This talk will address UNICEF’s rapid change in gears from a small program focusing on policy and advocacy investments for children, to a large-scale humanitarian program supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan. Robert Jenkins will discuss how the initial response was influenced by uncertainty about the duration of the crisis and the urgent need to provide life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. Later, with the increase in child poverty and inequities in Jordan, UNICEF shifted its programmatic focus from solely Syrian refugee children to all vulnerable children in the country. Jenkins will also delve into UNICEF’s new five-year country program, which started this year, and targets the most vulnerable children based on their respective needs rather than their nationality and background.
Robert Jenkins joined the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in 1995 and brings over 20 years of experience in international development programming in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He currently serves as the Country Representative of UNICEF Jordan.
Prior to his appointment in Jordan, Jenkins served as the Deputy Director of the Division of Policy and Strategy at UNICEF Headquarters from 2009-2014, where he provided leadership in the development of UNICEF’s Strategic Plan, global program approaches and policies. From 1995-2009, he served with UNICEF in program and management positions in a variety of countries including Uganda, Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, and Mozambique.
Jenkins earned his PhD in Education from the University of Bath and his Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom.