Senior Technology Specialist
Duration: 7.5 months
Duty Station: Remote
Level: Individual contract (equivalent to P4)
UNICEF has been innovating for children for more than 60 years. Innovations support the organization’s 135+ country offices in finding solutions for the world’s most vulnerable children. The UNICEF innovation work includes both policy and practice of innovation in UNICEF, and the larger UN. Innovation in UNICEF is defined as “doing something new or different that adds value.” Innovation is a cross-sectoral function that enhances programme and development effectiveness as well as management and is guided in all contexts by UNICEF’s Innovation Principles (http://unicefstories.org/principles/). UNICEF is engaged in testing and scaling up new partnerships, technologies, and collaborations in some of the world’s most difficult operating environments.
In January 2016, the Executive Director established UNICEF’s Office of Innovation in order to establish UNICEF’s innovation functions in one office and leverage the increasing initiatives across UNICEF. Through this decision, the Executive Director’s vision is to scale up successes to achieve results for children across the organization. The Executive Director has asked the newly unified innovation team to develop a common, coordinated strategic plan that continues to support creativity and agility while addressing key operational risks and enhances efficiencies and enables increased access to innovations. The newly established Office of Innovation combines:
- The Global Innovation Centre (GIC) in Bangkok, Kampala and Nairobi: established in 2014, and focusing on Scale Up which looks at expanding the application of proven solutions from one to several countries and regions by UNICEF and partners
- Ventures in New York which looks at investing in new solutions with a 0-2 year horizon
- Futures in San Francisco: focusing on what is coming in the 2-5 year horizon and works with big tech partners
UNICEF Scale Up is functioning primarily through UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre and identifies proven solutions with the potential to be implemented at national scale in multiple countries. The GIC provides the leadership and technical support to deploy and scale these up, expanding their application by UNICEF and others from one to several countries and regions, specifically in the following main areas:
- Real-time information: Data or real-time user behavior increasingly drives the decisions we make about our programmes, our businesses, and our lives. One of the main challenges in international development and poverty reduction work is the ability to know where disparities are the greatest, who we are not reaching, who is not using essential services, and why this is the case. The theory of change, therefore, is that real-time information can immediately shed light on what works and what does not. The following innovations will be scaled up by the GIC: RapidPro, mTrac, eduTrac, mHealth / 1,000 days monitoring. Due to the nature of innovation, other enhancements will be identified over the period that is currently not known.
- Youth Engagement: The ability for young people to connect to each other and counsel each other – through both social technologies and technologically enabled social networking – allows them to share and scale their own solutions. When aggregated, this empowers youth to have their voices heard even at the highest levels of government, influencing necessary change. The following innovations will be scaled up by the GIC: U-Report, Youth entrepreneurship, Innovation challenges. Due to the nature of innovation, other complementary solutions will be identified over the period that is currently not known.
- Access to Information and Infrastructure: Access to information, particularly basic, life-enhancing information is a human right, and all individuals in a society regardless of location, literacy level, or income should be able to acquire such information. Sustainable development – social, economic, and political – relies on an informed society. The theory of change is that developing products, services, and processes that provide access to information for children that suffer the worst deprivations in society can save lives and contribute to children and adolescents being better positioned to fulfill their potential. The following innovations will be scaled up by the GIC to achieve this intermediate result on access to information: Internet of Good Things, Kolibri.
PURPOSE OF THE APPOINTMENT / MAIN ACTIVITIES
Under the overall guidance of the Senior Advisor on Innovation / Scale-up Lead, provide technical and software related support towards development and global roll-out of Innovations:
- Applying a positive, service-oriented, timely/responsive and solution-seeking approach to technical and software related support as detailed throughout.
- Act as technology lead and manage the project to deliver the RapidPro added generic functionality project, due week 2, August 2016.
- Overall coordination of all technical aspects and technical development of software platforms identified for scale-up in all GIC portfolio areas (real-time information, youth engagement and access to information).
- Promote creativity and innovative thinking to re-engineer work processes and programmes, and make the best use of technology within and outside UNICEF
- Evaluate existing and new technologies that may be applicable to UNICEF programmes.
- Coordinate roadmaps, develop features, improve test coverage, and assist with the new developer and vendor onboarding.
- Provide technical support and guidance for the global roll-out of Innovations identified for scale-up
- Oversee and coordinate the technical improvements to Innovation 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 advice 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 technical support towards RFP, LTA and contracting processes, and coordinate with external suppliers
- Represent UNICEF Innovation during high level visits and development partner meetings (Working Groups, Task Forces, etc) when requested
QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATION
- University degree in a relevant 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
Specialized Experience and Knowledge required for the assignment
- 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 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 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
Fluency in English.
HOW TO APPLY
Interested and suitable candidates are requested to send their applications with Subject “Senior Technology Specialist” to: email@example.com on or before 21th July 2016.
Applications must include the following:
- Cover letter
- P11 (http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc)
- expected monthly rate in USD (total / all-inclusive 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 shortlisted candidates will be contacted.