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Health Systems/Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Specialist at UNFPA

  • Full Time
  • Lilongwe
  • Salary: 00


Job Description

The Position:

The Health System/ SRHR Specialist is located in the Malawi Country Office (CO) and reports to the Deputy Representative. The Health System/ SRHR Specialist acts as SRHR Team Leader and provides strategic direction in SRHR area and oversees UN Joint Programme (JP) Umoyo Wathu (UW) on Health System Strengthening in UNFPA Malawi. S/he establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with counterparts in government, multi-lateral and bilateral donor agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector to advocate for universal access to comprehensive SRHR information and services. S/he must effectively influence counterparts from diverse backgrounds to contribute to achieving UNFPA’s mandate. In addition, Health System/ SRHR Specialist will take a leadership in the integration of all existing and new programmes pertaining to SRHR including the UN Joint Programme (JP) such as Umoyo Wathu (UW) on Health System Strengthening. Health System/ SRHR Specialist will also work with other Team Leaders to implement 9th Country Programme in integrated manner.

The Health System/ SRHR Specialist will take a leadership role in inter-agency work, particularly through UNSDCF coordination mechanisms, to position UNFPA’s transformative results in joint UN initiatives.

How you can make a difference:

UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.  UNFPA’s strategic plan (2022-2025), reaffirms the relevance of the current strategic direction of UNFPA and focuses on three transformative results: to end preventable maternal deaths; end unmet need for family planning; and end gender-based violence and harmful practices. These results capture our strategic commitments on accelerating progress towards realizing the ICPD and SDGs in the Decade of Action leading up to 2030. Our strategic plan calls upon UN Member States, organizations and individuals to “build forward better”, while addressing the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on women’s and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, recover lost gains and realize our goals.

In a world where fundamental human rights are at risk, we need principled and ethical staff, who embody these international norms and standards, and who will defend them courageously and with full conviction.

UNFPA is seeking candidates that transform, inspire and deliver high impact and sustained results; we need staff who are transparent, exceptional in how they manage the resources entrusted to them and who commit to deliver excellence in programme results.

Job Purpose:

To meet the needs, the Country Office has secured funding from the UK’s FCDO UW programme, which is a UN Joint Programme with UNICEF and WHO, providing technical assistance to the Government to strengthen health system particularly around the pillars of integration, quality of care, resilience building and governance in selected districts.

The Health System/ SRHR Specialist leads the CO’s strategic approach to accelerate progress towards universal SRHR, in particular towards the three Transformative Results. S/he oversees Umoyo Wathu (UW) on Health System Strengthening and supervises the other SRHR team members. S/he will work under the supervision of Deputy Representative to promote innovative approaches on the integration of SRHR with other programme areas. S/he also assists the Deputy Representative on managerial and strategic matters related to SRHR.

The primary roles of the Health System/ SRHR Specialist are:

  • Policy dialogue and advocacy.
  • Programme leadership through day-to-day oversight for the implementation, monitoring, and reporting of Programme activities and work plans.
  • Resource management of the SRHR components of the Country Programme, including SRHR related budgets and consultancies.
  • Evidence management, knowledge management and innovation related to SRHR matters.
  • Strengthening of CO’s strategic partnerships with Government, NGOs, civil society, other UN agencies, development partners, and academia on SRHR matters.
  • Quality assurance of technical support and capacity development.
  • Managing her/his team effectively, including management of travel, leave and training plans.
  • Managing and coordinating the implementation of Umoyo Wathu (UW) on Health System Strengthening UN Joint programme

You would be responsible for:

A. Policy dialogue and advocacy:

  • Identify and provide evidence-based and substantive policy advice on UNFPA’s role and priorities in SRHR and translate the global priorities of UNFPA in the country context.
  • Address policy, financing, financial risk protection, delivery and accountability issues and provide substantive inputs to facilitate evidence informed dialogue for   positioning of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues within policies, financing and financial risk protection mechanisms, delivery systems, accountability mechanisms including national plans and strategies, UN systems initiatives and development frameworks (i.e. Common Country Analysis  – CCA, UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework – UNSDCF, UN Reform, System-Wide Action Plans – SWAPs, Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs) in national and development partners’ mechanisms in line with the new aid environment.
  • Lead the development of policy and advocacy plans on SRHR in order to ensure that trends, threats and risks are appropriately addressed at the country and/or county levels and the comprehensive SRHR is integrated to UHC;
  • Contribute towards the effective implementation of the SWAP through strategic contribution to government within the SRH-TWGs (Technical Working Groups) as one of the SWAP governance structures- thus directing policy and implementation of effective SRHR programmes at all levels of implementation.
  • Advocate for ICPD agenda with national institutions and other UN agencies represented at the national level.
  • Assist advocacy and resource mobilization efforts of the Country Office and other relevant government officials by preparing relevant documentation including project summaries, conference papers, speeches, donor profiles and participating in donor meetings and public information events.
  • Enhance the leadership of the visibility of UNFPA in relevant strategic forums.

