Individual Consultancy for Formative Assessment of the Comprehensive Sexual Education Component within the Health and Family Life Education Curriculum

19 February 2021



Purpose of Consultancy

The purpose of the assignment is to conduct a formative assessment of the CSE component within the HFLE curriculum against international best practices and, specifically, the International Technical Guidance (ITG) on Sexuality Education (2018) in collaboration with CARICOM, Academia and UN Agencies. This assessment will provide recommendations and identify gaps of CSE within the HFLE curriculum through formative research. The findings of the assessment will be used to strengthen regional capacities to advocate for and deliver quality, evidenced based CSE for in and out-of-school in the Caribbean as well as assist in the design of a regional CSE strategy for the formal education sector in the Caribbean.


Organizational Context

UNFPA is the sexual and reproductive health and rights agency of the United Nations. Our mission is to deliver a world in which every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young persons’ potential is fulfilled. UNFPA is working with governments, civil society, regional partners and other UN agencies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, which specific focus on Goal 3 (health), Goal 5 (gender equality), and Goal 10 (reduced inequalities). 

The English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean is part of the United Nations “delivering as one” initiative, and as such, the UNFPA Country Programme for the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, is aligned to the United Nations Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework (UNMSDF) 2017-2021. UNFPA’s programme applies a human rights and culturally sensitive approach, supported by evidence-based advocacy and policy dialogue to address issues of sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, youth and population dynamics. Enabling environment for sexual and reproductive health and rights, increasing national capacities to advocate for and deliver policies and programmes for access to sexual and reproductive health information and services and strengthening legal and protection systems for the implementation of laws, policies and programmes to prevent gender-based and sexual violence against women and girls is at the heart of UNFPA’s support in the Caribbean. Every CARICOM country has dedicated domestic violence legislation and laws that advance child protection. Many have drafted national plans and strategies to address gender-based violence, in which ending family or domestic violence is prioritised. While these laws have improved some women’s access to justice, recent prevalence surveys suggest that a significant number of women experience intimate partner violence and that the majority of those do not report to police, or access services to protect and prevent the recurrence of violence. Policy making and programme development is not sufficiently informed by research and a coordinated approach to administrative data across sectors does not exist in most countries. 

Alongside and feeding into system inadequacies, a culture of gender inequality persists and, along with other bases of inequalities, contributes to high levels of gender-based violence against women and girls. This culture and the associated inequalities impede quality, accessible, effective and non-discriminatory access to services. Gender norms that associate masculinity with power over and control of women are harmful as is the association of discipline of children with corporal punishment. 

However, with the sustained demand by women’s and human rights organisations, including UN agencies, there is now readily apparent greater resolve to address GBV through systemic approaches. Key inter-governmental and regional institutions have prioritised ending gender-based violence in the period coinciding with the Spotlight Initiative. These include CARICOM and its institutions, OECS Commission and the Caribbean Development Bank. 
Complementing the Spotlight country programmes in six Caribbean countries , and taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, the Spotlight Initiative (SI) Caribbean regional programme will increase policy coordination and functional cooperation across the region to address family violence. It will set regional standards for essential services delivery, for monitoring the implementation of regional and national family violence laws and policies; it will advance best practice models for prevention; and ensure the engagement of women’s organisations in regional accountability frameworks.

  • Under pillar 2, regional intergovernmental institutions will be supported to strengthen capacities to drive improvements in national-level delivery of essential prevention and response services to address family violence.
  • Under pillar 3 an evidence-based Caribbean model of cultural and behaviour change across the life course will inform primary family violence prevention and sexual and reproductive rights programming across the region.  
  • Under pillar 5, regional protocols and standards for family violence data management systems will be developed or strengthened to improve timely and cross-sectoral analyses and programmatic responses at national level.
  • Under Pillar 6, civil society and women’s organisations will be more enabled and empowered to monitor and support family violence responses and prevention programming and have the capacity and connectedness to advocate for state and intergovernmental accountability to end family violence.

UNFPA defines CSE as a right-based and gender-focused approach to sexuality education, whether in school or out of school. CSE is curriculum-based education that aims to equip children and young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will enable them to develop a positive view of their sexuality, in the context of their emotional and social development. By embracing a holistic vision of sexuality and sexual behaviour, which goes beyond a focus on prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

CSE through HFLE has had varying degrees of implementation and measured success across the Caribbean. Assessments conducted by UNFPA (2017) UNESCO (2011) and UNICEF/UWI (2011) showed that the policy environment was generally amenable and there was widespread acceptance of the need for life-skills education, despite pockets of concern about the appropriateness of some topics. These studies showed that the majority of schools surveyed had a life skills-based HIV education programme even though there was evidence of inconsistencies in its delivery. Most of the countries in the region now have some kind of legal institutional support for the development and strengthening of programs for life skills in formal education and have undertaken important curricular activities to incorporate same in the processes of educational reform.

