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Social Policy & Economic Specialist (Public Finance for Children) at UNICEF

  • Full Time
  • Lilongwe
  • Salary: 00


Social Policy & Economic Specialist (Public Finance for Children), (P3), Lilongwe, Malawi#92842, (Open to Non-Malawian nationals)


Job no: 558590
Contract type: Fixed Term Appointment
Duty Station: Lilongwe
Level: P-3
Location: Malawi
Categories: Social Policy

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 fulfil 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, protection…

UNICEF Malawi Country Programme (2019-2023) is aligned with the Government of Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy (MDGS III) and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). The programme supports the Government of Malawi to meet its commitment to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights in line with international conventions and standards. The country programme is guided by the principles of children’s rights, equity, gender equality, inclusion and resilience, and supports evidence-based, integrative and innovative programming. The vision is that ‘all girls and boys in Malawi, especially the most disadvantaged and deprived, realize their rights’.  The programme focuses on: early childhood (parenting, high-impact social services, early stimulation and learning), middle childhood and adolescence (learning, multi-sectoral services, active citizenship), communities (decentralized services and systems, community ownership, social norms), programme effectiveness (monitoring, evaluation, HACT, Innovation, Social Protection and Social Policy and External Communication.  The programme is based on ‘leaving no child behind’, realizing ‘rights for all children in Malawi’.

Join our dynamic Public Finance for Children (PF4C) team within the Social Policy section where you will be responsible for the design, implementation and expansion of one of the largest PF4C portfolios in the Eastern and Southern African Region and globally. The range of activities spans from the production of evidence on budgets and expenditures for the social sectors, to public financial management (PFM) reforms at line ministry level, to broader interventions to improve the policy and legal framework of decentralization in Malawi. The breadth of the portfolio, the availability of funding, the reputation within the donor community as well as the unmet needs of technical support in the area make this post one of the most interesting ones within the region.

How can you make a difference?

The Malawi Country Office offers an exciting and rewarding career opportunity for you to join our dynamic Social Policy team where you will be responsible for the design, implementation and expansion of UNICEF’s PF4C portfolio. The PF4C team manages numerous interventions in the areas of PFM, decentralization and child poverty. The key area of works are structured around social sector financing, support to devolution and decentralized system’s functioning, strengthening of budget transparency and parliamentary oversight capacities as well as the production of evidence on child poverty and vulnerability. In these areas, UNICEF provides direct technical support as well as financial support to a number of Government partners and civil society organisations (CSOs). UNICEF is also actively participating in Development Partners Coordination Groups (it chairs the one on Decentralization and sits in the PFM and in the Governance ones) and in the Development Partners-Government fora. Within the Country Office, you will be required to provide management with regular updates and briefs on the country’s socio-economic situation and to coordinate and provide technical support to the other sections in all matters connected to PFM, decentralization and financing.

In your role, you will report to and be under the overall guidance and supervision of the Chief of Social Policy.

This job therefore presents a unique and significant opportunity for a qualified, vibrant, motivated and committed person to contribute to the overall achievement of transformative results for children with professional excellence and by delivering on the following key responsibility areas, but not limited to:

  1. Build and maintain partnerships with relevant Government ministries, departments and agencies, sub-national government bodies, CSOs and Development Partners to further UNICEF PF4C agenda and support improved service delivery for every child.
  2. Design and implement technical and financial support interventions in the relevant areas of work (PFM, decentralization and local governance, social sector financing and planning and child poverty) in collaboration with Government, Development Partners and CSOs, as relevant.
  3. Support the production of high-quality evidence on child poverty and vulnerability and social sector financing, planning and budgeting to support UNICEF and Government programming and advocacy efforts to improve the conditions of all children in Malawi.
  4. Contribute to the wider UN Country Team capacity to respond to Malawi’s macro-fiscal challenges.

You are encouraged to download the detailed job description in order to view the full role and its requirements Download File JD SOCIAL POLICY & ECONOMIC SPECIALIST.pdf.

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


  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required in the areas of Economics, Finance/Accounting or Public Policy. *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree


  • A minimum of five years of relevant professional work experience is required in in the areas of Public Finance Management (PFM), better if in connection to social sectors financing, budgeting and planning or support to decentralization
  • A minimum of five years of relevant professional experience in providing technical assistance to Governments (ministries, agencies, national parliament, sub-national government bodies etc.) is required
  • Experience in supporting Civil Society Organizations is considered as an asset
  • Experience working in a developing country is considered as a strong asset

Required technical knowledge and skills:

  • In-depth understanding and knowledge of PFM and decentralization, most specifically in a developmental context
  • Understanding of macroeconomics and its impacts on public finance
  • Well developed set of soft skills, capacity to negotiate, communicate and convene partners
  • Strong analytical and drafting skills


  • Fluency in English, both strong verbal and written skills, are essential.

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…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others and (8) Nurtures, leads and manages people.

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. All selected candidates will, therefore, 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.


The position is not considered an elevated risk role. However, UNICEF reserves the right to conduct further vetting/assessment within the scope of child safeguarding as appropriate.

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

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

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 may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID).

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.

UNICEF only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed at

The vacancy announcement is open to all candidates – both internal UNICEF staff holding permanent, continuing and fixed term appointments and external candidates.

Priority consideration will be given to staff on the mobility lists, staff on abolished post and staff returning to service and on SHA.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

In order to deliver results for the children of Malawi, UNICEF Malawi Country Office works in a fast-paced but impactful environment where creativity, innovation, collaboration, teamwork, a safe space and professional development are supported and encouraged. We are therefore seeking individuals who are motivated to make a real difference and serve the children of Malawi with resourcefulness, resilience, creativity, and professional excellence.

Advertised: 12 Jan 2023 South Africa Standard Time
Deadline: 26 Jan 2023 South Africa Standard Time

To apply for this job please visit