Reconciliation in Western Balkans has stalled and is being superseded by mounting ethnic divisions and polarization in the region, pointing specifically to denial of the past inflammatory discourse and ethnic segregation in education. Assuming that the (re)establishment of economic and social ties would suffice for the (re)building of relationships between formerly conflicted parties in the post-Yugoslav space is mistaken. With the recent history of massive and widespread human rights violations, it will only be the proper outcomes of the transitional justice mechanisms coupled with peace and dialogue that can substantially contribute to progress in reconciliation.
The UN supports the improved social cohesion and reconciliation across the Western Balkans. The project aims to achieve this goal through providing support to RYCO, as a mechanism, which is endorsed by governments and citizens alike. The project will support RYCO to work in partnership with civil society, education systems and schools, grass roots, youth institutions and youth in general for the consolidation of RYCO as a regionally owned mechanism with the capacity to promote reconciliation, mobility, diversity, democratic values, participation, active citizenship and intercultural learning. The expected outcome of this project is: Social Cohesion and Reconciliation – as measured by increasing embracing of diversity, attitudes of tolerance and reduced prejudice and discrimination by youth – is enhanced across the Western Balkans.
To achieve its outcome, the project will target youth, youth organizations and schools in WB as well as RYCO and will be achieved through the implementation of diverse activities along three main outputs:
Output 1: Capacities of schools to access and use RYCOs resources to undertake intercultural dialogue in the WB6 will be strengthened. The project will contribute towards enhancing the regional cooperation among youth institutions (mainly schools) and increase the introduction and use of topics on intercultural learning such as peace building and conflict resolution. The project will enable sharing of best practices on inclusive education and peace building transformative pedagogies, facilitates school exchanges and increase the capacities of schools to embrace the above principles.
Output 2: Capacities of youth groups and grassroots organizations to access and use RYCOs resources to engage in peacebuilding and social cohesion activities in the WB6 will be strengthened. Also, RYCO will be supported to increase its reach out to grassroots organizations and youth in the region, and to ensure that young people with fewest opportunities have access and participate in reconciliation processes and benefit from opportunities provided by RYCO. Empowerment of young girls will have a special focus in the activities under this component. The long effects of sexual and gender-based violence, during and after the conflict can have lasting and harmful effects. It can dissuade young girls from attending schools and not participate fully in the life of the communities. The project will enhance the important role that young women should adopt in the peacebuilding process including empowering young girls to equally participate in peace building and become decision makers and actors in all areas. The project activities will also sensitize young male actors in accepting girls as equal partners in peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes. Mainstreaming gender in trainings conducted by the project will include among other topics, codes of conduct and response to Gender Biased Violence. Promoting tolerance and understanding within and out of marginalized groups through communication channels will help address the conflict-related issues that these groups face as a result of the tensions in society, which add up to their unfavorable discriminatory situation. It will also contribute to increasing tolerance towards groups/ethnicities seen as different further away, and thereby, contribute to peace and reconciliation.
Output 3: RYCOs capacities to enhance sustainable regional cooperation, peacebuilding and reconciliation amongst youth, through its small grants’ facility will be strengthened. Being a new institution and operating in a volatile environment, RYCO will be supported to strengthen its internal capacities and systems and will be enabled to achieve its mission. Considering that one of RYCO’s main tools to achieve its mission is through financial support to regional projects and initiatives, its grant facility system will be upgraded and strengthened through a tailor-made approach. RYCO will be equipped with effective tools to Monitoring and Evaluation, making it possible for it to measure the impact of its interventions. Finally, RYCO will be supported with an increase of human resources, especially in view of its Monitoring and Evaluation.
Output 4: Opportunities for youth from diverse backgrounds to identify common peace and security priorities and enter in constructive dialogue with their peers across divides will be created, confidence in and dialogue with decision-makers will be enhanced, and youth capacities to become actors for change will be strengthened. Under this heading, the project will conduct youth-led action research and make available regionally comparable, youth-focused conflict analysis and evidence base on youth perceptions on sustaining peace, as well as trainings on peacebuilding, leadership and advocacy and national and regional policy consultations. Moreover, RYCO, PBF projects and other peacebuilding actors’ evidence-base to engage young women and young men from diverse backgrounds to advocate for peace and social cohesion and participate in policy dialogues will be enhanced.
