Consultancy – Open Source Technical Advisor (Venture Fund), Remote, Office of Innovation, 11.5 months (Full-time)


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…

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives. 

The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF. We sit at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions. 
UNICEF’s Office of Innovation creates opportunities for the world’s children by focusing on where new markets can meet their vital needs. We do this by: 

  • Connecting youth communities (or more broadly — anyone disconnected or under-served) to decision-makers, and to each other, to deliver informed, relevant and sustained programmes that build better, stronger futures for children. 
  • Provoking change for children through an entrepreneurial approach — in a traditionally risk-averse field — to harness rapidly moving innovations and apply them to serve the needs of all children. 
  • Creating new models of partnership that leverage core business values across the public, private and academic sectors in order to deliver fast, and lasting results for children. 

The Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, wearables and sensors, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs – and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively.  

Our team 

We’re an interdisciplinary team around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling new technologies and practices. With our partners, we focus on convening and collaborating on new and different solutions, low- and high-tech, by: 

  • Looking at the 2-5 year horizon to evaluate emerging and trending technologies and to see how UNICEF can work with the private sector on doing better business while improving essential services for children;  
  • Investing in early stage solutions that show great potential to positively impact children in the 0-2 year future including the Venture Fund that invests in Open Source technology solutions from start-ups based in UNICEF’s programme countries; 
  • Identifying proven solutions that can be implemented at national scale in multiple countries – taking the ideas that help thousands in one country, bringing them to dozens of countries across multiple sectors, and impacting the lives of millions of children.” 

How can you make a difference?

The UNICEF Venture Fund has been specifically designed to finance early stage, Open Source technology that can benefit children. The core motivation of the Venture Fund is to identify “clusters” or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology – so that UNICEF can both shape markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children. We invest in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. We find these solutions clustered around $100 billion industries in frontier technology spaces, such as: UAVs, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, nano-satellites, and human dynamics. 

The Venture Fund is scaling its investment portfolio with the aim of investing in 20 start-ups every year. The current portfolio of companies consists of several cohorts of companies developing and piloting solutions in virtual and augmented reality, data science and artificial intelligence, blockchain, UAVs, IoT, and in assistive technology.  

UNICEF’s Office of Innovation is looking for a full-time technical adviser with experience working with Open Source intellectual property to focus on supporting and advising portfolio companies and providing support in the assessment of new companies; aligning both the support and selection assessment with the alliance around digital public goods (DPGs). DPGs are defined as Open Source digital products can be freely used, distributed and adapted by anyone, and conform to minimum standards, for instance related to privacy and security. 

Your main responsibilities will be:

  • Technical Assistance: Provide ongoing technical assistance and mentorship to Venture Fund portfolio companies; assist the teams in working through challenges, refer them to additional resources, ensure compliance and track progress with Venture Fund requirements on software and Open Source. Provide technical input into criteria and assessment processes for the Digital Public Goods Alliance. 
  • Open Source Training: Develop, document, and implement a replicable programme to build, manage and leverage Open Source communities and networks for portfolio companies, upstream communities, and other Communities of Practice (CoPs) 
  • Community Collaboration: Guide technical integration and establishment of Open Source platforms based on individual solutions developed by portfolio companies 
  • Assessment Support: Provide support in the assessment of new companies the UNICEF Venture Fund is considering investing in 
  • Metrics and Data Assessment: Execute Open Source strategy using real-time data from companies the UNICEF Venture Fund has invested in 

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

  • University degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering or in other relevant areas.  
  • Two years of experience in developing and piloting Open Source technology products, ideally software, hardware, data, and content 
  • Experience with Open Source community development and track record of engagement with relevant networks 
  • Demonstrated expertise in required technical areas, including software quality assurance, Open Source license strategies (copyleft vs. permissive), documentation and community management 
  • Experience in delivering guidance, technical support and mentorship to individuals, teams, start-ups or other groups on complex challenges 
  • Experience in product management including relevant systems and tools and development of product roadmaps 
  • Experience with professional software engineering practices and best practices for the full software development life cycle 
  • Exposure to a variety of languages, frameworks, toolchains (e.g. JavaScript, Node JS, React JS, Jest, Python, Django, Pytest, Go, Rust, Ruby on Rails, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure, Ansible, etc.) 
  • Experience with agile software development methodologies like scrum, rapid prototyping and evaluation of user feedback  
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, excellent technical communication with peers and non-technical stakeholders 
  • Understanding of different contexts and experience working in developing countries desired 
  • Ability to synthesise technical information and translate it into accessible products and systems 
  • Knowledge of international development and key challenges affecting children in developing countries is desired 
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered 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.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

The competencies required for this post are….

  • Drive to Achieve Results for Impact (Lv 2)
  • Works collaboratively with others (Lv 2)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (Lv 2)

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

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

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.



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.

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