UNICEF job functions: Programmes
At the core of our organization and the foundation of our work for every child
Our field programming responds holistically to children’s needs and to the environments in which they grow up. UNICEF achieves results within the overall framework of the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and in response to the universal scope of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Adolescent development | Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) | Child protection
Early childhood development | Education | Gender equality | Health | HIV/AIDS
Nutrition | Social policy | Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
UNICEF works in 191 countries and territories through 157 country programmes in the following areas:
Our experts in this area work towards:
- providing technical guidance to strengthen adolescent (10-19-year-olds) participation in societies;
- support UNICEF's partners to institutionalize platforms for adolescent participation in schools and local communities; and
- foster the recognition that adolescents need to be consulted on policies, services and decisions relating to their lives in all contexts.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in anthropology, psychology, sociology, education or another relevant technical field. Read more about our work in adolescent development
Social and Behaviour Change (SBC)
Working in partnership with national governments, civil society organizations and development agencies, our SBC practitioners employ a mix of social mobilization, advocacy and behaviour and social change strategies, to provide results for children by harnessing the power of communication.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in social and behavioural science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, education, communication, public relations or another relevant technical field. Read more about our work in SBC
Our experts in this area provide technical oversight and programmatic support on areas such as:
- capacity building for basic social services
- justice systems
- children on the move
- violence against children
- prevention of female genital mutilation
- prevention of child marriage
They also support prevention or response services for children affected by humanitarian crises and armed conflict, and gender-based violence in emergencies.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in international development, human rights, psychology, sociology, international law, or another relevant social science field. Read more about our work in child protection
Early Childhood Development
Our experts in this area support governments to scale up evidence-based programmes for young children and families in the areas of health and nutrition, poverty, violence and in emergency contexts, to provide a fair start to the life of every child.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in public health, nutrition, child development, or another relevant technical field. Read more about our work in early childhood development
Working with partners, our education experts strengthen education systems to ensure quality learning outcomes, especially for the most marginalized children, and work to ensure that systems are backed by resources to respond to the risk of disaster, conflict and other shocks.
They focus on improving systems that develop the skills of girls and boys from early childhood to adolescence, in order to promote equitable learning, personal empowerment, active citizenship, non-violence, gender equality and employability, both in and out of schools. And in humanitarian and conflict situations, they work to ensure continued access to learning programmes for affected children.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in education, social sciences, international development or a related field. Read more about our work in education
Addressing gender inequality is integral to UNICEF's work. Across development and humanitarian contexts, our gender experts tap the most effective, innovative, evidence-based strategies to support national and local efforts to advance gender equality. They also work to embed and mainstream gender across all areas of UNICEF’s work. Read more about our work in gender equality
Our health experts work towards helping countries to:
- accelerate the scale-up of an essential package of maternal and newborn care services, including prenatal and postnatal/home visit support;
- implement sustained immunization programmes at national and district level, including the introduction of new vaccines, towards the realization of universal health coverage; and
- accelerate the delivery of preventive, promotive and curative services for pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and other child health conditions.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in public health/nutrition, pediatric health, family health, health research, global/international health, health policy and/or management, environmental health sciences, biostatistics, socio-medical sciences, health education, epidemiology or other health-related science fields. Read more about our work in health
Our HIV/AIDS specialists support governments and communities with the HIV response so that all children and adolescents have access to comprehensive HIV services. They help develop policies and generate evidence to overcome HIV service inequities among pregnant women, mothers, children and adolescents, while reducing gender, age and socio-economic vulnerabilities associated with HIV. They pay particular attention to generating better epidemiological data and strengthening data systems. Integration of HIV prevention and treatment into maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services is also a priority.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in public health/nutrition, pediatric health, family health, health research, global/international health, health policy and/or management, environmental health sciences, biostatistics, socio-medical sciences, health education, epidemiology or other health-related science fields. Read more about our work in HIV/AIDS
Our nutrition experts support national efforts to help ensure that:
- children receive services for the prevention of stunting and other forms of malnutrition;
- they receive services for the treatment of severe wasting and other forms of severe acute malnutrition; and
- adolescent girls and boys receive services for the prevention of anemia and other forms of malnutrition.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in nutrition, public health, nutritional epidemiology, global/international health and nutrition, health/nutrition research, policy and/or management, or other health-related science fields. Read more about our work in nutrition
Social policy experts develop programmes aimed at:
- improving public policies to reduce child poverty;
- addressing social protection coverage and impact on children;
- enhancing transparency, adequacy, equity and efficiency of child-focused public investments and financial management; and
- promoting governance, decentralization and accountability measures to increase public participation and the quality, equity and coverage of social services.
This encompasses both direct programme work with government and civil society partners as well as linkages and support to teams working on education, health, child protection, water and sanitation, and HIV.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in economics, public policy, social sciences, international relations, political science, or another relevant field. Read more about our work in social policy
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Our WASH experts focus on efforts to increase sustainable access to safe drinking water, eliminate open defecation, improve access to adequate sanitation and promote handwashing and good hygienic practices, including in schools and with particular attention to girls and to children with disabilities.
Leveraging its presence before, during and after emergencies, our WASH programmes provide support to increase access to safe drinking water among children and families in humanitarian settings.
For these positions, we normally require an advanced university degree in public health, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, geology, hydrology, sanitation engineering, or another field relevant to international delivery of WASH services. Read more about our work in WASH