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UNICEF Headquarters (Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit)

Research Intern

Location: New York, NY
Duration:  June 15th  – late August
Housing:  Student must secure housing on her own
Qualifications:  Advanced student in Economics, International Relations with an interest in International Development; coursework in statistics/econometrics preferred.

The Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit within the Policy Analysis Section at UNICEF headquarters works on a wide spectrum of child sensitive social policy related issues, such as social budgeting, social protection, economic crisis recovery and child poverty and deprivation. The intern will provide support to the ongoing work of the section around child poverty and equity related issues. 


Child poverty can be captured by looking at individual children directly as well as the households that they live in.  However, some of the poorest children in the world live outside of households – on the streets or in institutions.  UNICEF’s approach to child poverty places importance on identifying deprivations and violations of children’s human rights and assessing these alongside the more commonly used measures of monetary poverty.  Good levels of nutrition, being properly immunized against diseases, having access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation, quality education,  early childhood development stimulation and protection from violence are all hugely important investments in ensuring that children reach their full potential, particularly for those children in low income households or children living in adverse conditions.  UNICEF policies and programmes respond to these child and household level needs in low and middle income countries. In recent years, UNICEF has also taken a lead in ensuring that social protection programmes are designed and implemented with children, and particularly the poorest children, in mind.  Integrated social protection is part of UNICEF’s Social Protection Framework and brings together services and cash monetary needs for children.  This completes the circle in a holistic assessment of child poverty by integrating monetary and non-monetary needs to ensure adequate levels of consumption that meet children’s basic needs, as well as providing the key interventions to ensure that children thrive. 

UNICEF has various on-going projects related to child poverty, among them:

  • Meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing ‘extreme poverty’ involves moving many children out of monetary poverty by 2015 as well as ensuring they are not hungry or malnourished. Recognizing children are often key determinants of monetary poverty risk; UNICEF works on improving child poverty profiles in low income countries that adopt robust ways of identifying poverty across monetary and non-monetary approaches and addresses equity concerns. This analysis in turn helps improve UNICEF’s influence on national policies and programmes aimed at disadvantaged children. 
  • Recognizing that the majority of Global poverty is no longer in the in low income countries, but is in the ‘Middle Income Countries’ (MICs) (such as Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Indonesia), UNICEF has partnered with LIS Cross-National Data Center for child poverty analysis in these MICs. This includes analyzing the potential of the new coverage of data across MICs to identify poverty and inequality across and within these countries in accordance with UNICEF’s new focus on equity.

The internship

The intern will be recruited to reflect skills and interest in quantitative analysis of poverty and inequality. In consultation with supervisors specific activities will include:

  • Participate in on-going collaborative work between UNICEF and LIS, which includes exploring ways of adopting UNICEF’s approach to equity using the LIS harmonized data definitions for a number of countries. The intern will work with other analysts to assess national and cross-national child inequity alongside poverty and inequality profiles
  • Undertake research and literature reviews on poverty and child poverty measurement and incidence.
  • Support the knowledge management, advocacy and communication function of the section, this includes updating the child poverty blog and official UNICEF website; Provide assistance to the production of bi-monthly Child Poverty Insights on-line series; Provide assistance to the facilitation of the child poverty community of practice;  Maintain up-to date overview of countries conducting child poverty analysis


Dr Martin Evans, Poverty and Inequality Specialist in SPEA will lead this work and will supervise the intern

To Apply:

To apply, read the application guidelines, find the internship(s) of interest on Handshake, our job, internship and resource portal, and submit the required application materials by March 8, 2015.  Applicants advancing to the semifinalist round will be required to meet with Kirk Lange, Director of International Experiential Learning. The selected candidate will be eligible for Lynk/UAF funding. Please see for details.

Nazifa Tasnim, UNICEF research intern, at UN Headquarters