National Consultancy to support Early Childhood Intervention with a focus on Children with Disabilities or Developmental Difficulties (Bulgarian nationals only)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Grade: Unspecified
Closing soon: 15 Apr 2021
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Added 2 weeks 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, childhood.

The Country Program Action Plan for the period 2018-2022 signed between UNICEF and the Government of Bulgaria, places special focus on enhancing support to children with developmental difficulties and disabilities during early childhood with a view of enabling them to develop to their full potential. Programatic interventions draw on a twin-track approach for ensuring the rights of children with disabilities and aim to contribute to: 1) strengthening relevant national systems and policies in health, education, social and child protection to ensure that they deliver support to children with disabilities or developmental difficulties and their families in an inclusive way, and uphold their rights; and 2) expanding services that address the specific needs of children with disabilities or developmental difficulties and their families.

Special attention is devoted to improving early childhood intervention for children with developmental difficulties and disabilities, with a focus on the first 3 years of life. As part of a global partnership between UNICEF and H&M Foundation, over the period January 2019 - June 2021 UNICEF in Bulgaria will develop, test and evaluate in two selected municipalities of the country a system approach to early childhood intervention. The approach will support a seamless process for: 1) identification of developmental difficulties using standardised tools through relevant health, social and educational services; 2) assessment of child’s strengths and weaknesses; 3) delivery of early childhood intervention, including support for transition to inclusive education, and 4) and communication for addressing negative stereotypes and social norms against children with disabilities. The envisaged activities include establishment within existing social services of ECI teams and their training, capacity building for different professionals – health care professionals, ECI professionals, and others, improving cooperation and coordination between different service providers, communication and awareness raising activities. The approach developed will be also tested in 3 more municipalities as part of the project aiming to pilot EU Child Guarantee in Bulgaria. The project is EU funded and it is expected to end in June 2021.


How can you make a difference?

Under the guidance and supervision of the UNICEF ECD Officer, in coordination with other UNICEF Programme Officers (in particular Education Officer and Communication for Social Change) and in partnership with national partners, local authorities, schools and other relevant national and local stakeholders, the Consultant will support the development and implementation of UNICEF’s program activities related to early childhood intervention and support for parents of young children with disabilities.

The Consultant will be expected to carry out the following specific tasks:

  • Coordinate at local level UNICEF interventions related to piloting of a system approach to ECI, as well as other intervention aiming to strengthen the national capacities for Early Childhood Intervention.
  • Coordinate and organise meetings/trainings in 3 selected municipalities as agreed with UNICEF for ensuring a system approach to early childhood intervention and improving ECI practice in coordination with local authorities, services providers, and other relevant stakeholders and partners.
  • Provide technical support, training and supervision of the application of screening tools by relevant stakeholders – ECI teams and members of the home visiting services.
  • Draft documentation necessary for the work of the ECI teams in consultation and under the guidance of the international consultant.
  • Draft guidelines/other documentation related to use of screening and assessment tools by different relevant stakeholders – home visitors, ECI practitioners, etc.
  • Support the collection of data to facilitate monitoring of UNICEF interventions at local level.
  • Coordinate the implementation of the UNICEF program for support of parents of children with disabilities in the country – liaise with partners, support expansion of the program if necessary, collect feedback and statistical data on the program implementation, organise meetings, provide supervision to the teams, draft analysis and other information related to the program implementation.
  • Draft or provide technical support for the development of parenting materials with a particular focus on care for and the needs of children with disabilities and developmental difficulties.
  • Contribute to public awareness and communication campaigns of UNICEF CO related to early childhood intervention for children with disabilities and developmental difficulties and parenting: support for drafting different documents, coordination of awareness raising activities/events with different partners, identification of relevant human stories, etc.
  • Participate in meetings, workshops and seminars as agreed with UNICEF.
  • Other support related to ECD and inclusive early education and care as agreed with UNICEF office.

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

  • Master’s degree or higher in one or more of the following areas: pre-school pedagogy (early education), pedagogy, special pedagogy, child psychology or another relevant field;
  • Excellent understanding of the contemporary conceptual framework on ECD and early childhood intervention for children with developmental difficulties and disabilities;
  • Very good understanding of the national policy framework and institutional arrangements relating to early childhood intervention;
  • Experience in project management;
  • Familiarity with UNICEF policies and strategic documents related to ECD and ECI is considered an advantage;
  • Ability to work independently;
  • Ability to manage partnerships across diversity of stakeholders;
  • Respect for cultural diversity and human rights;
  • Fluency of English language will be an advantage.

The assignment will take place from April to October 2021 for an initial period of 6 months with a possibility of extension upon successful performance. The Consultant is expected to have frequent travels outside Sofia – to the sites of UNICEF interventions.

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.

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.

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.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

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.

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