Consultancy - Head of Global Ecosystem Development-Early Childhood, Education Outcomes Fund (EOF), London, UK, 11.5 months, REQ

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Application deadline 9 months ago: Tuesday 3 May 2022 at 22:55 UTC

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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, education . . .

There are few greater challenges faced by the global community than the twin crises of learning poverty and youth unemployment. In response, the Education Commission (chaired by Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education) and the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen) came together with our founding CEO (Her Excellency Dr.) Amel Karboul to create EOF. We aim to improve the education and employment outcomes of 10 million children and youth, by supporting governments to utilize a range of innovative finance instruments at scale, including outcomes funds and other results-based financing (RBF) instruments.

EOF supports improvements in the quality of education and skills programs, with a special focus on underserved populations, including the hardest to reach, rural populations, girls, children with disabilities, and refugees. It measures (and pays for) what matters – both core skills like literacy and numeracy, but also critical 21st Century skills such as socio-emotional skills, ICT skills, and other broader fundamentals of a quality education. It helps close the persistent gap between the skills needed by employers and those attained by today’s youth by paying for employment and retention outcomes.

For all the above, EOF pays primarily on the basis of the results achieved, ensuring that taxpayer-funded domestic resources, aid, and philanthropic funds are only used to pay for what works. This is a game-changing way to finance results in education, focusing attention and realigning systems on the most challenging but most important measure of a program's performance: whether it is improving lives.

Together with our supporters, we believe this is the early stages of a much larger movement, with huge potential to increase learning outcomes for children and youth around the world, though improved aid effectiveness and government spending.

The next chapter of EOF’s growth is particularly exciting, as we look to build on this foundation in the coming years. We will shift focus towards implementation of our first large scale programs, developing public goods and policy insights on ‘what works’ both in education and RBF. We will develop new RBF models that can be replicated and scaled across regions, as well as continuing to roll out our existing models. Ultimately, we want to improve the way governments and donors fund and implement education programs around the world.

How can you make a difference?

We are seeking to recruit an exceptional Head of Global Ecosystem Development – Early Childhood.

EOF has entered into a strategic partnership with the LEGO Foundation to scale excellence in early childhood education (ECE). By 2025, we aim to reach over 250,000 children, with this number climbing considerably as the partnership matures. The Head of Global Ecosystem Development –Early Childhood will play a critical role in spearheading the growth of a vibrant ecosystem for RBF in ECE. The role will focus on:

  1. building a global movement behind the use of RBF in ECE;
  2. creating public goods for RBF in ECE and supporting their uptake;
  3. strengthening RBF/ECE capacity in partner organizations.


The Head of Global Ecosystem Development – Early Childhood will lead the establishment of an RBF ecosystem in ECE - we envisage three core pillars of this work:

  1. movement-building,
  2. the development and deployment of public goods, and
  3. direct capacity strengthening.

Catalytic activities across these areas are interconnected and mutually reinforcing; together, they will support the creation of a global movement of governments, implementers, and funders who are equipped to improve the quality of ECE through RBF.

Movement building- developing a global ecosystem for RBF in ECE, with responsibilities including:

  • Network influence and development – identifying and engaging with ECE networks worldwide. Influencing and strengthening the capacity of existing platforms to grow a community of practice of ECE practitioners, policymakers and decision-makers to scale RBF
  • Leading events and other convenings to generate a common agenda, narrative and strategy across the myriad actors in the sector
  • Recruiting influential ‘global champions’ to advocate and unlock support for RBF in ECE at the highest levels of government and the private sector

Creating global public goods and supporting their uptake and implementation: sharing lessons learnt from the design and implementation of innovative new models of financing ECE

  • Building the team and owning responsibility for defining and developing an ambitious catalogue of impactful global public goods (such as publications, online courses, reports, etc.), building on the learnings from the launch of our programs
  • Designing and implementing a strategy to disseminate these global public goods, ensuring they reach and are consumed by our target audiences (across sector and geography)
  • Responsibility for bringing innovation into our dissemination of knowledge; rethinking traditional approaches to help scale our reach

Strengthening Capacity: directly improving the capacity of public and private sector organisations to leverage the power of RBF for ECE

  • Overseeing the development of training and curriculum materials, building on learnings from the launch of our program and our global public goods
  • Lead the planning and implementation of training and/or workshops to directly strengthen the knowledge, skills and expertise of the ‘next generation’ of RBF practitioners
  • Influencing education sector plans and developing ‘model country’ partnerships
  • Develop an ambassador program to create a distributed network of champions for the effective use of RBF to improve access and quality in ECE

    Alongside these areas of direct leadership, the Head of Global Ecosystem Development – Early Childhood will play a central role in the broader strategic partnership between the Education Outcomes Fund and the LEGO Foundation. This will include joining and contributing to the partnership’s governance, cross- functional project management, and engagement with senior stakeholders.

