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Programme Specialist, Women’s Economic Empowerment


  • Organization: UNWOMEN - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
  • Location: Kabul
  • Grade: Mid level - NO-C, National Professional Officer - Locally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Economics
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: Closed


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the center of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations System efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s most complex emergencies, and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Afghan people are grappling with the impact of conflict, poverty, economic decline, and natural disasters. In this context, Afghan women and girls face unique vulnerabilities and require urgent support as gender inequality is interwoven with conflict dynamics and humanitarian needs. It is essential that Afghan women and girls can continue to shape the development of their country, and that their gains are protected. UN Women remains fully committed to supporting Afghan women and girls and to putting them at the center of the global response to the crisis in Afghanistan.

UN Women has been in Afghanistan for two decades. UN Women’s programming approach is informed by analysis of the political, economic and humanitarian situation, risks to and capacities of partner organizations, and needs of Afghan women and girls. UN Women Afghanistan currently has four key programme priorities: (1) Gender in Humanitarian Action, (2) Ending Violence Against Women, (3) Women’s Economic Empowerment, and (4) Women, Peace and Security.

In the Women’s Economic Empowerment pillar, UN Women is supporting women’s economic empowerment in the country in line with UN Women’s Strategic Framework, SDG-5 and Global WEE strategy.  Specifically, the support that is provided by UN Women is tailored to contribute to increased rights-based engagement of women in economic activities in Afghanistan through promoting income security, decent work and economic autonomy – including, support to women to improve entrepreneurial and business skills and to own and better manage small and medium and enterprises, market linkages and supporting selected value chains.

Reporting directly to the Programme Manager, the Programme Specialist exercises responsibility in planning, designing and implementing UN Women interventions under WEE.  The Programme Specialist works in close collaboration with the programme and operations team, Government officials, multi and bi-lateral donors and civil society ensuring successful UN Women programme implementation under WEE. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Design and develop programme strategies in the area of Women’s Economic Empowerment

  • Design and formulate programme/ project proposals and initiatives;
  • Draft inputs to country strategy documents, briefs, policy dialogue and other documents related to
  • Address the critical constraints and barriers in the respective value chains and present strategic interventions based on detailed and robust value chain financial analysis and value propositions;
  • Organize periodic consultations with key stakeholders, women leaders, UN partners to keep informed and to better inform the projects and interventions’ design inputs, as necessary;

Coordinate the implementation of the Women’s Economic Empowerment programme

  • Provide substantive inputs into the annual workplan and budget and manage their implementation;
  • Oversee the technical implementation of the programme/project; ensure synergies with other teams;
  • Coordinate the submission of implementing partner financial and narrative reports and review before sharing with the Programme Manager;
  • Provide inputs and guidance to staff and partners on Results Based Management tools and performance indicators;
  • Contribute to the Steering Committee, project review and/or evaluation meetings, as needed;
  • Deliver timely and quality deliverable in line with budget and workplans, and in line with UN Women operational rules and regulations, including security;
  • Provide timely and quality monitoring and evaluation of programmes;

Oversee the technical assistance and capacity development to project/programme partners

  • Oversee the technical implementation of the programme and develop technical tools and initiatives
  • Build and manage relationships with national partners to share technical knowledge and support implementation and expansion of the Women’s Economic Empowerment programme while responding to any potential problems;
  • Identify capacity building needs of partners and lead the coordination of technical assistance, mentoring, training and capacity development initiatives to partners and beneficiaries

Provide substantive inputs to the monitoring and reporting of the programme/ project

  • Provide substantive inputs into monitoring of programme/ project implementation and finances using results based management tools;
  • Undertake field missions and review reports on monitoring missions;
  • Contribute to quarterly reports and donor reports, focusing on results, output and outcomes;
  • Contribute to office donor and UN Women reports.

Contribute to people’s management and financial resources of the Women’s Economic Empowerment programme

  • Contribute substantively to the programme budget and draft financial reports;
  • Contribute to management of the team on Women’s Economic Empowerment programme; mentor and coach staff, when needed and when the Programme Manager is on leave;
  • Contribute to recruitment processes, as necessary.

Build partnerships and support in developing resource mobilization strategies

  • Develop and implement partnerships and resource mobilization strategies;
  • Provide relevant documentation to Programme Manager on donors and potential opportunities for resource mobilization;
  • Analyze and research information on donors, prepare substantive briefs on possible areas of cooperation and identify opportunities for cost sharing;
  • Communicate regularly with other organizations and partners on relevant matters.

Contribute to inter-agency coordination on Women’s Economic Empowerment  to achieve coherence and alignment of UN Women programmes with other partners in the country

  • Provide technical support to the Programme Manager/ Women’s Economic Empowerment on inter-agency coordination related activities by attending meetings, events, and participating in groups and committees as needed;
  • Coordinate with other UN agencies, government departments, donors and NGOs to ensure the projects’ capacity development programme is harmonized and aligned with other in-country efforts.

Coordinate advocacy, knowledge building and communication efforts

  • Develop and review background documents, briefs and presentations related to the Women’s Economic Empowerment;
  • Draft advocacy strategies based on field findings and present to the Programme Manager before implementation;
  • Identify best practices and lessons learned by other partners to guide programme improvement and strategy planning;
  • Develop knowledge management strategies, products and methodologies on Women’s Economic Empowerment .


Core Values:

  • Respect for Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism


Core Competencies:

  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
  • Accountability
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Effective Communication
  • Inclusive Collaboration
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Leading by Example

Please visit this link for more information on UN Women’s Core Values and Competencies: 

Functional Competencies

  • Strong programme formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation skills
  • Strong knowledge of Results Based Management
  • Ability to synthesize program performance data and produce analytical reports to inform management and strategic decision-making
  • Solid experience in Women’s Economic Empowerment and Financial Inclusion
  • Strong understanding of SMEs development
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Ability to identify and analyze trends, opportunities and threats to fundraising and develop strategies

Required Skills and Experience

Education and certification:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in social sciences, human rights, gender/women's studies, international development, or a related field is required
  • A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
  • A project/programme management certification would be an added advantage


  • At least 5 years of progressively responsible work experience at the national or international level in design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects;
  • Technical experience in Women’s income generation projects and Women’s Economic Empowerment;
  • Experience coordinating and liaising with government agencies and/or donors is an asset;
  • Experience working in the UN System is an asset;
  • Experience in leading/managing a team is an asset.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English and (either Dari and/ or Pashtu) is required;
  • Working knowledge of another official UN language is an asset;


  • All applications must include (as an attachment) the completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from   Kindly note that the system will only allow one attachment. Applications without the completed UN Women P-11 form will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment.


In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system (DAW, OSAGI, INSTRAW, and UNIFEM), which focused exclusively on gender equality and women's empowerment.

Inclusion Statement:

At UN Women, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. UN Women recruits employ, trains, compensates and promotes regardless of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, national origin, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, competence, integrity, and organizational need.

If you need any reasonable accommodation to support your participation in the recruitment and selection process, please include this information in your application.

UN Women has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UN Women, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to UN Women’s policies and procedures and the standards of conduct expected of UN Women personnel and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. (Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.)

This vacancy is now closed.
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