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National Consultant at the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (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.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: National Consultant to Review the National Minimum Standards for Early Child Care Centres in Nigeria

Job No: 561121
Location: Abuja
Contract Type: Consultant
Duration: 51 days
Categories: Education
Level: Consultancy

How Can You Make a Difference?
Scope of Work:

  • The overall scope of work of the consultancy will be to support the Federal Ministry of Education in reviewing and updating the Minimum standards for Early Childhood Care, Development, and Education (ECCDE) centers in Nigeria and corresponding implementation guidelines.

Under the supervision of an Education Specialist, the consultant will be responsible for the following over the course of the 6-months contract:

  • Review the current national minimum standards for ECCDE centers: Conduct a desk review and a series of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs)/Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with the relevant stakeholders. These include but not limited to the ECD Directors and desk officers at FME, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEBs) and State Ministries of Education (SMoE), ECD desk officers and Directors from the various line ministries (Health, Women Affairs, Water resources), teachers and caregivers (from private and public providers), parents and community members, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). The analytical points and research questions to be addressed in the review include, but are not limited to:
    • To what extent are the minimum standards aligned with national and international evidence of best practices for early learning and development standards (including principles such as the early identification of children with disabilities and early intervention, nurturing care, and other key frameworks and theories for early childhood education)?
    • To what extent are the minimum standards inclusive and focused on reaching the most marginalized children in Nigeria (including specific population groups such as children with disabilities, children from the poorest families, children in conflict-affected communities and on the move, etc.)?
    • To what extent are the minimum standards relevant to state and local contexts?
    • To what extent are the minimum standards reflective of existing evidence that points towards a strong focus on teacher/child interactions and developmentally appropriate curricula?
    • To what extent are the minimum standards reflective of the child’s holistic development?
    • To what extent do the minimum standards demonstrate clear alignment of quality service standards with staff and curricular standards?
    • To what extent are the minimum standards contextualized to meet the specific needs of children within their immediate environment?
    • To what extent do the minimum standards focus on the progressive realization of children’s rights in early childhood (namely through the principle of progressive universalism)?
    • To what extent do the current standards address the responsibilities of key actors to ensure its implementation, and are effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and processes in place and operational to support this?
    • To what extent have the standard’s guide been followed by private and public ECCDE providers and what are the key enablers of and barriers to this?
    • What are remaining gaps and key challenges undermining the full application of the existing minimum standards and recommendations?
    • What innovative approaches should be employed and to what extent can these appropriately aligned with the minimum standards priorities and in support of their achievement?
  • Define what minimum standards mean in the various categories of ECCDE settings (for ages 0-2 years; 3-4 years and 3-5 years; they may be home based, centre based, or mobile) in Nigeria – considering the process and structural quality.
  • Develop first draft of the revised National Minimum Standards for ECCDE and implementation guidelines: The consultant will edit and revise the current minimum standards to include key recommendations across content and approaches based directly on the review conducted, paying particular attention to cross-cutting issues including gender, inclusion and use of technology. The consultant will participate in consultations with the Steering committee, ECE national working group (NWG) and other relevant stakeholders across the geopolitical zones including but not limited to ECD stakeholders, parents and teachers, school leaders and community leaders to agree beforehand on the structure of the document and to facilitate a review of the draft by the Steering committee to gather and document the feedback.
  • Develop a second draft of the standards: Based on the feedback provided in the first draft, revise and develop a second draft of the standards. The consultant will be expected to present the drafts to all stakeholders for national level critique.
  • Final policy document, implementation guidelines and slide deck: Based on the feedback received on the second draft, finalize the documents for submission and share a well curated and formatted slide deck on the minimum standards and the implementation guidelines. These will be finalized with endorsement from the steering committee and ECE NWG.
  • Validation: The consultant will be expected to deliver a presentation and actively participate in a national workshop for the dissemination of the revised ECCDE minimum standards.
  • Knowledge management: The consultant will be expected to create an online shared folder of all documents reviewed, minutes of consultations, and the draft and final versions of all deliverables and share them with UNICEF.

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

  • An Advanced University Degree (Master’s or higher) in  Primary and / or Secondary Education / Pedagogy, Education Development, Education Policy, Social Policy, International Relations, or a related field is required.
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Education research, evaluation, and implementation and education policy is required.
  • Expert level technical knowledge about Early Childhood Development and Education, with demonstrated technical work experience in early learning provision, pedagogy, and curriculum.
  • Deep familiarity and understanding of ECCDE context and culture in developing contexts, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Strong knowledge of the Nigerian (or at least other developing countries) context and understanding of international development issues, including the status of the humanitarian-development nexus nationally and at the state level in Nigeria, particularly as it relates to education for girls and marginalized populations.
  • Fluency in English is required.

Other Skills and Attributes:

  • Working in or as a direct consultant for UN organizations is considered an asset
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English, with experience translating evidence for and communicating with a broad range of actors (including the government) on sensitive issues
  • Ability to present ideas concisely for diverse audiences and to give practical, actionable advice grounded in evidence

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

Application Closing Date
8th May, 2023 (W. Central Africa Standard Time).

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:



  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.