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Child Protection Specialist (Children Associated with Armed Groups) P-3 (TA), Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Mexico City
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Criminology, Extremism, Police Affairs and Anti-Corruption
    • Mine Action and Weapon Contamination
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Protection Officer (Refugee)
  • Closing Date: 2022-05-27

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The Child Protection Specialist (Children Associated with Armed Groups) reports to the Chief, Child Protection for guidance and general supervision. The Child Protection Specialist on children associated with armed groups will provide technical support to the National Observatory for the Prevention of Child Recruitment by Organized Crime in the implementation of its work plan, will provide technical support in planning and managing UNICEF related support programmes, and will support technically interventions in priority states with higher violence rates.

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, 

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programmes, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life — in its social, political, economic, civic and cultural dimensions — her or his rights are violated. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens — addressing inequity — not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. This is why the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

In 2015, 10.4% of adolescents surveyed indicated that they were invited to be part of criminal groups in the place where they live, with a higher incidence in male adolescents (13.5%) than among adolescent women (7.8%). Out of the adolescents in detention centers surveyed in 2017, 35% said they were part of an organized criminal group; and 27% said they had committed a crime in association with members of the gang they were part of in the neighborhood where they lived. Despite the lack of comprehensive hard data on association of children with armed groups, available data en studies point at a total number of children associated between 30,000 to 45,000 children and up to 145,000 at risk nationally (REDIM). Despite Mexico´s broad regulatory and institutional framework, gaps persist in the legal and policy frameworks and an absence of comprehensive approaches and programs to prevent recruitment and promote reintegration.

Mexico´s 2019-2024 Action Plan to End Violence Against Children includes as the prevention of recruitment and reintegration of children associated with organized crime as a priority action. As part of this process, the Council of the National Observatory for the Prevention of recruitment of children and adolescents led by the Federal Secretary of Public Security was established in October 2021 which has requested UNICEF´s support to the implementation of its work plan. As such, UNICEF Mexico has prioritized the prevention of recruitment and reintegration of children associated with organized crime and armed groups. The prevention of child recruitment is an integral part of the federal Peace and security Strategy 2018-2024.

Job organizational context: The Child Protection Specialist will work for UNICEF Mexico Country Office (CO) where the Child Protection Programme is a component of the Country Programme. The Specialist reports to the Chief, Child Protection, who is at Level 4.

Purpose for the job: Under the supervision of the Chief of Child Protection, the Child Protection Specialist on children associated with armed groups will provide technical support to the National Observatory for the Prevention of Child Recruitment by Organized Crime in the implementation of its work plan, will provide technical support in planning and managing UNICEF related support programmes, and will support technically interventions in priority states with higher violence rates.

The Specialist supports the development and preparation of the Child Protection programme(s) and is responsible for the management, implementation, monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of the child protection programmes/projects within the country programme. The Specialist provides technical guidance and management support throughout the programming processes. H/She facilitates the administration and achievement of concrete and sustainable contributions to national and international efforts to create a protective environment for children against all harm, and to protect their rights to survival, development and well being as established under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, international treaties/frameworks and UN intergovernmental bodies.

The Specialist contributes to the achievement of results according to plans, allocation, results based-management approaches and methodology (RBM), and UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, standards of performance and accountability framework.

How can you make a difference?

  1. Support to programme/project development and planning
  2. Programme management, monitoring and delivery of results
  3. Technical and operational support to programme implementation
  4. Networking and partnership building
  5. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building   

1. Support to programme/project development and planning

  • Contribute to the further development of child recruitment prevention and reintegration programmes, including overall policy framework, implementation strategy, operational modalities, monitoring and evaluation framework and programme action plans, taking into account national programme priorities and targets.
  • Support the preparation, design and updating of the situation analysis for the child protection programmes/projects to ensure that current and comprehensive data on child protection issues is available to guide UNICEF’s strategic policy advocacy, intervention and development efforts on child rights and protection, and to set programme priorities, strategies, and design and implementation plans. Keep abreast of development trends to enhance programme management, efficiency and delivery.
  • Participate in strategic programme discussions on the planning of child protection programmes/projects. Formulate, design and prepare programme/project proposals for the sector, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s overall Strategic Plans and the Country Programme, as well as coherence and integration with the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), regional strategies and national priorities, plans and competencies.
  • Establish specific goals, objectives, strategies, and implementation plans for the sector using results-based planning terminology and methodology (RBM). Prepare required documentations for programme review and approval.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies, and to determine national priorities and competencies to ensure the achievement of concrete and sustainable results.
  • Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes to ensure integration, coherence and harmonization of programmes/projects with other UNICEF sectors and achievement of results as planned and allocated.

