UNICEF boosts digital public goods - time to boost our team!

We are hiring for three new positions! Read on to learn about the vision for this growing team, and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Victor Grau Serrat, Office of Innovation
Not the standard stock office photo, this is part of our team posing for a great photo op
UNICEF Innovation
25 February 2021

We are hiring for three new positions: Product Manager, Community Manager and Full-Stack Developer to join the digital public goods (DPG) team. Read on to learn about the vision for this growing team, and the opportunities that lie ahead. 

Two years ago, UNICEF and the Government of Norway began incubating a concerted effort to promote digital public goods as a push to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. The Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) was thus born as a multi-stakeholder initiative to facilitate the discovery, development, use, and investment in digital public goods. The DPGA is now endorsed by the UN Secretary-General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation

The UNICEF Office of Innovation has led on the development of the Alliance’s digital infrastructure. Let’s look at the Registry of Digital Public Goods, for example. Embracing UNICEF’s open-source approach to innovation, a workstream that started as a nimble landscaping effort of potential digital public goods, has now become one of the pillars of the work of the DPGA. We recently documented the architecture and design considerations from that journey. Today, with more than 1,000 commits, the open-source code repository for the DPG Registry ranks first among the 180 repositories that UNICEF hosts on GitHub ranked by the number of forks — a copy of the original repository made by each individual contributor — hinting at the highly collaborative nature of our work. 

UNICEF has been making significant contributions to the Digital Public Goods Alliance with a fairly small team, and now we have the opportunity to grow our team and multiply the reach and impact of our work. We have a shared vision for a more equitable world through the adoption and adaptation of digital public goods around the globe. These are some areas of work that we have identified in our pursuit for a brighter future, where we plan to add more capacity: 

  1. Support digital public goods in building out their open communities. While it is a requisite for any project to become a digital public good to use an open license, whether it is software, content of data; we have observed a wide spectrum on how mature the open communities are around those projects. Several of these digital public goods would welcome support in building and nurturing their communities, and better position themselves to accept meaningful contributions from external members or entities. We see an opportunity to leverage the support the UNICEF Venture Fund has been providing to their investees around open-source best practices. Furthermore, we plan to support digital public goods in scoping out where they need help, standardize those requests to attract community contributions, and aggregate them to identify commonalities and opportunities in order to apply economies of scale. UNICEF regularly gets offers to contribute time and talent from corporate partners or academia, and we believe we can add value by playing a matchmaking role after standardizing those requests. For an early exploration of this concept, see the backlog of digital public goods that we have been ideating for some time with our friends at the Digital Impact Alliance
     
  2. Support local ecosystems around DPGs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As others have argued, digital public goods need local teams for a variety of reasons, such as technology without a local team rapidly becoming legacy, and concerns around low adoption and national digital sovereignty. Local capacity building is work that UNICEF Country Offices are already leading on, in collaboration with national and regional governments. As UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories, our in-country staff is well positioned to understand the specifics of each economy, culture and environment and take a customized approach to every geography. At the Office of Innovation, we can play a supporting role to UNICEF Country Offices in identifying early-stage digital solutions generated in-country and strengthening them to become digital public goods. For example, in keeping up with our open-source approach to innovation, we can contribute to project health assessments, share resources for digital public goods, and foster a conversation on how to be better open-source citizens. 
     
  3. Crowdsource and incentivize contributions to digital public goods. There is a wide variety of contributions that individuals can make to digital public goods. While the projects typically prefer to recruit and groom contributors that can deliver consistently over the long term, there are aspects of projects that lend themselves well to one-time contributions (e.g., translations, reviews). Two months ago, we launched a crowdsourcing pilot to help the DPGA screen submissions for digital public goods. Through an internal collaboration with our blockchain team, we added a layer of incentives on top of the community sourcing effort by offering blockchain-based digital badges. We plan to run several more of these pilots in the coming months and explore additional use-cases. 
U-Report Nigeria
UNICEF/Nigeria

As you can see, we have an ambitious agenda, and we need all the help we can get. That is why we are excited to share the news that we are opening three new full-time contract-based remote positions at the UNICEF Office of Innovation to join our awesome existing team and grow that awesomeness all around:  

  • Product Manager: Provide support to digital public goods in scoping out feature requests and development timelines. Lead the planning, delivery, and scaling of the underlying infrastructure of the UNICEF digital public goods team to run the crowdsourcing and incentivization pilots, as well as maintaining and expanding our existing digital infrastructure. Team up with the Community Manager in coordinating the support to build local capacity in LMICs. 
  • Community Manager: Build a movement around digital public goods in open-source software, open content, and open data around the world, especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Develop partnerships with the private sector and academia to direct resources and talent to contribute to digital public goods and their communities. Identify and position a set of digital public goods as role models in how open communities are run and grown. 
  • Full-Stack Software Developer: Lead the development and maintenance of digital infrastructure in support of the work on digital public goods. Build and ship software products for crowdsourcing and incentivizing contributions to digital public goods. Work closely with other parts of the team (i.e., blockchain team, GIGA team) to explore collaboration and integration. Provide support, mentorship and capacity building to digital public good teams and their open communities. A strong contributor profile to open-source projects highly desired. 

For all the positions above, you are the ideal candidate if you are a strong, self-motivated individual with proven creative problem-solving skills, you are nimble and agile, you thrive working with a diverse interdisciplinary team, you are an open-source advocate, and you are kind ❤️

By joining our team, you will find a welcoming and flexible working environment. You will join a pleasure-to-work-with team of passionate individuals, and you will have a very inspiring and fulfilling job knowing that you are part of an organization that works for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone. And we never give up. 

Thousands more refugee children are receiving the best start to their education with the opening of 54 new Kindergartens in Azraq and Za’atari refugee camps as part of UNICEF’s support to the Government of Jordan
UNICEF/UN0297829/Herwig

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. 

For any questions regarding the three open positions listed above, contact me at vgrau@unicef.org. The deadline to apply is March 4th for the Product Manager and Full-Stack Software Developer, and March 7th for the Community Manager. Apply and join our team! 

Additional positions will be opened in the coming weeks for the exciting work that UNICEF is undertaking on Giga, a global initiative to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice. Stay tuned for upcoming news!