Site Planner Officer (UNOPS)

  • Location:
  • Salary:
    negotiable / YEAR
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    6 months ago
  • Category:
    Infrastructure, Urban and Rural Development
  • Deadline:



Terms of Reference

Duty Station: CO Kabul, Afghanistan
Initial Contract Duration: Six Months
Contract Type: UNOPS -IICA 2
Start date: ASAP

Operational context
For over 40 years Afghanistan has seen some of the world’s largest population movements. Between 2002 and 2020 an estimated 7 million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, with more than 5.2 million being refugees who have voluntarily repatriated with UNHCR’s assistance. Refugee returns during the last three years have been far lower than in previous years, with 2,147 Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan (1,092), Iran (939), and other countries (116) in 2020, the lowest return figure that could be attributed to the deteriorating political, security and economic situation in Afghanistan and the impact of COVID-19. The intra-Afghan peace negotiations did not result in the optimal outcome. The Taliban have taken over the territories at lightning speed. As of 25 August 2021, all provinces except Panjshir have been captured by the Taliban. In the meantime, the U.S. strives to keep its decision to draw down from Afghanistan by 31 August 2021.

Since beginning of the year 2022, some people started to return to their original places or settled in new safe areas where they can find lands. As ES/NFI Cluster lead agency, while continuing distributing NFIs, UNHCR Afghanistan also provided cash for rent for a period of three months targeting families mostly displaced in urban areas. UNHCR Afghanistan aims to provide 6,000 permanent shelters with seasonal support package (bukhari heater and solar panels) per year, and infrastructure support together with livelihood projects targeting families displaced in urban areas. The objective of the livelihood community-based projects and infrastructure programme is to provide essential support to uplift their living conditions and long-term sustainable systems for extremely vulnerable individuals and protection cases, giving households more flexibility and mobility in choosing their living areas. UNHCR will also provide training centers, craft centers, carpet producing centers with community-based programmes to displaced populations residing in new formal and informal settlements. At the same time, wherever feasible, UNHCR support shelter repairs, transitional shelters either through cash for shelter or in-kind materials and tools to displaced families that opt to return to their areas of origin.

For the year 2023, UNHCR Afghanistan Office institutionalized the support of approximately 14,000 households distributed in many regions across the country. The target includes construction of 3,198 permanent shelters, 200 earthquake resistant shelters, 717 transitional shelters; support to 1,653 households in need of major shelter repairs and 4,067 minor repairs; and 3,868 emergency shelter. In parallel, UNHCR Afghanistan in collaboration with donors, is committed to assist the people with community infrastructure and livelihood projects, building or rehabilitating 54 schools, 26 health facilities, 14 community centers, 5 vocational and working centers, and 45 different projects such as roads, bridges, wash, water and irrigation schemes.

UNHCR will engage a qualified international Roving Associate Site Planner to ensure shelter and settlement, including minimum site planning standards meeting the basic needs and services.

Duties and responsibilities
The site planner will work under the direct supervision of Shelter Officer in Country Office Kabul, to assume the following responsibilities:
• Ensure that UNHCR Field Operations are supported in carrying out shelter, construction and settlement needs assessments considering the current situation, projected population planning figures and the expected scale of returns and displacement.
• Contribute to the implementation of country level Shelter Strategies and Construction Standard Operating Procedures, which are framed by UNHCR’s Global Strategy for Settlement and Shelter, and take into consideration the local context, age and gender, culture, climate, environmental protection, and the availability of local resources, including materials, capacities, and existing infrastructure.
• Provide clear guidance on standards and best practices for shelter and settlement, including minimum emergency standards to meet basic and essential needs.
• Organize and provide trainings to the Field Operations in construction techniques and practices leading to more durable solutions and drawing from local building practices and materials.
• Together with UNHCR’s Implementing Partners and Field Offices technical staff, compile and analyze available information on construction technical documentation in the country, taking into account relevant policies proposed by the local authorities.
• When planning shelter works, ensure that the technical component reflects UNHCR minimum standards for the provision of emergency and other types of shelter assistance and it is within the budgetary requirements. Due consideration should be given to standards in other relevant sectors such as water and sanitation.
• Ensure the shelter strategy is periodically reviewed to reflect the evolving situation in country and progressively transitioning to more sustainable shelter solutions. This process should be done in close collaboration with the beneficiaries and the local authorities, considering shelter needs of people upon their eventual return to their place of origin.
• Ensure that specifications, bills of quantities and drawings are produced in a technically sound and standardized manner and monitor performance, to ensure works are implemented according to plans and completed within the designated timeframe.
• Promote the sustainability of technical interventions through local capacity building and self-help in collaboration with local partners in the field. Ensure that local communities have been consulted on all activities to not create unnecessary tension between the displaced and host populations.
• In consultation with UNHCR’s Implementing Partners and local communities themselves, identify the need for community based Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) that can benefit the local and displaced communities.
• Intervene with Implementing Partners on shelter issues and construction activities.
• Under the guidance of Shelter Officer, work in close coordination with all functional units in UNHCR (Field, Protection, Solutions, Programme, CBI, Administration, Supply) for all issues related to protection, population of concern figures and effective assistance delivery.
• Assist the Shelter Officer in any other settlement related issues as required.

