Programme Specialist - Food and Feeding Practices

Deadline 23.06.2024

UNICEF is looking for a Programme Specialist - Food and Feeding Practices

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.

UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.

For every child, … nutrition,

UNICEF’s works to transform food systems for children is articulated across three Action Areas:

  • Improving children’s foods through actions in public policy, guidelines and standards, and food supply chains: complementary foods, fortified foods, food supplements and therapeutic foods.

  • Improving children’s food environments, where children live, learn, eat and meet, through actions in public sector policies and programmes and in private sector practices and products.

  • Improving children’s food practices through policies, strategies and programmes that promote positive individual behaviours, caregiver practices and social norms.

UNICEF’s work on overweight and obesity prevention is strongly focused on transforming food environments, where children are increasingly exposed to aggressive offer and marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages, very high in sugar, salt, fats, and other harmful ingredients that contribute to rising levels of overweight and obesity.

Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) is a key approach for food systems transformation. SBC uses innovations in social and behavioural sciences to understand people, their beliefs, values, the socio-cultural norms, and the policies that shape their lives, with the aim of engaging them and increasing their influence in the design of individual and collective solutions for sustainable behaviour change and social transformation.

How can you make a difference?

Under the supervision of the Senior Nutrition Adviser - Food Systems for Children, the Programme Specialist, Food and Feeding Practices, will strengthen UNICEF’s programming efforts on Food Systems for Children, which aim to improve child nutrition through food systems actions. The position will strongly focus on the prevention of childhood obesity, supporting the implementation of evidence-based policies with the highest potential to transform children’s food environments.

The Programme Specialist will use SBC methods and principles to support UNICEF work at national, regional, and global level on strengthening food systems plans, programmes and policies to prevent all forms of malnutrition: undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity. He/she will work across the three Action Areas and will bring specific expertise on the food practices action area: improving children’s food practices through policies, strategies and programmes that promote positive individual behaviours, caregiver practices and social norms.

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

  • Technical oversight and support

  • Steer UNICEF’s global efforts to develop, implement and monitor SBC strategies and programmes to improve the quality of children’s foods, food environments and food practices from early childhood, though the school years into adolescence, to prevent all forms of malnutrition across the life cycle, in line with the UNICEF Strategy 2020-2030.

  • Provide technical support to HQ, regional and country teams on the effective use of SBC to transform food systems for children strengthening the local production, normative environment and social marketing of nutrient-dense complementary foods, fortified foods, food supplements and therapeutic foods for children. This includes support to country teams to design and implement multi-system and multi-channel SBC approaches to prevent undernutrition children, adolescents, and women and to build the capacity of health providers and community-based workers to counsel women, men, and caregivers on maternal nutrition.

  • Provide technical assistance to HQ, regional and country teams in developing and implementing actions to transform policies, regulations, and environments for the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity.

  • Support the integration of SBC and systems thinking to strengthen iodine deficiency disorders prevention and control programmes, supporting advocacy efforts with national and regional authorities for adequate iodine nutrition at both national and sub national levels, based on context specific analysis of the food systems, especially where pockets of iodine deficiency and excess iodine intake coexist.

  • In collaboration with UNICEF Regional Offices, the SBC Global Technical Team, and partners, provide remote and direct technical field support on the transformation of food systems for children’s nutrition and development, including food practices.

Capacity Strengthening and learning

  • Contribute to develop a compelling narrative on food systems for children and women with nutrient-dense complementary foods, fortified foods, food supplements and therapeutic foods integrated within and underpinned by an understanding of behavioral science and systems thinking, for sustainable policies and adequate private sector practices and products.

  • Create greater awareness and use of new and emerging SBC methods and techniques to inform and improve efforts on food systems actions to deliver nutritious, safe, affordable, and sustainable diets for children in all programming settings – including for children living in development, fragile and humanitarian contexts.

  • Lead and coordinate UNICEF’s knowledge generation and knowledge management function as it relates to UNICEF’s SBC efforts and actions in transforming food systems for children’s nutrition and development.

  • Support knowledge generation and knowledge management related to children’s food environments for the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity.

  • Identify and plan training and learning opportunities for staff and partners on new and innovative SBC approaches to support the transformation of food systems, including behavioral public policy, behavioral data science, social marketing, critical social marketing, behavioral insights, human centered design, social listening, and social accountability mechanisms. This includes supporting the roll-out of a regional e-blended learning programme on SBC, in collaboration with regional partners, with a focus on maternal nutrition.

Global Advocacy, Partnerships and Resource Mobilization

  • Support the Senior Nutrition Adviser, Food Systems for Children in the development of advocacy strategies – including public advocacy and communication – to support UNICEF vision to transform food systems for children in the global arena and in support of relevant initiatives related to G7, G20, N4G among others.

  • Support the Nutrition Specialist, Childhood Obesity Prevention, in the implementation of relevant advocacy actions at global, regional, and country level.

  • Represent Nutrition and Child Development programme Group in UNICEF’s Social and Behaviour Change Global Technical Team.

  • Contribute to the establishment and strengthening of strategic SBC partnerships for transforming food systems and prevent childhood overweight and obesity at international level with UN agencies, implementing organisations, donors, academia, media, INGOs, local CSOs and other relevant organizations to promote SBC nutrition programmes and assist in developing the same at regional and country levels.

  • Create new opportunities for and support global resource mobilisation in SBC for Nutrition, increase donors’ interest in the added value of integrating SBC into nutrition programmes and confidence in UNICEF’s ability to deliver them.

The following minimum requirements:

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in social and behavioral sciences, including sociology, anthropology, marketing, psychology and/or related field is required.

  • A minimum of eight years of relevant progressively responsible professional experience at the national and international levels in developing, implementing, evaluating, and managing social and behavioral change strategies for nutrition is required.

  • Proven ability to work with internal and external stakeholders at multiple levels, including providing technical support and capacity building and establishing/managing external partnerships.

  • Proven ability to use new and innovative methods for SBC to transform food systems, such as systems thinking, critical social marketing, and social research.

Additional skills desired:

  • Knowledge of UNICEF programs in the field of nutrition and child development, UNICEF’s Strategic Plan, Nutrition Strategy and Food Systems work.

  • Fluency in English is required. Working knowledge of another UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) is considered an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate...

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: UNICEF Values

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

  • Builds and maintains partnerships

  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness

  • Drive to achieve results for impact

  • Innovates and embraces change

  • Manages ambiguity and complexity

  • Thinks and acts strategically

  • Works collaboratively with others

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children.

The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

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.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). 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 is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children.

All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. 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.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.


As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government positions 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.

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

Deadline: 23 Jun 2024 Romance Daylight Time

While we do our best in sharing high quality job postings, Jobs in Brussels can't guarantee or be made responsible for the content in the postings (e.g. specified deadlines or links).