Title: Senior Technology Specialist
Global Innovation Centre
3 months
Duty Station: Remote, South Africa
Level: Individual contract (equivalent to P4)


In January 2014, UNICEF has set up a cross-sectoral Global Innovation Centre. The vision of the newly established Global Innovation Centre is enabling exponential change in reducing inequities and achieving programme effectiveness and results for children. It focuses on innovations that benefit the most deprived people, and the areas with the highest level of inequity, specifically focusing on technologies, tools and solutions that can be deployed and used in remote areas and by people who do not have access to feature technology.

UNICEF´s Innovation Centre focuses on development and global scale of generic solutions, and in close collaboration with UNICEF Country Offices supports the set-up and roll-out of those innovations, specifically in the following main areas:

  • Real-time information: Development and scale-up of innovations to provide real-time information to UNICEF programs and increase transparency and accountability. Including RapidPro, mTrac, eduTrac, mHERO, uReport, End-use Supply monitoring, uTalk, etc.
  • Access to information and Quality Learning: Development and scale-up innovative solutions to provide improved access to information and quality education. Including Digital Kiosk, Mobistation, uPortal, etc.
  • Youth engagement: Scale-up of uReport and partnerships to promote youth engagement
  • Other innovations: Continue to develop concepts and prototype innovative applications in new, emerging areas.

In order to achieve this, UNICEF Innovation center seeks to hire a Technology Specialist, who can specifically provide software related support towards global roll-out of Innovations.

The consultant will work with UNICEF Country Offices and support the technical development of RapidPro and other globally-supported innovations. Furthermore the consultant will also support the identification, conceptualization and prototyping of new innovations based on new technologies and the needs of UNICEF programs. As the Technology Specialist, the consultant will therefore need to work with multiple projects, partners, vendors and ongoing plus new initiatives simultaneously.

Targeted and intensive support will be provided to the UNICEF South Africa CO throughout the assignment to ensure technical deployment of key innovations identified as priority by the SACO.


To work as Senior Technology Specialist in a team of Innovators, including Hardware, Software engineers and specific project managers,

  • Responsible for supporting the technical development of software platforms and prototypes.
  • Evaluate existing and new software technologies that may be applicable to UNICEF programmes.
  • Individual contributor to UNICEF-supported software: coordinate roadmaps, develop features, improve test coverage, and assist with new developer and vendor onboarding.
  • Support the global roll-out of real-time monitoring systems based on RapidPro
  • Oversee and coordinate the technical improvements to RapidPro-based programs and other new innovations, including initial assessments, technical contracts with external vendors, orientation workshops, design and business analysis, on-site and remote support, setup and advise in contracting needs
  • Monitor progress on software product development, including code reviews and oversight of vendor deliverables.
  • Prepare ToR, project proposals, requirements documents, presentation materials, and product documentation.
  • Prepare regular progress and final project reports
  • Provide support towards RFP, LTA and contracting processes, and coordinate with external suppliers
  • Represent UNICEF´s Innovation lab during high level visits and development partner meetings (Working Groups, Task Forces, etc) when requested
  • Coordinate with Innovation Unit counterparts in New York and San Francisco to ensure alignment and leveraging of respective technology partnerships
  • Across the above areas, provide targeted support to UNICEF South Africa Country Office to ensure technical deployment of key innovations.


  • University degree in a relevant technical field; or related practical experience
  • At least 7 years of professional technical experience supporting and coordinating project activities across a large organization and with other international development organizations
  • Proven experience in translating complex ideas from various fields into unified, clear guidance.
  • Experience in at least one modern object-oriented programming language, especially Python
  • Experience with modern MVC frameworks (Django, Rails, and similar).
  • Experience with JavaScript and modern JavaScript frameworks (Node, React, Ember, Angular)
  • Experience with mobile technology, especially Android or iOS
  • Experience with mobile telephony software (RapidSMS, Kannel, Asterisk, etc).
  • Experience with SMS service design and mobile web design.
  • Experience with JavaScript charting and mapping (d3, leaflet, crossfilter, etc).
  • Experience with open-source databases (PostgreSQL, CouchDB, MongoDB, etc).
  • Experience with system provisioning tools (Salt Stack, Ansible, Chef, etc).
  • Experience working with open-source technologies and communities.
  • Experience writing technical contracts
  • Experience writing technical documentation
  • Capable of deploying and maintaining software remotely on a Linux or UNIX-like server
  • Knowledge of environment in which UNICEF operates, and understanding the constraints of working in a developing-world environment. This should include experience developing low-bandwidth applications in challenging work environments.
  • Ability to align technical goals with UNICEF strategic goals – that always will mean UNICEF’s mission over any particular technology
  • Willing to travel (sometimes on short notice) and develop software in the field, directly with end-users
  • Experience with ICT related technologies in developing markets
  • Fluency in written and verbal English is a must; competence in at least one other UN language is preferred

How to apply:

Interested and suitable candidates are requested to send their applications with Subject “Senior Technology Specialist” to: jobsugic@gmail.com on or before 3 March 2016.

Applications must include the following:

Incomplete applications will be disqualified. Applicants must clearly indicate the position applied for and use this order to name file attachments: Firstname_Lastname followed by document e.g. Gold_Mukasa_CV or Gold_Mukasa_CoverLetter. Only short listed candidates will be contacted.