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External Relations Specialist -UNESP

Kabul (Afghanistan)

Background

UNDP Afghanistan Mission Statement:

UNDP supports stabilization, state-building, governance and development priorities in Afghanistan. UNDP support, in partnership with the Government, the United Nations system, the donor community and other development stakeholders, has contributed to institutional development efforts leading to positive impact on the lives of Afghan citizens. Over the years, UNDP support has spanned such milestone efforts as the adoption of the Constitution; Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial Council elections; institutional development through capacity-building to the legislative, the judicial and executive arms of the state, and key ministries, Government agencies and commissions at the national and subnational levels. UNDP has played a key role in the management of the Law and Order Trust Fund, which supports the Government in developing and maintaining the national police force and in efforts to stabilize the internal security environment. Major demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation and area-based livelihoods and reconstruction programmes have taken place nationwide. UNDP Programmes in Afghanistan have benefited from the very active support of donors. UNDP Afghanistan is committed to the highest standards of transparency and accountability and works in close coordination with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the UN system as a whole to maximize the impact of its development efforts on the ground.

Organizational context:

The UN Electoral Support Project (UNESP) is the international community’s programming vehicle to support the next elections in Afghanistan, including the parliamentary and district council elections announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) for 20 October 2018. The project has two overall objectives – 1) to build the capacity of the Afghan electoral institutions (the Independent Elections Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission) to implement elections in line with the national electoral legal framework and Afghanistan’s international commitments; 2) to allow a programming mechanism for the international community to partially finance the elections as per the request of the Government of Afghanistan. The project follows previous UN projects in support of the Afghan electoral process, most notably the Enhancing Legal and Electoral Capacity for Tomorrow (ELECT) projects, from 2006-2011 (ELECT I) and 2012-2015 (ELECT II), and the UNDP Project Initiation Plan that is in place since July 2015 – October 2017. The UNESP places the UN’s electoral support to Afghanistan directly under the political and supervisory oversight of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and reflects the growing sustainability of the Afghan electoral process, as evidenced by the Government of Afghanistan’s financial commitment to both electoral institutions, and the provision of significant in-kind support to the implementation of elections. The Project Board, under the overall political guidance of the UNAMA Deputy Special Representative for Political, will be co-chaired by UNAMA Deputy Special Representative for Political and the Chairpersons of the IEC and ECC or their delegates depending on the agenda item under discussion. It will be comprised of all key stakeholders to oversee and approve UNESP’s budget, annual working plans and policy in support of the Afghan electoral institutions. Project implementation support will be provided by UNDP Country Office, reporting, on fiduciary and operational matters, to the UNAMA Deputy Special Representative for Development/ UN Resident Coordinator/ UNDP Resident Representative through the UNDP Country Director.

Along with support to both electoral institutions, UNESP will also support Afghan civil society’s civic and voter education and observation efforts to enhance the quality and quantity of participation in the electoral process. Overall, the project will have three outputs: (i) administration of credible elections is facilitated by the meeting of key IEC structural and planning milestones; (ii) Credible electoral dispute resolution is provided by the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) (iii) public outreach (along with support to civil society) to encourage citizen engagement in the electoral process. iv) a polling center specific voter list for the upcoming elections is produced by the IEC. (v) the IEC and ECC provide credible administration of and electoral dispute resolution for the Wolesi Jirga and District Council elections, respectively.   Mainstreaming of gender throughout the project is evident in key output indicators related to women’s participation in all three project outputs, reflecting the importance that UNESP places on increasing the position of women in Afghan electoral and political life. The project also aims at supporting the EMBs in strengthening integrity of the electoral process by enhancing accountability of responsible actors and supporting the implementation of electoral fraud mitigation mechanisms. Assisting the EMBs to implement measures to increase public confidence in election and democracy will be mainstreamed through the electoral assistance provided.

The UNESP will be implemented under Direct Implementation Modality (DIM). UNDP rules and regulations will govern the project implementation including, but not limited to; resource management, procurement, recruitment, audit and evaluation. IEC and ECC are the main partners of the project. The Project will be managed by a Deputy Chief Electoral Advisor/Project Manager (PM), reporting, on fiduciary and operational matters, to the UNDP Country Director, and substantively to the UN Chief Electoral Advisor. The Country Office will ensure that the project’s monitoring, reporting, procurement and recruitment functions are carried out fully in line with UNDP’s programming requirements, and, in this respect, the Project will develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework to track project progress and results. The Deputy CEA/Project Manager through the project structure will ensure adherence to project implementation requirements, stakeholder coordination and timely project reporting, while the CEA will ensure effective donor coordination.

