Social Policy Specialist

UN Children's Fund, Malawi

Skill Required:, Finance and Accounts
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
30th August, 2019

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 fair chance

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 Education and Adolescents, the Social Policy Specialist (Public Finance - Education) is responsible for providing technical support to the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of all stages of social policy programing and related advocacy from strategic planning and formulation to delivery of concrete and sustainable results – in particular with regard to improving the transparency, adequacy, equity and efficiency of child-focused public investments and financial management, with a focus on the education sector. This encompasses both direct programme work with government and civil society partners as well as linkages and support to teams working on education, health, nutrition, child protection, water and sanitation.

Currently, the Malawi country office is operating under a matrix-management model, where individuals will have more than one reporting line. The Chief of Education and Adolescents is the principal supervisor of the Social Policy Specialist (Public Finance – Education), however the incumbent will 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 the incumbent supports, s/he will always maintain a technical reporting line to the Chief of Social Policy. Those who supervise the incumbent and are not the principal supervisor will be considered as the secondary supervisor.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:


  • Undertakes budget analysis to inform UNICEF’s advocacy and technical assistance to Ministries of Finance, planning commissions and social sector ministries to improve equitable allocations for essential services for children, with a focus on education.
  • Works with sector colleagues to build capacity to undertake costing and cost effectiveness analysis on priority interventions to help inform policy decisions on education investments; supports the identification of policy options for improved domestic financing of child-sensitive education interventions.
  • Conduct analysis on adequacy and efficiency of education spending and allocation mix of resources to improve access and quality of education.
  • Undertakes and builds capacity of partners for improved monitoring and tracking of public expenditure to support transparency, accountability and effective financial flows for essential service delivery, including through support to district level planning, budgeting and public financial management as well as facilitating community participation.


  • Collaborates with central and local authorities to improve policies, planning, budgeting, consultation and accountability processes so that decisions and child-focused service delivery more closely respond to the needs of local communities. In doing so, identify and cultivate collaborations with other critical partners, including International Financial Institutions (IFIs). Supports local governments in formulating child-centered budgets and strengthens capacity in analyzing inequities in the distribution of resources to Local Authorities.
  • Collaborates with central and local authorities to strengthen capacity on quality data collection, analysis for policy development, planning, implementation, coordination, monitoring of essential social services, with emphasis on community participation and accountability.


  • 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 social policy and education programmes and the country programme overall.
  • Supports the collection, analysis and user-friendly presentation of data on economic policies and government budgets.
  • Establishes effective partnerships with the Government, bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs, civil society and local leaders, the private sector, and other UN agencies to support sustainable, equitable and transparent social sector budgets, actively facilitating the participation of citizens, including children, in budget processes (in collaboration with UNICEF sectoral colleagues), and expanding accessibility of budget information.
  • Support management of available baseline information on national statistics and key indicators through established databases for easy access and use. Prepare country level statistical reports on the key indicators for country office performance monitoring and provide a technical support to regional and global reporting obligations.
  • Coordinate within the Country Office and partners and provide assistance in their using up-to-date information in, inter alia, Situation Analysis, Common Country Assessment, Early Warning Monitoring Systems, Annual Reviews, Mid-Term Reviews, and Annual Reports or other progress reports.
  • In collaboration with the data team support the development of education linked national reports such as the SGD annual report, as well as preparation of investment cases for the Pillar on secondary education, primary education, early childhood education, adolescent development and data programming.
  • Provide technical support to ensure that the CO has information necessary for UNICEF to effectively report on and advocate for children’s rights through the appropriate channels.


  • Manages and coordinates technical support around public finance ensuring it is well planned, monitored, and implemented in a timely fashion so as to adequately support scale-up and delivery. Ensures risk analysis and risk mitigation are embedded into overall management of the support, in close consultation with UNICEF programme sections, cooperating partners, and governments.
  • Supports and contributes to effective and efficient planning, management, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the country programme.
  • Ensures that the social planning project enhances policy dialogue, planning, supervision, technical advice, management, training, research and support; and that the monitoring and evaluation component strengthens monitoring and evaluation of the social sectors and provides support to sectoral and decentralized information systems.

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

  • An advanced university degree in Economics, preferably Education Economics, Public Finance, Public Policy or another relevant technical field is required.
  • A minimum of five years of relevant professional social policy work experience is required. Experience with education and economic data analysis, as well as public financial system strengthening will be an added advantage.
  • Experience working in a developing country is considered as a strong asset.
  • Background and/or familiarity with emergency is considered as a strong asset
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or local language of the duty station is considered as an asset.


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