Consultant – National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria (Remote) at the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (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.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Consultant to Support the Review and Development of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria

Job No.: 551188
Location: Abuja (Remote)
Level: Consultancy
Contract type: Consultancy
Categories: Child Protection
Contract Duration: 6 months


  • Nigeria has the largest number of female child brides in Africa (23 million girls and women married as children) and carries the third largest burden of married girls globally (3.3M), after India (26.6M) and Bangladesh (3.9M).
  • At least 44.1 per cent of girls in Nigeria are married before their 18th birthday, while 18.5 per cent are married before they turned 15 so almost 1 in 5 girls.
  • Child marriage is a key driver of socio-economic challenges especially in northern Nigeria, leading to school drop-out and adolescent pregnancy which is also linked to high maternal mortality and malnutrition, among other issues.
  • Child marriage occurs in a context of limited knowledge and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and services, with complications of early childbearing (maternal mortality ratios is at 576 per 100,000) and obstructed labor such as obstetric fistula which affect an estimated 20,000 women and girls every year in Nigeria.
  • While the data shows a 9 per cent decline in the prevalence of child marriage since 2003, and a projected further decrease by 6 per cent by 2030, because of the rapid increase in population, the number of female child brides will increase by more than a million by 2030 and double by 2050.
  • Additionally, an estimated 10 million more girls will be at risk of becoming brides as a result of the pandemic.

In Nigeria, whether a girl will be married before she reaches 18 years depends largely on the geographic location, the economic status of her family and her education:

  • According to MICS 2016-17, prevalence rates of women who marry before 18 in some parts of Northern Nigeria are well over 50 per cent, including Bauchi: 64.4 per cent; Jigawa: 74.9 per cent; Katsina: 70.9 per cent; Kebbi: 66.9 per cent; Sokoto: 68.6 per cent; Yobe: 62.0 per cent and Zamfara: 71.4 per cent
  • North west Nigeria has the lowest median age of marriage (15.8 yrs), with Katsina, in north west Nigeria, which has the lowest median age of marriage of any state, at 15.5 yrs (NDHS 2018)
  • The median age of child marriage is nine years lower among the lowest wealth quintile compared to the highest wealth quintile (NDHS 2018)
  • 68 per cent of women from the poorest households were married before 18 (MICS, 2016-17)
  • 52.3 per cent of rural women compared to 29.4 per cent of urban women were married before the age of 18 (MICS, 2016-17)
  • The median age of first marriage of women with no formal education is 15.8 years compared to 21.9 years amongst those with secondary education (NDHS 2018).
  • 63.3 per cent of women with no education and 73.3 per cent of those with non-formal education were married before 18 years compared to 22.6 per cent of those with secondary education (MICS 2016-17)
  • Nigeria has committed to ending child marriage within the African Union Commission framework and launched the National Campaign and Strategy to End Child Marriage on 29 November 2016.
  • The National Strategic Plan to End Child Marriage in Nigeria 2016 – 2021 was the first national action plan adopted by the Federal Government aimed at “highlighting the multi-sectoral, multi-faceted activities needed to bring about successful elimination of this harmful practice based on the premise of a strengthened coordination platform led by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs”.
  • The key actors for this include but are not limited to various MDAs such as Health, Education, Information and National Orientation Agency, Finance, Budget and National Planning; traditional and religious bodies, civil society organizations, foreign and national donors and implementing partners.
  • Following the expiration of the strategy at the end of 2021, a consensus was reached at a meeting (March 2022) of the Core Group on Ending Child Marriage in Nigeria, led by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, to review and develop a new 5-year costed National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria (2022-2027) which will provide a strategic roadmap that will consolidate and build on the gains made, with a view to accelerating efforts towards ending child marriage in Nigeria by 2030.
  • The policy review process will need to identify, assess and address any existing gaps not addressed by the previous policy as well as emerging trends, patterns and evidence on child marriage in Nigeria.
  • The outcome of this exercise will be to produce a costed and operational strategy and action plan through which the rearticulated goals, objectives and strategies in the revised plan are realised.
  • The revised policy should incorporate a rights-based and gender transformative approach to prevention (education as a delay tactic) and response (health, SRHR and justice) to child marriage, aimed at repositioning efforts aimed at ending Child Marriage in Nigeria.
  • To this end, FMWA/UNICEF Nigeria is seeking to hire a local consultant to support the revision and the development of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria (2022-2027).
  • This activity will support outcome 3.2.24 on Strategic advocacy and partnerships to address child marriage under Pillar 3 of the Spotlight Initiative.
  • The Spotlight Initiative (SI) is a global partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in support of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.
  • In Nigeria, the focus states for Spotlight implementation are Adamawa, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi, FCT, Lagos and Sokoto. However, this exercise will be conducted both at the national and state (selected) levels.

Scope of Work
In carrying out this assignment, the consultant will need to:

  • Conduct a literature review of frameworks, studies and evaluations of successful practices implemented in Nigeria and other countries.
  • Conduct desk review of program and policy documents (national and sub-national and sectoral policies on health, education, labour etc.), that take stock of the situation of child marriage and programmatic responses, including the recent analysis of the integration of ending child marriage policies and plans into budgets.
  • Provide a summary of the available data, including the 2014 VAC survey, and latest data from MICS and NDHS on the emerging trends.
  • Review and develop a revised National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria, particularly with a view to strengthening a comprehensive approach to the prevention and response to Child Marriage including strengthening case management, availability of quality child-sensitive social welfare and justice services and ensure involve other sectors (education and health)
  • Provide recommendations to the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the national and sub-national Technical Working Groups (TWG), and its first year workplan, including increasing the impact and visibility of the work conducted by the TWG.
  • Review use of tools and indicators that inform data collection on the situation of child marriage and service provision and provide recommendations on the standardization indicators and tools in line with CEDAW and African Charter reporting requirements to support and how data can be fed into a national “data bank”.

Knowledge / Expertise / Skills Required

  • Advanced Degree in International Development, Social Welfare, Public Administration, Gender or other relevant course.
  • 10+ years of demonstrated experience in the area of research into policy making on child marriage, related social issues, adolescent girls’ programming or related field.
  • Demonstrated experience in research, both quantitative and qualitative.
  • Experience in the field of child marriage is an asset;
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required
  • Fluency in Hausa is an asset

For every Child, you demonstrate:

  • UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).

Application Closing Date
8th July, 2022 (West Central Africa Standard Time).

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online


  • 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.


  • 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.
  • The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract is valid for the entire period of the contract. The candidate may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid).

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