Disability Manager (Research Facilitation) P4, (1 year Fixed Term) Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence Italy
Under the supervision of the Chief, Research Facilitation & Knowledge Management (RFKM), working closely with the Disability Knowledge Management specialist and Senior Adviser, Children with Disability, Programme Group, the incumbent will be responsible for leading and coordinating activities in support of the Global Research Agenda and Platform for Children with Disabilities.
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, Disability Research
Job organizational context
The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does. The leave no one behind principle of the SDGs and UNICEF’s equity agenda translates this commitment on 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.
The Office of Research-Innocenti (UNICEF-Innocenti) is the dedicated research office of UNICEF. It undertakes and commissions research on emerging or current issues of relevance for children to inform the strategic directions, policies and programs of UNICEF and its partners. The Office explores emerging issues, identifies research gaps, brings together existing researchers, and supports or undertakes research and data collection to address critical questions to inform global debates. The Research Facilitation & Knowledge Management unit within which this post is located plays a leading role in building a knowledge culture across UNICEF and partners by providing essential guidance, tools and facilitation to strengthen generation, communication and use of evidence in decision-making.
Purpose of the post:
The number of children with disabilities globally is estimated at almost 240 million. The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS), launched by the UN Secretary General in June 2019, provides a common framework for UNICEF and other UN entities to measure progress towards the SDGs and UNICEF’s equity agenda. UNICEF is committed to mainstream disability in all areas of its work, strengthening policies, programmes and practices to be disability inclusive. Participation of children and youth with and without disabilities is critical to everything UNICEF does.
Both the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Committees have pointed out the lack of disaggregated data and research and expressed concern over the lack of information on the situation of children with disabilities, thus calling for studies on their situation including access to services and support.
With the support of NORAD and working in close coordination with the Disability section of UNICEF’s Programme Group and UNICEF’s country and regional offices, UNICEF-Innocenti is building upon earlier stakeholder consultations with the disability research community, donors, organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) and development partners, to develop and coordinate a Global Research Agenda and Platform for Children with Disabilities. This will generate, communicate and use new research and evidence for better policies and to guide increased investment in effective interventions to support the social inclusion and rights of children with disabilities. It will be a catalyst for research co-creation and a hub to coordinate a global network of policymakers, donors, researchers and practitioners, including those with lived experience, and to amplify the voices of children and youth with disabilities.
The vision includes working with OPDs, leveraging partnerships and developing participatory research methodologies for ethical engagement of children with disabilities. It will aim to advocate for the alignment of research priorities on children with disabilities and for mainstreaming a disability, equity and inclusion lens in all research about children. UNICEF cannot do this alone, but is in a prime position to champion, advocate, and coordinate.
The role of the Agenda and Platform is to lead and coordinate a network of researchers, experts and practitioners in four areas of commitment: (i) advocacy and resource mobilization; (ii) capacity strengthening, learning and development; (iii) convening; and (iv) evidence synthesis & knowledge generation.
Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks:
Management and co-ordination
• Provide day to day technical leadership of the Global Disability Research Agenda and Platform across all four areas of commitment, including coordinating and facilitating inclusion of OPDs in research that informs policymaking and programming.
• Act as the institutional focal point to monitor and track UNICEF’s disability research-related commitments made at the Global Disability Summit in February 2022 and support implementation of UNICEF’s Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy (DIPAS).
• Act as the UNICEF Innocenti disability focal point, leading on relationship management and harmonization of disability research-related activities between UNICEF Innocenti, Programme Group, DAPM and Regional Disability Focal Points.
• Act as the UNICEF Innocenti disability research and evidence generation focal point to ensure activities are aligned to and inform UNICEF’s broader disability programming and advocacy agenda, acknowledging the need to build a stronger evidence base for inclusive policymaking and programming for children with disabilities.
• Establish an Advisory Group for the Global Disability Research Agenda to provide strategic support and advice. Organise regular meetings of the group and act as the Secretariat.
Advocacy and Stakeholder Coordination
• Draw upon the Evidence Gap Map (EGM) on Children with Disabilities (produced with support from the Government of Norway and the International Disability Alliance in 2022) to finalize a draft Global Research Agenda for Children with Disabilities.
• Design and roll out a participatory stakeholder consultation process with the disability research community, OPD’s and other development partners to ensure validity and ownership of the Global Research Agenda for Children with Disabilities.
• Issue a call to action across the global research community, policymakers and donors to address knowledge gaps, invest in and undertake disability research that is informed by human rights, gender equality and social justice.
