Child & Youth empowerment Conceptual Framework
Terre des hommes, founded in 1960, is an independent, neutral and impartial Swiss organisation committed to bringing meaningful and lasting change to the lives of children and youth, especially to those most exposed to risks. We strive to improve their well-being and ensure the effective application of their rights as defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant human rights instruments. We aim to empower children and youth through active participation. We advocate for the respect of children’s rights, supporting them in voicing their needs and interests. We work in fragile and conflict settings, as well as in stable environments. In 2020, Tdh’s projects supported 4.8 children and members of their communities.
To make a difference, Tdh focuses on three programmatic areas corresponding to three priority programmes: mother and child health, children and youth in migration (including children and youth affected by forced displacement), and access to justice. In parallel, the transversal protection sector supports the priority programmes to integrate transversal child protection approaches, including mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), case management, child protection in emergencies and child participation, with a view to adapting these approaches to the respective target groups of each programme.
The concept of empowerment is frequently mentioned in the discourse of child and youth participation, alongside related concepts such a ‘agency’. However, ‘empowerment’, in the context of international child rights and child well-being, is rarely defined, and little guidance is available too.
Tdh defines empowerment as ongoing process of enabling individuals to make their own decisions; to exercise control over own lives; to enhance assets and capabilities; to challenge forms of oppression; to transform reality and to participate, negotiate with and to influence. When it comes to children and youth, empowerment appears as a way 1) to enhance children and youth's capacity to prevent risks, protect themselves (self and peer protection) and seize opportunities by shaping actively and meaningfully their environment (social, physical) and contribute to a higher respect of their rights (becoming agents of change).
From Tdh’s perspective, empowerment of children, youth, families and communities is a process of right based participation, through increasing psychosocial abilities and supporting structural opportunities, promoting an increased sense of self and collective efficacy and being recognized as an actor of change.
At Tdh, the notion of empowerment appeared for the first time in a theoretical, modeled, and operational way within the framework of the “protective accompaniment for children” approach (PAC) developed from the mid-2000s in West Africa to respond to issues of economic and socio-cultural mobility of children and young people. The difficulties encountered to operationalize and concretize this aim of empowerment are revealing of the extent of the changes to be introduced in the ways of seeing, thinking, and doing of the actors who work with children and young people in the fields of protection, health, or justice. Nevertheless, this goal has been recognized as fundamental and this paradigm has gradually imposed itself at the heart of Tdh's vision for children and young people.
In late 2020, Tdh started to conceptualize and develop a Theory of change for overall Psychosocial resilience (which includes empowerment) articulating the links between psychosocial wellbeing, participation, agency and empowerment, focusing mainly on Psychosocial abilities (seen as a prerequisite in any type of empowerment process) and wishes to further work on this model of action adding actions towards supporting structural opportunities for children and youth to exert their agency, participation towards empowerment.
However, this model on PSR still does not explicitly adopt a power-informed approach, nor does it articulate a framework for how context-specific analyses of power relationships and dynamics can provide answers to the questions of what ‘child empowerment’ looks like in different contexts. Similarly it does not specify what approaches and/or actions should be taken to contribute towards empowerment of children who are victims of violence, children in contact with the law and children affected by migration along a nexus continuum.
The mandate seeks to outline a conceptual framework as well as an operational model of actions providing tools for child rights and child protection practitioners, particularly those working with children in contact with the law or children in contexts of migration to answer the following questions:
What does a power-informed understanding of child and youth empowerment, that explicitly articulates shifts in power relationships, look like?
What resources and tools can frontline practitioners working with children (as social workers, mental health professionals or legal/justice actors) make use of to support an analysis of power dynamics as a starting point to contribute to processes of empowerment?
Objective of the consultancy
Develop a global Model of action ( conceptual and operational framework) across socio ecological levels to support Tdh youth empowerment work – This document will include;
A set of key definitions and clarification of the goals and the main concepts or notions used by Tdh to frame its work with children and youth in order to empower them.
A global Theory of change** Including (or complemented by) the modelization of three types of empowerment :
Socio economic and educational empowerment
A matrix of intervention to operationalize the global model of action across Tdh’s three programmatic areas (Migration, Access to Justice, Health) with a specific focus on Migration. This will be complemented by the development of a tool to assess power dynamics in a given context, across a nexus continuum.
1) Desk review analysis report on youth empowerment frameworks and its relevancy with existing Tdh frameworks ( 20 pages) – This desk review should answer the following questions; **
What are the existing child and youth empowerment frameworks highlighting the specificity of power dynamics linked with different type of empowerment and how they should be taken in account and influence?
What are the existing models / frameworks on child and youth empowerment which can be fitting with existing tdh framework on psychosocial resilience and Child Protective accompaniment, so to include a power-informed understanding of child and youth empowerment, that explicitly articulates shifts in power relationships and add focus on supporting structural opportunities?
2) Global Model of Action document ( 20 pages max, excluding annexes)
- Part 1 : Conceptual framework including Tincluding the problem statement, proposing key definitions, describing the transversal approaches to be integrated across empowerment interventions; introducing core strategies that form the basis for structuring interventions to support empowerment, as well as the intended target groups. Also sharing recommendation for monitoring and measuring Empowerment.
This ToC should take into account the Nexus continuum.
