Programme Officer

United Nations Children's Fund

Harare, Zimbabwe

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.

UNICEF has been operating in Zimbabwe since 1982. We are a team of passionate professionals committed to the protection and fulfillment of children’s rights. 

Supporting the Government’s vision of a prosperous and empowered upper-middle-income society, the 2022 to 2026  UNICEF Zimbabwe country programme is aimed at contributing to sustainable socioeconomic development that provides all children, including adolescents, with opportunities to fulfil their potential, lead a healthy life, access quality learning and protection and meaningfully participate in society.

A challenging and exciting opportunity has arisen in the Social Policy and Research section, for a passionate and committed Programme Officer (Local Governance) NO-2 level reporting to the Chief of Social Policy for supervision and guidance. The Programme Officer will be  responsible for providing technical support to the development and implementation of devolution strategy including capacity building of local governments across the vital stages in the delivery of social services, including inclusive planning, budgeting, service delivery and monitoring and evaluation. This includes programmes aimed at (a) strengthening central government and local government in the coordination and implementation of the devolution; (b) strengthening the capacity building of local governments in planning, budgeting and performance of spending on children; and (c) strengthening advocacy and partnerships for participatory and inclusive local governance. This work encompasses both direct programme work with government and civil society partners as well as linkages and support to teams working on education, health, child protection, water and sanitation, and HIV.

Summary of key functions and accountabilities:

Supporting central government and local government in the coordination and implementation of the devolution

  • Technical leadership, management and coordination of UNICEF inputs into the development and implementation of devolution strategy. This include coordination of staff and partners, supporting key ministries and advocating for and reinforcing government commitments towards improving participatory governance and decentralized service delivery at local level.
  • Contribute to general policy dialogue with central and local institutions and key stakeholders for the implementation of decentralization policies and institutionalizing and sustaining decentralized service delivery through the design and support of institutional capacity development and system strengthening for service delivery at state and local levels.
  • Contribute towards the formulation of research to generate knowledge to inform policies to strengthen the implementation of devolution.
  • Participate in the thematic working group and other joint steering, review meetings and evaluation exercises.

Strengthened capacity building of local governments in planning, budgeting and performance of spending on children.

  • Undertakes local governments budget analysis to inform UNICEF’s advocacy and technical assistance to local authorities to improve equitable allocations for essential services for children.
  • Collaborate with central and local governments to improve policies, planning, budgeting and accountability processes.
  • Provide government authorities with technical assistance and supports in planning and organizing training programmes for the purpose of capacity building and programme sustainability.

Strengthened advocacy and partnerships for participatory and inclusive local governance.

  • Support the establishment and operationalisation of participatory platforms for children and adolescence such as Junior Councils including identifying strategic gaps, linkages, and opportunities to improve and expand decentralized service delivery, participatory planning and social accountability initiatives.
  • Support UNICEF programme sections to align with a decentralized service delivery approach, particularly in sector strategies, in funding proposals and annual work plans.
  • Contribute to internal and external communication and advocacy initiatives aimed at raising the profile of local governance issues and decentralized service delivery.
  • Facilitate dialogue to raise awareness around child rights and make the case for investing in children at the local level.
  • Promote and maintain the building and reinforcing of the commitment and institutional capacities of local partnerships and providing continuous support, coordination and collaboration for sustainability.

Local Governance Program Development and Planning

  • Participate in strategic program discussions on the planning of local governance work and support development of programs/projects.
  • Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes to ensure effective delivery and integration of local governance programs/projects with other UNICEF sectors and achievement of results as planned and allocated.

UNICEF Programme Management

  • Monitors contracts with implementing partners, ensuring timely and accurate financial and technical reporting
  • Provide regular reporting on progress and budget, tracking progress as per deliverables in the partner agreements and joint work plans, undertaking regular field visits to review jointly with local partners; documenting achievements as well as constraints and recommending possible steps for addressing bottlenecks in implementation.
  • In collaboration with respective UN-Agencies, line ministries, contribute to the development of joint initiatives and workplans.
  • Please refer to the attached job description for more information  Programme Officer JD.pdf

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


  •  A university degree in one of the following fields is required: Economics, Public Policy, Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Science, or another relevant technical field.


  • A minimum of two years of relevant professional experience is required. 
  • Experience working in a developing country is considered as a strong asset.
  • Background and/or familiarity with emergency is considered as a strong asset.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English and local language is required. Knowledge of another official UN language is considered an asset.