Programme Specialist

  • Location:
  • Salary:
    negotiable / YEAR
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    2 months ago
  • Category:
    Project Management
  • Deadline:


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are core principles at UNDP:  we value diversity as an expression of the multiplicity of nations and cultures where we operate, we foster inclusion as a way of ensuring all personnel are empowered to contribute to our mission, and we ensure equity and fairness in all our actions. Taking a ‘leave no one behind’ approach to our diversity efforts means increasing representation of underserved populations. People who identify as belonging to marginalized or excluded populations are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more about working at UNDP including our values and inspiring stories.
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.
Background and Organizational Context

UNDP Somalia Country Programme Document runs from 2021 – 2025 and is aligned with the country’s National Development Plan and UN Cooperation Framework 2021-25. The CPD focuses on 3 main programmatic priorities to be delivered through 4 outcomes. The programme team is configured around the CPD through 4 portfolios namely the Inclusive Politics, Economic Recovery and Institutional Development, Resilience and Climate Change and Rule of Law and Security, which mirror the 4 outcomes of the CPD.

Programme implementation is overseen with support from the Programme Oversight and Quality Assurance (POQA) unit which serves as the independent internal assurance mechanism separated from project execution/ implementation. The main priorities of this unit is to ensure quality, coherence, agility and compliance throughout the programme cycle, by correct application of Programme and Project Management policies and procedures. The Programme Specialist and Head of POQA unit leads on this function, working with other staff in the unit, and providing leadership of the unit. He or she works in close collaboration with the Country Office (CO) Operations team on financial management of the programme and audit matters.

Position Purpose

The objective of the position of Programme Specialist and Head of Programme Oversight and Quality Assurance (POQA) unit is to lead the unit in ensuring programme implementation and management is in line with the Programme and Project Management (PPM) provisions of the POPP manual. This objective is embedded in 3 features of quality, coherence and compliance. The unit performs internal oversight while building capacity for both internal staff and external partners to ensure agility, compliance, quality and coherence is maintained across the 4 portfolios and the whole programme in general. Thus, the scope of the responsibility’s spans across PPM, harmonized, collaborative programming, flexible decision-making, and Risk management approaches through application of HACT framework including HACT and DIM audits, capacity development, monitoring, learning and evaluation, and People management through leadership and supervision of the staff within the unit.

Duties and Responsibilities
Support portfolios in programme and project management with application of RBM
  • Ensure projects are formulated in alignment with the CPD and UNDP Strategic Plan, guided by the POPP, UNDG Guidelines for Joint Programmes and other locally approved guidelines /SOP, including the Operations Manual of the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility (SDRF);
  • Support the Integrated Work Plan process and ensure compliance in all corporate planning system platforms. Coordinate support needs from programme with the regional hub as necessary
  • In consultation with portfolio managers and project managers with clearance from DRR-Programme, develop programme resource and budget projections, to inform delivery targets, resources mobilization targets and revenue for the CO, to be populated in the Integrated Work Plan (IWP) annually and monitored through the integrated financial dashboard;
  • Support the programme team with review for agility and quality assurance of draft project documents, initiation plans, concept notes, calls for proposals; promote cross-portfolio inputs and facilitate presentation of the projects for internal review and to Local Project Appraisal Committee (LPAC) before final endorsement by Senior Management;
  • Reviews and clears projects’ Annual Work Plans (AWPs) and AWP amendments ensuring necessary approvals by governance bodies (Project Boards) are documented and observed, clearing any exceptions by Senior Management as applicable;
  • Contribute to the preparation and/or participation in the Project Board and Technical Committee meetings in line with the CO approved practice and corporate policy provisions;
  • Advise senior management on mainstreaming UNDP corporate portfolio approach across organizational processes and projects, to enhance system responses in project design and management.
  • Review and clear Letters of Agreement (LOAs) and Responsible Party Agreements (RPAs) before these are submitted to Senior Management for signature;
  • Ensures harmonization and consistency of UNDP programme and project instruments (project document templates, LOAs, RPAs, LVGs, etc.); ensure programme instruments are consistent with requirements under the Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfers (HACT) framework, notably on use of cash transfer modalities in line with risk level of the assessed Responsible Parties. Any exceptions noted should be cleared by and in consultation with Senior Management.
  • Support formulation of all donor agreements in line with existing corporate templates and procedures, using correct financing agreement templates and application of correct cost recovery policies; securing necessary clearances, before these are submitted to Senior Management, ensures that donors’ contributions are properly transferred to UNDP in a timely manner, donor narrative and financial reports are submitted in compliance with the contribution agreements.
  • Support the programme team to ensure compliance to all necessary operational procedures and policies under the PPM and other relevant sections of the POPP and HACT frameworks including but not limited to the use of Partner Capacity Assessment Tool (PCAT), the Social and Environment Screening Procedure (SESP), Enterprise Risk Management (ERM policy), Vertical Funds policy guidance, Project Board guidance, and others as applicable.
  • Guides portfolio managers and project managers on initiating Joint Programmes including providing and ensuring correct use of available templates; advise on MPTF procedures, including the MPTF and SDRF Operations Manual; liaises with MPTF Fund Administrator on issues related to programmable resources and budget for UNDP and facilitate mid-year and annual MPTF reporting in coordination with the MPTF Secretariat in the Integrated Office of the Resident Coordinator
  • Participate in the inter-agency Programme Management Team (PMT) meetings to represent UNDP when assigned by the DRR-Programme; coordinate submissions from UNDP to the PMT as required, under the guidance and clearance of DRR-Programme for joint reporting to the UNSDCF.