 Defined for the purposes of this intervention within the scope of adolescents (14-18 y/a) and youth (18-30 y/a), in accordance with UNICEF standards and official youth strategies of the participating countries.
Duties and Responsibilities
Scope of the assignment
RYCO’s main tool to achieve its mission is provision of financial support to regional projects and initiatives. To date, RYCO office has launched three Call for Proposals (CfP) for applicants in WB6 covering Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro and Serbia). Under its second CfP, RYCO has selected 41 Grant Beneficiaries (GB) which are provided small to medium scale grants, of which in Albania 7 GBs, in BiH 6 GBs, in Kosovo 4 GBs, in North Macedonia 7 GBs, in Montenegro 3 GBs and in Serbia 14 GBs. RYCOs sub granting scheme, under the second CfP is co-funded by UNDP. Partnership composition of the GBs is in the forms of consortiums of CSOs and high schools, which are implementing 3-9 months’ regional projects. Following the signature of the contracts, RYCO is disbursing funds to the GBs, in the form of installments, to support the implementation of all the foreseen project activities. Given that not all the selected GBs are strong financial entities, UNDP Albania, in cooperation with RYCO, will conduct spot checks to GBs. The conduct of the spot checks is one of the monitoring mechanisms employed by UN agencies. Spot Checks are not auditing visits, instead, they aim to balance between the financial monitoring and support provided to the GBs, so they can comply with the contractual obligation between GB and RYCO. For this purpose, UNDP is looking to engage on expert to conduct two spot check visits in each of the RYCO GBs who are implementing their projects in North Macedonia.
The expert will work in close collaboration with the RYCO (the Head Office and the respective Local Branch Office (LBO)) and under the direct supervision of the UNDP Project Coordinator and in close cooperation with RYCO Project Leader. The expert will be responsible to build on the previous experience of UNDP for spot checks by adjusting it to the RYCO current experience and M&E framework.
The expert will conduct spot check visits on the ground, accompanied and in cooperation with RYCO team, primarily with LBO staff responsible for the specific GBs visited, and if possible, by RYCO HO staff.
The Grant Monitoring Expert, based on the information provided by UNDP and RYCO (HO and LBO) will be responsible for the following:
- Reviewing the existing documents on RYCO’s financial monitoring and providing additional documents in regard to financial and administrative monitoring of the grant beneficiaries, concerning CSOs and high schools and applicable national legislation;
- Conduct 2 spot checks in each of the GBs in the respective contracting parties (one preventative visit and one visit during project implementation);
- Conduct two days training on the spot check methodology and the relevant domestic legislation for RYCO staff members in LBO and relevant ones in HO.
Support RYCO LBO staff through on the job and formal training during preparation and implementation of the spot checks, and more specifically:
Support RYCO LBO staff in drafting the on the spot check visits plans for grant beneficiaries. Grant
- Support RYCO LBO staff through on the job and formal training during the preparation and implementation of the grants monitoring methodology, including financial monitoring, with a special focus on increasing their knowledge on the respective local legislation requirements.
- Provide support to RYCO for writing reports on the outcomes of each spot check visit, by indicating whether the grant beneficiary is on track with the implementation plan, the need for capacity building (if relevant), highlighting issues of concern, and the relevant recommendations for future use.