B. Programme leadership

  • In collaboration with government counterparts, NGOs and other partners working in the area of SRHR, contribute substantively to the implementation of the country programme and its components projects in line with government priorities and according to UNFPA programme policies and procedures.
  • Provide regular updates to the Deputy Representative on the overall SRHR team performance, including programmatic implementation, delivered results, and financial performance.
  • Lead and coordinate to ensure consistent and coherent results based monitoring and evaluation of SRHR interventions in close collaboration with the M&E team. Analyse and report on programme and projects progress in terms of achieving results, using existing monitoring and evaluation tools and introducing new mechanisms and systems.
  • Identify constraint and resource deficiencies and recommends corrective action. Monitors projects expenditures and disbursements to ensure delivery is in line with approved project budgets and realize targeted delivery levels. Address implementation bottlenecks by working with responsible SRHR team members.
  • Monitor and oversee Programme related information management system such as Global Programming Systems (GPS), Quantum and ensure accurate and timely data entries by the SRHT team members.

C. Evidence management, knowledge management and innovation:

  • In consultation with implementing partners, strategic partners, and other development partners identify the demand for and contribute to the development of frameworks, guidance, standards, instruments and tools on SRHR by applying innovative approaches.
  • Ensure the creation and documentation of knowledge about current and emerging, SRHR issues, by the programme team through the analysis of programme strategies, approaches and on-going experience for lessons learned, good practices, and uses this knowledge for information sharing and planning future strategies.
  • Collect, analyze and synthesize information/data and experience on good practices and programme priorities to be used at national level.
  • Coordinate and lead the establishment and maintenance of the knowledge platform in SRHR as a mechanism to share technical skills and knowledge among national counterparts.
  • Lead the preparation of white papers, briefing, infographics and materials for evidence-based policy dialogues national and county levels.
  • Disseminate and promote the use of state-of-the-art technical knowledge, evidence, lessons learned, and success stories and ensure their use to improve the effectiveness of UNFPA operations.
  • Participate in relevant UNFPA technical networks, maintaining communication and feedback loops on all substantive work.

D. Strengthening the CO’s strategic partnerships:

  • Participate and contribute technical/programme inputs in UN and other inter-agency as well as national forums around SRHR to maintain collaborative relationships with counterparts in government, civil society, private sector, bilateral as well as multi-lateral development partners, etc.
  • Serve as UNFPA primary focal person on SRHR issues in the relevant forums, including UN inter-agency processes, mainly through UNSDCF coordination mechanisms and donor groups.
  • Initiate, develop, strengthen and monitor substantive and intellectual regional partnerships in SRHR, including for South-South technical cooperation with other countries for the implementation of the country programme.
  • Actively participate in technical working groups in the UNSDCF Strategic Priority Area and relevant national mechanisms to advance UNFPA’s area of work
  • Lead and coordinate the SRHR component of funding proposal development and donor reporting in line with the 9th Country Programme Integrated Resource Mobilization and Partnerships strategy.
  •  Promote South-South cooperation for the achievement of ICPD goals.
  • Promote H6 partnership to increase the coherence of technical support, policy engagement, advocacy and investments to improve sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health outcome.
  • Pursue innovative ways to maintain and create new partnerships;

E. Quality assurance of technical support and capacity development:

  • Coordinate and provide technical assistance on SRHR to national counterparts according to verified requests for technical support.
  • Provide technical and related programme leadership, advice and strategic support and guidance to the country, in the area of SRHR, including for emergency preparedness, humanitarian assistance and resilience building in collaboration with programme staff in the CO and RO.
  • Advise and support the operationalization and implementation of UNFPA policies, strategies, guidelines and tools on SRHR in the country, ensuring consistency and coherence in addressing priorities for UNFPA.
  • Analyze technical and programmatic and substantive reports and recommend required follow-up actions including technical support.
  • Monitor the quality of the SRHR technical support received at country level for effective policy dialogue and programming.
  • Organise round table meetings devoted to rolling out innovations on health system strengthening where SRHR issues are integrated into the implementation of agreed action points.

