Job no: 552307
Contract type: Temporary Appointment
Duty Station: Port of Spain
Location: Eastern Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago
Categories: Child Protection
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, a resilient childhood
How can you make a difference?
Temporary Appointment Duration:
Anticipated Start Date:
15 August 2022
UNICEF promotes the rights and welfare of all children and adolescents in everything we do. Together with our allies, we work in 190 countries and territories to transform this commitment into practical actions that benefit all children, especially focusing our efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded, worldwide.
The UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Regional Office is based in Barbados and cover 12 countries/ territories in the region.
UNICEF works to put the rights and well-being of the most disadvantaged children at the heart of the social, political, and economic agenda, in line with our equity focus, working across our organization and with our partners in government, civil society and the private sector to support shifts in public policy, fuel social engagement, and increase investment for children.
Although previously neglected as a core issue for global development, mental health is now prioritized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is estimated that globally mental health conditions affect about one in seven children and adolescents ages 10–19. Depression is among the leading causes of disability among young people, while suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among adolescents worldwide. Most mental health conditions originate early in life, with 50 per cent arising before the age of 14 and 75 per cent by the mid-20s. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for all, has been undoubtedly confirmed.
Purpose of the Job:
Under the overall guidance of the Child Protection Specialist, the Programme Specialist - Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) will provide technical guidance and oversight on MHPSS programming across the UNICEF ECA portfolio. The Specialist will specifically strengthen and expand UNICEF ECA’s approaches for supporting children and their families’ psychosocial well-being. The Specialist will also explore how education systems can be supported to ensure that schools provide their students with adequate and timely MHPSS through the different levels of education, as improving such opportunities to ensure their well-being benefits education systems and societies. The MHPSS Specialist will work closely with international, regional and national partners to identify capacity and response gaps and support these teams to develop and implement high-quality programmes implementing PSS, at the community level, through focused, non-specialised PSS activities and referrals to Mental Health services, and through the education systems.
Key Functions, Accountabilities and Related Duties/Tasks:
Strengthening of mental health and psychosocial support coverage and impact for children
- Establish a framework for community-based psychosocial response that supports collaboration and integration with child protection, education and health systems, as well as a framework for improved psychosocial support through schools.
- Develop community-based psychosocial strategies to address the psychosocial needs of children, adolescents, their families and frontline workers in line with international standards such as InterAgency Standing Committee on (IASC) on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, and other mental health global standards.
- Support implementing partners to develop and implement policy and legal framework for MHPSS to support the needs of children in times of crisis.
- Work through community-based programmes to establish activities that promote healing and coping, self-care and resilience building among children, adolescents and their families, including climate resilience and emergency response.
- Assist in improving knowledge management, including data analytics, monitoring and research on MHPSS.
Providing effective technical support mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies
- Support assessments of child protection systems, including their responsive capacity to inform the MHPSS strengthening agenda.
- Support MHPSS routine programme delivery strengthening to enable continuity of service delivery and the potential for flexing and scaling in response to shocks.
- Support the design, implementation and monitoring of MHPSS surge capacity in a way that they leverage pre-existing MHPSS systems and contribute to their strengthening.
- Provide support to strengthen integrated MHPSS emergency responses to ensure improved linkages with other sectoral responses (water and sanitation, social protection, education, etc.)
Building capacity, advocating, documenting and facilitating exchanges on MHPSS in the Eastern Caribbean
- Support development of tools for countries and territories to strengthen national MHPSS programming.
- Support research around MHPSS impacts on child outcomes and promote uptake of data and research findings for strengthening programme design and delivery.
- Ensure adequate dissemination of research findings, including through the development of policy briefs and keeping abreast of latest developments in the field of MHPSS for sharing with key regional stakeholders, to support MHPSS strengthening.
- Develop capacity building material/facilitating online and physical events on MHPSS, jointly with other UN agencies, when possible.
- Assist UNICEF ECA’s Child Protection section in improving knowledge management in MHPSS between countries/territories.
- Facilitate with partners an Eastern Caribbean MHPSS Community of Practice.
- Assist in documenting key experiences in MHPSS in the region.
- Support development of advocacy material for the inclusion of migrants in national MHPSS systems.
Providing effective support for establishing and developing partnerships in MHPSS
- Undertake a stakeholders’ mapping exercise to identify MHPSS actors working with children, adolescents, youth and caregivers to identify collaboration and opportunities for programming through community mechanisms as well as in the education sector
- Actively liaise and build networks with relevant actors / partners and reinforce coordination among governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations (national and international) and UN agencies working in the MHPSS field.
- Support the development and sharing of common assessment, planning, programme, implementation, monitoring and evaluation tools in the MHPSS field.
- Lead on the provision of technical inputs for the development of joint proposals on MHPSS.
UNICEF Programme Management
- Manage and coordinate technical support around MHPSS, ensuring itis well planned, monitored, and implemented in a timely fashion to adequately support scale-up and delivery.
- Support the planning, budgeting, and monitoring of the MHPSS component of the Child Protection work plan for the multi-country office. Initiate activities to mobilize financial resources for MHPSS.
- Ensure risk analysis and risk mitigation are embedded into overall management of the support, in close consultation with UNICEF programme sections, Cooperating and Implementing Partners, and governments.
- Any other related tasks as may be required or assigned by the supervisor.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: psychology, sociology, public health policies, mental health and psychological support services or another relevant technical field.
- A minimum of five years of professional experience in mental health polices, strategies at national and/or local level, especially in relation to the provision of primary health services, youth mental health services, social and behaviour change is required.
- Knowledge in mental health policy framework, plans, mental health service that include adolescents and children;
- Knowledge of the Caribbean context and challenges faced by its children and adolescents;
- Strong analytical and conceptual thinking, proven experience in report writing (research and advocacy reports, articles, project proposals, other publications);
- Good speaking and writing skills in English;
- At least 5 years’ experience in project management, and /or programme design, coordination, monitoring and evaluation.
- Previous collaboration with the UNICEF, the UN is considered an advantage.
- Excellent computer literacy including Internet, social media and Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access) necessary
- Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of Spanish is considered as an asset.
For every Child, you demonstrate UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).
The 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)
- Drive to achieve impactful results (1)
- Manages ambiguity and complexity (1)
To view our competency framework, please visit here.
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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 be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. 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.
This is a National Officer position and is therefore only available to nationals of Trinidad & Tobago.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
Advertised: 23 Jun 2022 Atlantic Daylight Time
Deadline: 07 Jul 2022 Atlantic Daylight Time