Health Specialist- Early Child Development (ECD), UNICEF Tanzania, May 2019

By | May 19, 2019

Health Specialist- Early Child Development (ECD), NOC, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Temporary Appointment 364 Days)
Job Number: 522295
Locations: Africa: Tanzania,Uni.Re
Work Type : Temporary Appointment

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.
For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children’s survival, protection and development. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
Background, Problem Statements, and Justification
Deprivations early in childhood have a life-long impact. Research shows that in the first years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second (Harvard, 2017), with sensory pathways for vision and hearing developing first, followed by language skills and higher cognitive functions such as problem solving, planning and concept formation. Early experiences and the environment are instrumental in shaping the rapidly developing brain during this period, Deprivations in health* nutrition, protection and nurturing early in life lead to difficulties learning, using language, developing important social skills and regulating emotions and is linked to physical, mental and behavioural problems in adulthood. (Shonkoff & Garner, 2012)
Advances in neuroscience research have demonstrated that this development of the brain during this crucial period is heavily influenced by the “serve and return” relationship between children and their parents and other caregivers. Babies and infants “serve” interactions through gestures, babbling and facial expressions, and a nurturing “return” from adults helps to jumpstart brain development, promotes wellbeing and bolsters learning ability. The absence of a response, or an inappropriate or negative response, can lead to the brain’s architecture not developing, which can create disparities in learning and behavioral (Asok et al, 2013, Briggs et al, 2014)

Disadvantages during early childhood keep nearly 250 million children under 5 worldwide from reaching their full potential and contributing to society. (Daelmans et al, 2017) Children who do not receive adequate health, nutrition, early stimulation, learning opportunities, care and protection, all identified as elements of ‘nurturing care’, tend to have worse cognitive, language and psychosocial outcomes as well as executive functioning, which translates to lowered academic achievement in primary school and, ultimately, dropping out of school. The longer term consequences are noted not just in lowered productivity, earnings and poor health outcomes but also increases in crime. Moreover, deficits and disadvantages have been shown to persist into the subsequent generation, producing a vicious inter-generational cycle of inequality, lost human capital and perpetuation of poverty.

Long term studies have shown that children from poor households who participate in ECD programs with early stimulation earn an average of 25% more as adults than those who did not receive these interventions. (Gertler et al, 2014) Research has shown that girls who attend early childhood development programmes are up to 25% more likely to complete high school, and 13% more graduated from university, and even employment rates were higher. (Garcia et al, 2016)
Purpose of assignment
The Health Specialist ECD, will be responsible for supporting advocacy activities for increased investment in ECD, overall ECD coordination and governance, development of ECD and related resource materials, monitoring and reporting of ECD intervention, capacity strengthening of National, Regional and district implementers and scale-up evidence based ECD models. The Health Specialist ECD is expected to work with staff in other sectors (nutrition, child protection, education, CAIDS and WASH) to capitalize on potential synergies and consolidate holistic evidence-based interventions. S/he shall be responsible for ensuring high quality deliverables, relevant and timely reporting, and shall participate and engage in technical meetings within UNICEF and with ECD partners. Additionally, ECD Specialist will be responsible to support community development department in coordinating ECD program.
Project objectives:
1. To support ECD coordination at national and subnational levee
2. To strengthen provision of quality ECD services at health facility and community level
3. To strengthen ECD information system at national, regional and district levels
4. To establish/strengthen ECD partnerships and networks at national and local levels
Key function, accountability and related duties/tasks
ECD Specialist will be accountable for the following areas of work
Health Specialist ECD will be accountable for overall ECD program management, technical support, partnership and advocacy and knowledge management. Specifically, the Health Specialist ECD will be responsible for:
1. Overseeing implementation, monitoring and reporting of the Early Child hood development program at UNICEF TCO
2. Support COs, including in-country, to: i) identify entry points for ECD within national platforms as well as UNICEF health and nutrition programming; ii) improve ECD data and measurement, including through the strengthening of health management information systems; iii) improve knowledge on what can work to scale-up ECD using existing mechanisms at national, sub-national and community levels
3. Providing technical support during development of ECD related resource materials.
4. Provide technical support and coordination to community development dept.
5. Supporting capacity strengthening activities for frontline workers,
6. Providing technical advice and support to government and implementing partners in implementing the ECD interventions
7. Supporting ECD partnerships and networks establishment/strengthening at national and local levels including participating in meetings of the ECD Task Force Documentation of lesson learnt and best practices in ECD.
8. Promoting “knowledge exchange and synergy within the ECD partners”.
9. Strengthening partnerships with government, bilateral and multilateral organizations for leveraging resources and knowledge in advocacy, programming and practices for ECD.
10. Report writing, and document lessons learnt with scale-up.
11. Supporting development of ECD Program monitoring tools and ECD dashboard.
Program management

