United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Individual Contractor (Care and Justice for Migrants)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Job Description

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

UNICEF promotes the rights and welfare of all children and adolescents in everything we do. Together with our allies, we work in 190 countries and territories to transform this commitment into practical actions that benefit all children, especially focusing our efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded, worldwide.

The UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office is based in in Panama, operating in 36 territories, with 24 country offices.

UNICEF works to put the rights and well-being of children at the heart of the social, political, and economic agenda, in line with our equity focus, working across our organization and with our partners in government, civil society and the private sector to support shifts in public policy, fuel social engagement, and increase investment for children.

For more information about UNICEF and its work. (www.unicef.org/lac).

Care and protection of children in the context of human mobility is a priority for UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), be they separated, unaccompanied1 or travelling with family2. Children represent approximately 20% of all migrants and refugees in LAC, and the majority of the UNICEF offices in Latin America and the Caribbean are programming in this area. The region has two migration pathways were there is particular concern for child migrants: those from Venezuela3 who travel to Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and other countries in the region, as well as those in Central America4 who head toward Mexico and the US. For Child Protection the focus of our work is to promote ‘safe migration’, which protects children from risks such as violence and exploitation, promotes access to shelter support and care, allows for children to have Access to Justice and identity.

While there are some special services for migrants, such as best interest determination procedures, child friendly spaces and one-stop shops, the actions are usually conducted within the host and transit countries specialized child protection structures. In other words, the shelter care may be offered through the country’s alternative care structures, psycho-social support through the regular help lines and counselling centres, and legal aid and identity through the justice and civil registration systems. While there are some special services specific to migrants, it is still within the system. That said, care options for migrant children are few.

That system, particularly considering care and justice is under reform. The region continues to have an over reliance on institutional care and detention. Case management structures are developed within countries, but the ability to share information securely respecting confidentiality and privacy is weak.

For every child, protection 

Purpose of the job 

Under the general guidance and direction of the Regional Advisor of Child Protection Section, the contractor will be responsible for providing specialized Technical Support to country offices and regional processes related to the protection of migrant and refugee children with a specific focus on care and justice for children on the move, cross border communication mechanisms, and migration flows. As these services are offered within the specialized child protection system, the contractor will also review the alternative care and justice reform processes, supporting in the development of potential next steps for regional office support to create regional change from the overuse of institutions and of detention and promote the deinstitutionalization of children.

How can you make a difference?

Specific tasks 

- Technical support in the development of guidelines and studies that support country programming, including drafting TORs and revision of outputs, specifically with regards to shelter care, psycho-social support and cross border communications and access to justice - Participation in regional migration forums and alternative care regional forums, both within UNICEF and with other partnership groups- Support the management of regional and cross-country projects, including project planning, monitoring, Coordination, and project report preparation - Contribute to knowledge capture and dissemination of promising practices in protecting children on the move, and migration patterns - Review of alternative care programmes, issues, and reforms, including legislation, as background for drafting of a regional approach to promoting alternative care - Develop a draft input for the for the CRC Day of General Discussion on Child Rights and Alternative Care - Supporting the development and implementation of a communication strategy that reaches migrant children and their families - Supporting justice for children work focus on indicators on juvenile justice.

Expected measurable results

- TORs for (i) ‘alternative care’ of migrants, and for (ii) a review of protection programming for migrants - 3 case studies and 5 vignettes of child protection responses to migrant care and access to justice - Two project reports - Strategic approach to alternative care reform in the region, based on a review of current reforms and country requirements - Comparison of LAC indicators on juvenile justice with information from countries from other regions To qualify as a champion for every child you will have…

Education: Master's degree in Social Sciences, Migration/Immigration Law, Anthropology, Political Science or other relevant discipline.

Work experience: 

- Minimum 2 years experience working on human mobility - Minimum 2 years experience working on alternative care - Minimum 8 years experiences working on child protection - Demonstrated experience with implementation of multicounty projects - Demonstrated experience working in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders, including donors, UN agencies and INGOs, national authorities, national/local partner agencies and emergency affected communities.

- Background/familiarity with the regional context is a plus.

- Familiarity with work in emergency contexts is an asset - Excellent communication skills, including demonstrated skills in writing for a lay and professional audience - Demonstrated experience preparing project documents and strategies Languages: Fluency in Spanish and English is required. Knowledge of French or Portuguese will be considered an asset.

Technical knowledge: Professional technical knowledge and expertise in migration and alternative care. Extensive knowledge of UNICEF programme work in the LAC Region in the areas of alternative care and/or migration a plus.

Other skills and attributes: 

- Capacity to work in stressful conditions.

- High level of Integrity and commitment to UNICEF’s mission and professional values.

- Excellent planning and organization skills.

- Analytical and conceptual ability, negotiating, communication and advocacy skills.

- Ability to work in teams and in partnership Supervision: The individual contractor will work under the direct supervision of the Regional Advisor Child Protection and in close collaboration with the rest of the regional Child Protection team Workplace: The contractor will be requested to work remotely, home-based. The contractor is expected to have their own resources, equipment and work space. This includes computer, internet, means for regular communication via Teams/Zoom and email, among others.

Travel: If the situation permits, and in coordination with the supervisor, one or two trips to Panama may be considered. Travel will be covered by UNICEF and calculated per the United Nations standards.

Duration: The estimated start date is 1 April 2021, duration is approximately seven [7] months.

How to apply: Application should be submitted online and should include: resume, cover letter and financial proposal. Qualified candidates are requested to submit daily and monthly fees in their financial proposal.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

Core values of care, respect, integrity, trust, and accountability. UNICEF competencies: building and maintains partnerships, demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness, drive to achieve results for impact, innovates and embraces change, manages ambiguity and complexity, thinks and acts strategically, works collaboratively with others and nurtures, and, leads and manages people.

To view our competency framework, please visit here. Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply.

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 also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. 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.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

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