F. People management and leadership:

  • Supervise professional staff and associates under the SRHR team, direct expert consultants and facilitate working groups and task teams.
  • Proactively ensure that SRH and related programmes and projects remain aligned with the broader aims of the CO and Country Programme.
  • Exchange relevant information and maintains an open line of communication with colleagues and his/her supervisor to ensure that synergies across programming activities are obtained.
  • Coach and supervise national professional and support staff; be responsible for staff performance and advise on development needs.

G. Umoyo Wathu (UW) on Health System Strengthening UN Joint programme

  • Provide managerial leadership in the implementation of Umoyo Wathu programme, including engagement with other UN agencies (UNICEF and WHO) as well as the donor.
  • Facilitate technical and programmatic support to the Government of Malawi in the areas of health system strengthening and continuity of care.
  • Provide technical lead and quality assurance in the areas of EmONC and MPDSR.
  • Provides expert analysis, advice and support related to Health System Strengthening and SRHR.
  • Support and advise UNFPA’s technical lead in various forums including the health cluster, HDG, HADG, and engagement with the Global Fund.
  • Develop and implement innovative research concepts and policy advisory documents.
  • Collect and analyse information/data in the subject areas and drafts analytical reports, project documents, and funding proposals.
  • Assist in improving existing processes and products in programme delivery.
  • Performs other job-related duties as assigned by the CO Management Team to ensure the success of the country programme.

Qualifications and Experience: 


Post-graduate Master’s degree in public health, medicine and/or other related social science field.

Knowledge and Experience: 

  • Minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible professional experience at national level in the field sexual and reproductive health and rights including maternal health.
  • Conversant with national frameworks and policies on SRHR, Youth, HIV and other related issues and their linkages with the changing global environment and how this affects the context of Malawi.
  • Strong track record of technical leadership, including in planning and evaluation, and proven ability to demonstrate results;
  • Experience working with health systems, government institutions, NGOs and/or donor institutions.
  • Good knowledge of the programme development mechanism of the United Nations country programmes and familiarity with UNFPA programmes and policies.
  • Demonstration of programme management skills;
  • Field experience a strong asset.


  • Fluency in English; knowledge of other official UN languages is an asset.

Required Competencies: 


  •    Exemplifying integrity,
  •    Demonstrating commitment to UNFPA and the UN system,
  •    Embracing cultural diversity,
  •    Embracing change

Core Competencies: 

  •    Achieving results,
  •    Being accountable,
  •    Developing and applying professional expertise/business acumen,
  •    Thinking analytically and strategically,
  •    Working in teams/managing ourselves and our relationships,
  • Communicating for impact

Functional Competencies:

  • Advocacy/ Advancing a policy-oriented agenda
  • Leveraging the resources of national governments and partners/ building strategic alliances and partnerships
  • Delivering results-based programme
  • Internal and external communication and advocacy for results mobilization
  • Strategically positioning UNFPA programmes
  • Providing conceptual innovation to support programme effectiveness
  • Providing a technical support system
  • Strengthening the capacity of country offices
  • Facilitating quality programme results
  • Creating visibility for the organisation

Managerial Competencies (if applicable):

  • Providing strategic focus
  • Engaging internal/ external partners and stakeholders
  • Leading, developing and empowering people/ creating a culture of performance.
  • Making decisions and exercising judgment on Internal and external communication and advocacy for results mobilization

Compensation and Benefits:

This position offers an attractive remuneration package including a competitive net salary plus health insurance and other benefits as applicable.

UNFPA Work Environment:

UNFPA provides a work environment that reflects the values of gender equality, diversity, integrity and healthy work-life balance. We are committed to ensuring gender parity in the organization and therefore encourage women to apply. Individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community, minority ethnic groups, indigenous populations, persons with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups are highly encouraged to apply. UNFPA promotes equal opportunities in terms of appointment, training, compensation and selection for all regardless of personal characteristics and dimensions of diversity. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is at the heart of UNFPA’s workforce


Selection and appointment may be subject to background and reference checks, medical clearance, visa issuance and other administrative requirements.

UNFPA does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process and does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.

Applicants for positions in the international Professional and higher categories, who hold permanent resident status in a country other than their country of nationality, may be required to renounce such status upon their appointment.

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