In September 2015, ECD was, for the first time, included in the international development agenda with the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Since then, the medical journal The Lancet has published a special series on neuroscience and the importance of nurturing care in the earliest years of a child’s life.
The implications of this research go beyond individual children. For governments, investment in ECD programmes and services is critical to build strong children and productive societies. For the private sector, investment in policies that enable parents and caregivers flexible working options so that they can give their children nurturing care is a critical step towards building future workforces that are rich in skills and talent.
To reach these audiences, UNICEF is implementing an advocacy strategy for ECD that seeks to create greater synergy with a variety of partners at global, regional and local levels – including governments and UNICEF Country Offices (COs). These partnerships will build alliances, strengthen programmes, increase financing, and accelerate evidence gathering.
Since November 2016, ECD has also been designated a priority area for UNICEF and is one of four cross-organization campaigns in the new Cause Framework -- an effort to help pull together UNICEF’s advocacy, communications, public engagement, fundraising and brand work as a strategy aimed to win support from decision makers and the wider public, and to support UNICEF's overall programmatic goal and targets on ECD.
To that end, in January 2017, UNICEF and partners launched #EarlyMomentsMatter, a 4-year campaign to (i) raise awareness of the importance of nutrition, protection, love and stimulation in the first 1,000 days of life, and (ii) to encourage greater investment in ECD programmes and services. Thus, a communication and advocacy specialist is required to drive the imperative of ECD among partners; establish advocacy opportunities for leveraging resources and policy attention to ECD; and provide tools and options for decision makers to integrate ECD into mainstream development and humanitarian agendas.
Rationale for the job: To support the organisation’s work on ECD, especially within the Cause Framework, UNICEF seeks a communication consultant to serve as advocacy expert for ECD and manage the #EarlyMomentsMatter campaign.
Scope of Work: Within the context of the ECD Cause Framework campaign, the staff member will help position UNICEF as a knowledge leader in ECD to advocacy and communications audiences; advise on and monitor issues relating to UNICEF’s work in ECD; and manage the ECD global campaign.
- Under the guidance of the Lead of the #EarlyMomentsMatter campaign in the Division of Communications, the incumbent is responsible for:
- Leading the project management of the campaign including budget, administration, productions planning, monitoring and evaluating etc.
- Under the guidance of the Chief of Early Childhood Development in Programme Division, the incumbent is responsible for:
- Working closely and networking with external partners, including corporate partners, and global and regional networks to drive momentum around the global ECD agenda.
- Under the direction of the Project Lead and Deputy Project Lead, manage UNICEF’s Cause Framework ECD campaign, #EarlyMomentsMatter. Tasks include:
- Ensure the smooth running of the campaign, including planning, budget and accounting, as it executes against the work plan;
- Ensure proper information flow and coordination within the nuclear team, wider campaign team, target countries, and with stakeholders across the organization;
- Liaise with Cause Framework secretariat in preparation for cause management team meetings, including core campaign materials and calendar updates;
- In conjunction with the Evaluation Section, the Cause Framework Secretariat, and the campaign Communication Specialist, develop and oversee the implementation of the campaign’s Monitoring and Evaluation framework, especially as it relates to the campaign’s target countries;
- With the Campaign Lead and Deputy, shape and implement the ECD advocacy strategy, fundraising strategy, public engagement strategy and country engagement strategy against campaign goals;
- Identify target audiences and engage them around global, regional and local events, report and other publication launches, and prominent advocacy opportunities;
- With the campaign agency for Father’s Day and the Campaign Lead, advise, test and finalize advocacy materials for use by Regional and Country Offices, UNICEF National Committees, and external partners. Collaborate with colleagues across all divisions, communication officers and ECD specialists in country and regional offices, colleagues in PFP and National Committees, and external partners, to establish UNICEF’s leadership role in advocacy and communication for ECD;
- With the Campaign Lead and the Deputy, plan and implement a series of global workshops to support Regional and Country Offices, especially the target offices, to build their own advocacy strategies;
- Work closely with external partners, including corporate partners, and global and regional networks to raise the profile of ECD on the global stage, deliver on partnership’s results and establish UNICEF as a leader in ECD.
- Represent UNICEF and strengthen its leadership role in communication and advocacy partnerships on ECD, for example with the ECD Action Network;
- Act as an interface with the ECD section in PD to realise the objectives of the communications and advocacy strategy, in collaboration with corporate partners;
- Shape messaging and other communication and advocacy tools for use by partners.
- Undertake other duties as assigned by supervisor(s).
Qualifications of Successful Candidate
- Advanced university degree in social sciences, public relations, communication or a related field: a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.
- Ten years progressive experience in advocacy and communication, particularly in the development context, with at least two years at the international level. Field experience preferred; knowledge of the United Nations system or other international organizations; good understanding of world affairs and development issues.
- Fluency in English is required.
- Knowledge of another UN language is an asset.
Competencies of Successful Candidate
- Communication: Speaks fluently; expresses opinions, information and key points of an argument clearly; makes presentations and undertakes public speaking with skill and confidence; responds quickly to the needs of an audience and to their reactions and feedback; projects credibility; structures information to meet the needs and understanding of the intended audience; presents information in a well-structured and logical way.
- Working with people: Shows respect for the views and contributions of other team members; shows empathy; listens, supports and cares for others; consults others and shares information and expertise with them; builds team spirit and reconciles conflict; adapts to the team and fits in well.
- Drive for Results: Sets high standards for quality and quantity; monitors and maintains quality and productivity; works in a systematic, methodical and orderly way; consistently achieves project goals; focuses on the needs and satisfaction of internal/external clients; accepts and tackles demanding goals with enthusiasm.
Leading and Supervising: Provides others with clear direction; motivates and empowers others; recruits staff of a high calibre; provides staff with development opportunities and coaching; sets appropriate standards of behaviour.
Formulating Strategies and Concepts: Works strategically to realize organizational goals; sets and develops strategies; identifies and develops positive and compelling visions of the organization’s future potential; takes into account a wide range of issues within and related to the organization.
Relating and Networking: Easily establishes good relationships with customers and staff; builds wide and effective networks of contacts inside and outside the organization; relates well to people at all levels; manages conflict; uses humour appropriately to enhance relationships with others.
Applying Technical Expertise: Applies specialist and detailed technical expertise; develops job knowledge and expertise (theoretical and practical) through continual professional development; demonstrates an understanding of different organizational departments and functions.
Persuading and Influencing: Gains clear agreement and commitment from others by persuading, convincing and negotiating; makes effective use of political processes to influence and persuade others; promotes ideas on behalf of oneself or others; makes a strong personal impact on others; takes care to manage one’s impression on others.
Entrepreneurial Thinking: Keeps up to date with trends in work area; identifies opportunities for advancing UNICEF’s mission; maintains awareness of developments in the organizational structure and politics; demonstrates financial awareness and a concern for cost-effectiveness.