Job Opportunity: Innovation Specialist
Job Opportunity: Education Innovation Specialist and Kolibri Product Manager

Download the complete Terms of Reference here

Title: Innovations Specialist

Work Type: Temporary Appointment

Location of Assignment: Malawi

Language(s) required: Fluency in English (written and verbal) is required

Level: P-3

Organizational Context and Purpose for the job

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programs, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life — in its social, political, economic, civic and cultural dimensions — her or his rights are violated. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens — addressing inequity — not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. This is why the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

Job organizational context

The Innovation Specialist (Level 3) reports to the Representative in medium size country offices.

Purpose for the job

Under the direct supervision of the Representative, the Innovation Specialist will be accountable for providing technical leadership and support to innovation planning/design, implementation, monitoring and documentation across programme sectoral areas and with partners, supporting achievement of UNICEF’s priorities. Working closely with programme sections, the Innovation Specialist will interact across all sections in the UNICEF office and network closely with Government, UN, NGO and private sector partners and launch and manage the implementation of identified programme innovations initiatives.

As some areas of innovation are mainstreamed as a core strategy across each of the UNICEF programme sections in the Country Office, the  Innovation Specialist will further be responsible for coordinating and facilitating this mainstreaming effort guided by the Representative and for providing ongoing technical support to each programme team in the design and implementation of their respective Innovation flagship initiative(s) in close coordination with NYHQ Innovation Unit and Regional Office where applicable.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

  • Effective promotion of Innovation across the UNICEF Malawi country programme.
  • Programme Development and Knowledge Management.
  • National and Local Capacity Building in innovation.
  • Partnership, Coordination and Collaboration and Resource Mobilization.

Effective promotion of Innovation across the UNICEF Malawi country programme

  • Develop an office wide innovation strategy to accompany the 2012-2018 Country Programme in close coordination with programme sections, Regional Office and the Global Innovation Centre. This will include analysis of key programme bottlenecks and identification of potential innovation strategies to overcome them.
  • Coordinate and provide/source country specific development and testing of innovation products and processes that strengthen and improve UNICEF’s programming and results for children.
  • Ensure cross-sectoral learning and fertilization among innovation initiatives.
  • Provide capacity building and training to UNICEF and partner staff and end users in the use of innovation products and processes.
  • Undertake field visits to monitor and assess programme implementation and decide on required corrective action, including in emergencies.

Programme Development and Knowledge Management

  • Support monitoring of innovation processes and products in programme implementation and ensure strong tracking of results.
  • Package and communicate data to support evidence based decision making. This includes but not limited to taking active part in global innovation calls and other relevant innovations groups within the country, region and globally representing MCO in the areas of innovations.
  • Strengthen documentation, best practices and ensure effective sharing and generation of knowledge between UNICEF Malawi and other global & regional implementers.
  • Facilitate production of web-stories and multi-media products to support innovation lessons and scale up as appropriate
  • Link to the regional and global innovation knowledge network to ensure the availability of current and accurate programme data.

National and Local Capacity Building in innovation

  • Support UNICEF staff and consultants by providing up to date tools, knowledge and capacity in Innovation technology.
  • Provide government authorities with technical supports and guidance to plan and organize training programmes for the purpose of capacity building and programme sustainability.
  • Advise on negotiation with technology service providers and mobile phone providers, in consultation with ICT unit and UNICEF NYHQ Tech Innovation Unit. Work closely with ICT Unit including but not limited to requirement analysis, project management and quality assurance of the initiatives.

Partnership, Coordination and Collaboration and Resource Mobilization

  • Foster and develop partner networks with local innovators, civil society, academia and private sector to build and provide a space to nurture and test innovative approaches
  • Proactively scout for new, innovative ideas, opportunities and partnerships to deliver better results
  • Identify opportunities for resource mobilization and new partnerships
  • Lead proposal and partnership development efforts in collaboration with programme teams, the donor management officer and RO.
  • Identify opportunities for resource mobilization and new partnerships with telecom operators, SMS aggregators, NGOs and UN agencies.


  • Advanced university degree in Social Sciences, International Relations, Behaviour Communication, Public Policy, Social Policy, Social Development, Community Development, Information Technology or other relevant disciplines.

*A relevant first-level university degree (Bachelor’s), in combination with 2 years of additional relevant work experience, may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  • Five years of progressively responsible professional work experience at the national and international levels in programme management, monitor and evaluation.
  • Experience with Innovative uses of technology for development, particularly in the areas of mobile based data collection; Training & capacity building experience; Programme communication / Communication for Development / and/or Design experience.
  • Experience in start-up companies /organizations is an asset and entrepreneurial failures are considered as valuable experience.
  • Experience in project management and rolling out large scale projects especially in one or more countries in the region an asset.
  • Proven capacity to work with and lead collaborative teams across different sections and with different technical skills.
  • Proven ability to manage relationships with partners, including government ministries, youth coalitions, Universities, intellectual leaders, UN organizations, NGOs and the private sector.
  • Strong writing and communication skills and the aptitude to handle competing messages and priorities with multiple audiences.
  • Background experience with the UN, especially UNICEF is highly desirable.
  • International and Developing country work experience.

Download the complete Terms of Reference and apply here

Job Opportunity: Innovation Specialist
Job Opportunity: Education Innovation Specialist and Kolibri Product Manager