International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Consultant to Conduct a Portfolio Survey and develop Training Strategy. GEF IW:LEARN. Deadline 21APR 2023

Consultant to Conduct a Portfolio Survey and develop Training Strategy (GEF IW:LEARN). Apply Before: 21 / April / 2023 (23:59 CET)


To enable you to prepare a proposal for this assignment, please find attached the Terms of Reference (Attachment A) and the UNESCO’s contract for Individual Consultants, the contracting modality used for these assignments (Attachment B). Your written offer should comprise:

(a) A Technical Proposal consisting of:

  • an up to date curriculum vitae including the contact details of three professional references, and
  • an approach and methodology for the assignment, a workplan and comments on the Terms of Reference if any (max. 2 pages).

(b) The total amount to be charged for the assignment, which should be quoted in US dollars or in euros only and should indicate the consultant’s monthly rate.

Your proposal and any supporting documents must be in either English or French. Documents should be consolidated into a single document and all file names should include the family name of the applicant.

UNESCO places great emphasis on ensuring that the objectives of the work assignment, as described in the Terms of Reference, are met. Accordingly, in evaluating the proposals for the assignment, attention will focus first and foremost on the technical elements. From those proposals deemed suitable in terms of the criteria in the Terms of Reference, UNESCO shall select the proposal that offers the Organisation best value for money.

Your proposal should be submitted by e-mail to no later than end of the day (23:59 CET) 21 April 2023. E-mail proposals should not exceed 5MB. It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure that his/her proposal is received by the deadline.

Thank you for interest in this UNESCO assignment; and we look forward to receiving your proposal.

Terms of Reference


Within the overall framework of the IOC Programmme and Budget 2023-2024, in particular the project IW:LEARN5, the Individual consultant will work under the overall supervision of the Head of MPR/IOC and the direct supervision of GEF IW:LEARN Project Manager.

The GEF International Waters: Learning Exchange and Resources Network (GEF IW:LEARN)’s latest phase commenced in 2022, with the endorsement of a fifth phase of the project (IW:LEARN5). IW:LEARN5 will be implemented from July 2022 until mid-2026. The project represents a cooperative effort between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP), but with the involvement of all GEF Agencies and project partners.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a global partnership among 183 countries, international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. It provides grants for projects related to five focal areas: biodiversity loss, chemicals and waste, climate change, land degradation and international waters. The GEF international waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as river basins with water flowing from one country to another, groundwater resources shared by several countries, or marine ecosystems bounded by more than one nation.

One of the main value-added services of the GEF IW:LEARN project is the cross-fertilization between projects and their partners that occurs through global and regional face-to-face targeted learning. To date, IW:LEARN has conducted 31 workshops for more than 956 beneficiaries from some 151 GEF International Waters projects. Over the last 20 years, GEF IW:LEARN has developed a multitude of guidelines, manuals, toolkits and webinar materials which should be taken advantage of and maximised where appropriate. While some information may need to be updated and refreshed, the mentioned material serves as a solid starting point for the development of any future training module and is a guideline on how to adapt methodologies or models from outside the focal area into products that are of a standard befitting the IW Focal Area. During this phase, GEF IW:LEARN will identify appropriate partners and/or regional institutions/centres of excellence to deliver thematic capacity-strengthening workshops and project/partner roundtables. Workshops will be conducted in collaboration with GEF IW projects, all of whom should have demonstrated experience in the selected topics and can effectively develop training modules for blended learning specifically for the GEF IW Portfolio context. 

The specific nature of the training workshops, the final list of training themes and training schedule will be determined through the development of a training strategy to ensure the uniform quality of the capacity development delivered through GEF IW:LEARN. Drawing on experience from the previous phases of the GEF LME:LEARN project, the development of a training strategy will not only influence the quality of the training products developed, but ensure that the content is relevant to the focal area and could be appropriately adapted to its jargon.


