Social & Behavior Change Specialist – NOC, TA at the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (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.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Social & Behavior Change Specialist

Job Number: 558399
Location: Abuja
Contract Type: Temporary Appointment
Level: NO-3
Categories: Social and Behavior Change

Job Description
For every child, Hope:

  • The SBC specialist will, under the technical guidance of SBC Chief in Abuja, focus on providing support aimed at aligning with UNICEF global Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) principles on COVID-19 vaccination using an integrated approach.
  • The Specialist will provide technical and operational support in the development of a systematic, planned and evidence-based strategy and process for SBC as an integral part of program development, planning and implementation to promote measurable behavioral and social change/mobilization through communication, engagement, empowerment and participation of stakeholders, partners constituents, communities and civil society to achieve successful and sustainable concrete (program/project) results on children’s rights, survival and well-being in the country.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have become a game changer in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Nigeria is targeting 51.5 percent of Nigeria’s total population (around 111.7 million persons) over a two-year period to build the population immunity.
  • Since the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria commendable progress has been made in getting many people vaccinated. As at 13th November 2022, a total of 93.5 million doses have been administered to 65.5 million eligible Nigerians since March 2021.
  • This equals 53.7% Nigerians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. As at October 2022, a total of 46.9 million Nigerians are fully vaccinated (42 per cent of the eligible population).

Nigeria is facing three main bottlenecks to COVID-19 vaccination uptake:

  • Structural barriers. According to online polling conducted by Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, 23 per cent of Nigerian who have tried to get vaccinated are still unvaccinated, due to several structural barriers, which are different aspects of getting oneself vaccinated that may limit access to vaccination. The top five reasons are the following: Difficult to leave work or school (25 per cent); difficulty traveling to the vaccination (22 per cent); appointment times did not work (21 percent); limited internet or phone access (12 per cent); no vaccine appointment (11 per cent).
  • Low risk perception. According to the July 2022 NOI telephone poll, 51 per cent of the respondents as at June 2022 were worried about COVID-19 spread. This is a reduction from 67% as reported In December 2021. The figures at the regional level are much lower, e.g. only 34% in South East and 37% south West were worried about COVID-19 spread.  Currently, the level of risk perception has been further reduced as the Government of Nigeria has relaxed most of the COVID-19 preventive measures.
  • Vaccine hesitancy. According to September 2022 NOI poll, a cumulative 29% of people do not want to get the vaccine or would want to wait or are unsure and leaning towards not taking the vaccine. The NOI polls also revealed that the biggest psychological barrier to getting vaccinated is the concern that COVID-19 is not real and don’t believe in it (19%), lack of interest and not wanting to take vaccine accounts for 18%. Not convenient, not convenient at all and not knowing where to get the vaccine accounted for 20% of respondents. Many those already vaccinated (54%) choose to wait rather than getting the booster dose. The hesitancy is due to two factors:
    • Lack of access to information on COVID-19 vaccines. The same poll also reveals that only 15% per cent have been exposed to any message on the COVID-19 vaccines in the previous month and this is strongly associated with the level of education. People with higher education level tend to have more access to information on COVID-19. But even among those who have been exposed to COVID-19 information, the information they have received does not reflect their information need. Only one per cent recalls information on safety, while as mentioned above, safety aspect is their major concern. Most of the information they recall is on need to get vaccinated (52 per cent), while those who could not recall at all stood at 11%.
    • Rumour and misinformation. Africa CDC 15 country study reveals that two in three Nigerian respondents believe that they have seen or heard at least some information about the coronavirus that seem made up or untrue. Men are more likely to report exposure to misinformation (71 per cent vs 64 per cent of women), and young respondents also tend to report higher exposure to disinformation than older ones. This may be related to the fact that young people are more likely to be using social media.  Those who believe in conspiracy theories are more likely to report exposure to disinformation, and those who report seeing disinformation tend to be the ones who believe individual rumor stories on COVID 19.
  • A recent NOI polls shows that one-third of Nigerian adults say they are unlikely to try to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including many who say they don’t believe the virus exists or is a serious threat.
  • These reasons have slowed down vaccine acceptance and increased hesitancy in the country.
  • COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent strict restriction measures has seen a drastic drop in routine immunization as well as vaccine hesitancy by parents of eligible children. To rapidly ramp up coverage of fully vaccinated Nigerians and fast-track return of the country’s economy to pre-COVID levels, there is need to intensify vaccination efforts in the country.
  • A national strategy (SCALES) for intensification of COVID-19 vaccination was developed for adaptation/ adoption by state health teams across the country. Recently, the country launched the SCALES 3.0 strategy which integrates COVID-19 vaccination with the regular immunization services. The approach was designed to build synergy in the immunization eco-system to benefit both programmes.
  • As of October 2022, the SCALES 3.0 has improved the national coverage for fully vaccinated persons from 24% to 42%. 20.7 million people have been partially vaccinated since the implementation of the SCALES 3.0 strategy. SBC and related community engagement strategy are central to achieving vaccine equity by working with various communities to promote vaccine uptake and remove social and behavioural barriers to vaccination.
  • It is against this background that an SBC specialist is required to work with national and state teams in Nigeria to provide strategic direction and technical support on SBC interventions on COVID-19 vaccination and other routine immunization programs in line with the direction of the SCALES 3.0 approach. Currently, UNICEF SBC section in Nigeria has provided the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with technical support on content development, crisis communication and digital engagement. However, there is still gap in terms of providing strategic direction on SBC to NPHCDA and NERRIC.