The growth and development of Caribbean youth continue to be undermined by new presentations of age-old threats. Vulnerability to all forms of violence, particularly bullying, sexual violence, abuse and exploitation persists; Adolescent pregnancy rates remains very high; Access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, including those for HIV and other STIs, is suboptimal; Noncommunicable diseases have increased among adolescents, and; Mental health, substance use/abuse and self-harm have become a dominant feature of adolescent diagnosis in the Caribbean.

It is therefore important that delivery of CSE through HFLE is well aligned with International guidelines as there is a concern that the environment for advancing HFLE in the Caribbean has become less conducive due to progressive advocacy against sexuality education component of the programmes although evidence has shown that sexuality education (SE) that is age-appropriate, rights based, gender-sensitive and life skills-based, can provide young people with the knowledge, skills and efficacy to make informed decisions about their sexuality and lifestyle, lead to reductions in harmful and risk taking behaviours, delay sexual debut and reduce unsafe sexual activity.
The Individual Consultant to conduct formative assessment of CSE within the HFLE will provide support to the implementation of the UNFPA activities under pillar 3 of the SI which refers to the strengthening of regional advocacy capacities to:

  1. Advocate for comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).  

    According to the International Technical Guidance (ITG) on Sexuality Education (2018), comprehensive sexuality education is a curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality. It aims to equip children and young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to realize their health, well-being and dignity; develop respectful social and sexual relationships; consider the well-being of others that are affected by their choices; and understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives. The characteristics of high-quality CSE are that it is:

    -    scientifically accurate
    -    incremental 
    -    age- and developmentally appropriate 
    -    curriculum-based 
    -    comprehensive 
    -    based on a human-rights approach 
    -    based on gender equality                
    -    culturally relevant and contextually appropriate 
    -    transformative 
    -    able to develop life skills needed to support healthy choices.   

  2. CSE delivery in- and out-of-school in the Caribbean. 

    The Regional SI will also have a component that focuses on the provision of CSE to out-of-school youth. This is essential as it is an indispensable component to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. The 2030 Agenda commits to leave no one behind, reach the furthest behind first, and to empower those most vulnerable, including women and children, youth, persons with disabilities, people who are at high risk of acquiring or living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, and migrants. CSE delivered through a human rights and gender equality-based approach, in an out-of-school context in particular, is crucial to reach marginalized adolescents and youth, mainly young women and girls who are disadvantaged, many of whom are already mothers and socially isolated.

    In addition to reaching children and young people who are not in school, and the most vulnerable and marginalized children and young people, out-of-school CSE fulfils several other important functions:

    -    providing CSE that is tailored to the different needs of specific groups of children and young people, e.g., young people living with HIV, or young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or other non-heterosexual orientations (LGBT+), or young people with a disability. 
    -    providing CSE to children and young people who go to school in countries where CSE is not included in the school curriculum. 
    -    supplementing in-school sexuality education, particularly in contexts where this is not comprehensive or of high quality. 
    -    providing programmes that explicitly involve parents and guardians.


Desciption of Roles and Responsibilities – inter alia

With the foregoing considered, a consultant will be recruited to conduct a formative assessment of the CSE component within the HFLE curriculum against international best practices and, specifically, the International Technical Guidance (ITG). The assessment will be transparent, inclusive, and conducted in a participatory manner. The Consultant will conceptualize and develop a methodology to utilize mixed methods and draw on quantitative and qualitative data. The assessment will also capture a theory-based approach taking into consideration UNFPA strategic and planning documents, and other relevant documents and tools, especially the UNESCO Sexuality Education Review and Assessment Tool (SERAT) 3.0 tool. SERAT is based on international evidence and good practices related to the development and content of effective comprehensive sexuality programmes. The major source material is the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (UNESCO, 2018). The International Technical Guidance (2018) is an updated version of a 2012 document of the same name and was revised through an in-depth consultative process with experts from around the world.  

Improvements and updates were made based on new evidence and good practice documented from across the globe. Notable improvements in the revised ITGSE include: 

  • It presents one, commonly agreed definition of CSE;
  • It enhances and expands its key concepts, topics and learning objectives; places a strengthened focus on gender and human rights;
  • It provides guidance on building support and planning for the implementation of CSE programmes; 
  • It reflects the contribution of CSE to the realization of multiple SDGs.

 The assessment will include 4 main phases, each with distinct deliverables. 



Visit our website: for the detailed Job Description.


To apply, kindly complete a profile in the UNFPA Consultants Roster at and submit the generated Job ID # along with application letter to:


Vacancy #: 2021/CSE-FA/ICC-02

The Spotlight Initiative

14-20 Port Royal Street, Kingston


Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.




  • There is no application, processing or other fee at any stage of the application process. 
  • UNFPA does not solicit or screen for information in respect of HIV or AIDS and does not discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status. 
  • UNFPA provides a work environment that reflects the values of gender equality, teamwork, respect for diversity, integrity and a healthy balance of work and life. We are committed to maintaining our balanced gender distribution and therefore encourage women to apply.