UNICEF Global Office of Research and Foresight is hiring a Research Specialist, Harmful Practices (remote work from home position): Apply Now!!

For every child, answers

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.

Job organizational context:

UNICEF Innocenti – Global Office of Research and Foresight was created in September 2022 from the merger of two former UNICEF offices: the Office of Research-Innocenti, and the Office of Global Insight and Policy. The merger brings together the organization’s leading research and foresight expertise to establish a single unified office that will expand UNICEF’s knowledge base and its capability to act on the basis of evidence. UNICEF views research and foresight as complementary functions that can deepen the organization’s understanding of complexity in the present, and our planning for the future of children.

UNICEF Innocenti undertakes and commissions research on emerging or current issues of relevance for children and child rights. The office links research and global trends analyses to influence policies, programming, and advocacy, as well as innovations, and to drive future strategies and vision of the organization and the child rights agenda more broadly amongst governments, private sector, and other institutions.
UNICEF Innocenti uses foresight to set the agenda for children uncovering emerging trends and deepening understanding of key issues facing girls and boys and serving as a go-to office for advising UNICEF and a diversity of actors, including governments, the United Nations, private sector, civil society and children and young people themselves in the face of the continually changing global economy, political and security environment.
UNICEF Innocenti also strives to lead global discourse by creating an enabling environment and platform for children and young people along with global influencers and decision-makers to transform their contributions into future strategies, policies and actions of UNICEF and the world. Thereby positioning children and UNICEF at the centre of the global conversation through prominent external engagement, communication, and influence

The Specialist reports to the Chief, Research on Gender, Rights and Protection, P-5.

How can you make a difference? 

The UNICEF Innocenti – Global Office of Research and Foresight undertakes high-quality research that contributes to evidence-informed policymaking. The Gender, Rights and Protection team through the STAR (Strategic Technical Assistance for Research) Initiative to end harmful practices supports the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage and the Joint Programme to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) through the generation of robust evidence on eliminating harmful practices to achieve effective outcomes for adolescent girls and women, worldwide.
The STAR Initiative has evolved in role (from technical support to 5 child marriage studies to now delivering a full-suite of evidence support to 30 countries across 4 workstreams); visibility (increased demand for guidance on what works; increased requests from regional and country offices for STAR to implement operational research), and impact (application of STAR-supported evidence in programme and policy design including the development of the Phase III Global Programme Strategy). The Gender, Rights and Protection team at UNICEF Innocenti is seeking an experienced and motivated Research Specialist to lead the STAR Initiative to End Harmful Practices.
The STAR Initiative has four streams: (1) Evidence generation through
comprehensive technical research support to UNICEF and UNFPA offices across 30+ countries and 4 regions, the implementation of cross-national research studies (2) Research prioritisation to set, shape and promote research that fills critical gaps; (3) Capacity-strengthening of national and local actors to generate and use evidence, and (4) Evidence synthesis to promote the translation of research into practice through international partnerships and networks.
The post-holder will contribute to STAR’s portfolio of work across the following workstreams:

• Research prioritisation (leadership and oversight in the development and updating of global and national research agendas).
• Evidence generation (including technical support delivery to 30+ countries);
• Evidence synthesis and knowledge translation – production of evidence synthesis outputs);
• Capacity-building (delivery of national and local capacity-strengthening workshops and learning clinics); and
• Knowledge translation (presentations on what works, how and why).

This role reports directly to the Chief of Gender, Rights and Protection research and will work closely with the Chief to raise the profile and influence of the STAR Initiative through tangible actions, collaboration and investment in evidence production and use among Global and Joint programme country, regional and HQ staff, donor and policymaker communities, and global efforts to end child marriage and FGM prevention and response, more broadly.

If you would like to know more about this position, please review the complete Job Description here:  JD Research Specialist on Harmful Practices 364-day TA.docx

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

The following minimum requirements:

  • Education: An advanced (minimum Masters level) university degree in one of the following fields: public health, international development, human rights, or another relevant social science field.
  • Work Experience: A minimum of seven years of progressive research experience related to harmful practicesadolescent rights, child protection, and gender equality. Successful track record in designing and providing technical research support on child marriage and FGM. Strong record of evidence synthesis experience including designing and conducting systematic reviews of evidence related to child marriage and/or FGM demonstrating ability to synthesise research from diverse data sources. Demonstrated success in research program and project management focused on child marriage and FGM, including research program portfolio management, and research project metrics reporting with a growth mindset. Demonstrated ability to communicate evidence at all technical levels, effectively adjusting approach to meet varying needs and level of understanding of stakeholders. Strong record of delivering high-level presentations on evidence related to harmful practices. Talent to build and foster strong working relationships across cultural and organizational bounds and managing through influence. Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with individuals and teams at all levels, both internally and externally.
  • Language Requirements: Fluency in English is required. 

The following desirables:

  • Demonstrated experience in using research to inform programme or policy design.
  • Experience working with or within UN agencies and global or regional agencies.
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency. 
  • Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language.

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

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are:

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships

(2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness

(3) Drive to achieve results for impact

(4) Innovates and embraces change

(5) Manages ambiguity and complexity

(6) Thinks and acts strategically

(7) Works collaboratively with others 

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

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, time off for breastfeeding purposes[KR5] , and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). 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 promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will 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.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.


As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. 

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required[LK6]  to resign from their government positions 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. 

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

Deadline: 12 May 2024 GMT Daylight Time


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