based, with missions to Abuja
International Consultant for the Development of Strategy on Rationalisation and Transition of Volunteer Community Mobilisers (VCNs), Home-
based, with missions to Abuja
Organization : UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
Grade : Consultancy, Consultant - Contractors Agreement
Occupational Groups :
Civil Society and Local governance
Closing Date : 2019-09-17
This vacancy is open to Non- Nigerians only.
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Background / Purpose of Assignment
It has been 36 months since the last case of wild polio virus in Nigeria, placing Nigeria on the verge of polio elimination in Nigeria.
While still combating the spread of Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus (VDPV), Nigeria is expected to be certified as a polio-free country in 2020 along with other African countries, which will also make Africa polio-
free. In partnership with Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, UNICEF has supported the Federal Government of Nigeria, as well as the state and local governments through various activities, including communication and social mobilisation efforts to make sure that the targeted communities support the polio eradication programme.
The cornerstone of polio communication and social mobilisation strategy in Nigeria is the deployment of Volunteer Community Mobilisers (VCMs).
UNICEF has helped Nigeria build a VCMs network consisting of community-based (mostly female) volunteers. Selected from their respective settlements, VCMs have been trained to work as change agents in the community and are responsible for house-
to-house mobilisation for polio, routine immunisation and other child survival interventions. They identify missed children and non-
compliant parents through a community-friendly approach. They also promote antenatal care and conduct micro-census to collect data on key health indicators from the communities.
The VCMs work with the Religious Focal Persons (RFPs) who assist them with faith-based approach in dealing with the communities.
There are currently around 16,650 VCMs in 12 states (Kano, Katsina, Borno, Kaduna, Yobe, Jigawa, Sokoto, Niger, Zamfara, Bauchi, Taraba and Kebbi), across 244 Local Government Areas (LGAs), 1,730 wards and approximately 17,000 settlements.
Â Â They are supervised by Volunteer Ward Supervisors (VWS) who report to LGA Facilitators. At the state level, there are State Leads responsible for the entire VCMs network in the state.
The entire VCM network comprising of VCMs, VWS, LGA Facilitators, and State Leads supported by UNICEF currently comprises of more than 18,500 people, serving about 4.
7 million under-five children and a total of 22 million people.
Providing support for the intense interpersonal communications fostered by the VCMs has been financially heavy. Communication and community mobilisation is one of the cost drivers in Nigeria’s polio eradication programme.
As Nigeria is becoming a polio-free country, the polio eradication programme and funding for Nigeria is expected to be reduced in coming years which is already endorsed.
While VCM’s role in polio eradication is well recognised and their potential to help address other primary health issues in Nigeria should continue to be realised, a balancing act is expected while funding will become a major issue.
Â Therefore, UNICEF needs to develop a strategy to rationalise and transition the VCMs infrastructure by maintaining its core functions so that they will be more sustainable in the long term.
At the same time, the Government of Nigeria through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has embarked on a programme to deploy Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services (CHIPS) nationally.
CHIPSâ€™ goal is to help achieve SDG 3, reducing maternal, infant and child morbidity and mortality by creating demand for and improving access to essential primary healthcare services.
CHIPSâ€™ objectives are the following :
CHIPS will harmonize all existing community level service structures including the VCMs, Village Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants into a more coordinated approach, which will promote efficiency.
The government has acknowledged the role of the VCMs in the polio eradication programme and will welcome the VCMs to apply to become CHIPS agents, given that they meet the recruitment criteria.
Priority will be given to VCM supervisors, known as Volunteer Ward Supervisors (VWS), to transition to become Community Engagement Focal Persons (CEFPs) under CHIPS programme.
CHIPS programme represents an opportunity into which the VCM Network could transition, post-polio.Â
Considering all the above, there is an urgent need for a strategy that can outline a roadmap through which the VCMâ€™s network can be rationalised and transitioned.
The strategy will include but not limited to :
This strategy will guide UNICEF and its partners to implement rationalisation and transition of VCMs in a systematic, gradual, and appropriate manners while at the same time maintaining essential polio functions to sustain the gains of the program, as well as support for other health priorities outside of polio that have been sustained through the polio infrastructure.
Â For this purpose, UNICEF Nigeria is seeking services of an international consultant to provide technical support to develop the strategy on rationalisation and transition of VCMs network.
Major Tasks to be accomplished :
Qualifications or specialized knowledge / experience required :
Basic competencies include :
The consultancy is for a total of 88 working days during a five-month period.
Applicants should quote an all inclusive fee in their cover letter.
UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.