Blue Schools Consultant

at Caritas Switzerland
Published April 13, 2022
Location Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Category Consultancy  
Job Type Full Time  


1 Background

Within the EU’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) on Sustainable Water and Natural Resources Management and Protection, Caritas Switzerland (CaCH; lead), the French NGO Geres and Tajik NGOs Rushnoi and Rushdi Kuhiston have kicked-off a 5-year project initiative on ‘Wellbeing and Resilience within Rural Communities in Tajikistan’ (WRRC). Targeting three districts of upper Rasht Valley (Laksh, Tojikobod, Rasht), the project aims to enable inclusive growth and improved resilience within rural communities facing ongoing climate change. Utilizing an innovation systems approach – partnering with local governments, civil society, and private citizens – the project pursues a specific objective of development and broad uptake of contextually relevant climate resilient practices that enhance access to affordable and nutritious food, clean water, and renewable energy within risk prone watersheds.


Tajikistan’s population is predominantly rural, with an estimated 70% earning a living from agriculture-based activities. Malnutrition, observed through high rates of stunting among children within rural communities, is of significant concern to the government and to development agencies. A national school meals programme supported by Russia struggles to support primary school children access to nutrition through targeted food delivery. This lack of access to nutrition is further exacerbated by poverty within rural households who have limited resources to contribute to school meals. Access to safe water and sanitation is lacking given dilapidated Soviet era infrastructure and the impact of climate change on sustainable access to water resources (natural springs, underground aquifers). Critical investments within RDP for access to, use and management of productive and safe potable water and sanitation include infrastructure rehabilitation, demand-based irrigation, grey water filtration, ecosan toilets, system strengthening and cost recovery.


Acknowledging the interlinkages between water, sanitation and childhood stunting, local schools will be supported in their transformation to ‘BlueSchools’. Early investments in the summer of 2022 will be made in water and sanitation infrastructure within targeted schools, with improvements in access to irrigation and where not available, greywater filtering systems to support effective agricultural production. School gardens (typically 1ha of land or more) will provide a learning ground for transferable skills (through extra-curricular school activities) as well as access to nutrition for primary school children. Given the project’s timeline, we expect preparation and construction of greenhouses over the winter 2022/23 and the first agricultural season with support from the project starting in spring 2023.


In addition to exposure, utilization and learning by doing, the project further aims to affect existing curricula through the introduction of supporting learning material in areas related to water and sanitation, hygiene (including menstrual hygiene management) and waste management to prepare a next generation for healthy lifestyles and environmentally sustainable livelihoods.


Continuous policy dialogue advances mainstreaming of successful practices into national policies for potential broad uptake nationally.


2 Assignment

In support of the BlueSchool component of the project, CaCH seeks support from a competent consultant with the tasks described below. The consultant’s experience ideally includes application of the BlueSchool kit as developed by the Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium (SWSC).


2.1 Assessment and roadmap

The consultant supports CaCH and consortium partners in selecting ten target schools within the three target districts, together with an in-depth assessment of these schools’ readiness for transformation into BlueSchools. The consortium includes a competent local NGO (Rushdi Kuhiston), that will implement most of the school-related activities and can in principle carry out the selection and assessment, with backstopping and guidance by the consultant. Alternatively, the assessment could be part of a mission by the consultant in summer 2022 (indicative).


After the initial assessment and in exchange with all consortium partners, the consultant supports the consortium in developing a roadmap for BlueSchool-related implementation within the lifespan of the project (to March 2027), including a first selection of BlueSchool elements for early testing. Expected stages of this roadmap are described in the following subsections.


2.2 Test applications and contextualization of the BlueSchool Kit

As CaCH experience shows, developing toolkits prior to their application risks lack of relevance for local needs and conditions. Furthermore, the necessity of coordination and synchronization with the Ministry of Education as the national authority which approves teaching and didactic materials requires time. An in-depth contextualization of the existing BlueSchool kit therefore shall not start before 2023, when first practical experience with application of selected elements, carried out by Rushdi Kuhiston, informs contextualization and consensus with the Ministry of Education and district level administrations for roll-out is reached (facilitated by CaCH).


2.3 Trainings of Trainers (ToT)

The consultant supports and trains staff from the local consortium partner Rushdi Kuhiston to become facilitators, working with teachers and parents in support of the transformation of their schools into BlueSchools. Including further trainees for wider reach and establishing capacity in country (‘master trainers’) is welcomed. These trainings are expected to take place within two missions of the consultant.


2.4 Integration with district planning and governments, as well the Ministry of Education

In-country workshops will inform district governments and provide backstopping for Rushdi Kuhiston and the consortium in general in its advocacy work at district level on the topic of school education, as well as supporting the consortium’s engagement with the Ministry of Education.


CaCH views endorsement of the BlueSchool approach at the level of district administration as being critical for sustainability. Given high rates of teacher turnover, housing of the contextualized BlueSchool kit as well as lessons learned from the project within these administrations, and within the Centers for Healthy Lifestyles under the Ministry of Health at district level, is warranted to preserve the approach. While CaCH facilitates these interactions, the consultant shall support them through review / revision of materials provided to ensure contextual relevance.


2.5 Dissemination and publication

The consultant is expected to contribute substantially to communication material and publications (policy brief; articles; working papers) in support of both policy dialogue in country as well as to support broad uptake. Feeding lessons learned into international forums such as the Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium, among others, is welcomed.


3 Indicative timeline

For 2022, early assessment and first consultations towards a roadmap are foreseen, including analysis of the assessment. These can take place either through remote support for Rushdi Kuhiston and CaCH, or within a first mission (tentatively in summer 2022).


The consultant is free to propose an indicative table of activities.


4 Setting

The budget for the consultancy consists of 120 days at EUR 650. We foresee 3-4 missions, depending on availability and need. Travel costs are reimbursed in addition to the daily fees. Suggestions by the consultant to out-source certain tasks to other experts in the spirit of a ‘South-South cooperation’, e.g. through trainings in Tajikistan by BlueSchool practitioners from other countries, within the limits of the total budget and while remaining responsible for an adequate implementation towards CaCH, are welcomed.


How to apply


We look forward to receiving your offer. Please send your technical and financial proposals separately to the following email address Offers must include identification of key staff that will be involved in the consultancy (preferably with CV or LinkedIn profile).

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