UNDP AFG - Programme Specialist (Design)

Location : Kabul, AFGHANISTAN
Application Deadline :08-Aug-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :P-4
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :One year, with possibilty of extension

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.




UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. UNDP has been working in Afghanistan for more than 50 years on climate change and resilience, gender, governance, health, livelihoods, and rule of law. Under the broader framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in close coordination with other UN agencies, UNDP is supporting Afghan people’s aspiration for peace, prosperity, and sustainability. UNDP is currently implementing its flagship crisis response programme, ABADEI (Area Based Approach to Development Emergency Initiatives), as part of the ongoing UN-led response to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and the breakdown of Afghanistan’s economy following the August 2021 shift in power.

The new and challenging context in Afghanistan requires UNDP to possess highly broad-based analytical skills, an indepth understanding of programming techniques to create programming synergy incorporating cross-cutting issues. As UNDP mobilizes funds from various partners to meet Afghanistan’s needs for resilience building, its ability to develop and maintain support with its partners is critical and requires a strong capacity in programme concept design, proposal writing, strategic approach to donors to gain support for its programs and projects while seizing strategic opportunities to become a key partner to ensure high impact. Within the UNDP country office (CO) programme division, the newly formed Programme Management Unit (PMU) focuses on analysis, policies, guidance and procedures, programme design and quality assurance, cross-sectoral project coordination, evidence and learning, capacity building, resource management, budgeting and donor relations. Within PMU, an experienced, highly-skilled, professional in policy and programme design to be tasked as the Programme Specialist in Design is sought to work with PMU to strengthen capacity in designing, developing and guiding its programmes and projects to ensure coherence, targeted impact and continued support from donors.

Under the overall guidance and direction of the Deputy Resident Representative of the Programme (DRR/P), and the direct supervision of Programme Advisor, the Programme Specialist (Design) is responsible for providing specialist advice and technical support to the DRR/P and programme/project managers in ensuring that optimal programme strategies, structures, systems and resources are in place. In the role, the incumbent will provide a range of technical support, advisory, cross-sectoral coordination, policy guidance and capacity building to CO and project staff in relation to programme proposal development, donor relations management, results in planning, joint programme development, ensuring the effective management of the full programme cycle and donor reporting. S/he will also provide advisory, technical support, oversight and capacity building to assist the Country Office (CO) in ensuring that donor obligations and requirements are met. S/he will analyze political, social and economic trends, and lead formulation, design, results planning, budgeting of programme activities, providing policy advisory services in collaboration with thematic/sectoral cluster teams and joint programme teams within inter agency mechanisms. She will supervise two staff members – national programme specialist and gender specialist. The Programme Specialist’s role will have an impact on the design and technical robustness in the programming of interventions and activities, developing new entry points, and creation of strategic partnerships. Through his/her role in strategic planning and design, the work of the incumbent will have direct bearing on the reputation and perceptions of the positioning of the organization vis-a-vis external stakeholders, and on the technical capabilities of the country office. The Programme Specialist works in close collaboration with other team leads of PMU, programme/project teams, partnerships teams, other UN Agencies, national stakeholders, UNDP HQ staff, technical advisors and experts, multilateral/bi-lateral donors and civil society ensuring impactful UNDP programme development and successful resource mobilization.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Programme Specialist (Design) will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Programme Development and Strategic Planning
  • Creation of strategic partnerships and implementation of the resource mobilization strategy
  • Advocacy, coordination and strategic partnership building at the interagency and cross-national level
  • Knowledge sharing and capacity building.

1. Ensures the development of programme strategies and results planning to focus on achievement of the following results:

  • Conducts thorough analysis and research of the political, social and economic situation in the country and preparation of substantive inputs to CCA, UNSDCF, interagency engagement frameworks, CPD, new proposals, concept notes and other documents. The analysis is done in collaboration with the CO Policy Unit and Integrated Risk Management Unit.
  • Identification of areas and entry points for UNDP support and interventions within thematic/sectoral areas.
  • Synthesis and sharing of relevant regional and global experiences and best practices in order to inform and enhance consultations on programmes and projects in CO.
  • Designs and formulates CO programme, translating UNDP’s priorities into local interventions together with cluster specialists and other UN agencies deriving from lessons learnt in similar contexts and best practices where applicable.
  • Designs and develops concepts notes, proposals, programme and policy papers with the robust theory of change cementing UNDP positioning in emerging basic human needs and urgent priorities in the country.
  • Ensures rights-based, gender streamlining, and results-based management approach is embedded within project strategies, and leads results planning, activity planning, implementation team structure and results-based budgeting in the development of new programme and project proposal document together with the Quality Assurance and RBM team.
  • Facilitates, guides and coordinates the thematic clusters in developing programme/project documents, inter-agency joint programmes for multi-partner funding mechanisms including Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan (STFA) providing clear direction, indicative initiatives in a consistent manner and creating synergy among different thematic areas, accommodating relevant crosscutting issues and achieving high-quality design and implementation to meet the donor/partner standard.

