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Loneliness is a key risk factor for ageing-related diseases and is detrimental for healthy ageing. A lack of quality social relationships is linked to increases in cardiovascular disease and depression, and is a risk factor for dementia. COVID-19 may have a profound impact on older persons, especially those older persons living alone. Epidemics and measures introduced to prevent the spread of the virus that have been extended across the globe, may have additional influence on feeling on loneliness among older people. To increase understanding of loneliness and related risk factors during ageing in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), the UNFPA and the University College of London (UCLA) are developing a survey in selected countries and territories (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kosovo.


Background information:


This survey will specifically examine:

1) Degree to which older people report feeling lonely in different countries,

2) Demographics (gender, age, urban/rural living, family situation) of lonely people, and

3) Factors that contribute to the feeling of loneliness.

The results of the study will be used to inform the development of interventions to contribute to healthy and active ageing initiatives and address loneliness in older people across the EECA region. The purpose of the consultancy is to engage an entity to conduct the survey in Serbia, using face to face structured interviews based on questionnaire developed by the international research team from the UCL and translated in Serbian by UNFPA CO Serbia and deliver database to the UCL and UNFPA CO. In case of unfavorable epidemiological situation related to COVID-19 and corresponding preventive measures and restrictions in the course of the study, a decision could be made to use alternative ways to complete data collection (i.e., by phone) All partners will be consulted about such possibility in timely manner.
The UCL team will work directly with the selected entity to support scripting and delivery of the survey.




The selected entity is expected to execute the following tasks/activities:

Task 1. Prepare a work plan with a brief description of the activities to be undertaken, methodologies to be used, timeframes and corresponding team members responsible for each activity;

Task 2. Trial with a few people (5-10 people) to identify problematic questions based on the survey draft created by the UCL. It is necessary to ensure that the language is clear, questions are easily understood and none of the questions lead to consistent refusal of response;

Task 3. Participate in online training for survey delivery organized by the UCL;

Task 4. Conduct a survey with 1000 respondents, using a Serbian translation of questionnaire consisting of around 50 questions (15 to 20 minutes to respond). It is recommended to use face-to-face interviews, and data will ideally be collected with computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI). The target population should be citizens of the country who are over 65 years old, with an equal split between genders. A representative sample should be chosen using a two-stage stratified approach: stratification by region and by urban or rural areas, with sampling proportional to population size. Regions and urban/rural should be chosen randomly and within each sampling point, households should be randomly selected by a random walk selection. If multiple people fulfil the selection criteria within a household, selection should be done with a procedure that helps to ensure a representative sample across age, gender and ethnicity;

Task 5. Deliver survey clean anonymized data base in format agreed with the UCL;

Task 6. Organize a focus group discussion of young people in order to understand their interactions with older people and the challenges and opportunities associated with developing cross-generational programmes to combat loneliness, if epidemiological situation permits. There is also possibility if agreed with all project partners that focus group discussion of young people is organized online;

Task 7. Organize a face-to-face focus group discussion if older people in order to understand some project results, if epidemiological situation permits (Focus groups are conditional on agreement of all project partners).




Deliverable 1: Detailed work plan developed, containing a brief description of activities to be undertaken, methodologies to be used, timeframes and corresponding team members responsible for each activity;

Deliverable 2: The questionnaire tested on a few people (5-10 people) in order to ensure that language is clear and understandable;

Deliverable 3: Participation in online training for survey delivery organized by the UCL;

Deliverable 4: The survey with 1000 respondents conducted;

Deliverable 5: The survey clean anonymized data in Serbian delivered;

Deliverable 6: Focus group discussion with young people (5-7 people) organized after the fieldwork, if epidemiological situation permits; or online if agreed with all project partners

Deliverable 7: Focus group discussion with older people (5-7 people) organized after the fieldwork, if epidemiological situation permits;

Deliverable 8: Transcript from focus group discussions in Serbian delivered to UNFPA CO Serbia, no later than August 20, 2021.



Timing / Schedule:


The activities under the present assignment are expected to start on May 17, 2021 and conclude by August 31, 2021. This schedule could be altered in case of force majeure that would prevent progress of planned activities of international partner, the UCL and UNFPA coordination between countries.

Work will be done under the overall supervision and guidance by the Head of the Office while direct supervision will be done by PD Programme Assistant;

The Contractor will monitor the implementation per the agreed deliverables and timeline specified in this ToR. For all possible delays influenced by delays in the work of international UCL team or coordination of activities in EECA region, the UNFPA Country office, PD Assistant, will inform contractor in timely manner proposing alternative actions or dates for completion of the deliverables;

For all delays in the completion of the tasks, contractor should notify the PD Assistant and the UNFPA Serbia Head of Office stating the reasons for the delay and proposing alternative actions or dates for completion of the deliverables.




Questions or requests for further clarifications should be submitted in writing to the contact person below:

Name of contact person(s): Tina Anicic

Email address of contact person: