Consultancy – Giga Finance Specialist, Remote, Office of Innovation, 11.5 months

UNICEF Global


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, innovate

About Giga

Launched in 2019 as a joint initiative between UNICEF and ITU, Giga has set the ambitious goal to connect every school in the world to the internet.

Half of the world’s population has no regular access to the Internet. Millions of children leave school without any digital skills, making it much more difficult for them to thrive and contribute to local and global economies. This has created a digital divide between those who are connected and those who are not, a divide that has become even wider during the Covid-19 pandemic. UNICEF and ITU have therefore joined forces to create Giga, an initiative to connect every school in the world to the Internet and address this new form of inequality.  

Giga focuses on connecting schools so that children and young people have access to information, opportunity, and choice. It also uses schools as anchor points for their surrounding communities: if you connect the school, you can also connect local businesses and services. This creates opportunities for service providers to generate revenue from paying users, making connectivity more sustainable. A recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that a 10% increase in school connectivity can increase effective years of schooling by 0.6% and increase GDP per capita by 1.1%.  

You cannot fix a problem unless you can see it, so the first step is to map schools and their connectivity levels. Giga uses machine learning to scan satellite images and identify schools. These are then marked by colored dots on an open-source map: green where there is good connectivity (over 5mb/s); amber where it is limited; and red where there is no connectivity at all. The project has already mapped over 1,100,000 schools in almost 50 countries, including several which were previously unknown to governments. 

Achieving universal connectivity is expected to cost up to $428 billion. Giga works with governments to unlock public funds for use in delivering connectivity and to attract private investors by reducing the risks in harder-to-reach areas. 

Once school connectivity has been mapped and financing secured, Giga works with a range of partners to bring the Internet to schools. We support governments in designing competitive procurement processes. We are also developing real-time payment mechanisms, meaning that if a dot on the connectivity map is only green for three hours a day, the provider only gets paid for three hours of access. Giga is already connecting schools in 19 countries and is prototyping several test solutions, including in refugee camps and remote, mountainous regions.   

Just as building railroads allowed previously isolated towns to flourish, providing good quality Internet access will allow communities to participate in the digital economy for the first time. But Giga’s work in laying the tracks for connectivity is only one part of a wider effort to bridge the digital divide. UNICEF’s Reimagine Education initiative brings all of this work together and has set the goal of connecting every child and young person – some 3.5 billion – to world-class digital learning solutions by 2030. In addition to Giga, it includes components focusing on the affordability of data and content, access to devices, teacher certification and the engagement of young people. Along with ITU’s digital skills programme and other initiatives, Reimagine Education aims to ensure that, once connected, young people are empowered with the tools they need to shape their own futures.  

You can read more about Giga’s work at https://giga.global/ and by following us on twitter @Gigaglobal

How can you make a difference?

According to the International Telecommunication Union (“ITU”), 1.3 billion children do not have access to the internet for learning and are excluded from the opportunities and services that have shifted online. Digital exclusion impedes the development of children and disenfranchises young people, perpetuating socioeconomic inequalities between countries and communities.

In 2019, UNICEF and ITU launched Giga, a partnership to connect all unconnected schools in the world to the internet. Giga is uniquely equipped to geolocate previously unmapped schools, finance projects and deliver connectivity. To date, Giga has connected over 1 million students and teachers to the internet for the first time.

We are seeking an experienced professional to join a small group of finance specialists to lead key workstreams, including capital formation, country engagement and project-level financing.

Main responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Capital formation:

Giga seeks to mobilize $5B in catalytic capital to jumpstart critical connectivity investments, including donor pledges, development loans, private capital, and other sources of project funding.

The Finance Specialist would be expected to lead outreach to existing and prospective financial partners, including:

  • articulating Giga’s unique vision to public and private sector donors;
  • leading diligence processes, speaking to projects and related finance strategies in detail;
  • building bespoke financial models and clearly explaining their outputs and implications;
  • forming and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders, including development banks and institutional investors, in partnership with UNICEF’s Public Partnerships Division and Private Fundraising and Partnership Division.

Country-level engagement:

Giga is currently engaged with 19 countries to provide school connectivity and is actively cultivating relationships with new countries.  Giga has mapped over 1 million schools in the world, across 42 countries.

The Finance Specialist would be expected to lead engagement efforts with local and regional governments, including:

  • establishing relationships with UNICEF country offices and corresponding directly with local authorities, as appropriate;
  • building and advancing a diversified portfolio of connectivity projects at multi-national, national and regional levels;
  • convening financial partners to deliver an efficient and manageable solution to the local authority.

Stakeholder engagement:

Giga is a team of technical experts.  Members of the finance team are expected to develop a deep understanding of the economics of connectivity across geographies.

The Finance Specialist would be expected to:

  • serve as a thought leader and finance expert within the Giga team as well as related organizations (UNICEF, ITU, etc.)
  • Represent Giga and speak publicly in finance-related forums, as appropriate.

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

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in  Business Administration, Economics, Finance or related field. Advanced degree would be considered an asset.
    *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 7 years of professional work experience of financing/finance advisory role in, or to, emerging and developing countries
  • Ability to perform project-level financial analysis, macroeconomic analysis and build detailed financial models
  • Demonstrated strong skills in Power Point and Excel
  • Demonstrated strong writing and presentation skills in English
  • Ability to effectively work and coordinate in a multiple stakeholder environment
  • Ability to work with a diverse team in a rapidly changing work environment and adapt to unforeseen changes
  • Experience working in the intersection of development/donor organizations, public finance, and commercial sector is an asset
  • Experience in designing and developing business cases, business plans and financial plans is an asset
  • Experience in telecommunication infrastructure sector is an asset
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.
  • Knowledge of the UN system is an advantage

Payment details and further considerations

  • Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for his/her own health and travel insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all work-related travel

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).

The competencies required for this post are….

  • Builds and maintains partnerships – Level 2
  • Innovates and embraces change – Level 2
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity – Level 2
  • Thinks and acts strategically – Level 2
  • Works collaboratively with others – Level 2

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

 

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.

 

Remarks:

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

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. The candidate may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid).

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