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Individual Consultant (Lead) Advocacy Expert on Pre-schooling in Sub-Saharan Africa


Parent Sector : Education Sector (ED)

Duty Station: Dakar

Job Family: Education

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : From 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 28-FEB-2021


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism



While the West and Central Africa (WCA) region has made significant progress in expanding pre-school provision for 3-5 year olds from less than 10% in the early 2000s to 30% in 2018, the sub-sector still faces many challenges. Coverage is well below the global average (44%) and the region is still far from guaranteeing universal access to pre-school education. Furthermore, the sub-sector is characterized by strong socio-economic and geographical inequalities at national and regional level.

The pre-school education sector is often excluded from the sectoral planning process or considered as a non-priority, leading to a low allocation of the funding needed for the development of this sector. Existing services require interventions in terms of professionalization of human resources (qualified and trained teachers); strengthening of basic standards within the pre-school curriculum, and an efficient monitoring and evaluation system. Finally, the precarious progress made in recent decades has been seriously undermined by conflicts and the COVID19 pandemic, which have forced the countries of the region to close schools and pre-primary education centres.

Long Description


In this context, the Early Childhood Development and the Teaching and Learning Task Teams (TALENT) of the Regional Coordination Group on SDG4 in West and Central Africa (RCG4-WCA) aim to collaborate in a joint initiative to sensitize policy makers and other education stakeholders on the issue of early childhood care and education in West and Central Africa. The 2 groups, under the leadership of CONFEMEN, UNESCO and UNICEF seek to join their efforts to :

  • Take stock of the current situation in the pre-school sector in the West and Central Africa region (The situation analysis should focus on the analysis of public financing models in the region, including the following issues: (a) the level of financing; (b) equity in the distribution of ECCE financing; (c) efficiency in the use of pre-primary education resources);
  • Identify the main levers of action and key recommendations to the actors of the education sector in the WCA region to promote the development of pre-school education, develop ambitious and robust strategies in sector plans, increase investments in this sub-sector and strengthen existing systems in the countries;
  • Mobilize financial and technical resources and identify opportunities for public/private/community partnerships to mobilize or leverage resources for pre-school education.

Long Description


To achieve these objectives, TALENT and the Early Childhood Task teams wish to recruit a lead consultant to accomplish the following tasks:

  • Conduct a literature review of available data and information on the preschool and the primary entry sub-sector in the WCA region, including regional and national evidence on the added value of preschool in primary learning;
  • Conduct an analysis of the pre-school situation in the WCA region (in terms of access, equity, curriculum, evaluation, teacher training and working conditions, parental involvement, financing, government leadership and governance, etc.) and clearly identify links with planned or underway reforms in the countries and at the global level;

Long Description

  • Develop key recommendations for strengthening the early childhood sub-sector in education sector plans and to achieve the targets set in the national plans on the basis of data, current policies and the challenges to overcome with regard to the level of attainment of indicator 4.2 of the SDG4 and other relevant indicators (4.1 and 4.c in particular);
  • Identify policy actions to generate resources for pre-school and examine options for allocating resources within the budgets allocated as appropriate to pre-school in order to identify actions that will allow a more equitable and efficient use of these resources;
  • Develop and finalize the advocacy brief, including 2 country case studies, taking into account stakeholders’ comments and contributions;
  • Draft a roadmap for dissemination and advocacy.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Accountability (C)
Communication (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.


  • Master degree in education, development studies, economics, statistics or a related field;
  • At least 7 years of relevant professional experience in the analysis of education data in sub-Saharan Africa or another region;
  • Proven record of publication of articles on education systems and pre-school teaching ;
  • Ability to work with quantitative and qualitative data, analyze institutional and scientific research documents and synthesize information ;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Ability to pay attention to details;
  • Languages: Excellent knowledge of English or French. Working knowledge and ability to read technical documents in the other language is required.


  • Ph.D in education, development studies, economics, statistics or a related field;
  • Previous experience in a United Nations agency is an asset.


Please attach a technical (no more than 8000 characters, including a tentative schedule) and financial proposal to your online application and send your CV, technical and financial proposal by email to talent@education2030-africa.org and d.ruscelli@unesco.org. The deadline for applications is 28 February 2021 (midnight Dakar time/UTC). Please note that only short-listed applicants will be contacted.


This home-based consultancy is planned for a period of 4 months, with possible travel to Dakar (Senegal) or one of the countries in the region (depending on COVID19-related travel restrictions).


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States (last update here) are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

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