UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.
Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.
And we never give up.
For every child, a future
Under the general guidance and direct supervision of the Regional Adviser, the Child Protection Specialist will work closely with the other Specialists and Officers in Child Protection and other thematic and cross-cutting sections in the Regional Office, notably Adolescents; Gender; Education; Health and HIV/AIDS; Social and Behavior Change (SBC); Social Policy, Social Protection, Data, Monitoring and Research (DMR); Evaluation; Communications and Emergency. The Specialist works closely with the lead Representatives of Key Result for Children (KRC) 5 and the members of the Regional KRC 5 Core Group. The Specialist also works in close collaboration with other Regional (notably Eastern and Southern Africa; and Middle East and North Africa) and Country Offices, the Programme Group in New York Headquarters (notably Child Protection and including the Migration Hub) and the Data and Analytics Section, UNICEF Innocenti (Office of Research), academic institutions, international and regional non-governmental organizations, networks (including survivor networks) and civil society organizations. The Specialist works closely with other UN Agencies, notably WHO, UNWomen and UNFPA on prevention and response to violence against children; and IOM, OHCHR and UNHCR on the protection of children on the move. The Specialist also works with regional bodies, notably the Economic Commission of West and Central African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and multilateral and bilateral resource partners in order to promote the elimination of all forms of violence against children and the protection of children on the move.
How can you make a difference?
The Child Protection Specialist reports to the Child Protection Regional Advisor for general guidance and direction.
The Specialist contributes to achievement of concrete and sustainable results related to the protection of children from violence, including sexual violence and exploitation and in particular related to KRC 5, and the protection of children on the move, according to UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, the 2021-2030 Child Protection Strategy, the CCCs, standards of performance and accountability framework and UNICEF WCARO’s Regional Office Management Plan (ROMP) (2022- 2025) and annual workplans.
Key function, accountabilities, and related duties/tasks
Management and advisory support to the Chief
Provide advice to the Regional Adviser in establishing the annual work plan including developing strategies and determining priorities/targets and performance measurements and with specific focus on KRC 5, key aspects of child protection system strengthening notably social service workforce strengthening and child protection case management for all children, including for children on the move and across all contexts (development and humanitarian). Coordinate work progress monitoring and ensure results are achieved according to schedule and performance standards and report to Chief critical issues for timely action.
Engage with and provide technical assistance/advice to colleagues in the section and other sections and who are engaged in KRC 5, violence and child protection system strengthening and migration related programming more broadly on all aspects of programming and implementation to enable colleagues to achieve program/performance objectives
Perform the full duties of the Chief in his/her absence.
Program development and planning
Plan and/or provide technical assistance and operational support to the preparation/design and conduct/update of situation analysis and with specific attention to KRC 5, violence against children, protection of children on the move and social service workforce strengthening and child protection case management to ensure that current comprehensive and evidence based data on child protection issues and system strengthening efforts are available to guide UNICEF’s strategic policy advocacy, intervention and development efforts on child rights and protection and to set program priorities, strategies, design and implementation plans.
Keep abreast of national/regional/international development priorities on child protection and rights and with specific attention to violence against children, social service workforce strengthening and the protection of children on the move to enhance program management and delivery.
Participate in strategic program discussion on the planning of child protection programs/projects that include aspects related to KRC 5 and violence against children, social service workforce strengthening, and child protection case management across contexts and including for the protection of children on the move. Formulate, design and prepare program/project proposals for the sector, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s Strategic Plan and Child Protection Strategy, CCCs, UNICEF WCARO’s ROMP and Country Programs and coherence/integration with UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), regional strategies and national priorities, plans and competencies.
Establish specific goals, objectives and strategies and implementation plans for the sector/s using results-based planning terminology and methodology (RBM). Prepare required documentations for program review and approval.
Work closely and collaboratively with internal and external colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies and to identify and revise regional priorities/strategies to ensure the achievement of concrete and sustainable results.
