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Community Engagement and Outreach Officer

Beirut (Lebanon)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Beirut (Lebanon)
  • Grade: SB-3 (SC6/SC7), Service Contract, Local Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Social Affairs
    • Civil Society and Local governance
  • Closing Date: 2020-12-09

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Background

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

  • Crisis Response Level: L3
  • Project: Karantina Response
  • Reports to: Deputy Resident Representative
  • Budgeted Level: SC-7
The devastating explosion that originated at Beirut Port on the fourth of August 2020 has severely damaged entire neighborhoods and left many dead, injured and homeless. Being one of the closest areas to the explosion site, Karantina sustained the highest level of damages in terms of human losses and physical destruction. Assessments carried out by UNDP placed a special focus on Karantina, known to be historically marginalized and home for an already vulnerable population of mixed nationalities, ethnicities and religions. More than 700 households resided in the neighborhood at the time of the blast including migrant workers, Syrian refugees who have escaped the war in Syria, as well as impoverished Lebanese families.
 
Karantina is the historical backyard of the city, with large swathes of land taken up by industrial and military sites and municipal solid waste management facilities (refer to Karantina map). Low-income populations have lived there for decades, with severe interruptions during the civil war (1975-1990) where the area was recognized as the site of a devastating massacre. Given the absence of restoration permits and complicated tenure status in the post-civil-war era, it is likely that many of the buildings had been restored without proper structural work, rendering them more vulnerable to the blast. 
 
Most buildings in Karantina, consisting of residential units and ground level shops, were severely damaged and fully or partially destroyed by the blast, leaving people with no safe habitable houses and no businesses.  Furthermore, considerable damage was inflicted on the hospital that served the impoverished populations and migrant workers in the area. A preliminary assessment of the damaged structures showed that some of the damaged cement roof structures contained asbestos, which needs to be properly handled and disposed. The outskirt of the Karantina area has been used as a temporary dumpsite for the construction and demolition waste that resulted from the blast.  Several sites housing piles of mixed debris are found in proximity to residential areas and are generally not well managed and have nearly reached full capacity. Physical damages are marred with psychological ones; the blast has caused major traumas across all social groups, especially the most vulnerable ones such as children, youth, the elderly, women and female heads of households, and migrants and refugees, awakening reopened wounds of the civil war for a large section of the population.
 
In a context of a deep economic and financial crisis, devaluation of the local currency and increased spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the already vulnerable dwellers in Karantina are left with no means to rebuild and restore their livelihoods. Given the overlapping vulnerabilities and pre-disaster structural weaknesses, an integrated response that caters to the immediate recovery needs of the population while ensuring longer terms development and sustainability is crucial. Under the approach of Leaving No One Behind (LNOB) and Do Not Harm (DNH) with engagement of the Karantina community, UNDP aims to address post-blast reconstruction in Karantina (based on available assessments’ data analysis) as part of a larger urban recovery approach that is locally informed and not only physical but also targets livelihoods and job creation, access to services, environment, social cohesion and legal/human rights support. These interventions are coordinated by UNDP respective projects/programme teams. In this context, engaging the affected communities and local stakeholders, including property owners, is key to devising an alternative vision to recovery. A vision that takes into consideration socio-spatial networks that linked people to their neighborhoods through their daily lives and routines and therefore restores their shared memories and addresses the vulnerabilities and risks that have long existed in the area in addition to those that emerged following the blast.  
 
Under the overall supervision of the Deputy Resident Representative, the guidance of the Area-based development Karantina Coordinator, and in collaboration with the relevant technical teams, the Community Engagement and Outreach Officer will:
 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Support efforts to establish and maintain contact with relevant interlocutors at the area level, including representatives of local authorities, as well as civil society actors, community representatives;
  • Develop and enhance strong partnerships with local partners and different community groups to promote their effective participation and their support of the project’s development objectives, as well as exploring new opportunities for project growth;
  • Develop and coordinate participatory consultation processes for community mobilization based on sound participatory engagement principles and relevant best practice examples;
  • Collect information at the area level to feed into and inform UNDP’s people centered approach to the recovery of Karantina, including by identifying the concerns and perceptions of the local population and reporting accordingly;
  • Assist in the design and coordinate the implementation of community outreach strategies, activities and tools. Produce reports on outreach activities;
  • Work with the project team members to develop, update and implement a comprehensive communication strategy for the Karantina area-based approach;
  • Along with the Coordinator, serve as UNDP’s liaison/focal point with the community in Karantina.
 

Competencies

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards
  • Demonstrates cultural and gender sensitivity
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of the Karantina area and of its population
  • Focuses on impact and result
  • Demonstrates excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Works collaboratively with colleagues inside and outside of UNDP to allow the achievement of common goals and shared objectives
  • Displays adaptability and creativity in problem solving
  • Strong networking skills.

Required Skills and Experience

Education
  • Master’s or bachelor’s degree in social sciences, development studies, communication, public relations or related field.
Experience
  • Minimum 2 years of relevant experience in community outreach and engagement with a master’s degree or 4 years of experience with a bachelor’s degree
  • Experience in working with International Agencies, NGOs and/or local Government in scenarios involving community participation.
Language
  • Fluency in Arabic and English. 
 

Disclaimer

Important applicant information

All posts in the SC categories are subject to local recruitment.

UNDP strongly encourages qualified female applicants for this position.
UNDP seeks to ensure that male and female employees are given equal career opportunities, and that staff members are able to keep an appropriate balance between work and private life.
Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.

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.

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