Ensure POQA unit management, leadership and supervisory function.

  • Manages the overall POQA roles and responsibilities in an effective and efficient manner, working closely with other relevant UNDP Portfolio teams, Units, and UNDP Senior Management, as well as other partners as required.
  • Leads the staff in the POQA unit to ensure workloads are evenly distributed and the team functions effectively at peak seasons to deliver on its mandate.
  • Leads the formulation of the POQA AWP, is accountable for its implementation and ensures appropriate prioritization of resources at all times.
  • Formulates Terms of References for all POQA team members and leads Unit recruitments’ processes, as necessary.
  • Ensures appropriate supervision, reporting and performance management mechanisms for all staff recruited under POQA.
  • Ensures establishment of an enabling training/working environment of all POQA team members.
  • Coordinate the bi-weekly Programme Meetings under the guidance from DRR-Programme; maintaining the meeting roster, keeping minutes and action points from the meetings.
Lead the development and implementation of Monitoring and Evaluation framework for the country programme.
  •  Lead the development of internal Monitoring and Evaluation tools and ensures their regular implementation, to measure impact of UNDP programmes and projects and to advise Portfolio and Project Managers on corrective actions;
  • Lead the Country Office in preparation of the Results-Oriented Annual Report (ROAR) through role assignment, coordination of inputs from programme team, operations team and Senior Management, ensuring quality results reporting supported by evidence and clear linkage to the CPD, UNCF and SP;
  • Coordinate design and content of trainings on results-based management, programming principles to enhance capacity of project and counterpart staff in RBM, monitoring and quality reporting;
  • Coordinate programme monitoring for activity verification and data collection to generate evidence for programme reporting to the CPD and Strategic Plan;
  • Guide POQA team in formulating CO evaluation plans, and commissioning projects’ mid-term and end evaluations in line with UNDP Evaluation Guidelines;
  • Lead implementation of Third-Party Monitoring (TPM) arrangements;
  • Reviews and clears Programme’s and projects’ semi-annual and annual reports before submission to Senior Management and/or MPTF.

Ensure internal control and oversight in line with HACT policy/framework

  • Advise portfolio and projects teams on financial regulations and rules, including ATLAS (or Quantum) budgeting and ensure consistent application of policies across portfolios;
  • Ensure Annual Work Plans (AWPs) are in accordance with project budgets prior to committing Country Office resources; ensure correct cost recovery policies are applied including GMS and DPC (now termed Delivering Enabling Services);
  • With support from Programme Finance Specialist, reviews General Ledger Journal Entries (GLJEs) for correction, reversal and adjustment entries of expenditures between projects, donors and/or funds;
  • Actively participate in the Risk Management Unit (RMU) monthly meetings and use the information to improve on risk management and mitigation; share relevant information as required by RMU for collective UN efforts in mitigating against programmatic and operational risks;
  • Coordinate implementation of HACT Micro-Capacity Assessments of Implementing Partners/ Responsible Parties; implementation of HACT assurance plan (audits, spot checks and programme monitoring) and use the recommendations to strengthen capacities of Responsible Parties, CO staff and perform risk rating adjustment in line with HACT policy
  • Coordinate the CO preparation for HACT and DIM audits and ensures follow up and implementation of audits recommendations;
  • Support portfolios/project in timely implementation of HACT assurance recommendations to ensure the CO meets the HACT Certification requirements;
  • Support portfolios on project operational and financial closures; tracking the programme financial management indicators in the integrated financial dashboard and take necessary action including advising Senior Management on corrective measures, or seeking their approval on proposed actions.
  • With support from Programme Finance Specialist, monitor and track programme financial delivery and identify bottlenecks that need to be addressed to improve performance, the same with performance in resources mobilization targets and revenue which are monitored in IWP and Stream;
  • Reviews and verifies projects financial reports for timely submission to donors and partners;
  • Review and approve Funding Authorization and Certification of Expenditure (FACE) forms and payment vouchers on direct payments, reimbursement and cash advances;
  • Approves accounts payable requests up to USD 50,000 for further submission to GSSU   as Manager Level 2 in the Internal Control Framework, as well as reviews and clears payments requests above USD 50,000 before approval by Senior Management;
  • Works closely with the CO Operations team to identify solutions for operational and financial management problems;
  • Coordinate the formulation and delivery of training curricula for project staff on financial issues and reporting, including FACE forms in collaboration with CO Operations.
  • Any other tasks and responsibilities as requested by the Supervisor.

