Home-based in Italy: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist (110 working days; with travel as needed) – Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECARO)

  • Contract
  • Rome
  • Posted 1 month ago

UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund

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UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECARO) is looking for a qualified Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist to support the Project Manager of the TSI project with technical expertise and advice on Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) for vulnerable youth throughout all project phases, and in particular in the project research phase, in the technical consultations, as well as in the identification of best practices, modelling, capacity building, and knowledge dissemination for better MHPSS service provision for adolescents.

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, dedication.

 

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Purpose of Activity/Assignment

The purpose of this consultancy is to support the Project Manager of the TSI project with technical expertise and advice on Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) for vulnerable youth throughout all project phases, and in particular in the project research phase, in the technical consultations, as well as in the identification of best practices, modelling, capacity building, and knowledge dissemination for better MHPSS service provision for adolescents.

The consultant will report to the Regional Health Adviser, and closely with UNICEF CP and ADAP teams, in close coordination with the TSI Project Manager as well as with the Project Advisory Group and the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) to develop, quality assure and finalize guidance, tools, and capacity building plan for harmonized approach to MHPSS. The consultant will work closely with the national stakeholders and beneficiary authorities of the TSI project (i.e. Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and PROMIS Programma Mattone Internazionale Salute).

Background

UNICEF mandate is to ensure that children’s life, wellbeing, and rights are protected and supported. UNICEF works worldwide to strengthen institutional and governmental systems protecting children and adolescents, promoting their rights, and supporting their development in a safe and conducive environment. UNICEF promotes community-based actions and programming to empower families and communities in attaining their needs fulfilled and caring for the most vulnerable groups. In a great variety of settings, from war-torn countries to disaster-affected areas, from low- to middle- and high-income countries, UNICEF commitment is to ensure that special attention is given to the most vulnerable children and adolescents so that their fullest potential can be achieved.

Protecting children and fostering their psychosocial wellbeing entails multiple actions that UNICEF carries out together with governmental counterparts, relevant institutions, and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). In Italy, UNICEF work focuses on tailored programmes addressing the needs of the most disadvantaged children and adolescents, including migrant and refugee children and youth inside and outside the reception system, alternative and foster care for separated and unaccompanied children, including those of migrant background, children, and adolescents exposed to protection risks and/or developing psychosocial distress, or whose mental health and psychosocial wellbeing is undermined.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) is an institutional priority for the UN and for UNICEF and is critical for the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The UNICEF Strategic Plan 2022-2025 identifies MHPSS as a priority area, building upon existing programming through child protection, education, and health, shaped by actions and standards set out in the Child Protection Minimum Standards (CPMS), Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs) and the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies.

In Italy an outposted team from UNICEF ECARO Regional Office is operational since 2016 to respond to the needs of migrant and refugee children, providing technical assistance to national authorities and civil societies and direct services when needed. Between 2020 and 2023, UNICEF supported Italian Authorities in piloting the third phase of the European Child Guarantee, an initiative to contrast social exclusion and child poverty with specific focus on most at risk groups of children. A dedicated national action plan has been developed and children with mental health issues has been recognized as one of the most exposed groups and dedicated actions have been included to address their needs. Within this framework, UNICEF will be providing technical support in the implementation of a Technical Support Instrument (TSI) funded by the Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) of the European Commission, which promotes the European Union’s economic, social, and territorial cohesion by supporting Member States’ efforts to implement reforms.

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies have requested support from the European Commission under Regulation (EU) 2021/240 establishing a Technical Support Instrument (TSI), which will be provided as a part of the multi-country project with Italy participating alongside Andalusia (Spain), Cyprus, and Slovenia. All projects have a common aim to improve the provision of mental health and psychosocial support to adolescents and young people. In Italy, support will be provided to improve the integration of preventive, promotive and curative mental health services provided by different line ministries and targeting adolescents (10–19-year-old), with a special attention to the most vulnerable groups, in accordance with the recommendations of the EU mental health communication, and with the purpose of developing better integration of health, education and social services. Additionally, it will aim at promoting young people’s participation in awareness raising and decision making.

The project will have four main components and outputs:

  • A project inception and research phase focused on the analysis of the state of play of the cooperation of stakeholders providing MHPSS support for children and adolescents and recommendations for enhanced cross-sectoral collaboration with youth participation.
  • The proposal and testing at district level of specific recommendations for the implementation of an integrated model for mental health and psychosocial support provision to adolescents.
  • Development of recommendations for the regional and national level to support the implementation of the proposed model for MHPSS service provision to adolescents in districts.
  • Communication, consultation, and dissemination activities.

