Staff Counsellor

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

In the past two years, countries in the ESA region have experienced an alarming increase in the number of new, or re-emerging humanitarian emergencies, including public health (including Ebola, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, wild poliovirus, and Cholera), armed conflicts and natural disasters emergencies.

UNICEF ESAR has prioritized the critical need to provide effective and efficient psychosocial counseling to UNICEF staff and their family members at multiple locations in ESAR.


The purpose of this external announcement is to attract suitable Staff Counsellor candidates interested in working in any of the countries within UNICEF’s East and Southern Africa region to respond to emergencies for the next 36 months.

The countries within each region are listed on the following website: Where we work | UNICEF

How can you make a difference?

1. Preventative and protective psychosocial support:

  • Provide individual and group counselling to UNICEF staff as needed.
  • Perform individual assessments in the case of individual staff members experiencing difficulty coping and/or presenting mental health-related symptoms or syndromes.
  • Facilitate evidence-based trauma-informed interventions for staff and their dependents.
  • Identify adequate local resources and facilitate referrals to external mental health professionals for psychological/psychiatric support whenever necessary.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive emergency personnel-focused mental health programme in collaboration with the Regional Staff Counsellor.

2. Provide Critical Incident Stress Management to groups and/or individual staff following critical incidents. A holistic approach to critical incident management is used and may include services such as practical support, psychoeducation, psychological first aid, strategic advice to leadership, family support and individual or group interventions.

The Staff Counsellor will be responsible for:

  • Contacting the affected staff member(s) and offering information about typical stress reactions, support and referral information.
  • Facilitating appropriate traumatic stress interventions, following a critical incident or traumatic event.
  • Recommending and arranging for individual and/or group follow-up support to staff and their dependents.
  • Regular follow-up contact and visits to staff in field offices.
  • Coordination with UNDSS counsellors, agency counsellors and PSVs, to ensure the provision

3. Monitoring and oversight:

  • Work closely with multidisciplinary teams to identify and address psychological risks at the individual, unit and organizational levels.
  • Provide guidance/ support to managers and senior management on the management of staff where mental health conditions are involved and advise on emergency psycho-social support management for staff.
  • Advise country office management upon request, with the aim at improving the working atmosphere in their offices and resolving problems of a work-related or personal nature that adversely affect job performance and productivity.
  • Provide training and information sessions on crisis and stress management, problem-solving and conflict resolution as needed.
  • Monitor environmental factors that could lead to stress, with particular focus on stress related to critical incidents, including emergency and crisis situations, with respect to staff members at the duty stations.

4. Other:

  • Provide technical supervision and training to the Peer Support Volunteers (PSV) network.
  • Coordinate with UNDSS, Regional Staff Counsellor, UN staff/stress counsellors, and Peer Support Volunteers to ensure adequate psycho-social support during emergencies.
  • Contribute to policies on staff mental health and well-being and perform administrative duties, including participating in regional meetings and other activities, completing reporting requirements, etc.
  • Maintain detailed records of activities and provide comprehensive reports to the Regional Staff Counsellor.
  • Ensure the adherence to the professional standards of the UNSSCG as well as the Code of Ethics for UN Staff Counsellors.

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

Education:  Advance MA University Degree in counselling, clinical psychology or related mental health profession.  Additional training or certification in Trauma and Stress Management is an added advantage.


  • At least five (5) years of national and international work experience in staff support, mental health, cross cultural communications, counselling and related areas preferably gained within the UN system or international development/humanitarian aid sector, more particularly in emergency contexts.
  • Experience of in-country support to staff in emergency and high demanding working environment
  • Able to work effectively in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Ability to quickly negotiate effectively by exploring a range of possibilities.
  • Ability to quickly build rapport with individuals and groups; maintains an effective network of individuals across organizational departments.
  • Contributes and tries out innovative approaches and insights

Language Requirements:

Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of other UN Language or language of the duty station is an asset.

Apply Now

Advertised: 28 May 2024 E. Africa Standard Time
Deadline: 18 Jun 2024 E. Africa Standard Time