International Gender & Elections Expert


Location : Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS
Application Deadline :08-Apr-16 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
02-May-2016
Duration of Initial Contract :120 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :3 months ( 3 trips)

Background

The “Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in the Solomon Islands Project” (SECSIP) is jointly implemented by the Solomon Islands Government through the Electoral Commission (SIEC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). SIEC is the primary administrative body of all electoral matters, and leads and undertakes the functions of voter registration as well as the conduction of national level elections and by-elections.

UNDP electoral assistance is provided throughout the entire electoral cycle (pre-election; elections/polling and post-election) and designed to support SIEC in its core mandate, conducting inclusive and credible electoral processes. SECSIP, funded by the European Union and DFAT Australia, focuses on the specific outputs capacity development, technical support in regard to voter registration, electoral reform, civic engagement/voter awareness and promotion of women’s political participation/gender mainstreaming. 

The project aims to develop synergies and strategic partnerships with a range of national stakeholders from government and civil society to ensure that an enabling environment is created. The overarching objective is to strengthen the link between the electoral cycle and other key governance processes and institutions, and therefore contribute to social cohesion and the development of a pluralistic society.
Gender mainstreaming is one of the key features of UNDP electoral assistance and support in other governance areas. Women usually represent about 50% of the eligible voters and are yet, as voters, as well as candidates and electoral administrators often underrepresented. For credible and inclusive electoral processes, the adequate participation of women in all three areas is crucial. The Solomon Islands are, as most countries in the Pacific, amongst the countries with the lowest rate of women’s political participation in the world. 

The 2014 National General Elections resulted in a Parliament with only one female member occupying one out of fifty seats, resulting in a 2% female representation. Since independence in 1978, only three women have been elected in Parliament. In order to strengthens women’s political participation in the Solomon Islands and supporting the Government in fulfilling its national and international commitments in this regard (CEDAW, SDG5, National Gender Strategy), SECSIP is engaging in several activities focusing on national legislation, SIEC manuals and guidance material, civic education and outreach, as well as civil society engagement and therefore seeks a Gender & Elections Expert to support the team.


Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of work/Expected Output 
 
Global objective: 
 
Under the direct supervision of the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA), who reports directly to the UNDP Country Manager, the Gender and Elections Expert will contribute to UNDP overall electoral support to the Office of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (O/SIEC). The Expert will especially support SECSIP in regard to the activities planned under Output 5 “Increased capacity of O/SIEC to become a more gender-sensitive electoral management body to implement gender mainstreaming and gender-targeted strategies”, but also support the CTA and the national Gender and Elections Officer in assuring that gender issues are adequately considered throughout the activities planned under Output 1 “Sustainability of voter registration system”; Output 2 ”Enhanced capacity of the SIEC to manage an electoral cycle”; Output 3 “National authorities and local networks have better capacity to train and educate the population on voter awareness and civic engagement” and Output 4 “Electoral and legal reform supported”. This will include liaising and establishing partnerships and/or ad hoc joint actions with organizations and entities, national and international, who are active in the areas of women’s political participation, civic education and political affairs.

General duties and responsibilities:
In detail, the Gender and Elections Expert will focus on three core activities throughout 2016:  

a)    Support the organization of an essay writing competition on the topics of women’s political participation. This includes:    

  • Building partnerships with selected Civil Society Organizations; 
  • Supporting the outreach campaign to schools and stakeholders on national level;
  •  Liaising with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) and the Ministry of Women, Children and Family Affairs (MWCFA);
  •  Support the evaluation of the received essays; and 
  •  Support SECSIP in the arrangements of awarding the winners (such as organizing respective events; supporting the selection, design, procurement and distributions of gifts and awards;
  •  Drafting the final report and/or lessons learned on the initiative and contribute to regular project reporting related to the activities above. 

b)    Support the implementation of a Small Grants Initiative for Civil Society Organizations (SGISCO) to conduct activities in regard to capacity development, advocacy, knowledge building and awareness raising on women’s political participation throughout the electoral cycle. This includes:

  •   Supporting the promotion of SGISCO; which includes the organization of events and outreach campaigns; 
  • Supporting the assessment of received proposals in cooperation with stakeholders among SECSIP/SIEC and governmental institutions; 
  • Advising potential and confirmed awarded Civil Society Organizations on project proposal design, implementation and monitoring of activities;
  • Supporting the administrative processes related to SGISCO, e.g. reviewing progress and monitoring, as well as budget reports of selected civil society partners;
  •  Drafting the final report and/or lessons learned of the initiative and contributing to regular SECSIP project reporting in regard to SGISCO.  

c)    Supporting the development of gender strategies, manuals and action plans and informing the ongoing national debate on stronger women representation in elected bodies and Temporary Special Measures. This includes: 

  • Supporting the CTA in her advisory role towards SIEC, e.g. reviewing relevant legal bills, strategies and documents and assuring they are gender-sensitive;
  •  Reviewing and/or drafting of O/SIEC manuals, guidelines and other instruments to incorporate gender mainstreaming and disability inclusion;
  •  Facilitating and/or leading consultations on women's leadership and political participation in the electoral cycle, in collaboration with the Political Parties Integrity Commission;
  •   Potentially attending consultations or public debates regarding Temporary Special Measures (TSM) and contributing to the knowledge building within relevant governmental institutions on various TSM. 

The expert is requested to work closely with the national Gender and Elections Officer and the SIEC Senior Training Advisor in all above mentioned activities. 
 

 


Competencies

 Organizational competencies and attitudes :  

  •  Demonstrable capacity to plan, prioritize and deliver tasks on time to meet goals in a highly pressured environment and to support other colleagues in achieving similar goals;
  •  Excellent self-organization; drafting skills and high-level of self-initiative;
  • Ability to establish effective working relations with stakeholders on all levels; including high ranking government officials and CSO representatives at the grass-root level;

 

 


Required Skills and Experience

Qualifications :

Education:

  •  Master degree or equivalent in Political Science, Law, Gender Studies or related field;

Experience :

  • At least 10 years of working experience in the field of electoral assistance with a strong focus on gender and/or in the field of women’s political participation (with at least 5 years of experience in the field of elections); including experience on policy level;
  • At least 5 years of experience in designing and implementing projects in the field, preferable in the Pacific region;
  •  Knowledge of the challenges regarding women’s political participation and previous relevant professional experience in the Solomon Islands will be considered a strong asset.
  • Demonstrated experience of working in politically sensitive contexts;
  • Previous experience working with UNDP considered a strong advantage.

Language :

  •  Excellent oral and written English skills; Solomon Islands Pidgin an advantage. 


UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


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