The IRC began operations in Cameroon in 2016 in response to the urgent humanitarian needs of populations affected by violence linked to Boko Haram in the Far North Region. IRC’s lifesaving programming for displaced populations have extended across all three northern regions (Far North, Mayo Sava, Mayo Tsanaga and Logone & Chari), and have focused on increasing access to water, improving hygiene practices for vulnerable displaced and host communities, using cash modalities to enable poor families meet basic needs, improving food security as well as addressing the specific needs of conflict-affected women and girls. In August 2018, IRC expanded its operations to the Southwest and Northwest regions to respond to urgent and unmet humanitarian needs of internally displaced populations brought about by the armed conflict in the NW and SW Regions.
The NW SW conflict – now in its 7th year, has led to multiple human rights violations, triggering a severe humanitarian crisis, and worsening the protection environment and wellbeing of children and youth. According to the HNO[i], 2.2 million people currently need assistance and thousands have been internally displaced (IDPs). Continued insecurity, displacement, lack of access to livelihoods, and restrictions of movements have exposed the local and displaced populations to large scale protection risks and human rights violations. Furthermore, COVID-19 has rendered the provision of assistance to affected populations even more challenging and the humanitarian response had to be constantly adapted to meet growing needs across sectors.
Recent evidence indicates that sporadic and intermittent attacks on educational infrastructure, personnel, students, as well as school closures has affected an estimated 700,000 children in the two regions. Violence and widespread insecurity, kidnappings and intimidation has forced students to flee their homes and schools in search of safer places. Although COVID-related restrictions have begun to ease, on-going conflict has forced many schools (especially in rural areas) to remain closed, including community learning spaces, except for some schools in a few urban areas which operate at less than 60% of their capacity and students attend without uniforms for fear of attacks. School closures have significantly increased the protection risks for all children and youth, exposing children to neglect, exploitation, violence, and other forms of abuse, (physical, emotional, and sexual). The closures have exposed girls to the heightened risks of early marriage, survival sex, street trading or even child labor to support their families. Outside the school protective environment, young girls are more exposed to violence and abuse of all forms. Other out-of-school children are likely to be more exposed to abuse or exploitation, and they may get involved in activities which place them at risk, including abusing substances and recruitment by armed groups. Fleeing conflict, most IDP children and youth are especially vulnerable due to lack of birth or identification documentation.
IRC Cameroon is committed to its Strategic Action Plan, which emphasizes the provision of essential humanitarian services across several sectors to enable affected populations meet their basic needs and build resilience. This includes a focus on safe access to quality formal and non-formal education and protection services within affected communities especially for women, girls, and youth. In line with SAP commitment, IRC Cameroon is planning an integrated education and child protection intervention in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. To inform strategy development (educational models to develop, and programming priorities), there is need to assess education and child protection needs in the concerned regions.
GOAL OF THE CONSULTANCY
The goal of the consultancy is to conduct a detailed assessment of conflict-related educational and protection needs of children and gaps in target sites. The assessment will inform decision making, response planning and project design to support safe access to quality learning opportunities and protection services for conflict-affected children in the SW and NW regions of Cameroon.
1. Gather qualitative and quantitative data on the barriers (including security concerns), for refugee, internally displaced, host community children to access formal school and non-formal schools.
2. Obtain/update immediate, short-term, and medium-term education needs of children affected by crises in SW and NW regions
3. Inform the decision-making process, including targeting, for an educational intervention.
4. Identify and map the main risks for refugee, internally displaced and host community children accessing formal and non-formal education (risks en route, in the community, and within schools.
5. Provide detailed recommendations for coordinated and effective response that ensures safety in schools for children (Students are safe in their schools and receive support when they experience harm).
SCOPE OF THE ASSESSMENT
Closely aligned to the above-listed objectives, the consultant will gather information on education and child protection issues arising as a direct consequence of the crisis in the SW and NW regions. This entails gathering evidence from a variety of sources: literature review, interview with relevant stakeholders, focus group discussions with adults and children (if considered safe for children and staff), and onsite observations.
Specifically, the consultant will:
· Design and develop assessment tools
· Train data collectors on the tools and methodology for the data collection
· Conduct field collection of data using relevant tools
· Analyze the assessment data collected using a pre-defined matrix
· Conduct a secondary data and literature review
· Produce a preliminary report of key findings from the assessment
· Produce a final report of the assessment for submission to IRC highlighting education/CP needs as well as a strategy for IRC to enter education sector in the NWSW.
