Consultancy: Guideline on Adolescent Participation, ADAP Section, PD, NYHQ, Requisition #511334

Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Closing date: 16 Mar 2018

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Background & Rationale

UNICEF’s policies recognize the importance of providing opportunities for adolescents to contribute to their communities and a more just and sustainable world. Adolescent participation received a prominent focus in the new UNICEF 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. The SP defines adolescent participation as a result and as a change strategy, a “HOW”, across all its Goal Areas 1-5. Goal Areas 1 to 4 pertain to the domains of Health, Nutrition, HIV, Education, Protection, Water and Sanitation, while Goal Area 5 has a specific result and an indicator on civic engagement: “Adolescent girls and boys participate in or lead civic engagement initiatives through UNICEF supported programmes”. Adolescent participation also appears among the SP change strategies as an indicator: “% of CO routinely engaging children in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of UNICEF country programmes”.

Despite UNICEF’s long term commitment to supporting adolescent participation, it has often proved challenging to ensure governments, schools, service providers and families uphold the rights of children to express their views and have them taken seriously in areas that concern them. A major difficulty in promoting efforts which support meaningful adolescent participation is that varying interpretations are used to define different elements of participation. Terms such as participation, engagement and empowerment are used interchangeably by governments and development agencies

UNICEF along with a group of global experts, has developed a conceptual framework that seeks to define what is meant by participation, outlines the elements of meaningful participation, and identifies outcomes of participation for adolescents. Additional work is underway to further develop the outcome areas of participation in order to articulate globally-representative indicators.

While these efforts are essential at a global level and will ensure UNICEF and its partners have access to universally accepted indicators and population-level data on adolescent participation, what is required urgently for UNICEF’s day-to-day programming efforts with and for adolescents is practical guidelines on adolescent participation which include a robust Theory of Change and Results framework which captures programmatic-level indicators. This consultancy seeks to address this need. The guidelines are intended for UNICEF staff although they may ultimately serve as a reference for partners and other practitioners working on adolescent participation. They will provide country offices with conceptual clarity and tools to implement the Goal Area 5 result of the UNICEF Strategic Plan on civic engagement and help articulate how programmes across the sectors (Health, WASH, Education, etc.) in both development and humanitarian settings can improve their engagement with adolescents as critical agents of change and accountability. The Guidelines will also address partnerships that can be established with youth (> 18 years) to deliver results for children particularly for the adolescent group since youth are considered key “influencers” for adolescents.


To design programme guidelines on adolescent participation that provides UNICEF staff with conceptual clarity, actions and entry points to support adolescent participation across sectors (including civic engagement) and to strengthen organizational participatory processes with adolescents.

Scope of the document

The document will align with the Programme Guidance for the Second Decade and will refer to terms and principles defined in the Conceptual Framework for Measuring Adolescent Participation. The document will provide guidance to country offices on how to strengthen and institutionalize opportunities /spaces/structures for adolescent participation, how to support adolescent led initiatives where adolescents plan, design and implement their own initiatives and how to support adolescents in co-creating (co-designing, co-implementing, monitoring etc) policies and programme interventions relating to their lives.

  • Definitions and rationale: The document will include succinct definitions of the concepts of adolescent participation, empowerment and civic engagement and the interrelationship between them.
  • Dimensions: it will reflect a variety of contexts of adolescents lives (urban/rural, emergency/conflict, poverty/exclusion) and include a number of dimensions of inequity affecting adolescents (including but not limited to age, gender – including gender identity/sexual orientation; ethnicity, disability, migration status, economic and social status etc.) and modalities of participation.
  • A Theory of Change will articulate the process of change required to achieve meaningful adolescent participation, explain the causal links between shorter and longer-term outcomes and the minimum non-negotiable conditions and recommended conditions for effective adolescent engagement.
  • Spheres of participation– adolescent participation can take place in different spheres, each with unique conditions and outcomes including family, peers, community (including clubs), local institutions (including schools, youth and health centres, courts, religious institutions), traditional and digital media, local government/authorities and national government/authorities
  • Platforms for participation: the guidelines will describe the main communication for development platforms and how each can be used to facilitate and sustain adolescent participation.
  • Actions across sectors: The guidelines will provide entry points for adolescent participation across sectors (Education, Health, WASH, Nutrition, etc.) with the specificities that need to be taken into consideration for each of them and across the programme cycle.
  • Actions across programme cycle: a section will define and describe the steps necessary for operationalizing and sustaining adolescent participation in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of UNICEF country programmes.
  • Case studies: case studies (6-8 case studies, 200 words/case study) will be developed to enrich the guidelines and provide practical examples and good practices of adolescent participation within UNICEF and outside UNICEF work.
  • Results framework to measure adolescent participation which will include clearly articulated outcomes, outputs, inputs and indicators.
  • Sustainability and scale: how to integrate sustainability and scale in the design and implementation of adolescent participation interventions.
  • Key considerations:

