Image: PF4C workshop participants, Florence, 2017

The PF4C course will not be offered in 2022. 

UNICEF is committed to making public resources work better for children. How and where governments spend their funds makes a huge difference to service coverage and quality in all sectors, and often determines whether the most disadvantaged children are truly reached. 

For every sector and for country programmes as a whole, UNICEF must increasingly be able to support countries to spend their resources wisely:  budgeting sufficiently, and spending funds effectively, efficiently and equitably.  This is recognized in the Strategic Plan as a cross-cutting enabling environment issue relevant for all sectors, and as a specific component under Social Inclusion: Public Finance for Children  (PF4C).  

In order to be effective in this task, UNICEF staff require enhanced skills to both influence budget decisions and support government capacity to improve how funds are used.  As a starting point,  UNICEF staff will benefit from a strengthened understanding of:

  • How policy decisions, allocation of resources and budget execution impact on service delivery and ultimately on whether or not equitable results for children are achieved.   
  • The steps that governments can take to improve the adequacy, efficiency and equity of public investments in children.
  • How best to support counterparts –making use of external or in-house expertise – to improve budget policies and practices for better child outcomes.

Course objectives

This course aims to enhance UNICEF staff’s knowledge on budgets and public financial management (PFM) issues, and equip them with skills to use this information for advocacy, programme design, and oversight of technical support.  

The goals of the learning programme are:

  • To build a critical mass of competent program staff in UNICEF who are equipped with timely and relevant knowledge and tools to support advocacy and  and programming related to sector-specific and cross-sectoral  financing, budgeting and public financial management; and,
  • To contribute effectively to the strengthening of the national budgetary framework and PFM systems to sustain and scale up overall programme results, particularly for the most vulnerable children and their families.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Interpret and apply key concepts encountered in main policy or political discourses or processes;
  • Connect dots to detect signs of budget or PFM related constraints to results for children in a sector or cross-sectorally;
  • Map key actors/powers and partners for effective leveraging and influencing;
  • Design ToR to further investigate PFM problems and identify solutions; and
  • Craft high-level communication messages to advocate for, raise awareness or alerts on issues with significant implications for children.

Course structure

This course will be delivered through a blended-learning approach combining a distance learning component with a face-to-face workshop. The course will therefore be delivered in two phases.

Phase I: E-learning

Every week the participants will have new materials in the e-learning platform which combine theoretical knowledge with practical exercises. Participants will interact through a discussion forum moderated by PFM experts. 

Phase II: A 5-day face-to-face workshop

Following the completion of the e-learning phase, there will be a 5-day face-to-face workshop. The workshop offers an opportunity to practically apply what has been learnt in the e-learning phase. The workshop will be moderated by PFM experts and seasoned UNICEF practitioners in the area of PF4C. Just as important, participants will have the opportunity to learn from their peers who have encountered similar situations in their countries.

Among the outcomes of the face-to-face workshop will be a proposal of possible programmatic activities in the context of their country programs to tackle the budget and PFM related problems each participant has identified.

The location of the 5 day face-to-face workshop will be announced in due time. Staff will bare the cost of their travel and DSA.

Course content

The course content covers the results chain from the design of child-related policies to the achievement of children outcomes. The results chain reviews how children policies are translated into sector plans and then budget allocations, to explain how these transform into actual expenditure to achieve sector outputs, and ultimately children outcomes. The sector perspectives then are framed within the overall PFM system and budget process within which sector operate.

The content consists of the following modules:

  • Course roadmap and context: an overview of the PF4C programmatic activities.
  • Fiscal space: explaining the options for greater and more equitable investments in children, along with trade-offs involved.
  • PFM systems and the budget cycle: describing the core concepts of PFM and the role of the budget cycle in public financial decision making.
  • Budget Cycle: explaining the processes from policy development to budget approval.
  • Budget Cycle: budget execution and evaluation.
  • The politics of the budget: the political determinants of the budget allocation and execution, and the role of informal processes in budget management.
  • Fiscal decentralisation:  the importance of effective financial management at the sub-national level in making budgets work for children.
  • Overview of analytical tools: UNICEF experience for identifying budgets and PFM related constraints to equitable results, including that for improving child-focused public expenditure data.
  • Expenditure analysis tools: reviewing tools to monitor expenditures at different moments of the service delivery chain.
  • Value for Money analysis: explaining the tools to measure and maximize value for money, particularly in the social sectors.
  • Expenditure and Revenue Equity Analysis: including analytical methods and key financing issues and policy options for addressing equity concerns in the social sectors. 

Who will benefit?

UNICEF programme and management staff in Education, Health, Nutrition, WASH, Child Protection, HIV/AIDS, Social Policy, and other cross-cutting areas in the country office, regional office and HQ.

Nomination process:

Staff must be nominated by their office management to participate. The sponsoring office will be responsible for travel and DSA. This is an internal UNICEF learning programme, therefore there is no tuition fee. 

NOTE: All participants are expected to meet the performance criteria for the online components in order to graduate to the second phase. The quality of the e-learning courses depends greatly on the inputs and interactions of participants, so weekly contributions to online discussions count towards performance assessment.


--->> Deadline for Nomination: May 3, 2020 (or once capacity has been reached)
--->> Phase I (e-learning): June 1, 2020- September 15, 2020
--->> Phase II (face to face workshop): Provisionally planned for October/November - Decision Pending Review

To note – The Learning and Development team is monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and will consider alternatives for the face to face workshop. This includes deferring workshops to 2021 or redesigning the workshop material for virtual delivery. Participants will be advised by mid of July 2020.

Application Process:

1- First obtain formal endorsement from Senior Management (your Representative, Deputy Representative, Director, Deputy Director, or OIC), using the attached Endorsement formScan a signed copy of the document in PDF.
In case you do not have access to a scanner, printer...please follow this instruction: Seek an e-mail endorsement from your Head of Office (Representative, Deputy Representative, Director, Deputy Director, or OIC), then screenshot the approval (by using the free Snipping tool available on every UNICEF pc, or press "Alt + Print Screen", and insert the approval as an image/jpeg file into the Endorsement form which is in a MS Word document. Save and submit through the online registration process.
2- Fill in the online application form

Contact details:

Vanya Kasakova
Learning and Development Specialist
Learning and Knowledge Exchange Section
Division of Data, Analytics, Planning and Monitoring