Position Title: Shelter Associate-Fixed Term
Activation Date: 25 January, 2023 Announced Date: 25 January, 2023 Expire Date: 07 February, 2023
Having entered the fifth decade of their displacement, Afghan refugees constitute one of the largest protracted displacement crises of our time. Over the years, the region has remained in flux and return movements have been interspersed with waves of emigration, sporadic flows of refugees, and exponential internal displacement. COVID-19 has pushed millions of vulnerable people further into poverty, with potential implications for population movements within the region and further afield. Hundreds of thousands remain further afield, notably in Germany, other European Union Member States and Turkey.
Between 2002 and 2020 an estimated 7 million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, with more than 5.2 million being refugees who have voluntarily repatriated with UNHCR’s assistance. Refugee returns during the last three years have been far lower than in previous years, with 2,147 Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan (1,092), Iran (939), and other countries (116) in 2020, the lowest return figure that could be attributed to the deteriorating political, security and economic situation in Afghanistan and the impact of COVID-19. These returns have taken place against a backdrop of increased internal displacement due to conflict and natural disaster. OCHA, estimates that overall, nearly five million persons have been displaced since 2012 and have not returned to their place of origin.
Despite strong political will to achieve peace in Afghanistan, uncertainties result from the current political context, including the significant delays in the intra-Afghan peace negotiations and the withdrawal of US troops as part of the US/Taliban negotiations. There are currently two elements constituting the international military forces in Afghanistan: the US Operation Freedom with 2,500 troops, which were recently reduced from 4,500 troops on 15 January 2021 with a possible complete withdrawal by May 2021; and the NATO Resolute Support with fewer than 12,000 troops from dozens of nations involved in a non-combat mission of training and advising the Afghan security forces.
There are 72,445 refugees living in Afghanistan. Most of this group were displaced from Pakistan to Afghanistan in 2014 and settled in areas of Khost and Paktika provinces. A small number (approximately 380 people) reside in urban areas of Kabul and other cities. Refugees constitute one of the most vulnerable populations in the country. They face significant legal challenges due to the fact that that the National Law on Asylum still has not been enacted.
UNHCR provides international protection and finds solutions to the refugee situation in Afghanistan building upon the ongoing consultations within the context of the Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) and the Global Compact on Refugees. These include the Inaugural Meeting of the Core Group of the SSAR Support Platform (7 October 2020), the 7th Meeting of the SSAR Quadripartite Steering Committee (1 October 2020), and the High-Level Meeting on the SSAR Support Platform (6 July 2020).
While ongoing security challenges remain significant, there is also an opportunity at present for Afghanistan’s gradual progression on the path towards peace and stability, which could pave the way for the long-awaited solution of voluntary repatriation. UNHCR will expand the Priority Area of Return and Reintegration (PARR) from 20 to 40 areas in 2021. Full, explicit and impactful inclusion of returning refugees into national development planning and programming is essential to enable their sustainable reintegration which will in turn solidify and fortify the broader peacebuilding, reconciliation and stabilization efforts, the integral linkages between timely, inclusive and forward-looking planning for return and reintegration and the three overarching pillars of Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF II) for 2021-2025, as well as relevant implementation mechanisms, including the National Priority Programs (NPPs):
Peacebuilding: ensuring that the imperative of voluntary return and reintegration is firmly embedded in relevant peace processes and any subsequent agreement with a view to enabling returning refugees to become part of cohesive and harmonious communities and to
participate in peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts.
Market-building: capitalizing on the human capital, skills and assets acquired by refugees in host countries to support market-building efforts and address human resource gaps, including through return of qualified individuals, private sector investments or opportunities for regional connectivity; and
State-building: advancing inclusion of the displaced in development processes, planning and programmes; with particular focus on enhancing absorption capacity and delivery of quality services and ensuring rights through targeted humanitarian, development, and peace (triple nexus) investments in priority areas of return and reintegration, building resilience of communities as a whole; in full alignment with the strategic long-term approach to peacebuilding outlined by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Organizational Setting and Work Relationships:
The Shelter Associate provides support in carrying out comprehensive sectoral needs assessments in liaison with other relevant sectors such as protection, programme, community services, public health, WASH, administration and supply. To ensure the most effective response, both quantitative and qualitative data should be gathered on the profile/needs and living conditions of both the displaced population and host community. The incumbent will assist in the day to-day operations of all construction and general infrastructure projects within the Area of Responsibility (AoR) to ensure that works proceed as designed and comply with established standards and procedures for the full project cycle.
Close and regular contact is maintained with technical and non-technical staff of shelter sector members, national and international NGOs and Government Authorities. The Shelter Associate normally reports to a more senior shelter colleague.