2. Ensures creation of strategic partnerships and implementation of the resource mobilization strategy in cooperation with the Partnerships team focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Development of partnerships with the UN Agencies, IFIs, country-level stakeholders, bi-lateral and multi-lateral donors, private sector, civil society in the specific thematic areas based on strategic goals of UNDP, country needs and donors’ priorities.
  • Uses analysis and research of information on donor priorities by the Partnerships team, to prepare briefs and policy papers on possible areas of cooperation, identification of opportunities for initiation of new projects, with active contribution to the overall office effort in resource mobilization.
  • Together with the partnerships team, liaises with donor technical teams and programme quality assurance teams to improve the quality of proposals, creation of targeted donor products and address donor queries in support of the implementation of partnerships and resource mobilization strategy.
  • Supports senior management, project and partnerships team for management of donor relations with the provision of high-quality technical products, report preparation and compliance to donor reporting agreements.

3. Ensures advocacy, coordination and strategic partnership building at interagency and cross-national level:

  • Leads and supports, as required, programme networking, linkages and partnership development through joint programmes on thematic/sectoral areas and capacity building issues with other UN agencies and national and international partners.
  • Contributes to identification, development and maintenance of relationships with designated stakeholders (e.g., donors, UN agencies, NGOs, private sector) related to programme and business development.
  • Participates, on behalf of the DRR/P and/or Programme Advisor, in relevant UNCT level technical working groups, representing UNDP where necessary and advocating organizational mandate and garnering support.
  • Participates in STFA technical groups, PUNO meetings and provides UNDP inputs into STFA products in close coordination with UNDP projects and programme teams.
  • Supports all cross-national/border project development liaising with other UNDP COs and regional experts.
  • Coordinates regional offices inputs and identifies emerging needs at the ground level to feed into the programme and project design strategies and approaches ensuring advocacy at the interagency level and with relevant stakeholders.

4. Ensures provision of knowledge sharing and capacity building focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Identifies sources of information related to policy-driven issues including gender and human rights. Identifies, synthesizes and shares best practices and lessons learnt directly linked to programme goals.
  • Supports the development of knowledge products and institutions that will address the country issues and needs in collaboration with other strategic partners.
  • Provides sound contributions to knowledge networks and communities of practice.
  • Reviews existing/ongoing projects for possible improvement in design and implementation to achieve more strategic results and identifies capacity building needs of the country office and regional teams.
  • Conducts in-house capacity development activities together with the Quality Assurance team for programme staff on programme/project design areas - conceptualization, formulation of programme/project, project strategy, guiding principles, results in planning, activity sequencing, partnership strategy, developing risk-informed activities, results-based budgeting etc.

Perform other duties within your functional profile as assigned and deemed necessary for the efficient functioning of the office.

The Programme will supervise and lead professional staff.


Core Competency

Achieve Results:

LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact

Think Innovatively

LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems

Learn Continuously

LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences

Adapt with Agility

LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands

Act with Determination

LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results

Engage and Partner

LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration

Enable Diversity and Inclusion

LEVEL 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity

People Management:

Motivate and Direct

Cross-Functional & Technical competencies:


System-wide approaches to strategic planning and results


Programming principles & standards and development effectiveness principles

Crisis management/Country Management Support

Resilience based Programming

Inclusive Growth

Development Planning


Gender Issues and Analysis

Resource mobilization

Ability to identify funding sources, match funding needs (programmes/projects/initiatives) with funding opportunities, and establish a plan to meet funding requirements

Strategic Thinking

  • Ability to develop effective strategies and prioritized plans in line with UNDP’s objectives, based on the systemic analysis of challenges, potential risks and opportunities, linking the vision to reality on the ground, and creating tangible solutions
  • Ability to leverage learning from a variety of sources to anticipate and respond to future trends; to demonstrate foresight in order

Integration within the UN

  • Ability to identity, and integrate capacity and assets of the UN system, and engage in joint work; knowledge of the UN System and ability to apply this knowledge to strategic and/or practical situations.

Required Skills and Experience


Application Requirement

All Applicants MUST complete and attach the UNDP Personal History-P-11 Form (found here) to their applications in the vacancy site.

Submission of personal resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) will not be acceptable and candidates who fail to attach the above required P-11 form will not be considered.

Min. Education requirement:

  • Master’s degree in Public Administration, Economics, Political Sciences, Development Studies, Social Sciences or related area is required or,
  • Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Economics, Political Sciences, Development Studies, Social Sciences or related area with additional 2 years of relevant experience will be given due consideration in lieu of a Master’s degree.


  • Minimum of seven (07) years with a Master’s degree, or nine (09) years with a Bachelor’s degree of professional work experience in programme and project design and development with proven experience in developing integrated programmes in a complex context

Required Skills:

  • Experience at the national or international level in providing management advisory services, hands-on experience in the design, monitoring and evaluation of development projects.
  • Proven experience in handling multi-sectoral coordination among professionals and regional teams.
  • Experience or knowledge in managing complex and multi-source funded projects.
  • Experience in integrated programming with good knowledge and experience in UNDP's corporate policies and country offices programmes, operations, and partnership management.
  • Policy, advisory and advocacy experience and track record of engagement with the United Nations, other development actors and donors.
  • Strategic thinker and excellent analytical abilities.
  • Experience in the usage of office software packages, and handling of web-based management systems.

Language Requirements:

  • Proficiency in English is required – both written and oral.
  • Proficiency in Pashto and/or Dari is desirable but not essential.

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