Research & Evaluation Specialist

UN Children's Fund, Lilongwe, Malawi

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
15th November, 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?

Under the general guidance of the Chief of Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Management, and in close collaboration with the Chief Social Policy, the incumbent is responsible for providing technical support in relation to (a) analyzing data on child deprivation & vulnerability for increased use for policy and programme action and social inclusion (b) strengthening the research and evaluation function and (c) forging and maintaining partnership with research institutions to bridge evidence gaps on children.

The incumbent will operate in a matrix management model, where s/he will also support achievement of the one of the three functions related to Social Protection and Social Policy. The secondary supervisor for this role is therefore Chief Social Policy. The principal supervisor will lead the performance review process. S/he will engage with the incumbent’s secondary supervisor for feedback. Ultimately, the principal supervisor will determine the final rating.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:


  • Supports the collection, analysis and user-friendly presentation of data on multidimensional and monetary child poverty, including strengthening national capacity to collect routinely, report and use data for policy decision-making.
  • Provides timely, regular data-driven analysis for effective prioritization, planning, and development; facilitates results-based management for planning, adjusting, and scaling-up specific initiatives to reduce child poverty.
  • Supports correct and compelling use of data and evidence on the situation of children and coverage and impact of child focused services – in support of the country programme and effective partnerships between UNICEF and the Government, bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs, civil society and local leaders, the private sector, and other UN agencies.
  • Identifies other critical partners, promotes awareness and builds capacity of partners, and actively facilitates effective collaboration within the UN family.
  • Provides technical support to improve the inclusiveness and impact of programmes, including cash transfers in particular, with regard to improving targeting and delivery systems to address multidimensional child poverty and the strengthened impact of social protection and other programs across the lifecycle.
  • Supports the development of policies, legislation and programmes with attention to increasing coverage of and impact on children, with special attention to the most marginalized. Identifies, generates and presents evidence to support this goal in collaboration with partners.
  • Promotes strengthening of integrated systems, and improves linkages between interventions such as social cash transfers, health insurance, public works and social care services as well as complementary services and intervention related to nutrition, health, education, water and sanitation, child protection and HIV.


  • Ensures that MCO and National partners use a well-prioritized and realistic plan of research and evaluation activities that will provide the most relevant and strategic information needed to manage the Country Programme, including tracking and assessing impact of UNICEF’s distinct contribution.
  • Develops, manages and carries out thematic research and evaluation to feed into the country programme monitoring for the realization of children's rights. Promote research and evaluation on emerging issues of child rights to support policy and UNICEF advocacy. Identify partners, develop research and evaluation designs, terms of reference and work plans for specific studies. Organize expert consultations; identify data and reference materials; prepare technical reports; manage review processes, and oversee the finalization of studies.
  • Ensures that annual management and work plans are supported by timely released findings from research and evaluation.
  • Contribute to office-wide initiatives by identifying significant new research, evaluation, researchers and research institutions implementing quality research relevant to UNICEF as a whole and by preparing accessible syntheses of research findings.
  • Supports accurate and compelling use of data and evidence on the situation of children and coverage and impact of child focused services – in support of the country programme and effective partnerships between UNICEF and the Government, bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs, civil society and local leaders, the private sector, and other UN agencies.


  • Ensure that the monitoring and evaluation capacities of the MCO staff and national partners – government and civil society – are strengthened enabling them to increasingly engage in and lead research and evaluation processes.
  • Promote knowledge management by exchange of knowledge, information, experience or lessons learned on research and evaluation activities.
  • Promote the awareness and understanding of the shared responsibility of research and evaluation function among all staff members through communication, training, learning and development activities organization-wide.
  • In close collaboration with partners, ensure that a research and evaluation capacity building strategy for UNICEF/UN staff national partners and institutions exists in the context of the IMEP, or UNDAF M&E plan. Pay particular attention so that the capacity needs of national partners such as professional evaluation associations will be strengthened by involvement in evaluation processes and possibly through specific capacity building initiatives.
  • Collaborate to implement capacity building strategies as a joint commitment with other developmental partners. Utilize a range of appropriate skills building strategies including self-learning, seminars and workshops and practical experience in order that UNICEF and UN staff have the basic knowledge and skills in understanding and applying new research and evaluation policies, tools, methods to fulfil their responsibilities.
  • Similarly, design and implement strategies suited to the skills needs of national partners.
  • Actively seek partnerships with knowledge institutions for the identification of evidence and capacity gaps and development of strategies to address them.

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

  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: Economics, Social Sciences, Demography, Statistics or another relevant technical field.
  • A minimum of five years of relevant professional research work experience is required.
  • Capacity or experience in quantitative analysis in relation to deprivation or social exclusion is a strong asset.
  • Experience working in a developing country is considered as a strong asset.
  • Background and/or familiarity with emergency is considered as an asset.
  • Fluency in English and in a local language is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or local language of the duty station is considered as an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate:

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:

  • Formulating strategies and concepts (II)
  • Analyzing (III)
  • Relating and networking (II)
  • Persuading & Influencing (II)
  • Planning & Organizing (III)

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and on any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


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