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East Asia and Pacific Region

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External Relations
Programme and Policy

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Social & Behavior Change Specialist, (P4), Beijing, China #127583 [Temporary Appointment for 364 days]

Apply now Job no: 569254
Contract type: Temporary Appointment
Duty Station: Beijing
Level: P-4
Location: China
Categories: Communication, Social and Behavior Change

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, Social & Behaviour Change

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programmes, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favouritism. UNICEF aims to be the leading advocate for children, enabled by a cohort of networked, strategic, innovative, and effective communicators who deliver change for children in every part of the world, including in China.

Social and behaviour change in UNICEF is a cross-cutting programme strategy that addresses the cognitive, social and structural determinants of social change in both development and humanitarian contexts. SBC uses the latest in social and behavioural sciences to understand people, their beliefs, values, and the socio-cultural norms that shape their lives, with the aim of engaging them and increasing their influence in the design of solutions for sustainable behaviour and social change. SBC is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate, with corporate results across sectors revolving around social and behavioural practices like immunization, breastfeeding, hygiene, and positive discipline.

UNICEF SBC employs a mix of approaches including community engagement, strategic communication, applied behavioural science, service delivery improvement, systems strengthening and policy advocacy, and social mobilization to advance child rights, survival, development, protection and participation.

UNICEF China has identified the need for dedicated social and behaviour change (SBC) capacity, as this does not currently exist in the country office and is different to the skill set of the current communications team. As elsewhere in the world, the response to COVID-19 demonstrated both the critical need for SBC and the gaps where this does not exist. To support the priorities of the country programme (2021-2025), the China Country Office is strengthening capacity for SBC in China, especially in the four priority advocacy priorities (ECD, nutrition, mental health, violence against children), plus the cross-cutting issues of climate change and gender equality.


How can you make a difference?

The SBC Specialist (P4, TA) will undertake the following tasks to support the UNICEF office and partners in applying the latest evidence-backed approaches in the social and behavioural sciences to programming by identifying and addressing the social determinants of behaviour and empowering communities in change processes:

  1. Develop an SBC Strategy for UNICEF China, focusing on the priority advocacy priorities and cross-cutting issues
  2. Review and/or support research to build evidence
  3. Plan and implement SBC activities in coordination with programme sections on the priority areas, including messages, materials and campaigns
  4. Create a longer-term plan to build an SBC team
  5. Support monitoring and evaluation of SBC activities and campaigns.

The position will report to the Chief of Communication and Advocacy, with a dotted line to the Deputy Representative, Programmes, and close working relationships with programme section chiefs. This is an exciting opportunity for the right person to set up and run an SBC function in China. This position is for 364 days initially, with the likelihood of extension, depending on successful performance and the needs of the country office.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

