International Social Impact | New York, NY | Contract and Temporary
Sesame Workshop is looking for an Advocacy Consultant. The Advocacy Consultant who can document and tell the story of how change is happening throughout the Play to Learn Project’s (PtL) advocacy workstream. The Consultant would work with the Advocacy Working Group, the Senior Director of Advocacy, and the Senior Director of Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for a total of 90 days over a period of two years (with a possibility of extension).
The ideal candidate believes in the potential that advocacy has to contribute to the sector- or systems-wide changes and can effectively trace and tell the story of how that worked (and where it might not have).
Please note: This role is for a temporary role for a consultant. The consultancy will take place over a 2-year period, with deliverables every quarter or 6 months. This is a fully remote position.
To be considered for this role submit the following:
- A cover letter that provides an overview of how you would work with us, including a range for your daily rate
- Your resume
- Example of past work that is relevant
The consultant will:
- Deliver a work plan, methodology, timeline, and budget for the outlined scope of work
- Plan, facilitate, and participate in semi-annual reflection meetings with the advocacy working group, focused on the topics outlined below
- Document, analyze, and assess the process of advocacy as it is taking place across the lifespan of the project, identifying key leverage points, opportunities, and actors;
- Submit up to 4 written products each semi-annual period (e.g. a blog, a brief, a report)
- Create and deliver a final written product at the end of the two-year period, focused on the trajectory of advocacy-driven change that has taken place over the period, whether those were originally intended parts of the strategy or more opportunistic adjustments; how advocacy efforts contributed to the overall impact of the PtL project; and how future efforts in this space should reflect the learnings of the PtL advocacy work.
Depending on the work plan and approach, there may be key informant interviews, reflection sessions, observations, desk research, or other types of deliverables that the consultant and Sesame Workshop agree upon.
- Master’s degree or Bachelor’s degree with equivalent experience
- 5+ years of experience in documenting, analyzing, assessing, or evaluating processes of social change, complex systems, or advocacy.
- Demonstrated ability to use a variety of methods to generate useful data and analysis.
- An understanding or familiarity with early childhood development or education as a technical sector.
- Demonstrated ability to communicate in writing.
- Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with institutions and systems in countries affected by conflict or crisis is strongly preferred.
Overview of the Play to Learn Project
Sesame Workshop and its partners were awarded a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation for the Play to Learn Project in 2018 in order to support new early childhood development programs for millions of children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises. The 5-year program leverages the power of learning through play, providing communities affected by refugee crises access to vital early learning opportunities.
Overview of the Play to Learn Project’s Advocacy Workstream
The Play to Learn project has four project objectives, one of which is to use advocacy to bring about specific changes in policy, practice, and funding to support and center early childhood development in humanitarian responses. Our advocacy strategy (see below) articulates our three target audiences (humanitarian actors, donors, and governments), and the four main strategies we are using to reach them. We are currently in Year 3 of a phased, iterative implementation plan for our five-year project, and in the second half of the project, will be focusing most of our advocacy efforts on making sure that specific champions and target stakeholders take action on ECD for crisis contexts.
The Advocacy Strategy is led by an advocacy working group, chaired by Sesame Workshop with membership from BRAC, the International Rescue Committee, the LEGO Foundation, and the project’s independent evaluation team, NYU Global TIES for Children. This group meets on a monthly basis for reflection and planning.
Local, national, and international humanitarian stakeholders prioritize and invest in high-quality early childhood development programs that utilize learning through play approaches in crisis and conflict response, leading to a humanitarian sector that is better able to meet the needs of young children and families who have been affected by displacement
- Humanitarian actors
- Bring visibility to the unique needs of young children and caregivers in crisis settings
- Make the case for ECD as a basic need
- Promote tested, scalable ECD models and content that integrate learning through play
- Build consensus and momentum across relevant networks and coalitions
Current approach to monitoring and learning about the Advocacy Strategy
The Play to Learn Project has a brief list of standardized indicators that provide data on a semi-annual basis on the outputs and outcomes of the advocacy workstream. Outputs include things like products and materials produced and disseminated or advocacy or technical advising work that happens with donors, governments, or humanitarian actors. Outcomes capture the overall goal of our advocacy strategy, which is that local, national, and international stakeholders prioritize and invest in high-quality early childhood development programs that use learning through play approaches. Further detail on advocacy actions is provided on a monthly basis through existing reporting processes. However, these existing data sources do not provide insight or information about how change happens.
Given the limitations of quantitative indicators in this space, the Play to Learn team believes that some of the most important lessons learned from the advocacy workstream will come from combining the available monitoring data with additional information collected by the consultant. Additionally, the work of the consultant will be guided by existing questions around advocacy from the LEGO Foundation.
Our questions include:
1. What changes have we achieved this period and how did we achieve them?
- Is the change sustainable or scalable? Why or why not?
- Are we using evidence in the right ways at the right times?
- Have we identified the correct actors to make the change we want to see?
2. What have been the most meaningful opportunities to create change? What made them meaningful?
3. What have been the most significant barriers to creating change during this period (consider areas such as availability/utilization/impact of evidence, access and relationships to decision-makers, etc.)
4. What strategies, structures, networks, or processes are surfacing new opportunities to create change that may not have been anticipated? Are there missed opportunities in other, similar spaces that the project should consider?
5. Is the cooperation or collaboration in networks, coalitions, or other groups furthering equity or shifting power to affected populations?
6. What have been the unintended consequences of our recent work?
Sesame Workshop’s International Social Impact Department, in the division of Social Impact and Philanthropy, develops and implements Sesame’s powerful initiatives to serve children and families around the world and builds strong partnerships and coalitions to maximize reach and impact. Building upon the familiarity and appeal of the trusted, beloved Sesame Street characters – and their global counterparts – we create and disseminate unique educational resources and tools for families most in need. Sesame’s research-driven initiatives reach many children who would otherwise have little or no access to early childhood education and support all aspects of children’s development – including healthy habits, cognitive development in areas such as early literacy and math, and social-emotional well-being and resilience. We reach and engage children and the important adults in their families and communities using multiple media platforms and innovative strategies – from television and radio to digital media, mobile technologies, books, E-books, magazines, classroom materials, teacher/provider training, social media, and more.
About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re active in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit www.sesameworkshop.org.
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