Health Specialist (Social and Behavioral Change Communication) at the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

Temporary @ListingAPI-2 in NGO / Non-Profit Associations
  • Abuja, FCT, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) View on Map
  • Post Date : June 21, 2023
  • Apply Before : June 26, 2023
  • 0 Click(s)
  • View(s) 166
Email Job
  • Share:

Job Detail

  • Job ID 27985
  • Experience See Job Description
  • Gender Male or Famele
  • Qualifications See Job Description

Job Description

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (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.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Health Specialist (Social and Behavioral Change Communication)

Job No.: 563238
Location: Abuja
Employment Type: Full Time
Level: P-4
Contract type: Temporary Appointment
Categories: Health
Supervisor Title / Level: Health Manager – Immunization & Health systems (P 5)
Contract type: TA (364 days)
Organizational Unit: Programme – Health and HIV Section

Organizational Context and Purpose for the Position

  • The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does – in programs, in advocacy and in operations.
  • The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action.
  • For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life – in its social, political, economic, civic and cultural dimensions – her or his rights are violated.
  • There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens – addressing inequity – not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries.
  • Therefore, the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

Job Organizational Context

  • The Health and HIV section of the UNICEF Nigeria Country office provides oversight, quality assurance, technical assistance, and knowledge management in the field of Health and HIV with a focus on immunization (including polio), maternal newborn health and health systems strengthening.
  • In collaboration with SBC and Communication and Advocacy sections, it supports communication for social and behavior change interventions for Polio, Immunization and health interventions.
  • Polio eradication is a corporate priority for UNICEF globally. Although there are only two remaining countries where polio is still endemic, unfortunately, the number and scale of polio outbreaks has continued to exceed expectations.
  • Although Nigeria was certified Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free in 2020, the country is currently facing an unprecedented outbreak of Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus Type 2 (cVDPV2).
  • To date in 2022 (as of 21 January 2023), Nigeria has reported a total of 157 cVDPV2 cases. To contain the outbreak, Nigeria has and will continue to implement an aggressive schedule of outbreak response activities in 2023, requiring substantive support by Government and partners.
  • UNICEF is committed to continue working on polio eradication until the goal is reached globally. UNICEF has been supporting the Government of Nigeria in its polio outbreak responses as the lead social and behavior change partner as well as in vaccine management support.
  • UNICEF Nigeria is managing more than 18,500 Volunteer Community Mobilisers (VCMs) across 12 polio high risk states to promote polio vaccination during outbreak response and improve routine immunization, out of which ten thousand are being transitioned to Community Health Influencers and Promoters (CHIPS).
  • UNICEF is a key member of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), assigning key staff to the NEOC’s Strategic and Communications
  • Working Groups and the logistic working group, as well as being a permanent member of the strategy group.
  • The Health Specialist (SBC) reports to the Health Manager, Immunization Manager & Health Systems for general guidance and supervision with additional guidance provided by the Chief of SBC Section.
  • The Specialist provides technical and operational support in the development of systematic, planned and evidence-based strategies and processes for Polio and routine Immunization (RI) as an integral part of program development, planning and implementation to promote measurable behavioral and social change/mobilization through communication, engagement, empowerment and participation of stakeholders, partners constituents, communities and civil society to achieve successful and sustainable concrete (program/project) results on children’s rights, survival and well-being in the country.
  • SBC plays a vital role in the polio prevention and response interventions, supporting the MoH teams to plan and implement communication activities to inform and convince communities and its leaders about the reasons and rationale of oral polio vaccine (OPV) campaigns; supporting interventions that encourage community based surveillance of Acute Flask Paralysis; and supporting the improvement of immunization programmes, both through campaigns and through routine immunization, by fostering understanding of childhood diseases, creating demand for primary health care services and acceptance of the vaccines.

Strategic office context:

  • The recruited staff will work under the general guidance and supervision of Health Manager Immunization and Health Systems in close collaboration with SBC section chief and Chief of Communication and Advocacy section (comms team) and general oversight from the Chief of Health and HIV.
  • The position is based in Abuja with frequent travel to field offices and will be subject to deployment to outbreak response states on short notice.
  • The incumbent will travel at least 80% of their time to support outbreak response and preparedness activities where needed and will support immunization and health SBC needs as and when required.

