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Programme Specialist (Children with Disabilities), P-4, Fixed Term, Eastern & Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), Nairobi, Kenya, #123734


  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Nairobi
  • Grade: Mid level - P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Human Rights
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Disability Rights
  • Closing Date: Closed

Do you want to make a difference by leading our impressive journey to leave no child behind? Are you a professional who has the passion to build an inclusive future with and for children? We would like to hire a motivated and qualified professional to guide and strategize our program inclusive of and accessible to all children and adolescents. UNICEF ESARO would like to hire a program specialist for children with disabilities. The position is placed in the UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), with the aim of supporting the COs scale up the delivery of inclusive results for children and women in both humanitarian and non-humanitarian contexts. Supervised by the Regional Advisor, Education, who provides the position with broad strategic guidance, the program specialist uses his/her position’s role in the programme coordination within the ESARO to ensure the disability agenda is embedded in all sections and well-coordinated in line with the UNICEF Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy (DIPAS 2022-2030).

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, Hope.

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programs, 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.

Strategic office context  :

UNICEF is committed to mainstreaming disability inclusion across all its programmes and operations in the Strategic Plan 2022-2025, ESAR ROMP 2022-2025, and the ESAR Collaboration for Children (C4C). This is aligned with UNICEF’s mandate to reach the most marginalized and left behind and the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy, adopted in June 2019.

After the adoption of UNDIS, UNICEF has adopted its own organization-wide strategy – UNICEF’s Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy (DIPAS) 2022-2030. DIPAS sets out a vision of UNICEF investing more heavily in disability inclusion at all levels of the organization. To achieve this, the accountability framework determines that by 2025, all UNICEF regional offices will have at least one dedicated full-time disability specialist for programmes and operations, to coordinate and support disability inclusion in the region.

The Programme Specialist will provide technical support to UNICEF’s work on promoting the rights of children and adolescents with disabilities in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, in line with the UNICEF Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy (DIPAS) 2022-2030 and the UN disability inclusion strategy (UNDIS), upholding the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as the key mandate. 


How can you make a difference?

The position is based in the UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), with the aim of supporting the COs scale up the delivery of inclusive results for children and women in both humanitarian and non-humanitarian contexts. The position is supervised by the Regional Advisor, Education, who provides the position with broad strategic guidance, and uses his/her position’s role in the programme coordination within the ESARO to ensure the disability agenda is embedded in  all sections and well-coordinated.  

The purpose of the position is to ensure disability inclusion is mainstreamed as an integral part of UNICEF’s programming and operations across all sectors at both regional and country level in the region. The position is accountable for implementing UNICEF’s Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy (DIPAS) 2022-2030 through a regional action plan.

Under the broad strategic guidance of the Deputy Regional Director of the ESARO, and immediate supervision by Regional Advisor, Education, the Programme Specialist on Children with Disabilities will support the regional roll out and implementation  of the UNICEF Disabiliy Inclusion Policy and Strategy (DIPAS). The Specialist will provide technical guidance and assistance on disability inclusive programming across the region, strengthening the inclusion of children with disabilities in country programme planning and programming. The position also collaborates closely with the HQ to contribute to UNICEF’s global discourse on mainstreaming disability in policies, practice and programming. In addition, the specialist will be responsible for developing and monitoring key partnerships with the aim to drive the advocacy agenda around children with disabilities through strengthening relationships, synergies and coordination with external partner organizations.

Main responsabilities  :

1) UNICEF DIPAS roll out and implementation: manage and lead the implementation of DIPAS in ESAR by developing regional strategy and action plan Technical guidance on inclusive programming :  Provide expert advice in ESARO to improve the disability inclusive programming in the region, integrating the rights of children with disabilities into programme and policy advocacy and formulation in all UNICEF Strategic Plan’s outcome areas, including in emergency contexts.

2) Cross sectoral partnerships in support of children with disabilities :  Liaise with disability related CSOs, donors, UN agencies and other strategic partner organizations to enhance coordination on inclusive programming at the country, sub-regional and regional level.

3) Disability data and research on the situation of children with disabilities in UNICEF supported programming :  Work closely with ESARO data specialists in Programme Planning and Monitoring Section, HQ Data and Analytics section, and HQ Disability Section to strengthen the understanding, generation and utilization of data and analysis around children with disabilities.

4) Capacity building :  Identify and/or develop training opportunities to support increased knowledge and understanding on inclusive programming with an emphasis on children with disabilities at the regional and country level. 


According to ESAR ROMP (Regional Office Management Plan), all programming and operations efforts of the RO will ensure disability inclusion as an explicit organizational commitment and a key normative agenda, acknowledging need to enhance coordination of cross-cutting interventions to address deprivations for children with disabilities. The C4C in its turn ensures that inclusion of children with disabilities is mainstreamed across ESARO’s Regional Flagships and Focus Areas.

The incumbent will enhance the reach of more children in the region left out due to their disabilities and will contribute to the achievement of the leave no one behind agenda. This will also be a concrete step towards realizing the commitments of UNICEF ESARO in implementing DIPAS.


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

  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: education, psychology, sociology or another relevant technical field.
  • A minimum of eight years of relevant professional experience in programme planning, management and working on issues of childhood disability..
  • Strong technical experience of national, regional and global level work on disability issues, of programme planning and implementation, and of guiding monitoring and evaluation efforts in a development agency context is required.
  • Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered as an asset.
  • Familiarity/ background with emergency is considered as an asset.
  • Experience working in a developing country is considered as an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.


For every Child, you demonstrate...

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

Core Values attributes:

  • Care
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Sustainability


UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

Core competencies skills

  • Builds and maintains partnerships
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness
  • Drive to achieve results for impact
  • Innovates and embraces change
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity
  • Thinks and acts strategically
  • Works collaboratively with others

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 here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
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 is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. 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.

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 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.

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

This vacancy is now closed.
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