• All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional, and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required.

Education and Experience:
• University degree in Architecture or Urban Planning or Civil Engineering.
• Advanced University Degree (Master) in Project Management, Architecture, Civil Engineering or other relevant discipline or University Degree (bachelor’s degree / first level) with relevant professional experience in Project Management, Architecture, Civil Engineering, or other relevant discipline, may be accepted.
• Computer literacy in MS Office and other relevant software to produce geo-referenced digital maps, site plans, layout, and technical drawings.

Certificates and/or Licenses:
• Registration in Association of Architecture/Engineering.

Relevant Work Experience:
• 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree.
• Field experience in responding to emergencies, working with relevant governmental technical departments and various organizations in identifying, designing, delimiting, clearing, and developing land allocated to establish settlements.
• Good knowledge of site surveying (including topography, hydrology, geology, land use physical planning, environment, engineering, etc.) and extensive experience in undertaking related topography assessments/ feasibility studies for site identification and environmental impact studies whilst using surveying tools (including GPS equipment, GIS software).
• Prior experience in site planning including layout of shelter plots, roads, communal infrastructures, and basic services.
• Prior experience in designing and implementing shelter strategies.
• Knowledge of UNHCR standards and Sphere Standards and criteria for site selection, including consideration of cross sectorial issues related to protection, WASH, environment, land property issues etc.
• Prior experience in designing and implementing a settlement strategy, including host-community situations and collective shelters in emergency while considering the transition to more sustainable solutions.
• Project formulation, planning, supervision, and management skills.
• Experience in building on existing local capacity and transfer knowledge as appropriate.

Language Requirements:

Knowledge of English is essential.

Desirable qualifications and competencies
• Knowledge of UNHCR shelter standards, as well as standards related to protection, WASH, environment, and land use.
• Knowledge of a range of shelter assistance options, humanitarian infrastructure, including sensitivity to cultural and gender specific needs to ensure that the social and cultural background of the beneficiaries is considered while designing, developing and implementing shelter options.
• Proficient in basic computer software’s, including engineering (AutoCAD) and basic geo-spatial analysis tools (GPS).
• Familiarity with and considerable Field exposure to UNHCR programme planning and implementation and on humanitarian operations.
• Ability making the linkages to rehabilitation and development programmes will be an added advantage.

Key Competencies
Accountability, Communication, Organizational Awareness, Teamwork & Collaboration, Commitment to Continuous Learning, Client & Result Orientation.

The successful candidate will be based in UNHCR Country Office Kabul, Afghanistan.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seek to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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.

Standard Job Description

Required Languages



Desired Languages



Additional Qualifications


Auto-CAD Design, AutoCAD Design Software, CL-Camp Coordination and Camp Management, CO-Cross-cultural communication, EV-Environmental Assessment, Natural Resource Management, PG-UNHCR’s Programmes, Presentations, Rehabilitation, Site Planning


Bachelor of Arts (BA): Architecture (Required), Bachelor of Arts (BA): Civil Engineering (Required), Bachelor of Science (BS): Urban Planning (Required)


Work Experience

Site Planning/Shelter

Other information

Only successfully candidates will be contacted for assessment.This position doesn’t require a functional clearance

This job has expired.