By continuing to browse this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

Senior Project Manager

Kabul (Afghanistan)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Kabul (Afghanistan)
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-05-17

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.

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.


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.

Background Information - Afghanistan

With more than 20 years of experience in the country, UNOPS Afghanistan focuses on providing maximum support to the Government and people of Afghanistan through delivery of projects and services in line with the government’s national priorities. The UNOPS Afghanistan Country Office (AFCO) serves as an organizational mechanism to deliver a range of projects for which UNOPS has been designated as the implementation agency. At present, UNOPS AFCO is implementing a number of projects in a range of sectors including infrastructure (roads, bridges, justice and security, health, and water supply) development, procurement services, HR services, capacity building, and humanitarian protection, amongst others, on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, the international donor community, and other UN agencies.

The functional objective of UNOPS AFCO is to contribute to the achievement of the development outcomes sought by the Government of Afghanistan. The aim of UNOPS AFCO is to provide efficient and cost-effective implementation services on behalf of all our partners to support the reconstruction and development of the country. UNOPS AFCO’s mission is to exceed the expectations of all stakeholders in the delivery of AFCO’s services, at all times, in all places, in all circumstances, in order to improve significantly the lives of all Afghans in need. 

Background Information - Job-specific

Background Information THRCP - Implementation Consultant (IC) Services

The UNOPS engagement by the Ministry of Public Works (MOPW) as the Implementation Consultant (IC) to the implementation of the World Bank (WB) funded Trans Hindukush Road Connectivity Project (THRCP) incorporates UNOPS as a key part of the WB-stipulated Project Management Framework of this vital national project. In that context, the Senior Project Manager for the IC Services for THRCP will be responsible for the overall success of those services through comprehensively supporting the MOPW in its implementation of the THRCP. This shall include providing overall project management advice and support to help the MOPW and the WB ensure THRCP implementation is successful and thereby helps achieve the Government’s goal of promoting stability, security and socio-economic development in Afghanistan.

The Senior Project Manager will particularly liaise with the THRCP Project Management Team (PMT) and, via the PMT, the project’s Construction Supervision Unit (CSU), to review and plan IC services and staffing, including mobilization of additional resources on behalf of UNOPS, in support of the PMT and CSU in their resource mobilization and operational activities, and monitor/report on technical and financial progress within the agreed IC budget. Within the overall THRCP framework, the Senior Project Manager will ensure the IC provides technical monitoring and expert advising on works contract management, road construction/rehabilitation operations, associated road safety and traffic management, road maintenance/asset management, community outreach and THRCP/MOPW capacity building activities, while ensuring the desired project results are achieved on time and within budget. The Senior Project Manager shall also ensure that THRCP contributes to the Government of Afghanistan’s social, economic and environmental aims as expressed in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), and in concert with the PMT and the MOPW project leadership, ensure that World Bank financial and other resources are used appropriately and effectively, and that overall WB accountability and governance expectations for THRCP (and the IC in that context) are met.

Functional Responsibilities

Purpose and Scope of Assignment

Summary of key functions: Responsible to the Operations Centre Director and Representative, and under the direct supervision of the Head of Programme, the Senior Project Manager will be responsible for the overall success of UNOPS’ IC services in supporting MOPW in its implementation of the WB-funded THRCP.

Specific Responsibilities

The Senior Project Manager will be responsible for, but not limited to, the following functions and responsibilities:

Programme Management and Coordination:

  • Determines project resource requirements in conjunction with the AFCO Head of Programme, other managers, and the Programme Management Office;
  • Defines the project’s governance framework (resource management, monitoring and control, quality and risk management, stakeholder engagement and benefits management);
  • Maintains overall integrity and coherence of the project, and develops and maintains the project environment to support each individual activity within it.
  • Handles the day-to-day management of the project and oversees the delivery of all activities in the project, monitoring delivery in terms of quality, costs and time;
  • Ensures the delivery of new outputs or services meets the project’s requirements;
  • Ensures security considerations are assessed and implicated in project conception;
  • Mentors and assists project staff in planning, execution and delivery of activities, ensuring best practice project management processes are incorporated;
  • Ensures maximum efficiency in the allocation of resources and skills within the project;
  • Works closely with project staff to identify potential project-cost overruns, time delays or quality deficiencies, and implements actions for rectification;
  • Analyses project results, and interprets these results into recommendations for the Head of Programme to assist him/her in the development of UNOPS as the service provider of choice in Afghanistan;
  • Ensures clear communication and good relationships are developed and maintained within the project, with internal THRCP support units (PMT Human Resources, Procurement, Logistics, etc. and CSU) and with external parties such as donors, the Government, etc.;
  • Plans, develops, coordinates, communicates and directs the internal policies and procedures of the IC project;
  • Effectively and efficiently delegates responsibility and authority to subordinate staff for the delivery of agreed outputs while ensuring accountability;
  • Provides timely and accurate project tracking, analysis of outputs, and reporting;
  • Develops and drives a culture of excellence, continuous improvement and performance optimization across all activities in the project;
  • Establishes performance objectives with appropriate measures for project technical staff and in collaboration with them, for other project staff;
  • Initiates activities and other management interventions wherever gaps in the project are identified or issues arise.

