National Project Officer (Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist – Ukraine Response) At UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


OVERVIEW OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE POST

Background:

The current armed conflict in Ukraine and its impact on the lives of its inhabitants pose extraordinary risks to the mental health and well-being of the population. The psychological and social consequences of armed conflict can be acute in the short term, but they can also undermine the mental health and psychosocial well-being of the affected population in the long term1. The impact of displacement, violence, and disruption of essential services, among other issues, can lead to acute and chronic stress, feelings of anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, sleep problems, fatigue, irritability, or anger, which are natural responses to the war. However, the longer the war lasts, the more likely it is that such manifestations become widespread and chronic, especially among the most vulnerable populations.

Recognizing the current situation and needs of the population during the war, the accumulated evidence on the impact of mental health issues and the role and potential of the education sector in the provision of mental health and psychosocial support, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine has defined as a priority the transformation of Ukraine’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services within the Education Sector, as part of the National Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Programme led by the First Lady. The transformation includes the revision of current normative frameworks and guidelines, capacity development for different education actors, direct mental health and

psychosocial support provision and the consolidation of tools and materials to strengthen it.

As the lead coordinator of SDG4, UNESCO supports the Member States facing emergencies and protracted crises to strengthen the resilience of education systems, bridging humanitarian, development, and peace-building interventions, addressing the root causes of vulnerability, and reinforcing capacity to plan and manage crisis response and recovery. UNESCO also supports setting the foundations for recovery and longer-term development from the onset of emergency response, actively engaging in addressing the impact of violence and conflict on learning institutions. Since the beginning of the war and in response to the needs and priorities of the Ministry of Education and Science (MESU), through continuous policy dialogue with the authorities and active participation in the Sectoral Working Group on Education and Ukraine Education Cluster, UNESCO developed and is implementing UNESCO’s emergency assistance programme for Ukraine.

In 2022, UNESCO launched the psychological support and care system strengthening project as part of the Ukrainian First Lady-led national initiative and became the co-facilitator of the MHPSS Task Team within the Ukraine Education Cluster. During 2023 and with the support of the Government of Japan, the Organization will implement a project aimed at reducing the negative mental health effects of conflict in Ukrainian learners through policy transformation, capacity development for key education stakeholders and

direct provision of school-based mental health and psychosocial support to students. The initiative will be a key flagship transformative initiative of the Transforming Education Summit Call to Action: Partnership for Transformative Actions in Crisis Situations launched on 19 September 2022, where Ukraine joined and committed to taking the lead in implementing the Call to Action as a champion state.

Scope of the assignment:

Under the authority of the ADG for Education, the direction of DIR/E30, the supervision of the Chief/E30/EME and direct supervision of the Education Ukraine Response team lead, the incumbent will serve as a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist in Ukraine within the framework of UNESCO’s Emergency Assistance Programme and carry out the following broad-based tasks:

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Guide the planning and implementation of MHPSS programming with a focus on technical aspects and quality assurance through close monitoring and supervision.
  • Ensure that MHPSS projects and activities are implemented according to the approved work plan to achieve the expected deliverables. Through strong planning and monitoring, identifies potential obstacles to programmatic success in a timely fashion, and implements corrective actions as needed.
  • Ensure the technical oversight and field monitoring of the project staff in close coordination with sector managers, notably to ensure quality control and adequate implementation of the planned tools and frameworks.
  • Provide capacity-building training and supervision to national teams.
  • As needed, contribute to the development of reports of successes and lessons learned, and other publications to highlight UNESCO’s areas of expertise and value-added.
  • Provide regular comprehensive project updates to the supervisor as to project status and current and emerging issues.
  • Oversee the recruitment of MHPSS consultants and service providers.
  • Attend relevant coordination groups.
  • Develop scopes of work, project deliverables and monitoring and evaluation indicators and targets together with the Education Sector team.
  • Carry out programme monitoring and technical assistance missions within Ukraine and abroad, as requested by the supervisor.
  • Undertake other tasks as deemed relevant by the direct supervisor and/or UNESCO Education management.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Accountability (C)

Communication (C)

Innovation (C)

Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)

Planning and organizing (C)

Results focus (C)

Teamwork (C)

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

Academic qualifications

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling or other related fields.

Professional experience

  • Minimum of 4 years of relevant professional experience, including operational experience in the relevant field for the position.

Skills and competencies

  • In-depth theoretical and practical knowledge of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings guidelines and associated products (e.g., IASC Assessment toolkit, the 4Ws mapping tool, M&E framework, and the Health, Protection and CCCM booklets);
  • Strong networking capacities for constructive relationships with humanitarian and development actors (e.g., OCHA, ICRC, Cluster Leads, UN agencies, INGOs, NNGOs and CBOS), Donors and relevant Government Line Ministries;
  • Familiarity/working directly with UN/multilateral organizations and professional networks related to MHPSS in humanitarian response
  • Excellent knowledge of computer systems and office-related software.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including interacting with various actors and working effectively and respectfully in a multicultural environment.

Languages

  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of English and Ukrainian

DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS

Knowledge of another official language of UNESCO, for example, French.

How to apply

Please note that all candidates must submit their up-to-date UNESCO curriculum vitae form and letter of expression in English by email to the following email address: [email protected] with copy to [email protected] and provide complete and accurate information.

UNESCO places great emphasis on ensuring that the objectives of the work assignment, as described in the Terms of Reference, are met. Accordingly, in evaluating the applications for the assignment, attention will focus first and foremost on the technical elements.

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc., for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted, and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided

UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.