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Consultancy, Innovation Specialist (MHPSS), 11.5 months , Remote

New York City (United States of America)

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
  • Closing Date: 2021-05-14

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UNICEF’s Office of Innovation is hiring an innovation specialist for a new role focusing on innovations to accelerate UNICEF’s work in the area of Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing.

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, innovate

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support the realisation of children’s rights are key to improving children’s lives.

Worldwide, we innovate to tackle the most pressing problems faced by the most vulnerable children. We take a systematic approach to innovation, applying skills and energy across new tools and technologies, products, innovative financing and new ways of working to boost our impact.

The Office of Innovation is a creative, unique and agile team in UNICEF. We sit at a unique intersection, where an organisation that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, the tools, the know-how and the partners that turn ideas and energy into scalable solutions for children.

Within the Office of Innovation, the Field Engagement and Capacity Building Team has a crucial role in ensuring groundbreaking innovations meet children and young people’s most urgent needs.

By managing UNICEF’s global innovation portfolios, we help identify priorities for the application of innovations. We also strengthen the capacity of UNICEF offices to scale proven innovations to millions.

Through co-design, shared learning, storytelling and exploration, we also aid efforts to build a culture of innovation throughout UNICEF, including on virtual and remote learning and collaboration.

The Office of Innovation currently hosts the Secretariat for the Digital Public Goods Alliance, established in follow-up to the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation. In its report, the Panel recommends as 1B “that a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods, engaging talent and pooling data sets, in a manner that respects privacy, in areas related to attaining the SDGs”. Norway, Sierra Leone, UNICEF and iSPIRT, the four initial champions working to implement this recommendation. 

As part of facilitating use of digital public goods, the Alliance will help potential users identify and engage with relevant implementation support communities and will also link to relevant policy and regulatory resources. The Alliance also wants to help ensure future development and management of digital public goods, through identifying and developing funding models and business models.

How can you make a difference?

This is a new role within the Office of Innovation, reporting to the Field Engagement and Capacity Building team. You will support the development of UNICEF’s global Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Innovation portfolio, focusing particularly on how digital tools and platforms can be used safely and ethically to scale up the reach and impact of MHPSS services.

 Your main responsibilities will be:

This is a new role which will require excellent cross-team work and a good understanding of how UNICEF works at HQ, Regional Office and Country Office level.

You will be the global MHPSS innovation portfolio manager, which includes:

  • Undertaking an external landscape review and analysis of innovation solutions relating to the portfolio problem statements.
  • Produce an analytical report on UNICEF’s value add in the MHPSS innovation space
  • Global guidance focused on guiding field/country implementation of MHPSS innovations, that outline do-no-harm principles in alignment with global MHPSS guidance and standards, and identifies risks and their mitigations and helps address existing organizational bottlenecks.
  • Ongoing portfolio management for the MHPSS Innovation portfolio, including refining its vision and strategy, in collaboration with Senior Mental Health Technical Advisor in Programme Division Director’s Office.
  • Support evidence generation for identified innovations in the MHPSS innovation portfolio including developing and executing an evidence and research plan.

You will also provide strategic support and other tasks, as agreed for Office of Innovation.

Please note that these responsibilities may be varied by mutual written agreement.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • An advanced university degree in psychology, social sciences, technology, international development, business administration or other relevant field.

A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.

  • A minimum of eight years of relevant professional experience in mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) programing preferably including field experience.
  • A strong understanding of UNICEF programming, policy, and principles as well as functioning of HQ, RO and CO
  • Knowledge of data protection and ethical standards applicable to digital and remote service delivery to children.
  • Experience managing projects with strong technology components
  • Demonstrated experience developing and maintaining constructive relationships with a wide spectrum of partners from different fields and organisations.
  • Proven capacity to communicate effectively across different mediums to engage and influence complex stakeholders (including senior stakeholders) in order to deliver against challenging targets
  • Proven capacity to work with collaborative teams across different locations and with different technical skills
  • Practical experience of leveraging technology to drive results is desirable.
  • Knowledge of MHPSS Case Management and Integration of MH (Mental Health) into PHC(Primary Health Care) approaches desirable.
  • Experience of innovation portfolio management or innovation governance is desirable
  • Experience in knowledge sharing, capacity building or training for innovation is desirable
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are...

Core Competencies

  • Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (1)
  • Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (2)
  • Works Collaboratively with others (2)
  • Builds and Maintains Partnerships (2)
  • Innovates and Embraces Change (2)
  • Thinks and Acts Strategically (2)
  • Drives to achieve impactful results (2)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (2)

Functional Competencies:

  • Analyzing (3)
  • Deciding and Initiating action (2)
  • Applying technical expertise (3)

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.

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.

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.

Payment details and further considerations

  • Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for his/her own health and travel insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all work-related travel


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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