National Consultancy: Support Communication for Development/demand generation interventions for COVID 19 vaccine introduction in Lesotho

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Level: Consultancy
Location: Lesotho
Categories: Communication for Development (C4D), Consultancy

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BACKGROUND

On 31 December 2019, WHO was alerted to a cluster of pneumonia patients in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. One week later, on 7 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a novel (new) coronavirus as the cause of the pneumonia. To date the corona virus (COVID-19) has spread to over 150 countries, including over 10 in East and southern Africa. The Communication for Development programme is at the forefront of UNICEF emergency response.

The COVAX Facility, one of three key pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a global collaboration co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access globally. With over 300 COVID-19 vaccine candidates being monitored in varying stages of development and 25 vaccines in clinical evaluation, it is possible that a vaccine candidate may achieve emergency use approval in 2020. In preparation for this, effective assessment of communities and Health workers knowledge, behaviour, attitude and practice for this new vaccine and the development of evidence-based demand generation strategies is capital.

Hence, UNICEF Lesotho Office, is seeking assistance in the form of a consultancy equivalent to 10 months To provide technical support to Ministry of Health and partners to support Health Education Department and RCCE to develop and implement evidence based advocacy, communication and social mobilization to support the introduction of COVID 19 vaccine in the country, including the preparedness and response plan for crisis communication.

JUSTIFICATION

UNICEF is supporting the Government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Health to coordinate and develop evidenced based communication strategies for effective covid-19 response and vaccine introduction and roll-out plans. As the assignment requires intensive dedicated work, full-time consultants will be needed to support the quick roll out of COVID 19 vaccine in the first wave and beyond. This capacity staff capacity surge is needed to support the UNICEF Lesotho Communication team which is providing support to the EPI and HED units of Ministry of Health. Therefore, UNICEF is looking to recruit a contractor to provide rapid support to MoH and partners on/demand generation for COVID-19 vaccine introduction. A prerequisite for this action is capacity to coordinate RCCE partners at national level to develop and implement demand generation and communication strategies. Hence the contractor will is needed to:

  • Provide support for social listening and rumour management to the RCCE team to inform Covid vaccine national demand promotion plan and crisis plan.
  • Support media engagement and utilization of digital platforms to implement the vaccine demand creation plan.
  • Support MOH and RCCE team to coordinate the advocacy, communication and social mobilization actions to implement the COVID 19 vaccine introduction
  • Support the development of a national demand promotion plan based on global guidelines on COVID-19 vaccine
  • Support capacity building of health workers, CSOs, frontline workers on demand generation-linking it with the gains made in RCCE
  • Monitoring and documentation of lessons learnt from the whole process.

Currently, the RCCE mechanisms under the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Information and UNICEF in Lesotho have limited the in-house capacity to perform the above-mentioned planning and preparatory activities to ensure the successful introduction of COVID-19 vaccine hence the requirement to engage a short-term technical consultant.

PURPOSE OF THE ASSIGNMENT

The overall objective of this consultancy is to ensure that public acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in the country is adequate. In this regard the consultant is expected to understand key drivers of immunization demand among both Front-Line Workers and the general population, to successfully promote and sustain the desired behaviour based on evidence. This should be done through an initial assessment and analysis for key demand-related drivers including risk perception and vaccine hesitancy, documentation of demand generation interventions and the establishment of a social listening and rumour management platform to inform crisis communication activities.

SCOPE OF WORK/OBJECTIVES

Under the general guidance of the C4DSpecialist, the contractor is responsible for the coordination of communication technical working groups to accelerate demand generation approaches and strategies at the RCCE subcommittee under the Ministry of Health. The contractor is expected to provide technical support to following activities:

Strategic Direction and Coordination:

  • To provide expert advice and assistance to the RCCE teams by attending task teams meetings including RCCE core groups which promote culturally sensitive and tailored Social and Behaviour Change interventions contributing to ensuring sustainable demand and uptake of immunization services.

