Title: Software Developer, Consultant
Location of Assignment: New York, USA
Language(s) Required: English, knowledge of another official UN language is an asset
Travel: Minimal travel anticipated
Duration of contract: 11.5 months (16 May 2016 – 30 April 2017)

Want to use your coding skills to do good in this world? Good, we want you.

UNICEF Innovation is looking for a top notch developer to create products that solve problems in the developing world. We’re open source and agile. We use node, firebase, polymer, and react now, but you’ll choose your own stack when prototyping from scratch.

You’ll work with a group of entrepreneurs, developers, research scientists and designers on a wide variety of projects. For example: we have a platform, in development with volunteer engineers from Google, that processes data from different sources (weather, socioeconomic, travel patterns) in order to forecast the spread of infectious diseases and visualize potential outbreaks: github.com/unicef/majicbox

What else will you do while you’re with us? A lot… You’ll research emerging technologies like blockchain and smart contracts, then prototype potential solutions for identity, cash remittance, and decentralized autonomous organizations.

You’ll write code that impacts the delivery of critical messages to people in need.

Where will you do all this? Alongside an awesome team of about 15 people based at UNICEF HQ in Manhattan, New York, where you’ll have access to networks of professionals and academics who pioneer technology.

The Office of Innovation identify promising new technologies (data science, SMS technologies, UAVs) that have potential to impact UNICEF core operations (education, health, disaster response). Through our network of technology companies, UNICEF Country Offices and academic institutions, we construct pilots to quickly determine if projects should be continued or discontinued. The Office of Innovation in New York provides support to innovation leads in Country Offices and consists of a flat team of technologists, designers, programmers, researchers and communication specialists. Requests for collaboration, advice and support are fielded from UNICEF programmes, and other parts of the UN system. We also have a small venture fund – the UNICEF Innovation Fund – which provides resources to quickly assess, fund and scale companies, teams, and ideas that have been developed in new and emerging markets. The Innovation Fund supports the generation of open source, public goods that address the most pressing challenges facing children.

Purpose of Consultancy 

To research emerging technologies, suggest problems they can solve in the developing world, and then prototype the solutions.

You will contribute to the development and maintenance of open source software projects and systems that support country offices, while staying current with the latest technologies; plying them according to best practices.

You will expand the UNICEF Innovation GitHub repository with open source applications that demonstrate the work of the data science team while iteratively prototyping with the UI/UX team.

Ongoing projects that the candidate will be expected to support:

  • Magic Box & Carrot Juice: A platform to process data from different sources in order to forecast the spread of infectious diseases.
  • The Innovation Fund Site: A real-time illustration of investments of donor money toward open source technologies for children.
  • Blockchain: Research, consulting and prototyping applications for humanitarian purposes.
  • U-Report Dashboard: A collection of web components that:
    • visualize the effectiveness of messaging through twitter, RapidPro.
    • summarize trends in interest and technology per country.

Duty Station: New York, NY
Start date:      16 May 2016                            End date: 30 April 2017


  • Submit tentative work plan (1-3 pages) to Innovation Unit co-leads and Research Scientist
  • Support work on Magic Box and Carrot Juice: add tests to current features.

Duration (Estimated # of days): 11
Deadline: 31 May 2016


  • Magic Box: Streamline deployment.
  • Carrot Juice: Add features, tests, refactor code
    Build a blockchain prototype for distributed non sovereign id (v 1.0).

Duration (Estimated # of days): 22 days
Deadline: 30 June 2016


  • Innovation Fund site: Add interactive web components to sections as programs submit new data sources
  • Build a blockchain prototype for distributed non sovereign id (v 0.1).

Duration (Estimated # of days): 19
Deadline: 31 July 2016


  • U-Report: Add web components
  • Magic Box / Carrot Juice: Add features, tests, and refactor.
  • Prototype blockchain non sovereign id (v 0.2).

Duration (Estimated # of days): 23
Deadline: 31 August 2016


  • Build a blockchain prototype for cash remittance (v 0.1).
    Build prototype of CDR/unconventional data system

Duration (Estimated # of days): 20
Deadline: 30 September 2016


  • Coordinate visualization of varying qualitative and quantitative data while working closely with the Interaction team.
  • Build a blockchain prototype for cash remittance (v 0.2).

Duration (Estimated # of days): 21
Deadline: 31 October 2016


  • Build a blockchain prototype for cash remittance (v 0.3).
  • Magic Box / Carrot Juice: Add features, tests, and refactor

Duration (Estimated # of days)
Deadline: 30 November 2016


  • Magic Box / Carrot Juice: Add features, tests, and refactor.
  • Build smart contract prototype (v 0.1)

Duration (Estimated # of days)
Deadline: 31 December 2016


  • Magic Box / Carrot Juice: Add features, tests, and refactor.
  • Build smart contract prototype (v 0.2)

Duration (Estimated # of days)
Deadline: 31 January 2017


  • Magic Box / Carrot Juice: Add features, tests, and refactor.
  • Build smart contract prototype (v 0.3)

Duration (Estimated # of days)
Deadline: 28 February 2017


  • Magic Box / Carrot Juice: Add features, tests, and refactor.
  • Build smart contract prototype (v 0.4)

Duration (Estimated # of days)
Deadline: 31 March 2017


  • Submit handover report (5-8 pages) on technical prototypes and the design of the Innovation Fund website, Magic Box and Carrot Juice, summarizing the experiences and lessons learned during course of contract

Duration (Estimated # of days)
Deadline: 30 April 2017


  • Facilitate and participate in weekly meetings with internal and external stakeholders, as needed components in Country Office
  • Provide support to Data Scientist for applications prototyping around big/unconventional data
  • Implement various tasks and deliverables throughout the contract period as specified above, including regular support and communication with UNICEF Country Offices Duration (Estimated # of days): Ongoing

Deadline: Ongoing

Total: 11.5 months

Key competences, technical background, and experience required Deadline

  • Bachelor’s degree and/or Master’s degree and 3-5 years of professional experience in a relevant field.
  • Familiarity with some of the following: js, firebase, react.js, d3, mongoldb, polymer, mocha, phantom.js, python, ruby, rails, mongodb, and heroku.
  • Experience in at least one modern object-oriented programming language, especially Ruby or Python
  • Experience with relational and NoSQL databases
  • 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
  • Fluency in written and verbal English is a must; competence in at least one other UN language is preferred


Fluency in English. Knowledge of another official UN language is an asset.

UNICEF is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.


How to Apply

Interested and suitable candidates are requested to send their applications with Subject “Software Developer Consultant” to: jobsugic@gmail.com on or before 29 April 2016.

Applications must include the following:

  1. Cover letter
  2. P11 (http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc)
  3. CV
  4. Expected monthly rate (gross rate)

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.