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Centre for Roma Initiatives requires International consultancy (individual)


Centre for Roma Initiatives


International consultancy (individual)


Technical assistance to the Centre for Roma Initiatives for documenting gaps and lessons learnt in the prevention of child marriage in Montenegro and developing a Theory of Change to guide future interventions


Within “Coordinated action to combat violence and child marriages in Roma and Egyptian Community” implemented by Centre for Roma Initiatives with the support of UNICEF.

Part of Protecting Children from Violence and Promoting Social Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Western Balkans and Turkey implemented by UNICEF in partnership with the European Disability Forum – EDF and funded by the European Union

  Terms of Reference and minimum requirements for the position can be found below.

Please apply with a CV, financial offer and cover letter by email, mail or fax quoting the position “Prevention of child marriage in Montenegro” to the following address:

Centre for Roma Initiatives, Jola Piletica b.b., 81400 Niksic, Crna Gora

Fax: +382 40 246 369

Email: crink@t-com.me


 Closing date for applications is 7 April 2017 by 16.00h.

 Only short listed candidates will be contacted for interview.




Terms of Reference

International consultancy (individual)

Technical assistance to the Centre for Roma Initiatives for documenting gaps and lessons learnt in the prevention of child marriage in Montenegro and developing a Theory of Change to guide future interventions

  1. Background and Context

Montenegro has an upper-middle-income economy and is a candidate for accession to the European Union (EU), a process that is a national priority and a major driver of reforms for human rights and children. Much of the country’s legislative framework is now aligned with international human rights instruments, however, enforcement and follow-through can at times be slow, sporadic and frequently falling short of the targets. While overall impressive development gains have been made in the country in the past period from which children benefitted greatly, not all children have benefitted equally. Significant inequalities exist, between regions, socioeconomic quintiles, and deprivations based on discrimination[1].

Marriage before the age of 18 is a fundamental human rights violation. Child marriage disproportionately affects young girls, who are much more likely to be married as children than young boys[2]. Cohabitation – when a couple lives ‘in union’, as if married – raises the same human rights concerns as marriage. Globally, about one in seven adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) are currently married or in union[3]. Although the rate of child marriage in Montenegro is relatively low (according to MICS 2013[4], 0.5% of women and 0.1% men aged 15-19 are married or in union; 6.2% women and 0.8 men aged 20-49 were first married or in union before the age 18) among some sub-populations it is considerably higher. According to MICS 2013, 28.1% of women aged 15-19 in Roma and Egyptian settlements are married or in union and 16.5% men; 56.4% women aged 20-49 were first married or in union before the age 18. In addition, 36.9 women aged 20-24 had at least one live birth before the age of 18 (compared to 2.7% among the general population). According to the research conducted by the Centre for Roma Initiatives in Montenegro: in 59.1% of the cases the parents make decision about marriage, in 52% cases Roma women do not choose their partner or when they will marry, but their parents, extended family and elders’ councils do it for them, and 44.2 % of the women did not know their future husband until the very marriage.[5]

According to the last 2011 census, 8,305 members of Roma and Egyptian minority (1.3% of the general population) live in Montenegro. Compared to the general population, Roma and Egyptian girls and boys, a significant proportion of whom are also refugees from neighboring Kosovo[6], fare much worse in almost every social and wellbeing indicator[7]. The high incidence of child marriage is coupled with a high level of acceptance of gender based violence within the family among Roma and Egyptians, where 41% of women and 53% of men agree that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife in the five circumstances listed in MICS (compared with 2.7% and 4.5% respectively among the general population).

The Government of Montenegro, within the Decade of Roma inclusion (2005-2015), pledged to reduce the gap between Roma men and women and the majority population, with the question of gender equality as recurrent topic. This obligation continues with the adoption of the „Strategy for social inclusion of Roma and Egyptian population in Montenegro 2016-2020“. One of the concrete objectives of the aforementioned Strategy is prevention of child marriages (alongside the objectives to tackle domestic violence and violence against women, begging and trafficking).

