Education Gender Consultant at UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Refugees are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children. Of the 16 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate, 6 million are of school-going age between 5 and 17 years. Access to education for this marginalized group is limited. At least 3.2 million refugee children and adolescents remain out-of-school. Despite notable achievements in educational access and quality over the past years, particularly at primary level, the number of refugee children affected by short- and long-term crisis situations remains significant. Only 1 in 2 refugee children are enrolled in primary school, and 1 in 4 are enrolled in secondary school. The participation of refugees in higher education is even lower, meaning that only 1% of refugees have access to university compared to 34% worldwide. UNHCR policies and programming on education include the Sustainable Development Goals, with their focus on equity and inclusion, Age Gender & Diversity policy, which includes gender equality, as well as the updated Commitments to Women and Girls that were launched in 2017 and include a specific commitment to increasing equal access to quality education.

UNHCR recently published Her Turn,[1] a report on girl’s education, which highlighted the fact that overall, refugee girls are at a disadvantage in accessing education. They are less likely than their male peers to finish primary education and make the transition into, and complete, secondary education. Disparities between boys and girls access to education widen at higher levels within the education system. For refugees, at the global level, for every ten refugee boys in primary school there are fewer than eight refugee girls; at secondary school the figure is worse, with fewer than seven girls for every ten boys. At the higher education level there are great regional variations. While worldwide more women than men are enrolled at university, the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa is different with as few as 8 women for every 10 men were enrolled. Within UNHCR’s scholarship programme (DAFI) female students represented 44% of the total students.

Some of the reasons for these disparities in refugee girl’s ability to access education include the costs of education, and ‘opportunity costs’ in terms of income and domestic duties. Child marriage and teenage pregnancy as well as other forms of sexual and gender-based violence are also significant barriers, especially when girls have to battle social and cultural norms. Lack of sanitary and other facilities for girls in schools are also a factor. Girls with disabilities and young mothers face additional challenges in accessing education, linked to cultural norms and stigma as well as the lack of adequate transportation, infrastructure, childcare and adapted curricula.

Global research has shown that girls’ education has strong positive impacts on economic and social development of families, communities and societies, especially when girls obtain a secondary education.[2] Girls’ education:

· Increases economic growth: In countries where access to education is equal for girls and boys, the per capita income is 23% higher.

· Improves women’s wages and jobs and higher levels of schooling have higher returns.

· Saves the lives of children and mothers: If all women received primary education there would be a 15% reduction in child deaths from pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria and if they received secondary education, there would be a 49% reduction.

· Results in healthier and better-educated children: Mothers living in poverty who complete primary school are 4% more likely to provide their children with nutrition that ensures their growth will not be stunted and if mothers completed secondary education the percentage rises to 26%.

· Reduces rates of child marriage: There would be 14% fewer child marriages if all girls completed primary education and 64% fewer early marriages if all young women completed secondary education.

· Empowers women, increases gender equality and promotes women’s political leadership.

The Education Gender Consultancy is designed to pick up on the initial work started in this area during a three month consultancy in 2017 and to follow through with complementary deliverables.


UNHCR strives to ensure that equal opportunities are given to refugee girls and boys to access all levels of formal education (primary, secondary and tertiary).


In collaboration with refugee communities, UNHCR Education Partners, Education, SGBV, Gender Equality and Child Protection stakeholders and UNHCR country teams in three locations:

· Collect primary and secondary data on primary, secondary and tertiary education enrolment, number of applications (if applicable), attendance, retention and completion for girls and boys, and transition to secondary and tertiary education.

· Identify reasons for low number of applications, attendance, retention, completion rates at all levels as well as reasons for reduced transition rates to post primary education, analysing challenges and bottlenecks to girls’ education holistically, including demand and supply barriers in schools and in the community, such as: learning facilities, teachers, availability and accessibility of schools, cultural and social factors including community perceptions around girls education, rates of child and early marriage and other forms of SGBV, domestic and child labour, and other protection risks previously listed.

· Identify existing successful programming approaches that support girls’ retention and completion in the whole continuum of formal education, including:

o UNHCR and partner programming in refugee and host communities.

o Programmes implemented in the host community/host country by the government, civil society and/or development partners. Some examples might include peer-to-peer and mentoring support, community-engagement and community awareness, female teacher support, cash interventions, etc.

· Provide concrete pragmatic recommendations for improved girls’ education programming to increase enrolment, attendance, retention and completion of primary school, their transition to secondary education and increased numbers of eligible applications from female candidates for tertiary education.

· Identify stories and/or good practices of students, families and communities where girls’ education has been promoted.

· Liaise with Headquarters colleagues working on gender equality and SGBV and represent the education section in relevant joint planning, resource development and reporting processes.

Level of responsibilities required: Level B

This is a home- based consultancy.


a. The final product (e.g., survey completed, data collected, workshop conducted, research documents produced specify):

  1. Validated research methodology and assessment tool developed during a previous consultancy on girl’s education in 2017.
  2. 5-10 page country reports for two mission countries as well as an updated report on one country which has already undergone a desk review, which highlight good practices, challenges and recommendations
  3. Thorough analysis of data collected by the tertiary education team and suggest targeted follow up with country teams on increasing female participation in tertiary education programmes.
  4. Review the updated IASC Gender Handbook chapter on education and recommend how it could be incorporated to UNHCR’s programming
  5. Webinar for up to 50 UNHCR colleagues to share information on good practices and global recommendations
  6. Produce a global recommendations paper (20 pages) based on information gathered from missions and information previously gathered by UNHCR.

b. Delivery Periodicity, as applicable:

· Deliverable 1: End month one

· Deliverable 2: End month three

· Deliverable 3: End month four

· Deliverable 4: End month four

· Deliverable 5: Month five

· Deliverable 6: End Month five

[1] Her Turn,

[2] Data from: UNESCO (2013): Education transforms lives and Sperling, Gene B & Winthrop, Rebecca (2016): What works in Girls’ Education. Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. The Brookings Institution


Education (Level and area of required and/or preferred education)

  • Master’s degree in education, social sciences or related field.

Work Experience

· 8-10 years of work experience, preferably incorporating:

o Education, including in crisis & conflict settings;

o Gender equality and girls’ education;

o Community development and the role of women;

o Conducting desk as well as participatory field research

· International and/or field experience highly desirable.

· Good knowledge of the UN system, its operational procedures and exposure to provision of support services in an International Organization.

· Ability to travel to remote locations

Key Competencies

· Proven ability to deal with multiple tasks in a courteous and service oriented manner under demanding working conditions that often have short deadlines.

· Good communicator with strong interpersonal skills to deal with persons of different cultural and education backgrounds.

· Excellent computer skills and knowledge of MS applications

· Excellent knowledge of English (written/oral/comprehension) with well-developed writing and presentation skills.

· Knowledge of French an asset.


Interested applicants should submit the required documents listed below by e-mail to [email protected]indicating “Education Gender Consultancy” DRS/2018/011** in the subject of the email latest 23rd July 2018

· Letter of motivation, addressing each of the personal requirements in the vacancy notice;

· A signed and Completed UN Personal History Form (P11), including testimonials/degrees/certificates.

  • The UN personal History Form is mandatory;
  • P 11 forms are available on
  • All application received without a P 11 will not be considered