    The document will align with the UNICEF Programme Guidance for the Second Decade, UNICEF Adolescent and Youth Engagement Strategic Framework, Conceptual Framework for Measuring Adolescent Participation and the Communication for Development Programme Guidance. It will build on the pieces of work already developed at the regional level on adolescent and youth participation including the toolkits developed by UNICEF MENA Regional Office. Other key documents which will provide crucial background to the guidelines will be provided including: the “Toolkit for Monitoring and Evaluating Children’s Participation”; a “Review of Adolescent Participation in UNICEF Programme Monitoring and Evaluation” (currently being developed), “UNICEF’s Guidance Note on Child Participation in Local Governance”, and the “Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action” (currently being developed) amongst others.

    The guideline should provide considerations on how to facilitate the participation of the most vulnerable adolescents characterized by among others, dimensions of gender, age (younger adolescents (10-14) as opposed to older adolescents (15-19)), ethnicity, disability status, socioeconomic group, context (e.g. urban/rural, low/middle income country, humanitarian/development settings). The guidelines should also provide links to resources and tools that can be used by country offices to support adolescent participation across different contexts.

    Expected results: (measurable results)

  • Guidelines on Adolescent Participation (maximum 40 pages, including anexes);
  • Powerpoint presentation outlining the guidelines for dissemination
  • Duty Station

    Home based with possible mission to HQ and/or one region.


    Start date: 02 April 2018End date: 31 August 2018


    (See the last page for guidance on formulating deliverables)


    (Estimated # of Days)

    Estimated Deadline

    Prepare a Workplan
    April 2

    Consult with relevant key informants, administer a survey and assess the results
    April 11

    Conduct a stocktaking exercise of existing literature
    April 25

    Prepare a summary of the stocktaking exercise, a draft Theory of Change, and an annotated outline for the guidelines
    May 4

    Feedback from the reference group

    May 25

    Revise TOC, prepare a first draft of the guidelines including a proposed list of the case studies to include in the Guidelines
    June 8

    Consult with adolescents and young people
    June 15

    Feedback from the reference group

    July 7

    Develop an advanced draft of the guidelines
    July 20

    Feedback from the reference group

    August 10

    Finalize the guidelines, the Results framework and case studies
    August 17

    Prepare ppt present to the ADAP network via webinar
    August 31


    The deliverables associated with each of the tasks mentioned above will be reviewed by the Reference group and feedback will be provided to the consultant to revise the documents accordingly.

    Key competences, technical background, and experience required

  • An advanced University Degree (Master’s) or higher in international development or related social science field with a focus on adolescents (PhD desirable)
  • A Minimum of ten years of progressively responsible professional work experience in the area of participation (focus on adolescents or youth desirable)
  • Expert knowledge of the literature pertaining to children’s (or youth) participation and/or civic engagement.
  • Experience in convening and coordinating inputs from experts across related fields of work
  • Proven track record of conducting literature reviews, developing conceptual frameworks, guidelines, results frameworks and theory of changes, and translating knowledge into practical applications
  • Strong command of English required (French or Spanish desirable)
  • Ability to work in an international environment and under tight deadlines
  • Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.


    With the exception of the US Citizens, G4 Visa and Green Card holders, should the selected candidate and his/her household members reside in the United States under a different visa, the consultant and his/her household members are required to change their visa status to G4, and the consultant’s household members (spouse) will require an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) to be able to work, even if he/she was authorized to work under the visa held prior to switching to G4.At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage

    Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

    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

    How to apply:

    UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link

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