Plan International invites interested and experienced consultants to indicate interest by submitting RFQ documents for the following works:
Plan International is a development and humanitarian organisation which works in over 75 countries across the world, in Africa, the Americas, and Asia to advance children’s rights and equality for girls.
Applications are invited for:
Title: Request for Quotation (RFQ) Development of Guidance and Training Curriculum for Community-Based Childcare Services
The 2020 World Bank report Better Jobs and Brighter Futures: Investing in Childcare to Build Human Capital highlights how investments in childcare can improve child outcomes, increase women’s employment, productivity and wellbeing, create new jobs, and support a more resilient and inclusive recovery from the pandemic. It also looks at how investing in quality, affordable childcare is key to supporting families to move out of poverty.
Despite recognition of the importance of childcare, access to quality, safe childcare services was inadequate even prior to the COVID pandemic. The report notes that more than 40% of all children below primary school age – or nearly 350 million – need childcare but do not have access, meaning many children are left in unsafe and unstimulating environments (either alone, with a sibling, or accompanying parents at work in unsafe conditions). The gap in access is particularly acute for children below the age of 3, because costs are generally higher for this age group and few countries have policies or widespread provision that covers them1: while 52% of children age 3 to primary school-entry age who need childcare do not have access, this proportion is 72% for the under threes. The gap also disproportionately impacts families in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMIC): nearly eight out of ten children who need childcare but do not have access are living in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
These gaps in access are underpinned by the fact that – across the regions and countries in which Plan works – government provision/subsidization of childcare is limited, and insufficient public financing is a major issue. Where it exists, the number of families able to access employer-provided childcare is limited, given that the majority of the population – and working women in particular – are employed in the informal sector. In the absence of subsidization, many private providers struggle to enter the childcare market at a price that low-income families can afford. Many countries also face a severe shortage of trained carers/educators and center operators, hampering the provision of quality childcare services, which are dependent on the presence of capable, caring and qualified workforce. A regulatory framework for childcare is also limited or non existent in most countries: an additional important gap, noted in the Spring Impact report, is the relative lack of quality standards – most particularly for home-base childcare and care for under-threes in LMICs – compared to service standards for older children. In many countries, many of the childcare settings that do exist are not of high enough quality to positively impact child development.
Lack of affordable, quality childcare has multiple impacts, for children and their families. It keeps women out of the workforce or from re-entering the workforce after childbirth, and limits the type and quality of employment and income earning opportunities that women can pursue. Older siblings, especially girls, are also impacted by the childcare challenge when they are forced to take on childcare responsibilities, with consequences for their own education opportunities and life choices.
Plan’s Potential Contribution to Addressing the Childcare Gap
Support for community-based, non-formal childcare services for the youngest children (6 months – 3 years in particular) has emerged as an area which several Plan countries are interested in exploring, recognizing this as an avenue to expand access to childcare, promote young children’s development and wellbeing, while providing employment opportunities for people from the communities with whom we partner, particularly young and adult women.
Plan is considering how to:
- Build on our experiences training and supporting carers/educators of community-based, -led and -managed early childhood care and education (ECCE) programmes for children aged 3- 4 years and older in multiple countries;
- Leverage our relationships with families and communities to ensure that any childcare services supported respond to community needs and priorities
- Support provision of these services in both development and protracted crisis settings; and potentially alongside education initiatives to support adolescent mothers to return to school or Plan’s Skills and Opportunities for Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship (SOYEE) training programmes, for participating youth who are parents.
- Ensure that development, design and implementation of childcare services uses a gender transformative approach, aligned with Plan International’s commitment to gender transformation 3.
- In the future, integrate technical training for the provision of quality childcare services into entrepreneurship training offered by Plan’s SOYEE programming, where market analysis suggests demand for childcare may exist and there is interest among young people to explore this area, under the umbrella of enterprises with social impact.
