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30 Nov 2020

Researcher; Impact of COVID19 on School age Girls in Wau

Job Description

Introduction

The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA Network) is a regional network of civil society organizations from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda working to address women’s subordination and inequality in the region. Established in 1995 by a coalition of women’s rights activists, SIHA, together with its member organizations, aims to improve the situation of women and girls in the Greater Horn of Africa by combatting violence against women and girls, ending human trafficking, challenging harmful social norms and religious dogma, and by improving women’s economic empowerment and access to justice.

SIHA is currently implementing a three-year project funded by the United Nations Trust Fund entitled, Challenging Patterns and Drivers of Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Wau, South Sudan. The project seeks to work at the community level to change norms and attitudes towards violence against women and girls and promote greater gender equality. The project activities have included the development of a curriculum for schools that raises the awareness of senior student to issues of gender, violence, human rights and sexual and reproductive health. At the same time, a number of community structures around the school neighborhoods are also strengthened to promote more positive norms and address existing violence against women and girls, these structures include grassroots women’s groups, out-of-school male youth groups led by male mentors, parent-teacher associations and boys and girls’ school clubs. The school clubs, youth groups and women’s groups are also given capacity building and support to carry out community level awareness activities including radio programs, international day events, and dialogues with community leaders.

The project began in September of 2018 and has now been extended by three months and is scheduled to wind up in December 2021. The progress over the first two years has been steady, though some initial delays occurred as a result of some instability in Wau and South Sudan generally, but more significant delays have occurred in the second year with the arrival of the global COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020, schools in South Sudan have been closed and initial restrictions also witnessed the closing of businesses, transport, and imposition of curfews and travel bans. Though most of the restrictions have been relaxed at this time, schools remain closed to all but candidate students.

Background to the Research

The restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have impacted individuals and families across the world, but many initial studies have shown how women and girls are differently, and often more severely impacted. In particular, there has been a notable rise in violence against women and girls and an increase in the demand on women’s unpaid care-work. These two outcomes have both numerous causes and consequences. On the one hand, violence against women and girls has in some cases been on the increase as a result of increased stress in the household, itself caused by the loss of employment, economic duress, and the containment of family members in their households. The increased demands on women’s unpaid care work is due to the closure of schools and the presence of family members at home throughout the day. The closure of schools has also increased the level of violence against women and girls as families are more likely to accept early or forced marriage of their daughters as an economic coping mechanism as they receive the bride price. Out-of-school girls are also more likely to become pregnant and in turn drop out of school and enter into an early or forced marriage. As families are experiencing increased economic strain, it is uncertain how many students previously attending school will be able to return, and, in such circumstances, families may choose the education of their boy-children over girls.

Purpose

SIHA is currently undertaking a project that aims at supporting the retention of teen girls within the formal education system. The project is particularly looking at supporting secondary school girls who are highly vulnerable to sexual violence and teen pregnancy. SIHA is implementing this project in partnership with the local department of education in Wau city and parents’ teachers’ associations. The Project is aiming at ending sexual violence in the Wau South Sudan schools and to mobilize and advocate the South Sudan ministry of education to impose polices against Sexual violence in schools in South Sudan. The lockdown due to COVID-19 has impacted girls staying in school and increased child marriage and sexual violence and exploitation against girl child.

The purpose of this proposed research will be to examine the myriad ways COVID 19 lockdown polices has impacted school-age girls in Wau. The aim is to document some of the challenges and struggles faced by school age girls during the pandemic and how the situation has impacted their lives, their relations and their prospects for the future. The research will look at girls who were previously enrolled in school, currently school candidates, and also girls who may not have been enrolled before the pandemic. The study should examine the impact on various aspects of girls’ lives including education, health, mental health, economic, and social, including their family and community relations.

The research results will be used to highlight the key policy issues that should be addressed by the local government, communities, NGOs, CSOs and international partners.

Objectives of the Research:

Overall objective of the research is to contribute to SIHA interventions on behalf of girls in South Sudan and In Wau post COVID-19

  1. To develop an in-depth understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic and the related restrictions have impacted school-age girls in Wau, South Sudan;
  2. To understand key variables that impact the severity of the impact of COVID-19 on school-age girls, such as economic or ethnic background;
  3. To identify the key issues that should be addressed to prevent significant set-backs to gender equality, VAWG prevention and women and girls empowerment.
  4. To contribute to SIHA and civil society /women organizations campaigns on girl’s education and against SGBV
  5. To better inform the response South Sudan government and international and local civil society intervention on behalf of girl’s education

Methodology

The research should focus on girls’ lived realities, taking a qualitative approach to data collection and putting the voices of the girls at the center of the report. The research may undertake some quantitative methods in order to assess the prevalence of certain issues, but the central approach will be descriptive and qualitative. The methods can include key informant interviews with education, health, police and local government officials, community leaders, as well as focus group discussions and individual interviews with girls from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds in Wau.

Deliverables

  1. Fully conceived research design including conceptual framework of the study, research method, data collection tools, and work-plan.
  2. Detailed draft report.
  3. Final report with comments addressed.

Number of pages and sections:

SIHA is expecting the researcher to present a comprehensive report with 4 to 5 sections and no less than 40-45 pages including referencing. The research report should be divided into sections highlighting the different areas covered by interviews and FGD

Estimated Timeline and Scope of the Research

The estimated time expected to conduct the research and write a draft report is one month with an additional few days to respond to any comments on the draft report. The field work is expected to take no less than 10 and no more than 14 days in Wau. The Researcher is expected to share her/his data with SIHA following the conclusion of the assignment

Qualifications

-A proven experience on social development/gender-based violence research

-Minimum of a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences, Feminist Studies, or Humanities.

-Clear understanding of the context of South Sudan

-Extensive experience, both qualitative and quantitave

-Strong analytical skills and excellent writing skills

-Knowledge of South Sudanese languages is an asset

How to apply

To apply, please send a cover letter, expression of Interest, a copy of your C.V. (complete with two references), and One English-language writing sample of a somewhat similar research report written by the applicant to SIHA at the following e-mail address: humanresourcesiha@gmail.com 2nd December 2020. In the e-mail subject line please write ‘APPLICATION: RESEARCH ON THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 – WAU, SOUTH SUDAN.’

Applications not following these guidelines correctly will not be considered. SIHA is committed to offer fair compensation based on the successful candidate’s experience and qualifications. Due to the volume of applications SIHA receives, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for scheduling of interviews. Thank you for your interest in SIHA’s work.

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