Organizational Context of the Post

The External Relations Specialist will be part of a team of advisors supervised and guided by the Project Manager and will report on delivery to Senior Policy Advisor to IEC. S/He will be embedded with the IEC and will be responsible for continuously providing technical advice and help to develop the technical capacity of IEC in the relevant areas.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of key functions:

  • Support the IEC to design, implement, manage and monitor its External Relations strategy:
  • Build the capacity of the IEC to develop a regular and transparent communication mechanism with key stakeholder groups and strategic partners:
  • Report on delivery of Outputs
  • Support the IEC as an electoral institution to identify external relations goals that underscore effective electoral governance:

Support the IEC to design, implement, manage and monitor its External Relations strategy:

  • Support the IEC as an electoral institution to identify external relations goals that underscore effective electoral governance (and ultimately enhance the reputation and credibility of the IEC, and its ability to conduct elections); and capacity building efforts to regularly and systematically identify and convey key messages.
  • Support the IEC to formulate an official external relations strategic plan as a means to effectively communicate key messages to the widest public audience.
  • Support the IEC to plan external relations activities, including rationale, budget and other required resources, timeline and delegation of responsibilities.
  • Support the IEC to implement external relations activities; advise and assist as necessary.
  • Enhance the effectiveness of its day to day communications to the general public;

Build the capacity of the IEC to develop a regular and transparent communication mechanism with key stakeholder groups and strategic partners:

  • Advice to the IEC in developing a targeted, structured and regular dialogue with election stakeholders and partners, including: political actors; governmental agencies; Civil Society Organizations (CSOs); media; etc.
  • Advise the IEC External Relations Unit on their media and communications strategy.
  • Advice to the IEC on strategic communications aimed at female voters, as well as other sectors of the electorate with special needs for information.
  • Support the IEC media and communications strategy to further develop effective conveyance of key election-related information and targeted messages;
  • Ensuring a gender component at both strategic and implementation stages;
  • Inclusive participation in the election process, underscoring the importance of electoral governance to the democratic process through at all key stages.
  • Underscoring inclusivity and broad support for the democratic election process.

Report on delivery of Output

  • Support the IEC to identify key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Support the IEC to produce regular evaluative reports, drawing on these KPIs and including narrative and analysis; and to adapt strategy and implementation as and when necessary.
  • Contribute to UNESP regular reporting and progress updates, and document UNESP capacity building support.

Support the IEC as an electoral institution to identify external relations goals that underscore effective electoral governance:

  • Ultimately enhance the reputation and credibility of the IEC, and its ability to conduct elections);
  • Consult with the IEC, in liaison with the UNESP Capacity Development Specialist, to assess needs of staff and to organize opportunities for training and education, as appropriate;
  • Work in close cooperation with the IEC External Relations Unit, as well as ensuring harmonized efforts with the Public Outreach Unit, in close cooperation with the UNESP Public Outreach Specialist.

Impact of Results

The key results have an impact on the overall UNESP efficiency in external relation and success in establishment and implementation of operational strategies. The strategic approach to external relation, establishment and implementation of the monitoring and control system, timely and appropriate delivery of services, ensure client satisfaction and overall timely delivery of UNDP programmes and projects.

Competencies

Functional/Technical:

Procurement

The ability to acquire goods, services or works from an outside external source

Sourcing

Ability to find, evaluate and engage suppliers of goods and services

Strategic Sourcing

Knowledge of strategic sourcing concepts, principles and methods, and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Supplier Management

Knowledge of supplier management concepts, principles and methods, and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Logistics

Knowledge of logistics operations, principles and methods, and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Contract Management

Knowledge of contract management concepts, principles and methods, and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Operational Efficiency

Ability to identify and execute opportunities to improve operational efficiency

Resource Allocation

Ability to distribute resources in a strategic or tactical way

Performance Management

Ability to manage organization, department and employee goals

Ability to coach/mentor technical staff to enhance sustain capacity development

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • Advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent) in Communications, Civic Education, Media, Journalism, Literature, Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities, Political Science or related field; or a Bachelor’s degree in the above fields with additional years of experience (7 instead of 5 years).

Experience:

  • Minimum 5 years of relevant professional experience – media/communications/spokesperson – in the election context;
  • Knowledge of electoral processes and the interests of electoral stakeholders in supporting the process;
  • Experience working in Afghanistan or a demonstrable knowledge/understanding of the current political context;
  • Experience building staff capacity;
  • Leadership qualities, including the ability to motivate others, involve all members of a team, inspire a sense of ownership and responsibility among staff, and elicit consistently high-quality output;
  • Ability to meet challenges, constructively and creatively;
  • Ability to quickly adapt to change, and to remain calm under pressure;
  • Time management and organizational skills, with the ability to undertake multiple tasks;
  • Diplomatic skills, cultural and political sensitivity;

Disclaimer

Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Kabul (Afghanistan)
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • External Relations, Partnerships and Resource mobilization
    • Elections
  • Closing Date: 2018-09-09

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