• In partnership with relevant stakeholders, draw upon evidence to jointly advocate and guide investments in effective interventions for the inclusion, participation, and rights of children with disabilities to support accelerated delivery of the child and adolescent focused SDGs and revised Core Commitments to Children.
• Lead, build and nurture a diverse internal and external global network of disability-focused stakeholders and partners in support of the Global Disability Research Agenda and Platform with the aim of bringing visibility to the critical issues.
• Advocate for active and meaningful participation of children with disabilities and their representative organizations, particularly from the global south, in all research (adopting the ‘nothing about us without us’ principle) and provide guidance to make research ethical, inclusive and accessible for children with disabilities.
• Develop an investment case and lead on resource mobilization with public and private partners to establish research across UNICEF and partners that provides knowledge to understand and remove systemic barriers and obstacles to support social inclusion and meaningful participation of children with disabilities, particularly, but not exclusively in the global south.
• Lead on resource mobilization across UNICEF and partners to provide evidence that brings the development and humanitarian sectors ever closer to understanding and reducing ableism, stigma, discrimination, and violence against children with disabilities.
• Co-lead the development of new lines of research which mainstreams disability across UNICEF Innocenti research teams, including leveraging the initial resources needed to enable critical research to deliver answers in identified evidence gaps within and outside UNICEF.
• Support resource mobilization in the areas of implementation research, adaptive programming, ethical evidence generation, behavioural sciences, evidence synthesis, knowledge management, convening, strategic communication and other cross-cutting areas in collaboration with RFKM, Convening and Communications colleagues across UNICEF Innocenti.
• Secure co-financing for the Evidence Gap Map on Children with Disabilities to become a living map with regular updating, to ensure it becomes a ‘go to’ resource on the state of the evidence on children with disabilities globally.
Communication and Convening
• Work with the UNICEF Innocenti Communication team, Programme Group and other key internal and external partners to develop the Global Research Platform webpages and online presence, source content and populate on an ongoing basis, ensuring synergy with other relevant sites.
• Act as an accessibility champion for all UNICEF Innocenti web pages, social media presence, publications and other related outputs, providing guidance to ensure latest standards are maintained and upheld.
• Work with the UNICEF Innocenti Convening team, Programme Group and other key parts of UNICEF to bring together thought leaders and global disability stakeholders to foster research collaboration and promote knowledge sharing on issues affecting children with disabilities at local, national, regional and global levels.
• Utilize high-level convening fora to challenge current policy and practice and scan the horizon for new opportunities to strengthen disability inclusion.
• Co-ordinate and contribute to the preparation and writing of high-quality publications for peer-reviewed journals; working papers; policy reports and briefs; web stories, blogs and other relevant outputs as appropriate.
For every Child, you demonstrate UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA):
The UNICEF competencies required for this post are:
Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (2)
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)
Drive to achieve impactful results (2)
Manages ambiguity and complexity (2)
• Advanced university degree with a background in Social Sciences, Political Sciences, Disability, Research, Evaluation, Knowledge Management, Humanitarian, Ethics or Child Rights. PhD with research experience is desirable.
• A minimum of 8 years of relevant work experience in research, research facilitation, evidence-informed advocacy, research impact, ethics or another related area.
• Good knowledge of the human rights-based approach and equity
• Demonstrated background in evidence generation, communication and use on the topic of children with disabilities in humanitarian and development contexts.
• Excellent professional relationships and international networks across the disability sector, ideally amongst relevant communities of practice working on children with disabilities specifically.
• Knowledge of relevant ethical and accessibility standards for ensuring equitable availability and access to online and offline content by persons with disabilities, including experience in running participatory consultations.
• Demonstrable knowledge of relevant international legislation and normative guidance in the area of disability and social inclusion.
• Experience in resource mobilization and knowledge of relevant funding partners with an interest in the topic of disability and social inclusion.
• Knowledge of UNICEF and of relevant parts of the organization working in the area of children with disabilities is considered an advantage, but not essential.
• Fluency in English language required. Knowledge of other UN working languages is considered an advantage (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish).
• Excellent project management and time management skills, working within academic settings and the public sector.
• Skills in simplifying complex scientific findings through written and oral communication and advocacy messaging to varied audiences, including both specialists and policymakers.
• Strong research and analytical skills.
• Strong planning and organisational skills.
• Good attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
• Ability to work well as part of a team and in a multi-cultural environment.
• Good leadership and management skills.
To view our competency framework, please visit 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.
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.
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 may 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.