Montenegro is a signatory to CRC, CEDAW, Lanzarote Convention, Istanbul Convention and a number of other conventions relevant for this subject. As regards national legislation, Montenegro’s Constitution guarantees special protection to the child from psychological, physical, economic and any other form of exploitation and abuse. According to the Family Law (2007, amended in 2016) marriage is based on a free decision of a man and a woman to enter into marriage, on their equality, mutual respect and mutual assistance. A person under 18 years of age may not enter into a marriage, except with the permission of the court and if the child is older than 16 years of age. The Family Law stipulates that a marriage shall be null and void if the spouses have not given their wilful consent or if the marriage has not been concluded before a competent body. Guardianship authority shall provide appropriate assistance and support to parents and undertake necessary measures to protect the rights and the best interests of a child, on the basis of direct knowledge or notification (which may include supervision, restriction of parental rights or deprivation of parental rights). The Criminal Code prohibits extramarital union with a child, and envisages sanctions for parents or guardians who enable this union to take place, which are aggravated if force or threat is used. However, if a marriage is concluded, prosecution will not be undertaken. Amendments to the Criminal Code in 2013 resulted in adding to Article 444 “Human Trafficking” the concluding of a prohibited marriage, however, no prosecution on this charge has taken place[8]. In general, inadequate legal definition and difficulties in obtaining evidence for prosecution are frequently cited as major obstacles for effective processing of cases.

In addition to the above obstacles related to the implementation of legislation, child marriages persist for a variety of reasons, including the status and social exclusion of the Roma and Egyptian population, lack of coordinated action among relevant institutions and prejudices (child marriages being justified as a Roma and Egyptian tradition), lack of specialized services and constrained access to general services, etc. The Ministry of Interior is currently leading an intersectoral working group to develop a “Guidance on Processing Cases of Early and Forced Marriages” (working title), with the support of the civil society organization Centre for Roma Initiatives and UNICEF, and in accordance with the Strategy for the Protection from Family Violence 2016-2020. The Office of the National Coordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Begins has also been active in this field and developed a training programme with the support of UNICEF, delivered to over 150 relevant professionals in the period 2015-2016. Several Roma civil society organizations have also invested significant efforts in community mobilization and awareness raising. The Centre for Roma Initiatives prevented 39 cases of child marriage between 2011 and 2015, however they have also encountered challenges such as absence of clear institutional mechanisms and absence of willingness on the part of the community to actively engage in solving these problems.

As regards the research and evidence base, in 2014, the Centre for Roma Initiatives conducted a study “Arranged marriage stronger than the law”[9] in 4 municipalities which included interviews with more than 600 members of the Roma and Egyptian communities (50% male and 50% female) concerning various aspects of practices related to child marriages as well as a number of focus groups. OSCE[10] is in the process of finalizing a mapping analysis concerning child marriages in Montenegro, which involved desk review as well as interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders (institutions, agencies and organizations active in the field of addressing child marriages) conducted during 2016 in 6 Montenegrin municipalities. MICS 2013 provides data on the prevalence of child marriage and other related indicators, and UNICEF Study on Obstacles to Education in Montenegro[11] with special focus on Roma and Egyptian children, 2013, also refers to child marriages.

In December 2016, Centre for Roma Initiatives and UNICEF Country Office in Montenegro entered into a partnership “Coordinated action to combat violence and child marriages in Roma and Egyptian Community”. This intervention is part of a regional initiative Protecting Children from Violence and Promoting Social Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Western Balkans and Turkey implemented by UNICEF in partnership with the European Disability Forum – EDF and funded by the European Union (Instrument for Pre-accession 2015, implementation 2016-2018), the objective of which is to promote the respect for human rights and greater effectiveness and inclusiveness of public services for vulnerable groups – child victims of violence and children with disabilities – by empowering civil society and promoting cooperation in the enlargement region. The key intended results of the Centre for Roma Initiatives and UNICEF partnership are: strengthened institutional mechanism in combating domestic violence and child marriages (through the development of the above-mentioned Guidance), mobilization of Roma communities in the cities of Podgorica and Niksic against child marriages with special focus on youth, and improved knowledge of relevant stakeholders about gaps and lessons learnt in preventing child marriages based on the analysis commissioned as per this Terms of Reference.


  1. Purpose and Objective

The purpose of this consultancy is to support combating child marriages in Montenegro.

