Position Title:     Education Specialist  


Level:            P3


Location:        Nairobi


Duration:        364 days



Kenya ranks as having the ninth highest number of out-of-school children (OOSC) in the world (UNESCO, 2012). Nationally, nine out of 100 Kenyan children(aged 6-16)are out-of-school on any given day. An estimated 40% of Kenya’s OOSC live in arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) regions throughout the country. The question is why? UNICEF Kenya has identified four main obstacles that continue to preventing an estimated 2.9 million children in Kenya from accessing basic quality education for all:


  • Low access to education: Poverty, child-labour, ethnic conflict, and natural disasters across ASAL areas have prevented hundreds of thousands of children from coming to school. 

  • Low demand for education: Out-of-school children in ASAL areas are especially vulnerable to structural inequalities across gender, disability, religion and caste in a region where traditional values often prevent parents and community members to send their children to school.

  • Low supply of education: In ASAL counties, nomadic families are often in search of water and pastures, thereby needing mobile schools to follow their movements. Unfortunately, only 37% of permanent schools have access to safe water and 9% have latrines with minimal hygienic conditions; both of which deter school attendance.  

  • Low quality of education:  The quality of teaching/learning in ASAL counties remains low. In 2009, a total of 651 class eight girls in North Eastern province completed their primary school exams; more than 80% received a zero in maths, despite learning the subject in school for four years.

The picture is clear: quality basic education is not accessible for all Kenyan children, especially in ASAL counties.  UNICEF Kenya is working very closely with Government of Kenya and other Development partners to change this picture and increase access for out-of-school children nationwide through Operation Come-to-School.




  1. Overall

In response to the pressing problem of Kenya’s OOSC population, UNICEF Kenya in its new Country Programme is committed to launch a 3-year programme entitled, ‘Operation Come-to-School’ to reduce the number of out-of-school children in Kenya by 300,000 by 2018. This is new partnership that is under discussion with Qatar’s Education Foundation


Globally, UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics have launched The Global Out-of-School Children Initiative (OOSCI) to: (i) develop comprehensive profiles of excluded children using consistent and innovative statistical models; (ii) link these profiles to barriers and bottlenecks that lead to exclusion; and (iii) identify, promote and implement sound educational practices and policies that address exclusion from a multi-sectorial perspective for all.

Nationally, UNICEF Kenya continues to succeed in delivering quality education to the most marginalized and hard-to-reach children in close partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST). In a recent UNICEF Kenya sponsored study, over the last  15 years, the number of Kenya’s out-of-school primary school aged children who have never attended school has decreased by 0.8 million, thereby reflecting a significant achievement in successfully addressing the problem of educating OOSC over the last two decades.


UNICEF Kenya’s Operation Come-to-School initiative directly aligns with Kenya’s 2014-2017 National Education Sector Programme’s (NESP) to (i) Accelerate access to education for hard-to-reach children, especially those in ASALs and informal settlements (ii) Enhance universal access to Basic Education by increasing primary Net Enrolment Rate (NER) and completion rate to 100% by 2015 and (iii) Utilize the Child Friendly School concept to increase the quality of learning. The initiative also aligns with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Dakar Framework of Action on Education for All, and the Millennium Development Goals , all of which Kenya is a signatory. All activities of Operation Come-to-School also align with Articles 43 and 53 of Kenya’s Constitution 2010 that promotes education for all.


  1. Need for Programme Manager

UNICEF-Kenya uses the Five Dimensions of Exclusion, developed by the Consortium of Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity (CREATE), to describe the types of OOSC it seeks to address. The proposed Operation Come-to-School program will need a programme manager that is capable of collaborating across a variety of educational stakeholders (government and non-government) to reach children of primary age who are not in primary school (Dimension 2), children of lower-secondary age who are not in primary (Dimension 3) and children who are in primary school and at-risk of dropping out (Dimensions 4 and 5).


