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Urban Specialist

Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)
  • Grade: IICA-2, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Urban Development, planning and design
  • Closing Date: 2020-07-06

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Background Information - Job-specific

The Cities Alliance (CA) is the global partnership promoting the role of cities in poverty reduction and sustainable development. Headquartered in Brussels, it is a unique partnership with diverse members – local authorities, national governments, international non-governmental organisations, foundations and multi-lateral organisations – which have come together to strengthen both impacts and coherence in urban development. Cities Alliance is hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

COVID-19 is being called a once-in-a-century pandemic. Even as high-income and middle-income countries with more effective healthcare systems struggle to detect and contain Covid-19, the challenge of tackling an emerging disease in low-income countries and informal settlements is only now being understood. Whether due to scarce resources, and/or as a result of conscious policy choices, low-income and informal settlements lack basic infrastructure and services that make the advice that health authorities suggest for preventing the spread of the disease hard, if not impossible, to follow. Even in a best-case scenario where governments in developing countries are quick to contain the spread of the virus and global conditions stabilise, long-term economic ramifications and disruption to livelihoods are inevitable.

Immediate efforts must focus on limiting the spread of disease and mitigating the negative effects of the lockdown. This implies a coordination of prevention, diagnostic and curative efforts in informal settlements, the rapid identification of effective prevention practices, and the transfer of such simple and cost-effective solutions to other urban contexts. Response actions need to focus on social protection systems and the strengthening of basic services allowing informal communities to cope with emergencies in the immediate term and to mitigate the impact of possible future crises. It is equally essential to sustain the civil society fabric within informal settlement - slum dwellers federations and community groups, street vendor associations, waste picker cooperatives - as critical element of social cohesion and necessary frontline actors contributing to long-term solution of the crisis.

To support global efforts in responding to Covid-19 outbreak, Cities Alliance has launched a Response Programme funded by Sida to be implemented in selected developing countries. The programme’s main objective is to enhance the overall resilience of slum organisation and communities during the Covid-19 crisis. The programme is centred around the provision of grants through a call of proposal to selected organisations working in informal settlements and affiliated to the international network of Slum Dweller International, which also benefits from long-term Sida support. The grants will ensure adequate resources to the selected organisation to fulfil their mandate and support their Covid-19 response activities, while also working on longer-term, developmental responses that promote the needs of the urban poor. The countries of focus for the call are: Benin, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Brazil, India and the Philippines.

Cities Alliance is seeking an Urban Specialist to help maximizing the impact of Cities Alliance Covid-19 Response Programme by ensuring technical expertise, grantee management, accountability and monitoring of the grant portfolio. Specifically, the Urban Specialist will ensure that grant projects funded by the Cities Alliance and implemented by the affiliates of Slum Dwellers International are being executed as per schedule and scope, addressing the day to day challenges that affiliates may face, updating Cities Alliance on project’s progress and seeking advice when needed, making sure learnings are captured and reporting is done on time and as per Cities Alliance guidelines. The Urban Specialist will also help strengthening the broader partnership between Cities Alliance, Slum Dwellers International and its affiliates acting the liaison amongst the parties involved.

The Urban Specialist is a member of the Cities Alliance Secretariat, and will work under the overall supervision of the Head of Strategy and, day-to-day, in close collaboration with the Project Manager for the Response Programme. As it is expected that the bulk of this assignment will occur under Covid19 restrictions, s/he will need to demonstrate a high degree of independence and responsibility.


Functional Responsibilities

  • Work in collaboration with the Project Manager in the selection of projects and award of grants for the Slum Dwellers affiliates which respond to Cities Alliance Call for Proposals;
  • Act as the focal point between Cities Alliance, Slum Dwellers International and the grantees establishing and maintaining effective relationships between the stakeholders and undertaking the necessary coordination to ensure smooth implementation of the programme;
  • Ensure that all protocols related to reporting, communications, branding, intellectual property and cooperation agreed by Cities Alliance and Slum Dwellers International are accurately conveyed, operational and complied with;
  • Maintain regular contact with each grantee providing on-going technical support and advice and, in close collaboration with Cities Alliance team, ensures that all requirements and deadlines are met, and additional individual support is provided, if required;
  • Identify potential implementation problems and bottlenecks and liaise with grantees to assist in timely and effective troubleshooting, proposing remedial actions or additional support, as appropriate;
  • Provide technical review and quality assurance on progress and completion narrative and financial reports as well as knowledge and visibility materials produced by the grantees under the Covid-19 Response Programme;
  • Meet regularly with Cities Alliance Project Manager to receive information, provide feedback and align activities;
  • Provide overall analytic assessment of the Cities Alliance grants awarded to the affiliates, and identify main trends and issues;
  • Facilitate stakeholder meetings and other virtual sessions, as required;
  • Synthesize learnings and achievements to inform Cities Alliance and other targeted audiences on the main outcomes and potential strategic dimensions of the projects implemented by grantees;
  • Plan and implement other communication and knowledge management activities, as required;
  • Perform other duties under the framework of the Covid-19 Response Programme as requested by the Cities Alliance.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

Education 

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or PhD level) in Social Sciences, Political Science, Development Studies, International Affairs, Urban Studies or related topic is required.
  • A first-level university degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) with additional 2 years of relevant working experience may be considered in lieu of an advanced university degree.
Experience 

  • Minimum 5 years of relevant professional experience in working with urban community-based organizations or civil society in developing countries is required.  
  • Experience in grant-making to civil society organisations is required
  • In-depth knowledge of community-driven and inclusive urban development interventions, especially community-gathered data and MEL (Monitor, Evaluation and Learning) is required;
  • Experience of working in African countries is required;
  • Knowledge of the work and functioning of Slum Dwellers International and its affiliates is an asset;

Language

Fluency in oral and written English is required.








Competencies

Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.
Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. 
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Contract type, level and duration

  1. Contract type: Individual Contractor Agreement (ICA)
  2. Contract level - International ICA Specialist Level 2
  3. Contract duration - 1 year (Retainer up to 150 working days)

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:
https://www.unops.org/english/Opportunities/job-opportunities/what-we-offer/Pages/Individual-Contractor-Agreements.aspx 

This contract is liable to national income taxes and legislation as applicable.

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.

Diversity

With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.


We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
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