Coordinate and lead in capacity development for UNDP staff and national counterparts

  • Lead the development of training and capacity development strategies and approaches and ensure correct implementation principles are maintained at UNDP and Responsible Parties’ level; the training curricula should cover all areas that are under the unit’s functions and to be tailored to the respective audience;
  • Regularly review the impact of the training and other capacity development efforts on quality in programming, project implementation, corporate dashboards as well as satisfaction of Responsible Parties of the cooperation with UNDP;
  • Promotes a consistent one-UN approach in building capacity of Implementing Partners/Responsible Parties in line with the HACT framework.
  • Ensures that gradual and increasing alignment is realized with the use of National Systems in UNDP cooperation management arrangements as and when appropriate risk mitigation measures are in place and functioning effectively.

Supervisory/Managerial Responsibilities: 

The Programme Specialist and Head of POQA supervises a team of 7 national and 2 international staff at professional and general service levels.

  • 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 

The Programme Specialist and Head of POQA supervises a team of 7 national and 2 international staff. Therefore People Management is a critical competency for this post. The incumbent should aspire to create an enabling workplace, manage performance and ensure accountability, building capability of the team, motivating and directing the team to work towards a common vision and goal that is shared by the country office.

Cross-Functional & Technical competencies 
Business Direction and Strategy

  • Systems Thinking: Ability to use objective problem analysis and judgement to understand how interrelated elements coexist within an overall process or system, and to consider how altering one element can impact on other parts of the system.

Business Management

  • Results-based Management: Ability to manage programmes and projects with a focus to improved performance and demonstrable results.
  • Partnerships Management: Ability to build and maintain partnerships with wide networks of stakeholders, Governments, civil society and private sector partners, experts and others in line with UNDP strategy and policies.
  • Engagement & Effectiveness: Programming (PPM) policies and procedure.
  • Risk Management: Ability to identify and organize action around mitigating and proactively managing risks.
  • Client Management:
    • Ability to respond timely and appropriately with a sense of urgency, provide consistent solutions, and deliver timely and quality results and/or solutions to fulfil and understand the real customers’ needs.
    • Provide inputs to the development of customer service strategy.
    • Look for ways to add value beyond clients’ immediate requests.
    • Ability to anticipate client’s upcoming needs and concerns.
  • Knowledge Generation: Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for context, or responsive to a stated need.
Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Economics, Political Sciences, Peace Studies, Social Sciences, Development Studies, or related field.
  • Bachelor’s degree in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience may be given due consideration in lieu of the Master’s degree.


  • 7 years (with Master’s Degree) or 9 years (with bachelor’s degree) of relevant experience at national or international level in providing policy and management advisory services, providing oversight and quality reviews, hands-on experience in programme design, concept note drafting and peer-review, project formulation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of development projects.
  • Excellent knowledge of UNDP’s Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures (POPP), in particular the Programme and Project Management (PPM) policies and provisions is a requirement.
  • Proven programme and project management experience at a middle-management to senior level with UNDP or UN Agencies.
  • Proven qualities in leadership, staff management and team-building.
  • Proven experience of working in a multi-cultural/multinational/multi-stakeholder setting is essential.
  • Experience in designing and delivering capacity building/training for different groups of audience and stakeholders is essential.
  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages, experience in handling of web based management systems.
  • Experience in hardship, post-conflict and/or fragile states environments would be an advantage.

Language Requirement

  • Proficiency in oral and written English language is required.
Please note that continuance of appointment beyond the initial 12 months is contingent upon the successful completion of a probationary period.
Note : Please upload copies of your academic qualifications and 3 latest Performance Evaluation reports (if applicable).
Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment.
UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.
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Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.
UNDP has a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and misconduct, sexual harassment, and abuse of authority. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.
UNDP is an equal opportunity and inclusive employer that does not discriminate based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.
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