Jul 14, 2017

United States of America: Consultancy Services: Short-term consultancy to develop paper on methodological approaches for measurement of ECD - DRP, Requisition # 505974

NGO/UN Job Vacancy



Organization: UN Children's Fund
Country: United States of America
Closing date: 29 Jul 2017

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world's leading children's rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Background & Rationale

Early childhood, which spans the period up to 8 years of age, is critical for cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. During these years, a child’s newly developing brain is highly plastic and responsive to change as evidenced by the billions of integrated neural circuits that are established through the interaction of genetics, environment and experience. Early childhood development (ECD) is multidimensional and sets the stage for life-long thriving. In addition, it is one of the most critical and cost-effective investments a country can make and economic analyses have found that investing in the early years a child’s life yields some of the highest rates of return to families, societies and countries.

In order to capture information on key domains of early childhood development, UNICEF developed, within the context of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) programme and with inputs from a broad group of experts, a set of specific questions to gather data on the overall developmental status of children. Beginning with the fourth round of MICS (MICS4, primarily implemented between 2009 and 2012), an index was added to the existing early childhood development module to measure overall developmental status of children within the domains of physical, literacy-numeracy, social-emotional and learning (the Early Childhood Development Index or ECDI) and to monitor children’s achievement of universal developmental milestones across countries. Prior to the collection of the ECDI in MICS, there was no internationally comparable data on the overall developmental status of children. To date, comparable data on children’s developmental status, collected using the ECDI, have been produced for more than 60 low- and middle-income countries.

The importance of ECD as a necessary and central component of global and national development has been recognized by the international community through the inclusion of a dedicated target within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Target 4.2 (under Goal 4) specifically calls upon countries to ‘Ensure that, by 2030, all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.’ Ensuring that all children are given fair and equal opportunities to reach their full potential is also linked to achieving progress on other goals since investing in ECD can also improve educational achievement later in life and increase skills, capabilities and productivity in adulthood.

One of the indicators selected to measure progress towards achieving target 4.2 is: the percentage of children under age 5 years who are developmentally on track in health, learning and psychosocial well-being (indicator 4.2.1). Currently, this indicator has been classified as tier III meaning that the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators has decided that methodologies/standards for measurement do not currently exist for the indicator and need to be developed and tested. As custodian agency of indicator 4.2.1, UNICEF is therefore responsible for undertaking methodological work to develop, test and validate a survey module that can be used to collect internationally comparable, nationally representative and statistically sound data to monitor and track progress towards achieving target 4.2.

With the new monitoring needs set by the SDG agenda in mind, and recognizing the growth in the field of ECD measurement as well as the importance of continued methodological work to improve the quality and relevance of available data, UNICEF is undertaking methodological work towards development of a new ECD measure, building on the existing ECDI, that would be aligned with the definition set forth by SDG 4.2.1.

Purpose

The consultant is expected to review the available literature on key methodological and psychometric approaches to constructing a strong tool/instrument/index for measurement purposes and to summarize the available ‘options’ (along with the strengths and limitations of each) in a written background paper. The aim of the paper is to support the identification of a methodological approach that could be used to build a strong, reliable and valid ECD measure for use in household surveys, bearing in mind the three domains covered by SDG indicator 4.2.1 (i.e., health, learning and psychosocial wellbeing). The paper will need to include a set of recommendations based on the findings from the literature review to inform the selection of a feasible, rigorous and meaningful approach (or approaches) for constructing the new ECD measure.

Expected result

Written background paper (in English) summarizing available literature and key recommendations on methodological and psychometric approaches to constructing a strong tool/instrument/index for measurement purposes. The expected length of the paper is between 10 and 15 pages.

Duty Station

The consultant can work from his or her own home office.

Travel

No travel is planned or expected.

Timeframe

Start date: 31 July 2017 End date: 15 September 2017

Deliverables

Duration

(Estimated # of Days)

Deadline

First draft of background paper on methodological and psychometric approaches to tool/instrument development

5

21 August 2017

Final draft of background paper on methodological and psychometric approaches to tool/instrument development, incorporating comments received during review process

5

15 September 2017

total

10

Copyright

UNICEF will retain all copyrights of any materials produced by the consultant under this assignment. If the paper is submitted for possible publication in an academic journal, the consultant’s contribution will be acknowledged as part of the authorship.

Remuneration

Payment will be made upon the satisfactory and timely submission and approval of the deliverables and not actual number of days worked. The final output must reflect all comments provided during the review process. Failure to finalize the paper within the deadline indicated above will result in cancellation of the present agreement.

Key competences, technical background, and experience required

An advanced university degree (Master’s level or higher) in statistics, demography or other social science field is required.

  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant professional work experience in research and/or statistics is required.
  • Knowledge and familiarity of existing literature on psychometrics is required.
  • Evidence of previous publication in academic journals is required.
  • Previous involvement in tool/instrument/index development and psychometric testing is required.
  • Excellent command of English is required.
  • Analytical, methodical and precise style of writing.
  • Demonstrated communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Ability to work under tight deadlines and demonstrate flexibility.

To view our competency framework, please click here.

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.


How to apply:

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://ift.tt/2tVhz8U