Consultancy - Blockchain Lead, Office of Innovation

UN Children's Fund, New York, United States

Skill Required:, IT and ICT
Preferred Experience: 
3 to 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
24th October, 2017

Job Description

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world's leading children's rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


UNICEF’s Office of Innovation in New York helps UNICEF’s 135+ Country Offices strengthen programs on the ground using innovative approaches and technologies. Innovation at UNICEF means doing things new or different that adds value to achieving results for the most vulnerable children. This means, concretely, researching and understanding strengths, vulnerabilities and environmental factors for children and their families, and therefore translating ideas, technologies, and partnerships into products, services that bring about better, more equitable results for children.

Within UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, UNICEF Ventures functions like a collection of startups in early-stage in which promising new technologies (e.g. data science, artificial intelligence, UAVs, blockchain) are identified that have potential to impact UNICEF core operations (e.g. education, health, disaster response). Through our network of technology partners, UNICEF country offices and academic institutions, we construct pilots to determine potential impact quickly.

With $12m available in funding for the Innovation Fund, the Office of Innovation is scaling up investments significantly over the course of 2017. We invest in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. We find these solutions clustered around $100 billion industries like emergency and epidemic response, transport & delivery, identity, finance, learning, personal data and related fields.

Over time, people have used different types of money to exchange value, from colored stones, seashells, precious metals, paper money to today’s emerging blockchain technologies. Blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum allow us as well as machines/things to have money systems on which we can run currency as an application. These systems are decentralized, have no central points of control, are powered by the internet and can be governed by smart contracts. Smart contracts allow anyone to design and run their own tokens as a digital currency to express loyalty, organization or to represent ownership of physical items.

At UNICEF we are trying to delve deeper into understanding the technical, social, ethical and legal challenges of utilizing these emerging technologies in our complex and interconnected world.


  • The purpose of this consultancy is to lead UNICEF Innovation’s engagement in blockchain with internal and external stakeholders and technical pilots. This role will be supported by a technical engineer.
  • Lead technical capacity building internally and across UN and other partners
  • Develop and support internal pilots of blockchain solutions
  • Lead development and implementation of a strategy for the Innovation Fund to build up and support the investment portfolio in blockchain:

Expected results:

  • Open capacity building curricula and online courses developed and implemented with key internal and external stakeholders
  • Internal pilots developed and implemented across UNICEF (HQ and CO levels) and lessons captured to inform UNICEF Venture’s strategy on blockchain
  • Portfolio of blockchain investments in start-ups established, related technical guidance developed and solutions and data captured to feed into UNICEF Venture’s strategy on blockchain


  • Advanced degree in computer science or other relevant disciplines; or related practical experience
  • At least five years of relevant work experience in any of the following areas: software development, technology piloting, project and partnership management
  • Technical understanding of decentralized systems and blockchain networks (e.g Bitcoin and Ethereum).
  • Experience engaging with stakeholders from different backgrounds and coordinating multi stakeholder activities.
  • Demonstrated outstanding analytical and quantitative skills, and the ability to conduct independent research.
  • Demonstrated ability to translate clearly complex issues for a non-technical audience
  • Familiarity with the UN system, UNICEF and the UNICEF Data strategy desired.
  • Experience of working in UNICEF program countries is an asset.
  • Experience with Solidity is an asset.
  • Knowledge of financial markets is an asset.

Languages: Fluency in English. Knowledge of another official UN language is an asset.



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