Consultancy – Financial Technologies and Children Consultant – Global Office of Research and Foresight – 90 working days, Remote/Work from home

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UNICEF Global


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, answers 

Technology has revolutionized every facet of modern life, and our relationship with money is no exception. From the way we earn, spend, save, and invest, technology has fundamentally altered how we interact with the financial world. Recognizing the crucial role finance plays in our lives, innovators have adopted various approaches to leverage technology in this domain. Some repurpose existing technologies, like the use of SMS in M-Pesa for mobile payments. Others overlay mature technologies onto traditional finance to create innovative fintech solutions or allow financial transactions within platforms such as videogames. And increasingly, emerging technologies like Web 3.0 are being applied to finance, giving rise to cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and central bank digital currencies. This constant evolution highlights the dynamic interplay between technology and finance, continuously shaping how we manage and interact with money.

This rapid evolution and adoption of financial technologies has a profound potential to impact children’s lives, offering both exciting opportunities and significant risks. On the one hand, these technologies can be a powerful force for good. They can promote financial inclusion, allowing previously excluded families to access essential financial tools and services. Financial technologies can also facilitate access to education and healthcare, improving children’s overall wellbeing. Additionally, innovative solutions in this space can enhance financial transfers that benefit children, for example by streamlining the delivery of social safety nets and family remittances. However, the landscape of financial technologies also presents dangers for children. Data privacy concerns are paramount, as children’s personal and financial information collected by these technologies could be vulnerable to misuse. The ease of access provided by some platforms may expose children to exploitation and scams if proper safeguards are not in place. Furthermore, the digital divide could exacerbate existing inequalities, excluding vulnerable groups of children from accessing the benefits of these technologies.

UNICEF, through its Global Office of Research and Foresight, is deeply committed to researching emerging issues and technologies and shaping policy debates and regulations in favour of children’s rights. Recognizing the potential impact of financial technologies on children’s lives, UNICEF is undertaking a project to explore both the opportunities and challenges they present. This project will involve comprehensive research, stakeholder engagement, and analysis of existing policies and regulations. The ultimate goal is to develop guiding recommendations for policymakers, businesses, and other stakeholders to ensure that financial technology solutions are inclusive, safe, and ultimately beneficial for children around the world.

How can you make a difference? 

Major areas of work and activities

1. Project setup. The consultant will develop a comprehensive inception document to establish a clear foundation for the project. This document will outline the key questions to be addressed, the proposed approach and methodology, a detailed timeline for project activities, and a preliminary list of potential experts for the advisory group. Additionally, the inception document will identify key events and opportunities for potential dissemination and consultation, ensuring that the project’s findings reach a wide and relevant audience. This document will serve as a roadmap for the project, guiding its implementation and ensuring alignment with the overall goals and objectives.

2. Expert advisory group setup and meetings. The consultant will identify and engage an expert advisory group for the project conformed by experts from academia, international organizations, industry, government, and non-governmental decentralized organizations, with diverse geographic representation, and organize four consultation meetings at key moments during the project timeline. The first meeting will take place and discuss the inception document, setting the stage for a successful project. The second and third meetings will discuss draft deliverables. The final meeting will take place after final drafts are completed, and will be an opportunity for the expert advisory group to provide a final round of inputs and feedback.

3. Consultation and convening. The consultant will lead a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process to ensure that the policy guidance document is informed by diverse perspectives and grounded in the realities of different contexts. This will involve soliciting and gathering insights from a broad range of stakeholders through various channels. Specifically, the consultant will:
• Work with the Innocenti Youth team to organize a dedicated youth consultation to gather the perspectives of young people from different contexts on financial technologies and their impact.
• Conduct in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, such as government officials, industry representatives, civil society organizations, and academic experts, to gain deeper insights and perspectives.

4. Landscape document. The landscape document will provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of the financial technologies sector, with a particular focus on emerging technologies and their implications for children and young people. It will examine various aspects of the financial technology landscape, including Web 3 and crypto, Web 2 fintech solutions, in-game and in-world transactions, and mobile payment systems (both SMS and web-based). The document will identify key players in the field across different geographic regions and development contexts, ensuring representativeness and capturing diverse perspectives. Additionally, it will analyze relevant regulatory frameworks and policies to identify gaps, best practices, and implications for children and young people. By incorporating foresight and forward-looking analysis, the landscape document will provide valuable insights into the evolving landscape of financial technologies and their potential impact on children and youth.

5. Guiding principles document. This document will establish core principles for the appropriate inclusion of children and young people in financial technology regulation across diverse contexts. Children’s best interests will be central to these principles, which will seek to harmonize protection from harm with opportunities for empowerment, ensuring their safety, security, and financial well-being. The document will address key issues such as safeguarding children from exploitation, manipulation, and financial harm; protecting their data and ensuring its responsible use; promoting financial literacy for informed decision-making; designing financial technologies that are developmentally appropriate and accessible for all; and encouraging ethical and responsible development that prioritizes children’s well-being. Recognizing that robust safeguards can unlock opportunities, the document will highlight how responsibly designed financial technologies can be leveraged to improve child outcomes globally. This includes exploring the potential of such technologies for facilitating social protection in different contexts, enabling efficient and affordable remittances for families, and supporting financial inclusion. Foresight and forward-looking analysis will ensure the recommendations are future-proof and adaptable. Feedback from diverse stakeholders will be incorporated to refine the guidance and promote a responsible and inclusive financial technology ecosystem that empowers children and young people while safeguarding their rights and interests.ir rights and interests.

