Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
UNICEF was created with a distinct purpose in mind: to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. We advocate for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future.
We involve everyone in creating protective environments for children. We are present to relieve suffering during emergencies, and wherever children are threatened because no child should be exposed to violence, abuse or exploitation.
We are active in more than 190 countries and territories through country programmes and National Committees. We are UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Hamida – Deputy Representative in Iraq
- What is one of your memorable experience working for UNICEF?
Two years ago I was working as a Deputy Representative in Syria and parents from a part of a country that was under the control of anti-government groups approached UNICEF via our partners with one request.
“We need your help to get our daughters out of here so that they can go sit for the secondary schools national exams in [then government controlled] Aleppo,” they said.
Girls in this hard to reach area were unable to go to schools due to the restrictions imposed by the armed groups, but a group of 50 girls studied at home and their parents were willing to risk their lives to cross dangerous checkpoints in order to get them to where they needed to sit for exams and pursue higher education.
As a mother I was incredibly moved by the parents request and the value they placed on girls’ education.
Working with our partners we managed to support these girls with accommodation, extra tuition and other needs when they reached Aleppo. I cried when I met them and they told me how hard they had been studying at home and how important these exams were to them. I will never forget these brave girls and their parents. They are a constant reminder that we must not take anything for granted.
- What advice do you have for women currently in an emergency context?
My advice is to keep the connection with loved one at home alive. Technology has made this easier than ever before. Knowing that my family are just one call or one WhatsApp message away reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness. I could not do what I do without the support of my spouse and family. I talk to them about my work and the people I meet so that they feel like they are a part of my daily life irrespective of whether I am in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan or Somalia.
- What are the main benefits / challenges of working in an emergency context?
There are a lot of challenges. The needs of vulnerable children and their families are often acute and urgent and we work long hours, including weekends to support a lifesaving response. Seeing the immediate results and knowing that we delivered safe drinking water to a community that had no water and the education of children is maintained during an emergency is rewarding and inspiring.
- What role does diversity play in working in an emergency context?
Diversity in all its shapes and forms are very important. Having a right balance people of different backgrounds, gender and ethnicity adds value to an emergency operation. I’ve been in situations where women who have suffered from gender based violence felt more comfortable talking to me about their issues and needs than they did with male colleagues. They could relate to me as a woman and trusted me to take up their cause.
- Please complete this sentence: for every child….hope.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified candidates from all backgrounds to apply. At UNICEF we believe in diversity, because:
1. It brings a varied range of views to the table that contributes to a more rounded decision making process based on varied experiences and capabilities;
2. It reduces blind spots we may (not even know we) have, in considering our workplace behaviors, managerial career, performance and other discussions and decisions affecting staff
3. It contributes significantly to improving communication and creates an inclusive environment, which in turn contributes to increasing staff engagement as various groups of staff feel visible, and therefore have a stake in overall business strategy execution and organizational success;
4. It increases organizational access to the perhaps not so visible networks that may exist;
5. It increases sensitivity and responsiveness to the partners, clients and broader internal and external population that we serve; and last but not least
6. Diversity at senior levels also serve to provide leadership and professional role models for staff in their career aspirations, that can be motivating and help with staff retention.
For every child, a champion!
If you are committed, creative professional, are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, and are comfortable working in a challenging environment, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.
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.
For every child, a talent!
For the committed professional, UNICEF offers unique opportunities for challenging, effective and rewarding work. Its mandate is to advocate and promote programmes that meet the special needs of women and children. UNICEF support at country and regional level involves its staff in a wide range of issues in a rapidly changing world.
We employ committed professional to work in our focus areas: Child Survival and Development, Basic Education and Gender Equality, Child Protection and Inclusion, Policy Advocacy and Partnerships. We also employ staff with expertise in administration and finance, human resources, information technology, supply and logistics as well as external relations and communication. UNICEF’s presence in humanitarian crises means that we also seek experts in emergency preparedness and response.
More than 13,000 staff work with UNICEF, with approximately 85 per located in the field in 190 countries. Seven regional offices and over 124 country offices worldwide, 24 national committees, a research centre in Florence, a supply division in Copenhagen and offices in Tokyo, Berlin and Brussels and UNICEF headquarters in New York and Geneva work on helping children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.
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