UNICEF recrute 01 Mental health and psychosocial support
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For every child, Health
Background and Context
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) is an institutional priority for the UN and for UNICEF. The UNICEF Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 identifies MHPSS as a priority area across all five goal areas with specific accountabilities in Goal Area 1 (Every child survives and thrives), Goal Area 2 (Every child learns) and Goal Area 3 (Every child is protected from violence and exploitation). Moreover, UNICEF and WHO have developed a Joint Programme on Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing and Development of Children and Adolescents, and MHPSS is encompassed in the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (2020).
UNICEF’s the West and Central Africa region (WCAR) has articulated a Common Agenda for children that encompasses key results related to the programming areas highlighted above, including all children learning, the prevention and response to sexual violence and, cutting across all programming, meeting the organization’s commitments for children in humanitarian action. With regard to the latter, many parts of the region are highly affected by conflict and climate change, in addition to fragility. This impacts adversely on health, education and social welfare and child protection services and systems, as well at the individual level on children’s, adolescents’ and caregivers’ mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. Across parts of the region, including the Sahel and Coastal countries, armed conflict is increasing, and humanitarian access is diminishing, adversely affecting the resilience of populations (including children) to cope and adapt to shocks and stresses. While in this region MHPSS programming has, to-date, primarily linked to UNICEF’s humanitarian response, COVID-19 has shown the critical importance of and need for investments in MHPSS programming across all contexts, both development and humanitarian, and through a systems approach encompassing health, education and social welfare and child protection. To take forward the priorities and commitments at regional and global level, having dedicated technical human resource capacity in MHPSS has been identified as a priority to support systems change and operationalization at country level.
Location: The post will be based in UNICEF WCA Regional Office, Dakar Senegal
How can you make a difference?
The MHPSS Specialist will provide technical support to the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office and Country Offices (COs)in the area of Mental Health and Psychosocial support (MHPSS) in line with:
- (a) the global commitments, notably: the UNICEF Strategic Plan, the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action and the Global Multi Sectoral Operational Framework for MHPSS of Children, Adolescents and Caregivers across Settings.
- (b) the West and Central Africa’s Common Agenda and priorities (as elaborated in the previous section).
More specifically, through systems change approach, the Specialist will provide technical and strategic support to the Regional Office (notably the MHPSS Task Force) and the 24 Country Offices of the West and Central Africa Region (WCAR) across three broad thematic areas:
- Strategy and policy development and cross-sectoral coordination.
- Capacity-strengthening and quality assurance.
- Evidence generation, knowledge management and resource mobilization. The approach will support the meaningful and safe engagement of children and adolescents and will support quality evidence generation and reporting through technical support for the design, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of MHPSS activities and programmes.
Methodology and Technical Approach:
Under the technical supervision of the Child Protection Specialist (Child Protection in Humanitarian Action) and in close collaboration with the multisectoral MHPSS Task Force, and in line with a system’s strengthening approach, the MHPSS Specialist will focus on the following technical and strategic areas of work:
1. Strategy and policy development and cross-sectoral coordination and partnership
The MHPSS Specialist will support RO, COs and partners to strengthen policy-level dialogue, cross-sectoral coordination and advocacy through the following:
- Support for convening and strengthening the Regional Office MHPSS Task Force. This includes technical support and coordination for its systematic functioning. Coordination of the activities of the MHPSS Task Force includes establishment of communication channels with relevant focal points in COs, the Regional Office (RO) and Headquarters; coordination of activities, meetings and follow up on action points.
- Support the development of a UNICEF MHPSS regional work plan with the support of the regional MHPSS Task Force and engaged Country Offices (COs) aligned to the terms and conditions of the funding allocation accountabilities and reporting requirements and that also includes among its priorities resource mobilization. This work plan will include clear actions and timelines and include monitoring and reporting on progress in accordance with UNICEF’s Global MHPSS multi sectoral operational framework.
- Enhance the integration of cross sectorial engagements on MHPSS within UNICEF by prompting/strengthening the inclusion of MHPSS activities in relevant sectors’ work and within a systems strengthening approach with a specific focus on Health, Education, Child Protection, and Adolescent Development and Participation. Entry points across other sectors including Social Protection and Emergencies will also be explored.
