The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) was established in July 2010 with the goal of contributing to the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment. UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action, peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the centre of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors. The work of UN Women is focused around its three-fold mandate:
Normative work: to support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the General Assembly and engagement with the UN Security Council in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms, as well as the translation of these norms at country level;
Operational work: to contribute to enhanced accountability of Member States to implement international standards and to forge effective partnerships with civil society; and
Coordination work: entails work to promote the coherence and accountability of the United Nations system on gender equality and empowerment of women (GEEW), including regular monitoring of system-wide progress, as well as more broadly mobilizing and convening key stakeholders to ensure greater coherence and gender mainstreaming across the UN.
UN Women Country Office has been operating in Afghanistan since 2002. For UN Women, the Country Office Strategic Note (SN) is the main planning tool for the agency’s support to normative, coordination and operational work. The current UN Women SN cycle in Afghanistan is 2014 – 2022. A new SN is due to be developed for the period 2023-2025.
Following the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021, UN Women Afghanistan Country Office re- prioritized its programming on 5 key areas, in alignment with the UN System-wide Transitional Engagement Framework (TEF), currently planned for November 2021 – December 2022. The programming for the Country Office is also fully integrated into the priorities of the Humanitarian Response Planning (2022) and the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan.
With the TEF is expected to provide the building blocks for the return to the UN’s multi-year engagement framework, the new SN will fully align to the TEF key areas and contribute to UN Women’s Global Strategic Plan (2022-2025). The SN will include a development results framework (DRF) as well as key drivers and enablers for implementation of the DRF over the next three/four years. Based on the current operating context, UN Women Afghanistan Country Office is seeking to hire an international consultant to support in the development of a new SN (2023 - 2025). The consultant will work closely with the ACO Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist and under the direct supervision by the ACO Deputy Country Representative.
Duties and Responsibilities
Under the direct supervision of UN Women Deputy Country Representative in Afghanistan the consultant will be home-based with travel to Kabul. Safety protocols and measures recommended by the United Nations Department for Security Services will be followed, including those related to COVID-19 pandemic related health measures (e.g., requirements related to quarantining, social distancing, etc.). The consultant is expected to review relevant documentation (both internal and external), conduct internal and external consultations using a consultative and participatory approach throughout the SN development process and draft the Strategic Note in line with UN Women corporate guidelines for developing country strategic notes. The payment will be made in three instalments upon satisfactory receipt and approval of the following deliverables:
Details of expected key activities and deliverables
Target Due Dates and Estimated effort
Inception Report with outline of methodology, consultation and validation process, documents for review
Develop a workplan for consultancy, including mission dates.
Conduct a desk review and the analysis of the key relevant documents and references for Strategic Note development.
Lead the internal thematic unit consultations in determining the key priority areas, corresponding ToCs, results, indicators mapping, programme/operations risk assessment.
Support the review of resource flows and budget projections.
Support the stakeholder mapping and comparative analysis including stakeholder mapping for consultations.
Drafting inception report, including creating data visualizations, tables and graphs and annexes as required.
Finalizing inception report including annexes, ensuring all feedback from ACO management have been integrated and tracked for transparency.
(appx. 30 days)
Draft Strategic Note (2023 - 2025) Narrative, Result Framework and annexes
Draft of SN Narrative and Results Framework for both DRF and OEEF (2023- 2025) based on desk review, internal and external consultations - with corresponding TOCs, Knowledge Management Plan, Monitoring Evaluation and Research Plan (MERP), Risk register, HR Organogram, Resource Mobilization. Integrate feedback from ACO management before first submission to UN Women ROAP and subsequent submission to RCO Afghanistan.
(appx. 20 days)
Final Strategic Note
Draft final Strategic Note including annexes, ensuring all feedback from UN Women ROAP, RCO in Afghanistan, UN Women HQ has been integrated and tracked for transparency.
All products should be developed in accordance with UN Women corporate guidelines for developing country strategic notes.
(appx. 30 days)
Objectives: The UN Women Afghanistan Office is embarking on the process of developing its Strategic Note for the period 2023-2025, defining the key development and management results that is in line with UN Women HQ guidelines for developing country strategies. The SN will be strategically aligned to – a) results of the TEF, the UN multi- year engagement framework that follows; b) UN Women’s Strategic Plan (2022 - 2025); c) relevant intergovernmental frameworks on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and d) highlight UN Women’s contribution to support the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, CEDAW, Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security where relevant, and gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
To ensure continued relevance of UN Women’s interventions in the current operating context and overall UN mandate, the formulation of the SN will include a context analysis that leverages ongoing relevant analysis/strategic assessments conducted at the country level. This will ensure that lessons learned inform the new planning process. In specific terms, the SN development process will include:
Reviewing of the political, security, humanitarian and economic context in Afghanistan in line with the 2021 common country analysis and the operating environment and key focus areas of UN engagement under Transitional Engagement Framework;
Outlining of the current and emerging trends related to gender equality and empowerment of women in Afghanistan especially in the light of increasing humanitarian needs;
Reflections on UN Women’s mandate towards achieving goals and objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs with the focus on the principle of leaving no one behind, CEDAW, UNSCR 1325 and other relevant normative frameworks to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Afghanistan;
Reflections on the work of other UN agencies and international partners in Afghanistan on gender equality and women’s empowerment and key opportunities and gaps that could be addressed through strengthened coordination;
Considerations of key lessons learned from gender alerts, Gender Conflict analysis, rapid assessments and strategic advisories of UN Women Afghanistan, reflecting ways in which this Strategic Note builds on the recommendations.
In addition to aforementioned requirements and qualifications, it is important that the consultant shares the core values and core competencies of the organization.
Respect for Diversity
Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
Creative Problem Solving
Leading by Example
Strong commitment to and good understanding of gender equality and women’s empowerment issues;
Strong interpersonal skills;
Strong organizational skills and strong self-direction;
Strong research and communication skills;
Ability to prioritize and work under pressure with colleagues at all levels;
Knowledge of gender mainstreaming and desired knowledge of the UNCT-SWAP Gender Equality Scorecard.
Development and Innovation: Take charge of self-development and take initiative;
Work in teams: Demonstrate ability to work in a multicultural, multiethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.
Demonstrated experience in working on rapidly moving crises affected operating contexts
Communicating and Information Sharing: Facilitate and encourage open communication and strive for effective communication.
Self-management and Emotional Intelligence: Stay com- posed and positive even in difficult moments, handle tense situations with diplomacy and tact, and have a consistent behavior towards others.
Conflict management: Surface conflicts and address them proactively acknowledging different feelings and views and directing energy towards a mutually acceptable solution.
Continuous Learning and Knowledge sharing: Encourage learning and sharing of knowledge.
Required Skills and Experience
The consultant is expected to be able to demonstrate evidence of the following experience and capabilities:
Master’s degree or equivalent in social sciences, gender studies, public administration, international relations, international law, public policy, or a related field.
At least 7 years of experience in the international development field with advanced knowledge of gender analysis and experience working on GEWE issue, preferably with UN System
Familiarity with human rights concepts and approaches and GEWE normative frameworks
Advanced knowledge of results-based planning, including planning of monitoring & evaluation work including demonstrated experience of UN results-based management standards and guidelines, and UN planning processes (UNDAF/UNSDCF and/or UN Country Program Documents including UN Transitional strategies and/or joint operational frameworks in crisis affected countries)
Demonstrated experience in applying results-based management (RBM) principles into strategic planning processes, including monitoring and reporting
Demonstrated experience in project management, conducting research and writing analytical documents including country planning documents preferably for UN entities within the UN system
Fluency in English (written and oral) is required.