The objective of the assignment is to improve knowledge of relevant stakeholders about gaps and lessons learnt in preventing child marriages in Montenegro, including of the Centre of Roma Initiatives to support them in enhancing their future work in this area. Based on this analysis, a theory of change[12] is to be developed and finalized with national stakeholders in an interactive format, to guide future interventions.


  1. Methodology and Technical Approach

The methodology should include: desk review including 6-10 case studies (to be selected by the Centre for Roma Initiatives) on preventing child marriages in Montenegro; interviews with key stakeholders to review current practice and shed additional light to the selected case studies; analysis of findings – gaps and lessons learnt; development of recommendations and a draft theory of change; validation of findings and the theory of change with national stakeholders in a national workshop/roundtable; preparation of a report; regular consultations with the Centre for Roma Initiatives on the aforementioned.

Further details are provided in the section below “Activities and Tasks”.

Special measures will be put in place to ensure that the research is ethical and that participants in the research process can openly express their opinion. The Contractor will ensure that the research process is in line with the UNICEF Procedure for Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluation, and Data Collection and Analysis (http://www.unicef.org/supply/files/ATTACHMENT_IV-UNICEF_Procedure_for_Ethical_Standards.PDF). It should be noted that UNICEF Country Office Montenegro will submit the Contractor’s detailed research methodology as well as research report to the national Ethical Committee for clearance.


  1. Activities and Tasks

The following tasks need to be accomplished in accordance with the following tentative breakdown of working days:

Task No. days & location
1. Desk review, which should include the following:

  • review of relevant national documentation which will be provided by the Centre for Roma Initiatives (key policy documents, research and studies including the abovementioned Montenegro MICS 2013, Study on the Obstacles to Education in Montenegro, Centre for Roma Initiatives study on child marriages, OSCE mapping analysis). Reference should be made to child marriage (prevalence and drivers) among non-Roma as well based on available data;
  • review of the national legal framework and policies of relevance to child marriage in the light of international standards, CRC and CEDAW in particular;
  • review of 6-10 case studies on preventing child marriages in Montenegro (to be selected and provided by the Centre for Roma Initiatives to the consultant prior to the field trip);
  • preparation of an interview schedule for the field trip in consultation with the Centre for Roma Initiatives.
Approximately 7 days, home-based
2. Interviews with key stakeholders to review current practice in relation to preventing child marriages and to shed additional light on the selected case studies (for instance UNHCR, EU Delegation, OSCE, international and national nongovernmental organizations, Roma and Egyptian organizations, national institutions, Ombudsperson’s Office, Office of the National Coordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings, etc.) Approximately 5 days, in Montenegro
3. Preparation of a draft report, based on regular consultations with the Centre for Roma Initiatives and UNICEF, containing:

  • desk review;
  • the analysis of fieldwork findings focusing on gaps and lessons learnt in addressing child marriages, with reference to global trends in addressing child marriages, research and best practice;
  • country specific recommendations on how to strengthen and scale up promising practices in addressing child marriage;
  • a draft theory of change for presentation to national stakeholders at a validation workshop / roundtable.
Approximately 10 days, home-based
4. Presentation of the analysis, recommendations and theory of change to national stakeholders at a validation workshop / roundtable 1 day in Montenegro
5. Finalization of the report based on feedback from Centre for Roma Initiatives, UNICEF and participants at the validation workshop / roundtable Approximately 2 days, home-based


A more detailed methodology and work plan with time frame will be developed by the consultant and agreed with the Centre for Roma Initiatives in consultation with UNICEF Country Office in Montenegro.

The following report structure is recommended:

  • Executive summary;
  • Introduction (including definitions, global prevalence, prevalence in Montenegro – using graphs and visuals where possible, overview of drivers and consequences);
  • Global trends in addressing child marriages, research and best practice;
  • Montenegro’s practice in addressing child marriages – gaps and lessons learnt (national legal framework with reference to international standards, policy documents, overview of interventions based on desk review, case studies and interview findings);
  • Recommendations and a theory of change to guide future interventions;


  1. Deliverables and Timeframe

The following deliverables are due by the following tentative deadlines:

  1. Draft research report and presentation of the research findings, by 8 May 2017.
  2. Presentation of findings at a national workshop/roundtable, by 26 May 2017.
  3. Final research report, by 2 June 2017.


