Consultancy: Blockchain Developer, Office of Innovation, New York, USA, 11.5 months
New York (United States)

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, innovate...

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives.

The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF. We sit at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions.
UNICEF's Office of Innovation creates opportunities for the world's children by focusing on where new markets can meet their vital needs. We do this by:

  • Connecting youth communities (or more broadly -- anyone disconnected or under-served) to decision-makers, and to each other, to deliver informed, relevant and sustained programmes that build better, stronger futures for children.
  • Provoking change for children through an entrepreneurial approach -- in a traditionally risk-averse field -- to harness rapidly moving innovations and apply them to serve the needs of all children.
  • Creating new models of partnership that leverage core business values across the public, private and academic sectors in order to deliver fast, and lasting results for children.

The Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, wearables and sensors, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs – and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively.

UNICEF Venture explores frontier technologies, and how they could be used to solve humanity’s greatest challenges. The team sees blockchain technology as having benefits in three main ways: new ways of mobilizing resources, creating better transparency in internal processes, and applications in UNICEF’s programme work in education, identity, healthcare and more.

To understand the technical, social, ethical, and legal challenges of utilizing blockchain technologies in our complex and interconnected world, the team is undertaking a set of explorations and learnings.  The team is particularly focused on experiments with cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, digital collectibles, off-chain and low bandwidth, accessible and alternative users, and various types of tokens.

To support these efforts, the UNICEF Venture team is looking for a full-stack blockchain developer. Candidates should have work experience in distributed systems, cryptography, token economics, consensus mechanisms and/or smart contracts, and are comfortable with various programming languages (Solidity, Python, etc.). The candidate must have technical knowledge of various blockchains (ex. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Quorom, etc.), and common tools used in building such solutions (Truffle, Docker, etc.).

How can you make a difference?

You’ll be part of a blockchain team that builds prototypes and supports startups and UNICEF country offices in their own exploration of the technology. 

You will work with a cross-functional team to build applications to help solve large challenges. You should have some blockchain experience, but more importantly, you should be familiar with building intuitive user interfaces for diverse user groups. You should understand the particular considerations of building web3 applications (managing private keys, network latency, transaction costs, etc.).

Your main responsibilities will be:

  1. Technical Build: 

    • Contribute to the development and deployment of various blockchain related prototypes (note that our team is platform agnostic, and therefore prototypes may be built on various platforms)
    • Contribute to prototypes developed in conjunction with partners (within the UN and externally)
    • Manage the technical environments of such prototypes
  2. Technical Advisory:

    • Act as an advisor to the blockchain startups that UNICEF Ventures invest in, assist the teams in working through challenges, refer to them to additional resources, or act as a connector to mentors
    • Participate in ideation and design of blockchain prototypes. This may include, requirements gathering, architectural design, and technology roadmap
  3. Ecosystem engagement:

    • Engage internally with the blockchain lead, as well as other developers
    • Collaborate with external partners on prototypes or learning

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

  • A first university degree (Bachelor's) in computer science, engineering or other relevant field. 
  • A minimum of 3 years of relevant professional experience in developing applications, preference given to open-source and distributed ledger technology projects.
  • Understanding and experience with various blockchain platforms; can quickly learn new tooling systems and platforms such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Truffle, Solidity, Infura, GoLang, web3.js, ethers.js, bitcoinjs-lib, etc.
  • Strong handle on various programming languages and frameworks such as React JS, Vue JS, Angular JS, Node JS, ES6, TypeScript
  • Understanding and experience with system integration: interface design, API development.
  • Experience working with large amounts of data and databases.
  • Strong grasp on architectural best practices; specifically, knowledge in parallelization, and distributed systems design is desired
  • Familiar with industry best practices for security.
  • Knowledge of environment in which UNICEF operates, and understanding the constraints of working in a developing-world environment. This should include experience developing low-bandwidth applications in challenging work environments.
  • Ability to align technical goals with UNICEF strategic goals — that always will mean UNICEF's mission over any particular technology.
  • Willingness to travel (sometimes on short notice) and develop software in the field, directly with end-users.
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) is an asset.

Payment details and further considerations

  • Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for his/her own health and travel insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all work-related travel

For every child, you demonstrate…

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

The functional competencies required for this post are:

  • Applying Technical Expertise (Level II)
  • Creating and Innovating (Level II)
  • Deciding and Initiating Action (Level 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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


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

Duration: 11.5 months

Duty Station: New York


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About the Job
Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund
Grade: Consultancy
Employment Type: Consultancy
Occupation: Information and Communication Technology, Innovation and Knowledge Management
Location: New York (United States)
Closing Date: 25 Oct 2019
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