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South Asia Region

Functional Area

Programme and Policy

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Social Policy Specialist (Social Protection), P-4, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, Kathmandu Nepal, Fixed Term # 117226

Apply now Job no: 573330
Contract type: Fixed Term Appointment
Duty Station: Kathmandu
Level: P-4
Location: Nepal
Categories: Social Policy

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.

UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.

For every child, protection

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programs, in advocacy and in operations. Eliminating child poverty and ensuring access to social protection has been recognized as a critical priority of Agenda 2030: Access to social protection is a core target of SDG 1 (Elimination of poverty), and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), as a core component to ensure that no child is left behind. The full realization of the right of children to access to social protection and adequate standard of living will not only ensure that every child lives free of poverty, but also prevent those at risk or vulnerable to poverty due to exclusion and discrimination, or facing environmental and conflict related risks, from falling into poverty. UNICEF has clearly articulated its Social Policy and Social Protection priorities and added value towards the Sustainable Development goals in the Strategic Plan 2022-2025, under Goal Area 5 “Every Child has Access to Inclusive Social Protection and Lives Free of Poverty”.

The South Asia region, home to over 26% of the world’s children, carries a disproportionate share of deprivations for its children, including malnutrition, lack of access to learning and skills, and harmful practices such as child marriage. Households with children are more likely to be in poverty and many children face multiple deprivations. In addition, the region is vulnerable to crises, including climate related disasters. Over the last years, the impact of COVID-19 and cost-of-living crisis has been devastating. Social protection can support children and their families to meet their basic needs. Social protection can also have a stabilizing effect during crises and prevent shock-induced poverty and greater inequality.

UNICEF at all levels has committed itself to supporting governments amid these challenges to achieve inclusive and adaptive social protection to combat child poverty and the multiple deprivations, through analysis, evidence-based advocacy, technical support, and capacity-building support governments. In South Asia, UNICEF provides programmatic, analytical, and technical support in social protection (including disability-sensitive, gender-responsive, and shock-responsive, including linkages with humanitarian cash transfers), and advocacy, to support more equitable and more sustainable results for children. To support Country Offices in their work in these areas, UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) invites an opening call for a Social Protection Specialist.

Job organizational context

This position is under the supervision of the Regional Advisor Social Policy within the Regional Social Policy team at UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. The Social Policy team contributes to UNICEF’s strategic results on the reduction of child poverty, social protection and public finance. Its main aim is to support country offices. This post will support specific Goal Area 5 Strategic Plan results to improve access to inclusive social protection systems and reduction of child poverty through increasing coverage and financing of social protection systems for children.

How can you make a difference? 

Purpose of the job

Under the general guidance of the supervisor, the incumbent provides technical leadership on social protection systems strengthening and child poverty with a strong focus on support to country offices including operational implementation and cross-sectoral integration, as well as advocacy and evidence, leadership at the regional level to enhance the enabling environment to improve social protection for children. This covers a range of areas, including evidence generation, policy/ strategy development and implementation, expansion of inclusive social protection (including gender and disability inclusive, etc), programme design and implementation (including social cash transfers), linking social protection to other social services, programme administration and integrated delivery (including strengthening linkages with social service workforce, social protection information management systems, and aligning SRSP with any HCTs, ); and the development, strengthening and financing of social protection systems. In collaboration with country offices, the incumbent provides technical support and guidance through development of analytical tools and guidance, policy advocacy materials, and technical assistance and capacity building.

In addition, the incumbent will provide technical support to the Country Offices (COs) to identify policy windows, generate dialogues, and leverage evidence-base to strengthen systems and expand coverage, and provide technical support across the in integrating social policy’s work across nutrition, gender, education, health and social behavior change.

Supports the management of external partnerships at the regional level including with the World Bank, other UN agencies, and bilateral organizations to support collaborative country engagements on social protection and further international coherence.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

Provide technical assistance to country offices on the expansion of social protection coverage and social protection system strengthening, including in design, operational implementation and cross-sectoral integration.

  • Support countries to strengthen and expand integrated social protection system by applying evidence and conducting advocacy across the entire strategic and policy range of child-sensitive social protection interventions, including inter alia: political economy analysis; policy advocacy; analysis on financing options for expansion of coverage; system building; systems diagnostics; linkages with sectoral systems (health, education, child protection, gender, nutrition, water and sanitation), and coordination mechanisms.
  • Respond to emerging requests for technical assistance in a proactive manner and produce technical notes that aim at strengthening social protection systems for the benefit of children and women.
  • Liaise and collaborate with technical officers from UNICEF’s gender, health, child protection, nutrition, education, early childhood development, and emergency sections to ensure consistent and effective guidance.

Advance knowledge on how social protection and a focus on child poverty can promote realization of international commitments for children and women, in particular in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • Ensure that UNICEF is aware of social protection and child poverty issues and how the organization could effectively capitalize on existing policy and partnership opportunities and/or make new initiatives in this field to leverage results for children in line with its strategic plan.
  • Analyzes national and regional contexts, including key socio-economic trends, and their impact on social development, emerging issues and concerns. Uses evidence and data to help the country office predict, prepare for and mitigate risks and adjust programming course. 
  • Liaise with UNICEF social policy chiefs and specialists in country and monitor the international literature and policy debate to ensure that cutting edge knowledge is being generated, regularly updated and channeled to those offices and partners would use it to achieve results for children and women.

