. Additionally, indicate your availability and professional fee (in USD) to undertake the terms of reference above. The fee should include three technical assistance missions in the region (likely to Kenya, Madagascar, and Uganda/Tanzania) and possible participation in COP29.  Applications submitted without a professional fee will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Advertised: E. Africa Standard Time
Deadline: E. Africa Standard Time


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