Provide authoritative technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes to ensure integration, coherence and harmonization of programs/projects with other UNICEF sectors and relevant Key Results for Children and achievement of results as planned and allocated.
Develop programme and project proposals and take other actions to leverage funds for the areas of responsibility, reflecting priorities for KRC 5, violence prevention and response efforts more broadly including social service workforce strengthening.
Program management, monitoring and quality control of results
Plan and/or collaborate with monitoring and evaluation initiatives to establish benchmarks, performance indicators and other UNICEF/UN system indicators, to assess/strengthen performance accountability, coherence and delivery of concrete and sustainable results in child protection programs.
Assist in the development of tools to monitor programmes and track results, in line with existing UNICEF RBM principles, KRC results frameworks and existing donor and programme frameworks.
Participate in major monitoring and evaluation exercises, program reviews and annual reviews with key stakeholders to assess progress and to engage stakeholders to take required action/interventions to achieve results.
Prepare/assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths/weaknesses in program and management, identify lessons learned and use knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.
Monitor programs/projects to assess progress, identify bottlenecks and potential problems and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant colleagues for timely resolution.
Plan, monitor and control the use of program resources (financial, human, administrative and other assets) certifying/verifying compliance with organizational rules, regulations and procedures, contract and grant management, donor commitments and standards of accountability and integrity. Ensure timely reporting and liquidation of resources.
Submit/prepare program/project reports to donors, management and other partners to keep them informed on progress and critical issues.
Work with relevant colleagues to ensure communication on regional/ multi-country programs and projects in line with donor requirements.
Advisory services and technical support
Provide technical advice and support to country offices, regional bodies, government officials, NGO, UN system and regional office colleagues on policies, strategies, best practices and approaches on child protection, notably violence against children programming, social service workforce strengthening, protection of children on the move and child protection system strengthening to support program development planning, implementation and delivery of results, including through cross and inter-sectoral efforts.
Provide technical support and promote the convening role of the regional office vis-à-vis regional intergovernmental institutions such as ECOWAS, ECCAS and the African Union and regional civil society organizations (in collaboration with UNICEF East and Southern Africa Regional Office, Middle East and North Africa Regional Office and African Union Liaison Office and Child Protection New York Headquarters and UNICEF’s Office of Research -Innocenti). This includes collaboration to strengthen exchange of evidence and relevant programming information, advocacy, and support to implementing regional and sub-regional programmes and activities as related to violence against children, social service workforce strengthening and the protection of children on the move.
Support the development and implementation of national and regional strategies for planning, developing and supporting the social service workforce and child protection case management in line with international guidelines and standards and contribute to build the regional and global evidence base on good practices to strengthen the social service workforce.
Manage the UNICEF contributions to the regional intergovernmental institutions, and represent the region in relevant child protection meetings, webinars, and advocacy events. Coordinate/ensure the availability of technical expertise from among the Regional Office and, where required, relevant HQ entities to ensure timely support throughout all stages of programming/project processes.
Participate in strategic discussions to influence policy and agenda setting for the protection of children from violence, including children on the move, by advising on and advocating for strategies and approaches to promote/catalyze social change for a protective environment for child survival, development and well-being in society and through a system strengthening approach.
Prepare and provide technical advice, policy papers, briefing notes, talking points and other strategic program materials for management use, information and consideration.
Advocacy, networking and partnership building
Provide technical support to country offices in the planning, development and implementation of all stages of programming for the protection of children from violence, including sexual violence and within the context of KRC 5, the protection of children on the move, social service workforce strengthening and within a child protection system strengthening approach.
Proactively engage key partners on issues related to violence against children, the protection of children on the move and social service workforce strengthening. Build and strengthen strategic partnerships through networking and advocacy with regional bodies, UN system agency partners (notably IOM, OHCHR, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNWomen and WHO), donors, internationally recognized institutions, NGOs, funding organization, research institutes and private sector to reinforce cooperation and/or pursue opportunities to promote goals and achieve sustainable and broad results on child protection and with specific focus on achievement of KRC 5 and on ensuring the protection of children on the move through inclusive child protection system strengthening.