Fiscal Responsibilities:

  • Has responsibility for project budgeting and resource planning;
  • Implements UNOPS pricing strategies, with a disciplined approach to business case development and pricing models which balances revenues and capacity development, within the mandate and spirit of the United Nations;
  • Prepares and submits for approval, revenue and expenditure forecasts based on established financial goals;
  • Supports the Head of Programme in the development of the business model for AFCO in Afghanistan assessing costs and revenue streams as well as margins.

Business & Corporate Development:

  • Develops (where possible) current and future growth plans for the project (1 – 3 years), ensuring that those plans conform to UNOPS overall strategic plans;
  • Supports and provides inputs to the Head of Programme in developing business opportunities in preparing and delivering complex proposals and partnerships;
  • Ensures subordinate project staff with the relevant authority are properly trained in proposal development and presentation;
  • Identifies and develops potential new business and customer opportunities;
  • Develops and maintains close working relationships with donors, the Government and other clients.

Technical Functions:

  • Plans, develops, implements and maintains appropriate standards, best practices and procedures in the project;
  • Researches, identifies and introduces appropriate new technologies for the execution of activities across the project.

Human Resource Responsibilities:

  • Assumes responsibility for all staffing issues as required by the demands of the IC project including adherence to UNOPS security regulations and guidelines;
  • Conducts staff performance reviews of project staff and other staff on the project in accordance with UNOPS HR Policies, and initiates appropriate responses;
  • In conjunction with the AFCO HR Unit, identifies, recruits and maintains appropriate project staffing capacities ;
  • Encourages and develops the technical and project management skills and attitudes of project personnel.

Communication Functions:

  • Reports to the Head of Programme with regard to all matters concerning delivery of the project within the context of the AFCO programme, including security matters;
  • Works closely with other AFCO departments to improve continuously interface processes;
  • Directs the preparation and updating of information materials used for external dissemination of AFCO activities and capacities.

Other Duties and Responsibilities:

  • The incumbent is also responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS Afghanistan;
  • Carries out any other duties as specified by the Head of Programme.

Monitoring and Project Controls

  • Puts in place and continuously implements solid reporting mechanisms in the project on a regular basis against set targets and indicators;
  • Provides reports to the Head of Programme, donors and other stakeholders on the AFCO project portfolio as required;
  • Maintains a systematic filing system of all project and support documents with off-site backup for continuity security and in line with audit requirements specific to the project agreement;
  • Ensures the UNOPS Project Management Manual (PMM) Requirements are fully integrated into the project at all levels and that OneUNOPS Projects and ERP are fully updated and complete at all times.

Final Product

The project and its activities are delivered to the satisfaction of AFCO senior management, the client, donor and stakeholders, in compliance with UNOPS procedures and requirements.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

a. Education

  • A master’s degree in civil engineering, transport engineering, transport economics, project management or another transport sector relevant field is required. A first level university degree in a relevant field with a combination of an additional two years’ relevant work experience may be considered in lieu of the master’s degree.

b. Work Experience

  • A minimum of 7 years leading projects delivering national or regional transport infrastructure projects is required.
  • Proven experience in mentoring, advising and capacity building at ministerial level is required.
  • Experience in people management and team capacity building is required.
  • Experience leading projects funded by one of the multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank is an asset.
  • Experience in working with government authorities for large or complex projects is required.
  • Must have certification in PRINCE2, or achieve certification within the first six months of appointment. 


Fluency in both written and spoken English is required.


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.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)
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. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
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.

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
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • 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.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: International Individual Contractor Agreement  Contract level: IICA 3
Contract duration: Ongoing ICA - Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

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.

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.