UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls, the empowerment of women, and the achievement of equality between women and men as equal partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action as well as peace and security. As such, UN Women seeks to complement and enhance the capacity of other UN entities to serve their respective mandates to deliver on gender equality and on women’s empowerment. 

Ethiopia is host to two important African regional bodies that are critical for UN Women’s engagement in Africa: the African Union (AU) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). UN Women and the African Union Commission (AUC) have signed an MOU as a basis of cooperation and collaboration between both organizations.

Areas of existing joint initiatives include facilitating the acceleration of the ratification and implementation of international and regional women human rights instruments; Strengthening the AU’s capacities for human rights programming, gender mainstreaming and monitoring; Supporting the participation of the women’s rights movement in Africa in AU processes; repositioning EVAW within the work of the AU Peace and Security Council. They have co-launched a Joint AU – UN Women Africa Strategy on the Implementation on the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) in Africa.

UN Women’s Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 has an ambitious vision of making UN Women the centre of excellence and knowledge hub on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. To ensure that Africa, with the biggest presence of UN women implement this new strategy with all strong partners serving the continent such as African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UN women has established a standalone liaison office which based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while directly linked with the Regional office for east and South Africa, the region for West and central Africa and the Arab States region covering the northern countries of Africa. The Liaison Office has established a strategic note with four key priorities:

  • Developing an effective system for monitoring and tracking progress on implementation of continental gender equality normative frameworks (support to the duty bearers);  
  • Creating platforms for civil society and women’s voices so that they can influence progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment at the continental level (support to the rights holders); 
  • Strengthening UN system coordination on gender equality and women’s empowerment at the continental level; and  
  • Developing relationships and networks between and across producers and users of gender related knowledge by providing the linkages and sources so that gender equality stakeholders have the essential evidence they need to make informed decisions 

In addition, UN Women UN Women and ECA, have signed an MoU focusing on joint support to the African union and member states for implementation of regional and subregional GEWE norms, laws and strategies; research for gender equality and empowerment of women, and strengthening gender statistics in Africa to improve overall planning, monitoring and reporting on achievements of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

As a continental player in promoting sustainable and equitable development, the African Union has been undertaking, in tandem with the international community and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and national institutions, diverse activities targeting gender mainstreaming. In 2003 the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa was adopted. Furthermore, the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa was adopted in 2004, followed by the AU Gender Policy in 2009, and the historic declaration of the years 2010-2020 as the African Women’s Decade and the establishment of the Fund for African Women. The UN Women programming uses a Rights Based Approach through securing the rights of women as rights holders, while at the same time supporting Governments and other institutions that provide services to be accountable duty bearers.

UN Women’s partnership with the AU and the UNECA is therefore very important for the organization’s work in Africa. The Inter-Governmental fora presents a strategic opportunity for UN Women to support and influence the gender equality agenda in the region.

Reporting to the Regional Director, Eastern Southern Africa Regional Office, the Special Representative in Ethiopia – Liaison for the African Union Commission and UNECA will oversee external relations and the overall partnership portfolio of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, in addition to managing the office. The Special Representative in Ethiopia, African Union Liaison Office will coordinate strategic partnerships with key Regional Coordination Mechanisms in the areas of Peace and Security, Women’s rights, Governance and Women’s Leadership in Politics. The Special Representative in Ethiopia will also coordinate the African Women Leaders Network working closely with the AUC partners, HQ peace and Security, Africa Team and the Regional Director.

Duties and Responsibilities

Functions :

Lead and oversee the strategic direction on policy advice related to the African Union (AU)

  • Provide substantive policy guidance and support to the Regional Director based on analysis of development and political trends (Regional) and their possible impact on UN Women’s work;
  • Define UN Women’s role, priorities and strategies within various regional coordination mechanisms to which UN Women is active/participating including RCM and UNLT;
  • Coordinate with the UN Women East and Southern Regional Office (ESARO), West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) and Regional Office for Arab States on special initiatives and partnerships with African Union Commission (AUC) and UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), including on mainstreaming gender within AU/ECA processes; supporting Gender Pre-Events at Heads of States’ Summits and Pre – CSW events;
  • Provide substantive guidance on priority issues for the AU to the Regional Offices;
  • Facilitate the negotiation of agreements with the AU and UNECA;
  • Provide substantive support in the promotion and integration of gender equality and women’s rights in select thematic clusters of the RCM Africa as designated by the Regional Director.

Lead and oversee the strategic direction on UN coordination

  • Provide substantive and strategic leadership to policy development and implementation, monitoring and reporting, research and knowledge management on gender mainstreaming in the UN system;
  • Provide ongoing and up-to-date analysis on inter-agency deliberations on the development, coordination and implementation of policies for gender equality and development issues;
  • Represent UN Women in UN Liaison Team (UNLT) Meetings as necessary and as designated by the UN Women  ESARO Regional Director;

Lead the establishment and strengthening of strategic partnerships with stakeholders, regional/international actors and development partners

  • Lead and strengthen strategic partnerships for the UN Women AU Liaison Office;
  • Act as strategic interface with and build and strengthen close liaisons with relevant donors and other actors;
  • Lead the development of resource mobilization strategies and manage the implementation of resource mobilization strategies, plans, and efforts;
  • Manage external relations with donors and partners in the AU;
  • Develop innovative strategies and set direction to enhance existing and new relations;
  • Manage and coordinate high-level policy dialogues with donors, partners and other UN agencies;
  • Produce periodic updates and briefs on regional/country development situation to be used by stakeholders, Africa Regional Offices (ROs) Country Offices (COs) and HQ;
  • Manage the process of collecting and sharing lessons learned on gender equality and women’s empowerment to build knowledge and capacity of partners and stakeholders;
  • Oversee the design and implementation of capacity building activities to enhance skills and knowledge.

