International consultant to support the National Agency for Social Protection in capacitating its district-based psychologists to provide basic mental health and psychosocial support

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UNICEF Global


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. 

For every child, protect!

The Government of Uzbekistan has demonstrated a strong commitment to establishing a robust social welfare system that addresses the diverse needs of children, adolescents, adults, and families. This commitment is evident in its ongoing reforms and strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the well-being of its population. A critical component of these efforts is improving access to quality mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services at community and district levels.

In June 2023, the Government established the NASP which unifies functions related to social protection and social welfare for children and families previously dispersed across six different ministries and agencies. The Agency is also mandated to coordinate child protection, enhance alternative care for children, professionalize social work, and provide MHPSS. The Agency has established so-called district-based Inson centres for social services, and recruited in each of these 204 centres two psychologists. Due to the limited availability of university-trained psychologists in Uzbekistan, most of these professionals are paraprofessionals. There is an urgent need to enhance their practical competencies to ensure evidence-based responses to various challenges, such as family dysfunction, mental health issues, consequences of violence and exploitation, and child-caregiver relations.

UNICEF, in collaboration with other partners, has developed resources on MHPSS for both development and humanitarian contexts. UNICEF is now supporting the NASP in adapting and consolidating these resources to cater to different target groups effectively. This initiative is meant to include a rapid training needs assessment, revision and adaptation of existing resources for both online and offline capacity building, training of trainers, and supervision support for local psychologists. These efforts aim to ensure that essential services are provided in Inson Centres and various community settings.

To support these efforts, UNICEF, in collaboration with the In-Service Training Centre (ISTC) under the NASP, seeks to hire an international consultant. The consultant will work closely with national partners and UNICEF to ensure the training is evidence-based and contextually relevant.

The consultant will undertake the following tasks:

Task 1. Training needs assessment
To inform curriculum development and implementation, the international consultant will develop a questionnaire to identify the educational needs of 360 psychologists from district-based Inson Centres across the country. This questionnaire will be adapted and translated into Uzbek by two national consultants hired by the ISTC under the NASP. It will then be distributed among psychologists via Google Survey or a similar platform. The international consultant, supported by the two national consultants, will consolidate and analyze the results and provide recommendations for the training curriculum.

Task 2. Curriculum Development:
The international consultant will be tasked with consolidating and adapting UNICEF-supported modules to meet the needs of trainers and practitioners. Uzbekistan, with UNICEF’s support, has accumulated, contextualized, and translated many resources for training paraprofessional social workers and psychologists, the international consultant will analyze these resources to use them most effectively in training. Any missing modules will be developed and tested during the Training of Trainers (TOT) sessions.
 
These modules include:
1. Interpersonal communication skills and competencies for interviewing and counseling children and adults.
2. Guidelines for school psychologists on adolescents’ mental health and psychosocial well-being.
3. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Children and Caregivers in Adversity Global Course: 2023.
4. Psychological First Aid.
5. Family as a system and family strengthening concept and services.
 
Additionally, the consultant will be expected to develop new modules on:
6. Counseling adults, including in crisis circumstances and using a trauma-informed approach.
7. Stress management and self-care for helpers: social workers, psychologists, and other frontline workers.
 
The deliverables will include guidance for national consultants and In-service Training Centre Staff aimed at developing an online repository with resources (guidelines, handbooks, manuals, and reading materials for practitioners), accessible to district psychologists. The international consultant will also develop a comprehensive competency-based training curriculum and a guideline for practitioners on counseling skills and interventions with adults and families. These materials will be aligned with international best practices and adapted to the local context.
 
To evaluate and measure the training’s effectiveness, the international consultant will develop and implement pre- and post-training assessment tools.
 
Task 3. Prepare and conduct the training of the trainers:
The international consultant will conduct two TOTs:
  • A 5-day Training of Trainers (TOT) session for 28 selected district psychologists to form a group of master trainers. These master trainers will subsequently train other paraprofessional psychologists under the guidance, couching and supervision of the international consultant and two national consultants.
  • A second 5-day TOT to dive deeper into the modules, strengthen trainers’ skills and present the guidelines for practitioners will be provided by the international consultant until the end of the assignment.
Task 4. Develop a guideline for practitioners on counselling skills and interventions with adults and families with children (30 pages max)
Using the example of a guideline for school psychologists, developed with the support of UNICEF, the assignment includes the development of a similar manual for practical psychologists on counseling skills in working with adults and families with children. This guide should consist of evidence-based, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing screening tools for paraprofessionals, short-term and solution-focused interventions, and techniques.
 
Task 5. Provide coaching for the trainers and national consultants
  • The international consultant will work closely with two national consultants to build their capacity as mentors and supervisors for these 28 trained psychologists and support training delivery across other districts nationwide. Support will be organized through regular coaching sessions and feedback. The international consultant will provide weekly supervision sessions (both offline and online) to the 28 trainers to address challenges and reinforce learning. The deliverables also include facilitating peer support among trainers and national consultants to enhance experience sharing and create a community of practice.

Task 6. Revise the job descriptions of the Inson Centre Psychologists

Support to the Agency and the national consultants in the revision of the existing job descriptions of district-based Inson centre psychologists, aimed at outlining specific responsibilities and aligning the job descriptions with the centres’ objectives and service delivery standards.
 
Duration and Location
The consultancy will be for a period of four months with the possibility of an extension based on performance and project needs. The consultant will work both home-based and in-country.
 
Reporting
The consultant will work closely with the In-service Training Centre of the NASP and the UNICEF Child Protection team and report on progress to the UNICEF Uzbekistan Chief of Child Protection and Director of the In-service Training Centre.

Travel to Uzbekistan is required.

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

  • Advanced degree in psychology or social work.
  • At least 8 years of experience in MHPSS, with a focus on direct practice, training and capacity building.
  • Proven experience in developing and implementing training programs for paraprofessional or community-based service providers.
  • Strong knowledge of international best practices in MHPSS.
  • Excellent communication, facilitation, and interpersonal skills.
  • Fluency in English; knowledge of Russian is an asset.

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. 

Remarks:  

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. 

Advertised: 11 Jun 2024 West Asia Standard Time
Deadline: 25 Jun 2024 West Asia Standard Time

Apply now
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