Consultancy -Research consultant for the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, Technical Division

  • Level: Consultant
  • Contract Type: Consultancy
  • Closing date: 26 May 2023 11:10 AM (America/New_York)
  • Duty station: Remote

Consultancy - UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation

  1. Background

UNFPA and UNICEF have been leading the largest global programme working towards the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) since 2008. The Joint Programme supports holistic and integrated approaches and interventions at global, regional, and national levels with the aim of contributing to ending FGM by 2030 through accelerated collective and multisectoral action that establish policy and legal frameworks, galvanize communities to abandon the harmful practice, and provide FGM-related services. The Joint Programme is currently implementing its Phase IV (2022-2030). In terms of scope, the Joint Programme provides direct financial and technical support to 17 countries (Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen).

During the implementation of its different phases, the Joint Programme understood the importance of generating rigorous and high-quality actionable data and evidence to support advocacy and programmatic efforts, decision-making, and overall planning toward the eradication of the FGM and increase the provision of services to women and girls. It is in that line that under the coordination and guidance of the Chiefs of the Gender & Human Rights (GHRB) and Population Data (PDB) Branches that the Population Data Fellowship on FGM Data and Research was initiated in November 2020. The role of the FGM Data and research Fellows in specific countries was to contribute toward reducing evidence gaps in key areas pertaining to FGM by generating the most recent evidence on FGM through innovative approaches.

The Population Data Fellowship on FGM Data and Research programme enhanced the learning objectives of the Joint Programme and helped in operationalizing the FGM global research agenda. The research agenda was developed in 2021 to address the gaps in FGM research by strengthening the generation and use of data and evidence to accelerate the elimination of FGM. In 2022 the Population Data Fellowship developed three papers to be published in 2023: (1) A Systematic Review on the Effectiveness of Alternative Right of Passage in Eliminating FGM: Results from Evidence of two decades of FGM Programme implementation; (2) Factors Associated with Perception of Ease and Intention to Practice Female Genital Mutilation on Daughters: A Cross-sectional Study of Cross-border Communities in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia; (3) Association between women’s empowerment and the attitudes towards FGM and the risk of daughters’ mutilation: a multi-country study using multilevel modelling.

In addition, in 2021 the UNICEF Office of Research–Innocenti launched the STAR (Strategic Technical Assistance for Research) initiative to provide support to UNFPA and UNICEF country offices on the priority research agenda to end harmful practices, including female genital mutilation. The goal is to increase the availability of quality data on child marriage and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation, using more robust research methodologies at country, regional, and global levels. The 2023 report notes that since its inception, the STAR programme has supported the generation of evidence on FGM in the 17 countries where the joint FGM program is being implemented. Specifically, support has included 20 research studies, 11 desk studies, 14 study planning phases, and 12 multi-country studies.

With the end of the Population Data Fellowship programme on FGM in March 2023, the Joint Programme faces a limitation of dedicated research staff to continue to work on the research gaps identified during the development of the global research agenda, as well as to coordinate the rollout of STAR and other research initiatives at national, regional and global.

11. Purpose of consultancy:

The purpose of this consultancy is to assist the Joint Programme Global Coordination Team by providing appropriate leadership and technical support and overall guidance to the Joint Programme at national, regional, and global levels regarding research planning, development and implementation in response to evidence gaps on FGM that may require further research or investigation to improve efforts to eliminate FGM by 2030. In addition, this consultancy is expected to support the STAR initiative in the Joint Programme as well as innovative research initiatives, including piloting real-time data collection on FGM, developing innovative data analysis on girls saved from FGM, and supporting the development of updated projections on girls at risk of FGM and harmful practices.

