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Data for Development Associate, Accelerator Lab Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

  • Organization: UNV - United Nations Volunteers
  • Location: Kuala Lumpur
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Statistics
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
  • Closing Date: Closed


Mission and objectives

UNDP Malaysia is committed to assist Malaysia and its people in establishing sustainable pathways to development. UNDP’s analytical work, household surveys, and policy offerings found uptake from multiple Ministries – Planning, Finance, Enterprise Development, National Unity, Environment, and Communications. UNDP led 3 of the 4 pillars of the United Nations Sustainable Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF). We combine global networks and best practices to indigenous knowledge and experiences to overcome challenges in the areas of: Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth, Democratic Governance, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Environment and Energy for Sustainable Development, Women's Empowerment and SDG Financing.


In an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, UNDP has learnt not just to cope, but to anticipate emerging development issues and opportunities and to improve its solutions to be better-targeted. Through Accelerator Lab, these approaches are accelerated by integrated methodologies comprising of horizon scanning, solutions mapping and experimentation. The Lab also works with grassroots organizations and innovators for sense-making, testing and developing evidence-based solutions, as they understand the complexities of their issues better than anyone else. In the context of Malaysia, UNDP provides policy and technical advisory support to the Government in accordance with the current Country Programme Action Plan as approved by the Cabinet. UNDP’s support primarily involves the designing and implementation of a portfolio of sustainable and resilient development projects in Malaysia focusing on poverty eradication, climate change, energy, governance, disaster risk reduction & resilience, SDG finance and nature-based development solutions. In 2025, UNDP Malaysia will be starting to transition from current Country Programme Action Plan into the new Country Programme Document (CPD) 2026-2030, with new Strategic Goals to be aligned with the 13th Malaysia Plan. The process comprises taking the stock of learnings and policy insights from existing portfolio implementation to develop future intervention and focus areas. However, it is equally important to incorporate into development of CPD, the trends and signals that are beyond UNDP radar which may come from new and non-traditional sources. UNDP continues to be a trusted partner and integrator for Malaysia’s sustainable development needs in the present and future. To solidify UNDP offerings, Accelerator Lab assists the Country Office to develop solutions that are more agile and anticipatory. Our technical support to the Government and other development partners has to be rooted in inclusive approaches and evidence, to ensure we steer change in the right direction, towards the future in which no one is left behind. In this vein, UNDP Malaysia would like to a UN Volunteer to drive the development and pilot of a structured and accessible horizon scanning system that can be integrated into the current way of work and decision-making of Country Office and development partners. The system combines innovative, culturally-accepted, multi-channel process and approaches to gather, analyze and communicate signals from local and global sources as indicators of change that could be significant for the future of development. At the end of the assignment, UNV Data for Development Associate will contribute to advancing horizon scanning data use, uptake, and impact in UNDP Malaysia and development partners.

Task description

The task as Data for Development Associate requires more than technical competency to develop a system, but social and organizational acumen to ensure Accelerator Lab solutions such as horizon scanning, sense-making and innovation playbook receive buy-ins and leveraged on by internal and external stakeholders. The position will report to the Head of Exploration, Accelerator Lab and work closely with the Accelerator Lab team, the thematic policy and programmatic pillars in the UNDP Country Office: 1) Inclusive Growth and Prosperity 2) Governance 3) Nature, Climate and Energy as well as cross-cutting functions such as Gender, Monitoring and Evaluation, Communications and SDG Finance. The Associate will also be instrumental in translating data and knowledge into recommendations that can inform the prioritization of UNDP Malaysia and 13th Malaysia Plan focus areas, as well as signal detections for UNDP Futures Network. As such the Associate is expected to observe and participate in UNDP activities, meetings, and events to develop a first-hand understanding of UNDP’s offerings and dynamics among development partners, data providers and communities. Ideally, the Data for Development Associate has experience in data science or data journalism with background in economics, political science or international development. Experience in mixed-method research, collective intelligence or data integration of various data sources will be an advantage. Within the delegated authority and under the supervision of the Head of Exploration or his/her designated mandated representative(s), the UNV Data for Development Associate will: • Develop horizon scanning design and workplan—including tools, approaches, mapping of data stewards, data sources and communication plans • Pilot the workplan, monitor and report proactively suggest adaptations as opportunities and contingencies arise • Explore partnerships with private, civil societies, media and local communities as new data sources • Engage internal and external stakeholders for need assessment, sense-making, validation of insights and user acceptance of horizon scanning • Carry out workshops, stakeholder engagement and site visits (if needed). • Experiment with unstructured, local data with capability to manage risks related to ethics and privacy • Observe and participate in UNDP activities, meetings, and events to develop understanding of UNDP work and approach. • Build capacity of horizon scanning and innovation for CO team members • Assist in identification and prioritization of signals and trends for UNDP Futures Network or any other futures platform • Assist in managing data pilot projects including technical input to consultants, authorities and data providers, assessment of data ecosystem and harnessing the power of crowdsourced data. • Any other related tasks as may be required or assigned by the supervisor. Furthermore, UN Volunteers are encouraged to integrate the UN Volunteers programme mandate within their assignment and promote voluntary action through engagement with communities in the course of their work. As such, UN Volunteers should dedicate a part of their working time to some of the following suggested activities: • Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and take active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark International Volunteer Day); • Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country; • Provide annual and end of assignment self-reports on UN Volunteer actions, results and opportunities. • Contribute articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc.; • Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly-arrived UN Volunteers; • Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible. Results/expected outputs: • As an active UNDP team member, efficient, timely, responsive, client-friendly and high-quality support rendered to UNDP Malaysia and its development partners in the accomplishment of her/his functions, including: o Develop horizon scanning system, manual and workplan o Develop communications channels and tools to inform decision-making in Country Office and development partners o Integrate horizon scanning offering in UNDP pipeline project o Identify, analyze and share insights in various channels which can position Accelerator Lab at the forefront of the exploration of new trends o Capacitate CO team members in horizon scanning and innovation approaches to data use, uptake and impact

This vacancy is now closed.
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