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Consultancy: Open Source Tech and Community Mentor (UNICEF Innovation Fund), Office of Innovation, Remote, Part-time (2 days per week) over 6 months

Apply now Job no: 519134
Work type: Consultancy
Location: United States
Categories: Consultancy, Innovation

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.

For every child, innovate.....

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships, and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives. The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF. We sit at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions.

UNICEF's Office of Innovation creates opportunities for the world's children by focusing on where new markets can meet their vital needs. We do this by:

  • Connecting youth communities (or more broadly -- anyone disconnected or under-served) to decision-makers, and to each other, to deliver informed, relevant and sustained programmes that build better, stronger futures for children.
  • Provoking change for children through an entrepreneurial approach -- in a traditionally risk-averse field -- to harness rapidly moving innovations and apply them to serve the needs of all children.
  • Creating new models of partnership that leverage core business values across the public, private and academic sectors in order to deliver fast, and lasting results for children.

    The Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, wearables and sensors, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs – and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively


  • We're an interdisciplinary team around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling new technologies and practices. With our partners, we focus on convening and collaborating on new and different solutions, low- and high-tech,  by:
  • Looking at the 2-5 year horizon to evaluate emerging and trending technologies and to see how UNICEF can work with the private sector on doing better business while improving essential services for children;
  • Investing in early stage solutions that show great potential to positively impact children in the 0-2 year future including the Venture Fund that invests in open source technology solutions from start-ups based in UNICEF’s programme countries;
  • Identifying proven solutions that can be implemented at national scale in multiple countries – taking the ideas that help thousands in one country, bringing them to dozens of countries across multiple sectors, and impacting the lives of millions of children.”

How can you make a difference?

The UNICEF Innovation Fund has been specifically designed to finance early stage, open-source technology that can benefit children. The core motivation of the Innovation Fund is to identify "clusters" or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology - so that UNICEF can both shape markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children. We invest in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. We find these solutions clustered around $100 billion industries in frontier technology spaces, such as: UAVs, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, nano-satellites, and human dynamics.

With $17.9M raised to date, the Innovation Fund is scaling its investment portfolio with the aim of investing in 20 start-ups every year. The current portfolio of 25 companies consists of several cohorts of companies developing and piloting solutions in virtual and augmented reality, data science and artificial intelligence, blockchain, IoT, and in assistive technology. The Innovation Fund is looking for part-time, remotely based mentors to focus on supporting portfolio companies in developing in the open, building communities around their solutions and engaging strategically with relevant networks.

Main Responsibilities will be:

  • Provide ongoing technical assistance to six Innovation Fund portfolio companies to ensure compliance with Innovation Fund requirements on open source
  • Develop, document, and implement a replicable process to build, manage, and leverage open source communities and networks for portfolio companies
  • Guide technical integration and establishment of open source platforms based on individual solutions developed by portfolio companies

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • A university degree (Bachelor’s or higher) in Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering or in other relevant areas. 
  • At least 2 years of professional experience in a relevant field.
  • Significant experience in developing and piloting open source technology products, ideally software, data, and content
  • Experience with open source community development and track record of engagement with relevant networks
  • Demonstrated expertise in required technical areas, including software quality assurance, open source license types, documentation and community management
  • Experience in delivering guidance, technical support and mentorship to individuals, teams, start-ups or other groups on complex challenges
  • Experience in product management including relevant systems and tools and development of product roadmaps
  • Experience with professional software engineering practices and best practices for the full software development life cycle
  • Exposure to a variety of languages, frameworks, toolchains
  • Experience with agile software development methodologies like scrum, rapid prototyping and evaluation of user feedback
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, excellent technical communication with peers and non-technical stakeholders
  • Understanding of different contexts and experience working in developing countries desired
  • Ability to synthesise technical information and translate it into accessible products and systems
  • Knowledge of international development and key challenges affecting children in developing countries is desired
  • Fluency in English.  Knowledge of another UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) is an asset.

For every child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies of Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

Other details for consideration

  • Payment on monthly basis, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for her/his own health insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for DSA for all work-related travel.

Applications must include:

  • CV
  • Cover letter

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 to become a part of the organization.

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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


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

Duty Station: Remote

Duration: 2 days per week over 6 months, with possibility of extension up to 11.5 months based on need, performance and available funding.

Advertised: Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Eastern Daylight Time

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