Consultant to Conduct a Scoping Study on ‘Promoting Gender Responsiveness in Local Governance through Convergence’ (Open to Indian Nationals Only)

Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Home Based, INDIA
Application Deadline :29-May-16 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Gender Equality
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :3 Months (45 working days)
Expected Duration of Assignment :3 Months (45 working days)


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.  Within the overall context of UN Women’s Strategic Plan, UN Women is implementing a three-year programme on “Gender-responsive governance leading to better outcomes for women based on improved access to their rights and entitlements”.

Phase I of the Governance Programme (2011-2014) was a demand-driven programme, largely focussing on increased participation at the grassroots level, building the capacities of individual duty bearers including Elected Women Representatives.  The second phase of the programme (2015-2018) aims to build a body of evidence to inform and enhance the capacity of governance institutions to better respond to the real opportunities for gender equality and women’s empowerment that have been created through progressive legislation, policies and programmes. These enhanced governance capacities should lead to better outcomes for women. Mainstreaming gender into national and state level priorities to ensure greater transparency and accountability will be transformational for institutions. Here, it is vital to understand that institutions require transformation because they govern patterns of exchange that determine who has power and voice. This implies looking at where power, wealth, knowledge, capacities and rights intersect and aligning them with principles of equality.

The programme will therefore support central governments of India and Bhutan and at the state level in India, to strengthen the capacities of governance institutions to better leverage opportunities created for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through legislation, policies and programmes.

The focus of the programme is to:

  • Develop a body of evidence to inform and enhance the capacity of governance institutions to leverage opportunities created through legislation, policies and programmes;
  • Pilot test gender responsive implementation of flagship schemes to inform policy change on mainstreaming gender issues;
  • Strengthen the capacity of national and state level government institutions to deliver on international and national commitments on women’s rights and gender equality.

The outcomes for the three-years project (2015 – 2018) are:

  • Outcome 1: Enhanced accountability and transparency of governance institutions to ensure gender responsive design and
  • implementation of legislation, policies and programmes;
  • Outcome 2: Strengthened implementation of Normative Frameworks for gender equality at the international, national and subnational levels thereby enhancing government accountability.

Decentralized Governance: Key Issues & Challenges

Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are envisaged to play a pivotal role in improving service delivery in keeping with their constitutional mandate of economic development and social justice. Strong PRIs help in enabling greater decentralization, increasing the involvement of communities in planning and implementing schemes, thereby, increasing accountability towards achieving desired outcomes including of gender equality and social justice. 

Over the years, the mandatory provisions of the Constitution have by and large, been implemented by all the State Governments. However, the progress made is uneven as regards devolution of functions, funds and functionaries to the Panchayats, in a sense impeding them from fully evolving into institutions of self-governance with the necessary capacity to formulate and implement programmes for economic development and social justice.

The Government of India has designed a number of important schemes, with large outlays in sectors which fall within the purview of local governments. Several evaluation studies have highlighted gaps in the delivery and implementation of these developmental programmes, including lack of transparency, lack of coordination among agencies, non-participation of the target groups in planning and execution, and top-down/ non-participatory planning approaches.

It is imperative thus to recognize the centrality of Panchayats to the design and delivery of public services, and thereby apply the principle of subsidiarity in practice.  This requires adequate modifications in the guidelines, structure of planning, mode of financing and implementation of such programmes and schemes. It further necessitates the development of effective channels for   coordination between designate planning bodies and parallel entities created for local governance. In any given gram panchayat there may be as many as ten parallel bodies comprising stakeholders’ committees, user groups, self-help groups etc. Some have statutory backing like Water Users Associations (WUA), School Educating Committees (SEC); some are created by Government Orders and some registered under society’s act. There is a strong need thus to understand the dynamics between these parallel bodies and the Panchayat Raj Institutions, to assess the nature and quality of local governance.

In this context, an important strategy endorsed by the Government of India is inter-sectoral convergence. There is now substantial evidence to suggest that access to services and entitlements is greatly enhanced through improved convergence between parallel bodies and PRIs.

Inter-sectoral Convergence: Experiences thus far

The concept of convergence now accepted in the country's policymaking started as a paragraph in the Tenth Plan document. It translated into a complete chapter in the Eleventh Plan which emphasised the feasibility of adopting the convergence approach for optimum utilization of resources and finances. The Twelfth Plan (2012-2017) further emphasized the desirability of merging Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). It highlighted the need to adopt a multi-sectoral developmental strategy that would facilitate optimization of benefits, minimizing duplication of efforts and improved access to information and services. Subsequently the strategy of convergence, was incorporated across sectors. For example, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) added specific directions for convergence between the programmes of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) and those of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD). Similarly, the Mission for Agriculture Growth adopted the convergence approach to meet its target to increase productivity. In the last few years, many state governments have also strengthened convergence across major schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) to promote the creation of sustainable assets.