- Facilitate partnerships and networking including through mapping key working groups and partners internally and externally (regional and cross-regional) to help identify priorities with whom to engage and for which objectives.
Capacity strengthening and quality assurance
- Linked to the networking and partnership building above, support a mapping of MHPSS, programming, activities, data and information across sectors and to inform a comprehensive overview across the region that includes systems of care and entry points for child, adolescent and caregivers’ mental health services, referral mechanisms, data management and quality assurance.
- The synthesis will help identify key gaps and opportunities and priority areas for support.
- Support a MHPSS capacity needs assessment for UNICEF staff in the region to identify needs and to strengthen a common understanding around UNICEF’s commitments and strategies and to inform capacity building and learning exchange across the region.
- Based on the findings and recommendations of the mapping activities above, adapt and support the implementation of guidance for the context and identified needs.
- Provide technical and strategic guidance and advice for RO and CO programme management (including UNICEF Deputy Regional Director and Deputy Representatives), section chiefs and MHPSS specialists on priorities, strategies and measures to advance the MHPSS agenda in the WCA region. Proposed strategies will consider UNICEF’s Global MHPSS multisectoral operational framework, including a multi-layered multi-sectoral system of services, a life-course approach, and be rights-based and support efforts to address the root causes of gender inequalities. Approaches are expected to engage children, adolescents, young people and partners in line with the principles elaborated earlier.
- Support the quality review of CO and RO planning and reporting requirements (including HAC, Sitreps, Annual reports) related to MHPSS, in line with the UNICEF Strategic Plan, UNICEF’s Global MHPSS multi sectoral operational framework, and the Core Commitments for Children, across the different sectors of intervention.
- Provide direct technical assistance to country offices (including those engaged in the UNICEF-WHO Joint Programme) upon request (remote and in-country) for strengthened integrated MHPSS programming, advocacy, and policy, in alignment with UNICEF’s MHPSS theory of change, and corresponding outcomes and interventions in UNICEF’s Global MHPSS multi sectoral operational framework. This includes technical support for review of existing MHPSS programming, contextualization of the MHPSS framework and tools for programming, monitoring and reporting.
- As part of support to COs, support MHPSS workforce development (internal and external) including through support for training and capacity building activities within a systems strengthening approach.
Evidence generation, knowledge management and resource mobilization
- Support strengthened knowledge management (generation and dissemination of the latest evidence and guidance related to MHPSS) including documentation and sharing of good practices through various means (webinars, consultations, human interest stories, review of Sit Reps etc) for UNICEF staff and partners in the region.
- Collate and analyze data including from country programme experience (lessons learned, best practices, reviews and evaluations) to document progress and inform the revision of results frameworks, capacity building and reporting.
- Lead efforts to identify and leverage partnerships for advancing evidence-based work and resource mobilization including development of standalone proposals and investments cases and inputs to funding proposals.
- Support analysis, documentation and quality assurance to help ensure that policies, strategies and advocacy initiatives related to MHPSS are evidence-based and evidence-driven
- Develop/input to concept notes, briefing notes and presentations related to MHPSS overall and linked to the resources received for this work.
- Produce regular progress reports aligned with the reporting requirements received for this work.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) or academic background in social sciences; psychology; international development; public health or similar relevant discipline
- A minimum of 8 years of relevant professional experience in MHPSS programming, project coordination and management for children and adolescents, including in humanitarian contexts.
- Solid knowledge and understanding of health and social work systems, humanitarian principles, child safeguarding measures and established international standards on mental health and psychosocial support for children and adolescents.
- Solid knowledge on gender programming, adolescent girls’ programming an asset.
- Strong coordination, organizational and facilitation skills both face to face and remotely with diverse stakeholders.
- Demonstrated experience with multi-sectoral programme design and knowledge management, including remote coordination.
- Demonstrated ability to work independently while coordinating closely with different teams.
- Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
- Fluency in English and French is required. Knowledge of another official UN language in addition to Portuguese language is an asset.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values
UNICEF competencies required for this post are…
(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others (8) Nurtures, leads and manage people.
During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework here.
UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.
UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children.
Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.
UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance. Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments are also subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
Deadline: 14 Mar 2023 Greenwich Standard Time.
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