Consultant to design, research and develop Accelerator Toolkit on Volunteering for the SDGs

Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Home-based with travel
Application Deadline :11-Feb-20 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :4 months


The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation.

The Plan of Action to Integrate Volunteering

In 2015 the UN General Assembly endorsed a Plan of Action to Integrate Volunteering into the 2030 Agenda, most recently re-confirmed under General Assembly Resolution 73/140 in December 2018.  Under this process, UN Member States, Private Sector, Civil Society, Academia and Stakeholders are working together to collate and share knowledge on volunteering for the SDGs.  A global technical meeting will be held in July 2020 at the High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs in New York, to present regional and country experiences on partnerships with volunteers under the 2030 Agenda. UNV hosts the Secretariat of the Plan of Action, co-leading the initiative with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The Plan of Action seeks to develop strategies, tools, generate data and evidence with the objective to advance the proposition that when deliberately planned and applied, volunteering can become a powerful means for implementing development plans, including the 2030 Agenda.

Volunteering for SDG Acceleration - the Acceleration Toolkit and Case Studies

2020 marks the beginning of a Decade of Action, in which governments, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders are working together to generate solutions and accelerate action to address systemic gaps in SDG implementation. Accelerating progress requires the ingenuity and deployment of all resources available as the world faces cross-cutting and critical challenges that threaten to derail progress. Already, the UN Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 notes that a number of SDGs and their targets remain off-track.

The annual report of the Committee for Development Policy, presented at the High-level Political Forum on the SDGs (July 2019), raised two major challenges to SDG progress: firstly, that inequality levels were ‘unacceptable and unsustainable’ and that ‘moving towards inclusiveness and inequality requires overturning processes that disempower people and communities’ and secondly,  that ‘climate change risks was a major factor in the disempowerment of communities’ and that ‘the combination of factors not only clashes with the ideal of social justice, equity and sustainability, but also fuels conflict and insecurity that can derail  the 2030 Agenda and SDG  implementation. Thus, overcoming these two underlying barriers to progress will define not only the success of the 2030 Agenda but also global, regional and national agendas in the decades to come.

The impact of SDGs implementation, and of failure to implement SDGs, will be felt especially by young people, women, minorities and people with disabilities; people who are often on the margins of development planning and decision-making. The interplay of severe inequalities, climate risk and vulnerability can easily derail all the efforts around the SDGs. The cumulative layers of exclusion often shape women and marginalized groups’ ability to respond and react to the challenges above – benefitting these groups first will help transform the systems and processes that are needed to tackle the challenges of the 21st Century.

Volunteering offers a tangible strategy for involving people in sustainable development, including through self-actualization, empowerment, connectivity and building shared solutions that can help address complexity, scale, and depth in the implementation of the SDGs. Around one billion people actively volunteer. However, volunteering is a complex phenomenon with diverse costs and benefits for people and groups, which can both reflect and challenge development disparities.

In this context, the development of a Volunteering for SDGs accelerator toolkit, and case studies, will provide practitioners with tools to address complex SDG-related problems, and to accelerate progress in achieving the SDGs.  The toolkit will explore and analyse the conditions under which the distinctive contributions of volunteering can be amplified as part of the Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  To do so, it will zoom in on the most complex problems such as climate change and inequality, now and in the future to understand the ways in which people-driven action can transform, disrupt, accelerate and ultimately ensure that goals and targets are met.   

The methodology for production of the toolkit will be to use in-depth original case study research to explore and analyse concrete ways in which volunteering approaches have supported acceleration of progress on SDGs, and solutions to SDG-related problems.  Together with existing research on the value of volunteering, these will be used to develop an ‘acceleration matrix’ for decision-makers. The SDG Volunteer Acceleration Toolkit will be a guidance resource – in the form of both an online tool and a printed manual allowing people with limited internet connectivity to access and use the toolkit.

Duties and Responsibilities


The Consultant will report to the Programme Specialist, Advisory Services (Regional Office Nairobi) and will be responsible for development of the analytical framework and research methodology based on review of existing evidence, as well as for conducting the original case study research and supporting the analysis for the toolkit. In terms of framework and final product, the Consultant will refer to other existing SDG acceleration tools and resources, particularly those produced by UNDP. 

The case studies will likely analyse existing volunteer approaches to unpack the factors that enabled these approaches to overcome bottlenecks, accelerate progress, scale solutions, and/or achieve synergies with other types of approach. They will identify the unique contribution of volunteering. The case studies will both inform and illustrate the types of volunteering approaches that are explored and promoted through the toolkit.

Description of deliverables and due dates:

1. Develop and present inception report with

- the research framework and methodology,

- case study identification proposal

- an outline of the structure and design of the Volunteer SDG accelerator toolkit.         