The Programme Manager will to lead a consortium of implementing partners to reduce the national population of OOSC by 300,000 across these four dimensions of exclusion in six Kenyan ASAL counties, two urban counties, and one coastal island county. The successful candidate will need to build on his/her previous experience reaching OOSC across five specific domains so as to align with UNICEF Kenya’s continued demonstrated success in the sector:


  1. Children who are seen aslabourers rather than learners by impoverished community members through UNICEF’s increased enrolment campaigns

  2. Children fromnomadic pastoralist communities who are in need of access to education that is on the move and relevant through UNICEF’s mobile schooling

  3. Children who are victims of tribal conflict, natural disaster, or extreme poverty that need adequate boarding school facilities and alternative basic education services (ABE) to secure their place to live and learn on a sustainable basis

  4. Girls who are often prejudiced by traditional values from accessing educational opportunities to be included through UNICEF’s high successful girls’ scholarship schemes. 

  5. Children identified with special need to be included through focussed interventions and provided opportunity to quality education


The Programme Manager will need to lead the proposed Operation Come-to-School program that builds on UNICEF Kenya’s 43 years of experience scaling successful OOSC interventions that bring children to school successfully.


Scope of Work


  1. Programme Delivery


Through a seven-pronged approach, the successful Programme Manager will need to collaborate with a variety of educational stakeholders within Kenya to increase the levels of demand, supply, quality, access and gender equity in the provision of education for OOSC through school, sub-county, county and national-level interventions to bring 300,000 OOSC to school by 2018:


  1. Increase the demand by OOSC to attend school by scaling county-level enrolment and attendance drives for out-of-school children through 9 county-level OOSC baselines and enrolment campaigns reaching 300,000 OOSC. 


  1. Increase the supplyof education for OOSC by improving school infrastructure through classroom construction, solar lighting, WASH facilities, and classroom rehabilitation. 100 schools will be targeted to enable rehabilitated school infrastructure across the 9 targeted counties.  


  1. Increase the quality of education for OOSC by strengthening in-school teaching and learning processes through the child-friendly school approach in low-cost primary boarding schools. 100 schools will be targeted to have CFS-compliant teaching and learning materials and capacity built among education service providers. 


  1. Increase levels of accessto education for OOSC in pastoralist and nomadic communities by providing mobile schools and alternative basic education for nomadic education. 50 mobiles schools and alternative basic education centres will be targeted to receive quality education toolkits and necessary capacity development.  


  1. Increase gender equityin the provision of education for OOSC by supporting girls’ schooling by expanding UNICEF’s Northern Kenyan Education Trust (NoKET) girls’ scholarship scheme, women mentorship program and reading interventions. 50 schools will be targeted to receive integrated retention strategies through provision of girls’ scholarships, school holiday mentorship and catch-up schemes for learning. 


  1. Develop modelcounty-based OOSC interventions to scale nationwide by strengthening county education systems to implement model county education interventions for OOSC that can be replicated across all forty-seven counties in Kenya through devolution.  9 model county education systems will be targeted to develop county education plans developed, OOSC intervention strategies documented, and sustainability plans adopted. 


  1. Increase the capacity of governmental mechanisms for improved real-time monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for tracking OOSC overtime by expanding UNICEF Kenya’s innovative SMS/web-based EMISLight monitoring and evaluation system to better collect, analyze and act on real-time data about student access, attendance, learning outcomes and completion for OOSC nationwide.  The Programme Manager will be responsible for overseeing an implementing partner’s continued roll-out of a nationally integrated, real-time, SMS/Web-based EMISLight information management dashboard operated by education stakeholders at the school, sub-county, county and national levels for tracking OOSC data about student access, learning and completion rates nationwide.  


