Working as a Junior Professional Consultant with UNICEF HQ
By Karimah Naguib
Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.
Image 1: Karimah Naguib
My name is Karimah Naguib and I'm a Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) at UNICEF Headquarters in New York. I am currently supporting the Education Sector Planning, Analytics, and Data unit by conducting thematic research and contributing to global reports pertaining to education recovery and equitable education financing. I recently graduated with an MSc in Globalization and Development with Distinction from the University of London, SOAS. Here I learned to critically analyze public policy with a political economy lens. This skill is helping me immensely during my time at UNICEF where I am regularly analyzing countries’ education sector plans and education policies using a political economy lens. I evaluate how these education policies impact hierarchies of power and if they are effective pro-poor policies that can lead to equitable educational outcomes for all learners.
To give some insights into the work I do, I will highlight some projects I have had the opportunity to work on. A large project I have been working on was co-authoring one of UNICEF’s global reports, Education in a post-COVID world, which looks at policy measures taken during school closures and reopening based on country survey data and initiatives implemented by countries and regions to recover and accelerate learning since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also contributed to the additional seven regional briefs that were derived from the global report by adding case studies of education recovery strategies implemented within the given regions. Getting to work on this project from inception to publication was a challenging and insightful experience. I have also had the opportunity to make contributions to another global report, Transforming Education with Equitable Financing. Another noteworthy project was writing an in-depth funding proposal and accompanying PowerPoint on Risk Planning for Resilient Education Systems in five countries facing humanitarian crises. Working through the theory of change project design with my supervisor challenged me to think holistically about how the project deliverables would contribute to the overall objective.
Image 2: Global UNICEF report JPC worked on
Working at UNICEF has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I am extremely fortunate to have a wonderful supervisor who is supportive of giving me additional tasks and responsibilities related to my areas of interest. Although I am currently working remotely from Vancouver, British Columbia, I regularly take part in team meetings as well as sector-wide meetings from HQ. Within the Sector Planning, Analytics, and Data team, we have a very international group, with colleagues working from many different regions. Getting to draw from their expertise and international perspectives has been invaluable to my JPC experience. I would highly recommend applying to take part in the JPC program for anyone interested in getting their foot in the door at the United Nations and wanting to continue their career in international development.
Image 3: UNICEF HQ team meeting