My Experience as a JPC with UNICEF Tunisia
By Alicia Dyck
Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.
Image 1: Alicia Dyck
My name is Alicia Dyck and I am currently working as a remote Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) with UNICEF Tunisia. Specifically, I am working within UNICEF Tunisia’s Child Protection Unit. After graduating with my Bachelor of Arts degree in 2022, it was unclear to me what I should be looking for in a job. I am very passionate about global development (I studied global development and French during my undergraduate degree), and I wanted to find a job that would be a perfect stepping stone into this sector. I was also going to be applying to law school in September, and I wanted a job that would also cater to my interests in international law. Like many young people, I had always dreamed about a career within the United Nations system, but I was unsure of what that would look like. When I first discovered the United Nations Association of Canada’s International Youth Internship (IYIP) Programme, I immediately knew that I wanted to apply, and swiftly sent in an application.
I was extremely excited once I learned that I got the job as a JPC, specifically with UNICEF Tunisia. From the very early interviews for this position, the UNICEF Tunisia team has been extremely welcoming and kind, which only makes me want to visit Tunisia someday! I was very curious about the child protection sector and was motivated to learn as much as I could about it as my internship went on. I have learned that the child protection sector is extensive, including topics like juvenile detention, adoption and foster care, online violence, and much more.
As a JPC for UNICEF Tunisia, my work is highly varied and always very interesting. I started my position with a lot of UNICEF training, which set the tone for my position and introduced me to some of the ways that the UN system functions. As for projects, I have done a lot of research, data entry, and 2-pagers. I was introduced to 2-pagers by my supervisors at UNICEF and have learned about the importance of these documents as introductory advocacy and informational pamphlets of sorts. They are apparently very common within the UN system, which I was surprised to hear. Currently, I am working alongside another JPC to reform Tunisia’s current child protection code. This involves a lot of research, discussion, and investigation into best practices for child protection law worldwide.
Image 2: JPC Alicia Conducting research for reforming the child code.
As my internship will be coming to a close at the end of February, I can’t help but reflect on how valuable this internship has been to me. I am very grateful to have gotten my foot in the door with the United Nations. Although the remote work environment can sometimes be challenging and a bit lonely, I am very happy that I can get in touch with the team at UNICEF at any time to ask questions or check in about my work. I have made great career connections, collaborated on projects that I am passionate about, and have found new sectors of international development that I would love to pursue in the future. I have absolutely loved getting to work within a sector that I wasn’t informed about and have had the privilege of meeting and working alongside the most amazing and dedicated colleagues at UNICEF Tunisia. They are constantly inspiring me and motivating me to become an advocate for what I am passionate about, which now includes child protection. I am not sure where my career will take me, but I hope to take all that I have learned about child protection and human rights with me in my next steps.