Equally critical, has been attempts by some central ministries and line departments of state governments to employ strategies of inter-sectoral convergence to mainstream gender in domains such as rural development, urban infrastructure, water and sanitation, and food security and nutrition to achieve gender equality outcomes. It is well established the gender differentials in human development remain significantly high, and therefore the Government’s ongoing efforts to centre-stage gender concerns in programme implementation is extremely critical.  Among the noteworthy steps taken by the Government, is the establishment of the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) with a mandate to strengthen the inter-sectoral convergence; facilitate the process of coordinating all the women’s welfare and socio-economic development programmes across ministries and departments.  The Mission aims to provide a single window service for all programmes run by the Government for women under the aegis of various Central Ministries. Under this umbrella, national and state level resource centres for women have been set up. These are supposed to acts as a repository of knowledge, information, research and data on all gender related issues. At the grassroots level, Poorna Shakti Kendra (PSK) act as the focal point of action on the ground through which the services to grassroots women is facilitated.

Strengthening Convergence at the PRI Level for Gender Equitable Outcomes

It is evident that several significant efforts to promote inter-sectoral convergence have been made. However, there is limited information on how these different models have worked on the ground, especially with regard to benefiting the most marginalised groups including women. This assumes added significance in the current context wherein the Government has accepted the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission to award Rs. 200,292.2 crores to Panchayats for 2015-2020, which is more than three times the grant of the 13th Finance Commission.

Given their Constitutional mandate, Gram Panchayats will develop participatory plans involving the community, particularly the Gram Sabha, in the formulation of priorities and projects on social justice and economic development. The 14th Finance Commission has created an enormous opportunity for this decentralised local governance at the cutting edge institutional level of the Gram Panchayat. There are existing sources of funds for panchayats such as MGNREGS which is also expected to provide up to Rs 1.5 lakh Crore to Rs 2 lakh Crore to GPs over 5 years. There are also sources of funds like the SFC grants, Own source revenue and states’ schemes funds. One of the basic prerequisites for management of funds of this is to have a cogent development plan at the GP level that is participatory, involving the community, particularly the gram sabha, in the formulation of priorities and projects.

To support this process, Ministry of Panchayati Raj has initiated the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) exercise with a clear focus on addressing vulnerabilities of poor and marginalized people and their livelihood opportunities. GPDP is therefore aimed at developing a comprehensive plan for the development of the village panchayat with a focus on:

  • Improving the basic amenities of the village panchayat. This includes sanitation, connectivity, drinking water, storm water drainage, burial grounds, etc.;
  • Improving standard of living of the poor families in the panchayat;
  • Eradication of absolute and relative poverty through convergence.
  • Prevention and control of communicable diseases with support from health department;
  • Providing social security for all sections of marginalised community;
  • Effective management of natural resources and sustainable development of livelihood;
  • Conserving soil and water;
  • Ensuring cent enrolment in schools;
  • Ensuring gender equality and equity in all aspects of development;
  • Development of governing capability of the village panchayat;
  • Strengthening the Gram Sabha and improving the quality of Gram Sabha.

There are different programmes and schemes aimed at achieving the above mentioned objectives. These programmes and schemes are being implemented in Panchayats by different departments and agencies. GPDP is aimed at strengthening the panchayat as a platform that effectively integrates and converges various developmental activities. As mentioned ‘gender equality and equity’ has been identified as a focus area under GPDP; and the expected fund flow from the Centre and the states to the gram panchayats provides an enormous opportunity for gender responsive governance at the cutting edge level of the gram panchayats.

UN Women is seeking the services of a consultant to conduct a scoping study of existing convergence initiatives at the PRI level. The focus will be on assessing their strengths/limitations with regard to mainstreaming gender issues in local governance. The project location will be in 3 select states out of the 6 program focus states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana.

The objectives of the study will be:  

Document existing models of convergence (issue based/sectoral) at different levels of governance with an emphasis on:

  • What type of convergence (fund, institutional technical expertise, social mobilisation) has been attempted?
  • How participatory were the processes adopted specifically with regard to participation of women from the most marginalised groups?
  • Whether PRIs or local bodies, in particular, were involved in the planning and implementation of convergence initiatives?