5 working days         - 6 March 2020

2. Conduct desk review/literature review to input to the research framework               

9 working days - 20 March 2020

3. Work with Task Team and other stakeholders (e.g. UN partners) to select the case studies showing diversity both in context/geography and type of volunteer engagement as well as ensuring data availability     

13 working days - 8 April 2020

4. Further development of the case study approach, tools, guidance and training of case study researchers    

3 working days         - 13 April 2020

5. Produce 4 in-depth and high-quality case studies in line with the research framework using secondary data, key documents (e.g. policies) stakeholder interviews, group discussions, programme documents (where relevant) and other agreed methods          

30 working days - 22 May 2020

6. Identify key acceleration factors building on the draft case studies as a basis for the toolkit/produce rough analysis and outline for the toolkit (Acceleration Matrix)       

5 working days         - 29 May 2020

7. Design and deliver an (online) event to convene task team and Plan of Action stakeholder half day meeting to review the Matrix and other major components of the toolkit             

4 working days         - 4 June2020

8. Write up and submit draft toolkit to UNV and task team including suggestions for design features and infographics              

6 working days         - 12 June 2020

9. Edit all case to a high standard both to be publishable as stand-alone pieces of work, but also to incorporate summaries in the toolkit itself           

3 working days         - 17 June 2020

10. Present final draft toolkit to UNV and partners     

2 working days         - 19 June 2020

11. Incorporate final feedback and submit final version           

4 working days         - 25 June 2020

12. Prepare for online version.  E.g. Record introductory video or other inputs for the online version explaining how to use the toolkit, especially for non UNV entities; liaise with infographic designer and ICT designers      

3 working days         - 30 June 2020

Total: 87 days           

Since the location(s) for case study research is yet to be confirmed, costs of travel should not be included in the proposal but will be covered separately by UNV. 

As per UNDP/UNV GTC for ICs, if the Individual Contractor requires the services of subcontractors to perform any obligations under the Contract, the Individual Contractor shall obtain the prior written approval of UNDP/UNV for any such subcontractors. UNDP/UNV may, in its sole discretion, reject any proposed subcontractor or require such subcontractor’s removal without having to give any justification therefore, and such rejection shall not entitle the Individual Contractor to claim any delays in the performance, or to assert any excuses for the non-performance, of any of his or her obligations under the Contract. The Individual Contractor shall be solely responsible for all services and obligations performed by his or her subcontractors. The terms of any subcontract shall be subject to, and shall be construed in a manner that is fully in accordance with, all of the terms and conditions of the Contract.

Expected duration of consultancy

The work is expected to be completed in no more than 87 working days over 4 months from the date of contract signature. The Consultant is required to prepare and submit the assignment to UNV and allow reflection before it is signed off at corporate level as per the timeline indicated above.

Duty station

This will be home-based assignment and the selected Consultant will perform the task and activities in their country of residence. They will be required to connect to meetings and to deliver presentations via Skype.  If travel is required for the case study research, costs will be covered separately by UNV. Travel time has been included in the above day allocations.


Corporate Competencies

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards, and those of the partner organizations,
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP/UNV, and partner organizations,
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability,

Functional Competencies:

  • Strong research, conceptualization, analysis and writing skills in relation to volunteering and civic engagement;
  • Ability to work independently but remain focused on the assignment and timeline management;
  • Willingness to develop/adapt processes and procedures to meet UNDP standards;
  • Development of manual and online tools;

Management and Leadership:

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

Required Skills and Experience


  • At least Master’s degree in social science, development studies, or related field.


  • Minimum 7 years demonstrated experience in developing high-profile, high-level guidance manuals, toolkits and publications;
  • Demonstrated track record in development of conceptual models or frameworks in the field of community development, social development and governance, based on substantive analysis and innovations;
  • Experience in presenting key messages using text and visuals, including development of manuals and infographics
  • Demonstrated knowledge and thinking on SDGs;
  • Knowledge of volunteering for development an advantage.
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal and coordination skills.
  • Ability to work under pressure and time constraints.


Excellent oral and written communication skills in English, knowledge of other UN languages is an advantage.


Criteria for Selection of the best Offer: 

The selection of the best offer will be based on the combined scoring method, where the qualifications and methodology will be weighted 70 percent, and then combined with the price offer, which will be weighted 30 percent. 

Key selection criteria are 

  • Proposed approach and methodology for the assignment (25%) 
  • Proven experience in quality research and publications on concepts and evidence on volunteering for development, community participation, active citizenship or related topic (25%) 
  • Proven ability to develop new conceptual models or frameworks based on substantive analysis and research (20%) 
  • Financial proposal (30%)

Application procedure 

Applicants have to provide a technical and financial proposal.

The technical proposal shall consist of: 

  • Motivation Letter describing their interest in the assignment and why they are the most suitable for the work; 
  • Latest personal CV or P11,including past experience in similar projects and at least three references 
  • A technical proposal:shall describe the methodology and the approach on how to fulfil the required deliverables as well as outline the major components of its implementation; 

The financial proposal shall consist of: 

Since the location(s) for case study research is yet to be confirmed, costs of travel should not be included in the proposal


Qualified women and members of social minorities are encouraged to apply. Due to the large number of applications we receive, we are only able to inform the successful candidates about the outcome or status of the selection process. 


How to Submit the Application

To submit your application online, please follow the steps below: 

  • Merge your Cover Letter, CV, Technical Proposal and Letter to?UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability (including the financial proposal) into a single file. The system does not allow for more than one attachment to be uploaded; 
  • Click on the Job Title (job vacancy announcement); 
  • Click “Apply Now” button, fill in necessary information on the first page, and then click “Submit Application;” 
  • Upload your application/single file as indicated above with the merged documents (underlined above); 
  • You will receive an automatic response to your email confirming receipt of your application by the system. 

Queries should be sent to, clearly marking: 94428 Consultant – Acceleration Toolkit on Volunteering for SDGs

Applications sent by email will not be considered. 


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.

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