Consultant(s), Cash Like Interventions At UN Children’s Fund

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Vacancy Announcement: Consultant(s) to conduct research and develop guidance on the use of “cash-like” interventions in education in emergencies and their integration with cash and voucher assistance

Section/Division/Duty Station: Education/PD/NYHQ

Duration: 100 working days between 15 August 2021 – 30 June 2022



The Global Education Cluster (GEC), co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children at the global level, plays a key role in supporting education country cluster teams and partners with technical advice, capacity development, guidance and tools development, and advocacy. In 2019, the GEC established a Cash Task Team to facilitate learning and evidence gathering and sharing among GEC members to promote the use of Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) in the education sector, where appropriate, and to provide quality assurance and technical support for all the tools and evidence pieces developed by Task Team members under the commonly developed work plan.

UNICEF and GEC have been working since 2018 to develop the evidence base on CVA for Education in Emergencies (EiE) and the way it can be integrated with other types of EiE demand- and supply-side interventions to maximize EiE outcomes for children in emergencies. This work included the GEC Synthesis and Guidelines on CVA for EiE, the UNICEF Business Case on Humanitarian Cash Transfers in EiE, the UNICEF Response Analysis Tool for Effective Decision Making on CVA for EiE Outcomes and the UNICEF Targeting Guidance for CVA for EiE.

The findings of the GEC Synthesis on CVA for EiE showed that CVA for EiE removes economic barriers to education, and thus supports access to education, leading to increased enrolment and attendance, and decreased drop-out rates. The Synthesis also highlighted that for optimal EiE outcomes, CVA for EiE needs to be delivered in an integrated manner with other EiE interventions, strengthening education services and addressing protection concerns. Among the other EiE interventions identified are “Cash-like interventions”. To address the challenges in improving access to quality education for children affected by conflict and disasters, particularly girls and the most vulnerable children, there is urgent need for new, radical and scalable solutions, which can work across the humanitarian-development nexus and effectively address education needs stemming from cyclical disasters and, increasingly, protracted crises.

Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) is an important part of this solution. Use of CVA in emergencies is growing rapidly, accounting in 2019 for nearly 18 per cent of the international humanitarian assistance, compared to only 10.6 per cent in 2016. Evidence shows CVA is an efficient and effective way to meet humanitarian needs, providing flexibility and choice to recipients, reaching vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups, and presenting opportunities to build nationally owned solutions and bridge humanitarian and longer-term development action. Under the Grand Bargain, 52 donors and aid organizations including UNICEF are committed to scaling up CVA. The use of CVA allows UNICEF to achieve better results for children and supports the achievement of broader principles including Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP), a rights-based approach, and Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs).

Unlike CVA, which are delivered to households and individuals to improve their access to education services, “cash-like interventions” are delivered by EiE actors directly to education service providers to strengthen the service provided. “Cash-like interventions” is a generic term that includes cash grants to schools, teacher incentives, transportation, training and monitoring visits daily allowances for teachers and Ministry of Education officials, cash grants to disaster risk management committees to support the development and implementation of school disaster risk reduction plans etc.

The amount of evidence on “cash-like interventions” in general is relatively limited, both in humanitarian and development contexts, and little is known on how these interventions work when delivered together with CVA. Therefore, the GEC Cash Task Team workplan includes a specific output on developing the evidence base on “cash-like interventions” in EiE.

Terms of Reference / Deliverables

Two of the most widely used and least understood “cash-like interventions” are the cash grants to schools and the teacher incentives. The use of cash grants to school is based on the recognition by education actors that schools are often in a key position to make effective decisions on some aspects of teaching and learning. In many countries, school grants provide the discretionary funds schools need to implement their own improvement plans. In emergencies, they proved to be a viable alternative to in-kind support to schools. Grants have mainly been introduced alongside policies to abolish school fees and have improved school participation rates by reducing financial burden on households due to the costs of sending their children to school. The objectives of cash grants to school can vary significantly. A review by the World Bank found that in fragile states the objective of these grants can be twofold: 1. To maintain services and 2. To encourage the government to fund their own programmes. In emergency contexts, an important question can be how to deliver cash grants to schools in a way that is connected with and / or prepares the ground for to development interventions. Another important question is the design of cash grants to schools, in particular aspects related to recipients, frequency, the use of conditionalities and transfer amount.

Teachers play a critical role in determining how much students learn, yet in many countries, they lack support, motivation and training to do their job well. Teacher absenteeism is another problem. As a result, many children worldwide are failing to master basic skills. Incentive schemes can motivate teachers by rewarding good performance, encouraging them to spend more effort in teaching and preparation, or even to show up in the classroom. Even in development contexts, evidence on the effectiveness of teacher incentives is limited due to the small number of interventions that have undergone rigorous evaluation, with findings suggesting mixed results. In humanitarian contexts, incentives are often needed to pay a teaching workforce that are not under the government payroll. While on one side incentives are a necessary measure to ensure that teachers are available to deliver education services in the short term, on the other side their sustainability is an issue, unless complementary support is integrated in the programme. Several questions must be resolved when designing teacher incentives, including what to incentivize, whom to target, and how to measure results. Developing an understanding of the optimal design and the contribution of different types of teacher incentives to EiE outcomes is needed.

