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Senior Programme Associate

San José | Costa Rica

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: San José | Costa Rica
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Administrative support
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: Closed

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

September 21, 2023

Standard Job Description

Senior Programme Associate Organizational Setting and Work Relationships The Senior Programme Associate would normally receive guidance from more senior programme staff in the operation/bureau/division. The incumbent normally supervises some support staff. S/he may receive indirect guidance from other sections and units relevant to the country/region programme(s). UNHCR Manual/Programme Chapter, Operations Plans, UN and UNHCR financial/budgetary rules and regulations will guide the work of the Senior Programme Associate. S/he is expected to stay abreast of the challenges posed to the region by the operational context, the UN and humanitarian reform and institutional developments. The incumbent 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 Chapter, 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 - Support the assessment and analysis of the needs of persons of concern in the country in a participatory manner and using an Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) perspective as basis for planning. - Support Results Based management and programme capacity in light of evolving requirements, programming approaches and gaps. - Participate in managing the development of a broad network of partners, good coordination practices and the development of partner capacities related to programme management. - 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. - Support 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. - Review the implementation and performance of partnership agreements through field visits and appropriate physical monitoring if applicable, reviewing work plans, performance and financial reports. - Support the planning process in compliance with planning parameters outlined in the Programme Manual and annual planning 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. - Follow up on any change in regards to alignment of results chain, verifying indicators, budget, prioritization, apportioning needed to measure programme performance, trends and target interventions, contributing to soundness of Operations Plan and enhancement of data quality. - Assist in negotiating and drafting partnership agreements, ensuring that all components are developed in conformity with UNHCR¿s financial rules and HQ instructions and guidance. - Contribute to the development and implementation of MFT monitoring plans for activities implemented through partnerships and those under direct implementation in line with Programme Manual and programming instructions. - Ensure compliance with issuance of audit certificates for partners in line with the Policy on Risk-Based Project Audits and follow up of internal and external audit recommendations related to programmatic issues. - 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 For G7 - 4 years relevant experience with High School Diploma; or 2 years relevant work experience with Bachelor or equivalent or higher Field(s) of Education not specified Certificates and/or Licenses Not specified Relevant Job Experience Essential Demonstrated experience in programme management, Operation Management Cycle and related processes. Knowledge and practical experience of Results Based-Management. Experience in programme management training and capacity building activities. Knowledge of MS office applications 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. Functional Skills *IT-Computer Literacy PG-Programme Management (programme cycles and reporting standards) PG-Results-Based Management DM-Database Management PG-Programme Analysis PG-Development and monitoring of programme assessments and surveys (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

Candidates must be legally present in Costa Rica at the time of application, recruitment and hire.

Only candidates holding a legally job permit in Costa Rica will be considered eligible.

UNHCR’s workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. We seek to sustain and strengthen this diversity and to ensure equal opportunities, as well as an inclusive working environment, for our entire workforce. Joining us means living, sharing and promoting these core values of inclusion, diversity and gender equality.

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.

UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing, training or any other fees).

Shortlisted candidates may be required to sit for a test and or interview. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified. No late applications will be accepted..

Remuneration & Benefits
A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered. The monthly net salary depends on relevant experience, dependency status and language proficiency. For more information on UN salaries, allowances and benefits, please visit the portal of the Office of HR Management of United Nations.
UNHCR also offers comprehensive medical insurance and pension plans.

If you have special needs or require assistance to apply, please contact

Covid-19 Vaccination and related Safety Measures:
UNHCR has a responsibility to prevent and curb the spread of COVID-19 as part of its accountability to its workforce and the communities it works in and serves. Whilst other measures (such as hand hygiene, physical distancing, ventilation and wearing masks) remain crucial, being vaccinated against COVID-19 plays a key role in protecting oneself, families, colleagues, and the community including persons of concerns and has been proven to significantly reduce risks of serious illness and death from COVID-19. Therefore, in alignment with other UN agencies and based on the advice of the UN Medical Directors network, UNHCR strongly urges all colleagues to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and others.

Recruitment as a UNHCR staff member and engagement under a UNHCR affiliate scheme or as an intern is subject to proof of full vaccination, independently of contract type and duration, unless the candidate is based in a location with documented lack of access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Therefore, the people recommended for the position must provide proof of vaccination or the medical recommendation that justifies non-vaccination.

Operation Context:
The socio-political crisis and rise in persecution factors in Nicaragua since April 2018 has produced a particularly sharp increase in the number of Nicaraguan asylum-seekers in Costa Rica. Only 78 Nicaraguans were registered as asylum-seekers in 2017. However, from April 2018 to mid-2020, the number had grown to over 86,000. This includes a significant number of vulnerable persons: at least one quarter of the arrivals has required humanitarian assistance.

Costa Rica also continues to receive asylum-seekers from Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Cuba and other countries with approximately 230,000 total PoC in Costa Rica at end-2022. The country also hosts a significant number of persons from within and outside the region who are in transit through Costa Rica as part of mixed movements, but some of these persons apply for asylum as well.

The response capacities of Costa Rica, a country of approximately 5 million people, and those of UNHCR and other partners, have been severely stretched, resulting in inadequate reception facilities and significant delays in registering and processing asylum claims. The large backlog can inhibit asylum-seekers from timely access to documentation, work authorization, health insurance and other rights, as well as a final refugee recognition decision, increasing their vulnerability and exposure to protection risks, and increasing their dependency on humanitarian aid.

Nature of the position:
Under the overall supervision and guidance of the Programme Officer, P3, the Senior Programme Associate manages and supports all activities pertaining the Programme Unit including: planning, oversight of partner management, direct and indirect implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes, and budget oversight. The incumbent may supervise some staff in the office. The incumbent maintains regular contact on a working level on routine issues with other UNHCR offices, UN agencies, NGOs, government partners and commercial contractors in the area to facilitate performing the programme function.

The candidate should have a very understand of the results-based framework and the programmatic cycle of UNHCR, besides the Programme related policies.

The candidate should have experience in programme management: planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. The applicant should demonstrate adaptability and ability to work in diverse teams, both in terms of culture and background.

Language requirements:
Spanish C2
English B2

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





Desired languages



Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

Nature of Position:

Living and Working Conditions:


Additional Qualifications


DM-Database Management, IT-Computer Literacy, PG-Development and monitoring of programme assessments and surveys, PG-Programme Analysis, PG-Programme Management (programme cycles and reporting standards), PG-Results-Based Management



Work Experience


Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Managing performance, Managing resource, Organizational awareness, Planning & organizing, Stakeholder management, Teamwork & collaboration

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Additional Information

Functional clearance

This position doesn't require a functional clearance
This vacancy is now closed.
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