  1. Programme Monitoring and Evaluation

The Programme Manager will be responsible for tracking and reporting program achievements and financial expenditures in three ways. First, he/she will need to coordinate UNICEF-Kenya’s field office personnel in Nairobi, Turkana and Garissa and encourage strategic on-the-ground program implementation in the six targeted ASAL counties, two urban counties, and one coastal island county. Second, he/she will need to effectively collaborate across UNICEF Kenya’s wide network of implementing partners (i.e. organizations like Save the Children, World Vision, Plan International, World Reader, and the Aga Khan Foundation, etc.) to develop implementation plans and ensure monitoring and evaluation efforts meet international reporting standards while also utilizing local expertise, networks, and experience to deliver results for children. Third, the Programme Manager will need to apply his/her previous experience in educational management to oversee UNICEF Kenya’s implementing partner’s continued roll-out of an innovative online/SMS-based monitoring and evaluation system that enables UNICEF Kenya officials and beneficiaries to better collect, analyse, and act on OOSC data in a more cost-effective and real-time manner.  

In partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Kenyan Primary School Head Teachers Association, and Echomobile.org (a Nairobi-based technology company), the Programme Manager will need to ensure that programme data about the progress of reducing the number of out-of-school children remains accessible, understandable, and meaningful for stakeholders at the school, sub-county, county, national, and international levels.


  1. Programme Sustainability

The Programme Manager will need to work in close partnership with the MOEST, bi-lateral donors, multi-lateral donors, private sectors, quasi-governmental organizations, research institutions, academia and local implementing partners to scale and sustain the seven-pronged approach for reducing the number of OOSC nationwide.  

To do so, the Programme Manager will need to build on UNICEF Kenya’s existing strong position of leadershipwithinthe sector to continue influencing educational research, policy and practice at all levels of the educational system, including but not limited to national, county, and sub-county government officials, members of Kenya’s Education Donor Coordinator Group, the Global Partnership in Education, and the Kenyan Primary School Head Teachers Association. Whereas the current programme seeks to increase access to education for 300,000 OOSC, the long-term goal for UNICEF Kenya and its partnering institution, Qatar’s Education Above All Foundation, is to reduce the number of OOSC to zero. The Programme Manager will need to quickly identify strengths and weaknesses across the programme in order to ensure long-term sustainability and scalability of the programme to increase access to quality education for all.


  1. Potential Constraints

The proposed programme will operate under the following assumptions for effective implementation: 

The transition of the governance accountability system and devolution process is in place, and the overall national education strategy is realigned with Kenya’s new constitution.  

  • The government commitment is in place and the MOEST capacity at national and sub-county levels is strong enough to bring OOSC to school. 

  • The government’s financial and direct budgetary allocations for the education sector remain constant and the political will to ensure quality education for all school children will continue to be given priority at the sub-county, county and national levels.

  • The security of targeted counties remains constant.

  • EMIS data is reliable, up-to-date, and accessible to all parties; thereby creating sufficient baseline data from which to measure programmatic progress and ultimate success.


The Programme Manager may experience a number of obstacles throughout the programme, but must be responsible for outlining a clear risk management plan and adopting a number of mitigation strategies to ensure the success of the programme – both programmatically and financially in terms of donor reporting and results for children.

AWP areas covered


Outcome 10: By 2018, children and adolescents in Kenya will receive child-centred quality teaching learning with improved learning outcomes through evidence-based basic education plans and Child Friendly School standards that are implemented with full participation of parents, communities and county governments, including in emergencies, disadvantaged and vulnerable urban contexts.   


Output 10.1: By 2018, evidence based equity focus policies, strategies and plans developed and implemented by the education sector at national, county and community level focusing on Nomadic, Peace Education/DRR, CFS and children with special needs, girls and children affected by conflict within NESSP framework.

Output 10.2:By 2018, boys and girls aged 6-18 years old have increased access to quality basic education, transition to secondary and alternative learning programs focusing on the most vulnerable children.

