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Senior Programme Assistant

Abu Dhabi

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Abu Dhabi
  • Grade: Administrative support - Administrative Services and Support - Generally no need for Higher Education
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Administrative support
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date:

Hardship Level

A (least hardship)

Family Type


Family Type


Residential location (if applicable)



Staff Member / Affiliate Type

General Service


Regular > Regular Assignment

Remote work accepted


Target Start Date


Job Posting End Date

November 27, 2022

Standard Job Description

Senior Programme Assistant Organizational Setting and Work Relationships The Senior Programme Assistant would normally receive guidance from more senior programme staff in the operation/bureau/division. The incumbent may receive indirect guidance from other sections and units relevant to the country/region programme(s). UNHCR Manual, Operations Plans, UN and UNHCR financial/budgetary rules and regulations will guide the work of the Senior Program Assistant. S/he is expected to have contacts within the organization and outside the duty station, as well as with partners and other stakeholders to collect information, monitor programme activities and implement administrative requirements. The incumbent is expected to work in line with the multi-functional team (MFT) approach as defined within the Program Manual, ensuring the participation of relevant stakeholders in all phases of the Program Management Cycle. All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR¿s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity. Duties - Provide administrative assistance and support in routine services and activities within Programme thus better able to meet the needs of persons of concern. - Assist in organizing and documenting the selection of partners in accordance with the policy on selection and retention of partners, ensuring due diligence to meet the requirements of projects. - Provide support to ensure partnership agreements are established in a timely manner, regularly monitored and reported on, in compliance with established guidelines and procedures included in the framework for implementing with partners. - Guided by the MFT approach, support the development and implementation of monitoring plans for activities implemented through partnerships and those under direct implementation in line with Programme Manual and programming instructions. - Contribute to the review and analysis of operations plans, mid-year and year-end reports, ensuring quality assurance and compliance with established policies, guidelines, procedures and standards. Generate and maintain records of implementation rate (performance progress and expenditures) on a regular basis. - Assist in ensuring compliance with issuance of audit certificates for partners in line with the Policy on Risk-Based Project Audits. - Use UNHCR¿s corporate tools (e.g. Focus Client, Global Focus Insight and FOCUS Reader, MSRP) for core activities related to planning, budgeting, implementation and reporting, generating data for evidence-based programmatic decisions and analysis. - Actively contribute to UNHCRs programming of community of practice and continuously contributing to improvements of programming tools and processes. - Perform other related duties as required. Minimum Qualifications Education & Professional Work Experience Years of Experience / Degree Level G5 - 2 years relevant experience with High School Diploma; or 1 year relevant work experience with Bachelor or equivalent or higher Field(s) of Education Not applicable Certificates and/or Licenses Not specified Relevant Job Experience Essential Demonstrated experience in Programme Management, Operation Management Cycle and related processes. Knowledge of Results Based-Management. Computer skills (in MS office) including advanced Excel skills (pivot tables, data management, etc) Desirable Completion of UNHCR Learning Programmes or specific training relevant to function of the position including Programme Management ¿ Level 1. E-tutoring of PM1, Framework for Implementing with Partners Learning Programme. Experience in programme management training and capacity building activities. Functional Skills *IT-Computer Literacy PG-Programme Management (programme cycles and reporting standards) PG-Results-Based Management DM-Database Management PG-Programme Analysis (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential) Language Requirements For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English. For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language. For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English. All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power. As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise. This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.

Desired Candidate Profile

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):




Desired languages


Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

The United Arab Emirates is a modern and dynamic country. For most Western tourists, the UAE offers an environment that is extremely familiar. The malls are extraordinarily modern, filled with virtually any product available in the West. The less well-known side of the UAE includes remote, magnificent desert dunes on the edge of the Empty Quarter and craggy, awe-inspiring wadis in the north-east bordering Oman.

The UAE has an adequate and reliable health care system. The UAE has taken early measures to limit the spread of the virus and implemented several initiatives to support the COVID 19 global response.

Nature of Position:

The incumbent would work under the direct supervision of the Snr Finance Associate and will be the primary interface on admin/finance/project control issues in Abu Dhabi, given that the position of Snr Finance Associate is located in Dubai. The role will also be part of the GCC pooled back-office architecture, supporting planning and financial monitoring of directly implemented activities in the UAE, given that UAE is part of the ABC of the MCO Saudi Arabia. In this respect, the incumbent is expected to have contacts within the different units in the NO Abu Dhabi, in particular with the Protection team to ensure a coordinated financial and performance monitoring, as well as counterparts in the other offices of the GCC.  

This job entails as well as significant portion of financial accountabilities. The incumbent is also expected to perform other duties in the Administration department and serve as Finance focal point. The incumbent is required to assists with the processing of financial transactions. S/he keeps frequent contact with staff at various levels in the office and with bank officials to exchange information.

Living and Working Conditions:

The weather from late October through mid-March is quite pleasant, with high temperatures ranging from around 27°C ( 85°F) to lows around 15°C ( 63°F). It is almost always sunny. Rain can happen between November and March and can cause road hazards when it does. In the summer, the temperatures soar, and humidity is close to unbearable — it is widely suspected that the officially reported temperatures are "tweaked" to cut off the true summer highs, which can reach 50°C, or around 120°F, or even higher! 

Medical Care: there is a wide network of local and International clinics that provides health care to the people throughout the country. For the past years, the UAE has adopted the latest medical technology. Specialized services are available in internal medicine, surgery, dental care, obstetrics, ophthalmology, etc. public and private clinics are available and provide a decent level of services.  

Current operational circumstances require frequently long working hours;

Security consideration:

In terms of personal security, while the UAE is considered relatively safe, one is encouraged to take necessary precautions.  The crime rate is extremely low and violence is rare in the United Arab Emirates,

Petty crime, such as purse-snatching and pickpocketing, occurs. Car doors should be locked at all times. To reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim, showing signs of affluence should be avoided and personal belongings, passports, and other travel documents should be secure at all times. 

The country's customs, laws, and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs. Religious and social traditions should be respected in order to avoid offending local sensitivities. In terms of residential security, one should maintain vigilance, especially when living in a non-fenced compound. Burglaries are uncommon but personal possessions should be hidden well or placed in an in-home safe. Ensure that smoke alarms are installed and operational. 

Another cause for concern is the very high rate of automobile accidents: besides due care while driving a vehicle, crossing the road on foot can be quite dangerous as well.

Additional factors: Although (Arabic) is essential language, knowledge of (English) would be an asset as many partners, including government counterparts most times use English in their verbal communication. There are also many international events and capacity development initiatives and events that entail an advanced knowledge of spoken English.

Geographical diversity is welcome as the majority of staff in the office are from Middle East region;

Additional Qualifications




HCR Learning Program - UNHCR

Work Experience


Accountability, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Organizational awareness, Stakeholder management, Teamwork & collaboration

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Shortlisted candidates will be required to sit for a written test and interview. This appointment is subject to proof of vaccination against Covid-19 with WHO approved vaccine, medical clearance and satisfactory reference checks.

Functional clearance

This position doesn't require a functional clearance
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Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.