The objectives of this assignment are to:

  • support IW:LEARN in the identification of the training needs of the GEF IW Portfolio
  • conduct a stock-taking exercise of the existing training material and needs for developing new training resources
  • develop a training strategy and training schedule for the period 2023-2026
  • design effective training modules relevant to the context and needs of the GEF IW portfolio

Key tasks for the Consultant include:

A.Identification of training and capacity needs

The Consultant will work, in coordination and with advice from the Project Coordination Unit (PCU), on developing and conducting a portfolio survey to evaluate the training needs, including thematic, regional etc. needs. The survey will be complemented by interviews with a selection of GEF IW projects.

B.Stock-taking of existing training materials and identify new training materials

The Consultant will work, in coordination and with advice from the PCU, on compiling an overview of the training resources already available on and request all useful materials and exercises from partners to be shared with the PCU. The portfolio needs for updating of existing and/or development of new training material will be identified based on the outcomes of Task A.

C.Develop training strategy and adapt training schedule to address GEF IW portfolio learning gaps

Based on the outcomes of Tasks A and B, the Consultant will develop a training strategy, in cooperation and consultation with partners and relevant GEF IW projects. The strategy should:

  • incorporate training activities from the different components of the GEF IW:LEARN project, streamlining the project’s delivery;
  • emphasize the use of blended learning approach to support levelling up of GEF IW project staff and their beneficiaries and continue to serve the GEF IW portfolio beyond the life of the project phase;
  • encourage peer-to-peer learning;
  • assist the GEF IW project staff in maintaining the momentum/learning after the experience, with repeated interactions over the duration of the GEF IW:LEARN project;
  • ensure that a mechanism for monitoring the impact of the training and sharing the experience with the wider IW portfolio is put in place;
  • identify opportunities and constraints to ensure that the training program is efficient and effective;
  • adapt the training schedule to reflect the training strategy in the current work plan for the period 2023-2026.

D.Design effective training modules

The Consultant will design training modules on the selected topics (max. 3) and convert existing materials into a step-by-step learning program, making sure the modules are interactive and include case studies that can be easily applied. The aim is to maximize the use of available training material developed in previous phases of GEF IW:LEARN and GEF LME:LEARN projects.

  1. Duration of the Consultancy

The consultancy will be for 9 months.

  1. Deliverables

The key deliverables are:

  • Portfolio survey, including evaluation of survey results
  • Overview of the existing training resources and identification of new training material required
  • Step-by-step learning programs/training modules on selected topics

Throughout the duration of this contract, the consultant will provide regular brief progress reports (status of tasks and/or deliverables submitted) to the IW:LEARN Project Manager.

  1. Qualifications and Experience
  • More than four (4) years of experience in information and knowledge management, including planning, design, preparation and delivery of knowledge management strategies and services;
  • Familiarity with or, ideally, work experience in GEF International Waters recipient countries and/or with donors or related NGOs;
  • Excellent analytical, reporting, writing, editing, and oral communication skills in English;
  • High attention to detail and ability to work under tight deadlines.
  1. Supervisory arrangements

The Head of IOC/MPR will assume the overall supervision of the PCU and the Project Manager who is responsible for day-to-day supervision and implementation of the project. At no point should the Consultant make representations or act on behalf of UNESCO-IOC or any of the project partners.

  1. Facilities to be provided by UNESCO

UNESCO will provide the Consultant with all required access to working files, UNESCO network, knowledge-management systems (including institutional email and Microsoft TEAMS accounts), and temporary office space if needed on occasional presence at UNESCO Headquarters.

  1. Taxes

UNESCO will not reimburse any taxes, duties or other contributions for which individuals may be liable in respect of any payments made to them under the terms of their contract. 

  1. Insurance

Individuals issued with a contract for individual consultants or other specialists are covered by UNESCO’s insurance policy for work-related illness, injury, accidents or death whilst performing their official duties or travelling on behalf of the Organization. The insurance premium for the coverage, as determined by Pension and Insurance Section (HRM/SPI), must be included in the financial commitment for the contract. 

  1. Social Benefits

Individual consultants and other specialists shall be responsible for arranging, at their own expense, any medical insurance that they consider necessary during the contract period. Unless they are affiliated by virtue of their status as former staff members, they cannot be enrolled in the UNESCO’s Medical Benefit Fund or United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. Individual consultants and other specialists are not entitled to paid annual or sick leave. 

More information: RFP-IW-LEARN5-Training strategy consultant-final.pdf