Output 10.3: By 2018, government and partners have increased capacity to implement inclusive and innovative CFS minimum standards to promote retention, age-appropriate learning outcomes and improved teachers’ skills benefitting boys and girls including children with special needs


Expected Deliverables


The Programme Manager for Operation Come-to-School will support UNICEF Kenya’s mandate in utilizing Qatar’s Education Above All Foundation’s funding to bring 300,000 out-of-school children to school by 2017 in partnership with the MOEST, KEPSHA and other implementing partners. In particular, the following deliverables will be expected:


  1. Programme Delivery - Provide senior-level overall programme management and coordination to ensure the successful design, effective implementation strategy, and relevant monitoring and evaluation scheme for the launch and roll-out of UNICEF Kenya’s Operation Come-to-School programme, funded by Qatar’s Education Above All Foundation. Bi-weekly reporting of budgetary allocations and programme delivery across all implementing partners will be provided to UNICEF Kenya’s Education Specialist, Quality / Chief of Education for review and action.  

  2. Programme Monitoring and Evaluation – Coordinate and compile baseline, mid-line, and end line data for OOSC in the targeted 9 counties to measure the progress of programme deliverables, specifically as they relate to effective strategies for enrolling out-of-school children and retaining newly enrolled pupils in school. Monthly reporting of how well implementing partners are progressing towards reaching 300,000 OOSC will be provided to UNICEF Kenya’s Education Specialist, Quality / Chief of Education for review and action.

  3. Programme Sustainability – Develop and support new innovative educational partnerships, policies and research across all programme stakeholders and beneficiaries to enable future programmatic sustainability and scalability nationwide. Quarterly reporting of overall programme innovation, successes, and limitations and donor reports with case studies will be provided to UNICEF Kenya’s Education Specialist, Quality / Chief of Education for review, action, and presentation to donor audiences.  

  4. Programme Advocacy – Represent UNICEF Kenya and the interests of all of Kenya’s out-of-school children at high-level and grass root level educational forums to influence more effective educational policy, research and practice for reducing the number of OOSC nationwide. Bi-monthly and annual advocacy and documentation materials about how to influence government and non-government policies and practices for reducing the number of OOSC will be provided to UNICEF Kenya’s Education Specialist, Quality / Chief of Education for review, action and presentation to donor audiences.

Desired Background and Experience


The successful candidate will demonstrate the following qualifications for the duties of the post:

Competency Profile (For details on competencies please refer to the UNICEF Professional Competency Profiles.)  

i)  Core Values (Required)

•  Commitment  

•  Diversity and Inclusion  

•  Integrity     


  1. Core Competencies (Required)

 •  Communication  [ II ]  

 •  Working with People   [ II ]       

 •  Drive for Results   [ II ]   


  1. Functional Competencies (Required)

 •  Leading and Supervising    [ I ]                       

 •  Formulating Strategies and Concepts [ II ]

 •  Analyzing   [ III]  

 •  Relating and Networking [ II ]

 •  Deciding and Initiating Action [ II ]

 •  Applying Technical Expertise [ III ]


iv)  Technical Knowledge  [ II ]

  • Masters in relevant academic field  (international education, international development, project management, education)

  • Relevant knowledge of Child-Friendly Schools, Girls’ Education Scholarship Schemes, Nomadic Education, Alternative Basic Education, and School Improvement/School Effectiveness

  • More than 5 years of experience in managing large-scale, high-impact educational programme delivery schemes for improving quality education for the most marginalized populations, particularly in low/middle income countries for bringing out-of-school children to school andschooling to out-of-school children

  • Demonstrated application of innovative approaches to educational policy reform, research and practice, especially for improving quality education for out-of-school children is critical.

  • Effective cross-cultural communication skills

  • Proficient in EMIS data collection, analysis and dissemination methods, particularly for OOSC.

  • Excellent command of the English language, with proven writing skills. Knowledge of Kiswahili is desired, but not required

  • Knowledge of the global commitment on aid effectiveness, including the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action as well as knowledge of the Global Partnerships for Education (GPE).



Interested and suitable candidates should ensure that they forward their applications (a cover letter, CV, and signed P11 form which can be downloaded at http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc), with reference: KCO/EDU/2015-035 by cob 08 September to:


The Human Resources Manager

UNICEF Kenya Country Office

Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

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