Job no: 514749
Work type: Temporary Appointment
Location: Congo, Dem. Rep
Categories: Communication for Development (C4D), P-4
Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) officially declared a new Ebola outbreak on Tuesday 8 May. This is the ninth Ebola-epidemic in the country since 1976. The epidemic is located in the Province of Equateur, in the Northwest of the country. On 3 June the outbreak concerned 56 cases, with 37 confirmed Ebola-cases. The Minister of Health is coordinating the response, building on the experience it has developed over the years through the eight previous Ebola epidemics. This time, the response includes ring vaccination of health workers, and people that have been in contact with affected people (contacts and contacts-of-contacts).
Earlier Ebola-outbreaks have indicated that a prompt response and an active involvement of local communities are crucial in containing the spread of the disease. UNICEF has acted accordingly. Children are deeply affected by the Ebola outbreak. One out of every ten people infected with the virus or suspected to be infected are children, while hundreds of children and their family members have been in contact with infected people and are now in need of psychosocial assistance. The impact of an Ebola outbreak on children can be far reaching. From previous outbreaks, we know that the impact on children goes beyond infection rates, it may include stigmatization, the loss of their caregivers, and limited access to basic services such as health care and school.
UNICEF is supporting national authorities in coordinating the response at national and provincial level. Based on its experience and expertise, UNICEF’s support focuses on informing communities on ways to protect themselves against Ebola, providing water, sanitation and hygiene in medical facilities, schools and communities and ensuring psychosocial support as well as providing household kits and food rations to affected children and their families following the infection or suspected infection of one of their relatives. UNICEF is also leading the communication around the vaccination.
In fighting the Ebola outbreak, the Government and its partners have now vaccinated more than 1,100 health workers and others who have been in contact with infected people in the three affected health zones of Wangata (in the city of Mbandaka), Bikoro and Iboko. The communication strategy for the vaccination campaign aims to provide counselling to eligible health workers and contacts, as well as information on the vaccine and its administration. Local communities are informed that the vaccine is provided for free to health workers, contacts and contacts-of-contacts as they are the most vulnerable.
UNICEF DRC works on close coordination with the government and partners and is present in all strategic discussions and daily coordination meetings at national, provincial as well as on-ground operational level. UNICEF Focus areas are WASH, C4D, Pshycho Social support, and logistics. UNICEF strategy is to work closely through partners on the ground for implementation of filed activities.
UNICEF is coordinating its interventions from its office in Mbandaka, the provincial capital of Equateur. It has also deployed teams to the affected health zone of Bikoro and Iboko to help with the response. UNICEF has so far deployed 45 staff in the affected regions to assist with the response to the Ebola outbreak, and sent more than 80 ton of humanitarian supplies to the affected region.
Certain beliefs, social norms, attitudes have been perceived as obstacles to the C4D response, and strategies need to identify and develop alternative strategies to address resistance and rumors. Special Population are also a key element to the response in DRC, and their integrations in critical to the control of the epidemic.
Even as rates of incidence have been dropping and concerted rapid response systems are being strengthened across all countries in crisis there is still some resistance and denial on the part of the populations, leading to unsafe burials, spreading of rumors and non-access of early treatment.
In order to intensify efforts to eradicate EVD, UNICEF would like to recruit the services of a senior researcher to provide technical guidance and support to ensure the appropriate use of socio-cultural research in strengthening the cross-sectoral response and post-recovery efforts in the three highly affected countries with focus on social and behavior change.
Under the guidance of UNICEF C4D office in DRC, the anthropologist will provide technical support and guidance to Ebola affected areas and utilizing qualitative research and/ or design to conduct and analyze new community based reviews to strengthen social mobilization and community engagement strategies. The consultant will also provide guidance in conducting Post-research for Ebola that will allow developing a transition plan that includes recommendations for community response, preparedness for future outbreaks, and faster recovery to outbreaks.
Activities to be undertaken by social scientist/anthropologist to support Ebola response and recovery efforts in DRC:
1. Support to anthropologists on the ground in affected health zones by reviewing the latest data and insights from communities to fine tune on-going RCCE activities for community surveillance, prevention and care seeking and burials.
2. Conduct rapid assessment of care and support needs of individuals who have recovered from Ebola and their families with a particular attention to psycho-social needs, community acceptance and support, potential stigma and discrimination faced and continued access to social services.
3. Conduct interviews and collect other qualitative data from Ebola responders, especially in areas with continued confirmed or suspected cases (government and international agency teams) to determine how current response activities are addressing socio-cultural practices.
4. Develop short guidance or considerations for Ebola recovery efforts keeping into account needs of affected families and based on broader contextual considerations from the affected health zones/areas.
5. Collect all documentation developed by the anthropologists deployed, evidence reviews conducted by the social science platform and selected interviews with responders, and write up lessons learned and next steps paper to inform ongoing and future Ebola response in DRC and potentially in other countries.
6. Attention to factors shaping continued access to services for children (schools, immunization, primary health care, protection/psych-social support in case of orphans) and women (ANC, PNC, routine care seeking); and continued access to food and nutrition to affected families.
7. Identify and facilitate the sharing of additional research tools, templates and resources to assist country offices in the design and conduct of research and reviews to strengthen C4D/ social mobilization and community engagement efforts.
8. Facilitate, and where necessary directly engage in the design and implementation of reviews of community practices as well as engagement with communities to adjust current messaging and approaches on the socio-cultural drivers of the Ebola-epidemic, with a particular focus on areas of ongoing transmission and key UNICEF-led interventions (i.e., CCCs; C4D/social mobilization and community engagement).
- Rapid assessment report from encounters with affected families
- Key considerations document for Post-Ebola and recovery efforts planning
- Lessons learnt document of use of socio-cultural and anthropological insights for Ebola response and recovery
- Recommendations, guidelines and tools that can be recommended to local research organizations, development and academic institutions.
To qualify as a champion for every child you will have…
- Advanced degree in anthropology or other relevant social sciences and operational research. Doctoral degree or equivalent work experience will be an asset.
- At least eight years of progressively responsible professional work experience in the area of socio-behavioural research.
- Ability to work in operationally challenging environments and emergency contexts.
- Prior experience with UN agencies is an asset.
- Fluency in French and English.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
The technical competencies required for this post are….
View our competency framework at
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
* The successful candidate for this emergency recruitment MUST be available to commence work within 31 days of receiving an offer.
* Please note that is a non-family duty station.
Employment is conditional upon receipt of medical clearance, any clearance required, the grant of a visa, and completion of any other pre-employment criteria that UNICEF may establish. Candidates may not be further considered or offers of employment may be withdrawn if these conditions are unlikely to be met before the date for commencement of service
Advertised: W. Central Africa Standard Time
Applications close: W. Central Africa Standard Time