  • Lead timely, regular data-driven situational analyses, country program planning and monitoring of the state of Early child hood Development and the implementation status of ECD related activities in TCO.
  • Review of HMIS, Nutrition, Education reporting tools, developing draft indicators and reporting manual, and develop ECD module into DHIS2;
  • Provide leadership on children data-driven prioritization and implementation of Early child hood Development strategies and interventions within Tanzania.
  • Provide technical and operational guidance and support to government and non-government partners for the acceleration of national level scale-up Early child hood Development in Tanzania.
  • Monitor program and project implementation
  • To have child friendly spaces established in selected health delivery points” where the first objective is an expected outcome
  • Provide TCO health section team technical support for partnership building or the development of context responsive national and sub-national Early child hood Development
  • Collaborate with Monitoring and Evaluation officers to timely, efficiently, rigorously and transparently monitor, evaluate and report on Early child hood Development program effectiveness and impact.
  • Submit timely reports to donors and other partners that meet contractual obligations and UNICEF standards and methods.
  • To support Regional quarterly meetings on performance review of ECD intervention (RHMT & Nutrition) in health systems and those integrated within Nutrition programs
  • Roll out of ECD reporting (Training of health care workers on ECD in MINS regions

Technical support: Applying public health approaches to Early Childhood Developme

  • Support development and adoption of innovative program strategies and technologies that reduce program delivery bottlenecks and improve quality of Early Childhood Development.
  • Participate in major evaluation exercises, programme and sector review meetings with government counterparts and partners as related to the assigned areas of responsibilities.
  • Provide technical leadership and coordination of relevant operational research, thus contributing to the knowledge base in Early Childhood Development 
  • Ensure corrective action is undertaken to address bottlenecks identified during the project monitoring, in close coordination with the country teams and partners.
  • Provide orientation of District and Regional managers on ECD reporting
  • Strengthening government Health, Nutrition and Education sector Management Information Systems to enable routine data collection on ECD.
  • Contribute to the development of an ECD coordinating platform responsible for delivering a well-developed 0-3 focus, reflecting nurturing care-suggested actions and conducting consultative meetings, and support the development of reporting tools to be integrated within the existing M&E system,
  • To strengthen national and subnational ECD data collection, analysis and use of data, particularly for young children and women.
  • Supports review of Health, Nutrition, and Education reporting tools and data system, selecting indicators and developing dashboard in DHIS Il system through interoperability, draft indicators companion and reporting manual.
  • Supports strengthened ECD Health Workforce capacity to better provide parents in providing a nurturing care environment for young children
  • Supports Consultative /Advocacy meeting on ECD coordination
  • Provide Technical support through Technical working groups (TWG)

Partnership and Advocacy: Development of newborn profile for advocacy

  • Organize and facilitate advocacy meeting on ECD among ECD partners;
  • Provide technical guidance to all administrative levels of governments and decision-making settings for the inclusion of high- impact interventions for maternal and newborn survival and health development in the health sector components of UNDAF and other UN harmonization and processes.
  • Provide in country technical and operational leadership and guidance on scaling-up key interventions within the scope of any maternal and newborn survival activities.
  • Share good practices in equity-based and gender equality programming.