The research will therefore focus on generating evidence on the use of “cash-like interventions”, in particular cash grants to schools and teacher incentives, in emergency settings. In doing so, the research will look both at practices and the contribution of this type of intervention to EiE outcomes. Additionally, within the limits of available sources, the research will examine practices and contribution to EiE outcomes of “cash-like interventions” when delivered together with CVA. Based on this research, concise guidelines will be developed for EiE practitioners. Concepts such as safe education and quality education will be clearly defined in line with the INEE Minimum Standards and guidelines and other relevant global guidance.

The scope of the research will be limited to humanitarian situations, including preparedness, acute emergency and recovery, and including as well protracted crises. In terms of types of crises covered, the research will examine conflicts and natural hazards, including displacements, sudden onset and slow onset. Data will be collected on EiE partner programmes from countries with activated clusters, ongoing refugee crises and other emergency contexts. Depending on the specific data that will be possible to collect, evidence will be disaggregated by gender, and by groups such as marginalized populations, refugees, migrants, etc.

The scope of the research can be further refined and adapted, depending on the specific resources identified by consultant(s).

The key research questions are:

  1. What are the main types of “cash-like interventions” used in education in emergencies interventions, and to which education objectives are they contributing in an emergency context?
  2. How are cash grants to schools and teacher incentives planned, implemented and managed in emergency contexts, and what is their contribution to tackling barriers to education in the short and longer term? Do they connect to similar interventions in development context, and if yes, how?
  3. What are the most frequently used and best ways to integrate cash grants to schools and teacher incentives with CVA?
  4. What is required at the receiver and delivery level to ensure an effective use of these types of interventions?
  5. What are the secondary positive contributions of these interventions with regards to school governance and teacher quality? Do these interventions have unintended negative consequences, and if yes, what are they and how can they be mitigated?

Key Deliverables:

Under the supervision of the UNICEF Education in Emergencies Specialist and with technical guidance from the GEC Cash Advisor, the consultant will be accountable for the following deliverables:

  1. Comprehensive mapping of “cash-like interventions” in EiE, covering at a minimum the 27 countries with a formally activated education cluster or working group;
  2. Research report on practices and impact of cash grants to schools and teacher incentives in EiE;
  3. A number (to be defined) of case studies on the integration of cash grants to schools and teacher incentives with CVA;
  4. Concise guidance on the use of cash grants to schools and teacher incentives, and their integration with CVA;
  5. Presentation of final deliverables to the GEC Cash Task Team and UNICEF and GEC.

Performance Indicators:

  1. Quality of the analysis and write up of the deliverables.
  2. Incorporating feedback into the report;
  3. Timeliness of submission of the deliverables


The research will be conducted by a consultant recruited and hosted by UNICEF and who will be supervised by the host organization and will be liaising and coordinating with the GEC Cash Task Team.

The research will use the following methods:

  • Secondary data review and analysis;
  • Primary data collection and analysis in a number (to be defined) countries affected by emergencies.


1) Education

  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Economics, Public Finance Management, Social or Public Policy, Development Economics, Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Science, or another relevant technical field; PhD desirable.

2) Knowledge/Expertise/Skills required:

  • At least 10 years of experience in planning, implementing and managing education programmes, with a significant number of years in education economics, public finance or a combination thereof.
  • Direct experience with “cash-like interventions” in EiE;
  • Exposure to CVA for EiE;
  • UN / UNICEF experience desirable;
  • Experience in developing documentation for technical audiences;
  • Ability to communicate effectively to diverse audiences;
  • Strong analytical and conceptual thinking;
  • Proven evidence of writing skills (to send writing samples as part of the application);
  • Ability to be flexible and work within tight deadlines;
  • Ability to work collaboratively on research;
  • Excellent verbal and written English; knowledge of a second language (French, Spanish, Arabic) desirable.


  • Completed profile in UNICEF’s e-Recruitment system and provide Personal History Form (P11) Upload copy of academic credentials
  • Financial proposal that will include:
  • your daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference
    • travel costs and daily subsistence allowance, if internationally recruited or travel is required as per TOR.
    • Any other estimated costs: visa, health insurance, and living costs as applicable.
    • Indicate your availability
  • Any emergent / unforeseen duty travel and related expenses will be covered by UNICEF.
  • At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage.
  • Payment of professional fees will be based on submission of agreed satisfactory deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant.

U.S. Visa information:

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.

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

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results. View our competency framework at: Here

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, culture, appearance, socio-economic status, ability, age, religious, and ethnic backgrounds, 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.

Advertised: 21 Jul 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Deadline: 11 Aug 2021 Eastern Daylight Time

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