Associate Survey Specialist

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Terms of Reference

Title: Associate Survey Specialist
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 01/07/2023 to 31/12/2023 (with possibility of extension)
Contract Type: UNOPS IICA-1/LICA-9 (P-2/NO-B equivalent)

Background and Organizational Context

High-quality data is central to the success of UNHCR’s efforts to safeguard the rights and well-being of persons of concern, and to achieving the vision of becoming, by 2025, a trusted leader on data and information related to refugees and other affected populations. The two main data sources for UNHCR are registration systems and household surveys. In 2020, UNHCR initiated a process to integrate and standardize UNHCR’s survey landscape, while at the same time expanding it to accommodate the survey-based indicators of the new corporate Results Based Management (RBM) framework.

One key aspect of this effort to integrate and harmonize its work on household surveys is the establishment of a Global Survey team in the Statistics and Demographics Section (SDS) of the Global Data Service. Under supervision of the Senior Statistics and Data Analysis Officer – Survey Coordinator in SDS, the Associate Survey Specialist will join a technical team developing and subsequently scaling up several survey-related workstreams, including UNHCR’s new global Forced Displacement Survey (FDS) programme and the Results-Monitoring-Surveys (RMS). Other members of the Global Survey team include survey specialists, statisticians, sampling and data analysis experts. The team works closely with other stakeholders such as the Division of Resilience and Solutions, the Division of Strategic Planning and Results, the Division of International Protection, the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement and UNHCR Regional Bureaux.

A key overarching aim of the Forced Displacement Survey is to move towards an integrated survey series that delivers to the vast majority of the organization’s survey data needs. It is envisaged that this survey series will be able to deliver the required data for the following purposes: inform, design and prioritize programming; construct targeting models; advocacy; advance partnerships (including with development institutions); enhance external reporting; strengthen fundraising; provide indicators for results frameworks (in particular the new RBM) and global commitments (e.g. Global Compact on Refugees, SDGs, Grand Bargain). The survey series should also be able to provide the required data for select programme monitoring. Its initial focus will be on countries hosting large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers.

The Results-Monitoring-Surveys focus on living conditions and welfare of populations directly and indirectly assisted by UNHCR’s programmes (forcibly displaced, stateless and returnees). This work will feed into UNHCR’s Results-Based Management system (RBM), led by the Division of Strategic Planning and Results.

Purpose and Scope of Assignment

The Associate Survey Specialist will contribute to the development, implementation and subsequent scale-up of both the Forced Displacement Survey and the Results-Monitoring-Surveys. After pilot phases in 2022 and 2023, the FDS scale-up will take place gradually while the RMS’ second round of data collection will start in the second half of 2023. The Associate Survey Specialist will support both projects, including through mission travel.

The Associate Survey Specialist will be expected to support and provide technical inputs during the methodological development and lessons learned phases of both projects. The Associate Survey Specialist will play a key role together with other survey specialists, the Statistician, Sampling Specialist and Data Analyst, as well as the UNHCR country and regional teams in compiling appropriate survey designs for each implementing country. Tailored designs are based on the standardized/harmonized instruments and methods developed for the FDS and the RMS, respectively. The Associate Survey Specialist will subsequently contribute to ensuring that the data collection entity (in most cases this will be a private survey firm or other contractor) implements the data collection in accordance with this survey design. This may involve overseeing the contractor in-country, particularly during interviewer training and an initial phase of fieldwork. The Associate Survey Specialist will also contribute to the data driven quality assurance of the collected data during and after the collection.

Duties and responsibilities

• Contribute to design of standardized/harmonized survey instruments and methods.
• Contribute to the field pre-testing activities under supervision of the Survey Coordinator.
• Contribute to the full survey design (including questionnaires, training material, field manuals, quality control mechanisms, etc.) for several surveys, based on the standardized/harmonized material developed for the FDS or the RMS.
• Contribute to the adjustments of the survey form in the Kobo Toolbox software and to the testing of the form before fieldwork.
• In collaboration with local counterparts, oversee the training of enumerators.
• Assist in oversight and quality assurance of the data collection process. Ensure that these are carried out in full accordance with technical/design requirements and quality control specifications.
• Accompany survey missions as technical resource and prepare relevant documents pre- or post-mission (e.g. survey design background notes, note verbale etc.)
• Assist in the organization and/or delivery of FDS- or RMS-relevant workshops.

Monitoring and Progress Controls

Support development of the survey design
o Contribute to drafting and revisions of survey questionnaire modules
o Contribute to the country-specific ‘contextualization’ of the survey questionnaire
o Support development of sampling approaches
o Contribute to the development of interviewer training manuals and field manuals
o Contribute to the development of Quality Assurance protocols

Assist with delivering a completed data collection in at least one location for the FDS and RMS
o Engage with the operation
o Facilitate communication between operations and survey firms/data collectors
o Assist in translation and localization of instruments
o Assist in training of the interviewers
o Assist with quality assurance
o Collaborate with data analyst and curator service to document and prepare microdata for release

Support socialization of the FDS and RMS projects internally
o Support development of guidance materials for engagement with the FDS and RMS, nationally, regionally or globally

Promote the use of data
o Assist in the organization of workshops on the analytical potentials of FDS and RMS data

Contribute to the overall strategic reshaping of survey landscape in UNHCR
o Input into the development of the UNHCR global strategy document on reshaping the organization’s survey landscape

Essential Minimum Educational Level, Qualifications and Professional Experience

• University Degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD equivalent) in Statistics, Economics, Demography, Quantitative Social Sciences, or related field.

Work Experience:
• Minimum of 3 years of experience with Bachelor’s degree (or 2 years with Master’s and 1 year with PhD) in being part of designing and implementing quantitative household surveys, preferably at a national scale, out of which at least 2 years are in face-to-face surveys, preferably in low- and middle- income countries.
• Advanced skills in statistical analysis using statistical software either STATA or R. Knowledge of R a distinct advantage. Knowledge of other statistical software an asset.
• Experience with face-to-face interviewing required. Familiarity and experience in computer assisted interviewing (CAPI) and particular experience with Kobo Toolbox software an asset.

Key Competencies:
• Proven ability to contribute to the development and validation of survey instruments.
• Understanding of basics of survey data quality principles and some experience in using data quality assurance measures in practice.
• Proven ability to perform data transformation and analysis tasks on survey based data using Stata or/and R.
• Experience in conducting face-to-face interviews an asset.
• Experience in supervising large-scale data collection and training enumerators an asset.
• Experience working in low- and lower-middle-income countries an asset.
• Experience in designing and conducting cognitive interviews an asset.
• Strong organizational skills, including the ability to balance multiple tasks simultaneously and set strategic priorities.
• Ability to work both independently and in teams.
• Excellent drafting and presentation skills.
• Ability to work well in a demanding, dynamic environment and meet overall objectives.

Location and Conditions

The successful candidate will be based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Shortlisted candidates might be required to sit for a written test. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified. No late applications will be accepted.

This vacancy is open to applicants residing in Denmark as well as those residents in other countries. The remuneration level and the applicable entitlements and benefits may differ based on the residence of the most suitable selected candidate.

Recruitment as a UNHCR staff member and engagement under a UNHCR affiliate scheme or as an intern is subject to proof of vaccination against Covid-19.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination, and abuse of power.

As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise.


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BS: Demography (Required), BS: Economics (Required), BS: Statistics (Required)


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This position doesn’t require a functional clearance