  1. Scope of work:

Under the leadership of the Chief of the Gender & Human Rights (GHRB) and the Chief of the Population and Division Branch (Data Unit) and the supervision of the Global Coordinator of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation the consultant is expected to undertake the following tasks:

  1. Providing technical leadership and oversight of FGM research efforts and ensuring that research projects are conducted and managed effectively from start to finish.
  2. Coordinating research efforts in FGM with country and regional offices, partners, donors, and stakeholders, including UNFPA headquarters.
  3. Ensuring effective implementation of the FGM research agenda, including prioritization of the most urgent studies to fill data gaps and on FGM by researchers, program implementers, and policymakers to facilitate the elimination of FGM over the next decade.
  4. Providing technical support on research activities, specifically the STAR (Strategic Technical Assistance for Research) initiative to End FGM and the Youth Expectation Survey including designing research protocols and methodologies in selected Joint Programme countries and ensuring that the research activities are coordinated at all levels with the most effective use of the available resources.
  5. Coordinating new or existing studies efforts to collect, analyze, and interpret data using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and generating new findings to address emerging challenges in programmes on elimination of FGM identified by the donors, governments, partners or previous research.
  6. Coordinate the exploration of real-time data collection on FGM through a partnership between UNFPA and PMA (Performance Monitoring for Action) hosted by the John Hopkins University (JHU).
  7. Develop innovative analysis of data on girls saved from FGM and harmful practices to generate new knowledge to inform policy development and programming strategies.
  8. Support the development of updated projections on girls at risk of FGM and harmful practices.
  9. Writing research reports and publications for internal and external stakeholders.
  10. Presenting research findings to various audiences, including academic and non-academic audiences.
  11. Developing, documenting, and sharing best practices for research on FGM with team and other internal departments
  12. Working in close collaboration with the Joint Programme coordination team to develop research proposals, mobilize resources and secure funding for research projects.
  13. Maintain the Joint Programme research partnerships that engenders trust and respect and builds donor’s confidence in the Joint Programme’s efforts to fill the research gaps in FGM.
  14. Ensure synergy between research planning and implementation at global, regional and national levels.
  15. Provide technical oversight and identify best practices related to research outcomes, recommendations, and impact across the Joint Programme countries (and beyond) to promote innovation and sustainable results.
  1. Key deliverables

The expected deliverables of the consultancy are:

  • Research work plan approved by the Global Coordinator of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme and the Chief of the Gender & Human Rights (GHRB).
  • Monthly progress report of the implementation of the approved work plan.

Research protocols, report and publications (Selected research topics in the FGM research Agenda, STAR Initiative, Youth Expectations, Girls at risk of FGM, Girls saved from FGM, Real-time data on FGM, Cross border FGM, Medicalization of FGM, etc). The work is expected to be carried out mostly in collaboration with the headquarters, regional and country offices that will support the production of data and information as needed.

The products will be delivered in electronic format.

  1. Duration of the consultancy service and working arrangement

The consultancy is for 11 months. The tentative schedule is from May 2023 to April 2024:

  • Expected start date: 15 May 2023
  • Expected end date:  14 April 2024


  • The monthly progress report is due every 5th of the next month.
  1. Supervisory arrangements

The consultant will work under the overall guidance of Chief of the Gender & Human Rights (GHRB) and the chief of the Population and Development Branch. The close supervision will be done by the FGM Global Coordinator of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM.

  1. Monitoring and progress control, including reporting requirements, periodicity format

Weekly conference calls will be scheduled with the consultant to monitor progress, provide guidance and clarification to any questions, and ensure the work is on track.

  1. Required expertise, qualifications and competencies


  • PhD or equivalent in a relevant field such as Public Health, Demography, Statistics, Gender Statistics.

Required competencies:

  • At least 10 years of professional experience working in research or research-related programs at national and international level, with at least 5 years of senior leadership designing and implementing research activities in public health.
  • Experience with both operational and formative research.
  • Strong skills in both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and manage research projects.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Experience in securing research funding and developing research proposals.
  • Work experience in research addressing gender equality is an advantage.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and experience in working with multi-stakeholder organizations.


  • High proficiency in written and spoken English is required.
  • Knowledge of French is an advantage.
  1. Other relevant information or special conditions

This will be a home-based consultation; the consultant will work remotely. The consultant will be paid monthly upon submission of a monthly progress report in line with the approved research work plan.

  1. How to apply for the position,

Interested applicant should send the following documents to Menbere Legesse email and CC

  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Cover letter indicating the daily fee in USD
  • Sample of previous work preferably in the relevant area

We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

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