Social & Behavior Change Officer, NOB, Cotonou/Benin, # 81565

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UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund

UNICEF Benin is looking for a champion as Social & Behavior change officer for the Cotonou office.

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.

UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.

For every child, [insert tagline]

UNICEF Benin has a presence on the ground which allows it to provide technical assistance and support the community engagement necessary to achieve results. These are the two field offices, in Natitingou and Parakou, which support the central office in Cotonou. The Benin office implements interventions in 6 out of 12 departments, namely: Atacora, Donga, Alibori, Borgou, Couffo and Zou. The organization is also continuing its efforts in advocacy, analysis, technical support, particularly in terms of policies and strategies, and youth engagement throughout the national territory.

In Benin, despite major progress made over the past 5 years, the latest situational analysis of children in Benin still indicates deprivation and uneven progress in child health and well-being indicators. The results of the MICS 2021 indicate that 8 out of 100 of them die before the age of 5; 91% of women give birth in health facilities, but only 25.5% of mothers breastfeed their newborns within an hour of that follows childbirth. Some of the causes behind these high mortality rates are attributable to insufficient vaccination coverage with many children zero-dose or under-vaccinated (84% CV in Penta1 compared to 76% in penta 3 in 2021). Barriers related to the provision of services that do not allow them to be used by some communities. The remoteness/unavailability of the latter; long journeys to access services; the poor reception of service agents and the lack of information on the services offered, etc. 

The water situation also remains worrying: 28% of the population does not have access to a basic drinking water supply service, 80% of the population does not have access to a basic sanitation service, while 48% of the Beninese population continues to defecate in the open air; 88% of households do not have a fixed handwashing system with soap and water, thus promoting the occurrence of diseases.

The lives of children are still mostly marked by betrothal before the age of 18 and early pregnancy in some localities in the north of the country. This situation is maintained by social and religious norms that expose girls and children to all kinds of violence and abuse.

We also note the instability of the environment exacerbated by the effects of climate change and the humanitarian crises in the north of the country for more than 3 years, which directly threaten the ability of Beninese children to grow up harmoniously and flourish.

The exacerbation of intercommunal violence between various ethnic groups observed in recent years, partly as a result of the security crisis, is likely to be fuelled by competition over power-sharing issues (chieftaincy disputes). These consequences have an impact on the resilience and long-term development of households and children, including intergenerational effects.

The various prevention and response interventions are led by UNICEF’s programme sectors with the support of Social and Behaviour change approaches. While these following the gender equity and transformative approach make it possible to address the problems and adapt the interventions according to local contexts, it is noted that they have poorly addressed the causes of structural and socio-cultural shocks due to the low inclusion and participation of communities.

How can you make a difference? 

Under the general guidance of the Chief, SBC Unit and in close coordination with Sectoral and Cross-Sectoral Specialists and Officers, contributes to/responsible for the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of evidence-based, inclusive and innovative SBC strategies in support of the country programme. 

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:


  1. Generate and utilize research, data, and evidence to inform the design, measurement, and monitoring of SBC programs and outcomes in both development and emergency contexts and to build the evidence base for SBC. 
  2. Design, plan and implement SBC activities that are backed by social and behavioural evidence and strong engagement and participation mechanisms in both development and humanitarian contexts. 
  3. Support operationalization of SBC by advocating for SBC, mobilizing resources, coordinating across stakeholders, sectors and teams, and partnership building. 
  4. Promote continuous learning, strengthening and scaling up in SBC for both development and humanitarian contexts through capacity building for UNICEF staff and partners. 

For more details, please see the JD attached Download File Social Behavior Change Officer Level 2 YNK EN.doc

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

Minimum requirements:


  • Education: A university degree (Bachelor’s or higher) in a social and behavioral science, including sociology, anthropology, communication studies/communication for development, psychology and/or related field is required.
  • Work Experience: A minimum of two years of professional experience in one or more of the following areas is required: social development programme planning, communication for development or social and behaviour change, public advocacy or another related area. Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered an asset.
  • Skills (optional):
  • Language Requirements: Fluency in French and at least two local languages are required.  Knowledge of working English is also required.  


  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency. 

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships

(2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness

(3) Drive to achieve results for impact

(4) Innovates and embraces change

(5) Manages ambiguity and complexity

(6) Thinks and acts strategically

(7) Works collaboratively with others 

[add the 8th competency (Nurtures, leads and manages people) for a supervisory role]. 

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

[Remove the following paragraph if not a child safeguarding elevated risk role] This position has been assessed as an elevated risk role for Child Safeguarding purposes as it is either a role with direct contact with children, a role that works directly with identifiable children’s data, a safeguarding response role, or an assessed risk role. Additional vetting and assessment for elevated risk roles in child safeguarding (potentially including additional criminal background checks) apply.

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.

We offer a wide range of measures to include a more diverse workforce, such as paid parental leave, time off for breastfeeding purposes, and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). 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 is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. 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.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.


As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable [Insert candidates from targeted underrepresented groups] are encouraged to apply.

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government positions 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. 

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

[Remove the below paragraph if not applicable]

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

[Adapt the below paragraph or remove it if not applicable]

[CO/ HQ specific: visa residence requirements: i.e.: UNICEF shall not facilitate the issuance of a visa and working authorization for candidates under consideration for positions at the national officer and general service category.]

[Do not remove the below paragraph]

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

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