Associate Public Policy Officer


Apr 12, 2019 (3 months ago) 0 Comments

Operational Context 

A support mission was made to Ethiopia in December, 2018 by the Senior Solutions Officer (Social Protection and Resilience) in order to analyse the potential for the transitioning of different lines of UNHCR assistance and protection services to the national social protection system, particularly for the protracted refugee caseload.  This analysis was made given the key role of social protection (including labour interventions) in (i) the National Comprehensive Refugee Response Strategy (NCRRS), (ii) the portfolio of donor flagship programmes operating to serve refugees and host-family locations (e.g World Bank IDA 18, DRDIP and the Jobs Compact; PSNP and linked programmes; the Dutch Initiative, EUTF programmes, BSRP and SHARPE), and (iii) the forward-looking strategies of key international agencies including WFP, UNICEF, ILO and the FAO. 

The main findings and recommendations of this visit were as follows:

  1. The NCRRS needed to be reinforced to show how the six pillars could be structured as a pathway from the transfer of refugees benefiting from the the current set up of humanitarian assistance to (i) a social safety net, social welfare services (comprising protection and family social support) and public works (cash for work) (ii) onto livelihoods and job placement support, showing how these (iii) lead to real prospects for a durable solution. This would better inform and structure the Guidelines and National/Regional Action Plan consultations. This would also allow UNHCR to define its specific role, whilst also acting to better negotiate our role in donor flagship programmes and position us better with other operational partners.
  2. There is scope and motivation from UNHCR staff for various sectors programmes to better transition to national / development-actor social protection programmes. The capacity building exercises and follow-up interviews with each sector revealed that there are already examples of collaboration with government ministries and bureaux at the regional level (BoLSA, BoWCYA, BoE, BoH, BoA, NDRMC) implicated in social protection programmes. All underlined that the functioning of the main programmes supporting the National Social Protection Strategy (that refers to the work of these Bureaux) was highly variable in each region, and that transitioning is more feasible for some locations and would require better operational partnerships, increased collaboration with Ministries/Bureaux outside of ARRA and a focus beyond the short-term. The role of locally-based organisations and informal mechanisms that provide local social safety nets where government capacity is poor, and which help to regulate informal labour was also highlighted.
  3. There are opportunities to strengthen the role of flagship donor programmes and approaches to better serve refugee and host families, for example:
    1. Jobs Compact and IDA 18 portfolio: Both require operationalisation of the protection frameworks/notes to minimise and manage protection risks. The role of social protection will be to ensure social safety nets are put in place where people live or where they move when taking opportunities for work. These must also be available where people fail or suffer the impacts of widespread disaster. This also means strengthening the protection capacity and services of the government social welfare system as part of a comprehensive social safety net approach (beyond distribution of cash grants).
    2. Productive Safety Net Programme (PNSP): a PNSP-type of approach is cited in both the NCRRS and the EU Trust Fund programme for Jijiga, because of its success as a safety net for rural populations, and its extra capacity to act in times of drought. However, the PNSP is not operated in many areas hosting refugees and is at risk of being overburdened with extra demands. A PNSP-like approach may be possible, ensuring that this is surrounded by other efforts providing social and protection services, and connected to services promoting livelihoods and job emplacement opportunities. Lessons learnt from an urban application of the PNSP, a sub-component of the Ethiopia PSNP which has started implementation, (not reliant on access to land), can also be used. All of this can inform the rollout of the NCRRS and inform changes to the design of the EU Trust Fund programme for Jijiga that the EU has requested.
    3. Dutch Initiative’[1]: the social protection system and associated programmes operate at the intersection of protection services, training and labour-market opportunities. Aligning the different strands of activities with UNHCR efforts to transition to social protection systems, and other key partner efforts to support social protection (WB, ILO, and UNICEF) can add extra impact to the activities planned by UNHCR.

