Available Title: Research Consultant (Inclusion of People with Disabilities)
Research Consultant (Inclusion of People with Disabilities) on Enhancing Accessible Community Engagement for Forcibly Displaced People with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering an Individual Consultancy Contract within the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific team in Bangkok.
In 2021, UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific completed a comprehensive survey on regional practices, capacities, and plans around work on Accountability to Affected People (AAP). A consistent challenge that emerged across the 14 Country Operations and 3 Multi-Country Offices with Asia and the Pacific that took part in the survey was the difficulty in ensuring that the various communication with communities, feedback response mechanisms and participatory approaches were inclusive and accessible for forcibly displaced people with disabilities. For the purposes of this work, we will collectively refer to these three activities/ approaches (communication with communities, feedback response mechanisms and participatory approaches) as community engagement.
There is limited understanding and practical resources on how to ensure access for a wide variety of persons with disabilities, particularly those outside of sight and mobility impairments. This includes lack of awareness of best practices, what characteristics make something inclusive and simple measures that can be taken across various channels and/or formats, both analogue and digital. This was highlighted to be not only as a challenge for UNHCR country teams, but also reported to apply to implementing partners and government authorities across multiple countries in Asia and the Pacific where there are displaced populations.
These inclusion challenges are further compounded by existing difficulties of engaging forcibly displaced people in a variety of contexts across the region. Teams regularly have to manage the impacts of the lack of access to communities due to COVID restrictions, security situations, cultural norms, remoteness of some locations, limited access and availability of communication channels, limited connectivity, low digital literacy, among others.
UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 130 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.
UNHCR teams have adapted their strategies to enable more remote engagement and are continuing to work with communities to find preferred and accessible communication and feedback channels. This always must keep in mind the need to adapt to the capacities, barriers, needs and preferences of individuals of different ages, genders and diversity. The Regional Bureau of Asia and the Pacific is working to enhance guidance and tools to enable the better understanding and application of principles and practices that promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. This work will map the challenges and barriers faced by people with disabilities along with existing work done by UNHCR and other humanitarian actors to develop practical tools and guidance that country teams can use to adapt, contextualize, and co-create materials and strategies that consider a diversity of disabilities. This will not only help UNHCR enhance their own materials and approaches, but also its ability to support implementing partners and government counterparts to do the same.
The objectives of this consultancy are:
· Identify most common challenges faced by country teams and their partners to develop accessible tools and carry out participatory activities for people living with disabilities.
· Map various barriers that persons with different types of disabilities face, and the most efficient ways of mitigating these barriers (through both broad accessibility measure, using Universal Design principles and dedicated adjustments) so that communication materials, feedback mechanisms and participatory approaches are accessible to different groups.
· Identify promising digital and analogue practices and existing tools that can be built on, contextualized and improved.
· Building on previous work, develop a suite of tools and guidance that country teams can readily use to enhance the accessibility of initiatives across the components of Accountability to Affected People.
Duties and responsibilities
• Conduct a desk review of challenges faced by UNHCR country teams in Asia and the Pacific operations and their partners in ensuring the accessibility of community engagement activities and strategies for forcibly displaced women, girls, boys and men.
• Liaise with relevant UNHCR staff members in the operations, Regional Bureau of Asia and the Pacific and HQ to map the barriers faced by people with different types of disabilities
• If possible, use participatory approaches to engage displaced people with disabilities to inform the mapping and review of challenges and barriers
• Engage with civil society organizations, government actors, academics or other specialists in accessibility and inclusion or related fields to further inform the mapping and identification of barriers, as well as identifying potential synergies with relevant actors
• Review existing pieces of work by UNHCR and other humanitarian actors to identify an effective suite of tools to develop that will provide guidance and practical tools for teams to operationalize
• Incorporate feedback and questions from UNHCR staff members in the operational and Regional Bureau to finalize deliverables.
• Short report with recommendations based on desk review and interviews
• Participatory methodology toolkit for creating information and communication materials in partnership with people with disabilities
• Building on previous work, develop/ adapt a short guide on making participatory approaches to community engagement accessible to people living with disabilities
• Templates for information materials accessible for people with different access needs
• Infographic of different disabilities and key considerations/ top tips on how to ensure approaches are inclusive for them
• Do’s and Don’ts list for the development of information and communication materials and strategies that ensure inclusion of people with disabilities
Note: These are the initial expectations. It is foreseen that the final list of outputs will be agreed during implementation of the project based on initial findings of the review of existing materials and challenges and recommendations from the person or partner engaged to complete the work.
Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required
· University level qualifications Bachelor’s (essential) or master’s degree (desired) in a relevant area including but not limited to international development, refugee or humanitarian law, humanities etc.
· Demonstrates minimum 8 years of experience in understanding accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities. Specific experience with forcibly displaced communities highly desirable.
· Demonstrated experience in undertaking research projects similar in nature and level of complexity.
· Experience working for a UN agency or international organization, with a focus on aid and development issues.
· Knowledge of the humanitarian landscape in Asia and the Pacific; exposure to the work done with refugees, migrants, and other displaced populations in the region is an advantage.
· Experience in analyzing and developing participatory approaches, community engagement strategies and community consultations.
· Previous experience developing practical tools and guidance on accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities.
· Fluency in English (required)
· Fluency in another key language within the countries covered by UNHCR’s Asia and the Pacific region an asset
· Highly organized and autonomous, able to multitask and prioritize workload when necessary.
· Excellent writing and documentation skills, demonstrating high levels of attention to detail.
· Strong time management skills, including the ability to work quickly and to meet deadlines.
· Ability to work as a team, including remotely.
· Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including across cultural contexts.
· Works well in a multicultural team and has a strong work ethic; strives to deliver high-quality, error-free deliverables potentially targeting different types of users e.g., senior management, fundraising specialists and database managers.
The consultant will be home based, preferably within the Asia and the Pacific region. The consultant should be available for conference calls with UNHCR’s regional bureau office in Bangkok, offices in Asia and the Pacific ranging from Iran Standard time to Australian Eastern Standard time, and occasionally with HQ colleagues in Central Europe Time Zones.