About UNICEF: Employment

Consultancy opportunity for Costing consultant for OVC, UNICEF New York Headquarters

Over the last few decades, progress has been made in scaling up responses for children affected by AIDS.  Considerable AIDS funding has gone into support prevention of mother-to-child transmission and providing treatment for pediatric AIDS.  Progress is also being made in preventing infection in adolescents and young people and the protection, care and support for children affected by HIV/AIDS.

29 out of 35 Sub-Saharan African countries currently have a national plan of action that either focuses explicitly on orphans or is inclusive of all children. However, there are concerns that national plans of action have not necessarily led to increase in domestic expenditure on OVC.  Resource allocation by national governments to support their implementation has been very limited with only 4% of countries noting that the resources allocated are sufficient and only 42% of countries expressed positive sentiments relating to their government’s commitment to take action on OVC. Concerns have also been raised about costing of the national plans -  whilst over 92% of national action plans include estimates of costs, it is acknowledged that a majority of these plans are unrealistically high,  limiting their utility as tools for resource mobilization and government budget allocation. (OPPEI 2007).

A number of methodologies have been developed to cost the overall national response for OVC, which are needed to raise domestic and external funding for National Plans of Action (NPAs) for OVC, and help development partners prioritize interventions. The Futures Group, led by John Stover have been supporting most of the country level work. More recently, however, UNICEF commissioned the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to develop an “Improved Orphans and Vulnerable Children Costing Model”.  This model aimed at providing up-to-date, country-specific estimates of the cost of providing OVC with a set of essential services, including the costs of using different delivery mechanisms to reflect varied national, community- and family-based approaches. OVCost calculates global resource needs to be significantly higher than those estimated by UNAIDS.  Part of this is due to differing target and services definitions and the reporting of full rather than marginal costs.  UNICEF is presently supporting LSHTM to undertake some additional analysis to account for the differences in the approaches.

More generally there are growing concerns about the way in which costing exercises are undertaken -  particularly how they are developed in a top-down fashion possibly based on unrealistic assumptions rather than being developed from the bottom up using real programmatic costing information.  Some preliminary costing analysis has been undertaken by USAID of OVC interventions revealing massive differences in unit costs and the need to come up with more realistic cost estimates of different interventions from which to develop better national estimates.

Also, with increasing concern about flat lining and possible reductions in future AIDS funding, there is greater growing interest amongst development partners about the need to ensure cost-effectiveness of different OVC interventions which requires both the importance of (1) documentation of  the costs of OVC programme implementation; (2) identifying the specific outcomes that programmes are designed to improve upon (measures or indicators of child wellbeing); and (3) measuring the impacts of the programmes in terms of outcomes achieved by delivering the OVC programme services.  Substantially more and better information is needed on programme activities, number and characteristics of OVC served, programme costs, intended programme outcomes, and estimated impacts.

The growing interest in social protection, including cash transfers for AIDS affected households has also raised some doubts about national costing methodologies and cost-effectiveness of different OVC interventions. It is important to ensure that national costing models take into account the growing role of AIDS and child sensitive social protection and the role of both civil society and government agencies in delivering care, protection and support for children.

Scope of work
A consultant is required to undertake the following tasks:
1. In consultation with UNICEF regional and country, conduct  a literature review to identify and document the existing OVC costing models highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches, ensuring lessons are learnt from recent PMTCT costing exercise.
2. Support UNICEF OVC Adviser and UNICEF Monitoring and Evaluation specialists in strengthening partnerships with OVC costing specialists (Boston University, LHSTM, USAID, UNAIDS). Advise on how models can  be adapted to provided realistic estimates of national costing needs.
3. In collaboration with HQ and regional offices, assess the demand for OVC costing expertise from UNICEF country offices and identify ways to meet longer term TA needs.
4. Support a small number of OVC national level costing to test/refine costing approaches to inform global best practice in this area.
5. Identify a number of countries interested in cost effectiveness and cost-outcome work and support them developing tools to assess in country costing exercises.
6. Advise OVC senior adviser on how UNICEF’s work on care, protection and support of OVC can become more sustainable and cost-effective.
7. Identify potential institutions to provide long term technical support to country and regional offices in the area of costing.
8. Support UNAIDS’s costing work on the global OVC response, taking into account growing emphasis on social protection responses.
9. Work with the World Bank ASAP to ensure that OVC costing results methodologies are integrated into  national AIDS plans budgets.

Consultancy Deliverables
1. Report of conclusions and recommendations of the Boston University costing meeting
2. Completed situational analysis of national level costing work
3. Recommendations to UNICEF on strengths and weaknesses of various costing models and how best to proceed.
4. Updated costing approach/model developed with other OVC cost specialists
5. Terms of reference for institutions to provide national level costing work
6. Report on how to develop more robust estimates of global OVC costs
7. Visit reports from at one or two countries involved in national level costing work with clear recommendations on how cost – models can be adapted.

Qualifications and Professional Experience Requirements
• Public health specialist, social scientist or economist with at least 5 years of  experience in national and international qualitative and quantitative research methods
• Experience  developing and analysing national costing models
• Experience working at the  country level on developing cost-effective tools  data collection and  cost- outcome analysis
• Good understanding of HIV/AIDS including work on orphans and vulnerable children
• Good written and verbal communication.

The consultant will report to the Senior Adviser, Children affected by HIV and AIDS based in New York HQ. 

The consultant will be employed for approximately 90 days from signature of contract.

Application Procedures
Interested applicants are requested to submit their CVs and a U.N. Personal History Form (P11) which can be downloaded from http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/index_53129.html as well as a cover letter indicating how they fulfill the requirements of the consultancy to ryates@unicef.org by 4 June 2010.




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