Local Home-based consultancy: Research Consultant, Italy (75 days)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Location: Italy
Grade: Consultancy
H Hardship
Apply Now
Added 1 week ago
Job Description

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.

And we never give up.

For every child, results

Background/Rationale for the Assignment

The COVID-19 crisis has huge implications for children’s physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Although they are the age group least likely to suffer the direct health effects of the virus, it is well established that children are often the worst affected by economic and social shocks. There are three main channels of potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on children’s wellbeing:

(a)         Health effects.  Although they are a low-risk group, some children’s health will be negatively affected either directly through the exposure to the virus or indirectly through a reduced access to regular health services. A much larger group of children will be indirectly affected in terms of care and/or psychosocial wellbeing by health problems and mortality of people close to them.

(b)         Effects of immediate COVID mitigation responses (e.g. ‘lockdown’). Children’s lives have been affected in major ways by ‘lockdown’ restrictions, and school closures in particular, introduced to reduce the spread of COVID. Given their economic dependence on adults, some children can also suffer the effects of income insecurity and financial stresses as their parents lose jobs during the pandemic, with negative implications for children’s basic needs for food, schooling etc. 

(c)          Longer-term repercussions. There will be many medium to longer-term repercussions of the immediate COVID responses, including a likelihood of the economic downturn but also changes to various aspects of life, such as the way education is delivered.

These impacts will not be experienced in the same way by all children. There will be differential impacts according to children’s age, gender, poverty status and social identity. The impacts are also likely to differ, and be stronger, for groups of children who already face potentially overlapping disadvantages – such as children living in poverty; children belonging to minorities; migrant children; children in institutions; children with disabilities and/or chronic health conditions; and homeless children. A key risk of the crisis is that it will widen existing inequalities in society, and it is important that we understand and respond to this risk.

In comparison with adults, children have relatively little direct voice in policy and media environments. But it is vital that children’s perspectives and voices on this key global issue are heard, documented and taken into account in formulating child-focused responses that reflect their needs for support. This includes children having the opportunity to be involved in designing policy responses.

Some important work is already being done in Italy at a broad level to gather children’s views and experiences. This includes the ‘Future We Want’ survey being undertaken by the UNICEF Migrant and Refugee Response team based in Italy.

The proposed research “Children’s experiences and views of COVID-19, and response to it, in Italy” will complement this work by providing a more detailed insight into the experiences and views of a sample of children and adolescents. The research will take a qualitative and participative approach. It will aim to understand each child’s experiences within the broader context of their lives. It will seek to involve children throughout the research process, including in the design of the study, and in the interpretation and dissemination of the findings. The main aim is to inform policy and practice responses to the current crisis and future similar events.

Purpose & Expected Results

The purpose of this consultancy is to support the Refugee & Migrant Response in Italy and UNICEF Office of Research (Innocenti) based in Florence to carry out qualitative research with children and adolescents 19 years old and younger (referred to as ‘children’) in Italy. The research will include children with different background in FGDs, in-depth interviews and sessions within primary schools. These activities can either be performed remotely (through digital platforms) or in-person, depending on how the Covid-19 related restrictions evolve.

How can you make a difference?

The consultant is expected to:

1) Data collection

  • Participate in two initial online consultations with adolescents to develop child friendly tools for data collection;
  • Carry out jointly with other researcher at least 10 FGDs and 20 in-depth interviews with children and adolescents aged 10-19;
  • Support activities of data collection with primary school children in selected schools, as needed;
  • Transcribe data collected verbatim, as needed.

2) Technical support

  • Assist in preparation and designing of qualitative data collection tools and materials, as needed;
  • Assist with the development of tools based on initial consultations with adolescents;
  • Support with data analysis and reports writing, as needed;
  • Support the communication and dissemination plans, including the development of programme briefs, press releases and blogs, as needed.
  • Assist in the development of advocacy-focused materials, as needed. This might include podcasts, videos, interactive web-based material, and virtual or physical exhibitions (e.g. of children’s photographs or drawings).

3) Coordination

  • Liaise between the team at UNICEF ECARO based in Rome, the Italian Natcomm based in Rome and the team at UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti based in Florence;
  • Attend calls and other meetings, conferences and webinars, assisting in preparing background material and taking minutes;
  • Follow up on the design, editing, printing of information material in collaboration with relevant colleagues from UNICEF Refugee & Migrant Response and at UNICEF Office of Research (Innocenti), as needed.

To undertake other tasks that may be required and are appropriate to the role and the research project.

