Terms of Reference for the National Assessments on the Impact of COVID 19 on the Rights and Welfare of Children with Disabilities in Africa
Background and Justification
The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) is a not-for-profit- regional umbrella organization that brings together 46 National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Africa. It provides capacity building, facilitates coordination and cooperation amongst NHRIs by linking them with other key human rights actors at the regional and international levels. The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child draws its mandate from articles 32-46 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The functions of the Committee include: To promote and protect the rights enshrined in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; to monitor the implementation and ensure protection of the rights enshrined in the Charter; to interpret the provisions of the present Charter at the request of a State Party, an Institution of the organization of African Unity or any other person or institution recognized by the organization of African Unity or any state party. Recognizing the complementary roles both institutions play in protecting and promoting the rights of children in Africa, NANHRI and ACERWC are working in synergy to carry out strategic advocacy in mobilizing the required level of political and social acceptance of the protection of children’s rights.
Disability coupled with underlying health conditions complicates and aggravates the vulnerability of children exposed to COVID-19. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights for instance reported that cases of violation of Persons with Disabilities rights between 15th March and 6th June 2020 consisted 3.6% of the total cases reported to the Commission.
In a Guiding Note on Children’s Rights during COVID-19 issued by ACERWC in April 2020, the Committee expressed its grave concern about the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on the overall rights and welfare of children in Africa, including vulnerable groups such as children with disabilities. With a view to count the cost on children and identify the practical steps which can be taken to mitigate the losses, ACERWC encouraged AU Member States to undertake a targeted national assessment on the outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact on the rights and welfare of children. The outcome of the assessment could also inform States’ intervention strategies in the post COVID-19 era towards the effective protection and promotion of the rights and welfare of children, including those with disabilities.
As the world and particularly Africa navigates the pandemic, nations are presented with an opportunity to focus on how children with disabilities should be included in all interventions to ensure better and robust protections of their rights, in addressing the inequities and disparities they face. Drawing on the African Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Agenda 2030, all relevant stakeholders have an obligation to take timely, strong, committed and actionable efforts to protect and promote the rights of children with disabilities, particularly now as Africa and the world is faced with the opportunity of building back better, post the pandemic.
Taking note of the devastating impacts of COVID 19 on the overall rights and welfare of children in Africa, particularly children with disabilities and with a view to count the effects of the pandemic on children with disabilities while taking practical steps to mitigate the losses, NANHRI would like to undertake a targeted national assessment on the outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact on the rights and welfare of children. NANHRI will work through select 5 of its National Human Rights Institutions to provide overall national assessments of the impact of COVID 19 on the rights and welfare of children with disabilities in Africa.
The national assessments will specifically seek to:
- Strengthen ACERWC’s capacity to operationalize the Strategy for promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of children with disabilities in Africa, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 by:
-Providing an overall assessment detailing how the rights of children with disabilities in Africa have been protected and (or) violated and neglected during the COVID 19 pandemic, detailing and bringing to light the areas that must be addressed.
-Gathering children centric disability data that can help devise recommendations and solutions to understand pre-existing gap areas and tailor responses to how State and non-state actors could tackle the current inequities faced by children with disabilities as revealed by the COVID 19 pandemic.
-Elaborating on existing (or lack of thereof) COVID 19 response strategies and complaints handling systems of the select 5 NHRIs, with a goal to ensure integration and strengthened focus on the rights of children with disabilities
- Enhance the capacity of African NHRIs to respond to the impact of COVID 19 on children with disabilities;
- Improve the effectiveness of African NHRIs contribution to the work of the ACERWC
It is intended that the data and information gathered in these national assessments will be generated by a mixed methods approach, utilizing both primary and secondary research assessment (consultant/s can also propose and justify a more appropriate methodology which can be reviewed and accepted). It is expected that the form of this assessment will be both qualitative and quantitative.
The stakeholders we intend to target for these assessments include: Children, their parents, guardians and caretakers, State institutions charged with the protection of children’s rights, National Human Rights, Disabled rights movements, organizations , and Institutions particularly children’s rights divisions.
The NHRIs chosen for this assessment include: The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, The Malawi Human Rights Commission, The National Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties of Niger and the National Commission for Human Rights of Rwanda.
The expected outputs of the assignment are:
Assessment reports on the impact of COVID 19 on the rights and welfare of children with disabilities, including a review of COVID-19 response strategies and complaints handling systems of 5 NHRIs to ensure integration and strengthened focus on the rights of children with disabilities.
The Consultant/s assume the responsibility of developing the following documents:
- Inception report outlining the research teams’ understanding of the assignment and the approach to be employed, including details of key issues to be included in the guidelines, and a list of any documentation, information and surveys required. The inception report will be discussed prior to the commencement of the assignment in an inception meeting.
- Questionnaire, interview questions and any other documents required to gather information from Member States and stakeholders.
III. Draft report of the findings of the assessments, which will be subjected to a validation process.
- The final findings of the assessment.
Proposal Evaluation Criteria
The consultants shall comply with child protection and child safeguarding policies and principles. Where necessary the consultant will be required to undergo an ethical clearance. ACERWC and NANHRI are committed to ensuring that the rights of those participating in data collection or analysis are respected and protected. All applicants should include details in their proposal on how they will ensure ethics and child protection in the data collection process. Specifically, the consultant(s) shall explain how appropriate, safe, non-discriminatory participation of all stakeholders will be ensured and how special attention will be paid to the needs of children and other vulnerable groups. The consultant(s) shall also explain how confidentiality and anonymity of participants will be guaranteed.
Required Professional qualification and Experience
- The consultant/s should have advanced university degrees in law, human rights, children’s rights, or related discipline.
- At least 10 years of traceable experience of working and/or conducting research, public health, policy development and review in the field of children’s rights and in particular the rights of children with disabilities in African countries;
-Demonstrated professional experience in the areas of international and regional human rights laws and instruments related to people /children with disabilities
- Excellent knowledge of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the work of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child;
- Demonstrated professional experience in the area of child protection particularly to vulnerable groups including children with disabilities in the African context;
- First-hand knowledge and experience of the cultural, social, economic and political context of Africa
- Work experience in the AU, UN, and other international organizations is desirable;
- Excellent analytical skills, using both qualitative and quantitative methods;
- Excellent and proven report writing skills;
- Ability to deliver quality product on time.
- Track record of successful completion of past assignments; and
- Willingness and flexibility specifically related to the probable effects of COVID-19 pandemic and work within the required deadline.
How to apply
Submission of Proposal
All applicants should submit technical and financial proposals to NANHRI email address email@example.com and copy firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org on or before 14 February 2022 1700hrs EAT.