Home-Based Senior Consultant | Operational Review: Social Protection and Humanitarian Cash Transfer Responses to the Ukraine War (within Ukraine and Regional Response) - ECARO, Geneva, Switzerland

Fonds des Nations Unies pour l'enfance (UNICEF)

  • Date de publication:

    10 août 2022
  • Taux d'activité:

  • Type de contrat:

    Durée indéterminée

Home-Based Senior Consultant | Operational Review: Social Protection and Humanitarian Cash Transfer Responses to the Ukraine War (within Ukraine and Regional Response) - ECARO, Geneva, Switzerland

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, safety


The war in Ukraine that started on 24 February 2022 is having a significant impact on the lives of children and their families. As of 18 July 2022, intense fighting continues in the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine and strikes throughout the country continue to cause widespread damage. There has been extensive displacement of children and families, exposing children to harm and significantly undercutting economic opportunities for their families, contributing to an estimated additional 1.85 million children in Ukraine falling into poverty.

According to UNHCR, as of 21 June 2022, more than 8 million people have fled their homes and crossed into neighbouring countries (over 3 million to Poland, over 924,000 to Romania, over 464,000 to Republic of Moldova, over 426,000 to Slovakia and over 231,000 to Bulgaria ). Over 2 million refugees are children (many separated or unaccompanied), of which an estimated 600,000 are under the age of 5 years.

As part of the response to the war both within and outside of Ukraine, UNICEF has implemented social protection (SP) and humanitarian cash transfer (HCT) responses at scale. As of 20 July, a total of 179,531 individuals (110,718 children) living in 37,643 households had been reached with a humanitarian cash response inside Ukraine, out of a total expected caseload of 260,000 households. In the two refugee-receiving countries where UNICEF is providing parallel humanitarian cash responses, Moldova and Slovakia, over 35,000 households have been reached to date with at least two payments. In Poland, UNICEF is supporting a social protection response through national and subnational government systems.

In the response to date, UNICEF has relied on different social protection approaches in different contexts – from limited to no engagement in SP/HCTs, to technical assistance to governments, to implementation through government systems, to HCTs provided either through direct implementation, NGOs, or piggybacking on partner responses. Human resources across the organization have been leveraged in support of the response, with extensive reliance on the HQ humanitarian cash team inside Ukraine in particular, and multiple rounds of surge and consultancy support. The breadth and diversity of the social protection and humanitarian cash responses allow for important lessons on organizational capacity to respond at scale to multiple crises (or multiple countries experiencing the same crisis), as well as an understanding of how the decision on whether and how to respond using social protection is made in the weeks leading up to a crisis and in the midst of a crisis.

The Operational Review, otherwise known as an After-Action Review (AAR), is a quick reflective exercise for team-based learning during a project or ongoing initiative, in order to improve results in the current project. It enables the individuals involved to learn for themselves what happens, why it happened, what went well, what needs improvement and what lessons can be learned from the experience. As the response to the Ukraine crisis enters its second semester, the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, together with HQ and the country offices engaged in the response, is initiating an Operational Review to reflect on the social protection and humanitarian cash transfer responses and inform the next phase of response. This concept note further outlines the proposed approach and the rationale for the Operational Review.

Purpose of the assignment

The primary objectives of the Operational Review are to:

(i) assess the rationale, timeliness, and effectiveness of the social protection and humanitarian cash responses deployed by UNICEF in response to the Ukraine war, both within Ukraine and within refugee receiving countries, including their alignment to the CCCs;

(ii) critically assess our preparedness to implement a social protection and humanitarian cash transfer (HCT) response at scale, including through a review of our staffing structure and tools;

(iii) identify gaps in capacity or programmatic approaches and course corrections for the remainder of the year and beyond for the social protection and HCT response to the Ukraine war;

(iv) provide actionable, budgeted recommendations for the regional office, HQ, and country offices to further enhance our capacity to response at scale through SP and HCT systems; and

(v) contribute to wider organizational learning, development, and staffing/human resource implications on leveraging social protection and humanitarian cash responses to crises.

Scope of Work

The review will focus on UNICEF’s social protection (including humanitarian cash) approaches to the Ukraine war, with particular attention to responses in Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Of these countries, two are not directly supporting SP/HCT but are focused on systems strengthening (Bulgaria, Romania), one is providing cash transfers through government systems (Poland), one is providing cash through a piggybacking arrangement with a partner (Moldova), and two are directly providing transfers through UNICEF systems (Slovakia, Ukraine). This diversity of approaches allows for a comprehensive review of the rationale behind various response modalities.

