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 partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
The West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) in Dakar coordinates and provides oversight to 10 country offices, and provides on-demand support in coordination with UN partners in countries across the region where UN Women has not presence.  The Regional Office also plays a key role in ensuring the coordination mandate of UN Women as well as support country offices' resource mobilization efforts. WCARO serves as the hub of technical assistance, policy guidance and oversight, as well as thought leadership on gender equality and women’s empowerment issues in the region.
Women’s political participation is one of UN Women’s primary areas of work, recognizing the role of women’s equal participation in politics in strong and stable democratic processes and inclusive societies. It is covered under the Entity’s Strategic Plan 2022-2025 Impact Area 1 – Participation and Governance in Public Life: “Women and girls participate in leadership and decision making and benefit from gender responsive governance”; and across several Systemic Outcomes of the Strategic Plan, mainly: Outcome 1 on normative frameworks and policies, Outcome 5 on Voice Leadership and Agency; and Outcome 7 on UN coordination.
The work includes, inter alia: supporting legal and policy reforms that facilitate women’s participation in public life; strengthened capacities of diverse women to engage in political life; support parliamentary bodies to deliver gender equality reforms; support legal and policy responses to prevent, monitor and mitigate violence against women in politics; improve knowledge, data and statistics on women’s political participation; support women leaders in gender-sensitive political institutions including legislative bodies at national and local levels; and support initiatives aimed at changing gender norms so that women are accepted as legitimate and effective leaders. UN Women works with a range of partners and stakeholders to ensure more women of all ages fully participate, lead, and engage in political institutions.
Reporting to the Deputy Regional Director, and matrixed to the Women Political Participation Global Advisor Political Participation in Headquarters the Policy Advisor, Women’s Political Participation (WPP) will oversee the development of WPP programmes in the region, provide capacity building to Country Offices (CO), establish and strengthen partnerships, and develop relevant knowledge products on WPP; and support implementation, monitoring and reporting on global and regional agreements norms and standards.
 Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
 Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Tchad, and Togo.
Duties and Responsibilities
Oversee the development of a WPP strategy for the region
- Manage the development and implementation of an integrated strategy for the delivery of technical assistance, policy advocacy and programme support in the region;
- Manage the development of regional programme documents on WPP in collaboration with COs, and the Political Participation team in Headquarters.
- Oversee the contextualization/ localization of programme documents, country strategies, and knowledge products, and ensure proper monitoring and reporting in WPP.
Lead the provision of capacity building support to Country Office teams and partners
- Provide substantive and policy support to COs and UN Women teams to implement and localize corporate guidance, knowledge products and tools on WPP, ensuring policy and strategic coherence, and avoiding duplication.
- Develop, implement, and monitor capacity building initiatives on key priority topics in the region.
- Conduct capacity building and substantive sessions through in-person trainings, induction, webinars, workshops, cross regional dialogues, and exchanges and through the coordination mandate to learn what others do better and replicate.
- Manage surge capacity deployments as needed, experts, practitioners, trainers, academics, etc.
- Lead country office teams in developing and strengthening policies, projects/programs and modalities to engage in key normative processes (incl. Commission of the Status of Women, UN General Assembly, and other regional and sub-regional processes) to support the implementation of global norms and standards; and ensuring proper monitoring;
Support WCARO’ s coordination mandate on Women’s Political Participation:
- Provide substantive support on WPP to UN entities in mainstreaming gender into joint programmes on electoral assistance and WPP more broadly (including Peace Building Fund projects) and strategic documents (CCA/UNSDCF).
- Guided by relevant UN policy frameworks, support gender mainstreaming into joint programming on electoral assistance.
- Coordinate high-level advocacy on WPP within relevant inter-agency task forces and support timely and quality inputs as needed to inform Senior Management’s participation in the SG Executive Committee (EC) and follow up with Country Offices on the implementation of relevant EC’s Decisions and other relevant task teams.
- Build, leverage, and maintain alliances and strategic partnerships for the advancement of WPP, the regional and continental structures and entities including The African Union, The United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), civil society groups and networks, academics, and other non-governmental organizations.
- Maintain close contact with relevant staff in UN-Women Liaison Office in Addis Ababa and HQ.
- Work closely with and provide advice to regional/ national bodies and interagency groups that influence national policies related to women’s political participation and where necessary represent UN-Women.
Manage the resource mobilization strategy for WPP in the region.
- Participate in the implementation, monitoring and periodic updating of the resource mobilization strategy on WPP in the region,
- Provide technical support to field-based presences in the region in mobilizing resources for the implementation of WPP, including through substantive inputs to resource mobilization programme documents and consultations with donors as needed;
- Research and analyze information on donors; prepare substantive briefs on possible areas of cooperation.
