Have you ever thought about building your career in the field of children's rights, specifically as a child protection officer?
Today, we'd like to give you some advice on how to make your resume competitive and emphasize the items that should definitely be on it.
What is meant by child protection? Children should be protected from any kind of abuse, exploitation of their labor force, violence, and neglect.
The protection of children's rights is discussed in Article 19 of the UNCRC ( the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child). It says that the use of violence against a child can never be justified or acceptable in society. Every child and adolescent has a legal right to confidentially report that force has been used on them, and the authorities, in turn, have a duty to investigate, ensuring the child's safety.
Most importantly, organizations that seek workers for these positions that involve working with children look for workers who already have similar experience working in other organizations as well as in the public sector. To put it another way, working in the field of children's rights is considered a skill that is transferred internally.
Each of the experts in the field has knowledge not only of developing and promoting of children's rights but also of human rights, international law, and relations, political aspects as well as civil issues.
A Child Protection Officer in the United Nations (UN) is a professional who works to safeguard the rights and well-being of children in various settings, including conflict zones, disaster-affected areas, and vulnerable communities. These officers often work within a UN agency, such as UNICEF or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or other humanitarian organizations in partnership with the UN.
Developing and implementing child protection programs and strategies that address the needs of vulnerable children, including those affected by conflict, natural disasters, or other challenging situations.
Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of child protection interventions and making recommendations for improvement.
Collaborating with governments, civil society organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen national child protection systems and policies.
Providing technical assistance and capacity-building support to partners and stakeholders working on child protection issues.
Advocating for the rights of children and raising awareness about child protection concerns in various forums and platforms.
Responding to incidents of child abuse, exploitation, or violence and ensuring appropriate action is taken, including case management, referrals, and support services.
Ensuring that child protection principles and best practices are integrated into humanitarian response plans and programs.
Child Protection Officers are expected to have a strong background in child protection, social work, or a related field, along with relevant experience in humanitarian or development contexts. They should also have excellent communication, advocacy, and project management skills, as well as cultural sensitivity and the ability to work effectively in challenging environments.
Turning to statistics, working in the field of child protection more often attracts female professionals, which is why it is quite not uncommon to see fewer men who want to work in this field. But, there is usually a 50/50 ratio among both male and female representatives.
Successful work in child protection most often requires knowledge of the two main languages - English and French, namely fluency in English at the oral and written levels and in French at the working knowledge level. However, since the work of child protection officers is concentrated in areas of crisis and conflict, a working knowledge of Arabic and Spanish is also desirable.
The impact of having a master's degree
Many organizations, including Unicef for example, require applicants to have a graduate degree in order to be hired for child protection work. On the other hand, NGOs are more receptive and may give you a job if you only have a bachelor's degree.
It is worth noting that candidates who have 5 years of experience in a position related to the field have much more employment opportunities. Unfortunately, there is not a wide range of choices for young professionals.
If we talk about NGOs, here you can count on access to a fairly large number of jobs, if you have experience of 3 years. The more professional experience you have, the more likely it is that you will be able to get a good position in the field of child protection.
Child Protection Officers work in places where they are needed most
Conflict zones, refugee camps, areas with humanitarian crises or border control are places where child protection professionals are always needed. In each of the aforementioned zones, you need to know how to act and what decision to make, because sometimes time is limited, which is why experience in these situations plays an important role. As mentioned earlier, in many cases experience is a mandatory requirement for an employee.
There are certain profiles in child protection that are harder to find. Among those areas where there is a great need for staffing:
Years of Experience
1 to 4 years
A junior-level Child Protection Analyst
3 to 7 years
A mid-level Child Protection Officer
8 to 10 years
A senior level Child Protection Officer
When interviewing for a Child Protection Officer position in the United Nations, you can expect questions that assess your technical expertise, experience, and soft skills relevant to the role. Here are some sample interview questions you might encounter:
Remember that the interviewer will be interested in understanding not only your technical knowledge but also your ability to work effectively with others, adapt to different situations, and make sound decisions in challenging circumstances. Be prepared to provide specific examples from your experience to demonstrate your skills and expertise in child protection.
Child protection training courses are essential for professionals working in the field of child protection, as well as for those interested in building a career in this area. These courses can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and best practices needed to effectively protect the rights and well-being of children in various contexts. Here are some child protection training courses and resources, along with their respective links:
Please note that some of these courses may require registration or have fees associated with them. It is important to review the specific course requirements and details before enrolling.