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Policy Specialist, LGBTI Inclusion, Africa

Pretoria (South Africa)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Pretoria (South Africa)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • LGBTQ+ rights
    • Human Rights
    • Poverty Reduction
    • Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
  • Closing Date: 2020-09-29

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. 
The Next Generation UNDP builds on our existing assets—worldwide presence, thought leadership, and over 50 years of experience—to help countries and communities respond to a fast-changing development landscape. We are creating new solutions, building collaboration platforms, and sparking new partnerships and instruments for development. These innovations are disrupting the way our organization thinks, invests, manages, and delivers—so we can perform faster and better than ever to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UNDP Strategic Plan (2018-2021) emphasizes its role as the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System, as well as its role serving as the integrator for collective action to realize the SDGs, across a wide range of knowledge domains and in support of the plan’s “signature solutions”. The second of UNDP’s six “signature solutions” emphasizes the strengthening of “effective, inclusive and accountable governance”, following “diverse pathways towards peaceful, just and inclusive societies”, including “access to justice... improved regulatory capacities, enhanced legal frameworks, strengthened institutions and local governance capacities”.
UNDP is the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System and serves as the integrator for collective action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP's policy work carried out at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels, forms a contiguous spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP invests in the Global Policy Network (GPN), a network of field-based and global technical expertise across a wide range of knowledge domains and in support of the signature solutions and organizational capabilities envisioned in the Strategic Plan.
Within the GPN, the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) has the responsibility for developing all relevant policy and guidance to support the results of UNDP's Strategic Plan. BPPS's staff provides technical advice to Country Offices, advocates for UNDP corporate messages, represents UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora including public-private dialogues, government and civil society dialogues, and engages in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas. BPPS works closely with UNDP's Crisis Bureau (CB) to support emergency and crisis response. BPPS ensures that issues of risk are fully integrated into UNDP's development programmes.  BPPS assists UNDP and partners to achieve higher quality development results through an integrated approach that links results-based management and performance monitoring with more effective and new ways of working.  BPPS supports UNDP and partners to be more innovative, knowledge and data driven including in its programme support efforts.
UNDP’s HIV, Health and Development Strategy 2016-2021: Connecting the Dots emphasizes  key action areas that include reduction of inequalities and social exclusion that drive HIV and poor health as well as the promotion of effective and inclusive governance for health. Globally and within Africa, this work includes an emphasis on populations that are marginalized and excluded because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics (LGBTI populations).
At a regional level, UNDP’s work in Africa contributes to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Resolutions, specifically Resolution 275 on Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender identity, Resolution 336: Resolution on Measures to Protect and Promote the Work of Women Human Rights Defenders, Resolution 365 on Developing Guidelines on Combatting Sexual Violence and its Consequences, and Resolution 376 titled “Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Africa”, that specifically expresses concerns about threats against defenders working on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, and that calls on States to adopt specific measures to address their situation and protect their rights.
With support from the Government of Sweden, UNDP has launched a new initiative in sub-Saharan Africa. Titled the “Inclusive Governance Initiative”, the project is designed to support countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to become increasingly accountable to, and inclusive of, their entire populations, including LGBTI people. This in turn will contribute to better laws, more responsive public sector services, and social norms that affirm LGBTI rights.
The project is focused on five outcomes, concentrating its country-level work in a sub-set of countries with strategic windows of opportunity for positive change:
  • Strengthening the commitment and capacity of African decision makers to include and respond to sexual and gender diversity issues (including parliamentarians, judges, human rights officials, religious leaders and others).
  • Strengthening the capacity of LGBTI activists and allies from other SDG-focused social movements (gender equality, poverty alleviation, health for all, etc.) to understand and work with each other and to influence decision makers.
  • Including sexual and gender diversity issues and LGBTI communities in the development and implementation of laws, policies and programmes.
  • Stimulating demand for and use of relevant ideas, evidence, and innovations.
  • Sustaining and expanding international donor funding for evidence- and community-informed LGBTI and key population regional work in Africa.
UNDP has identified four civil society organization (CSO) core partners with which it will work closely to implement activities. The project is managed from a small secretariat at UNDP’s country office in South Africa, under the guidance of UNDP’s HIV, Health and Development Africa team and UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa.
Under the supervision of the Senior Advisor, LGBTI Inclusion, Africa, the Policy Specialist will support the overall implementation the “Inclusive Governance Initiative” in Africa, at regional and sub-regional levels as well as in certain countries. The Policy Specialist will utilize a collaborative, client-oriented approach consistent with UNDP rules and regulations, contributing to the country team approach, and supporting capacity strengthening efforts of partners in government and civil society.

