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Consultancy – National & International: Education Expert

Consultancy – National & International: Education Expert


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Sierra Leone Country Office, invites applications from interested persons for the above mentioned consultancy.

Location:  Freetown, with occasional nationwide travel if required

Duration: Six months initially with extension based on performance and needs

Start Date: Immediately


The purpose of this consultancy is to support relevant government officials to establish a procurement and supply chain system for the Education Sector with focus on the supply of textbooks and teaching learning materials in a decentralised system.


Capacity development has been consistently identified in key documents such as the Education Act (2004), the Local Government Act (2004), the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) III: An Agenda for Prosperity (2013-2018), and the Education Sector Plan (2014-2018) as one of the most critical factors for the progress of the sector towards effective programme implementation and the achievement of defined targets. In both the PRSP III and the Education Sector Plan (ESP) in particular, capacity development has been included as a specific strategic priority and goal for the education sector.

In 2010/11 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) of Sierra Leone developed the Education Sector Capacity Development Strategy that covers the short- and medium-term, outlining strategic actions to be undertaken over a period of five years.

The aim of the Education Sector Capacity Development Strategy is to enhance Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and civil society stakeholder capacity to be able to:

  1. Make evidence based policies for the education sector;
  2. Plan and deliver education services; and
  3. Ensure educational quality in ways that can identify and respond to change and drive improvement.

Its overall implementation will support the MEST and local councils to build their capacity to lead and manage improvements in the delivery of educational services through more effective decentralisation of the administration of basic education and more effective and efficient use of education resources.

UNICEF, as part of country programme and workplan agreed with the Ministry of Education Science and Technology seeks interested individual consultants to support the implementation of the Capacity Development Strategy to ensure that :

“MEST has efficient procurement systems for effective education delivery including the selection, procurement and distribution of textbooks and Teaching Learning Materials (TLM) to ensure that basic education material needs at classroom level are met and risks to transparency and accountability are mitigated (CDS-SO10:) through Technical Assistance for procurement policy and quality assurance system in the education sector.”

This is only one component of a larger programme that includes additional technical support to indirectly increase effectiveness of the learning that children experience in school through better management and leadership at all levels of the system.


One of the strategic objectives in the Capacity Development Strategy is for the selection, procurement and distribution of textbooks and TLM to be rehabilitated and reoriented to ensure that basic education materials needs are met and risks to transparency and accountability are mitigated. In Sierra Leone provision at all levels of the education sector is inadequate, leaving pupils and teachers without access to sufficient numbers of textbooks, teachers’ guides and supplies of paper, pencils, science equipment and materials, etc.

Rather than focussing on the education supply chain management only the aim of this technical cooperation is to develop broader capacity and assure quality in the following areas that will have an impact on the education specific supply chain and procurement management:

  1. Management: To effectively plan, manage, monitor, and forecast procurement and supply chain management operations with clear structures, roles, and responsibilities, including the management of contractors and sub-contractor relations
  2. Accountability: To maintain and use adequate procurement and supply chain management accountability, audit, and oversight mechanisms
  3. Policies and Procedures: To follow Ministry procurement and supply chain management requirements as well as national procurement policies and procedures
    a) Knowledge and skills: To recruit, maintain, and develop knowledge of staff to implement procurement and supply chain management operations (Central and District level)
    b) Technical expertise: To competitively and transparently solicit and select products, including curriculum relevant textbooks, and teaching learning materials to achieve the best value for money
    c) Supply processes: To effectively and securely receive, store, distribute, control and account for the inventory of products and in particular textbooks and teaching learning materials
    d) Quality Assurance: To maintain and follow necessary quality assurance and quality control procedures of supply chain cycles and procurement processes.


The consultancy will stretch over an initial period of six months with possible extension based on performance. The expert will work with the Ministry of Education and in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) and the Local Government Finance Department (LGFD), District Education Offices (DEOs) and Local Councils (LCs) representatives. Coaching and mentoring will be an important component of the delivery of this technical assistance to ensure initial implementation of the tools and long term sustainability of the system. In particular the consultant will:

  1. Review current education sector procurement system and revise tools for improved efficiency
  2. Provide training, mentoring and on the job coaching to ensure competency development of ministry of education and other parties for long term sustainability of the quality assurance system
  3. Develop and deliver a training package for the application of the quality assurance system
  4. Manage initial implementation of the new quality assurance system and monitor efficiency and effectiveness

The scope of the consultancy will cover the establishment of a system that will enable the Ministry to conduct a range of activities efficiently and effectively as per below. Appropriate inclusion and exclusion of the individual activities will be agreed between the hired firm in and the Ministry of Education during the contract inception.


