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Individual Consultant (National) UNICEF-WHO joint program consultant to steer the joint program on Mental Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Health/Health Protection Agency
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Consultant Consultancy Locallly Recruited
Job Expired 30 Sep 2023
Posted 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. 


Individual Consultant (National)

UNICEF-WHO joint program consultant to steer the joint program on Mental Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Health/Health Protection Agency


Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, account for 16% of the global burden of disease and injury among the world’s 1.2 billion adolescents. 75% of mental illnesses manifest by age 24, and 50% by the mid-teens. As per the findings of the STEPS Survey on Risk Factors for Non-Communicable Diseases undertaken by the Government and WHO (November 2022), in the Maldives, every 1 in 5 people experience different aspects of depression. The burden and impact of suboptimal mental health is enormous during adolescence and into adulthood - and has implications on the well-being of the next generation. Although investment in early, effective intervention for the mental health of young people was identified as a “best buy” over a decade ago, current evidence suggests that adolescent mental health remains a neglected yet pressing issue.

What is the MHPSS Joint Program?

The MHPSS Joint Program (JP) is a shared commitment of WHO and UNICEF to address these gaps and aims to promote optimal development and mental health, reduce suffering, and enhance psychosocial well-being and quality of life in children and adolescents. The JP is an ambitious, phased, 10-year action plan to expand capacity to deliver for children, adolescents, and their caregivers at all levels and reach impact in countries across the world, including Maldives. Child and adolescent mental health and psychosocial well-being and development are significant priorities for both UNICEF and WHO, integral to realizing both agencies’ commitments to protecting the human rights of children and achieving the SDGs, the WHO Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030, UNICEF’s strategic plan for 2022-25, as well as related regional plans.

The JP will leverage the strengths of both agencies and build on ongoing collaboration and learning between UNICEF and WHO, consolidating partnerships with ministries of health and education and the departments under them, civil society – including organizations representing those with lived experience – the private sector, and other stakeholders to accelerate action for children and adolescents’ mental health and psychosocial well-being. UNICEF brings to the table cross-sectoral leadership in mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), child protection, education, adolescent development and participation, leadership in multisectoral programming, climate change, and a global network of relationships on the ground and in the field through community-based and civil society organizations and government authorities in both development and humanitarian settings. WHO, as UN lead technical agency on health, brings in an evidence-based approach and existing guidance, leadership and extensive technical expertise in numerous topics relevant to mental health across the life course, both in development and humanitarian settings, as well as experience with convening and coordinating mental health actions, and global networks of experts and partners across regions and countries. Both agencies are opinion leaders and bring in long-term country presence and close working relationships with the government of Maldives.  The JP between UNICEF and WHO will result in concerted action for evidence-based mental health promotion, prevention and care for children, adolescents and their caregivers, with the aim of increasing efficiencies in collaboration and greater impact in countries. It will strengthen their collaboration on programming and implementation for child and adolescent mental health and psychosocial well-being and development at both nation and subnational levels, sharing their networks of intervention and interacting with countries and intergovernmental organizations on a common basis.

Additionally, the JP will facilitate dialogue in Maldives through relevant government ministries, including Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services, as well as their civil society counterparts. An inter-ministerial approach will facilitate the promotion of multidisciplinary, integrated strategies towards addressing socioeconomic determinants of mental health and organization of care. The JP will leverage existing collaborations and commitments by UNICEF, WHO and partners, to accelerate the implementation of child and adolescent mental health and psychosocial well-being and development strategies in countries. A focus is placed on actions that demonstrate how both agencies coming together can achieve efficiency gains from joint work. Under the JP, the following are the strategic action areas and outcomes: 

•              Strategic Area 1: Strengthened effective leadership, governance, and advocacy for children and adolescents’ mental health and psychosocial well-being and development

Outcome 1: An increased number of countries implement multisectoral and multi-stakeholder strategies and actions for mental health and psychosocial well-being for children and adolescents

•              Strategic Area 2: Strengthen service delivery and care systems, for the  provision of accessible, integrated, child-, adolescent, and family-responsive care services for mental health and psychosocial wellbeing and development, across community-based, health, education, and child protection settings