Duties and Responsibilities

1)Contribute to overall “Inclusive Governance Initiative” planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting in accordance with UNDP rules and procedures:
  • Oversee the relationship between UNDP and its four core CSO implementation partners in the Inclusive Governance Initiative;
  • Ensure that activities managed by the four core CSO implementation partners are executed according to agreed action plans and within established budgets, in accordance with the UNDP-CSO Agreements;
  • Promote knowledge sharing and coaching among the four core CSO implementation partners;
  • Ensure timely submission of programmatic and financial reports by the four core CSO implementation partners as well as providing timely feedback on reports to the partners;
  • Lead the development and implementation of the overall project monitoring system, encompassing the work of UNDP and its partners in the Inclusive Governance Initiative;
  • Manage the relationship with UNDP’s external evaluation contractor(s), ensuring timely delivery of quality evaluation reports;
  • Ensure that results and lessons from monitoring and evaluation are integrated into strategies and workplans of UNDP and its partners;
  • Prepare periodic reports to Inclusive Governance Initiative donors.
2)Design & implement communication and knowledge sharing strategies for the “Inclusive Governance Initiative”:
  • Develop and manage an overall communications strategy for the Inclusive Governance Initiative, including attention to communications inside and beyond UNDP;
  • Develop and manage specific processes for risk monitoring and for crisis and controversy communication and response;
  • Access and share relevant good practices from and with a broad range of stakeholders and ensure their incorporation into project implementation;
  • Institutionalize best practices and knowledge sharing among Country Offices, core CSO partners, and other stakeholders, including active participation in UNDP and other relevant networks (e.g., communities of practice) and social media;
  • Contribute to briefings as needed for Country Offices; the HIV, Health and Development team (at regional and global levels); the Regional Bureau for Africa; and development partners.
3)Provide advisory services, guidance, and capacity development support to UNDP Country Offices and their in-country partners in government and civil society:
  • Provide timely and quality technical advisory support, guidance and facilitation support to relevant UNDP Country Offices, and UN Country teams more broadly, in their activities related to the Inclusive Governance Initiative, including relevant support to government and national entities; 
  • In relevant countries and in response to country office demand, support the mainstreaming of LGBTI inclusion into other UNDP work on HIV/health, governance, sustainable development and poverty reduction, human rights, and gender equality, in collaboration with technical partners, civil society organizations, and the private sector.
4)Coordination with other UNDP initiatives and with external stakeholders:
  • Coordinate and build effective partnerships & synergies with other relevant UNDP initiatives and projects, including those focused on HIV key populations, gender, inclusion and human rights. 
  • Identify, build relationships with, and seek to achieve synergies with relevant projects and initiatives outside UNDP; 
  • Support resource mobilization efforts, resulting in concrete contributions to results and enhanced financing for the Initiative, other UNDP projects, and wider efforts to support LGBTI rights and inclusion in the region.


  • Ability to persuade others to follow
Communication & relationship management
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work
People management
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction
  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement
Technical/Functional - Primary
LGBTI inclusion in Africa
  • Catalyzes new ideas, methods and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise 
Development and public health programming
  • Catalyzes new ideas, methods and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise 
Capacity strengthening of government and civil society partners
  • Catalyzes new ideas, methods and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise 
Human Rights Monitoring and Advocacy Representation
  • Catalyzes new ideas, methods and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise 
Knowledge management 
  • Catalyzes new ideas, methods and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise 

Required Skills and Experience

  • Advanced university degree in relevant field such as public/business administration, gender/sexuality studies, public health, law, or international development studies, or an undergraduate degree with an additional 2 years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced degree.
  • Minimum of 7 years of relevant professional experience, including at least 5 years in Africa. 
  • Demonstrated experience of working with African civil society groups involved in LGBTI inclusion and rights or closely related fields, such as HIV among key populations.
  • Demonstrated experience in working on programmes that interact with government officials at national, sub-regional and/or regional levels.
  • Knowledge and experience of collaborating with (or working within) UNDP and/or UN agency is an advantage.
  • Relevant publications are an advantage.
Language Requirements:
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Working knowledge of French and/or Portuguese an asset. 
  • Willingness to travel to UNDP Country Offices.
  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.)
  • Non-Smoking environment 


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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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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