Demand Generation

  • Develop, maintain and update the RCCE strategy with approaches, plans and activities geared towards generating demand for COVID-10 vaccine and other primary health care (PHC) services, as needed. The strategy should be founded on sound evidence based on studies with clear objectives, approaches, plans, activities, as well as monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
  • Provide support for social listening and rumour management through establishment of crisis communication
  • Provide support for capacity building of Health Workers, CSOs, Front-Line workers on demand generation-linking it with the gains made in RCCE
  • Ensure approaches used are inclusive, consultative and participatory to carry along all stakeholders.

Promotion of C4D/SBCC/RCCE principles

  • Collaborate with the national and subnational Government officials, community/traditional leaders, other UN bodies, and bilateral agencies and NGOs in the organization of activities, operational research, advocacy and exchange of information and ideas supportive of RCCE goals and strategies.
  • Monitor and evaluate activities on the basis of applied targeted communication research and visits to field/project sites, when needed.
  • Disseminate communication research findings, ensuring exchanges of experience and new methods to government officials, programme staff, and other UNICEF partners.

Capacity Building for Sustainability

  • Oversee and advise on the development of goals, strategy, approaches, plans as well as training materials and activities to build up capacity for personnel involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of Communication interventions within RCCE strategies for generating demand for COVID-19 vaccine uptake by communities.

To whom will the contractor report (supervisory and any other reporting/communication lines):

The contractor will report to the C4D Specialist and work closely with the Director of Health Education Division in the Ministry of Health and CSD Chief, UNICEF Lesotho will support with providing guidance for this assignment.

EXPECTED DELIVERABLES

In alignment with the scope of work as described above, the contractor will be expected to perform the following activities and deliverables as per the schedule and estimated dates below:

Social listening, U-report, media analysis on Covid-19 and vaccineDetailed report monthly
TaskDeliverable/Outcome (e.g. Inception, progress, final reports, training material, workshop, etc.)
Coordinate collection and analyse data to guide development of demand generation and communication planning process for COVID-19 vaccine uptake by priority target population (FWLs, elderly/adults with comorbidities and/or other locally relevant risk factors) in close consultation with MoH/MoI.Data collected and analysed to guide demand generation and communication plans of COVID-19 vaccine uptake for priority target populations.
Coordinate with RCCE task teams to roll out social mobilization, community engagement training plan.Meeting reports on coordination meetings submitted to ensure RCCE network strengthened.
Develop and distribute SOPs and communication messages, IEC material for partners and targeted populationMaterial dissemination plan implemented
Support for social listening and rumour management through feedback and crisis communication mechanisms.Social listening and rumour tracking mechanism are functioning.
Support for national and subnational RCCE teams in conducting training of managers, health promotion/information officers, vaccinators and social mobilizers in all districts.Training plan completed and field monitoring report provided.
Documentation of demand generation process focused on action reviews, lessons learned and positive practices using submitted reports and developed resources and tools.Documentation of the process with lessons learnt completed
Package and lead media engagement and use of local media for public education on covid vaccineMedia slots and programme for engaging media and social media with products
Provide final report on implementation of the demand generation plan.Final report on COVID-19 vaccine uptake and roll out plan

However, as the actual starting date may impact the dates estimated in the TOR, the exact timeframes and actual delivery dates will be jointly agreed upon between the contractor and the supervisor upon contract signature.

PERFORMANCE INIDICATORS FOR EVALUATION OF RESULTS

The performance of work will be evaluated based on the following indicators:

  • Completion of tasks specified in TOR
  • Compliance with the established deadlines for submission of deliverables
  • Quality of work
  • Demonstration of high standards in cooperation and communication with UNICEF and counterparts

PAYMENT SCHEDULE

Monthly payments will be made upon certification from the supervisor of the contract, of the satisfactory and quality completion of deliverables and upon receipt of the respective and approved invoice.

Travel and communication costs will be reimbursed on actual expenditures and upon presentation of original supporting documents.