The incumbent assists the supervisor in ensuring that shelter & infrastructure responses within the AoR evolve according to the changing nature of the situation, progressively working towards more durable solutions and drawing from sustainable local building practices and materials. S/he provides technical assistance in general infrastructure planning, design and construction monitoring.
Within an urban context, it is essential that shelter responses take into consideration urban planning strategies, including an analysis of residential areas, housing affordability and availability. In addition, regardless of the context, shelter assistance should at all times minimize the risk of harm, eviction, exploitation and abuse, overcrowded living conditions, limited access to services and unhygienic conditions. Special attention must be given to the environment and low carbon approaches, attention to material selection through sustainable means to ensure a green approach to shelter delivery.
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.
- Assist in carrying out shelter needs assessments while liaising with other relevant sectors such as protection, programme, community services, WASH, administration and supply.
- Work with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the shelter beneficiary selection process prioritises the needs of the most vulnerable Persons of Concern (PoC).
- Assist the supervisor in developing and updating shelter strategies to reflect evolving situations and ensure alignment with national and global level policies and guidelines including: Global Compact on Refugees, Sustainable Development Goals, Relevant Global Strategies and Policies.
- Provide support in the daily management of all construction and infrastructure projects within the AoR ensuring that works are carried out in compliance to established UNHCR and national standards/best practices for the full project cycle.
- Follow up the design and construction of infrastructure (schools, health centres, reception centres, drainage and roadworks etc) to confirm these are approved by the relevant authorities, technically sound, supplemented with accurate drawings, detailed BQs and specifications and implemented according to plans, completed within designated timelines, budget and ensure that this information is shared with relevant colleagues.
- Work closely with other relevant sectors such as WASH, education and health so that shelter and infrastructure implementation is synchronised and coordinated.
- Assist implementing partners on sound technical shelter and settlement issues while ensuring compliance with national and global standards, national and operational strategies and guidance.
- Provide technical support in the field of shelter, construction and infrastructure development within the AoR to best meet the needs of PoC.
- Assist in coordination and management of UNHCR¿s shelter and infrastructure interventions in a timely, cost-effective, inter-sectoral manner. Work with the government and relevant authorities and counterparts to ensure strong coordination and partnership.
- Participate, as technical focal point within the AoR for shelter/infrastructure, in coordination meetings with various stakeholders including Government counterparts to ensure UNHCR¿s interests and those of the PoC are adequately reflected and disseminate information to all stakeholders in a timely, efficient manner.
- Assist Programme in reviewing technical components of the Project Partnership Agreements that contain any construction and infrastructure projects.
- Actively work with Programme as a member of the Multi-Functional Team in the Operation and regularly participate in multi-sectoral activities to ensure protection and assistance needs of the population are met.
- Provide support in the preparation of bid documents for all construction and infrastructure projects including technical specifications, BoQs, drawings, etc.
- Assist in the technical evaluation of received bids as well as in the review/inspection of the quality of shelter and infrastructure products/works.
- Perform other related duties as required.
Years of Experience / Degree Level
For G6 - 3 years relevant experience with High School Diploma; or 2 years relevant work experience with Bachelor or equivalent or higher
Field(s) of Education
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Certificates and/or Licenses
Civil Engineering; Architecture
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Relevant Job Experience
Knowledge of SPHERE standards and the ability to use basic survey equipment, digital cameras, and computer equipment. Experience in developing shelter and settlement need assessments and undertaking gap analysis for development of shelter programs.
Knowledge of UNHCR shelter standards, as well as standards related to protection, environment and land use. Knowledge of a range of shelter assistance options, including sensitivity to cultural and gender specific needs to ensure that the social and cultural background of PoC is taken into account while designing and developing shelter options. Knowledge of computer graphics, AutoCAD and mapping software as well as the capacity to use mapping tools (GPS), and digital photographic equipment, and related software (map info etc.)
SP-CAD 3D modeling for Settlement Analysis (eg. Infraworks, Civil 3D)
CO-Drafting and Documentation
SP-Shelter and Infrastructure Coordination
IT-Computer Assisted Design Software (e.g. AutoCAD)
(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)
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.
The management of the advertised openings in this announcement is in line with UNHCR Recruitment and Assignment Policy (RAP).
The vacancies are open to eligible internal and external applicants.
- Internal applicants are requested to submit their applications through Workday – Menu – Career. It is important that applicants update their Profiles (languages, education and prior working experience) before submitting their applications.
- External applicants are requested to submit their applications through the UNHCR Careers - Careers (myworkdayjobs.com). You will need to create an account as “New User” and then click on “My Account Information”. Complete the application and submit it.