Recruitment a Staff Counsellor for UNICEF

UNICEF is hiring a Staff Counsellor

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, hope

Psychological reactions to COVID-19 such as panic, anxiety and denial are common reactions, requiring timely support and intervention. The consequences of this pandemic include psychological and financial burden of the illness, death, drastic changes in the socio-cultural and behavioural patterns triggered by virus containment measures (i.e. movement restrictions / closed borders, social distancing, isolation, quarantine, changes in the cultural mourning and bereavement processes) that may add on to the distress of the staff members and their dependents and exacerbate stress reactions, if left unaddressed. Organizational specific restrictions may exacerbate current levels of emotional reactions.

The UNICEF WCAR Staff Counselling Team has developed a COVID-19 Psycho-social Response Plan, which classifies interventions based on a three-level approach: Prevention and Preparedness, Response to staff & dependents due to direct impact of COVID-19, and Recovery & Follow-up. The successful implementation of this plan requires increased capacity and staffing of the WCAR staff counselling team.

How can you make a difference?

Under the supervision and the technical guidance of the UNICEF Regional Counsellor, the Staff Counsellor will support in the implementation of the Psychosocial Response Plan for Covid-19 aimed at attending to the psychological needs of UNICEF staff and management in WCAR. The work will be done from the preventive and curative perspective at the individual, team and organizational levels. The main objective of the UNICEF Staff Counselling Strategy and Psychosocial Response Plan for Covid-19 is to mitigate the impact of chronic stress on staff, to raise awareness about trauma, stress and stress management, to facilitate the provision of assistance to staff/family experiencing trauma and/or work related and/or personal problems, to facilitate the provision of immediate support following a traumatic incident and to promote social support and other strategies aimed at improving the overall well-being of UNICEF staff in WCAR. The Staff Counsellor will work in close coordination with Country Management Teams, Emergency Coordinators, HR, Staff Association, Peer Support Volunteers (PSVs), the UN Medical Team and UN Staff Counsellors. Field missions to country and sub-offices in the region may be required subject to national and international flight restrictions.

Summary of key functions / Accountabilities

Under the guidance of the Regional Staff Counsellor and in collaboration with the Country Management Team and HR:

Facilitate the implementation of the UNICEF Staff Counselling Strategy and Psychosocial Response Plan for Covid-19 addressing the psychosocial needs identified with an aim of improving Staff Wellbeing in WCAR and responding to traumatic incidents, including quarantine and isolation. This includes:

  • Providing support in the timely and efficient implementation of the framework;
  • Monitoring the impact of the framework on the country level;
  • Lobbying and providing input for improvement.

Facilitate the provision of effective psycho-social support to staff leadership, managers and individual staff prioritizing emergency locations with the aim of mitigating stress and boosting protective factors by:

  • Providing support and advice to the leadership and managers in offices on healthy work practices and approaches on how to effectively support staff and encourage resilience. Recommend suitable staff support strategies to managers during and following emergencies and other crises;
  • Providing staff with individual and/or group counselling as needed (i.e. assessment, short-term intervention, referral);
  • Contributing to identification of creative ways of building a network of external mental health providers available to provide services to staff;
  • Co-coordinating the Peer Support Volunteers (PSVs) Programme for WCAR;
  • Coordinating with UNDSS, other UN agency-counsellors and PSVs, to ensure the provision of adequate psychosocial support during emergencies;
  • Assessing and monitoring psycho-social needs and issues affecting the wellbeing of staff;
  • Designing and providing training and awareness raising activities for staff and managers on trauma as well as strengthening healthy workplace practices to the extent possible.

Providing Critical Incident Stress Management to groups- and/or individual staff following critical incidents. A holistic approach to critical incident management is used and may include services such as practical support, psycho-education, psychological first aid, strategic advice to leadership, family support and individual or group interventions.

The Staff Counsellor will be responsible for:

  • Contacting the affected staff member(s) and offering information about typical stress reactions, support- and referral information;
  • Facilitating appropriate traumatic stress interventions, following a critical incident or traumatic event;
  • Recommending and arranging for individual and/or group follow-up support to staff and their dependents.
  • Regular Reaching out and visits to staff in field offices;
  • Provide pre and post-deployment briefings/debriefings to new staff.

Monitoring and oversight:

  • Providing, on a regular basis, statistics and trends on issues related to staff well-being, whilst maintaining confidentiality;
  • Alert the Regional Staff Counsellor on trends that may be of concern in offices or offices requiring targeted support or managerial intervention;
  • Capture lessons learnt and best practices for dissemination as appropriate.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have

  • An advanced university degree is required in counselling, clinical psychology or a field related to mental health.
  • Additional training or certification in Trauma and Stress Management is an added advantage.
  • A first-level university degree in the above fields coupled with 2 additional years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree
  • At least five years of work experience in staff support, mental health, cross cultural communications, counselling and related areas preferably gained within the UN system or international development/humanitarian aid sector.
  • Fluency in English and French is required.
  • Knowledge of another official UN language or local language of the duty station is considered as an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate 

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

The functional competencies required for this post are :

  • Leading & Supervising (II)
  • Formulating Strategies and Concepts (II)
  • Analyzing (II)
  • Applying Technical Expertise (II)
  • Planning and Organizing (II)

View our competency framework at

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 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.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Applications close: 12 Apr 2020 11:55 PM Greenwich Standard Time

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