Building capacity to respond to the health and protection needs of people selling/exchanging sex in humanitarian settings

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a home-based Individual Consultancy within the Public Health Section in the Division of Resilience and Solutions, Geneva.

UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.

Title: Building capacity to respond to the health and protection needs of people selling/exchanging sex in humanitarian settings

Duty Station: Home-based

Duration: 45 working days

Contract Type: Individual Consultancy

Closing date: 20 September 2022

Start date: As Soon As Possible

Purpose of project: To promote and enhance the health, safety and human rights of vulnerable persons of concern – specifically those engaged in selling/exchanging sex in humanitarian settings – through strengthening the capacity of UNHCR, UNFPA and other humanitarian actors country operations and regional presences to effectively plan for, design, implement and monitor the joint UNHCR-UNFPA global operational guidelines on responding to the health and protection needs of people selling or exchanging sex in humanitarian settings.

Organizational context

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. To advance progress towards the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including health and well-being for all, gender equality, poverty and hunger reduction and eliminating inequalities, UNHCR plays a leading role in supporting life-saving public health and nutrition programming in humanitarian contexts in over 48 countries worldwide. UNHCR’s work on the ground contributes not only to the health goal (SDG-3), but also to a number of other SDGs, including: 1) Ending poverty; 2) Eliminating hunger & malnutrition; 3) Ensuring quality education for all (including refugees); 4) Promoting gender equality; 5) WASH for all; 6) Economic empowerment & inclusion; and 7) Reducing inequalities.

The essence of the SDGs is “leaving no one behind”, including refugees, stateless and internally displaced persons that have often been neglected, invisible, stigmatized and excluded. UNHCR’s global public health strategy (2021-2025) aims to progress towards the health-related SDGs, requiring attention to both health service provision and the social determinants of health. The right to health also requires that health services are equitable so that they are available, accessible and adapted to meet the needs of all persons, with particular attention to at-risk groups, in accordance with UNHCR’s Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) policy. UNHCR works with governments and partners to design and monitor health services that promote and support equitable outcomes. UNHCR’s operations work to serve and support multiple, diverse populations at risk of being left behind, including: those forcibly displaced who are at risk of or affected by HIV; adolescents & youthpersons with disabilities; survivors and persons-at risk of of gender-based violence; women and girls; LGBTQI+ persons; individuals engaged in selling/exchanging sex; and the poorest of the poor.

Recognizing that individuals who engage in the sale or exchange of sex in humanitarian contexts have particular health and protection needs that were often not sufficiently recognized or addressed, UNHCR, together with UNFPA, developed and launched the Operational Guidance on Responding to the health and protection needs of people selling or exchanging sex in humanitarian settings, and continue to work jointly on the rollout. While progress has been made, more technical support is required to respond to the identified needs in the field for enhanced understanding of and capacity to effectively implement the new operational guidance, in order to better serve persons of concern and, therefore, better fulfil our organizational mission.

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations

To view occupational safety and health considerations for specific duty stations, please visit this link:

Specific Occupational Safety and Health Considerations to this assignment (if applicable): Covid-19 restrictions

Duties and responsibilities

The main purpose of this assignment is to develop a training package which will be used to conduct in-country workshops to support UNHCR and UNFPA regional and country operations in effectively rolling out and implementing the global operational guidelines on health and protection needs of individuals selling/exchanging sex in humanitarian settings. The training package will assist UNHCR, UNFPA and partners to improve the planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes for individuals selling or exchanging sex in humanitarian contexts.

The consultant will be required to familiarize him/herself with the operational guidance, undertake consultations with health, protection and management of UNHCR, UNFPA; NGO and other partners to assess training needs, review other training materials and develop a training package.

The training package will consist of:

  1. Facilitator’s manual, including details of:
    1. Intended audience(s); potential for local tailoring dependent upon humanitarian and cultural contexts
    2. Required workshop venue, materials and resources
    3. Lesson plans and activity descriptions including trainee group exercises and adult learning tools
    4. Any modifications for in-country and regional perspectives/contexts
    5. Training evaluation and assessment methods
  2. Power point presentations
  3. Case studies
  4. Trainee and facilitator feedback forms
  5. Frequently asked questions

The training package will also provide clarity for participants on programmatically related but differentiated areas such as sexual exploitation and abuse, (including in children) and trafficking in persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation. The training package should clearly present a human rights framework for responding to the health and protection needs of people choosing to sell or exchange sex, identifying how to meet these needs in a consensual, voluntary and participatory manner. Differentiated responses and approaches for supporting persons/children experiencing sexual exploitation and/or trafficking will be clarified and distinguished from support and interventions needed by people selling or exchanging sexual services. The package will also consider national laws and policies. The consultant will report to the Senior Reproductive Health Officer within the Public Health Section and work closely with Community-based Protection within the Division of International Protection. Regular meetings will be held between the consultant, the Senior Reproductive Health Officer and key colleagues in the Division of International Protection (DIP) to ensure relevant protection inputs. UNFPA colleagues from the Humanitarian Office and Sexual and Reproductive Health Branch will be extensively involved in the planning, review and clearance of the final product.

Following an induction and initial discussion on the objectives of the consultancy, the consultant will prepare a workplan and timeline to be reviewed and approved. The workplan will be reviewed on a regular basis and revised as necessary. Progress of the consultancy will be monitored against the work plan.

Monitoring and Progress Controls:

A complete training package for familiarizing humanitarian field staff and actors with the guidance on addressing health and protection needs of people selling sex in humanitarian settings (30 + 15 days).

Key activities:

  • Familiarize him/herself with the operational guidance
  • Undertake consultations with health, protection and management of UNHCR, UNFPA and NGO partners to assess training needs
  • Review other training materials
  • Develop training package.


Training package:

  1. Facilitator’s manual
  2. Power point presentations
  3. Case studies
  4. Pre and post assessments
  5. Trainee and facilitator feedback forms


  • 30 days

Key activities:

  • Undertake consultations on draft training package and incorporate feedback


  • Final training package


  • 15 days

Number of pages: see above under deliverables

Language(s): English

Number of copies: e-version is recommended

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required


  • Advanced university degree in public health or related field (e.g., law, international development, social sciences)
  • Clinical qualification (nurse, midwife, doctor) desirable

Work Experience:

  • At least 7 years’ experience in the area of health and/or protection programming, designing and supporting health and/or protection programmes for at-risk/marginalized/key populations in diverse settings, including resource-poor contexts
  • Good knowledge of rights of persons engaged in sex work/key populations, international refugee and human rights law, and/or community-based protection programming or community engagement is desirable
  • Experience in capacity and skills building for field staff, and development and implementation of training packages

Key Competencies:

Required: Organizational and planning skills, excellent writing/drafting and communication skills, analytical thinking, stakeholder management, excellent English;

Desired: knowledge of adult learning techniques and processes; knowledge of other UN languages such as Arabic, French or Spanish.

Location / Conditions

The consultancy is planned to be home-based.

Payment schedule:

DRAFT capacity building materials developed – 50%

Final capacity building materials submitted and cleared – 50%

How to apply

Interested applicants should submit their letter of motivation and Personal History Form (PHF) to indicating DRS/2022/016; First Name/Last Name, Building capacity to respond to the health and protection needs of people selling/exchanging sex in humanitarian settings in the subject of the email.

Personal History Forms are available at PHF Form  / Supplementary Sheet.

Applications without PHF Form will not be considered.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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