Job Expired

The application deadline date has passed.

Policy Research and Data Specialist

Posted on Mar 24th, 2020 in Humanitarian Aid and Development Aid
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Contract: Contract
Salary: Competitive Salary
Deadline: days, hours

Role Purpose

Africa Borderlands Programme
Africa’s borderland regions have attracted international attention in recent years due to fresh waves of conflict linked to violent extremist organizations including Boko Haram and Al Shabab as well as ongoing crisis in the Great Lakes, Horn of Africa and the Sahel. These regions have had to deal with multiple challenges, including violent conflict, climate change, persistent poverty, marginalization, poor governance, demographic pressure and under investment in basic services and infrastructures. The challenges of borderlands can only be understood through a regional and cross border perspective: the case for approaches to development programming and planning in Africa that are more explicitly cognizant of dynamics at a regional level is becoming critical. These ‘complex conflict clusters’ and large movement of people across borders highlight not only the security risk of instability, but also the impacts of the developmental deficit in these regions. Additionally, development partners face constraints in responding to sub-regional issues and dynamics, being closely tied to developing country government partnerships. UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks are focused on national development planning as a starting point and, as a result, they are geographically bound to state borders, when the challenges and, more importantly, the solutions are increasingly regional in nature. Many challenges facing Governments require a sub-regional and cross-border response.
In response to this, UNDP has developed an Africa Borderlands Programme Project Initiation Plan (PIP). This PIP is related to the RPA 2018-2021 Outcome 3: Regional institutions sustain peace and build resilience to crises and shocks. The PIP will focus on ensuring that the Africa Borderlands Programme has operational capacities to ensure a coordinated and sustainable approach to borderlands development efforts. The programme team will be based out of UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa’s (RBA) Thematic Hub in Nairobi, Kenya. The Africa Borderlands Programme is expected to be fully operational by July 2020. To ensure effective operation and achievement of its objectives, the Africa Borderlands Programme will consist of three units, reporting to the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA), with the following responsibilities:
  • Policy, Research and Data Unit: The PRDU will lead on policy development on borderlands for UNDP RBA and will commission research and studies to fill significant gaps in knowledge and understanding of border areas. The Unit will host a Borderlands Innovation Lab and Sahel Lab to test and deploy innovative initiatives in the borderlands areas and support their replication and scaling up. The Unit will have dedicated capacity for conducting multi-dimensional analysis, collect data and manage a platform for managing and collaborating on data and analysis. The unit is expected to produce new ideas, tools and methodologies to device solutions to the multi-dimensional challenges facing borderlands.


  • Partnership and programme unit: The unit leads on the strategic positioning of the Africa Borderlands Programme and develops and implements the partnership and engagement, advocacy and resource mobilization strategies for the programme. The Unit leads on establishing partnerships with the African Union, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), International Financial Institutions (particularly World Bank and African Development Bank), the wider UN System (particularly the PBF) and key donor partners (particularly the European Union). The Unit provides substantive thematic advice on key focus areas of the Africa Borderlands Programme, including Sustaining Peace, Stabilization, Climate-Security and Youth Employment and collaborates closely with UNDP’s Global Policy Network and RBA to identify deployable technical expertise.
Reporting to the Africa Borderlands, CTA, the Policy, Research and Data Specialist will be based in the PRD-Unit responsible for the following core functions:
  • Research and Innovation
  • Policy Development and Advice
  • Data management
  • Knowledge Management