Outcome 2: An increased number of countries are able to offer improved access to quality care services (across health, education, and social services/child protection services) for children and adolescents with mental health conditions, and their caregivers

•              Strategic Area 3: Implement strategies for mental well-being promotion and prevention of mental health conditions

Outcome 3: An increased number of countries are able to offer nurturing, supportive environments for children and adolescents and opportunities for them to strengthen cognitive and socio-emotional skills

•              Strategic Area 4: Strengthen information systems, evidence and research for child and adolescent mental health and psychosocial wellbeing and development

Outcome 4: An increased number of countries are able to generate and use quality data and evidence to inform multisectoral actions and policies for mental health and psychosocial wellbeing and the development of children and adolescents

Purpose and Objectives

The overall objective of the assignment is to support WHO, UNICEF, and MOH in steering the activities agreed in the joint program including leadership, governance, and advocacy, strengthened services delivery of different MHPSS domains, strategic mental health promotion activities, and innovations, and improving the data and evidence around child and adolescent mental health.

The TOR is seeking the services of a national consultant to deliver the following deliverables:

Main outcome and activities

Key deliverables

Days and Timeline

  • Develop and finalize a comprehensive, multisectoral MHPSS referral pathway to enable access to varying levels of MHPSS support services
  • Contextualization and pretesting of child and adolescent care-focused modules in mhGAP training
  • Revise the substance misuse prevention modules in schools/other community-based programming targeting at-risk children and young people

1. Finalized multisectoral MHPSS referral pathway document

2. Revised Central and Regional Mental Health Plan with Child and Adolescent Mental Health

3. Pretested monitoring tool for the updated Central and Regional Mental Health Plan

  1. Contextualized and pretested Child and Adolescent mhGAP program package
  2. Revised modules on life skills and drug prevention for schools

30 days

20 days

10 days

20 days

20 days


100 working days (es Oct 2023 till May 2024)



1. Finalized multisectoral MHPSS referral pathway document

2. Revised Central and Regional Mental Health Plan with Child and Adolescent Mental Health

3. Pretested monitoring tool for the updated Central and Regional Mental Health Plan

4.    Contextualized and pretested Child and Adolescent mhGAP program package

5.    Revised modules on life skills and drug prevention for schools

Note: All deliverables, and resources developed will be copyright of UNICEF

Duration of assignment

100 working days between October 2023 and March 2024.

Duty station

Male’/Maldives: UNICEF & Ministry of Health


Travel is expected on a need basis amounting to USD 1,000 (MVR 15,000)


The consultant will be supervised by UNICEF Programme Officer for Mental Health

Qualifications or specialized knowledge and/or experience required

Technical Expertise and Experience

  • Mental health professional with MSc, MSW, RN, Ph.D., MD, MS. Ed or equivalent degree (e.g. background psychiatry, psychology) with 5+ years programming experience
  • Experience in leading MHPSS service delivery and response through health, child protection, or education programs and systems
  • Experience in child and adolescent or family focused MHPSS
  • Experience in capacity building, coaching and strengthening various duty bearers’ understanding and implementation of MHPSS
  • Experience in overseeing program quality and development
  • Experience of working with and supporting local partners

Culture and Fit

  • Culturally sensitive and able to adapt to difficult contexts
  • Strong people and communication skills, diplomatic and assertive as needed
  • Good team player that can work as part of a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary team
  • Capacity and willingness to be extremely flexible and accommodating in difficult and sometimes insecure working circumstances
  • Politically and culturally sensitive with qualities of patience, tact and diplomacy
  • Commitment to and understanding of child rights, the aims and principles of UNICEF, WHO and the Ministry of Health
  • A high level of written and spoken English
  • Must be available to work with the MOH, WHO, and UNICEF teams and attend meetings during Government official hours, when required

Please note the following:

All payments will be subjected to acceptance of deliverables by UNICEF and WHO, after acceptance by MOH. Also, note that UNICEF does not make advance payments and UNICEF is exempted from paying VAT and any other forms of taxes. Local consultants will be paid in local currency.

For every Child, you demonstrate… 

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS). 

To view our competency framework, please visit  here

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment. 

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 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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