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International Consultant to Conduct Action Learning on Adaptive Programming: Improve the Capacity of UNDP Cambodia to Identify New Signals and Design Solutions for Complex Development Challenges Managing Uncertainties

Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Outer space and satellite technology
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Closing Date: 2021-12-12

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Before the start of the pandemic, while making positive progress on several human development indicators, Cambodia was facing several challenges which have been exacerbated by the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. These include growing inequality – income disparity, regional disparity between the urban population and the rural poor, and gender disparity. Youth, defined as an age group between 15 and 30 years old, makes up over 60 percent of the population, but many lack required skills for the job market and a large proportion are under- or unemployed.


With the onset of the pandemic, Cambodia is facing crippling socio-economic consequences. There has been significant loss of household income due to shrinking economy and lockdowns leaving families with limited capacities to access health, nutrition, and education . Curfews and lockdown measures have had a direct impact on food security and nutrition at the household level. Like many other countries, Cambodia is possibly witnessing a rise in sexual and gender-based violence affecting women and girls. For the first time since the civil war, both GDP and Human Development are negative, the opportunity to create a more inclusive, green, and resilient recovery has never been more important.


UNDP Cambodia with the government, UN agencies and other development partners, rolled out within a short space of time numerous initiatives to support the Royal Government of Cambodia’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, including (1) Conducting critical macroeconomic modelling for informed decision-making on social protection and stimulus packages, (2) Supporting the Government to build and roll out its first social assistance cash transfer system for all Cambodians living below the national poverty line, (3) Providing digital solutions for businesses and smallholder farmers, (4) Developing sanitary protocols to reduce risks in border areas kept open for trade between Cambodia and its neighbouring countries, 5) Producing social media content addressing sanitary behaviour and risk mitigation, countering domestic violence and mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic, and 6) Procuring more than $5 million worth of critical emergency medical equipment at the request of the Ministry of Health, financed from concessional loans and grants from the World Bank.


Given uncertainties and complexities brought about by the pandemic, the country office applied an adaptive programming approach to adjust to the changing context and emerging priorities associated with COVID response. This assignment will focus on the application of adaptive programming and will serve as input for the Asia - Pacific initiative “Capacity for Experience Sharing Initiative” (CESI) and generates best practices and lessons learned to inform the implementation of the remaining period of the UNDP Cambodia Country Programme 2019-23 and the strategy for the new country programme cycle. The deliverable will also serve as inputs to the Country Programme Sensemaking exercise.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the guidance of the Resident Representative, the Consultant will work closely with the Deputy Resident Representative, and Policy, Programme and Results-Based-Management (RBM) teams, who will provide input and review deliverables, to apply an action learning approach for analysing the adaptive programming approach applied during the pandemic, namely, reviewing the problem-solving process(es) and the authorizing environment, reflecting on actions taken and results, and codifying the adaptive programming approach for knowledge transfer and replication. The consultant will work closely with RIC, Country GPN focal point and Country Desk support to seek regional support where required.

The deliverables include a summary PowerPoint and a succinct narrative report including as a minimum the following sections:  Executive summary, bibliographical review, methodology, observations and findings, recommendations, and annexes. The action learning is expected to:

1.     Identify and assess the tools and processes that the CO used to identify signals and new ‘normals’ that informed conceptualization and execution of the adaptive response, factoring complexities and uncertainties. (What were the signals? How were they picked up and incorporated in the design? Did they change during implementation? How were adjustments made?)

2.     Critically analyse new ways of working across the different teams and thematic expertise for the definition and delivery of results (Collaborative work, collective intelligence, co-creation?).

3.     Critically assess the role of the CO Accelerator Lab and its contribution to introducing new tools to leverage collective thinking and analysis, and collaborative approaches for horizon scanning, sensemaking identification and experimentation, new data sources, solution mapping and facilitation of scaling up, and collective learning.

4.     Assess the authorizing environment in terms of fast-track operational and programming processes, partnerships, and flexible accountability system (Results-Based Management? Other? How was progress assessed? How did the CO balance transparency-accountability-flexibility-nimbleness?).

5.     Codify the experience, draw key lessons and recommendations for strengthening CO’s design capacity and adaptive programming, innovation, and risk management in an everchanging complex context.


The consultant is expected to use a variety of approaches ranging, for illustration, from desk review of bibliography and documentation, bilateral interviews, and focus groups.


Corporate competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards. 

  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.

  • Fulfils all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree (Masters or higher) in political science, anthropology, social sciences, development studies, economics, management, or related field.


•      At Least 7 years of progressive relevant experience conducting action learning and action research, systems thinking, innovative approaches to programming, adaptive management, or other areas relevant to scope of TOR.

•      Excellent technical skills and rigorous analysis of contemporary development context and complexities.

•      Previous experience with UN/ UNDP or other development actors producing reports or other documents that are structured and succinct.

•      Previous experience in the social, political, and economic situation in Asia, and particularly in Cambodia is an asset.

•      Experience of working with UNDP Country Office, governments and/or other development partners.

Language Requirement:

  • Excellent written and spoken English.


Interested offeror must read the Individual Consultant (IC) Procurement Notice, which can be viewed at more detail information about term of references, instructions to offeror, and to download the documents to be submitted in the offer through online.

UNDP reserves right to reject any applications that is incomplete.

Please be informed that we don’t accept application submitted via email.

Interested Offerors are required to submit application via UNDP jobsite system as the application screening and evaluation will be done through UNDP jobsite system. Please note that UNDP jobsite system allows only one uploading of application document, so please make sure that you merge all your documents into a single file. Your online applications submission will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an email acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please resubmit the application, if necessary. Please combine all your documents into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows to upload maximum one document.

For purposes of generating Offers whose contents are uniformly presented and to facilitate their comparative analysis, potential consultants are requested to submit the Offer which include the following:

  1. Duly accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP;

  2. Personal CV, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references;

  3. Brief description of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, and a methodology, if applicable, on how they will approach and complete the assignment. A methodology is recommended for intellectual services, but may be omitted for support services [Note: this is optional for support services];  

  4. Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template provided.  If an Offeror is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNDP under Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the Offeror must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP. 

Any request for clarification/additional information on this procurement notice shall be communicated in writing to UNDP office or send to email [email protected] and cc [email protected] . While the Procurement Unit would endeavor to provide information expeditiously, only requests receiving at least 3 working days prior to the submission deadline will be entertained. Any delay in providing such information will not be considered as a reason for extending the submission deadline. The UNDP's response (including an explanation of the query but without identifying the source of inquiry) will be posted in Individual Consultant (IC) Procurement Notice page as provided above. Therefore, all prospective Offerors are advised to visit the page regularly to make obtain update related to this Individual Consultant (IC).

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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