Conduct a comprehensive analysis of select convergence models with regard to their potential for mainstreaming gender issues in local governance:

  • What is the existing institutional capacity of these models (financial, technical, human resources) etc.?
  • What is the existing/potential scope for gender mainstreaming?
  • Are there capacity gaps for convergence and inclusion of key stakeholders especially women from the most marginalised groups?

Document best practices/innovative models and establish the potential for replication/upscaling to contribute towards gender-equitable outcomes:

  • What if any would be the possible strategies for strengthening the existing convergence infrastructure for gender equitable outcomes at the local level?

Duties and Responsibilities

The consultant will work under the guidance and direct supervision of the National Programme Specialist – Governance Programme. Specifically, the consultant will undertake the following tasks: 

  • Undertake secondary review of literature on convergence models/initiatives (at the national/sub-national and local level);
  • Undertake a field based study of select models (after establishing a clear selection criteria) in 3 programme states to gather qualitative information;
  • Prepare a report & strategy paper on ‘Promoting Gender responsiveness  in local governance through convergence’ with clear recommendations;
  • Participate in a policy consultation to discuss field findings and recommendations with stakeholders, policy makers, practitioners, government partners, and academia;
  • Finalize report and strategy paper based on inputs received from key stakeholders;
  • Develop a dissemination plan for the study.


  • Work Plan (15%);
  • Report on ‘Promoting Gender Responsiveness in Local Governance through Convergence' (30%);
  • A Strategy Paper with Clear Recommendations (35%);
  • Dissemination Plan (20%).


Core Values / Guiding Principles:


  • Demonstrate consistency in upholding and promoting the values of UN Women in actions and decisions, in line with the UN Code of Conduct.


  • Demonstrate professional competence and expert knowledge of the pertinent substantive areas of work.

Cultural sensitivity and valuing diversity:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the multicultural nature of the organization and the diversity of its staff. Demonstrate an international outlook, appreciating difference in values and learning from cultural diversity.

Core Competencies:

Ethics and Values:

  • Demonstrate and safeguard ethics and integrity.

Organizational Awareness:

  • Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment.

Work in teams:

  • Demonstrate ability to work in a multicultural, multi ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.

Communicating and Information Sharing:

  • Facilitate and encourage open communication and strive for effective communication.

Self-management and Emotional Intelligence:

  • Stay composed and positive even in difficult moments, handle tense situations with diplomacy and tact, and have a consistent behaviour towards others.

Conflict Management:

  • Surface conflicts and address them proactively acknowledging different feelings and views and directing energy towards a mutually acceptable solution.

Continuous Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

  • Encourage learning and sharing of knowledge.

Functional Competencies:

  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates good oral and written communication skills;
  • Focuses on impact and result for the partners and responds positively to feedback.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Masters degree in Gender Studies, International Development, Economics, Social Sciences or any other relevant qualification.


  • Minimum 10 years of experience working on issues of gender equality, women’s rights and public policy;
  • Familiarity with the issues of gender and local governance in India;
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills in English;
  • Ability to work independently and with minimal supervision.


  • Fluency in English and working knowledge of Hindi.


Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications in one single PDF document:

  • All applications must include (as an attachment) the completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from;
  • Cover letter indicating earliest available date;
  • Technical Proposal as mentioned below;
  • Financial proposal must indicate the length of the time requirement, and daily rate amount as well as the breakdown in travel expenses;
  • Kindly note that the system will only allow one attachment, please combine all your documents into one (1) single PDF document. Applications without the completed UN Women P-11 form will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment;
  • Applications received after the close date will not be accepted;
  • Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Guidelines for the Submission of Proposals: Format of Proposal - Given the attached Terms of Reference, the proposal should contain, at a minimum, the following: proposed methodology, geographical scope within India, expected results and budget including consultancy cost, any required travel and communication costs (with clear linkages to the methodology being proposed to justify the cost).

Evaluation and Selection of Proposals : Criteria for selection: Proposal will be selected on the basis of technical (80%) and financial (20%) assessments.

The assessment will review the following:

Technical Review:

  • General Qualification (10 points);
  • Experience relevant to the assignment (20 points);
  • Proposed Methodology (50 points).

Financial Review :

  • Financial proposal (20 points).

The financial offer will be required at a later stage once the evaluation of the technical proposal is complete. The individuals who achieve the maximum score in technical evaluation will be requested to provide the financial proposal. Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 70% in the technical evaluation will be considered for the financial evaluation. 


In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system (DAW, OSAGI, INSTRAW and UNIFEM), which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme