The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children’s survival, protection and development. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.
We are recruiting to fill the vacant position below:
Job Title: C4D/Community Engagement Consultant for Routine Immunization
Vacancy No: 515375
Locations: Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto & Yobe
Background/Purpose of Assignment
- A comparison of 3rd dose pentavalent coverage trends reveals the North-west zone as having the lowest immunization coverage (14%), followed by the north east (25%) and the north central (44%), while the southern zones had coverage ranging from 61% to 64% (Figure 2).
- Not surprising, under-five mortality rates are highest in the North West followed by the North East and North Central zones respectively.
- Low immunization coverage rate is also found among the rural poor, the lowest socio economic quintiles and populations with the lowest literacy levels. Community related causes of low demand include: Poor community involvement in planning and implementation of RI services, social and cultural barriers to access (lack of knowledge about potential benefits of vaccinations), lack of accountability and a weak governance system for RI, poor service delivery, missed opportunities at health facilities and weak sustainability of planned interventions.
- Over 40% of under-five mortality in Nigeria is due to vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs).
- This is driven in large part by consistently low immunization coverage rates and weak health systems. According to the 2016/17 MICS/NICS survey report, more than 700,000 children are unimmunized and thus vulnerable to VPDs.
- Contributory to this is the low demand for immunization services and underutilization of PHC services despite demonstrable evidence of vaccine availability and implementation of fixed and outreach sessions, and numerous immunization campaigns.
- This is because of poor awareness levels, poor access and low health care-seeking behavior by community members. 42% of those surveyed in the 2016 NICS/MICS indicated a lack of awareness as a key reason for not being fully immunized.
- Though a number of supply side factors have been frequently enumerated as contributing factors, weak demand for routine immunization (RI) and poor community linkage for routine immunization are significant demand side constraints. In the MICS/NICS 2016 report, only 33% of children received all three doses of pentavalent vaccine with varied suboptimal coverage rates in all the geopolitical regions. Immunization survey results reveal low coverage, missed opportunities and high numbers of unimmunized occur more in the northern part of the country that in the south.
The Global Routine Immunization Strategies and Practices (GRISP), 2016 report endorses community involvement and strategies to reach as two of its nine transformative investments in achieving better immunization outcomes. These include:
- Strategies to reach: Investments in tailored strategies that identify under-vaccinated and unvaccinated persons and regularly provide them with the vaccines they need and
- Community involvement: Investments in the shared responsibility for immunization delivery between communities and the immunization program to reach uniformly high coverage through high demand and quality services
- Community engagement is the process by which the health system works collaboratively with host communities to improve community ownership of health and health programs in accordance with the tenets of Primary Health Care and address both supply and demand-side factors that contribute to poor programme performance and health indices in the community. In immunization, community engagement will help to address both supply and demand-side factors that contribute to under-/non-immunization in order to increase immunization coverage and reach the hardest to reach. This includes communities taking a lead in identifying, owning and resolving issues that contribute to low or stagnating immunization rates.
- Consultants are needed to lead the low-level engagement process of working with communities to promote RI, support strengthening of community platforms and systematically track processes that facilitate adoption of RI behaviours.
- The Consultants will engage all key partners at the community and household levels to ensure systematic planning and implementation of context-specific strategies for raising the demand for and acceptance of RI services.
- While several partners are doing their best to support demand creation processes, the disconnect between national/state level activities and actual engagement with influential at community level has remained a bottleneck to increasing the rates of RI.
- That is why additional support is still required to bridge technical communication/social mobilization gaps in the focus states. Key areas of focus will include full technical support at state, LGA, Community and household levels, enhancing awareness of the public on RI and aggressively promoting and strengthening demand for RI services.
- The required technical assistance will also focus on facilitating evidence based planning, partnerships, engaging the existing structures, working with traditional and religious leaders, community influencers and caregivers to improve coverage of RI. UNICEF needs to hire Communication for Development/Community Engagement Consultants in 6 MoU states to support community engagement for RI.
The C4D consultants, working with communication and social mobilization teams will undertake the following tasks:
- Produce and implement an evidence based area/audience specific communication/social mobilization/community engagement plan for routine immunization.
- Track ongoing Community Dialogue sessions and the inclusion of RI on the agenda at least quarterly
- Capacity building and sensitization of various stakeholders and key partners including communication and social mobilization committees/working groups, health education officers, Ward Development Committees (WDCs), Village Development Committees (VDCs), Volunteer Community Mobilizers (VCMs) network, media, religious leaders/groups, traditional leaders/institutions, community influencers and caregivers, etc. on mobilization activities to improve knowledge and acceptance for positive behaviors on immunization.
- Establish/strengthen partnerships to promote positive behaviors on routine immunization by working with the State and LGA Health Educators and state level social mobilization committees, closely working with Ward Development Committees (WDCs), Village Development Committees (VDCs), Traditional Leaders Committees and with State and LGA Immunization Officers (SIOs/LIOs) and other RI partners at the state/LGA level.
- Conduct and produce monthly media tracking report related to routine immunization and other immunization activities.
- Work with state teams to coordinate all enlightenment campaigns and interventions for routine immunization.
- Conduct supportive supervision visits and summarize findings of all supportive supervisory visits conducted including those conducted by the members of the VCM network, LGA Cluster Consultants (LGA CC), provide monthly updates and findings (such as trends of coverage, refusals, dropouts, left-outs etc.) and share findings with all concerned to keep all aware of the situation and support social mobilization plans to improve the situation.
- Monitor all UNICEF funded activities related to advocacy, communication and social mobilization in the duty station and ensure timely implementation and adequate utilization of funds for planned activities.
- Using the standard planning templates, develop/implement monthly workplans from the overall communication/social mobilization/community engagement plan.
- Conduct Focus Group Discussions/rapid assessments at community level to explore knowledge, attitude and practices related to routine immunization and issues adversely affecting RI coverage.
- Clearly analyse the structures, platforms and groups within implementing communities and how they interact, as a prelude to working within those structures and platforms in the implementation process
- Have consistent, continuous and planned interaction with Traditional Leaders and Religious Leaders on how to promote RI in households
- An implementation plan capturing all strategies, within one week of engagement for technical review and approval.
- Monthly work plans and reports capturing all the planned and implemented activities for the month, one week before starting the month for technical review and approval.
- Data on knowledge, attitudes and practices of communities and community-specific issues related to RI at all levels in the assigned states to support community engagement.
- Functionality of structures at different levels â€“ State Social Mobilization Committees, Ward Development Committees (WDCs), Village Development Committees (VDCs), Traditional Leaders Committee, Volunteers and other mobilization structures and partners supporting the RI programme at the respective levels.
- Monthly reports on media tracking
- Consolidated regular reports on findings on RI and other immunization supportive supervision available, including data at all levels indicating trends of coverage, refusals, dropouts, left-outs etc.
- Community is aware about childhood vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs), benefits and availability of RI and willing to avail the services and vaccination coverage of RI increased over time.
- A contingency plan for 2018 at all levels
- Contribute to improve the accountability of funds allocated for communication
- An end of contract Report
- Caregivers understand and practice positive behaviors to understand the benefits of vaccines and demand (seek, support, advocate for) immunization services as a right and responsibility of all their children
- Religious, traditional, and community leaders understand the importance of accessing health services early, fully immunizing every child and persuade caregivers to achieve full immunization for their children
- RI reports from all LGAs are available at State, Field Office and Abuja levels.
- Engagement of community leaders and institutions for improved RI firmly established in the focus states
- Functioning social mobilization committee at the state/LGA, WDCs, VDCs in place at all levels within the state
- Capacity for immunization communication/social mobilization increased.
Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:
- Minimum of Bachelor degree in Social Sciences or related technical field preferably in communications.
- At least three (3) years professional work experience in programme planning, management and monitoring, preferably in Immunization Program. Experience in social mobilization and communication for immunization programme, training and negotiation skills and team building is highly desirable.
- Fluency in English and local language of the duty station.
Basic skills include:
- Computer skills, internet navigation and various office application
- Establishing working relationships both within and outside the organization.
- Ability to conceptualize, innovate, plan and execute ideas
- Communication skills, to work closely with variety of partners, stakeholders and communities at large
- Monitoring and supervisory skills
- Analytical, negotiating, communication and advocacy skills
How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply
Application Deadline 26th August, 2018.