In more specific the spot check visits to the GB need to consider on the following tasks:
- Check the GBs internal financial control system is in place and reflects the GB’s capacity to implement the project;
- Provide recommendations to the GB and support them to understand and operationalize the recommendations provided;
- Undertake follow up visit to the GB premises and inquire whether there have been any changes to internal controls since the previous on-the-spot check visit. Document the changes identified, if any;
- Check whether the list of project activities and the respective expenditures are carried out line with the approved project activity plan and as per the timelines;
- Check whether the documentation exists to support the expenditures in accordance with the contractual obligations, Guidelines for Beneficiaries and national legislation. If issues are identified in this regard, the expert will provide recommendations as well as on the site support how to collect correctly and maintain the documentation;
- Check whether the expenditures have been reviewed and approved in accordance with the Guidelines for Beneficiaries and national legislation. Check whether the expenditure was reflected on the financial report submitted to the RYCO;
- Check whether the expenditures were reflected in the GB’s accounting record (official book of accounts) and bank statement;
- Check whether the supporting documents are stamped “PAID by RYCO resources’ (or coded to and recorded separately from those of other donors), to ensure there is no duplicate claiming of expenditures to RYCO, indicating which donor funded the transaction;
- Check whether the financial report was submitted according to requirements as indicated in the contract with the donor (RYCO);
- Check whether the price paid for goods or services complies with the United Nations and RYCO agreed standard rates;
If separate bank accounts are opened for RYCO granted funds, perform the following procedures:
- Check whether the financial activity as per the bank statements, is reflected in the accounting records. Document any variances noted;
- Confirm that a bank reconciliation was completed, and the balance has been reconciled to the accounting records. Document any variances noted.
UNDP and RYCO (HO and LBO) will provide to the Expert:
- The relevant reference documents for RYCO’s Grant management and financial reporting, to serve the expert for better understanding of RYCO granting processes and requirements from the beneficiaries:
- The relevant methodology and tools used so far, to serve as documents for the expert to use for the-spot checks;
- All the necessary information about GB project, work plan and if relevant, any progress reports submitted during the contracting period;
- Share the budgets of all implementing partners that will be part of the-spot checks visits.
- Arrange the dates and time for the visits and inform the service provider
- Complementary documents for RYCO’s existing spot check tools and methodology;
- Reports of 2 spot check visits to each GB in the respective contracting party of RYCO as per the timeline agreed with the contractor and RYCO;
- Spot check reports indicating whether the GB is on track with the implementation plan and financially compliant with contractual obligations and national legislation; the need for capacity building (if relevant), highlight issues of concern, and the relevant recommendations for future use
- Final report, for all spot checks conducting, highlighting, among others, the important findings and recommendations of the spot checks conducted during the contractual period.
- The final report shall also include an annex with the domestic legal framework relevant for sport checks and short way of application from the side of RYCO LBO and HO staff;
 For the UN, all references to Kosovo shall be understood in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999). For RYCO, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with Security Council Resolution 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
- Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
- Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
- 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;
- Strong interpersonal skills, communication and diplomatic skills, ability to work in team;
- Strong analytical, reporting and writing abilities;
- Strong organizational, coordination and time management skills;
- Ability to organize tasks independently and assume responsibility;
- Openness to change and ability to receive/integrate feedback;
- Ability to work in a team and communicate well;
- Ability to work under pressure and tight deadlines.
Required Skills and Experience
- University degree in any of the following: Accounting, Finance, Economics, Public Administration.
- At least 5 years of experience in dealing with granting, monitoring, budget issues, auditing and managing financial records, in financial monitoring and overseeing implementation of grant schemes;
- Proven track record in overseeing implementation of Grant schemes of EU, UN donor funded projects. Expenditure verification experience would be considered as an asset;
- Grantmaking or grant monitoring experience preferably with middle sized CSOs and high schools;
- Sound knowledge of national legislation relevant to the spot check methodology that will be used, especially for high schools;
- Past experience in working with UN/UNDP and/or RYCO will be considered an asset.
- Excellent communication and report-writing skills in English and in the official language of the contracting party.
UNDP applies a fair and transparent selection process that would take into account both the technical qualification of Individual Consultants as well as their financial proposals. The contract will be awarded to the candidate whose offer:
Technical Criteria - 70% of total evaluation – max points: 70
Financial Criteria - 30% of total evaluation – max points: 30
Interested applicants are advised to carefully study all sections of this ToRs and ensure that they meet the general requirements as well as specific qualifications described. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please make sure you have provided all requested materials.
The application should contain:
*Kindly note that Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability and Financial Proposal are two separate documents and should be both part of your application.
How to Submit the Application:
To submit your application online, please follow the steps below:
Due to large number of applications we receive, we are able to inform only the successful candidates about the outcome or status of the selection process.
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.