International Consultant for Renewable energy (Solar) market assessment for UNICEF’s key sectors (health and education with related WASH support to education and health services)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Freetown, Sierra Leone 🇸🇱

Job no: 547366
Position type: Consultancy
Location: Sierra Leone
Division/Equivalent: Dakar (WCAR), Senegal
School/Unit: Sierra Leone
Department/Office: Freetown, Sierra Leone
Categories: Education

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, access

Please access UNICEF Sierra Leone information here and  here

How can you make a difference?

UNICEF has integrated sustainable and disaster-resilient systems for responding to natural risks, climate change and disasters into its key programmatic sectors such as health, education and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) with environmentally sound, low-carbon, and climate-smart technologies. In contribution to the UNICEF Strategic Plan 2022-2025, UNICEF Sierra Leone Country Office is committed to scaling up sustainable energy integration in priority programme areas (e.g., Health, Education and related WASH interventions) with the goal of promoting positive social benefits for children and young people.

Despite its importance, access to reliable and affordable electricity is often overlooked as a building block of quality health, education and related WASH services. Some of the solutions to increase energy access in health and education facilities include extending the grid network or connecting to decentralized solutions such as mini-grids or stand-alone solar Photovoltaics (PV) systems. Decentralized solar energy solutions are promising options that can also simultaneously transform the sectors to a low carbon and climate resilient development pathway. This is a powerful benefit to children and young people in the face of a changing climate and degrading environment.

There are limitations, however, in the form of limited data and market information on a granular (national and sub-national) level to understand the access gap, the demand for solar energy based on type and size of health and education facilities, the cost of providing electricity, willingness to pay, the most appropriate delivery models and best sustainability measures including long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) which is a major challenge. These include recent energy technologies and service delivery innovations, and financing services to ensure sustainability.

Purpose of Assignment:

The purpose of this consultancy is to assess the demand for the provision of sustainable energy, especially solar energy, in UNICEF’s key programme sectors (Education and Health services, WASH as a support service) in Sierra Leone, to generate the evidence base to inform UNICEF’s value add and assess opportunities to meet several SDGs.

The general objectives of this consultancy are to contribute, through a specific analysis of the context, needs and opportunities for support to:

  1. Improve the quality of care offered in the health services, focusing mainly on the peripheral level (Health District).
  2. Improve the learning conditions for students and working conditions for teachers

Objectives of the Assignment:

Specifically, the study will assess the energy demand for energy-poor health and school facilities. The study will define and quantify the decentralized energy service market for health and school facilities in Sierra Leone. It will consider the product/market analysis framework, affordability, willingness to pay, availability, product suitability, product quality, market competition, distribution channels and prospective funding opportunities.

In terms of education sector, this study will complement the efforts undertaken by the Government of Sierra Leone, including within the framework of the Giga initiative which aims to connect every school to the Internet, and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice. Giga is supporting the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as looking at how connectivity can create stronger infrastructures and opportunity in the “time after COVID-19”. Sustainable energy, especially solar energy will continue accelerating school connectivity and explore innovations to empower communities including the Giga initiative in Sierra Leone.

Scope of Work:

UNICEF Sierra Leone seeks to engage an independent consultant to conduct a solar energy market assessment specifically for health and education sectors (with WASH as it pertains to health and education facilities). The objective is to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the sustainable energy needs with the focus on solar energy and opportunities for improving access through the deployment and scale up of sustainable energy for services related to health and education provisions (including WASH in connection with health and education facilities) in Sierra Leone. The report will also outline how UNICEF’s mandate can accelerate the transition or uptake of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy technologies for underserved, rural facilities in these sectors. The consultancy is expected to generate data (through facility level demand assessments), build upon existing market data, assessments, and projections to package the information to further inform UNICEF’s mandate and delivery modalities for future off-grid sustainable energy interventions. These interventions can include energy access as well as energy efficiency.