  1. Develop an SBC Strategy for UNICEF China, focusing on the priority advocacy priorities (ECD, nutrition, mental health, violence against children), plus the cross-cutting issue of climate change and gender equality.
    1. Draft the strategy through consultation with communication and programme sections, regional office, Government partners. Consider global and regional strategies and examples from other country offices.
    2. Share the draft for input and finalise.
  2. Generate and utilize research, data, and evidence to inform the design, measurement, and monitoring of SBC programs and outcomes in both development and emergency contexts and to build the evidence base for SBC. 
    1. Review or conduct research to build evidence of behaviour change challenges in the priority areas, analysis barriers and bottlenecks and identify messages and actions to create change.
    2. Provide expert advice to UNICEF senior managers, decision makers and planners of government donor organizations, civil society groups, private sector and other partners on SBC, AAP, social mobilization and community engagement interventions in line with global standards and UNICEF’s organizational priorities and approaches.  
    3. Participate in country programme planning and reviews to determine/discuss the behavioral and social drivers to be addressed and ensure successful and sustainable delivery of programme results. Provide technical advice to inform strategies and plans of action for SBC.  
    4. Prepare materials and documentation for SBC strategies and plan to ensure optimum impact, scale and sustainability of achievements/results.  Develop briefs, papers, and slides decks to summarize relevant SBC evidence and knowledge.
  3. Design, plan and implement SBC activities that are backed by social and behavioural evidence and strong engagement and participation mechanisms in both development and humanitarian contexts. 
    1. Plan and implement SBC activities in the priority areas, including behaviour change messages, materials and campaigns.
    2. Leverage UNICEF China’s wide reach on social media to reach relevant audiences
    3. Ensure technical quality, consistency and relevance of SBC activities and platforms for engagement, ensuring quality and integration of the latest evidence and science-backed approaches.  
    4. Approve and use resources as planned, manage and monitor programme funds, and verify compliance with organization guidelines and standards. 
    5. Identify, vet and recruit consultants, vendors and other technical expertise to support delivery of SBC activities. Manage and oversee their activities and deliverables.  
    6. Advise on inclusion of social and behavioral drivers in sectoral workplans and strategies.
    7. Prepare analytical inputs to annual and other periodical programme reviews to identify key achievements, gaps, strengths/weaknesses in terms of SBC evidence and knowledge management, and identify lessons learned. 
    8. Ensure quality of SBC activities, material/products and engagement opportunities. 
    9. Plan budgets and manage funds for SBC activities and campaigns
    10. Monitor and evaluate SBC activities and campaigns.
  4. Support operationalization of SBC by advocating for SBC, coordinating across stakeholders, sectors and teams, and partnership building. 
    1. Establish and maintain partnership opportunities to support SBC. Lead collaboration with national partners to link and coordinate SBC approaches  
    2. Create a longer-term plan to build an SBC team in China, including recruitment of national officers.
    3. Oversee financial planning, budgeting, tracking and management of funds for SBC.
    4. Represent UNICEF interests among stakeholders and partners for the implementation of community engagement and SBC.
    5. Advocate internally and externally for integration of SBC in national systems, in country programs, and in sectoral plans.  
  5. Promote continuous learning, strengthening, and scaling up in SBC through capacity building for UNICEF staff and partners. 
    1. Develop and/or apply tools, guidelines and training materials to build SBC capacity among CO staff, implementing partners and other relevant government and non-government partners. 
    2. Develop SBC capacity development initiatives, including new approaches such as behavioural analysis, behavioural insights, human centered design, social listening, digital engagement, and social accountability mechanisms. 
    3. Initiate and manage partnerships with academia and learning institutions for delivery of SBC capacity development activities.
    4. Identify and mobilize resources to support capacity development across relevant and applicable modalities.
    5. Provide timely support to CO staff and implementation partners to facilitate adoption and roll out of global knowledge, tools and best practices of SBC, including measurement for SBC impact.


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

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in a social and behavioral science, including sociology, anthropology, communication studies/communication for development, psychology and/or related field is required.
  • A minimum of eight (8) years of relevant progressively responsible professional experience at the national and international levels in developing, implementing, evaluating, and managing social and behavioral change strategies and content is required. 
  • Demonstrated expertise in the application of social and behavior change science, theories, research, and analysis, to all stages of the programmes cycle.  
  • Proven ability to manage social research, including quantitative, qualitative, and participatory methods for formative assessments, identifying behavioral drivers, and tracking, measurement and evaluation of social change is desirable. 
  • Demonstrated ability to stay current with new developments in the SBC field is required. Familiarity with new and emerging approaches such as behavioral insights, human centered design, social listening, among others is a plus.    
  • Demonstrated experience in the execution of complex priorities, processes and projects in office work-plans. 
  • At least four years country programme experience in with a multilateral development agency or national NGO in a low- or middle-income setting is an asset. 
  • Proven ability to work with internal and external stakeholders at multiple levels, including providing technical support and capacity building and establishing/managing external partnerships.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language, especially Chinese, would be 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…

  • Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (1)
  • Works Collaboratively with Others (1)
  • Builds and Maintains Partnerships (1)
  • Innovates and Embraces Change (1)
  • Thinks and Acts Strategically (1)
  • Drives to Achieve Impactful Results (1)
  • Manages Ambiguity and Complexity (1)

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. 


UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable candidates with disability are encouraged to apply.

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.

Advertised: China Standard Time
Deadline: China Standard Time

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