Organizational Context and Purpose for the Job

  • Purpose for the job: Under the general guidance of the SBC Chief, the incumbent is responsible for the coordination of communication working group to accelerate demand generation approaches and strategies at NERICC the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to promote awareness, understanding, support and social mobilization plans that support advocacy and community engagement as well as community empowerment and behaviour change as key components of the country programmes in Nigeria in line with the rolling work plan with the Federal Ministry of Health and NPHCDA.

Key functions
Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

  • The holder incumbent will be expected to provide technical support to NPHCDA activities related to social mobilization, demand generation and related functions

Strategic Direction & Coordination:

  • Support NERICC to determine strategic directions for communication for development (advocacy, social mobilization, community engagement and behaviour change technical working groups) team and ensure the strategies are in line with Nigeria Country Programme Document (CPD) as well as the Rolling Work Plan (RWP) to achieve an integrated COVID-19 and Routine Immunization coverage targets.

Demand Generation:

  • Ensure that NERICC and NPHCDA communication groups are supported to develop plans and activities to increase demand for COVID-19 and RI services
  • Support the development/implementation of SBC strategy with approaches, plans and activities geared towards increasing demand for COVID-19 vaccination and RI services.
  • The strategy should be founded on sound evidence based on studies with clear objectives, approaches, plans, activities, as well as monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
  • Ensure approaches used is all inclusive, consultative and participatory to carry along all stakeholders.
  • To support COVID-19 Vaccination activities to improve demand through advocacy, social mobilization, and community engagement initiatives.
  • Promotion of Appropriate use of SBC principles and approaches
    • Provide advice on appropriate use of SBC approaches, aimed at both individual behaviour change and collective action as well as policy advice.
    • Provide expert advice, coordination and technical support to government counterparts and other partners in the development and strategic use of communication for social development to ensure optimum leverage and impact of communication activities on programme, policy and advocacy activities.
    • Collaborate with the Federal Government officials, NPHCDA, community leaders, other UN bodies, and bilateral agencies and NGOs in the organization of activities, operational research, advocacy and exchange of information and ideas supportive of NERICC’s and NPHCDA’s communication goals and strategies.
    • Jointly with other UNICEF and government officers, designs and manages/facilitates the implementation of communication plans of action aiming at: (a) behaviour development/change at individual/household levels; (b) social mobilization of civil society organizations; (c) increased community participation in COVID-19 vaccination and RI ; and (d) policy issues that require advocacy to impact COVID-19 vaccination and RI a uptake.
    • Monitors and evaluates activities based on applied targeted communication research and frequent visits to project sites.  Disseminates communication research findings, ensures exchanges of experience and new methods to government officials, programme staff, and other UNICEF partners.
    • Collaborate with, advise and/or consult internal partners, to design of culturally relevant SBC strategies, including formulation, production and pre-testing materials and/or to organize SBC events and activities to ensure engagement and participation of key audiences, and maximum outreach and impact on behavioral and social change.
    • Confirm/verify the technical quality, consistency and relevancy of communications strategies, including materials that are developed, produced and disseminated to target audience  and recommend appropriate multiple media formats. Oversee the production and implementation of multi-media initiatives for compliance with targets and plans that integrate the latest evidence.
    • Carry out SBC advocacy activities with/for a wide range of constituents, stakeholders, partners, communities, such as religious groups, traditional leaders, teachers, artists and other organized groups at national, state, zonal, Local Government Areas (LGA) and community levels, as well as civil society organizations etc. to orient them on behavior and social mobilization models, strategies, approaches, COVID-19 vaccination, and routine immunization; and solicit their involvement in the implementation of the overall initiative; also to encourage/promote engagement and dialogue, inclusion, self-determination and participation in mobilizing social, political, behavioral and cultural change to achieve sustainable program results for COVID-19, improved routine immunization, and children and women’s rights, equity and well-being. Develop/select materials and other communication tools for SBC events.