This consultancy will support the development of a curriculum/materials for ECD/Childcare training for community para-professionals wishing to offer/facilitate community-based non-formal programs (either home- or centre-based) for young children. It will address the gap in Plan’s existing training materials (which are typically for carers/educators of services for children over three years, and focus largely on play-based early learning), as well as ensure that training is designed to meet appropriate quality standards for childcare provision.
Objective, Scope, Activities and Deliverables of the Consultancy
Objective: Recommend minimum quality standards for community-based, non-formal childcare, and create a basic training curriculum to prepare community members – particularly young and adult women – to operate and facilitate safe, quality childcare services.
The training curriculum should:
- Be based on recommended quality standards to also be defined as part of this consultancy, addressing – in particular – gaps in existing standards for childcare for the under-threes (considering the different delivery modalities (home based, centred based and mobile)
- Include content for childcare services offered for children aged 6 months – six years, but with a focus on content for services for children under-three years, recognising the gaps in this area
- Be founded on the science of early childhood development, reflect child rights standards and principles, and emphasize child protection and safeguarding
- Include topics/content related to the different dimensions of nurturing care (responsive caregiving, play and early learning, safety and protection from violence, health and hygiene, nutrition)
- Prepare carers to offer safe, quality, gender-responsive childcare services; and a daily routine which emphasises care, play, social and emotional learning rather than academic skills/school readiness
- Include an emphasis on developing and implementing services with parents – women and men – as partners, and building community-wide support networks
- Cover key content related to setting up and operating different types of childcare provision – home-based, centre-based, mobile – and key dimensions of managing and running these spaces that are applicable across different contexts (including structural quality standards, safeguarding, linkages and referrals to local services, financial management, accreditation etc.)
- Reflect the importance of attracting men into the childcare sector (ensuring that this does not mean limiting access for women who are interested) and of preparing childcare providers to work with fathers/men caregivers as well as mothers/women caregivers
The training sessions:
- Will be 15- 20 days total in duration (to be discussed)
- Reflect effective training methodologies appropriate for participants who are adults/young people, with emphasis on practice, observation and interactive and play-based learning activities, with potential for blended learning approaches (combination of face-to-face and digital).
- Leverage and use accessible content that already exists, wherever possible
The training curriculum should be accompanied by:
- Facilitators’ guidance and background reading
- Recommendations for adaptation (including with respect to alignment with existing national standards, registration requirements in-country)
- Inception report with results of scoping review and KIIs, proposed quality standards and recommendations for learning objectives and training content.
- Training package with sessions guides and resources, and implementation guidance. This does not have a page limit, as the length will depend on the number of sessions and themes covered. The session guide must be written in clear, plain English in order that it can be understood by staff who do not have English as a first language, and can be easily translated. It should include a glossary of key terms and definitions and be fully and consistently referenced with acknowledgement of sources of activities/background reading.
- Recommended minimum quality standards for childcare in different settings (home based and centre based) in LMICs.
Selection Criteria for Consultant(s)
The successful consultant or team of consultants should have the following characteristics:
- Understanding of/experience with provision of childcare (including different modalities)
- Understanding of Early Childhood Development, children’s needs and rights in early childhood, and ECD programming
- Understanding/experience with the development of training programmes
- Excellent writing and communication skills, and experience in developing programme tools, manuals and guidance
- Understanding/experience of working with rights-based and gender-transformative approaches highly desirable
- Work in low and lower-middle income contexts, and in both development and protracted crisis contexts desirable
- Fluency in English: working knowledge of Spanish or French desirable
Application Closing Date
23.59 (BST), 21st May, 2022.
Submission of Documents
Applicants should prepare and submit an application package via email to: [email protected] with the subject line “RFQ FY22 – 111 Plan International childcare training and standards” and which must include:
- CVs of the consultant(s) who will carry out the work
- A cover letter outlining how you meet the consultant specification, including relevant previous experience
- A proposal describing your approach, days and dates for deliverables, and budget
- Annex A Supplier Questionnaire (please complete with as much information as is relevant to you)
- Annex B – Non Staff Code of Conduct (please sign and return)
Click Hereto download the detailed document of the RFQ.