The review will focus on the first six months - from the start of the war on 24 February to 24 August.

Key Review Questions

The key review questions are:

  • What worked well?

  • What didn’t work well?

  • How can we improve?

Specific questions are proposed to include:

Operational Review overarching questions
Criteria and detailed questions for the Operational Review

• What did we intend (or plan) to do?

• To what extent has UNICEF’s within Ukraine and regional refugee response been appropriate to the needs of the war affected children within Ukraine and in neighboring countries, and proved able to adapt to changing contexts and needs?
• How, if at all, did the response build on or stem from the existing capacity of social protection systems within the target countries?
• What drove the design of the SP/HCT response?
• How was the operational context of the crisis, including the role of national and subnational governments and other UN agencies or humanitarian partners, taken into account?

• To what extent has UNICEF been able to identify, target and reach the most disadvantaged or marginalized populations?
• To what extent did the response reach children in the most impacted geographical areas?

Internal Coherence
• To what extent were the decision-making processes on whether and how to implement social protection and HCT responses coherent across the response countries?
• To what extent were the various offices (COs, RO, HQ) able to rely on one another for learning, experience sharing, or shared staffing arrangements?
• To what extent did the responses align with or consider the CCCs?

External Coherence
• To what extent were UNICEF’s social protection and HCT interventions consistent with government, UN, donor (including EU) and other actors’ policies, priorities and interventions?
• To what did the UNICEF response build or reinforce government responses or government preparedness for future responses via national social protection systems?
• How, if at all, have UNICEF-supported programmes taken into account uncertainty and incorporated preparedness planning?

• What actually happened?
• To what extent are the expected results being achieved in the UNICEF response, and what have been the factors that have enabled or hindered this?
• How, if at all, were course corrections made during implementation in response to changes in the operating environment, technical needs, or programme learnings?
• What was UNICEF’s role in the specific design of social protection and/or HCT responses in each country – e.g., target populations, benefit levels, etc.?

• What went well, what could be improved, and why?

• To what extent did UNICEF’s funding requests for SP/HCTs align with the scale of needs on the ground?
• To what extent was funding received aligned to the scale and nature of needs on the ground?
• To what extent was UNICEF funding disbursed against identified SP/HCT needs?
• How swiftly were capacities (such as HR/surge) provided to address strategic and operational needs?
• Was UNICEF able to identify the right operational profiles for design and implementation of humanitarian cash responses (including e.g. identification of financial service providers, design of HPDs, etc.)?
• To what extent did planning figures and indicators align with programme design and reach?
• Were the approaches identified the most cost efficient? How much did cost efficiency play a role in the selection of approaches?

• Are there countries or areas where UNICEF has added particular value to the social protection/HCT response? What were the internal and external factors driving that success?
• Has the intervention contributed to gain political and operational space on SP/HCT interventions in the participating countries? In ECAR/HIC contexts more broadly? Is UNICEF considered a partner of choice on SP/HCT in these contexts? Why and to which extent?
• Was UNICEF able to leverage the appropriate resources – human, financial, operational – to support the response in a timely manner and without undue strain on overall organizational resources?
• Was the appropriate balance of programmatic and operational skills to design and implement programmes achieved?
• What are the intended results of the SP/HCT response, including in the next phase?

• To what extent did/is the UNICEF response meeting the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable children?
• For future large scale/multi-country simultaneous emergency responses, what if any changes would be necessary to enable UNICEF to response at scale?


The review is to be carried out through: a desk review; key informant interviews (KIIs); an Operational Review workshop; analysis and synthesis of these inputs; and presentation of a final report including recommendations.

Desk Review

The first step will be to conduct a rapid review of relevant documents including but not limited to: relevant UNICEF policies and guidance, including the CCCs related to social protection; the HAC and RRP; strategy notes; situation reports; and handover notes and exit reports from deployed staff.

Background literature and materials as well as key information sources will be provided upon commencement of the contract.

Key informant interviews

Interviews with at least one key informant from each response country, in addition to regional and HQ staff, will be held in advance of the Operational Review workshop, in order to further focus the review and anticipate key questions and concerns. During these introductory sessions, the focus will be on reflecting back on the decision making on the type of SP/HCT response to use (or the decision not to use one). This will lead to country level documentation of key events, decisions, and actions taken, which will be shared with all participants in advance of the workshop. These and other lessons will be captured in advance in a report that outlines the main issues and agenda points identified.