Accountabilities & Responsibilities

Research and Innovation
  • Lead on the conceptualization and operationalization of an Africa Borderlands Lab that will implement the programme;
  • Develop and implement a research agenda for the Africa Borderlands Programme and ensure the articulation of UNDP’s value proposition to and support UNDP strategic positioning with partners; articulate the complex challenges and opportunities in the borderlands of Africa and come up with new ideas, tools and methods as solutions.
  • Conduct analysis of political, social and economic developments of cross-border regions and identify strategic and innovative areas of support for UNDP;
  • Identify and visualize emerging development trends, data and technologies with a focus on cross-border programming;
  • Work with UNDP and partners in mapping the context and nature of development challenges, with a focus on understanding systemic issues beyond traditional silos and classifications and identifying drivers of change, and levers for intervention;
  • Coordinate analysis of data, case studies, applied policy research in order to support the organization with systematic knowledge of what works and what does not work in cross-border programming, distilling good practices and lessons;
  • Actively participate in UNDP knowledge networks and take advantage of best practices and lessons learned that are available in the region and globally and encourages project staff to do so by creating a culture of knowledge sharing and learning.
Policy Development and Advice
  • Develop draft policy recommendations on programme and partnership issues, including the review and analysis of issues and trends, preparation of evaluations or other research activities and studies;
  • Organize and prepares written outputs on cross-border issues, e.g. draft background papers, analysis, sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications;
  • Promote identification and synthesis of best practices and lessons learned from the project for organizational sharing and learning as well as external information;
  • Undertake literature review and research on conceptual and empirical aspects of cross-border programming, with strong demonstrated focus on policy;
  • Take part in panel discussions and consultations; make presentations at conferences on the results of analyses conducted;
  • Promote a close collaboration between the Partnership and Technical Advisory Unit and the Policy, Research and Data unit to ensure that thematic technical advice is based on the latest research and to inform ongoing research through feedback from programming;
  • Establish partnerships with the AU/REC in Africa, monitor AU/REC priorities and policies and identify opportunities for policy and research collaboration on Borderlands programming;
  • Explore opportunities for partnerships with established and emerging donors and monitor global trends in developed cooperation and resource partner development policies and priorities, particularly with the European Union;
  • Facilitate the building of strategic alliances and partnerships with key think tanks, academia and civil society organizations in partnership with the PTAU;
  • Supports knowledge building and management led by the PRDU and promote innovation and knowledge transfer within the Africa Borderlands Programme;
  • Support cross-regional and Africa-wide exchange of knowledge by collaborating with teams in HQ, Regional Hub.
Data management
  • Ensure technical support in data, collection, analysis, interpretation;
  • Provide subject matter expertise on data architecture and data integration;
  • Provide support to UNDP Country Offices for data management and utilizing data for analysis;
  • Establish an integrated system for sharing information between UNDP Country Offices conducted analysis on cross-border trends and programming;
  • Facilitate the review/development and harmonization of web-based information management systems;
  • Facilitate the development and dissemination of harmonized and disaggregated data collection tools.
Supports knowledge management related to Policy Research, data analysis and management.
  • Participate in sharing of best practices in the region and globally, based on a solid understanding of the incentives that people need to utilize knowledge.
  • Advocates for knowledge sharing, inspiring others within the Region to contribute their expertise through internal and external platforms and tools, working closely with colleagues at the hub to ensure usable knowledge is shared.
  • Lead the hub in the identification of good practices and lessons learned at the different levels (national, regional and global) and share findings with Global, Regional and country colleagues so that best practices benefit UNDP work.
  • Contributes to the Thematic Hub exchange of best practice, trends, knowledge and lessons learned with external partners.
  • Contributes to knowledge sharing (including substantive training and peer exchange) amongst UNDP staff on issues related to Policy reserach, methodologies and tools.
  • Draws upon experiences, lessons learned and knowledge networking to provide contributions to strategic planning processes.
  • Participate in the facilitation of communities of practice and other knowledge management mechanisms to actively promote exchange of experiences and good practices.

Knowledge, Skills & Experience

Master's degree (or equivalent) in a relevant social science, administrative science discipline, with a substantial development component is required;
  • A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible work experience carrying out research and analysis in a development policy and/or research context and providing advice;
  • Significant record of research, peer reviewed publications and writing on development issues;
  • Experience in coordinating and designing cross-country comparative research projects;
  • Experience in coordinating global or regional research reports.
Language Requirements:
  • Fluent in English;
  • Fluency in French is an asset.

Ideal Candidate

Ability to make new and useful ideas work Level 4: Collaborates and integrates.
Ability to persuade others to follow Level 4: Empowers individuals and teams to act independently
People Management
Ability to improve performance and satisfaction Level 4: Creates specialist integration and strategic alignment.
Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform Level 5: Represents organization, inspires, influences and changes intractable positions.
Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement Level 4: Builds trust and creates lasting partnerships.

Job Expired

The application deadline date has passed.

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