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UNICEF Malawi – International Consultancy – Drone Specialist (Drone Portfolio Manager)

Job Number: 529385 | Vacancy Link
Locations: Africa: Malawi
Work Type : Consultancy

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, innovation!

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as ‘drones’, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are increasingly being deployed for humanitarian and development purposes in Malawi. UNICEF has led efforts in piloting and using the various applications of drones, including launching in collaboration with the Government of Malawi the first humanitarian drone testing corridor, transporting health supplies and medical equipment, monitoring infrastructure programmes, combining drone-acquired imagery with Artificial Intelligence for emergency response, supporting development of the national regulatory framework and a cadre of drone pilots, and support the government on the integration of drones into the national disaster preparedness and response framework.

As UNICEF scales up the application of drones to enhance children’s lives, we recognize the need to look into solutions that enable developing countries like Malawi to sustain the operations of such technology. Our understanding of innovation goes beyond the notion of merely piloting and imposing technology advances, instead we choose to have a systematic approach on expanding and maintaining tested technologies that address humanitarian challenges on a larger scale. These can range from building the local capacity of government, students, and young entrepreneurs, or integrating drones to strengthen health supply chain systems, among others. To drive the vision of a sustainable drone ecosystem for development and humanitarian purposes in Malawi, UNICEF is seeking a technical project coordinator on drones on a temporary assignment.

How can you make a difference?

Under the guidance of the Innovations Programme Manager and in close collaboration with the Pillar Coordinators and thematic experts, the Drone Specialist will be responsible for coordinating all drone related activities in Malawi. S/he will provide technical inputs, support partnerships, and coordinate with cross-cutting stakeholders on the operationalization of the Drone Corridor. S/he will also support the launch of the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA), along with enabling the expansion of the in-country drone ecosystem. Preferably, this position will be based in Malawi with occasional travels within and outside Malawi. However, some of the work can be done remotely subject to the approved work plan. Key expected results include:

  1. Coordinate all drone related activities in the Malawi Country Office (20%)
  • Spearhead coordination of all drone related activities with the Malawi Country Office to ensure consistency, coherence and continuous information flows across the sector. The activities include:
    • Partnership management (academic, private, governmental entities);
    • Resource mobilization, donor reporting, and collaboration with donors;
    • Maintenance of the drone project repository with regular updates and information to maintain project management consistency of drone-focused projects in the office;
    • Preparing procurement, knowledge-sharing, stakeholder management, internal process and other documents (internal or external use) that are related to the drone projects implementation
    • Creating lessons learned and knowledge sharing assets for capacity building and continuity of the drone portfolio
    • Any drone portfolio recruitment related activities (drafting Terms of Reference, Scope of work, conducting selection, etc.)
  • Provide technical guidance and support on application of drone technologies to support UNICEF Malawi programmes for children.
  1. Administration of the Drone Testing Corridor (30%)
  • Support the engagement of industry (both startups and more established players) in both developed and developing countries and facilitate the process of outreach and selection of companies that use the corridor, based on established selection criteria and in close collaboration with UNICEF Malawi Country Office, UNICEF New York and the Government of Malawi.
  • Provide overall logistic coordination and implement protocols (i.e. for partners to come to Malawi, test their technology, engage in skills transfer and training of Malawian engineers, and publish open results of tests).
  • Facilitate relationships and partnerships between the Government of Malawi, UNICEF and relevant industry partners, in order to maintain and enhance the drone corridor.
  • Support participation, testing and preparation of workshops for start-ups from the Office of Innovation Venture Fund cohort of companies.
  • Onboarding and training a national staff member to take-over the administration of the drone corridor by the end of 2020.
  • Working closely with Department of Civil Aviation in transferring the Corridor’s administration mandate back to government by 2020.
  • Collect lessons learned and knowledge-sharing materials, manage the in-corridor collected aerial data and flight log data and present it all in year-end Report for the public use.
  1. Project Implementation and Local Capacity Building (45%)
  • On-board and train national staff to ensure steady local capacity building and sustainability of the drone portfolio; areas: project management, drone operations, stakeholder management, knowledge management, and etc.
  • Supervise, monitor, coordinate and facilitate (where relevant and needed) the following projects/vendors:
    • Multi-purpose, multi-month drone operation in Southern Malawi
    • Predictive flood analytics project in cooperation with UNICEF data team
    • Set-up of Malawi Emergency Response Drone Unit
    • Medical commodity delivery in Northern Malawi
    • Medical commodity delivery in Kasungu district (Drone Corridor)
    • Comparative drone study
  • Provide government authorities with technical support and guidance on emerging hardware and technologies linked to UAVs, including unmanned air traffic management (UTM) system.
  1. Strategy implementation and knowledge management of the Drone Ecosystem (5%)
  • Contribute to the documentation and dissemination of learnings and best practices to ensure effective sharing and generation of knowledge and research on drone-related work in UNICEF Malawi and beyond. By doing so work closely with the UNICEF Office of Innovation and Supply Division to ensure the dissemination of lessons learned.
  • Working closely with governmental partners and Malawi’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Steering Committee, in ensuring the inclusiveness of the drone ecosystem in Malawi, which sustainably scales and systematically integrates the cross-cutting use of drones into development and humanitarian response, through financially viable mechanisms, strategic partnerships and targeted, national investment in technology, infrastructure and capacity development.

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

  • A university degree in one of the following fields is required: Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Aeronautics, Computer Science, Technology Management, Business Management, Public Administration or other technically relevant disciplines.*An advanced university degree in the above fields will be an advantage.
  • Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible professional experience in project management, particularly in testing, implementing and scaling emerging technologies or new hardware is required.
  • Knowledge of technical aspects in aviation, airspace regulations or experience working with UAVs is essential. Experience in the drone industry is an asset.
  • Understanding of mapping, GIS, data science (artificial intelligence, machine learning) and relevant approaches are preferred.
  • Proven ability to manage relationships with partners, including government ministries, universities, intellectual leaders, UN organizations, NGOs and the private sector.
  • Work experience in teaching, skills-training or capacity building or background experience with academia and research is an asset.
  • Experience working in the private sector or managing corporate partnerships is preferred.
  • Experience in start-up companies/organizations and entrepreneurial failures are considered valuable.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • International and developing country work experience is an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required.

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.

View our competency framework

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.


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

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Opening Date Fri Jan 24 2020 17:40:00 GMT+0200 (South Africa Standard Time) South Africa Standard Time

Closing Date Fri Jan 31 2020 23:55:00 GMT+0200 (South Africa Standard Time)


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