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, dedication.

UNICEF is seeking to appoint a Regional Director for the Eastern and Southern Africa Region. As the direct supervisor of UNICEF Representatives in the region, the Regional Director is accountable for the overall success of the UNICEF-assisted programmes of cooperation in the region. The Regional Director advises and assists the Executive Director and the Deputy Executive Directors on matters relating to global policy formulation and implementation. The Regional Director represents the Executive Director vis-a-vis institutions of a regional character within and outside the United Nations system.

How can you make a difference?

As the head of the Regional Office, the Regional Director is accountable to the Executive Director for overall achievement of the goals, strategy and objectives of UNICEF-assisted regional programmes, the overall quality of emergency response, as well as the effective coordination and oversight of UNICEF offices in the region. More information about Eastern and Southern Africa Region can be found on this site.

The Regional Director’s key functions and accountabilities include:

1. Advocacy, Leadership and Representation

  • Advocate for the rights of children at the regional level and create new opportunities to improve the situation of children and women through relationships and networks with regional partners.
  • Represent UNICEF in the region and establish and maintain highest level of contacts and effective relationships with regional partners, including those of the UN and national partners, intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, NGOs and civil society.
  • Direct and provide leadership and guidance to influence regional initiatives and policies to improve the wellbeing of women and children through regional declarations, public policy decisions, and resource allocations in support of children.
  • Lead and direct the Regional Management Team (RMT) and contribute to and serve as a member of the Global Management Team (GMT). Ensure the proper functioning of the RMT and its committees. As the principal member of RMT, exercise leadership to manage the decision-making process for the region. Advise on policies, strategies and human and financial resources allocations, monitoring implementation and evaluation of regional results and lessons learned.   

2. Strategic Planning and Policy Development

  • Oversee and strengthen the strategic management process and activities in the region which includes Representatives’ meetings, strategy meetings, country programme previews and reviews, annual report and regional budget review.
  • Participate in regular senior management meetings with the Executive Director and share responsibility for the formulation of organization’s global policy, strategy and overall direction of management and operations, consistent with UNICEF’s mandate and mission.
  • Define and prioritize regional strategies and plans in functional areas, in the light of organizational global policies, priorities and strategies in harmony with the rights- and results-based approach.
  • Provide regional vision and leadership to advance achievement of programme goals and objectives within the region. Provide timely and critical contributions to global policy development based on regional experience and interpret global policies in the regional context.
  • Oversee to develop and implement regional communication, information and advocacy strategies.
  • Contribute to the organization’s knowledge base and global strategic planning based on an analysis of regional data and experience, prepare regional advocacy materials, and facilitate the exchange of information and experience within the region.

3. Country Programme Support

  • Ensure the formulation of effective regional work plans to support country offices in the preparation of new country programmes, and monitor programme and management performance and the effective and efficient use of resources.
  • Ensure the availability of technical staff within the regional office for consultation and support to country offices as required.
  • Assess regional resource requirements and funding opportunities, develop regional fundraising strategies, in collaboration with the RMT. Identify and maximize opportunities for fundraising in the region, including negotiations with the private sector.
  • As Chairperson of the region’s Programme and Budget Review meetings, coordinate the regional budget review process to ensure planning and implementation of organizational and global goals and strategy to be integrated and translated into regional and country programmes, financial resource allocation, organization structure, human resources planning and capacity building to meet current and future challenges and requirements of the organization in the region.

4. Emergency Preparedness and Response

  • Define and prioritize regional strategies and plans for emergency situations with the support of the Regional Emergency Advisers.
  • Ensure appropriate guidance to emergency programmes.
  • Monitor the progress, effectiveness and relevance of UNICEF emergency response, including use of UNICEF emergency procedures.
  • Facilitate the short-term deployment of staff to meet needs and assist in the redeployment of staff in emergency situations.

5. Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting

  • Monitor progress, effectiveness and relevance of UNICEF country programmes within the region with a view to improving country programme performance.
  • Coordinate the review of Mid Term Reviews and major evaluation exercises in the region; monitor the use of evaluation results to strengthen country programmes and report to the Executive Board on results.
  • Keep the Executive Director well informed of any significant organizational issues such as emergencies, conflicts, developments and/or resolutions in the region which affect UNICEF’s intervention/programmes of cooperation.
  • Monitor to ensure effective human resources management within the region; facilitate the short-term deployment of staff to meet needs and assist in the redeployment of staff in emergency situations; approve regional training plans; and prevent and/or resolve grievances.
  • Monitor to ensure cost-effective procurement operations to meet programme objectives and ensure the appropriate preparation of bid administration and contracting for local procurement.

6. Administration and Management

  • Prepare and implement annual regional and regional office work plans in line with organizational strategic priorities, available resources and office management plans; ensure achievement of work plan objectives; monitor progress; and report on results.
  • Direct and manage effectively and efficiently the administrative, human resources, finance and capacity building functions within the regional office in accordance with all applicable rules, regulations and policies.
  • As a member of the Senior Staff Review Group, participate in major organizational discussions and review its human resources requirements including identification, selection, promotion and deployment of staff in the organization.
  • Regularly conduct performance evaluations of UNICEF Representatives in the region in order to ensure the achievement of performance objectives and provide feedback to performances/work plan.
  • Oversee Representatives to ensure the protection of organization’s assets, financial resources and condition of services including staff security in the region, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Organization.

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

  • Advanced university degree or equivalent in Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Science, Economics, Public Information, Media, Communication, Human Resources, Financial Management, Business or Public Administration, or other relevant disciplines to UNICEF’s work.
  • A minimum of 15 years of professional experience that combines intellectual and managerial leadership in an international organization or corporation is required.
  • Fluency in English is required. A good working knowledge of another UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) or Portuguese is a strong asset.
  • Demonstrated expereince in leading by example and encouraging excellence, professionalism, competence, innovation, integrity and core values.
  • Excellent leadership, managerial and people skills, with particular strengths in supporting, nurturing, motivating and engaging diverse teams and individual personnel.
  • Demonstrated risk and crisis management skills.
  • Strong partnership building, communication, advocacy, diplomacy and negotiations skills.
  • Prior leadership experience within the UN and/or other intergovernmental institutions and international entities.
  • Prior leadership expereince within humanitarian and emergency context which is considered a strong asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

Core Values

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: https://uni.cf/UNICEFValues

Core Competencies:

  • Builds and maintains partnerships (III)
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (III)
  • Drive to achieve results for impact (III)
  • Innovates and embraces change (III)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (III)
  • Thinks and acts strategically (III)
  • Works collaboratively with others (III)
  • Nurtures, leads and manages people (III)

To view our competency framework, please visit here.


This position is classified as “rotational” which means the incumbent is expected to rotate to another duty station upon completion of their tour of duty.

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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.

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 may also be 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.

Advertised: E. Africa Standard Time
Deadline: E. Africa Standard Time