Part 2 : Modelisation of our action to make Children and youth empowered from different angles, including a global Theory of Change (ToC) and 3 more specific models of actions:
A psychosocial empowerment model of action
A socio economic and educational empowerment model of action
A socio-political empowerment model of action
Part 3: Operationalization; a m**atrix of intervention** (comprising of internal and external resources / methodologies) and global recommendations for operationalization (do’s and don’ts / “precautions” or do no harm recommendations. )
Development of an assessment tool for power dynamics. Indeed, several tools already exist that are used for ‘power mapping’ in organizational contexts (ex: stakeholder mapping). The unit of measurement is often organizational presented as two dimensional, based on degree of influence and degree of support towards a project, as opposed to individual power measurement. These methods are often missing the multidimensional, intersecting, and compounding aspects of power, expressed through social norms but also systems (justice, protection etc.), that enable or curtain children to meaningfully participate in a given context (including gender, race, ethnicity, economic status, sexuality etc.). Therefore, existing tools are unable to provide an analysis of the different factors that need to be acted upon in order to create space for children’s agency to flourish.
2) Two pager summary document /user friendly short brief
3) PPT document to represent the Theory of change (including or completed by the three specific models of action)
- Intended users
The theory of change for child and youth empowerment will be used by Tdh teams (program managers, program coordinators and national and regional level, advisors, field teams in project management positions, etc.), partners, relevant stakeholders as well as it will be presented to relevant networks in countries, and to donors. The ToC and the 3 specific models of Action are aimed to guide programming on the ground : analyzing contexts, needs, abilities, stakeholders dynamics ; Designing approaches and interventions, evaluating them.
The Global model of action document for child and youth empowerment will be developed using a Co-creation approach. It should also build on existing documents already developed within Tdh between 2020 and 2021 and on an additional desk review looking at relevant youth empowerment framework fitting Tdh expertise and existing frameworks. Regular meeting will be organized between the consultant and Tdh focal points from Tdh internal “youth empowerment” working group- In addition consultations should be organized with Tdh internal staff from the field as well as with children and youths to feed the development of the global model of action components.
ð Desk review
Collect relevant conceptual frameworks and tools for operationalization on empowerment that already exist in the international development and humanitarian sector (see reference list), and, where possible, those with a focus on children and youth.
Analyze these conceptual frameworks in the light of Tdh’ s 5 MHPSS pillars (feeling safe, feeling connected, feeling worthy, feeling respected, a sense of hope), as well as with other internal documents on youth empowerment (i.e. from Migration program) and 3 ‘levels’ of empowerment (individual, socio-economic, socio-political), highlighting areas of convergence or gaps.
ð Co cocreation approach for the Global model of action document development and power assessment tool development
The drafting of the conceptual framework and flexible models of action will be conducted based on existing Tdh frameworks and working documents on empowerment as well as the desk review analysis done as a first deliverable of this consultancy.
In order to ensure a co-creation approach to the development of these deliverables, a process of regular discussion with Tdh focal points will be organize as well as consultations with Tdh and external stakeholders and Children and youths **
Supported by Tdh focal points for this consultancy, prepare and facilitate remote consultation (workshops and interviews**)** with children and adolescents targeted by different programs (having in mind the required diversity (i.e. age/gender/socio-cultural group-language/disability as a minimum)), Consultations with Tdh staff (around 10 participants) and a Serie of Key informant interviews with key external stakeholders to collect their views on “empowerment” and recommended key operational actions, in order to support empowerment in a contextual, quality and sustainable way.
Children’s, staff ‘s and external partners feedback should be feeding the two deliverables**.**
Tdh focal point will also support the remote mapping and compilation of relevant methodologies and guidance at internal level should be included in the approach to develop the matrix of intervention where existing tools and resources (external and internal) can be highlighted linked with the different model of actions proposed. this matrix of intervention.
The Consultancy should start the 5th of December 2021 and should be carried out in a maximum of 5 months.
Additional internal Tdh working documents on Empowerment will be provided to the selected consultant)
Recommended external documents on Empowerments ; UNICEF ADAP guidelines/ Plan International, Economic empowerment in the world of work/ OECD, Youth Empowerment,/ Oxfam, A ‘How to’ Guide to Measure Women’s Empowerment/UNICEF, Engaged and Heard : Guidelines on Adolescent Participation and Civic Action /UNICEF, Adolescent Empowerment Technical Note
Profile of the consultant: qualifications and experience
Advanced degree in international development, social sciences, social work, human and child rights or similar and relevant to the consultancy’s scope.
Experience in power informed analysis, and related power dynamics concepts
Demonstrable experience (at least 5 years) in working on youth’s participation and empowerment research/evaluation
Demonstrable experience in program/intervention strategic design and program technical support in humanitarian and development contexts.
Excellent English communication (quality writing and presentation). Capacity to translate abstract concepts in simple and accessible, practical language.
Ability to conduct high quality programmatic products, meet deadlines and respond to requests and feedback provided timely and appropriately.
Respect for institutional policies, values, processes, and rules.
We particularly welcome applications from global south individuals, as we want to ensure greater diversity which we believe will lead to even greater results for children."
How to apply
Interested consultants that meet the requirements should submit expression of interest, which should include the following:
1- Cover letter including the consultant’s suitability for the assignment and current contact information. It is necessary to highlight the availability of a registration under consultant status or equivalent (max. 1 page).
2- Technical offer; brief detailed response to the Terms of Reference herein, with specific focus addressing the purpose and objectives of the assignment (max. 5 pages). All offers must be e-mailed to Olivier.firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com no later than the 20th of November 2021 at 23.59 pm (CET). Please add to the subject of the e-mail: Tdh youth empowerment consultancy
3- Financial offer clarifying the number of days allocated (and cost) to each deliverable linked with proposed methodology and activities
4- Only proposals in English and that include all the required documents will be assessed. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.
 A Theory of change is a representation of our vision of change in a particular context, outcomes, causal relationship (change pathways) . It identifies the desired long-term goals and then works back from these to identify all the conditions (outcomes) that must be in place (and how these related to one another causally) for the goals to occur. These are all mapped out in an Outcomes Framework.