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Associate Programme Officer at UNHCR

  • Full Time
  • Lilongwe
  • Applications have closed
  • Salary: 00



Mission and objectives

The High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. In its efforts to achieve this objective, the Office strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, and to return home voluntarily. By assisting refugees to return to their own country or to settle permanently in another country, UNHCR also seeks lasting solutions to their plight. UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the UN General Assembly have authorized involvement with other groups. These include former refugees who have returned to their homeland; internally displaced people; and people who are stateless or whose nationality is disputed. The Office seeks to reduce situations of forced displacement by encouraging states and other institutions to create conditions which are conducive to the protection of human rights and the peaceful resolution of disputes. In all of its activities, it pays particular attention to the needs of children and seeks to promote the equal rights of women and girls. The Office works in partnership with governments, regional organizations, international and non-governmental organizations. It is committed to the principle of participation, believing that refugees and others who benefit from the organization’s activities should be consulted over decisions which affect their lives.


The Office of the UNHCR was established on 14 December 1950 by the UN General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country ( Malawi acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees and its 1967 Protocol (herein after jointly referred to as the 1951 Convention). Malawi is also party to the 1969 OAU Convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa. Malawi maintains a reservation with regards to Article 26 of the 1951 Convention (freedom of movement). According that, refugees cannot leave their area of residence (camp) without permission from the Commissioner of Refugees or the the delegate thereof. According to the criminal act, refugees who leave the the place of residence assigned to them without a travel permit will be subjected to a fine determined by a court. During the 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF), Malawi pledged/committed itself to introduce the settlement approach in order to enhance integrated development of refugees and local community and serve as a conceptual operational bridge for closing the dysfunctional gap between humanitarian response and development activities. A CRRF roadmap is in place covering the period 2019 to 2022 and it aims to, among others, an expansion and de-concentration of Dzaleka Refugee Camp, while increasingly including the refugees in the local programming.

Task description

Under the direct supervision of the Programme Officer, the UN Volunteer will undertake the following tasks: Through a consultative process within the country and field visits, stay involved in the development of the strategies, methodologies, contingency plans that respond to new and emerging operational challenges for the country; Assist in ensuring that global strategic priorities (GSP) and regional priorities as well as information on projected resource availability guide the planning parameters; Provide inputs for developing the country operations plan in compliance with global strategic priorities and regional priorities as well as with annual programming/planning instructions; Assist in organizing a consultative process to ensure a consistent application of the organization’s criteria and policies for the selection of implementing and operational partners; Assist in managing the development of a broad network of partners, good coordination practices and the development of partner capacities; Assist in training UNHCR as well as implementing partners (IP) staff in UNHCR standard procedures related to the Results Based Programme (RBM) management; Undertake proper collection, monitoring and use of baselines, standards and indicators needed to measure and analyze UNHCR’s performance, trends and target interventions; Undertake field visits to evaluate and improve the planning, programming, implementation and monitoring of assistance projects; Assist in implementing the establishment of sound monitoring processes, in reviewing final reports and on progress in order to advise on any corrective actions required or the need for additional resources to reach planned target levels; Apply UNHCR’s corporate tools (e.g. Global Focus, Focus Client) to record data and assess the technical soundness of the operation and generate data for evidence-based decisions at the country-level; Assist in keeping donor representatives briefed on developments and assist in the development of funding submissions, appeals and reports; Assist in monitoring compliance to the organization’s resource allocation framework, providing support and assisting in corrective action where required; Assist in establishing and handling Implementing Partners Reports.


Required experience

3 years of experience in in programme management, Desirable Qualifications and Skills: Previous field experience is an advantage Familiar with results-based management approach and use of project/software is an asset Completion of learning programmes or specific training relevant to functions of the position is an asset Good knowledge of financial rules, procedures and processes is an asset Knowledge of programming tools such as MSRP, Focus, etc. is an asset. Computer skills: Office Package (excellent knowledge of Word, good knowledge of Excel and Power Point) and Internet browsing.

Area(s) of expertise

Community development, Communication, Business management

Driving license


English, Level: Working knowledge, Required

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in Business Administration, Law, Economics, Development, Social Science or related fields.

Competencies and values

Professionalism: demonstrated understanding of operations relevant to UNHCR; technical capabilities or knowledge relevant or transferrable to UNHCR procedures and rules; discretion, political sensitivity, diplomacy and tact to deal with clients; ability to apply good judgement; ability to liaise and coordinate with a range of different actors, especially in senior positions; where appropriate, high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; resourcefulness and willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented; Integrity: demonstrate the values and ethical standards of the UN and UNHCR in daily activities and behaviors while acting without consideration of personal gains; resist undue political pressure in decision-making; stand by decisions that are in the organization’s interest even if they are unpopular; take prompt action in cases of unprofessional or unethical behavior; does not abuse power or authority; Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; excellent interpersonal skills; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, mixed-gender environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; sensitivity and adaptability to culture, gender, religion, nationality and age; commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of UN operations; ability to achieve common goals and provide guidance or training to colleagues; Commitment to continuous learning: initiative and willingness to learn new skills and stay abreast of new developments in area of expertise; ability to adapt to changes in work environment. Planning and organizing: effective organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage a large volume of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects/activities; Communication: proven interpersonal skills; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, articulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff), military personnel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse backgrounds; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups; Flexibility: adaptability and ability to live and work in potentially hazardous and remote conditions, involving physical hardship and little comfort; to operate independently in austere environments for protracted periods; willingness to travel within the area of operations and to transfer to other duty stations within the area of operations as necessary; Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards UNHCR’s mission and vision, as well as to the UN Core Values.