Specifically, technical assistance will be required for the operationalization of an efficient and effective supply chain system for Teaching and Learning Materials including quality assurance in close collaboration with MEST, District Education Offices, Local Councils and other relevant stakeholders. Relevant activities will include:

  1. Conduct a specific risk analysis for the successful implementation of this consultancy and device contingency strategy and control measures to mitigate the risks identified (during the inception period)
  2. Develop a workplan for the consultancy which (i) defines roles and sets routines that support Ministry of Education leadership and ownership of the implementation; (ii) explores and provides strategies for the consideration of linkages, interdependencies and prioritisation of consultancy specific activities in relation to any other events occurring as part of the Capacity Development Strategy implementation; (ii) lists indicators, including key performance indicators, that support the measurement of change that is expected to take place as a result of the implementation of the strategy (during the inception period)
  3. Support in the strengthening of the forecasting, procurement planning and management tools and capacities procurement and supply chain for the Ministry of Education.
  4. Design a reliable system for the collection of data on teaching and learning materials and textbooks from schools to the central level for purpose of forecasting and distribution management.
  5. Propose and advice on a viable design of a secure reliable, cost effective and sustainable distribution system that will ensure the delivery of textbooks and teaching learning materials to schools via the local authorities.
  6. Advice and provide input and technical assistance in development of a textbook and teaching learning materials tracking and retail audit.
  7. Other relevant activities as identified at inception.


The service provider is expected to propose a detailed methodology that will meet the objectives of the consultancy based on:

  1. Relevant aspects outlined in rationale, purpose and scope of work in sections above of this TOR.

Following consultations and information gathering obtained during the consultancy inception period, processes expected to appear in the proposed methodology will include:

  1. Desk reviews of existing relevant documents and where necessary interview key stakeholders from MEST Local Councils, schools and other MDAs and Development Partners and Donors.
  2. On-task learner centred training, coaching and mentoring as appropriate.
  3. Technical input and operational management for the establishment of the new system.
  4. Establishment of the new procurement and supply chain management with the development of relevant, necessary SOPs in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
  5. Any other process deemed necessary by the consultant and the Ministry of Education and UNICEF for the successful implementation of this consultancy.


By the end of the assignment the following will be submitted:

  1. Procurement and supply chain for education sector products operationalized and ministry capacity built to manage and carry out the system
  2. Reports:

a)    Inception report outlining proposed detailed workplan for the consultancy, risk analysis and indicators

b)    Review reports including management and planning procedures and funding, procurement and distribution cycles

c)    Final consultancy report reflecting the achievement of the consultancy

d)    Any further outputs that might have been proposed in the work plan for the consultancy.


The work will be contract managed by UNICEF, the consultant will report to the Chief of Education at UNICEF.


Qualification and experience required include:

  1. Advanced qualifications in public procurement and supply chain management or public administration.
  2. At least ten (10) years professional experience and proven competence in the area of support systems, Supply Chain Management in the public sector with a good appreciation of public sector procurement for the education sector.
  3. Proven experience in developing public procurement and supply systems with focus on the education sector.
  4. Previous successful establishment of data collection, distribution tracking systems and audit of supply in the public sector.
  5. Experience in training development and training facilitation.
  6. Good analytical, negotiating, and advocacy skills.
  7. Good interpersonal, managerial & consulting skills and ability to work with diverse stakeholders including public sector, private sector and development partners.
  8. Demonstrate ability to develop and maintain effective work relationships with counterparts and have excellent analytical, written and communication skills.
  9. Proficiency in computer skills including MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  10. Ability to work independently with minimal supervision and maintain flexibility in working hours.
  11. Experience in public sector work in West Africa is an asset.


The consultant will report to UNICEF in relation to all contractual issues. Briefing meetings will be arranged as necessary and will be held either within the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology or at UNICEF.

Interested persons should send the following documents by email to srlrecruitment@unicef.org

The consultancy should be quoted on the subject line.

(a)  An application letter of no more than 1 page.

(b)  A write-up of no more than 2 pages suggesting the analytical methods they will use.

(c)  Curriculum Vitae of no more than 4 pages.

(d)  A completed UN Form P.11 found on the UNICEF website.

A detailed Terms of Reference (TOR) on the assignment can be collected at UNICEF House (security post), Central Medical Stores Compound, New England, Freetown.

The Personal History Form (P11) in MS Word format can be downloaded from our website at http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/index_53129.html. Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 31 January, 2014

UNICEF is a smoke-free environment.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.

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