Lead and oversee the strategic direction of the UN Women’s Coordination of the Africa Women Leadership Network (AWLN)

  • Act as the focal person of the Africa Women Leaders Network ensuring timely coordination with all stakeholders including AUC, HQ, and relevant donor partners;
  • Ensure effective implementation of the AWLN Plan of Action including the organizing of its key forums in Africa and elsewhere;
  • Provide substantive and coordination support to Regional and Country Offices in establishment of local level AWLN Chapters;
  • Provide quality assurance of all Publicity Materials produced by the Communications Team of the AWLN.

Lead and oversee the design and development of relevant knowledge products

  • Lead the provision of policy recommendations and guidance to strategic planning and positioning;
  • Lead and provide advice to regional/ national bodies;
  • Represent UN Women in interagency groups that influence regional policies, strategies and programmes;
  • Contribute substantively and lead existing thematic and gender equality networks to better connect UN Women and partners;
  • Lead the research, development, and presentation of analytical reports, research papers, briefing notes, background papers, summaries, correspondences;
  • Identify promising practices, technical expertise, and strategic opportunities.

Lead Knowledge Management and visibility of UN Women Liaison                

  • Identify and disseminate lessons learnt and good practices in collaboration with country offices;
  • Ensure technical skills and knowledge are shared within and among CO/RO/ HQ;
  • Manage and monitor the regional knowledge platform and innovative approaches;
  • Ensure all knowledge products and policy briefs from the Liaison Team are translated in French prior to dissemination;
  • Oversee the development and dissemination of communications and visibility products.

Manage the Liaison Office

  • Lead the office in the delivery of operational goals;
  •  Finalize the annual work plan and budget; and oversee the implementation, including providing direction, guidance and technical support;
  • Manage the performance of personnel under supervision; provide managerial direction, guidance and leadership to staff and provide performance feedback and coaching to personnel , ensure performance assessment are implemented on time and ensure personnel are fully aware of UN Women workplace relations policies;
  • Promote teamwork to ensure harmonization, linkages, collaboration and synergy;
  • Ensure a respectful, inclusive safe and healthy work environment for personnel;
  • Identify learning and development opportunities of staff under her supervision and ensure support is provided to build their capacities.

Undertake any other duties as may be assigned by the Regional Director.

Key Performance Indicators:

  • Timely and quality provision of strategic support and advice to the Regional Director;
  • Clear UN Women Strategy for AU relationships;
  • UN Women is well represented at high level meetings;
  • Partnerships and engagements with other UN agencies;
  • Quality and number of knowledge management and advocacy initiatives undertaken;
  • Quality mentoring, training, coaching which affects performance of personnel, inclusive workplace environment;
  • UN Women is seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner, providing substantial inputs to progress UN women’s mandate.


Core values

  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
  • Respect for Diversity

Core Competencies

  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
  • Accountability
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Effective Communication
  • Inclusive Collaboration
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Leading by Example

Functional Competencies

  • Substantive knowledge or gender equality and women’s empowerment issues;
  • Excellent partnerships development, networking and interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to conceptualize and convey strategic vision;
  • Excellent advocacy and negotiation skills ;
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • Ability to lead strategic planning, results-based management and reporting;
  • Ability to manage complexities;
  • Strong oral and written communications skills, ability to convey complex concepts to different stakeholders;
  • Ability to provide policy advice and support to partners;
  • Strong leadership skills, ability to create and enabling work environment;
  • Strong knowledge of the UN system;
  • Strong knowledge of local country context.

Required Skills and Experience

Education and certification:

  • Master’s degree in international development, public administration, public policy, or other relevant social science fields is required;
  • A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree;
  • A project/programme management certification (such as PMP®, PRINCE2®, or MSP®) would be an added advantage.


  • At least 15 years of progressively responsible experience for work focused on, or strongly involving a focus on gender equality at national, regional and international levels, including 5 years’ field experience with an international organization;
  • Experience in managing and overseeing development policy-making;
  • Experience working in the region/sub-region where the Liaison Office is located;
  • Experience in partnership engagement with Africa-based RECs, AU Member States Permanent Delegations, parliaments in Africa, NGOs, networks and think tanks.
  • Experience in leading a team.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English and French is required;
  • Knowledge of another UN working language would be an asset;
  • Knowledge of Portuguese would be an asset.

All applications must include (as an attachment) a completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from

Please note that the system will only allow one attachment and candidates are required to include in the P-11 form links for their previously published reports and articles completed within the last two years. Applications without the completed and signed UN Women P-11 form will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment.


In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system (DAW, OSAGI, INSTRAW and UNIFEM), which focused exclusively on gender equality and women's empowerment.

Diversity and inclusion:

At UN Women, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. UN Women recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability, national origin, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, competence, integrity and organizational need.

If you need any reasonable accommodation to support your participation in the recruitment and selection process, please include this information in your application.

UN Women has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UN Women, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to UN Women’s policies and procedures and the standards of conduct expected of UN Women personnel and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. (Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.