1. Community Participation
· Map community-based structures that participate actively in prioritizing, planning, and delivering education and child protection activities (including government schools, community schools, mission and lay private schools that are acceptable to non-state armed groups).
· Map education and child protection agencies both local, international and community based which deliver education and child protection services (including their strategy and zones).
· Conduct stakeholder analysis highlighting local/national NGOs providing Education/CP services at community level.
· Identify training and capacity building needs/opportunities of community members on education and child protection.
2. Access to Education
· Indicate the actual or estimated percentage (%) of children (6 to 12, and 13 to 17 years old) in the community
· Map incidents where education or access to school was disputed due to social or political unrest in the last 12 months
· Percentage of children who don’t have civil documentation (birth certificate)
· Actual or estimated number of school-age children (boys and girls, 6-17 years) out of school (including IDP children) in the Northwest and Southwest Regions as a result of the crisis
· Provide % or # of children (6 to 12, and 13 to 17) in the community who are out of school
· Indicate proportion of displaced out-of-school children (6 to 12, and 13 to 17) in the community
· % of functional educational institutions in the SW and NW regions (primary and secondary levels)
· An exhaustive mapping of education opportunities
· A list of feedback provided by children, parents, and key stakeholders in the community on the main barriers for children to access education, and retention of children in school, (access and retention),
· List of schools who which did not receive any assistance in the past year from non-governmental or government agencies
· List essential educational support needed by these schools
· List different groups of vulnerable children (6 to 12, and 13 to 17) who do not have access to education in the 2 regions.
· Identify and map/list barriers to education systems for different groups of vulnerable children
· Listing of international actors and local skills providers and craftsmen (individuals, church institutions) in targeted sites, providing different types of education systems
· List of schools’/centers’ sanitation facilities which are adequate to the needs
· List of Schools/Centers with reliable access to clean drinking water
· Indicate whether Student materials are sufficient for learning to take place
· Indicate whether teaching materials are sufficient for teaching to take place
· Indicate needs for light rehabilitation and equipment (Classroom, sanitary blocks)
· Mapping of number of schools/or learning centers or zones that are not accessible or have critical access issues
· Document the number of schools/learning centers that have been closed because due to conflict and the number of schools/learning centers that have been attacked or occupied by armed actors (state and non-state) NW SW
· Assess main risk of children on their way to school
· Document economic activity disruption or other vulnerabilities as result of the conflict combined to COVID 19 and how they affect the capacity of caregivers to support children education needs
· List of community where the is no easy access for children to formal Education
3. Quality Education
· Indicate # and % of teacher per schools and whether other educational staff available at schools/learning centers
· Indicate teacher capacity-building needs to deliver lessons effectively
· Indicate if teachers use or are familiar with conflict-sensitive teaching (learner-centered, positive discipline etc.).
· Indicate the average student-teacher ratio
· Indicate the average number of students or pupils in classrooms
· Identify parent-teacher collaboration/structures for improved learning and activities
· Assess children’s academic performance/gaps
· Availability of teaching and learning kit /needs
· Specify material support needed by children aged 3-9, 10- 17 years old (boys and girls) to access school,
4. PSS and Wellbeing
· Estimated or actual % of children suffering from trauma (signs of psychosocial distress such as crying/shouting/insomnia/ aggressive or antisocial behavior)
· Assess presence of recreational/PSS activities in schools/learning centers
· Assess availability of specialist psychological service providers in/accessible to community
· Assess disciplinary methods used by teachers and other educational personnel
5. Other Vulnerable Categories/Persons of Concern
· Indicate proportion of children (6 to 12, and 13 to 17) who are displaced in both
· Produce an exhaustive list and categorization of the different vulnerable and at-risk children (abused exploited), including refugee, stateless, IDP, and host community children
· % Estimation of children who don’t have civil documentation (birth certificate) in the 2 regions.
6. Systems Strengthening
· Assess support to schools/centers by Education authorities
· Assess systems in place for displaced children to enroll in formal schooling
7. Safety in School
· List of available child protection services in schools and indicate whether boys and girls know how to access them
· Outline of schools where quality protection services are accessible and used by students, and where school personnel know where to refer
· Outline of schools where school personnel are aware of existing services available to them
· Mapping of committees that are active in preventing and responding to incidents of abuse, as well as other large scale protection incidents in the community (attacks on schools, flooding etc),
· Mapping of schools attacked or occupied by military and/or other armed groups, as well as schools where students experienced casualties (for boys and girls) because of the crisis.