Underpinning efforts for UNHCR to harness social protection and better link with other donor and government flagship programmes will mean:

  • Carrying out a socio-economic profiling exercise for refugees and host families that classes then under main categories of vulnerability (socio-economic and protection-related) that informs a targeting model. This is used to understand the most appropriate donor and government programme that a family can transition to, and structures the application of these programmes along a beneficiary family pathway from humanitarian assistance and dependence to economic inclusion and self-reliance (noting that reversals in the fortunes of people require social safety nets, shock-responsive/humanitarian mechanisms and protection services). Experience from the UNHCR Kenya Kalobeyei exercise can be imported.
  • Ultimately, access to stable or diversified jobs and livelihoods opportunities is the most critical element for a durable solution for refugees, enabling extra chances for returns and integration. Diversified partnerships that provide multiple opportunities across the public, private and informal/local sectors gives people the best chance. Current UNHCR efforts that focus on private sector opportunities can be enlarged by additional partnerships with actors building the capacity of other sectors.
  • Ensuring a comprehensive social safety net approach that (i) provides a referral service for refugees to national / international actor / locally managed service (ii) encompasses cash and other forms of grants together with access to social welfare services (iii) provides a clear exit pathway out of grants to livelihood/job opportunities that enable people to pay into social protection systems (iv) that provides a humanitarian /shock-responsive mechanism that provides support in times of inevitable widespread disasters.
  • Moving ahead with opportunities at the central and local level: passing of the Refugee Proclamation opens up central level opportunities to move on flagship donor programmes. Local flexibility with regional governments also allows opportunities to operationalise projects that benefit both refugees and host families. Opportunities for working on transition to social protection and enabling economic inclusion can be created together with other agencies who have already established links with Ministries and Bureaux running social protection programmes, and those agencies supporting locally-led efforts. These efforts will also work, in line with the NCRRS process to further open up UNHCR government relationships beyond ARRA.
  • Providing an evidence-based business case to the government including policy-economic simulations/modelling that demonstrates the benefits for including refugees into national social systems (including social protection). This can build on the World Bank and UNICEF Investment Case already made for social protection and feeds into UNHCR and international aspirations to enable refugees to reinforce local economies and enhance remittances. 
  1. UNCHR can further its partnership with other agencies who are working to scale up the capacity and coverage of the national social protection system and its support to the national health and education systems and government jobs programmes, for example:
    1. WFP is involved in building a humanitarian mechanism into the PNSP in partnerships with the NDRMC, and is working to connect its cash and food transfer to the national social protection system having just completed its national social protection strategy. It also runs in partnership with Oxfam the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (small-scale farmer and family support improved resource management disaster risk insurance, livelihoods diversification and access to microcredit and savings) for PNSP beneficiaries. WFP also implements a resilience programme for hosts and refugees in collaboration with MercyCorps and FarmAfrica in Dollo Ado region, funded by Sida to be further complemented by additional funding from Denmark.
    2. UNICEF is running complementary social services programmes to the PNSP (child protection, nutrition, health, education, WASH) and is involved in trialling the PSNP in urban contexts. UNICEF has been a key actor building the technical capacity of the government social protection system, including the child protection capacity led by the Ministry of Women and Children. They have just finished a series of regional and national level reports on refugees that will inform their future programming and are already involved in the IDP response.
    3. FAO is expanding its work on agricultural livelihoods and will include initiatives that boost job opportunities between MoLSA and the MoA, ensuring that these are climate-resilient. They want increase their activities serving forcibly displaced IDPs.
    4. ILO will step up their presence in Ethiopia through the Dutch Initiative through vocational training, job creation and placement services. It is looking to boost its technical assistance to MoLSA on legislation, financial modelling and fiscal space analysis, management information systems and data, and capacity building of local authority staff strengthening labour market interventions linked to the National Social Protection Strategy. ILO is looking to expand its operational partnership with UNHCR (that is applied in other UNHCR operations) in terms of analysing market chains, ensuring the Decent Work Agenda and is also looking at ways to support health insurance schemes.