Suggested contact persons and contact details will be provided upon commencement of the contract.

Operational Review (OR) workshop

The Operational Review will be conducted during a one-day workshop combining in person and remote participation. If this is not feasible due to conflicting schedules or time zones, two half day workshops in the afternoon can be held instead. The workshop will be fully interactive and involve relevant colleagues from COs, HQ, and RO who were engaged in the response.

Ethical Considerations

All UNICEF research should be carried out in line with UNICEF’s Guidance on Ethical Research https://www.unicef-irc.org/research/ethical-research-for-children/. Where appropriate, informants should be assured confidentiality. The proposal must include a section identifying anticipated or actual ethical issues throughout the process as well as the measures and methods anticipated or adopted to address or mitigate against these issues.

Work Assignment Overview

The Operational Review will be conducted by a two-part team, led by a Senior Consultant with primary responsibility for data collection and conclusions, including report writing, and supported by a Junior Consultant with primary responsibility for management and facilitation of the in-person Operational Review workshop.

The Senior Consultant will review all existing documentation; schedule and manage interviews; provide qualitative and quantitative data analysis findings; and recommendations to the required standards. The Senior Consultant will also be responsible for active participation and thought leadership in the Operational Review workshop.

Throughout the review process, the Senior Consultant will be responsible for ensuring the quality of the information collected as well as ensuring that all data collection activities are in compliance with the UNICEF procedures and standards.

The Senior Consultant will be responsible for ensuring that key informant interviews and particularly the Operational Review workshop are properly documented, though noting that the Junior Consultant will be responsible for translation, documentation and note-taking during the workshop.

Tasks / Milestone
Deliverables / Outputs
Timeline / Deadline

Desk review

Preparation of schedule of key informant interviews

Inception report including:
Schedule of KIIs

Questions for KIIs

Draft table of contents for the Final Report

3 working days;

by 7 September 2022

Undertake KIIs
Email update of progress

10 working days;

28 September 2022

Participate in workshop

Completion of KIIs

Email update of progress

2 working days;

by 8 September 2022

Analysis and synthesis of information

Preparation of final report

Presentation of recommendations through email, and/or meetings

Final report of up to 15 pages including:
• An Executive Summary up to 4 pages
• A text report with clearly presented strategic and operational recommendations
• Annexes with documentation of both workshops and key informant interviews

A brief power point presentation of the key recommendations.

10 working days;

by 15 October 2022

Estimated Duration of the Contract

25 working days (between September and October 2022)

Consultant’s Work Place and Official Travel

The Consultant will be home-based.

Estimated Cost of the Consultancy & Payment Schedule

Payment will be made on submission of an invoice and satisfactory completion of the above-mentioned deliverables. Please indicate a daily fee based on 25 working days to undertake this assignment. 

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

  • Master's degree in evaluation, social policy or a related field. A combination of relevant academic background and relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree

  • At least eight years’ experience in evaluation, including experience of evaluating social protection programmes and familiarity with UNICEF and the UN system

  • Experience leading Operational Reviews/After Action Reviews, ideally of social protection programming

  • Previous solid experience of designing and leading Theory-Based Evaluation designs and documented professional experience in conducting rigorous independent evaluations that meet professional evaluation standards

  • Previous work experience in ECA region is a bonus

  • Understanding of the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action and their relation to UNICEF work is a bonus

  • Familiarity with UNICEF’s social protection and humanitarian cash programming is a strong advantage

  • Ability to produce content for high standard deliverables in English

  • Sensitivity towards ethics with regards to human and child rights issues, different cultures, local customs, religious beliefs and practices, personal interaction and gender roles, disability, age and ethnicityFamiliarity with UNICEF’s social protection and humanitarian cash programming is a strong advantage

  • Ability to produce content for high standard deliverables in English

  • Sensitivity towards ethics with regards to human and child rights issues, different cultures, local customs, religious beliefs and practices, personal interaction and gender roles, disability, age and ethnicity

  • Fluency in English is required; other languages of regional relevance are a plus

For every Child, you demonstrate...

UNICEF’s core values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA), and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

View our competency framework at http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/UNICEF_Competencies.pdf

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.


Please include a full CV and Financial Proposal in your application by indicating your availability and daily rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without a daily rate will not be considered. 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 offers reasonable accommodation for consultants 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.