Purpose for the position

  • Under the general guidance of the Health Manager -Immunization & Health systems and oversight from the Chief of Health and HIV and in close collaboration with Chief of SBC and Communication team the incumbent will be working as a member of the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC), and they will be deployed to polio outbreak states as a member of the Management Support Team (MST) according to the outbreak SOPs.
  • The incumbent will be responsible for the design, management, execution, monitoring and evaluation of behavior change and social mobilization activities in support of the country Polio plan, with a specific focus on support to areas of communication for polio eradication and for generating demand for and uptake of immunization services and will work on other health interventions as needed.

Key function, accountabilities and related duties/tasks
Support to SBCC strategy design and development:

  • Support the development of workplan and budget to implement consequential geographies approach at country level, including synergies within the health section, and other sections (e.g., Primary health care and routine immunization interventions)
  • Lead the design and development of a package of SBCC interventions , including VCMs (voluntary community mobilizers) integration into CHIPS (Community Health Influencers and Promoters) to eradicate cVDPV2 9 for both campaigns and between vaccination rounds)
  • Assess/synthesize qualitative and quantitative information, data and evidence to support the establishment of comprehensive and evidence-based information for developing and planning the SBCC interventions both for polio outbreak response, maintenance and routine immunization strengthening.
  • Participate in country programme planning and reviews to contribute to discussions on the underlying and contextual issues to be addressed (e.g. policies, gender/children inequality, cultural/social behavior etc)
  • Prepare or provide quality assurance on materials and related documentations for SBCC strategies and plans (as a component of polio outbreak SOPs) to ensure optimum impact, scale and sustainability of achievements/results.
  • Collaborate/consult with a wide range of partners and stakeholders to ensure synergy, integration, coherence, and harmonization of SBCC activities with UNICEF SP, CO global communications and advocacy activities and UN System development activities and initiatives at the CO level, including in humanitarian response.
  • Participate and provide technical support to COs so SBCC staff is optimally engaged in national EPI planning processes and polio communication activities.

Implementation of SBCC activities:

  • Ensure timely implementation and funds disbursement of SBCC activities at national and sub-national level
  • Collaborate with, advise and/or consult GPEI partners to design SBCC strategies to respond to an outbreak of polio, including formulation, production and testing materials to organize SBCC events and activities to ensure engagement and participation of key audiences, and maximum outreach and impact on behavioral and social change, including in humanitarian response.
  • Confirm/verify the technical quality, consistency and relevancy of communications strategies, including materials that are developed, produced and disseminated to target audiences (e.g. individuals, communities, government officials, partners, media etc). Recommend appropriate multiple media formats (e.g. print, digital/social media, TV/Radio, Web, community networks, etc.).
  • Oversee the production and implementation of multi-media initiatives for compliance with targets and plans that integrate the latest evidence.
  • Carry out SBCC advocacy activities with/for a wide range of constituents, stakeholders, partners, communities, etc.
  • Support polio outbreak response and immunization efforts assessments and implementation of their recommendations.
  • Support and lead when needed proposal writing and mobilization of resources to ensure SBCC and UNICEF polio response are fully funded

Technical and operational support:

  • Collaborate with field office colleagues, regional office and GPEI partners to contribute to the development of strategies, approaches, policies, and the planning of SBCC social and resource mobilization initiatives in support of polio outbreak response.
  • Participate and lead when needed budget planning and management of programme funds and prepare financial plan for polio SBCC initiatives required to stop polio outbreaks in the context of consequential geographies approach.
  • Monitor/track the use of resources as planned and verify compliance with organizational guidelines, rules and regulations and standards of ethics and transparency.

Advocacy, networking, and partnership building:

  • Identify, build and maintain partnerships through networking and proactive collaboration with strategic partners
  • Collaborate with internal global/regional communication partners to harmonize, link and/or coordinate messaging and use of multiple media and communication platforms to enhance SBCC outreach including in humanitarian contexts.
  • Participate in organizational and/or inter-agency (UNCT; National UN Social and Behavioral Change Communication Roundtable) discussions and planning to collaborate with inter-agency partners/colleagues in the GPEI, the GAVI and all immunization related planning and preparation of SBCC advocacy and resource mobilization initiatives including emergencies.

Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building:

  • Contribute to analyze data on SBCC in the context of cVDPV2 erradication, jointly with the information management team
  • Implement innovative practices, approaches and latest technology on multiple media and social/digital platforms and networks for SBCC that are appropriate/available for the CO context and audience.
  • Institutionalize/share best practices and knowledge learned/products with global/local partners and stakeholders to build capacity of practitioners and disseminate these products to key audiences including donors and partners.
  • Organize/implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of clients/stakeholders/partners (government and non-government) in SBCC planning, implementation and evaluation in support of programmes/projects including in humanitarian settings.

Communication and Media Engagement:

  • Develop the communication strategy for polio and other immunization programmes considering key communication practices
  • Contribute to the development of the crisis communication, misinformation strategies and implementation plans in the outbreak countries which encompasses supporting the crisis communication assessment as well as development and implementation of the national crisis communication and misinformation management strategies.
  • Draft a diverse range of written materials including factsheets, newsletters, reports, press releases targeting different audiences and stakeholders.
  • Develop, through creative and innovative methods, and disseminate visual storytelling packages, create online content and meaningful engagement with different target audiences on platforms including websites and social media pages
  • Support the preparation of materials for meetings and events.
  • Coordinate with regional communication team to develop consolidated, strong visual and written communications products on regional outbreak response efforts and review and advise on current messaging.
  • Develop strong media engagement in coordination with regional communication team

Impact of Results

  • The strategic and effective development and implementation of SBCC advocacy initiatives and products directly impact on the ability of UNICEF to promote social, political and economic action and changes in behaviors, social attitudes, beliefs, harmful social norms and actions by communities, individuals and society on children’s rights, survival and wellbeing.
  • This in turn contributes to enhancing the ability of UNICEF to fulfill its mission to achieve sustainable, locally owned, and concrete results in improving the survival, development and wellbeing of children in the country.

The incumbent:

  • Makes decisions on appropriate Social and Behavioral Change Communication methodologies and approaches, technical resources required, quality and appropriateness of communication materials produced, target audiences to be reached, allocation of financial resources, as well as timeframes for various activities, all of which will affect the results of the polio eradication efforts in Nigeria.
  • Makes recommendations on operational strategies in the areas of communication for polio eradication; on appropriate materials and media to reach target audiences; and on the way in which Social and Behavioral
  • Change Communication should be integrated into the country response plan.
  • The most damaging error(s) that could be made in the performance of the job could come from lack of understanding of and insensitivity to political and cultural realities in promoting behavior change in the country, which could cause damage to UNICEF’s image and relations with the Government and partners.
  • The inadequate assessment of social and political trends, and the omission of important partners would result in ineffective strategies, loss of credibility and unfulfilled programme objectives.

Recruitment Qualifications

  • Advanced University Degree in Social and Behavioral Change Communication, Public Health, or other Social / Behavioral Sciences or Community Health Area (Health promotion, Sociology, Anthropology,  Psychology, Health Education, Bio-Medical Sciences, Public Health) or related areas, with emphasis on participatory communication, communication planning, social mobilization, participatory research.


  • A minimum of Seven years progressively responsible work experience in public or community health and Social and Behavioral Change Communication, the planning and management of social communication programmes, including in immunization/polio.
  • Background in public health and strong management skills would be highly considered.

Competencies and level of proficiency required (please base on UNICEF Competency Profiles):
Core Values:

  • Care
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Accountability.

Core competencies:

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

Functional Competencies:

  • Leading and supervising (I)
  • Formulating strategies/concepts (II)
  • Relating and networking (II)
  • Persuading and influencing (II)
  • Applying technical expertise (II)
  • Entrepreneurial thinking (II).

Specific Technical Knowledge Required:

  • Knowledge of current developments in the fields of communication theory, motivational psychology, adult learning theory, indigenous media, digital communication, community organization and participation, strategic communication planning, behavior analysis, formative research and evaluation of communication interventions.
  • Knowledge of inter-disciplinary approach in programme development and implementation in behavior and social change communication, social mobilization and behavioral change.
  • Knowledge of and experience in emergency operations and management.
  • Knowledge and experience to organize and implement training, including development of curricula and methodologies.
  • Computer knowledge, skills and practical experience, including internet navigation, network, telecommunications and various office applications.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of Arabic is of added value.


  • 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.

Application Closing Date
26th June, 2023.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online


  • 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.
  • Candidates who applied before should not apply again.
  • 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 are also 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.

Other jobs you may like