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  • Consultant at United Nations Population Fund

  • Posted on: 13 July, 2018 Deadline: 27 July, 2018
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  • United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

    Consultant - Research Assistant, Somalia Country Office in Nairobi, Kenya


    Background Information

    Young people are considered to be a particularly vulnerable group to sexually transmitted infections including HIV (STI/HIV) as well as to high risk behaviors. They have limited access to adequate youth-friendly sexual reproductive health (RH) services and/or they are faced with resistance and/or unfriendly attitudes exhibited by service providers. Very often they rely on their peers and/or the internet for learning about the changes they go through, the answers to their health problems or advice for engaging in a relationship, among other information. In many cases, they end up being recipients of incorrect and inadequate information from inaccurate sources without any guidance. A research conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Somalia in 2012 showed a significant level of misconceptions among young people with respect to transmission of HIV.

    Significant numbers of young adolescent girls, who survived incidents of Gender based Violence (GBV), particularly sexual violence, face significant risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases because of lack of knowledge about the infection and available GBV-related services. All of these challenges require understanding of young people’s attitudes and perceptions about their health-seeking behaviors. This information is fundamental for better responding to their needs and aspirations.

    The existing data on the Somali HIV epidemic points towards a likely concentrated epidemic in high-risk populations that has neither been properly identified or addressed programmatically in the national response. The draft 2016 antenatal clinic (ANC) data showed HIV prevalence of 0.07% in the South-Central part of the country, 0.29% in Puntland, and 0.48% (in Somaliland). The HIV prevalence among women aged 15-24 was 0.24% across the country, breaking down as 0.70% in Somaliland, 0.12% in Puntland, and 0.10% in the South Central part of Somalia.

    STI prevalence is surprisingly high for a low-prevalence country, indicating that high-risk behaviours are taking place. Anecdotal accounts and the completion of two research studies integrated biological and behavioural survey (IBBS) and size estimation by IOM and partners point towards existence of certain populations at higher risk of HIV, including women engaged in transactional sex, their clients, transport workers (truck drivers and port workers), and other groups at increased risk of HIV.

    The 2012 Youth Behavioural Survey identified very low rates of knowledge among young women and men. Only 8.7% of the young men and 13.4% of the young women surveyed were able to correctly identify ways of preventing sexual transmission of HIV and rejected major misconceptions. Overall, 9.2% of young women and 21.2% of young men considered themselves at risk of being living with HIV. Of those surveyed, 0% of young women had ever had sex, and 10.8% of young men had had sex. Of the young men who had had sex, 1.3% had done so prior to the age of 15 and 2.6% had more than one partner. Approximately 35% of these had used a condom during their last intercourse.

    The Strategic Framework for the Somali AIDS Response (2018-2020) is focused on achieving two primary goals:

    • Goal 1: Reduce the rate of new infections by 2020.
    • Goal 2: Reduce HIV-related mortality and morbidity for Somali women, men and children by 2020.

    UNFPA has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention among young people in Somalia since 2007, with a pool of peer educators doing health education in schools and outreach at community level for out-of-school youth.

    Purpose of the assignment

    The Research Assistant will support the lead researcher to conceptually develop, conduct and analyse the results of a community-based survey that will assess and measure the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and practices of young people at higher risk of HIV and those in schools.

    The study will also look at changing patterns among young people and sex groups, of different regions, to establish levels of sexual experience (age of first sex, forced sex and coercion), characteristic of sexual activity (partners, condom usage, alcohol and drug use, and transactional sex), educational level, HIV knowledge, communication and perceived risk, testing and exposure to interventions.

    The study will also assess their preferred channels and sources of information towards planning and tailoring effective communication and advocacy interventions with maximum reach and impact. The outcome of this assignment should result in:

    • filling critical information gaps and ascertaining trends with respect to knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and practices in relation to HIV;
    • identifying factors that act as barriers and enablers to HIV prevention and seeking care;
    • identifying the existing channels and sources of information; and
    • assessing and recommending appropriate communication channels and sources of information while focusing on message design and its delivery according to the needs of the target groups.

    Description of the Assignment

    • You will serve as a Research Assistant for the Youth behavioral survey in Somalia. Under the overall supervision of UNFPA Youth officer and the direct supervision of the lead consultant, you will carry out the following tasks:
    • Support the survey exercise which will entail use of questionnaire to administer a structured, face-to-face household survey in selected community units in the country, while capturing the basic household demographic information. The Research Assistant will be required to maintain confidentiality and security of data gathered.
    • Support training on data collection methods and review the data collection forms.
    • Perform field data collection and management activities, following approved protocol, including permission and consent processes.
    • Review completed data before proceeding with the next stages of the survey.
    • Meet deadlines, including conducting assigned interviews in a timely manner.
    • Report to the immediate supervisor as required (e.g. discuss field experiences and challenges).
    • Support in drafting the analytical report to be reviewed by UNFPA and the Joint UN team on AIDS (JUNTA) and participate in finalization of the report based on input and comments received.
    • Participate in meetings to present and discuss findings and recommendations of the assignment with pertinent stakeholders.
    • Execute any other reasonable duties, as assigned by the supervisor.

    Expected Outputs

    The following deliverables are expected to be provided by the lead consultant and research assistant by the end of the assignment, in English:

    • A comprehensive descriptive and analytical report including detailed description of the methodologies used, discussion and analysis of the results, recommendations based on above scope, and annexes presenting the tools, instruments, documented results of the survey and interviews. The report structure is to be discussed with UNFPA upon initiation of the consultancy.
    • An executive summary of the above report plus a Power point presentation (20 slides maximum) with major findings and recommendations.

    Payment Schedule

    • First instalment: upon signing of contract and submission of inception report: 25%.
    • Second instalment: upon successful completion of data collection: 25%.
    • Final instalment: upon submission of final satisfactory research report: 50%.

    Project Timeline

    Final report delivered by 31 October 2018.

    Qualifications and Competencies


    • Languages Skills
    • Excellent command of spoken and written English and Somali.


    • Diploma (2 years’ post-secondary education) in relevant area plus 3 to 5 years of relevant work experience or
    • Bachelor Degree in relevant area plus 1-3 years of relevant work experience

    Other requirement

    • Excellent organizational skills and ability to follow study-specific procedures and guidelines reliably
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
    • People-oriented
    • Proficiency in basic computer technology including word processing (e.g. Microsoft Word, Power point, email and basic data entry (e.g. Microsoft Excel)
    • First-hand knowledge of the socio-cultural, economic and political situation in Somalia will be an added advantage.
    • Willingness to work in difficult circumstances and travel to Somalia.
    • Previous experience in relevant study in Somalia.
    • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to establish effective and working relations with other stakeholders in Somalia with experience in convening and facilitating of workshops and meetings.

    Method of Application

    Interested candidates are requested to register in our roster through the link below:   and to send their expression of interest, curriculum vitae and information on previous similar work to somalia.recruit@unfpa.org  on or before by Thursday 27 July, 2018.

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