Senior Programme Assistant

UNHCR - UN High Commissioner for Refugees

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Application deadline in 2 days: Wednesday 17 Apr 2024 at 00:00 UTC

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This is a UNV National Specialist contract. This kind of contract is known as National UN Volunteer. It is normally only for nationals. More about UNV National Specialist contracts.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has an international mandate to protect refugees, persons who have fled their country of origin due to well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or belonging to a particular social group. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950, by the United Nations 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. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

The UNHCR (MCO) Multi-Country Office in Panama provides support to refugees, asylum seekers, and other forcibly displaced people in Aruba, Belize, Cuba, Curacao, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. MCO Panama works in close collaboration with Governments, UN agencies, international and national NGOs, civil society as well as host communities, in other to help forcibly displaced people find safety and rebuild their lives. The MCO Panama office covers several humanitarian situations, including but not limited to: the regional Venezuelan refugees and migrants situation in Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Curaçao, Guyana; the Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers situation in Panama, the Colombian refugees and asylum seekers situation in Panama, and the refugees and asylum seekers situation in Belize, Cuba, Suriname and Nicaragua.

The programme team coordinates the planning, budgeting and reporting, as well as partnership agreements with international and national organizations, implementation of planned activities. The programme team based in Panama supports all the offices under the Multi-country office supervision in their programme management, providing regular support and guidance.

Within the delegated authority and under the supervision of Programme Officer or his/her designated mandated representative(s), the UNV Senior Programme Assistant will:

• Provide administrative assistance and support in routine services and activities of the programme team based in Panama and within the MCO. • 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. • Provide support to ensure 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. • Guided by the Multi-Functional Team approach, support the development and implementation of monitoring plans for activities implemented through partnerships and those under direct implementation in line with Programme Manual and programming 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. • Assist in ensuring compliance with issuance of audit certificates for partners in line with the Policy on Risk-Based Project Audits. • Use UNHCR’s corporate tools (e.g. CloudERP, COMPASS, PROMS, etc.) 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. • Any other related tasks as may be required or assigned by the supervisor.

Furthermore, UN Volunteers are encouraged to integrate the UN Volunteers programme mandate within their assignment and promote voluntary action through engagement with communities in the course of their work. As such, UN Volunteers should dedicate a part of their working time to some of the following suggested activities:

• Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and take active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark International Volunteer Day); • Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country; • Provide annual and end of assignment self-reports on UN Volunteer actions, results and opportunities.
• Contribute articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc.; • Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly arrived UN Volunteers; • Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible.

Results/expected outputs:

• As an active UNHCR team member, efficient, timely, responsive, client-friendly and high-quality support rendered to UNHCR and its beneficiaries in the accomplishment of her/his functions, including: o Maintain regular financial and performance monitoring for UNHCR direct implementation and partners, o Participate in the Multi-Functional Team monitoring visits and meetings, ensure proper documentation prior and following such exercises, o Ensure the programme documentation is up to date and complete. • Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) perspective is systematically applied, integrated and documented in all activities throughout the assignment, • A final statement of achievements towards volunteerism for peace and development during the assignment, such as reporting on the number of volunteers mobilized, activities participated in and capacities developed.

• 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 behaviours 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 behaviour; 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.

general. • At least 1 year of professional work experience in Administration, finance, secretarial, office support or other relevant field. • Work experience at the national and/or international level, experience with international and/or national non-profit organizations is an asset, as is experience working in the UN or other international development organization.

Other desired/mandatory required technical knowledge • Excellent oral and written skills; excellent drafting, formulation, reporting skills; • Good numerical skills, ability to estimate and adjust budgets, make projections and calculations, • Accuracy and professionalism in document production and editing; • Excellent interpersonal skills; culturally and socially sensitive; ability to work inclusively and collaboratively with a range of partners, including grassroots community members, religious and youth organizations, and authorities at different levels; familiarity with tools and approaches of communications for development; • Ability to work and adapt professionally and effectively in a challenging environment; ability to work effectively in a multicultural team of international and national personnel; • Solid overall computer literacy, including proficiency in various MS Office applications (Excel, Word, etc.) and email/internet; familiarity with database management; and office technology equipment; • Self-motivated, ability to work with minimum supervision; ability to work with tight deadlines; • Desirable: valid national driver’s license and proven ability to drive manual gear 4x4 over rough terrain; • Sound security awareness; • Have affinity with or interest in programme management, volunteerism as a mechanism for durable development, and the UN System.

This UNV assignment is subject to proof of vaccination against Covid-19 with WHO approved vaccine, unless the UNHCR Medical Service approves an exemption from this requirement on medical grounds

Panama City is classified as an A duty station (family) and has good infrastructure (health, housing, banking, transportation, telecommunications, and recreational facilities) and good supply of goods and services, with no particular health hazards.

In terms of security Panama is relatively safe compared to other cities throughout Latin America and it is rated as security level 2 (low). The city is a communication hub, and it is possible to fly to all countries of the region with direct flights and it offers good option for travelling in general.

The UNHCR Multi-Country Office is located in the Canal Zone, in a green area outside the city centre, called ‘Ciudad del Saber’ where most of the other UN agencies are also located, as well as international schools, NGOs and research centres.

The cost of living is relatively high for the region (reflected in the post adjustment) especially for housing and health, but it is easy to find accommodation on the private market, including in the area of the office in houses or in the city centre towers in modern apartments. Most of the food is imported except for sea products and some fruits and vegetables. There is a wide range of international schools, several of them offering IB curriculum including some in the office area. In terms of recreational activities Panama being a hub for the purchasing of goods for neighbouring countries, the city offers a lot of malls, and doing shopping and going to malls is a common weekend activity. Cultural offer is limited but there is a good offer of restaurants and a dynamic nightlife. Beaches on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are reachable within one hour by car or by boat directly from the city, and there are some options for hiking too. There is also a relatively good range of sports activities.

As other fast-growing cities, in Panama the traffic is heavy at peak hours and considered an issue for people living in Panama City. The climate is hot and humid with a rainy season lasting 8 months a year.

As this is a national UN Volunteer assignment, the UN Volunteer will be responsible for arranging his/her own housing and other living essentials

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