Early Childhood Development Specialist

UN Children's Fund, Lilongwe, Malawi

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
3 to 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
11th September, 2018


Job Description

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, a future..

UNICEF Malawi Country Programme (2019-2023) is aligned with the Government of Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy (MDGS III) and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). The programme supports the Government of Malawi to meet its commitment to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights in line with international conventions and standards. The country programme is guided by the principles of children’s rights, equity, gender equality, inclusion and resilience, and supports evidence-based, integrative and innovative programming. The vision is that ‘all girls and boys in Malawi, especially the most disadvantaged and deprived, realize their rights’.  The programme focuses on: early childhood (parenting, high-impact social services, early stimulation and learning), middle childhood and adolescence (learning, multi-sectoral services, active citizenship), communities (decentralized services and systems, community ownership, social norms), programme effectiveness (monitoring, evaluation, HACT, Innovation, Social Protection and Social Policy and External Communication.  The programme is based on ‘leaving no child behind’, realizing ‘rights for all children in Malawi’.

How can you make a difference?

The Chief Nutrition is the principal supervisor of the Early Childhood Development Specialist (Early Stimulation and Parenting). The incumbent will however operate in a matrix management model, where s/he will support different programme pillars and report to different supervisors depending on the pillar s/he supports. Irrespective of the pillar s/he supports, s/he will always maintain a technical reporting line to the Chief of Nutrition Section.

The Early Childhood Development Specialist (Early Stimulation and Parenting) supports the development and preparation of the Early Childhood Development programmes and will ensure inputs from multiple stakeholders across sectors such as Health, Education and Social Protection. S/he is responsible for managing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, and reporting the programme progress of a sector of the ECD Programme within the Country Programme focusing Nutrition and Development. The incumbent provides technical guidance and management support throughout the programming processes to facilitate the administration and achievement of concrete and sustainable results in early stimulation and parenting through programmes/projects. This is carried out according to plans, allocation, results based-management approaches and methodology (RBM), as well as UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, standards of performance, and accountability framework. S/he will also use the platforms such as family and Community Based Care Centers (CBCC) for caregivers to actively engage with children during their first three years for Nutritional care , using play and communication activities to help them learn to move, talk, focus, manage emotions, solve problems, and develop other skills needed in Early stage of life for brain development.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

SUPPORT TO PROGRAMME DEVELOPMENT AND PLANNING

  • Contribute to and support the preparation, design and updating of the situation analysis for the ECD sector(s) to ensure comprehensive and current data on ECD- stimulation and parenting is available to guide policy development, and the design and management of ECD programs/projects.
  • Keep abreast of development trends to enhance programme management, efficiency and delivery.
  • Participate in strategic programme discussions on the planning of ECD programs/projects.
  • Formulate, design and prepare a sector of the ECD programme proposal, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s Strategic Plans, Country Programme, and coherence/integration with the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), regional strategies, as well as national priorities, plans and competencies.
  • Establish specific goals, objectives, strategies, and implementation plans for the ECD sector(s) based on results-based planning terminology and methodology (RBM). Prepare required documentations for programme review and approval.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies, and to determine national priorities/competencies to ensure the achievement of concrete and sustainable results.
  • Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes to ensure integration, coherence and harmonization of programmes/projects with other UNICEF sectors and achievement of results as planned and allocated.

PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT, MONITORING AND DELIVERY OF RESULTS

  • Plan and/or collaborate with internal and external partners to establish monitoring benchmarks, performance indicators, and UNICEF/UN system indicators and measurements, to assess and strengthen performance accountability, coherence and delivery of concrete and sustainable results for the assigned sector in ECD programmes.
  • Participate in monitoring and evaluation exercises, programme reviews and annual reviews with government and other counterparts to assess progress and to determine required action and interventions to achieve results.
  • Prepare and assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths and/or weaknesses in programme management. Identify lessons learned and use knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.
  • Actively monitor programmes and projects through field visits, surveys and/or exchange of information with partners and stakeholders to assess progress. Identify bottlenecks and potential problems, and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely resolution.
  • Monitor and verify the optimum and appropriate use of sectoral programme resources (financial, administrative and other assets) confirming compliance with organizational rules, regulations, procedures, donor commitments, and standards of accountability. Ensure timely reporting and liquidation of resources.
  • Prepare regular and mandated programme/project reports for management, donors and partners to keep them informed of programme progress.

TECHNICAL AND OPERATIONAL SUPPORT TO PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION

  • Provide technical guidance and operational support to government counterparts, NGO partners, UN system partners and other country office partners/donors on the interpretation, application and understanding of UNICEF policies, strategies, processes, best practices, and approaches on ECD and related issues to support programme development planning, management, implementation, and delivery of results.
  • Participate in discussions with national partners, clients and stakeholders to promote ECD and development issues especially in the areas of emergency preparedness and Stimulation and early childhood care through effective parenting and development.
  • Draft policy papers, briefs and other strategic programme materials for management use, information and/or consideration.
  • Participate in emergency preparedness initiatives for programme development, contingency planning and/or to respond to emergencies in country or where designated.

NETWORKING AND PARTNERSHIP BUILDING

  • Build and sustain effective close working partnerships with ECD in nutrition sector government counterparts and national stakeholders through active sharing of information and knowledge.
  • Facilitate programme implementation and build capacity of stakeholders to achieve programme goals on maternal and child rights as well as social justice and equity.
  • Prepare communication and information materials for CO programme advocacy to promote awareness, establish partnership/alliances and support fund raising for ECD programs (ECD through early stimulation and responsive parenting).
  • Participate and/or represent UNICEF in inter-agency discussions, ensuring that UNICEF’s position, interests and priorities are fully considered and integrated in the UNDAF development planning and agenda setting.

INNOVATION, KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND CAPACITY BUILDING

  • Apply and introduce innovative approaches and good practices to build the capacity of partners and stakeholders, and to support the implementation and delivery of concrete and sustainable programme results.
  • Keep abreast, research, benchmark, and implement best and cutting edge practices in nutrition management and information systems. Assess, institutionalize and share best practices and knowledge learned.
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programmes and projects.
  • Organize and implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of clients and stakeholders to promote sustainable results on ECD related programmes and projects.
     

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

  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: Child Development, Early Childhood Care, Nutrition, Public Health, Nutritional, Global/International Health and Nutrition, Health/Nutrition Research, Nutritional Epidemiology, or another nutrition and child development related science field.
  • A minimum of five years of professional experience in a developing country in one or more of the following areas is required: Early Childhood Development, Child Development and Stimulation, Nutrition, Public Health, Nutrition Planning and Management, or Maternal, Infant and Child Health/Nutrition Care.
  • Experience in ECD/Nutrition program/project development and management in a UN system agency or organization is an asset
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or local language of the duty station is considered as an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrateâ€

UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

The functional competencies required for this post are:

  • Leading and supervising (I)
  • Formulating strategies/concepts (II)
  • Analyzing (III)
  • Relating and networking (II)
  • Deciding and initiating action (II)
  • Applying Technical Expertise (III)

Source:https://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=515595


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