We have ambitious goals, and we want to move fast. RBF has huge potential to scale access to quality ECE, and – faced with a rapidly escalating learning crisis – we owe it to the next generation to get this right. The Head of Global Ecosystem Development – Early Childhood will need to hit the ground running, leverage existing connections, use prior knowledge and think outside the box to achieve impact. We want someone who is excited by this challenge.

In the next 36 months, our ecosystem development work will result in:

4-5 new publications, supported by ongoing commentary and newsletters, including:

  • A sector mapping of the ECE sector
  • Dissemination of lessons learned from the EOF and other RBF and/or ECE initiatives
  • A set of case studies on ‘best buy’ interventions in ECE: what works and cost effectiveness
  • Evidence on impact and best practices for play-based approaches

Our global public goods are widely used and built upon, and a set of training modules on RBF are being used (through platforms such as EdX) to develop the ‘next generation’ of practitioners.

Our work is aligned and coordinated with other key initiatives, such as:

  • Existing ECE networks
  • Research communities for the use of RBF in ECE, e.g. Brookings
  • Relevant global initiatives, such as the Education Commission’s Workforce Initiative on Workforce Development in ECE

We have established 1-2 ‘model country’ partnerships for the adoption of RBF for ECE

RBF for ECE is on the agenda at global fora such as UNGA, Global Education Forum (GEF), World Education Forum and others

High profile global ‘champions’ have been enlisted to advocate for ECE at the highest levels of government and the private sector, including with RBF

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

  • An advanced degree (Masters) in economics, political science, finance, education, or a closely related field.
  • Deep knowledge of, and experience with, global ECE: having a strong personal network in the ECE space - knowing who are the key decision-makers; which are the influential organizations and their inter-relationships; and which are the networks to join
  • Experience developing, convening, and leading networks and/or communities of practice of leaders, solving the toughest challenges
  • A proven track record in rapidly building and leading high performing cross-functional teams
  • Experience developing effective working relationships with senior stakeholders (e.g. Ministerial, Foundation CEO, CSO Directors, etc.) across both the public and private sectors
  • Experience working in a start-up/scale-up environment; comfort and ability to thrive amidst ambiguity and to quickly (re-)adjust to new circumstances
  • You ideally have experience working in or with low- and/or middle-income countries, particularly in Africa, the Middle East or South America
  • Capacity for strategic project oversight and leadership, alongside the ability (and humility) to directly ‘hold the pen’ and get into the detail
  • The ideal candidate would also have a strong understanding of RBF including outcomes-based finance. This is not essential pre-existing experience, but it will be expected that this expertise will be developed rapidly once joining EOF, with a view for the candidate to become a recognised thought leader in the field of RBF for ECE over the course of this assignment. For this reason, the candidate should be excited about and committed to developing this expertise.
  • Fluency in English is required. Proficiency in Spanish, French or Arabic is preferred. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, or Russian) is an asset.

Duty Station

London, United Kingdom.

Duration 11.5 months contract with possibility of extension

Proposed Payment Schedule

Payments will be made monthly. The proposed rate should inclusive of all professional fees, daily allowances, living allowances, and other administrative costs and should assume a full-time commitment.

Insurance: Consultants and individual contractors are fully responsible for arranging, at their own expense, all insurance, such as life, health and other forms of insurance, covering the period of their services as they consider appropriate. They are required to certify that they are covered by medical/health insurance.

How to Apply:

Qualified candidates are requested to upload a cover letter, resume/cv, and their proposed fees (monthly rate in British Sterling) by 03 May 2022. Please also indicate your availability in your cover letter.

Applications submitted without a financial proposal will not be accepted.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

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

  • Think and act strategically
  • Nurture, lead and manage people
  • Innovate and embrace change
  • Manage ambiguity and complexity
  • Demonstrate self-awareness and ethical awareness

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

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 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.


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.

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