2. Programme management, monitoring and delivery of results

  •  Implement UNICEF AWP assigned activities.
  • Plan and collaborate with colleagues and external partners to establish monitoring benchmarks, performance indicators, other UNICEF/UN system indicators and measurements, to assess and strengthen performance accountability, coherence and delivery of concrete and sustainable results for the assigned sector in child protection programmes.
  • In coordination and collaboration with relevant stakeholders, collect quantitative and qualitative baseline and follow-up data; design and put into place management information systems; and assist partners to analyze and interpret data for application to the programme.
  • Coordinate local partners and communities (e.g. NGOs, community-based organizations, private sector enterprises and local communal authorities) and facilitate their participation in the planning and implementation of child recruitment prevention and reintegration programmes and related activities.
  • Support efforts in resource mobilization and development of strategic partnerships with multiple donors and agencies.
  • Participate in monitoring and evaluation exercises, programme reviews and annual reviews with the government and other counterparts to assess progress and to determine required actions and interventions to achieve results. Prepares various written outputs, e.g. draft background documents and briefing notes.
  • Prepare and assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths and/or weaknesses in programme management. Identify lessons learned and use knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.
  • Actively monitor programmes/projects through field visits, surveys and exchange of information with partners to assess progress, identify bottlenecks and potential problems. Take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely resolution.
  • Monitor and verify the optimum and appropriate use of sectoral programme resources (financial, administrative and other assets) confirming compliance with organizational rules, regulations, procedures, donor commitments, as well as standards of accountability and integrity. Ensure timely reporting and liquidation of resources.
  • Prepare regular and mandated programme/project reports for management, donors and partners to keep them informed of programme progress.

3.Technical and operational support to programme implementation

  • Provide technical support in the planning, design and implementation of UNICEF partnerships for child recruitment prevention and reintegration, and also provide technical advice and assistance to key government institutions, consulting with relevant stakeholders through inclusive and participatory processes, and undertaking monitoring of the child recruitment prevention and reintegration programme activities.
  • Organize and undertake situation analysis on various aspects of child recruitment and reintegration programming.
  • Provide technical guidance and operational support to government counterparts, NGO partners, UN system partners and other country office partners and donors on the interpretation, application and understanding of UNICEF policies, strategies, processes, best practices, and approaches on child protection related issues to support programme management, implementation and delivery of results.
  • Arrange and coordinate availability of technical experts with Regional Office/HQ to ensure timely and appropriate support throughout the programming process.
  • Participate in child protection programme meetings, including programme development and contingency planning discussions on emergency preparedness in the country or other locations designated, to provide technical and operational information, advice and support.
  • Draft policy papers, briefs and other strategic programme materials for management use, information and/or consideration.

4. Networking and partnership building

  • Build and sustain effective close working partnerships with relevant government counterparts, national stakeholders, global partners, allies, donors, and academia - through active networking, advocacy and effective communication - to build capacity, exchange knowledge and expertise, and to reinforce cooperation to achieve sustainable and broad results in child protection.
  • Prepare communication and information materials for CO programme advocacy to promote awareness, establish partnerships/alliances and to support fund raising for child protection programmes and emergency interventions.
  • Participate and/or represent UNICEF in appropriate inter-agency (UNCT) discussions and planning on child protection related issues to collaborate with inter-agency partners/colleagues on UNDAF planning and preparation of programmes/projects. Ensure organizational position, interests and priorities are fully considered and integrated in the UNDAF process for development planning and agenda setting.

5.Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building

  • Develop targeted training programmes for institutional capacity building of UNICEF and partners for effective programme delivery, including integration and coordination with other government sectors and activities.
  • Assist in training and preparation of partners and counterparts in advance of DDR activities.
  • Apply and introduce innovative approaches and good practices to build the capacity of partners and stakeholders, and to support the implementation and delivery of concrete and sustainable programme results.
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programmes and projects.
  • Organize and implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of clients and stakeholders to promote sustainable results in child protection and related programmes/projects.
  • Perform other duties as required.

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

Education: An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: international development, human rights, psychology, sociology, international law, or another relevant social science field.


  • A minimum of five years of professional experience in social development planning and management in child protection related areas is required.
  • A minimum of five years of experience in child demobilization and reintegration, child recruitment prevention and child protection in emergencies is required. Of this, a minimum of one year experience with crisis management, economic recovery or in any area related to the management of armed groups is desirable. Experience working within peace-building or development programmes operations is desirable.
  • Experience working in a developing country is considered as an asset.
  • Relevant experience in programme development in child protection related areas in a UN system agency or organization is considered as an asset.
  • Experience in both development and humanitarian contexts is considered as an added advantage.

Language Requirements: Fluency in Spanish and English required.

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...

  • 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)

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.


  • 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.
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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