The overall purpose of the position will be to support short- to long-term efforts to strengthen the operational capacity of UNHCR Ethiopian operations to transition its existing humanitarian assistance for refugees and IDPs to social protection and associated labour market programmes led by the government, other development actors, and, locally-based / community groups (‘transitioning’).  Initially, this position will work with a Senior Public Policy Officer over the short-term, and based on performance will take over overall responsibility for transitioning over the long-term:

Short-term role (assisting the Senior Public Policy Officer)

  1. Assist regional CRRF officers to map and analyse government, international actor and local efforts and potential for transitioning, focusing on priority NCRRS regions. This also includes helping the Senior Public Policy Officer to sensitise and build the capacity of UNHCR sector teams.
  2. Based on regional mapping and analysis of current UNHCR activities and research, and of regional NCRRS consultations, work with priority UNHCR regional offices to devise action points for transitioning in support of the NCRRS. This will build on existing sector strategies and projects for UNHCR CBI, livelihoods, education, health and protection (especially child protection, SGBV, Community Based Protection) teams.
  3. Support priority UNHCR sub offices to act on UNHCR transitioning action points (linked to specific regional action plans of the NCRRS) in consultation with ARRA and key social protection-related Ministries and their Bureaux in combination with other key social protection agencies (e.g. MoLSA, MoWCA, MoE, MoH, MoA, NDRMC). Extend this support to include local groups and community networks that play a key role in local social safety net and social services for vulnerable host families and refugees.

Longer-term role (building on previous work of the Senior Public Policy Officer)

  1. Work to strengthen UNHCR operational, technical capacity-building, research and advocacy partnerships with key agencies working on social protection (e.g. WFP, UNICEF, ILO, FAO, and the World Bank social protection team). This includes working with these agencies on key areas for transitioning including targeting and eligibility criteria, social registries, data sharing/privacy and management information systems, social transfer and service characteristics and delivery systems, international protection and referral capacity building of the government, monitoring and grievance mechanisms.
  2. Support UNHCR engagement with flagship donor programmes:
    • Harness social protection to support the protection frameworks and actions of the ‘Jobs Compact’ EEOP and WB IDA 18 refugee window programmes.
    • Help devise a PNSP / comprehensive social safety net approach that can inform the NCRRS, the EU Trust Fund programme for Jijiga and link with the Dutch Initiative.
    • Work with other agencies to elaborate a blueprint for a business case to scale up inclusion in national social protection programmes, including the centralisation of evidence base and economic modelling /simulations.
  • Support a socio-economic profiling exercise for refugee and host families to incorporate a transitioning lens and how its outputs can inform targeting, eligibility criteria and fit with UNHCR and other actor efforts to include refugees in social protection / labour market intervention programmes, both in contexts where refugees reside in, and out, of camps. 

Essential Minimum Qualifications and Experience 

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in social protection or a related field;
  • Minimum 6 years (4 years with University degree) relevant professional experience in government, UN, bi/multilateral donor agencies, development agency, civil society or private sector, ideally based in Ethiopia;
  • Direct experience and knowledge of Ethiopian social protection policy and programmes, and of the key government agencies and international actors supporting these.
  • Demonstrated experience in policy work and field programming related to social protection, ideally working on programmes serving remote, high poverty and displacement/conflict affected areas of Ethiopia. Experience working with humanitarian agencies and forcibly displaced beneficiaries is a bonus.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of Ethiopian humanitarian and development agency and donor networks including civil society, academic and research groups.
  • Excellent analytical skills including synthesizing information succinctly;
  • Ability to work independently and deliver high quality products under pressure;
  • Strong liaison, coordination and stakeholder engagement and negotiation skills;
  • Ideally fluent in Amharic and another regional language (e.g. Omoro).
  • Good drafting skills in English with ability to present information in a concise and coherent manner, using standard word processing packages.

Submission of Applications

This vacancy is open for qualified Ethiopians only. 

Female candidates are encouraged to apply. 

UNHCR is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.


Applicants who wish to be considered for this position should send a motivation letter the P11 Form and or the most recent fact sheet through the online application system.

Candidates will be required to sit for a test.

Due to the volume of applications only short listed candidates will be invited for interview. 

Former UNHCR General Service staff members, having held an Indefinite or FTA appointment for an uninterrupted period of at least one year may apply for internally advertised vacancies at their previous grade or equivalent or one grade above, if the seniority requirements are met, for a period of two years following separation.

Refugees – who cares?   We Do.

[1]Inclusive Jobs, Livelihoods, Education and Protection for Forcibly Displaced Persons and Host Communities’ – a four-year inter-agency partnership between the Government of Netherlands, the World Bank, IFC, ILO, UNHCR and UNICEF focused on increasing economic opportunities for forcibly displaced people (refugees and IDPs) and host communities in Ethiopia