6. “10 actions” document. This document will distill the insights from the guiding principles into ten actionable recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders to ensure the safe and empowering inclusion of children and young people in financial technology regulation and legislation.

Supervision and Consultant Responsibilities
The consultant will work independently under the direct supervision of the Policy Specialist, Foresight and Policy Team. The consultant is expected to possess the necessary expertise and resources to complete the deliverables outlined in the Terms of Reference. The consultant will be solely responsible for managing any contractors or resources they choose to engage and will ensure that their work meets the required standards of quality and adheres to the project timeline.

Conditions of Consultancy
a) UNICEF Innocenti does not issue computer equipment to consultants. The consultant will be responsible for providing the necessary computer equipment for the consultancy themselves and should include the cost implications of this responsibility in their bid for the consultancy. The cost of software and subscriptions that may be necessary to complete the consultancy (e.g., Microsoft Word) also needs to be factored into the bid for the consultancy.
b) This consultancy requires the consultant to travel in order to complete the required deliverables effectively and efficiently. The full cost of travel should be included into the bid for the contract. While UNICEF Innocenti does not make travel arrangements for consultants, there are value for money rules that apply to consultant travel. The consultant will arrange their own travel, clear the anticipated cost with UNICEF and invoice UNICEF for the travel cost as soon as the travel has been completed.
c) UNICEF Innocenti will assist consultants with arrangements for visas, work permits, vaccinations, etc.
d) UNICEF does not regard Individuals engaged under a consultancy contract as “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures. Consultants are therefore not entitled to benefits such as leave pension and medical insurance coverage. Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants.
e) Payment of professional fees will be based on submission of agreed deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant. Prospective consultants are encouraged to ensure that they fully understand (a) the requirements of each deliverable and (b) the workload associated with reaching a deliverable.
f) UNICEF Innocenti recognizes that, due to the locations of some of its research, events may occur that either delay deliverables or prevent them from being completed. These events need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine the impact on the payment schedule of the contract. It is UNICEF Innocenti’s objective to be fair to consultants in situations where deliverables are delayed or no longer attainable through no wrongdoing of the consultant.
g) Consultants are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

Consultancy Fees:    
Deliverable/Output: Estimated number of working days Deadline(s)
1.Project Initiation and Planning:
1.1 Inception Document. This document will outline the project’s key questions, proposed approach, timeline, and a preliminary list of key events for potential dissemination and consultation. It will serve as a roadmap for the project, guiding its implementation and ensuring alignment with the overall goals and objectives.
1.2 Notes from First Expert Advisory Group Meeting: Comprehensive notes capturing the discussions, feedback, and key action points from the initial meeting with the expert advisory group, including suggested revisions for the inception document.
1.3 Revised Inception Document: An updated version of the inception document incorporating feedback from the expert advisory group, ensuring a balanced and comprehensive approach to the project.
15 15 June 2024
2.Stakeholder Engagement and Insights
2.1 Youth Workshop meeting notes. Comprehensive notes capturing the discussions, feedback, and key action points from the meeting, including suggested revision for the inception document.
2.2 Notes from at least 8 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders. Must include interviews with stakeholders from at least three regions, including two from different regions in the Global South.
15 31 July 2024
3.Landscape Document
3.1 Draft of Landscape Document. An initial draft (~5,000-6000words) providing an overview of the current state of the financial technologies sector, emerging trends and future scenarios, a mapping of key players and stakeholders, policy review and implications for children and young people.
3.2 Final Landscape Document. Incorporating feedback from UNICEF and expert advisory group
25

1 September 2024

 

 

 

30 September 2024

 

4.Guiding Principles Document
4.1 Draft of Guiding Principles Document. An initial draft (~4000- 5,000 words) providing clear principles for guiding regulation of financial technologies that balance their benefits and risks for children and young people.
4.2 Final Guiding Principles Document. Incorporating feedback from UNICEF and expert advisory group.
25

1 November 2024

 

 

30 November 2024

Final “10 Actions” Document. A short document (1,000 – 2,000 words) outlining 10recommendations for regulating the financial technology ecosystem in line with the best interests of children and young people, incorporating feedback from UNICEF.

10 29 January 2025
Total 90  

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

Essential Skills:
• Advanced university degree (Master’s or PhD) in Economics, Finance, Public Policy, Law, Computer Science or another relevant field.
• Minimum 12 years of relevant work experience in financial technologies, policy analysis, child rights, or related areas.
• Exceptional project management, analytical and communication skills.
• Proven ability to design research and analysis products and develop policy recommendations/guidance.
• Ability to lead and mobilize diverse stakeholders towards a common goal.
• Excellent understanding of current and emerging financial technologies and their impact on children’s rights.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
• Previous work experience in developing countries is required, with familiarity with diverse financial inclusion contexts being a strong asset.

Desirable Qualifications/Assets:
• Demonstrated experience working on projects related to financial inclusion, child rights, and/or digital rights.
• Possessing a well-established network of contacts within the financial technology sector, including industry leaders, innovators, and policymakers.
• Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, or Spanish) is an asset.
• Demonstrated knowledge of foresight methodologies and a strong track record in producing forward-looking analysis.

For every Child, you demonstrate:

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS). 

 To view our competency framework, please visit  here

 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.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment. 

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. 

Remarks:  

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

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws. 

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts. 

Advertised: 11 Apr 2024 GMT Daylight Time
Deadline: 26 Apr 2024 GMT Daylight Time

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