Schedule of tasks, deliverables and indicative timelines


Performance Indicators

  • Quality of written materials produced
  • Accuracy, depth and relevance of information provided
  • Quality of working relations
  • Timeliness of response to the team’s requests for support
  • Timely delivery of deliverables and adherence to timeline and set deadlines

Contractual Arrangements:

  • Work arrangements: The payments will be made upon satisfactory completion of tasks and deliverables (as reported in the table above).  Each request for payment must be supported by the supervisor’s written certification of the assignment performed (deliverable provided and/or days worked). Final payment is made only upon certification of the satisfactory completion of the assignment as a whole, and completion by the supervisor of the evaluation. Payments will be roll out in multiple instalments, based on the tasks outlined in the table above:
    • First instalment (the equivalent of 10 days) after satisfactory completion of tasks 1 and 2;
    • Second instalment (20 days) after satisfactory completion of task 3;
    • Third instalment (20 days) after satisfactory completion of task 4;
    • Fourth instalment (15 days) after satisfactory completion of task 5;
    • Fifth instalment (10 days) after satisfactory completion of task 6.
  • Estimated Duration of the Contract: 75 days within a period of 7 months, starting from September 1, 2020.
  • UNICEF Supervisor: The consultant will report to the Youth and Adolescent Development Specialist, Refugee & Migrant Response, Rome, Italy
  • Duty Station and Official Travel: Home-based in Italy. The work may include incidental travel within Italy to participate in field work, this will depend upon Covid-19 related restrictions established by the Government of Italy. It is expected that the consultant will incur in up to 10 travels in different locations in Italy (North, Centre and South). The average duration of each trip is expected to be of 2 days. In their application, consultants shall propose a lumpsum for travel costs. Agreed travel and related costs will be reimbursed after missions are completed. 
  • Equipment: The consultant is expected to have their own computer and access to internet.

Travel Clause

  • All UNICEF rules and regulations related to travel of Consultants/ Individual Contractors apply.
  • All travels shall be undertaken only upon the prior written approval by UNICEF.
  • The eligible maximum amount for travel is specified in the contract.
  • The consultant is responsible for his/her for travel arrangements. The most economic and direct route is authorized.
  • Travel costs will be reimbursed after the completion of mission. UNICEF will pay the applicable DSA rate and other travel related expenses upon submission of the invoice together with the supporting documentation.
  • The consultant must be fit to travel, be in a possession of the valid UN BSafe certificate, obligatory inoculation(s) and have a valid own travel/medical insurance and an immunization/vaccination card.

Nature of Penalty Clause in Contract

If the final reports and documents are not submitted according to the deliverables stated in this TOR, the payments will be withheld.

UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs is incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines (fees reduced due to late submission: 20 days - 10%; 1 month -20%; 2 months -30%; more 2 months – payment withhold). All materials developed will remain the copyright of UNICEF and UNICEF will be free to adapt and modify them in the future.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…


  • A Master’s degree in sociology, anthropology, education, or other relevant fields;
  • At least four years of relevant and demonstrable experience in qualitative research;
  • Demonstrated experience to facilitate focus group discussions and in-depth interviews;
  • Demonstrated ability in collecting qualitative data;
  • Demonstrated ability in working with children and young people;
  • Excellent qualitative and analytical skills;
  • Ability to organize own work and to carry out a research project with limited supervision according to deadlines;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships both within and outside the organization.
  • Ability to speak and write fluently in Italian and English.


  • Experience in working with vulnerable groups of children (e.g. children with a migration background, Roma children, children with low socio-economic background, etc.);
  • Experience working with and possibly carrying out research with children with disabilities;
  • Ability designing tools for qualitative data collection and in analyzing qualitative data;
  • Knowledge of creative tools for data collection (drawings, artworks, use of photos/videos, etc.);
  • Ability to speak fluently in another UN language (e.g. French, Arabic, Russian, etc.) or in another language relevant for fieldwork (e.g. languages spoken by migrant communities in Italy);

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

View our competency framework at


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.

Applicants are invited to:

  • complete their UNICEF profile;
  • attach CV and Motivation Letter;
  • attach a short reflection on how they would organize and conduct the FGDs/interviews on this topic and what are the challenges they foresee to carry out this research project (the text can be written in English orItalian and it should be of a maximum of two pages).Indicate a consultancy monthly fee (for ease of reference you may want to consul the UN salary scale for GS/Professional. This ToR falls under the bandwidth of GS6  – travel not included. Please note that applications without a proposed fee will not be accepted.
  • Indicate a lump sum for expected travel expenditures.


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.


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 the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. 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 also the world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries. As a global authority UNICEF is able to influence decision makers at the global level and turn the most innovative ideas into reality.