Job Opportunity: Communication Lead, Office of Innovation (re-advertised)
Volunteer Opportunity: Internship - Office of Innovation, UNICEF

TITLE: UNICEF Drone Corridor Lead (UAS specialist)
Duration: 11.5 months
Duty Station: Malawi
Level: Individual contract (equivalent to P3)

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children’s survival, protection and development. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


In coming years drones will be fully incorporated into commercial airspace. Will we be ready? How can we use these emerging technologies to help children? UNICEF Innovation is looking at the future of drones (UAV/Ss, RPAs), for humanitarian response and development. Though they are a new technology, their potential use in imagery, connectivity and transport situations will be integral.

Drones can be helpful, for example, in mudslides in humanitarian and refugee flooding situations, by bringing connectivity to disconnected areas and for transporting important medical supplies to hard-to-reach places. Drones are currently in an early stage of technological and infrastructural integration, and while federal aviation authorities are still figuring out national guidelines for governing airspace, we want UNICEF to be actively engaged in these early conversations in order to develop uses that enhance children’s lives.

The Government of Malawi in collaboration with UNICEF has officially approved a dedicated corridor for the use and testing of UAS for humanitarian purposes in Malawi. This testing corridor is the only space in the world specifically dedicated to humanitarian and development uses for drones.

The Malawi drone testing corridor will be open to industry, universities, and individuals who apply and meet the air corridor criteria (which this lead will help to refine). As this has never been done before, we’re looking for a dynamic and experienced individual who can adapt as the situation demands and can further the goals of UNICEF.

UNICEF Innovation

The Office of Innovation identifies promising new technologies (data science, SMS, drones) 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. 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. We work very fast, we embrace startup culture, and we work with the worlds of academia, public and private sector around the world who help us find solutions to the biggest problems that face children. While working from the UNICEF Headquarters in New York, we also work closely with the UNICEF Innovation office in San Francisco, and the UNICEF Global Innovation Centre.


UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, in collaboration with the UNICEF Malawi Country Office, has set up the first Drone / UAV / UAS testing corridor in sub-Saharan Africa- in Malawi. (Check it out: The Corridor will allow companies and partners to test their hardware in a live environment, and allow UNICEF and the global drone community to learn from the successes and failures of these tests.

We are now seeking a Corridor Lead who can help build the partnerships necessary with drone manufacturers, aviation industry, students, and governments to make this corridor a success. UNICEF is seeking a Technical Coordinator to manage the first-of-its-kind drone testing corridor in Malawi. This technical liaison position will involve:

  • Engaging industry (both startups and more established players) to encourage use of the corridor – for partners to come to Malawi, test their technology, engage in skills transfer and training of Malawian engineers, and publish open results of tests
  • Designing the operational framework for results shared in the testing corridor,
  • Contributing to the criteria to test drones in the corridor (i.e. build out the SOP for testing)
  • Working with government to maintain the corridor, and
  • Coordinating across multiple UNICEF offices and with other governments to expand the drone corridor program.

This field is changing rapidly, and we’re looking for someone with the capacity to build new things in a complex environment, a knowledge of the commercial drone industry, and entrepreneurial or experience in the contexts in which UNICEF works (think: pairing a quickly moving tech environment with the systems speed of development and government – more about that here: .


This position will be primarily based in Malawi. However, the expected candidate would spend approximately one month at UNICEF New York in preparation for deployment to Malawi, with at least two multi-week trips back to New York, along with the potential for travel to other countries to guide the regulatory framework processes. Modalities for the use of the corridor still have to be determined with the Government of Malawi and this role would be involved in the discussions.

The Drone Corridor Technical Coordinator will provide high level technical inputs and project management support for the drone corridor in Malawi, specifically towards the following expected results:

  • Facilitate relationships and partnerships between the Government of Malawi, UNICEF and relevant industry partners
  • Prepare a Terms of Reference to recruit future national staffing of the drone corridor and facilitate the mentoring and hiring process, as agreed with government
  • Develop and implement strategy for Malawi’s drone corridor to guide UNICEF’s engagement, including partnership management, logistical arrangements, protocols and overall implementation to ensure coordination of technical outcomes
  • Manage the process of outreach and selection of companies that use the corridor, based on established selection criteria and in close collaboration with UNICEF Malawi Country Office, UNICEF New York and the Government of Malawi
  • Develop and implement a plan for publication and dissemination of lessons learned and eventual research developed in the corridor
  • Document experiences of establishment and management of corridor to inform other similar future efforts in other countries


  • Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for his/her own health insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for 50% DSA for the first month preparation for deployment in New York. Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all other work-related travel.
  • Consultants are responsible for assuming costs for obtaining visas and travel insurance


  • University degree
  • At least six (6) years of professional experience
  • Project management skills including results driven task prioritization and budget monitoring
  • Experience working in the private sector or managing corporate partnerships
  • Experience implementing and scaling new projects or technologies in developing countries is an asset
  • Knowledge or experience of technical regulations or the commercial drone industry is an asset
  • Experience with running or implementing (failed or successful) startups.
  • Proactive and organized, must be able to multitask


Fluency in English. Competence in another UN language is an asset.

Applications must include:

  • Cover letter,
  • CV

To view our competency framework, please click here.

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above.  Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

Closing Date: 27 Mar 2017

*Posting and application portal for this job on can only be accessed during the application period.

Job Opportunity: Communication Lead, Office of Innovation (re-advertised)
Volunteer Opportunity: Internship - Office of Innovation, UNICEF