DESIRED COMPETENCIES, TECHNICAL BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE

Academic qualification:

A Bachelors or Honours degree in social science, media studies, communication studies or a related technical field.

Work experience:

Minimum 3 to 5 years progressively responsible experience in development contexts, work with UN, civil society and/or NGO, including experience in programme management and/or coordination. Experience working with governments, working in resource-limited settings, monitoring and evaluating and risk management, mitigation will be an asset.

Technical skills and knowledge:

Product knowledge on social media and mainstream media, including analysis, social behaviour change, social mobilization, community engagement and understanding of the principles of communication for development, knowledge and experience with collecting data and designing evidence-based communication strategies, as well as risk communication and communication engagement are essential.

Languages:  

Written and spoken fluency in English and local language are required.

ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES

UNICEF will regularly communicate with the contractor and provide feedback and guidance and necessary support so to achieve objectives of the work, as well as remain aware of any upcoming issues related to the performance and quality of work.

As per policy on contractors and individual contractors, the individual will be expected to complete a list of mandatory training, including policies on Prohibiting and Combatting Fraud and Corruption; Prohibition of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and abuse of authority and other relevant policies for their information and acknowledgment. Within 5 days of the contract commencement, the consultant/individual contractor is requested to complete the applicable mandatory trainings.

The assignment requires the contractor, to actively engage with partners as well as the focal person in Ministry of Health (EPI), UN Agencies and NGOs.

The contractor will need to present the draft documents as well as the final report to UNICEF and EPI, MOH.

At the beginning of the assignment, the contractor is expected to produce and agree with UNICEF and EPI, MOH on work plan schedules for the assignment period.

The contractor will work from the UNICEF Lesotho Country Office premises, pending the return to office strategy for consultants and as per the approved footprint plan for the section and office, keeping COVID-19 safety and preventative measures in mind. If the footprint plan does not allow working from UNICEF premises, the consultant will work from home.

The consultant will use a personal computer and phone to carry out the work.

CONDITIONS

  • The candidate selected will be governed by and subject to UNICEF’s General Terms and Conditions for individual contracts.
  • No contractor may commence unless the contract is signed by both UNICEF and the contractor
  • The consultant is entitled to one and half days (1.5 days) per month
  • The consultant is not entitled to payment for overtime, weekends or public holidays, medical insurance and taxes.
  • Travel expenses for official in-country trips, including living costs, will be covered in accordance with UNICEF rules and tariffs, by the consultant and reimbursed against actuals, unless otherwise agreed.
  • Transport will be provided to the consultant during in-country/field travel, if planned and approved.
  • No travel should take place without an email travel authorization from section prior to the commencement of the journey from the duty station.
  • Standard UNICEF procedures will apply for invoicing and all other financial management requirements set out in the contract.
  • Standard penalty clauses will also apply for late and poor-quality deliverables. The supervisor of the contract will provide the consultant with the criteria for the evaluation of the quality of each deliverable.
  • Additional details of UNICEF rules, regulations and conditions will be attached to the contract.
  • The contractor will not have supervisory responsibilities or authority on UNICEF budget.
  • The assignment is an on-site/off-site support.
  • The contractor will be required to sign the Health Statement for consultants/individual contractor prior to taking up the assignment, and to share an appropriate proof of health insurance covering COVID-19, including Medical Evacuation.

Risks

RisksMitigation Strategies
Travel to the field may be impeded as a result of the impending covid-19 pandemicThe delivery strategy is digital based hence most of the work will be accomplished utilizing digital platforms.

HOW TO APPLY

Interested contractors should provide the following:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Brief technical proposal (no longer than 3 pages) demonstrating the consultant understanding of the assignment and approach/methodology to the assignment
  3. References details

Interested individuals will submit applications labeled Covid Vaccine Communication Consultant 2021 through the website  https://www.unicef.org/about/employ/.

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.

Remarks:

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

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 not 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.

Closing date: 25 February 2021

Apply here!

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