  1. Management and Organisation

 The assignment is expected to commence by 12th April 2017. The timeframe for this assignment is from 12th April 2017 to 2 June 2017. During that period the total number of consultancy days available is 25 working days.

International Consultancy, individual, is required for this assignment. If a team of two individuals (team members) is proposed, the total number of days is to be shared between the individuals (team members). In addition, if a team of two individuals (team members) is proposed, qualifications of both individuals (team members) should be listed against the criteria listed below in “Qualifications and Background” and their roles in the assignment should be clearly spelled out in the application.

The Consultancy agency will be supervised by the Centre for Roma Initiatives in consultation with UNICEF Country Office in Montenegro.


  1. Qualifications and Background

The Consultant is expected to have following qualifications to complete the assignment:

  • Advanced university degree in Law, Social Sciences, or a relevant technical field;
  • Proven previous experience working on child marriage;
  • Proven knowledge of the international human rights law, UNCRC, CEDAW, and other conventions and international regulations on child protection and gender equality;
  • Proven research and analytical skills;
  • Familiarity with the situation of girls and boys in the country/Western Balkans, especially Roma and Egyptians is an asset;
  • Previous experience in working with UN/UNICEF is an asset;
  • Fluency in English is mandatory, while knowledge of Montenegrin is an asset;
  • Excellent writing and interpersonal communication skills.


  1. Budget and Remuneration
  • Consultancy fee

Proposals are invited based on these Terms of Reference.

  • Payment schedule

The payments will be made upon successful completion of the deliverables and submission of invoices.

  • Recourse

Centre for Roma Initiatives reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs is incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines.

[1] UNICEF Country Office in Montenegro, based on Mid Term Review of UNICEF Montenegro Country Programme 2012-2016.

International Center for Research on Women – ICRW, 2011, “Solutions to End Child Marriage: What the Evidence Shows”.

[3] UNICEF, 2017, UNICEF Data: Monitoring the situation of Children and Women (https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/child-marriage/, accessed on 21 March 2017)

[4] MONSTAT and UNICEF, Montenegro Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey MICS 2013, for full report go to http://www.unicef.org/montenegro/media_9983.html (accessed 26 August 2016), Key Findings for Roma Settlements available at http://www.unicef.org/montenegro/2013_Montenegro_Roma_settlements_Multiple_Indicator_Cluster_Survey_-_Key_findings_(June_2014).pdf.

[5] Center for Roma Initiatives “Arranged marriage stronger than the law”. Center for Roma Initiatives, U.S. EMBASSY Podgorica, Government of Montenegro, Ministry for Human and Minority Rights.

[6] Since 2009 when then new Law on Foreigners opened a legal avenue for the resolution of their legal status, many of them have regulated their stay in Montenegro although not all.

[7] According to MICS 2013, while overall school attendance in Montenegro is at 98.2% and 93.1% for primary and upper secondary school (gender parity index 1.00 and 1.01 respectively), with the Roma and Egyptian community it is only 57.8% for primary and merely 5.5% for upper secondary school (gender parity index 0.95 and 0.60 respectively; note that despite the gender parity at secondary level, attendance is low for both sexes). While enrolment rates have increased over the years, there is a high drop-out rate among Roma and Egyptian children with less than a third of children of primary completion age actually completing the last grade of this compulsory education level (30% Roma boys and 29% Roma girls). According to MICS 2013, only 4.1% Roma and Egyptian women aged 15-49 currently married or in a union are using (or their partner is using) a contraceptive method (compared with 23.3% in the general population). Only 46.2% Roma and Egyptian women have heard of AIDS, compared to 72.9% Roma and Egyptian men, and compared to 97.4% women from the general population and 98.1% men.

[8] OSCE Mapping analysis, draft report, January 2017.

[9] Centre for Roma Initiatives, Op. cit.

[10] OSCE Op. cit.

[11] Ipsos Strategic Marketing “Study on Obstacles to Education in Montenegro: Roma and Egyptian Children”. UNICEF.

[12] Example of a theory of change on child marriage can be found at http://www.unicef.org/evaluation/files/Executive_Summary_FINAL_UNICEF-UNFPA_Inception_Report_Global_Programme_to_Accelerate_the_End_of_Child_Marriage_30102015.pdf (accessed 21 March 2017)

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