Support communication strategies and implementation plans and activities for maximum communication impact and outreach for KRC 5 to promote awareness, establish partnership/alliances for sustainable results and support fund raising, resource mobilization and leveraging.
Support advocacy in relation to KRC 5, violence and exploitation against children, protection of children on the move and social service workforce strengthening in programme design and implementation. Represent UNICEF in regional and global fora to advocate for organizational positions in the development of these priorities. In particular, support the development, implementation, monitoring and reporting of a regional advocacy strategy to break the culture of silence surrounding sexual violence against children, including through alliance building with survivor networks, children and women’s groups, regional bodies, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations.
Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building
Develop programme knowledge acquisition through systematic collection of country programme experience (lessons learned, promising practices, reviews, evaluations) in the protection of children from violence, notably sexual violence, and the protection of children on the move.
Support to strengthen capacity at country and regional levels including review and contextualization of relevant technical guidance and tools, informed by a collected body of knowledge.
Support quality research around violence against children and notably sexual violence both in development and humanitarian contexts, as well as linkages with violence against women and gender-based violence that closes evidence gaps to inform advocacy, programming and policy making. Promote uptake of data and research findings for strengthening programme design and delivery at country and regional levels. Ensure adequate dissemination of research findings, including through development of technical briefs, and keep abreast of latest developments in the field of child protection for sharing with colleagues and partners working on violence against children and gender-based violence in the region in view of strengthening relevant advocacy and programming.
Promote critical thinking and innovative approaches and good practices for sustainable programming on the prevention and response to violence against children, notably sexual violence, keeping abreast of current research and introducing and implementing best and cutting-edge practices including as related to child protection system strengthening (notably child protection case management and information management systems and social service workforce strengthening), multisectoral programming (notably with education, health and social protection) and social norms programming. Institutionalize and disseminate best practices and knowledge learned, including in fragile and humanitarian settings.
Contribute to the development of policies and procedures and introduce innovation and best practices to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programs and projects.
Organize/plan/implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of clients/stakeholders to promote sustainable results on child protection and related programs/projects.
Contribute to Team and Section Planning, Management and Reporting
Contribute to the planning and reporting functions of the Child Protection Section and the Regional Office, including development and monitoring of workplans, review and quality assurance of country and regional annual reports, Country Strategic Indicators (CSI) and Results Assessment Modules (RAM), writing annual and periodic reports and producing other relevant documentation.
Provide overall support to the team, including preparation of team and section reports, develop proposals and donor reports, monitor programme implementation and participate in the development and implementation of the Sections’ workplan.
Perform any other related work as assigned.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have:
An advanced university degree in international development, human rights, psychology, sociology, international law or other social science field is required.
A minimum of 8 years of progressively responsible professional experience at national and international levels related to child protection programming and systems strengthening efforts and notably prevention and response to violence and exploitation, and social service workforce strengthening, some of which were served in a developing country is required.
Demonstrated strong communication, presentation and writing skills including report writing, oral presentations and development of technical documents is essential.
Relevant experience in the protection of children on the move is an asset.
Relevant experience in program/project development and management in a UN system agency or international non-governmental organization is an asset.
Experience in both development and humanitarian contexts is an added advantage.
Demonstrated experience and knowledge of the latest developments and issues related to violence against children and gender-based violence are essential.
Demonstrated experience in design, implementation, budget management and monitoring of programme results is essential.
Fluency in English and French is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or a local language is an asset.
For every Child, you demonstrate...
UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: https://uni.cf/UNICEFValues
UNICEF competencies required for this post are:
Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (1)
Works Collaboratively with others (1)
Builds and Maintains Partnerships (1)
Innovates and Embraces Change (1)
Thinks and Acts Strategically (1)
Drive to achieve impactful results (1)
Manages ambiguity and complexity (1)
During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework here.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.
UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable female are encouraged to apply.
Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance. Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments are also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.