The Gambia is located within the drainage basin of the Gambia River and consists of five ecoregions. Due to its location, the country is susceptible to hazards such as riverine flooding, flash floods, deforestation, windstorms, and other challenges. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lists the country among the 100 critical countries most vulnerable to climate change and particularly susceptible to weather-related hazards. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for a majority of the population in the country and the constant floods are affecting the livelihoods of more than 70% of the population every time the incidence occurs. In addition, the population in The Gambia generally lives in unsuitable areas that are exposed to flooding or in proximity to hazardous environments which further increases their vulnerability.
Since 2010, the country of The Gambia has experienced extensive flash floods with little or no resilient capacities to cope with these events. As a result, there have been severe consequences on community lives, livelihoods and education. In 2010 specifically, flash floods affected 35,000 people, directly impacting 2,673 families and resulting in 35 deaths. These numbers represent a very high figure considering the size of The Gambia’s population (2.1 million in 2017, the World Bank). Subsequent years equally experienced similar effects of flash flooding across the country: in 2015, the number of people affected by disasters was circa 5,757; in 2016 15,190 people were affected, in 2017 over 28,472 people and in 2018 over 41,324 people were touched by flash-floods (UNESCO, 2018).
With the increasing occurrence of climate-related hazards caused by climate change in the 21st century, the role of education has become unequivocally clear and recognized in the prevention, mitigation and preparedness of the population in regards to the environmental risks. Schools, families and local communities can play a decisive role in reducing the severity of consequences caused by hazards through the process of developing awareness and knowledge of natural disasters. In other words, there is a clear need to provide adequate education and training to prevent the impacts of natural-related disasters, more specifically to prevent disasters caused by flash-floods. UNESCO plays a role in promoting a global culture of disaster preparedness and mitigation. The organization is closely involved in the conceptual shift in moving away from a post-disaster reaction to pre-disaster action. In addition, it recognizes that human thought and action are crucial components in the minimization of these risks. UNESCO stands behind the idea that quality Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) education can provide life-saving and life-sustaining knowledge and skills that protect and empower learners during and after emergencies and disasters. It can bolster the population’s resilience to natural hazards and promote their recovery. As such, UNESCO has put in place projects and has developed guidance notes to foster better and wider implementation of DRR in the education sector, for instance: Mapping of Global DRR Integration into Education Curricula, Technical Guidance for Integrating DRR in school curricula, Guide for curriculum developers, Guidance note for educational planners, and a Case study etc.).
The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) of The Gambia is currently reviewing its Curriculum Framework for Basic and Secondary Education and syllabuses. New syllabuses are being developed, including Civic Education (Grade 1 – 12), History (Grade 7 – 9), Geography (Grade 7 -9) and Environmental Education (Grade 4 – 9). DRR as a curriculum subject is not articulated.
2. Project details and objectives of assignment
The specific assignment of the consultant is part of a broader project entitled Using Drones and Early Warning Systems for Pre- and Post-Floods Disaster Management in the Gambia. This project is co-led and implemented at the national level by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) together and the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office of UNESCO for West Africa (Sahel), and is funded by the India-UN Development Partnership Fund. The overall objective of the project is to contribute to poverty alleviation by reducing flood risks and vulnerabilities as well as increasing flood disaster resilience of the Gambian population. This project is expected to fill the regional gap in flood management capacity and to contribute to the 2015 – 2030 flood management agenda of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Furthermore, the project contributes to and is aligned with the African Union 2063 Agenda, especially in the context of climate change mitigation and sustainable use and management of water resources in its Aspiration 1: A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
One of the three components of the project aims to create a human-centered early warning system, notably through strengthening the role of education in nurturing DRR related competencies and encouraging children to become informed and responsible actors in DRR. The focus of this project component is to contribute to the integration of DRR in early childhood, basic and secondary education.
3. Objective of the consultancy
The overall objective of the consultancy is to contribute to improved awareness, knowledge and action-taking in favour of DRR among the Gambian children through reviewing and revising the early childhood, basic and secondary education curricula, as well as supporting materials for basic education teachers to implement selected areas of new DRR teaching and learning that features in the revised curriculum. To this effect, the international consultant will work on the following:
(1) Preparation of a detailed workplan on how to implement the curriculum review and revision and the preparation of supporting materials for teachers.
(2) Development of Guidelines on how to integrate DRR in early childhood, basic and secondary education in The Gambia.
(3) Preparation of a Curriculum Review Report on DRR curriculum integration at early childhood, basic and secondary education level
(4) Support for the revision of early childhood, basic and secondary education curriculum
(5) Preparation of supporting materials for basic education teachers to implement new DRR teaching and learning featured in the revised curriculum.
In addition to UNESCO staff, the international consultant will work closely with the national consultant and key national stakeholders concerned with early childhood, basic and secondary education and DRR issues, such as the Gambian Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), curriculum designers, teacher educators, and NDMA.
4. Scope of the Services
Expected tasks and responsibilities include:
A. Prepare a detailed workplan on how to implement the curriculum review and revision and the preparation of supporting materials for teachers in The Gambia.
○ The consultant will prepare a draft workplan, which shall be reviewed by the Steering Group. The consultant shall finalize the workplan in view of comments from the Steering Group and UNESCO.
B. Prepare Guidelines on how to integrate DRR in early childhood, basic and secondary education in The Gambia in consultation with key national stakeholders and UNESCO.