Development of tools, guidance and methods to improve social protection programming for children;

  • Develop and enhance tools, methods and processes through which UNICEF regional office can support regional partners to sustain and expand social protection systems to address the poverty of children and their caregivers, and/or provide technical assistance to country offices and partners in using the above tools and methods.
  • Supports dialogue on social protection laws/policies, and/or drafting of social protection strategies, including via coordination with different parts of the government at national and subnational level, with other sectors, with other actors e.g., civil society organizations and with the international organizations (UN, IFIs and beyond).
  • As part of system strengthening at both the strategic and operational level, seek opportunities to expand coverage and adequacy of social protection for every child towards universal coverage, including contributing to UNICEF’s commitments to support the development of gender-responsive/transformative, disability-inclusive, migrant-inclusive, and shock-responsive programmes and systems.

Generating, consolidating and sharing knowledge on UNICEF’s work on social protection and child poverty

  • Organise and/or support technical meetings, workshops, regional learning exchanges and networking where existing practices are being presented, discussed and reviewed in order to distil lessons learnt and to improve UNICEF’s work and partnership strategies from the aspects of financing, leverage and efficiency.  
  • Organise and/or support technical meetings and networking where existing practices are being presented, discussed and reviewed in order to distill lessons learnt and to improve UNICEF’s child poverty advocacy strategies and effective child poverty policy solutions.
  • Support social protection for regional-level evidence generation and advocacy strategies and capacity building for inclusive and equitable social protection systems and coverage
  • Identify and liaise with strategic regional partners (think tanks and relevant institutions/individual) working on social protection for potential engagement, including for external and internal knowledge sharing and policy dialogues

Undertake and support policy analysis and advocacy on social protection and child poverty

  • Provide technical leadership to UNICEF regional advocacy on social protection, including strategy development, ensuring policy positions are evidence-based, and development of policy advocacy materials. Provide support to country level advocacy on social protection as needed.
  • Provide analytical input to UNICEF’s global, regional and country reports, including the social protection assessment and studies, situation analyses, policy briefs, working papers, and training programmes from social protection viewpoints.
  • Support and carry out social protection analyses on the effectiveness and efficiency of social protection in addressing the vulnerabilities to which children and their families are exposed at the regional level
  • Investigate causality effects and identify the key factors that drive results.
  • Provide review, and technical input on relevant draft studies and technical proposals from partner agencies and the private sector.

Represent UNICEF in technical discussions on social protection and child poverty and support resource mobilization.

  • Participates in inter-agency and other relevant social protection fora and identifies opportunities for joint programming and implementation, information sharing and coordination, while strengthening UNICEF’s standing as a key social protection player regionally. 
  • Facilitate the exchange of experience, tools and methods, and experiences.
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration and leverage through UN agencies, International Financial Institutions, other multilateral and bilateral agencies, private and civil society  organisations, funds, policy and academic institutions for the benefit of children and women.
  • Establish effective partnerships with development partners to support sustained and proactive commitment to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, achieve global UN agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals and strengthen UNICEF’s leading positioning for their implementation as they relate to social policy.
  • Assist with establishing and expanding UNICEF rosters of consultants, experts and institutions with a high profile and expertise on social protection.
  • Strengthen relationships with development partners and development of proposals.
  • Support arrangement and preparation of high-level strategic dialogue with partners

Impact of results

This post makes a critical contribution to the ability of the Social Inclusion and Policy section to effectively support and the organisations work on achieving social protection results for children globally. The key results from this position have the following impacts:

  • Decisions are made concerning the issues to be addressed and approaches and methods to be used for social protection, affecting the validity and usefulness of the information utilized by the organization.
  • Make recommendation on the issues and methods to be used for social protection analysis. Make recommendations on analysis and documentation relevant to social policy with UNICEF.

Incorrect assessment or analysis of the relevant and/or economic viability of strategies and of social protection options could lead to the promotion of the inappropriate or unsustainable approaches to meet goals for children and women.

If you would like to know more about this position, please review the complete Job Description here: Download File JD - Social Policy Specialist (Social Protection).pdf

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

Minimum requirements:


Advanced university degree in economics, international development studies, social sciences, or another relevant technical field is required.

Work Experience:

  • A minimum of eight years of progressive, professional work experience at the national and international level in public policy, technical assistance, carrying out economic and social policy analyses in the area of social protection in developing country environments is required.
  • Experience in written analysis/documentation of public policy work required.
  • Experience in implementation and operational dimensions of relevant dimensions of social protection programmes and systems is highly desirable.
  • Excellent oral communication and interpersonal skills i s highly desirable.
  • Experience in managing and synthesizing research is desirable

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency (oral and written) in English and another UN language preferred.


  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency. 

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

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

  • Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (2)
  • Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (2)
  • Works Collaboratively with others (2)
  • Builds and Maintains Partnerships (2)
  • Innovates and Embraces Change (2)
  • Thinks and Acts Strategically (2)
  • Drives to achieve impactful results (2)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (2)

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

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 measures to include a more diverse workforce, such as paid parental leave, time off for breastfeeding purposes, and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). 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 promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. 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.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be 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 canceled.


As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

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

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government positions 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. 

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

Advertised: Nepal Standard Time
Deadline: Nepal Standard Time

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