Lead the design of WPP in the region and the development of relevant knowledge products
- Lead the provision of policy recommendations and guidance to strategic planning and positioning on WPP;
- 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, correspondence on WPP;
- Provide thematic support to the Regional Director’s high level advocacy efforts in support to Member States in conducting a review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing +30) in 2025.
- Lead regional engagement on the elaboration and implementation CEDAW Committee general recommendation 40 (2024) on the equal and inclusive representation of women in decision-making systems.
- Provide thematic oversight of COs’ corporate planning and reporting including development of Country Offices’ Strategic Notes and Work Plans and ensure quality assurance of COs’ reports during the elaboration of the Executive Director’s Annual Report (EDAR).
- Provide technical support and policy advice to programme/project managers/ specialists in country offices (COs) to implement WPP programmes aligned with corporate direction and messaging, and in compliance with UN System wide policies. Support will include thematic assessments and in-country missions to overcome financial, programmatic, and operational challenges in the field.
- Provide substantive support by strengthening country offices’ capacities through CCA and UNSDCF processes; and by engaging with the UNCTs and closely supporting Resident Coordinators’ Offices.
- Support to NRAS focusing on: i) providing technical support to the UNCTs to ensure gender mainstreaming in national gender strategies and UNSDCF and CCA processes; ii) on demand support to UN Agencies to integrate gender in their specific strategic plans or joint programming; and iii) working with NRAs to meet gender equality requirements with a specific focus on implementation of Beijing+25 recommendations related to WPP, the SDGs, and other normative work.
- Identify promising practices, technical expertise, and strategic opportunities.
Manage knowledge building and sharing for WPP
- Manage the Regional Community or Practice on Women’s Political Participation, including identify, codify and disseminate lessons learned and good practices in collaboration with country offices; and liaise with HQ focal point for ongoing contribution to the global thematic Community of Practice.
- Ensure technical skills and knowledge are shared within and among CO/ NRAS;
- Manage and monitor the regional knowledge platform and innovative approaches in WPP.
- Provide quality assurance of COs’ knowledge products in line with corporate strategies.
- Maintain up-to-date relevant thematic regional data; and integrate analysis to policy-oriented advocacy and corporate support (e.g., briefing notes, background papers, region-specific reports).
Lead and manage personnel under their supervision
- Manage the performance of personnel under their supervision by provide managerial direction, guidance and leadership as well as performance feedback and coaching.
- Ensure performance assessment are completed on time and identify learning and development opportunities to support personnel’s engagement.
- Ensure all personnel under their supervision are fully aware of UN Women’s workplace relations policies
- Respect for Diversity
- Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
- Creative Problem Solving
- Effective Communication
- Inclusive Collaboration
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Leading by Example
- Excellent knowledge of Women’s Political Participation (including issues related to democratic development, electoral assistance, campaigns, legal frameworks, political parties, legislatures, local government);
- Strong knowledge of the region;
- Knowledge of the UN System;
- Excellent networking skills;
- Ability to interact with donors, identify and analyze trends, opportunities and threats to fundraising;
- Ability to perform qualitative and quantitative policy research;
- Ability to advocate and provide policy advice;
- Excellent analytical skills and problem-solving skills.
- Ability to write policy papers, speeches, briefings;
- Excellent knowledge of programme development, implementation, results-based management and reporting
- Ability to work collaboratively in diverse teams, as well as strong communication skills.
- Ability to undertake frequent travel within the West and Central Africa region.
Required Skills and Experience
- Master’s degree or equivalent in political science, gender studies, law, human rights, international relations or other 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.
- At least 10 years progressively responsible experience in designing and managing programmes and advocating for women’s political empowerment, ideally with some experience in developing countries;
- Experience in programme, policy analysis, and strategic planning;
- Experience working with, and building partnerships with governments, donors and civil society organizations internationally and in the field;
- Experience working with the UN system is an asset;
- Experience working in the West and Central Africa Region is an asset
- Fluency in English and knowledge of French are required;
- Knowledge of another official UN language is desirable (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).
All applications must include (as an attachment) the completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from: https://www.unwomen.org/sites/default/files/Headquarters/Attachments/Sections/About%20Us/Employment/UN-Women-P11-Personal-History-Form.doc. Kindly note that the system will only allow one attachment. Applications without the completed UN Women P-11 form will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment.
In accordance with the UN Staff Regulation 4.5 (b) A temporary appointment does not carry any expectancy, legal or otherwise, of renewal. A temporary appointment shall not be converted to any other type of appointment. This temporary appointment is budgeted for a maximum term of 729 days.
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.
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