○ The Guidelines will serve as a tool and a roadmap for integrating DRR in education. The suggested content is as follows: (1) importance of DRR integration in education in The Gambian context, (2) clarification of DRR concepts, (3) how education (both curricular and extra-curricular activities) can be strengthened to effectively address DRR, (4) what competencies are needed for children to be able to address DRR effectively (both generic and DRR-specific competencies), (5) different DRR integration strategies and illustrate with country examples, and (6) steps to take toward the integration of DRR in education, starting with curriculum review and covering the alignment of assessment and teacher training with the revised curricula.
○ The consultant will produce draft Guidelines, which will be reviewed by relevant stakeholders through the organization of a workshop and, as necessary, individual consultations. The consultant will propose a draft agenda and participants for the workshop; present the draft Guidelines at the workshop and facilitate discussions. After the workshop, the consultant will revise the Guidelines in view of comments received from the workshop participants as well as others consulted separately. The revised Guidelines shall undergo a process of validation by the Steering Group.
C. Prepare a Curriculum Review Report on DRR curriculum integration at early childhood, basic and secondary education level.
○ The suggested content of the report is as follows: (1) what currently exists in the early childhood, basic and secondary education curricula in terms of DRR teaching and learning, and identify gaps, (2) ways in which DRR teaching and learning can be integrated in the curricula by identifying “DRR-carrier” subjects and entry points for DRR learning, (3) recommendations on how to revise the curricula so as to better integrate DRR, and how to align teacher training and assessment with the revised curricula, and (4) recommendations on the preparation of new curriculum-related materials that will support the implementation of the revised curricula by teachers. The preparation of the report will be guided by the recommendations contained in the Guidelines.
○ The consultant will produce a draft Curriculum Review Report, which will be reviewed by relevant stakeholders through the organization of a participatory and collaborative workshop* , and as necessary, individual consultations. The consultant will propose a draft agenda and participants of the workshop, and present the draft report at the workshop and facilitate discussions. After the workshop, the consultant will revise the report in view of comments received from the workshop participants as well as others consulted separately. The revised report will undergo a process of validation by the Steering Group and UNESCO.
*The aim of the workshop is that relevant national stakeholders take on an active role of identifying the gaps and collectively coming up with creative solutions and action points, so as to generate curricula which is contextually relevant and for which there is a strong country buy-in and ownership.
D. Support the revision of early childhood, basic and secondary curriculum.
o The revision of the curriculum will be undertaken mainly by national curriculum developers in line with the recommendations contained in the Curriculum Review Report. The consultant will support the curriculum revision, in distance, by reviewing the draft version of the revised curriculum and providing comments and suggestions for improvement. Calls to discuss comments and suggestions will be organized between the consultant and curriculum developers by UNESCO.
E. Support the preparation and finalization of the supporting materials for basic education teachers
○ The consultant will prepare draft supporting materials that orient teachers on how to implement selected area(s) of new DRR teaching and learning in the revised curriculum. The draft materials will be reviewed by relevant stakeholders and revised in view of comments received.
○ The revised curriculum and draft materials will be pilot-tested in selected schools and finalized based on the pilot experience. After the piloting, a workshop to gather feedback from the pilot experience will be organized. The international consultant will draft the workshop agenda, which will then be finalized by the national consultant in consultation with national stakeholders. The international consultant shall provide assistance in finalizing the materials and curriculum in country or at distance as necessary after the workshop.
The consultant will be expected to produce the following deliverables in the respective order:
- Detailed workplan, outlining methodology, deliverables and timeline;
- Draft and finalized guidelines on how to integrate DRR in early childhood, basic and secondary education;
- Draft and finalized Curriculum Review Report on DRR integration in early childhood, basic and secondary education;
- Comments on the initial revision of early childhood, basic and secondary education curricula, produced by national stakeholders, in view of recommendations contained in the Curriculum Review Report;
- Draft supporting materials that help orient teachers on how to implement new area(s) of DRR teaching and learning featured in the revised curriculum; and comments on how to finalize the supporting materials in view of feedback received during the workshop.
6. Reporting, Location and Time Frame of Assignment:
The Consultant shall travel from his/her country of residence to The Gambia (either Banjul or in the surroundings). The engagement shall be over the period of 9 months. The consultant will be supervised by a UNESCO Regional Office Staff based in Dakar, who will provide feedback and guidance to achieve the objectives of the consultancy. All deliverables are subject to UNESCO’s approval and expected to be finalized through rigorous consultative meetings and in-depth discussions with the Ministry of Education for Basic and Secondary Education and the national consultant on the ground.
 Given the situation surrounding Covid-19, the calendar may require adjustments.
The consultant or technical staff of the implementing partner must have the following qualifications, knowledge and experience:
- Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in social sciences, preferably education, humanitarian aid, development studies, or equivalent.
- A minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience of which 3 years preferably acquired in DRR and/or education programming in geographically diverse settings, preferably in both development and emergency settings in Sub-Saharan Africa;
- Deep field-based understanding of DRR and/or education in both pre- and post-disaster situations;
- Strong competence in the process of curriculum development and teacher education;
- Strong skills and experience in research, analysis, evaluation and writing;
- Excellent knowledge of English;
- Knowledge of the Gambia’s national context is considered an asset.
Interested consultants are requested to submit the following documents:
- Updated curriculum vitae(s);
- A statement indicating how their qualifications and experience make them suitable for the assignment (maximum one page, A4);
- As an evaluation criteria of the candidate’s capacities and knowledge, he/she must submit an indication of the approach to carry out the assignment, potential timeline, procedure and methodology that will be used throughout the entire process;
- Proposed honorarium with justification on its calculation (excluding mission costs since UNESCO will determine these according to the organization’s rules and procedures). Payments will be made in installments based upon key outputs/deliverables.