· Mapping of safety concerns for children, caregivers, and communities, if children access school (formal and non-formal),
· Suggestions and recommendations from the community on how to mitigate safety risks
· % of schools having child protection policy or that use code of conduct to protect learners
· Feedback from the community on level of acceptance of formal and non-formal education – likelihood of children experiencing harm if accessing education
8. Cross-cutting sector
· Assess availability of trained health care providers and/or primary health care facilities to schools/centers in target areas.
· Document incidents in the past year where caregivers’ economic activities were disrupted as result of the conflict combined to COVID 19 and the impact on the capacity of caregivers to support children education needs
· Assess whether teachers have the skills to identify, respond to and refer cases of violence, abuse, exploitation, or neglect
· Assess % of children having a meal before coming to or at the learning site
· # Of sites/classrooms/facilities are taking place in temporary facilities
· Assess availability of Early Warning Plan in this communities/Schools
· Assess whether teachers, children and key community stakeholders have been trained and involved in Early warning systems planning
· Assess whether disaster risk reduction activities take place
· Assess whether teachers are linked and aware of national emergency preparedness plans or special policies in place by the government to respond to and provide education in emergencies
· Map existing risks from natural disasters
· Mapping of education activities in community that may trigger community tensions, or attacks on children/school safety
· Map curriculum used by formal schools which include content related to conflict-resolution skills, and/or peace-building orientation and values – this can include psychosocial activities implemented by schools
· Map available non-formal/accelerated literacy & numeracy curriculum in NW SW (where feasible)
· Map risks of social or political unrest
· Are existing school infrastructure and equipment (toilets, benches) gender sensitive/tailored to the needs of children with disabilities
· Mapping of government policies and plans within Education sector, and institutions and agencies education mandates in the Southwest region.
· Existing actors /interventions/strategies by other actors (National NGOs, International NGOs, Government Ministries and agencies) and Gaps in the Education Sectors.
· List of strategies by actors to reduce security and education access constraints
· Key recommendations on how best IRC can intervene in the crisis and recovery phases of the affected children (Proposed programming priorities in the visited sites)
The Interagency Education in Emergencies Toolkits will be adapted for the section of this study that relates to Education, or any other relevant standardized methodology. As appropriate, the consultant shall also adapt other suitable methods for data collection on the problems facing youth based on the different contexts of the selected sites. Some of the proposed methods will include, but not limited to the following:
· Site visits and observation
· FGDs and interviews with children, parents, youth, representatives, relevant government representatives in the target areas
· Meetings/Interviews with operational NGOs (both national and international), religious institutions, local craftsmen, and service providers
· Meetings with relevant cluster leads (where applicable).
· Interview with teachers
· Desk review of school registers: enrollment rates, school abandon rates, academic performance average
Northwest Region – Mezam division: Bamenda 1, Bamenda 2, Tubah, Santa,
· Fako division: Buea, Muyuka
· Meme division: Kumba 1, Kumba 2
DURATION OF THE NEEDS ASSESSMENT
The assessment is expected to be completed within 45 days. This will include travel days, training, actual data collection, compilation and preparation of the assessment report.
· University Degree in Social Sciences or related technical field
· At least 5 years progressive and professional experience in conducting needs assessment related to child and youth protection in humanitarian or development settings
· Demonstrated experience in leading teams, training local staff in quantitative and qualitative data collection tools including entry template
· Demonstrated experience in designing survey methodology, data collection tools, processing and analysis of data
· Strong organizational, analytical and reporting skills presentation skills, attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines and proficiency statistical packages (eg COBO Collect, etc); MS Office and qualitative and data analysis software/tools
· Experience of delivering on similar assignments
· Demonstrated ability to produce compelling concise and high-quality reports
· Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English and Good Command of Pidgin English
· The consultant’s team members should originate from the NW and SW regions, or ideally be based in the assessment zones
Candidates interested in this consultancy will be expected to provide the following documentation to the International Rescue Committee:
· Cover Letter
· Detail Technical Proposal in line with the scope of work, objectives, methodology, expected outcomes and deliverables of this terms of reference (demonstrating understanding and assimilation of the ToR content and needs).
· Detailed financial proposal
· Proposed initial workplan and availability
· CV of consultant (and associates) with minimum of 3 traceable and recent references and/company profile (forms only)
· Sample report of similar activity that was conducted in the past.
Only shortlisted consultants will be contacted.
Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply