Monitoring Specialist

United Nations Children's Fund

Panama, Panama

Experience: 5 to 10 Years

Skill Required: Monitoring and Evaluation

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.

Monitoring will remain at the center of LAC Regional Office’s ability to support programmatic excellence and accelerate achievement of results for children across all priority areas. The office will do this through four main areas of focus:

  • Work with UNICEF regional office and country offices to ensure the use of best practices when collecting data and doing analysis on the situation of children, as well as when using evidence for the implementation of their programs. This involves, among other things, exploiting novel data sources for insights, supporting performance monitoring, and supporting situation monitoring. 
  • Promote the measurement and use of children data as an important topic to be pursued in the region. For this, the office will continue working across regional fora and national partners to produce analysis, diagnosis, guidelines, and strategies to increase the region’s capacity to both measure SDGs and understand best practices to achieve them.
  • Providing direct support to monitoring efforts in humanitarian contexts. This involves setting up integrated monitoring systems to streamline the data collection, analysis, report process. In addition, the office is also exploring the use of novel data sources gather further insights during humanitarian situations.
  • Providing direct support to countries’ monitoring efforts. This is done through direct technical assistance and regional workshops on best practices to monitor children and adolescents data.  

How can you make a difference?

Under the general guidance of the Regional Chief of Programme and Planning, the Monitoring Specialist will:

  • Provide guidance and assistance to LAC country offices to ensure they have useful, reliable data and analysis on the situation of children and women’s rights and the performance of UNICEF – supported programmes including their relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability.
  • Assist in the development of the regional office and country office capacities for monitoring and research, with special attention to ensuring data is properly utilized to gain insights and evidence on the situation of children and women in the region.
  • Define and guide the region’s research agenda in order to ensure that data is used for evidence generation on what works and doesn’t work to ensure the rights of children and adolescents.
  • Provide leadership, advise, and support UNICEF regional office and country offices on best practices to use and analyze existing data, with special attention on ways to combine different sources of information, including administrative date, to gain further insights on the situation of children in the region.
  • Work within the UNSDG to support UN goals for delivering valid and reliable information on the attainment of the SDGs and other goals, and on the performance of UN-supported programmes.
  • In collaboration with local and regional partners, to provide support and oversight for specific technical projects, sectoral activities. 

Key functions, accountabilities and related tasks:

Research Planning

  • Lead the design of the regional knowledge agenda, with special attention to the production of methodologically sound,  high quality work, that can generalizable across the region.
  • Implementation and quality assurance of knowledge products (including ethical review, theoretical frameworks, and methodological approaches).
  • Dissemination and exchange of knowledge (internal and external), including mechanisms to ensure that knowledge is readily available for decision makers.

Monitoring Planning

  • Lead efforts to strengthen and improve the use of novel data sources, such as administrative data, to monitor and analyze the situation of children and adolescents in the region. 
  • Develop a collectively owned Situation Monitoring and Assessment system which supports the preparation of country level statistical and analytic reports on the status of children’s and women’s rights issues.
  • Lead efforts to streamline the production and use of programme performance monitoring data in the region, including monitoring in humanitarian situations.

Situation Analysis and Monitoring

  • Support the collection of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and other key social development indicators to improve national planning.
  • Support partners in the establishment and management of national statistical databases, ensuring that key indicators are readily accessible by key stakeholders
  • Provide professional support for rapid assessments and other monitoring and analysis efforts implemented during humanitarian situations.
  • Explore existing data sources, including joining them, and analyze them to gain insights on the situation of children and adolescents in the region.

Programme Performance Monitoring

  • Identify, and adjust as necessary, a set of program indicators to assess progress towards expected annual and multi-year results in the context of ongoing management and work plans.
  • Coordinate with COs to ensure that monitoring systems are properly designed, and that data collection and analysis from field visits are coordinated and standardised across programmes to feed into to programme performance monitoring, with special attention to humanitarian response.
  • Provide technical support to senior management to ensure that key annual programme indicators are tracked and analyzed.
  • Support the achievement of programme and project goals by effective and efficient planning, management, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of innovation activities and pilot projects, across the organization.
  • Provide technical advice so that management reports, including relevant sections of the annual reports, are prepared drawing on monitoring and analysis of key management indicators.

Monitoring, Research, and Analysis Capacity Building

  • Promote the awareness and understanding of the shared responsibility of the monitoring function, the role of innovation and the theory of change among all staff members through communication, training, learning and development activities.
  • Ensure that a monitoring, analysis, and research capacity building strategy for UNICEF/ UN staff national partners and institutions exists in all Country Offices.
  • Coordinates with Country Representatives, the Regional Chief of Programme and Planning and the Deputy Regional Director to build the necessary capacity in the Regional Office and country offices for innovative programming, advocacy and communication partnerships.
  • Implement capacity building strategies, utilizing a range of appropriate skills building methods, as a joint commitment with other developmental partners in order for UNICEF, UN staff, and partners to have the necessary knowledge and skills to apply to monitoring, research, and analysis methods.
  • Actively seek partnerships with knowledge institutions and centres of excellence for the identification of capacity gaps and development of strategies to address them.

Coordination and Networking 

  • Collaborate with Regional Advisers and DAPM for overall coordination of priority research, monitoring and evaluation activities, especially those of regional scope requiring the coordinated effort of multiple countries.
  • Partner with the Regional Programme and Planning Chief to ensure that current and accurate data and results are included in regional reports, multi-country studies, and knowledge sharing networks. 
  • Undertake lessons-learned reviews on successful and unsuccessful monitoring and research practices and experience at the national level, and ensure they are shared as appropriate.
  • Similarly, pay attention to monitoring and research knowledge networks to identify innovations and lessons learned that may be relevant for the CO and partners to improve their monitoring function.

Promoting Innovations

  • Identify innovations in monitoring, data analysis, or research for children through literature or jurisdictional reviews, including outside LAC, and disseminate them to provoke debate and inform programme decision making.
  • Innovative public sector and UN agency responses are identified and disseminated within UNICEF.
  • Promote participatory monitoring and decision making through the use of new technologies. 

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

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in demography, statistics, or in one of the social sciences with strong quantitative training. 
  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant professional experience at the national and international levels in data analysis, data collection, measurement, methodological development and other areas of applied statistics, data interpretation and use in sectors of concern to UNICEF.
  • Expertise in the analysis of large-scale household survey data, data obtained from population censuses, from administrative records and other sources.
  • Experience in shaping and guiding research agenda topics of relevance to children and producing technical reports and/or peer reviewed journal articles.
  • Experience in designing and strengthening of results-oriented Monitoring Systems.
  • Managing international teams will be an asset.
  • Management experience working with universities and other, non-traditional knowledge centres will be an asset.
  • At least one instance of exposure to emergency monitoring will be desirable
  • Fluency in English is required. Fluency in Spanish is an asset.