Recruitment Qualifications
An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: education, public administration, public health, nutrition, economics, psychology, sociology, human development, child development, family studies or another relevant technical field.

  • At least five years of relevant professional work experience at national or international level in a managing programmes related to ECD or technical expert in child survival & development, health and nutrition care and early childhood development.
  • Experience in and knowledge of ECD in Tanzania.
  • Experience in project and performance management in a public health context.
  • Experience of working in the UN or other international development organizations is an asset.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or focal language of the duty station is considered as an asset.

Common Technical Knowledge Required:
General knowledge of:

  • Methodology of programme/project management
  • Programmatic goals, visions, positions, policies and strategies in Hearth
  • Knowledge of global health issues, specifically relating to children and women, and the current trends, methods and approaches.
  • Policies and strategy to address national and global health issues, particularly relating to conflicts, natural disasters, and recovery.
  • Emergency programme policies, goals, strategies and approaches

Specific Technical Knowledge Required:
Knowledge of latest theories, principles, methods and technology in several of the following areas:

  • Child health care
  • Health system planning and management
  • Health Economics and Financing
  • Global Health
  • Public Health, International Health, Health Policy and Management, Environmental Health Sciences, Family Health
  • Documented knowledge of Care for Child Development (CCD).
  • Programmatic goals, visions, positions, policies and strategies for health programmes 
  • At least 5 years’ experience working cross-sectorally on Early Child Development, especially in the fields of Health, Education, Nutrition, WASH, CCD and Child protection.
  • Training experience, including training of trainers, and training of community health workers.
  • Experience preparing SBCC packages, including training manuals and SBCC material.
  • Experience in monitoring and supervising community services
  • Knowledge of global human rights issues, specifically relating to children and women, and the current UNCEF position and approaches
  • Rights-based and Results-based approach and programming in UNICEF.
  • UNICEF programme policy, procedures and guidelines.
  • Mid-Term Strategic Plan; Millennium Development Goals
  • UNICEF policies and strategies promoting and supporting gender equality and diversity Gender and diversity awareness

Technical Knowledge to be Acquired/Enhanced:

  • Knowledge of the latest developments and technology in related fields.
  • Knowledge of local conditions and country legislation relevant to UNICEF programmes
  • UN policies and strategy to address international humanitarian issues and the responses.
  • UN common approaches to programmatic issues and UNICEF positions 
  • UN security operations and guidelines

Signatures – Job Description Certification
growing priority is to strengthen national and subnational ECD data collection, analysis and use of data, particularly for young children and women,
Impact of Results
The efficiency and efficacy of support provided by the ECD Specialist to programme preparation, planning and implementation facilitates the delivery of concrete and sustainable results that directly impact the improvement of the health of the most marginalized children in the country. This in turn contributes to maintaining and enhancing the credibility and ability of UNICEF to continue to provide programme services to protect the rights of children, and to promote greater social equality to enable them to survive, develop and reach their full potential in society.
Competencies and level of proficiency required (based on UNICEF Professional Competency Profiles)
Core Values

  • Commitment
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Integrity

Core competencies

  • Communication (II)
  • Working with people (II)
  • Drive for results (II)

Functional Competencies:

  • Building Trust [II]
  • Managing Resources [II]
  • Communication [II]
  • Influence [II]
  • Judgement [II]
  • Technical Knowledge [II]
  • Team Leadership [ II ]
  • Planning, Setting Standards, and Monitoring Work [II]

 “UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.”
Opening Date Wed May 15 2019 09:00:00 GMT+0300 (East Africa Time) E. Africa Standard Time
Closing Date Tue Jun 04 2019 23:55:00 GMT+0300 (East Africa Time)