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Innovation Specialist (Sustainable WASH), P-3, Office of Innovation, Copenhagen, Denmark #127802

Apply now Job no: 569541
Contract type: Fixed Term Appointment
Duty Station: Copenhagen
Level: P-3
Location: Denmark
Categories: WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), 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, hope

Organizational context:

The vision of the UNICEF Sustainable WASH Innovation Hub (WASH Hub) is to be a global home for building, accelerating and scaling transformational climate resilient solutions for a WASH secure future of universal and equitable access to services, addressing the full ambition of the SDG6. WASH Hub will source, pilot and scale transformational and frontier climate resilient innovations that respond to key programmatic challenges that, if solved, will unlock faster progress for a water secure future for children and young people. One of the key global challenges that the Hub will address through exploration and scale of innovative solutions will be tackling foreseen climate change impacts on WASH services and delivery access. The Hub will also support research and innovation on the links between climate change and water, sanitation and hygiene. The hub will bring together a passionate community of strategic partners including children and young people, academia, private entrepreneurs, public policy makers, social development and humanitarian actors, and our global UNICEF WASH / CEED and innovation colleagues in 150+ countries. Collectively we will co-create, advocate, enable, convene, and motivate for innovative sustainable solutions to long-standing barriers and emerging opportunities for a WASH secure and climate resilient future for every child. The WASH Hub will be part of a distributed network working in close partnership with child impacted local ecosystems in countries across the world, while simultaneously engaging some of the most impactful global innovation ecosystems.

How can you make a difference?

The purpose of this role is to support Country Offices working on innovation projects, to support their work, facilitate documentation of best practice, help navigate the challenges of innovation projects at scale and address issues when they arise. The Innovation Specialist will be responsible for supporting the day-to-day management of the WASH Innovation portfolio projects and driving climate resilient WASH innovations to accelerate results for children and young people.

The Innovation Specialist will work under the supervision of the Innovation Manager (WASH Hub). They will need to work in an environment that will evolve requiring adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to creatively respond to rapidly changing innovation landscapes. The post will need to ensure strong connections between the WASH hub, Regional Advisors and Country WASH teams and the relevant communities of practice to share the results of the WASH innovation portfolio.  

Key functions, accountabilities, and related duties/tasks:

  1. Support Country Offices implementing Innovation projects as part of the WASH portfolio. Key activities to achieve this include:
    • Coordinate and engage with country offices on progress of projects and deliverables related to the WASH hubs approach to scaling.
    • Provide broker and source technical support for projects within the portfolio, enabling them to accelerate and scale new approaches.
    • Facilitate the documentation of best practice to advise scaling innovations to other countries or regions.
    • Utilize internal processes, as needed, to support projects along the innovation process and define pathways to scale.
    • Work collaboratively to identify solutions to challenges for projects as they arise.
  2. Actively support the WASH innovation portfolio process. Key activities to achieve this include:
    • Support the intake of innovative solutions for the portfolio in line with agreed global governance processes.
    • Support the Innovation Manager to provide, broker and source support for projects wishing to enter the portfolio, enabling them to accelerate new approaches to the identified WASH problem statements.
    • Support the development of internal processes, as needed, to better support internal innovation projects from within UNICEF.
    • Through on the ground activities support country offices and project teams to identify challenges and solutions both form a strategic and practical perspective, to define next steps and project activities.
  3. Explore resource mobilization needs for country office support
    • Summarize projects, approaches and activities within the portfolio for the OoI teams as appropriate.
    • Support resource mobilization and partnership opportunities within the WASH hub and the wider OoI Partnerships team as required.
    • Support exploration of potential partnership opportunities for the overall portfolio or for specific portfolio solutions to be explored at Country or Regional level.
  4. Support the sharing of Innovation projects experiences and results. Key activities to achieve this include:
    • Ensure strong connections between the WASH hub, Regional Advisors and Country WASH teams and the relevant communities of practice to share the results of the WASH innovation portfolio.
    • Plan for the development of communications products, and regularly showcase the portfolios and their projects across a range of opportunities to raise profile, positioning and engagement and support for these and the Office of Innovation, through opportunities such as stories, media, social media, events, briefings etc.
    • Support and coordinate with the Communications Specialist (Innovation) to enable them to select content through opportunities at the Country level.
  5. Support innovators in climate resilient WASH across UNICEF by:
    • Ensuring INVENT and SharePoint content is up to date in relation to the portfolios.
    • Capture and distill learning and share these widely through mechanisms such as recorded webinars, documentation, videos and other assets, developmental reflections etc.
    • Support the connection and engagement the external and internal stakeholders in WASH innovation through bringing external experiences into UNICEF as well as showcasing internal best practice.
    • Support the facilitation of south-south and triangular sharing of best practices.
  6. Provide support to Innovation Manager in respect to managing grants in support of portfolio solutions. Key activities to achieve this include:
    • Monitoring country office budgets and spending against agreed spending and workplans.
    • Updates on consultancy work related to the portfolio projects, progress updates and review of first draft deliverables.
  7. Any other duties or assignments as requested by the supervisor.


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

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in one of the following fields is required: Environmental Science, Sustainability or related fields, Innovation-related field, International Relations, Water & Sanitation or another relevant field. 
    *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.
  • A minimum of five (5) of relevant professional experience in the areas of innovation, sustainability, water & sanitation, climate change, development and cooperation. 
  • Understanding of climate resilient WASH / CEED innovations and programming within the UNICEF context.  
  • Demonstrated understanding of innovation practice in humanitarian, development or low resource settings, this could include start-up to scaling innovations in relevant sector(s).
  • Demonstrable capacity to work with stakeholders and communities at all levels in a range of cultures, to strategically identify and address challenges and bottle necks to deliver results.  
  • Demonstrated knowledge of UNICEF’s processes and procedures is considered an asset.   
  • Demonstrate experience of supporting and advising country offices remotely and/or in country throughout the project management cycle.  
  • Ability to work with others in a range of settings. 
  • Experience of working in a UNICEF programme country. 
  • Experience of working within innovation portfolios is desirable. 
  • Experience in supporting development of communication materials for internal and external publication is desirable. 
  • Experience in managing grants as well as commissioning and managing contractors is desirable.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local 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.

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. 



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). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be cancelled.

All selected candidates will 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.

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.

In case of any questions related to this vacancy announcement, please contact:

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