In particular, it will consider the needs and market to cover

  • All 16 districts in Sierra Leone to be assessed through desk and secondary literature review. The consultant will support in the identification of priority health facilities and schools for site specific facility-level demand assessment upon consultation with the Government, development partners and other stakeholders. A representative sample of the priority facilities may be considered in consultation with UNICEF and partners for the site assessments. The consultant is expected to propose an appropriate methodology to address needs in all facilities, with a granular representative assessment in some, and an extrapolation of assessment data at national level, as indicated. Additional surveys to assess needs in all facilities could be envisaged.
  • The demand assessment will also cover cooling energy needs for COVID-19 vaccine cold chain.
  • Define the typology of public institutions (health facilities and schools) and host communities to be covered (e.g. community centers, productive uses for children and young people, community WASH and public lighting facilities, etc.).
  • For the site demand assessments, the consultant is expected to visit about 60 facilities (health and educational) in different districts of Sierra Leone to be able to capture the demand and other data from all the different types of facilities existing in Sierra Leone.

Please note, while WASH is a standalone sector for UNICEF, for the purpose of this assignment, WASH is envisioned as a support service for schools and health facilities and immediate communities around them.

The consultant will be expected to take photographs of all relevant components of existing infrastructure and share photographic evidence for all relevant data collected during assessments.

The aspects covered by the study are further detailed below:

  1. Public institution facility level data and analysis
  1. Definition of national norms for primary health facilities and schools per type, if necessary, taking into account different conditions (urban/rural).
  2. Site/Infrastructure Assessment.
  3. Detailed load assessment of the facilities (or kW requirement) to meet the existing and future demand for improved service delivery.
  4. System Sizing, costing and long-term sustainability/O&M recommendations.
  5. Beneficiary Survey.
  1. Host Community Demand Assessment
  2. Stakeholder Mapping.

Please see attached ToR for detailed information Download File TOR_International Consultant Solar Market Assessment.pdf

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • Advanced university degree in relevant areas such as off-grid renewable energy, renewable energy finance/economics, climate change and environmental sciences/management/economics/engineering. *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.
  • The assignment requires an independent consultant with at least 5 years of consulting and off-grid renewable energy project experience in developing countries (and preferably in the Western and Central Africa region). The Consultant should demonstrate strong background in conducting energy demand assessment in social sectors preferably in UNICEF priority sectors and have experience in designing and managing off-grid renewable energy projects with expertise in social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability.

1) Work experience

  • A minimum of 5 years professional experience in off-grid renewable energy and finance (preferably in off-grid solar) at global and regional levels required. The 5 years of work experience can be substituted with a relevant master’s degree in Renewable Energy or similar master’s programme and a minimum of 3 years professional experience.
  • Prior experience in off-grid renewable energy access projects and demand assessments in UNICEF core priority sectors including Health, Education, WASH and Social Policy as well as in the Africa region is an asset
  • Specialized working experience in off-grid renewable energy projects design, cost benefit and socio-economic analysis, long term sustainability and O&M models, identifying innovative business models to leverage public and private sector engagements is preferred. Provide sample of previous work.
  • Experience with solar system design and energy modelling software like PVsyst, Homer, EnergyPlus, eQUEST or others.
  • Previous working experience with UNICEF, other UN agencies or international humanitarian organizations is an asset.

2) Competencies

  • Ability to coordinate, convene stakeholders and report in a timely manner
  • Excellent organizational skill, service-minded, punctual, self-motivated, proactive, reliable, and demonstrated ability to work in harmony with government, private sector, and staff members of different national backgrounds
  • Respect for the principles of UNICEF
  • Excellent report writing skills and strong communication skills including presentation skills
  • Proven capability to meet deadlines and work under pressure

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

Consultants and Individual contractors are responsible for paying any taxes derived from the earnings received from UNICEF.

  • Application to include financial proposal that will detail your daily/monthly rate (in Sierra Leone Leones) to undertake the terms of reference. 
  • Payment of professional fees will be based on submission of agreed satisfactory deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

Advertised: Dec 29 2021 Greenwich Standard Time
Application close: Jan 25 2022 Greenwich Standard Time





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development