Key Tasks and Responsibilities

I. Technical Support

  • Provide technical advice, quality assurance and support in delivering of a desk review and a multi-regional assessment on the level of integration of systems providing mental health and psychosocial support for children and adolescents and recommendations for enhanced cross-sectoral collaboration.
  • Provide technical support on the development of recommendations for the integrated delivery of mental health and psychosocial support service provision for adolescents working closely with the beneficiary authorities at national, regional, and local level.
  • Provide technical support in consultations with experts and practitioners to identify good practices, success factors and transferability requirements to be tested in three Health and Social Districts in three regions, support the testing of such practices and the development of a final report that captures their replicability, recommendations for monitoring and evaluation, as well as data and lessons learnt from the pilot phase.
  • Provide technical support on adolescent mental health and psycho-social wellbeing and ensure standards and practices are reflected including through participatory approaches for effective youth engagement working in coordination with the ADAP team/YAB.
  • Support technical review of campaigns contents as part of the communication and dissemination plan and project documentation, under the guidance of the Project Manager, including review of programme briefs, best practices, and fact sheets, in collaboration with colleagues from UNICEF, local authorities, beneficiary authorities and donor institutions.
  • Identify current programmed initiatives that can be leveraged to implement the recommendations from this project. Advise on modalities to interface the results of the project with existing institutional processes.

II. MHPSS Capacity Development

  • Support institutional capacity building by contributing to the identification of recommendations at the regional and national level to support the integration of MHPSS services based on the recommendations generated during the trial.
  • Advocate for and support the development of coordination mechanisms, harmonized procedures and referral pathways across the health, social and education services.
  • Supports UNICEF to report progress on implementation, flag bottlenecks and propose solutions for corrective course of action, document lessons learned, as part of the TSI project commitments with DG Reform/donor institution.

Work Assignment Overview

Tasks / Milestone Deliverables / Outputs Timeline / Deadline
Provide MHPSS technical support in the desk review, regional assessment, trial in districts, recommendations development. Contribute to the methodology and reports for the desk review and regional assessment by providing technical expertise and ensuring the quality assurance.

15 working days;

Between May and September 2024

Contribute to the methodology and implementation of the trial in three districts by providing technical expertise and ensuring the quality assurance.

30 working days;

Between October 2024 and June 2025

Contribute to the report/slides from the trial in three districts by providing technical expertise and ensuring the quality assurance.

10 working days;

Between July and August 2025

Organize and co-run a workshop to validate results of the pilot and to deliver and co-facilitate for national ministerial authorities, regional authorities and district authorities on improving integration of MHPSS services based on results of the trial.

20 working days;

Between September and October 2025

Contribute to the final summary brief/slides and recommendations to improve integration of MHPSS for sub-national and national authorities and service providers by providing technical expertise and ensuring quality assurance

10 working days;

Between November and December 2025

Provide technical support and quality assurance of communication and knowledge sharing products. Technical review of knowledge sharing products for dissemination and technical support provided in the development and review of materials and content that needs MHPSS technical oversight and quality assurance.

15 working days;

By 31 January 2026

Identify current and programmed initiatives that can be leveraged to implement the recommendations from this project. Advise on modalities to interface the results of the project with existing institutional processes. Map of existing/pipeline initiatives. Development/review of documents and strategies to implement recommendations in existing institutional processes

10 working days;

By 31 January 2026

Estimated Duration of the Contract

110 working days between May 2024 and January 2026.

Consultant’s Work Place and Official Travel

The Consultant will be home-based in Italy.

As part of this assignment, some local travels are foreseen. The consultant will arrange her/his travel as and when they take place, and related costs will be reimbursed per UNICEF travel policy.

Travel Clause

  • All UNICEF rules and regulations related to travel of Consultants apply.
  • All travels shall be undertaken only upon the prior written approval by UNICEF.
  • The consultant must be fit to travel, be in a possession of the valid UN BSAFE certificate, obligatory inoculation(s) and have a valid own travel/medical insurance and an immunization/vaccination card.

Estimated Cost of the Consultancy & Payment Schedule

Payment will be made on submission of an invoice and satisfactory completion of the above-mentioned deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs are incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines. All materials developed will remain the copyright of UNICEF and UNICEF will be free to adapt and modify them in the future.

Please submit a professional fee (in USD) based on 110 working days to undertake this assignment, without travel fees as these will be reimbursed as and when they take place.

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

Required:

  • Master’s degree in Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, Public Health, Education or related topics.
  • A minimum of eight (8) years of relevant professional work in mental health working in design, development, evaluation and implementation of MHPSS programmes for children and young people.
  • Experience in conducting assessments, developing monitoring, evaluation, and learning frameworks for MHPSS programming, developing protocols and SOPs.
  • Experience in MHPSS service provision in Italy is essential.
  • Experience working through local and national health and/or social systems, services and authorities rendering psychological support.
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills.
  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • Strong communication skills – both oral and written.
  • Fluency in Italian.
  • Good team player.
  • Minimum B2 level English.

Desired:

  • Experience in developing guidance documents, conducting capacity building and knowledge dissemination activities.
  • Demonstrated experience in developing M&E frameworks and quality assurance mechanisms related to the field of MHPSS.
  • Experience working with UN/international organizations.
  • Fluency in English.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

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

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most marginalized children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family 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 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:

Please include a full CV and Cover Letter in your application. Additionally, indicate your availability and professional fee (in USD) to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without a professional fee 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.

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