    • Identify, establish, and maintain active interaction/relations with media, academia and other strategic partners to communicate/advocate UNICEF’s competencies and achievements to ensure their engagement, interests and support in promoting social/political engagement for political action on COVID-19 and RI, and measurable changes in social and behavioral outcomes.
    • Conduct and/or participate in M & E (Monitoring and Evaluation) and Evaluation exercises, including country program previews, meetings and mid-term/annual reviews to assess/report on efficacy/outcome of SBC on UNICEF and Nigeria Country Office (NCO) Strategic Plans/Goals. Recommend timely action to ensure the achievement of results as planned and allocated.  Integrate/disseminate lessons learned in development planning and improvements.
    • Monitor and evaluate programme activities on the basis of applied qualitative behavioral research and frequent visits to project sites.
    • Analyze and evaluate data to ensure compliance and achievement of objectives and recommend corrective action, when necessary, to meet programme/project objectives. Prepare monitoring and evaluation reports in accordance with the established guidelines, methods and procedures. Provide technical advice to programme staff, government officials and other counterparts, and coordinate and manage the evaluative elements of country programme milestone meetings, such as mid-term reviews, strategy meetings, previews and reviews and annual reviews.
  • Capacity Building for Sustainability:
    • Provide advice on capacity building of SBC teams, both within NPHCDA and among counterparts.
    • Oversee and advise on the development of goals, strategy, approaches, plans as well as training materials and activities to build up capacity in participatory and behaviour change communication for personnel involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of SBC intervention, in support of COVID-19 vaccine and RI.
  • Resource Mobilization and Management:
    • Participate in the budget planning & review process and ensure the optimal resources from UNICEF and other partners towards SBC initiatives.
    • Establish programme work plans, allocation of resources, and monitors progress and compliance.
    • Take appropriate actions to optimize use of programme funds and mobilize resources; improve programme efficiency, quality and delivery through a rigorous and transparent approach to programme planning, monitoring and evaluation.
    • Oversee the overall allocation and disbursement of programme funds, making sure that funds are properly and effectively coordinated, monitored and liquidated.


  • Advanced University Degree in the Social / Behavioural Sciences, (Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Health Education) OR Bachelor’s with over 8 years  of work experience with emphasis on strategic communication planning for behaviour development, social mobilization, and participatory communication, and research, training/facilitation and impact evaluation of communication interventions.
  • Training in SBC and implementation in SBC, social mobilization and behavioral change. Training in inter-disciplinary approach in programme communication.


  • Minimum of 5 years (8 year for candidate with bachelors) relevant professional work experience in the planning and management of social development programmes, including 2 years in with practical experience in the adaptation and application of communication planning processes to specific programmes.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English and another UN language. Local working language of the duty station an asset

For every Child, you demonstrate
UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).

  • The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…
    • Builds and maintains partnerships (II)
    • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (II)
    • Drive to achieve results (II)
    • Innovates and embraces change (II)
    • Manages ambiguity and complexity (II)
    • Thinks and acts strategically (II)
    • Works collaboratively with others (II)
    • Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (II)

Application Closing Date
11th January 2023 W. Central Africa Standard Time

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online


  • UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable female candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
  • 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.


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