Early Childhood Development Manager

UN Children's Fund, Panama, Panama
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Job Summary

Job Description

For every child, a champion

How can you make a difference?

The ECD Manager supports and advises the Regional Education Adviser, the Regional Management Team, Country Offices and Governments in developing policies, strategies, programmes and undertake systems strengthening for Early Childhood Development (ECD), including Early Childhood Education (ECE) and early learning.


Guides and facilitates implementation and achievement of UNICEF global and regional goals and strategies in ECD and ECE according to UNICEF's Strategic Plan and the global Education Strategy, and represents UNICEF RO in these two areas.

Provides UNICEF COs with technical advice, oversight, knowledge management, support for monitoring and evaluation, networking, strategic partnership creation and capacity building on ECD and ECE.

Provides technical advice across the region in the development, implementation and monitoring of ECD and ECE policies, systems strengthening and programmes for promoting the rights of the younger children as established under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international treaties/framework and UN intergovernmental bodies.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

1. Technical leadership in ECD programming

- Participate and/or conduct/update situation analysis and assessments on ECD related issues to establish evidence-based data to support holistic policy and program development and coordinated planning, implementation and monitoring of results on early childhood development and quality pre-primary education programs/projects within country program.

- Keep abreast of national/regional/international development priorities to identify opportunities where ECD can enhance inter-sector partnership, integration and linkages.

- Participate in CO program planning to determine strategic areas for ECD integration/intervention. Contribute to the formulation, design and preparation of the Country Program to ensure integration of ECD in a holistic manner across program areas and to ensure alignment of ECD programs with the MTSP, UNICEF's Strategic Plans and coherence/integration with UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDF), regional strategies and national priorities, plans and competencies.

- Establish specific goals, objectives and strategies and implementation plans for the ECD programs/projects using on results-based planning terminology and methodology (RBM). Prepare required documentations on related issues for program review and approval.

- Promote and provide technical expertise to major monitoring and evaluation exercises, program reviews and annual reviews with government and other counterparts to assess ECD progress and to engage stakeholders to take required action/interventions to achieve results

- Work closely and collaboratively with internal and external colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies and to determine national priorities/competencies to promote inter-sector partnerships and holistic approach to ECD.

- Provide authoritative technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes to ensure ECD integration, coherence and harmonization with other UNICEF sectors and achievement of results as planned and allocated.

2. Strategic management, monitoring and delivery of results on ECD programs

- Plan and/or collaborate with monitoring and evaluation initiatives to establish benchmarks, performance indicators and other UNICEF/UN system indicators, to assess/strengthen performance accountability, coherence and delivery of concrete and sustainable results on ECD programs/projects.

- Prepare/assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths/weaknesses in program and management, identify lessons learned and use knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.

- Monitor ECD programs/projects to assess progress, identify bottlenecks and potential problems and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely resolution.

- Plan, monitor and control the use of ECD program resources (financial, human, administrative and other assets) certifying/verifying compliance with organizational rules, regulations and procedures, donor commitments and standards of accountability and integrity. Ensure timely reporting and liquidation of resources.

- Submit/prepare ECD program/project reports to donors and other partners to keep them informed on program progress and critical issues.

3. Advisory services, quality oversight and technical support

- Provide technical advice and/or written guidance to key government officials, NGO, UN system and other country office partners on policies, strategies, best practices and approaches on ECD issues to support program development planning, implementation and delivery of results.

- Participate in strategic discussions, meetings and other international/national meetings and workshops to provide ECD evidence-based papers and inputs to influence policy and agenda setting on ECD.

- Prepare ECD policy papers, briefs and other strategic program materials for management use, information and consideration in development discussion and planning

4. Advocacy, networking and partnership building

- Build and strengthen strategic partnerships through networking and advocacy with local/national governments, UN system agency partners, donors, internationally recognized institutions, NGOs, funding organizations, research institutes, universities, private sector and communities to reinforce cooperation and/or pursue opportunities to promote goals and achieve sustainable and broad results on ECD.

- Prepare communication strategies and implementation plans and activities for ECD initiatives for maximum communication impact and outreach to promote awareness, establish partnership/alliances and promote increased investments in ECD interventions.

- Participate and/or represent UNICEF in inter-agency discussions and planning on early childhood development to ensure organizational position, interests and priorities on early childhood development are fully considered and integrated in the UNDAF development planning and agenda setting process. Collaborate with inter-agency partners/colleagues the UNDAF planning and preparation of programs/projects including emergency preparedness.

5. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building

- Promote critical thinking, innovative approaches and good practices for ECD programs/projects initiatives through advocacy and technical advisory services.

- Keep abreast, research, benchmark, introduce and implement best and cutting-edge practices on ECD. Institutionalize and disseminate best practices and knowledge learned to support development planning and implementation.

- Contribute to the development of policies and procedures and introduce innovation and best practices to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programs and projects.

- Organize/plan/implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of a wide range of internal and external partners/stakeholders to promote sustainable results on ECD programs/projects.

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

An Advanced University Degree in education, public administration/health, nutrition, economics, psychology, sociology, human development, child development, family studies or other social science field is required.

A minimum of 8 years of professional experience in planning and management in early childhood development and education related areas at the international level, some of which preferably were served in a developing country is required. Relevant experience program/project development and management in a UN system agency or organization is an asset.

Fluency in English and Spanish is required. Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese is an asset.