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Consultancy: Software Developer - Accessibility Cohort, Office of Innovation, Remote, 30 days

Apply now Job no: 519137
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.

In 2017, the UNICEF Innovation Fund issued a call for proposals for Augmentative and Alternative Communication technologies (AAC) which address needs across disabilities and apply a universal design approach. The Fund was specifically looking for solutions that leverage frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality and data science to address inequities faced by people with disabilities.  AAC technologies help people with communication impairments supplement or replace existing speech, writing or nonverbal communication to express ideas, thoughts, and needs. The Innovation Fund invested in a cohort of 3 AAC portfolio companies working on interoperable, open source solutions in the AAC space. 

Our team

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?

Deliver a working and tested alpha version of a product for children with disabilities around alternative and augmentative communication, in close collaboration with the UNICEF Innovation Fund Accessibility cohort, and taking the lead on the architecture, development and documentation process for the product. The alpha product will be an integration of three to four different existing open source software products and additional feature developments based on UNICEF country office needs.

Main responsibilities will be:

  • Coordinate and manage the architecting, integration and implementation of the alpha product for AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) based on UNICEF country office needs.
    •  Work closely with the UNICEF Innovation Fund’s three AAC companies to seamlessly integrate multiple tech stacks into one open source product.
  • Draft documentation for UNICEF Innovation Fund companies and other technical partners on AAC alpha product development and deployment.
  • Support UNICEF Innovation Fund company stabilize and validate alpha product during user testing phase with UNICEF country offices.

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

  • An advanced degree (Master's or higher) in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related technical discipline
  • At least 5 years of experience in coding and building technology products
  • Demonstrated ability to lay out technical vision for product and engineering work end-to-end
  • Literacy with open data standards and open source products
  • Exposure and proficiency in a variety of programming languages, frameworks, toolchains including Javascript, React JS, MongoDB, Python, JQuery, MySQL, Java, C++, Google Text-to-Speech, etc.
  • Experience with agile software development methodologies like scrum and software testing best practices (integration testing, acceptance testing, etc.)
  • Experience with professional software engineering practices and best practices for the full software development life cycle
  • Enough technical-know how to write code that interacts with an API (or production level code)
  • Must be able to write and review code as an individual contributor
  • Experience with rapid prototyping and evaluation of user feedback
  • Ability to break down large features into a series of smaller, usable deliverables
  • Ability to think ahead in terms of product and engineering implications for potential designs and ask the right questions to ensure that we are on the right path
  • Superior project management skills for managing tasks and dependencies
  • Capacity to forecast timelines and anticipate challenges
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, excellent technical communication with peers and non-technical stakeholders
  • Fluency in English.  Another UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) is an asset

Other details for consideration

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

Applications must include

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Daily rate in USD
  • Link to Github repository

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: 30 days

Advertised: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close: Eastern Standard Time

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