International Consultant to Support Basic Education Programme 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: International Consultant to Support Basic Education Programme

Job No: 554139
Location: Abuja
Contract type: Consultant
Level: Consultancy
Categories: Education
Duration: 11.5 months

Background and Purpose of the Assignment

  • As home to approximately 206 million people1, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and the population is continuously growing. According to current projections, by 2050, 1 of every 13 births globally will take place in Nigeria
  • The country has developed policies that guarantee free and compulsory basic education and has seen increasing access to education. Progress in enrolment, however, is threatened by high out-of-school rates, dropout and persistent inequality as more than 18 million children remain out-ofschool in Nigeria at the primary and junior secondary levels3 , making Nigeria the country with the largest number of out-of-school children worldwide.
  • Only 36 per cent of children ages 3-5 attend early childhood education programmes, and just 61 per cent of primary school-aged children regularly attend school
  • While 6 million children enter Primary Level 1 each year, only 3.6 million remain in the system by the end of Junior Secondary Level 3, with 11 per cent on average dropping out at each grade level.
  • It is thus unsurprising that the transition rate from primary to junior secondary school remains low at 59 per cent. Girls, and especially marginalized populations in the North, remain particularly disadvantaged and increasingly so after primary school. Location, belonging to internally displaced populations, poverty, and disability compound gender inequality. For example, 25 per cent of boys in rural areas complete junior secondary school, compared to 9 per cent of girls.
  • On average, boys complete one more full year of school (7.6 years) than girls (6.5 years). Moreover, the gender gap in learning outcomes, measured by gender parity in literacy and numeracy at the end of Primary 2 and Primary 4, is growing wider5
  • Recent analyses supported by UNICEF indicate multiple barriers to addressing school dropout and ensuring on-time enrolment, transition, and completion of education for all children in Nigeria.
  • On the supply side, these range from insufficient capacity for evidence-based policy and planning, low budget allocation and inefficient release of capital funds to inadequate and unsafe infrastructure, a lack of materials and poor teaching quality.
  • On the demand side, barriers include sociocultural beliefs and practices, safety and health concerns, reliance on children for income generating activities and household chores, and especially poverty.
  • Particularly in the North, these barriers further marginalize girls, whom social norms relegate to domestic roles, as shown by high rates of early marriage and the lack of female teachers, and for whom inadequate economic power remains a significant challenge.
  • Poor maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and, especially, the absence of private toilets and sanitary facilities for girls, further increase the likelihood that they will be absent from school or drop out due to a lack of safe menstrual hygiene management.
  • On the other hand, school dropout and failure to transition to secondary education has become an area that requires significant attention, particularly in the South of Nigeria, as boys face pressure to join the economy as soon as possible and thus drop out of school to partake in economic and commercial activities
  • Prioritizing quality education provision, increasing the volume and efficiency of education financing, and strengthening the system’s capacity to plan, budget, and monitor education delivery is critical for Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 4, and to uphold its commitment to ensuring equitable and inclusive quality education for all children in the country.
  • Accordingly, UNICEF’s 10-Year Programme prioritizes equitable access to learning opportunities; improved learning and skills for all; and improved learning and protection for children in emergencies and fragile contexts.

How can you make a difference?

  • UNICEF is seeking a full-time consultant to support the basic education programme in Nigeria for the achievement of these priorities.
  • The purpose of this consultancy is to provide technical support for studies, evaluations, reports, concept notes, policy briefs, strategies, proposals, and knowledge products developed by UNICEF Nigeria Basic Education Section.
  • In addition, technical support is needed in the areas of skills development, public financing, and alternative learning.
  • To achieve this purpose, UNICEF is soliciting the services of a consultant with experience in report writing, skills programming, the development and evaluation of alternative (including remote) learning programmes, and education financing (economics of education, budget analysis, resource allocation, value-for-money analysis).

Scope of Work
Under the supervision of Chief Education, the consultant will be responsible for the following:

  • Manage the consultancy to consolidate and improve the scope and quality of skills development programming, specifically on employability skills for in- and out-of-school children, technical and vocational education, and school-to-work transition;
  • Support the plan to provide capacity strengthening and technical guidance to the government on public financing of education, including through the planning and coordination of events and development of knowledge management materials (e.g., advocacy, investment cases, reports);
  • Strengthen and consolidate the work on alternative learning pathways, including managing a consultancy on the evaluation of alternative learning in Nigeria;
  • Support the plan to strengthen learning assessment, education management information system (EMIS), and the use of data for developing early warning systems and costed equity-based education sector plans;
  • Support knowledge management through documentation of effective practices, lessons learned and remaining gaps, event preparation (talking points, Ppts, etc.), and supporting knowledge exchange;
  • Support quality reporting (review donor reports at a technical level); and
  • Support in resource mobilization (drafting of concept notes, grants, etc.)

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have

  • Advanced Degree (minimum of Master’s) in Education Development, Education Policy, Social Policy, International Relations, or related field.
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience in education research, including quantitative and qualitative methods, in development and/or humanitarian contexts, with demonstrated experience in gender analysis.
  • A minimum of 3 years of working experience with using education data to inform evidence-based decision-making to address key barriers to education access for marginalized populations.
  • Strong working knowledge of key data sources on education data (MICS, DHIS, UIS, NEDS in Nigeria, and others) is an asset
  • Experience in mapping data against key policy and international priorities.
  • Strong knowledge of the Nigerian context and understanding of international development issues, including the status of the humanitarian-development nexus nationally and at the state level in Nigeria, particularly as it relates to education for girls and marginalized populations.

Other skills and attributes:

  • Experience working with UN agencies or other international development agencies
  • Strong knowledge of the Nigerian political landscape and recent developments in education.
  • A good understanding of UNICEF’s programmatic areas, namely Education (especially Education in Emergencies), social policy, and child protection
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, with experience translating evidence for and communicating with a broad range of actors (including government) on sensitive issues.

Application Closing Date
24th August, 2022 (W. Central Africa Standard Time).

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

Click here for more details (PDF)


  • 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.
  • Please submit your all-inclusive financial and technical proposal along with the application. Application without these will not be entertained.
  • 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 visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. 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.

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