International Consultant for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) at the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (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.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: International Consultant for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS)

Job No: 563543
Location: Abuja (with visits to UNICEF field offices)
Contract Type: Consultant
Duration: 40 working days
Categories: Child Protection
Level: Consultancy

How Can You Make a Difference? 

  • This consultancy aims to advance MHPSS systems strengthening within and across child protection, health and education sectors, in humanitarian and development contexts.
  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) is an institutional priority for UNICEF and partners because children, adolescents and families experience mental health and psychosocial concerns across geographical regions. 
  • The COVID-19 crisis also exacerbated existing vulnerabilities, especially in relation to the provision of mental health and psychosocial services to survivors of violence.
  • The Nigeria Country Program for 2023 – 2027 has therefore identified MHPSS as a priority area for children, caregivers, parents and young people, building upon existing programming through child protection, health and education with a focus on addressing violence against children, sexual violence and harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage and other children in need of care and protection. This is also well reflected in the Global UNICEF Child Protection stratagic plan for 2021 – 2023.
  • The provision of mental health and psychosocial support care in Nigeria is limited in scope as the country has few psychologists and professional counsellors, most of whom are urban based.  And yet, many children, adolescents and their families face challenges that affect their emotional and psychosocial wellbeing and who require support.
  • According to UNICEF (2021) , 1 in 6 young people aged 15-24 surveyed  in Nigeria said they often felt depressed, had little interest in doing things, or were worried, nervous or anxious. 
  • Some of the emotional and psychological challenges among adolescents is due to child protection violations including sexual abuse. Nigeria has high rates of sexual assaults on children, disproportionately affecting girls, including those of very young age.
  • A 2014 VAC survey reveals that one in four girls and one in ten boys have been sexually abused.  Gender based violence including sexual abuse has devastating effects on adult and child survivors, their families, and communities.
  • There are extensive immediate and long‐term physical and mental health consequences for survivors. In humanitarian and other contexts, the impact of conflict, floods, climate change and crisis due to inter-ethnic conflicts has drawn attention to significant pyschosocial needs of children, adolescents and their families.
  • Given the protracted and cyclical nature of the humanitarian crisis and the existence of armed groups actively creating an environment characterized by fear and insecurity, there is a need for widespread MHPSS services ranging from peer based pro-social engagements to professional trauma therapy and healing as well as counselling and trauma support provided at schools either through teachers, health workers, social welfare and justice workers as well as auxiliary child protection workers.
  • UNICEF and many partners (government and NGO) have identified technical capacity gaps to provide the needed technical support for the provision of quality mental health psychosocial support services offered to women, children and other vulnerable populations at federal and state levels. 
  • Areas of focus to be covered by this consultancy include strengthening interventions and services as part of a systems approach to MHPSS across development and humanitarian settings, leveraging and building on existing MHPSS programming and coordination across education, health and child protection, capacity building and community engagement consistent with UNICEF’s MHPSS Technical Note (2019) and the Global Multi-Sectoral Operational Framework (2022). 
  • Support to Child Protection, Education and Health sectors to deliver efficient and effective community-based psychosocial support services in selected states as part of MHPSS system strengthening.
  • Technical support to Child Protection, Health and Education sectors to achieve the following components in their workplans.
  • Roll out capacity building for key actors and staff from child protection, health and education on MHPSS programming
  • Advance Cross-Sectoral MHPSS work: Ensure linkages between MHPSS and case management in health, education and child protection. This also includes review and technical inputs for cross-sectoral work that includes MHPSS identification and referrals (such as between education and child protection for in-school and out-of-school children and between child protection and health for identification and referrals that relate to MHPSS).
  • Create Awareness on MHPSS: Identify target groups and existing evidence from across the three sectors and counterparts to develop of focused advocacy messages on MHPSS to: (a) raise awareness on mental health and psychosocial well-being across education, child protection and health sectors; (b) to strengthen self-care and childcare, and care-seeking behaviors of the target audience, and (c) consider messaging that reduces stigma for survivors of sexual violence, people with mental health conditions among others.
  • Strengthen knowledge management and resource mobilisation: Contribute to funding proposals, programme briefs, human-interest stories and presentations to support MHPSS programming in Nigeria and across the above-mentioned sectors.
  • Any other MHPSS activities that relate to advancing MHPSS across child protection, health and education systems in the above-mentioned activities in consultation with the concerned supervisor and Chiefs and technical specialists.

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

  • An Advanced University Degree (Master’s or higher) or Academic background in Social Sciences, Psychology, International development, Public Health or similar relevant discipline.
  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant professional experience in MHPSS programming, project coordination and management for children and adolescents, including in humanitarian contexts.
  • Solid knowledge and understanding of health and social work systems, humanitarian principles, child safeguarding measures and established international standards on mental health and psychosocial support for children and adolescents.
  • Solid knowledge on gender programming, adolescent girls’ programming an asset.
  • Strong coordination, organizational and facilitation skills both face to face and remotely with diverse stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated experience with multi-sectoral programme design and knowledge management, including remote coordination.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently while coordinating closely with different teams.
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.

Core Competencies:

  • Communication
  • Drive for results
  • Analytical


  • Superior English-language skills.

For every Child, you demonstrate:

  • UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS). 
  • To view our competency framework, please visit  here

Application Closing Date
14th July, 2023 (W. Central Africa Standard Time).

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:



  • Nigerian Nationals Not Eligible to Apply.
  • 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. 
  • The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract.
  • Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.