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Project Assistant UNESCO

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The latest figures of UNHCR suggest that by the end of 2019, at the global level, there were 79.5 million of forcibly displaced people worldwide, which includes more than 26 million refugees (of which half of them are under 18 year old), 4.2 million Asylum-seekers, and more than 45.7 million of Internally Displaced peoples (IDPs). There are also an estimated 3 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, health care, employment and freedom of movement. In a world where nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution, the statistic shows that among all refugees, at an average level, only 63 per cent of refugee children attend primary school, compared with a global average of 92 per cent; and 24 per cent are enrolled in secondary school, compared to 84 per cent globally, and for higher education, only 3 per cent of refugees attend university, compared to 37 per cent globally.

Moreover, the situation at large is not only addressed to refugees but also vulnerable migrants. Unfortunately, forced mass migration is unlikely to disappear in the near future. The past decade has seen substantial growth in the global population of forcibly displaced people. In 2019, the figure has increased to 79.5 million, compared with 70.8 million in 2018. Currently, 1 in 97 people in the world is forcibly displaced due to various causes, such as armed conflicts, oppression, famines, and natural disasters; and last but not least, climate change will most likely to continue to drive people to the desperate action of leaving their home country; and the scope of global population mobilization is likely to increase. This underlines why the international community must find collective, structural and global solutions.

The latest figures also suggest that 85% of international forcibly displaced population is hosted in developing countries; under such circumstance, UNESCO’s Member States have expressed the will and need to scale-up and test the methodology of the European Qualifications Passport beyond Europe. In other words, to put in place a globally standardised tool for the recognition of foreign qualifications for candidates with little and/or insufficient documentations – such as a global Qualifications Passport.The idea of Qualifications Passport for Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants (UQP) under the auspices of UNESCO would be the ideal solution to the above-mentioned global challenge. UNESCO, as the only UN agency with a mandate in higher education, is the appropriate international actor with sufficient legitimacy to implement a new structural initiative of this kind at the global level. In effect, this instrument could become a modern global mobility tool – for refugees with qualifications, and even on a later stage, as a mobility tool for migrants around the globe. It could serve as an assurance on the basic rights to higher education and to education in general, and also help in building a much more inclusive life-long learning system and labour market by supporting a fair treatment to all. Thus, the development of a global Qualifications Passport would be an instrument for better access to education and to make the life-long learning possible for the most vulnerable ones.

Furthermore, the UQP would dovetail with several existing UNESCO initiatives, the 2030 Education Agenda, and particularly the Global Convention on the Qualifications Recognition concerning Higher Education. Article VII of the convention text stipulates that the signatory states should develop procedures to assess the qualifications of refugees, even in cases of missing documentation, in a similar way to the Lisbon Recognition Convention. However, experience suggests that the implementation of Article VII is likely to be slow and uneven; therefore, the multilateral approaches would be more effective than separate, national initiatives. Thus, the Qualifications Passport could serve as a complementary apparatus for the implementation of the Global Convention (Article 7), and also enforce the implementation of provisions on recognition of refugees and displaced persons in the Revised Regional Recognition Conventions (Article 7 in Lisbon and Tokyo Conventions, Article III.2.5 in the Addis Convention).

The implementation in Zambia debuted from the second half of 2019, the project scope has enlarged from Meheba refugees settlement to Lusaka (urban refugees). Therefore, further implementation requires extra human resources.

Duties and Responsibilities
Under the authority of the Regional Representative and Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, Harare, Zimbabwe and direct supervision of the Senior National Programme Officer- Health and Education Zambia, the incumbent supports the effective and efficient implementation of the Qualifications Passport for Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants (UQP) Project.

The Project Assistant works in close collaboration with the UQP project team in Paris, France as well as the team in the Regional Office in Harare, Zimbabwe, for effective achievement of results, anticipating and contributing to resolving complex programme/project-related issues and information delivery. The incumbent is expected to exercise full compliance with UNESCO programming, financial, procurement and administrative rules, regulations, policies and strategies, as well as implementation of the effective internal control systems.

The incumbent, in close cooperation with the UQP project team, under the direct guidance and supervision of the Senior National Programme Officer, will ensure the provision of programme and administrative services of the highest quality and UNESCO standards.

Administrative management:

  • Pro-actively contribute to day-to-day project implementation and ensure conformity to expected results and project work-plans;
  • Coordinate and prepare documents necessary for the launch of procurement processes and issue contracts;
  • Assume overall responsibility for the coordination of administrative matters;
  • Provide support on all administrative matters concerning the project including travel plans and travel authorization
  • Establish and maintain an organized filing system related project issues

Project management:

  • Coordinating with various stakeholders on the ground and providing timely support in logistic organisation for the implementation of the project.
  • Facilitating meetings, complex missions in the field, and most importantly to provide timely support in dialoguing with stakeholders.
  • Support the UQP team, in both Meheba and Lusaka, in coordinating with stakeholders on the field for the implementation of UQP.
  • Support the office on relevant administrative tasks and ensure logistical preparations.

Required Skills and Experience Education:

Bachelor’s degree in the field of education, international relations, economics or another relevant field.
Advanced degree in programme management or relevant field an added advantage.

Work Experience:

  • At least five years of experience work is required;
  • Previous experience with international organisation;
  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc) and advance knowledge of spreadsheet and database packages, experience in handling web-based management systems.
  • Experience assisting programme management
  • Work experience with refugee and marginalized community
  • Networking and diplomacy skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Excellent oral or written skills

Skill / Competencies

  • Planning and time management- meets deadlines
  • Reflective and open to learn
  • Skills in project management and monitoring.
  • Very good organizational skills and coordination skills.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Problem solving skills.
  • Excellent communication skills both orally and in writing, tact and discretion.
  • Ability to work as part of an international team in a multicultural environment.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in oral and written English

This is a local position, therefore only citizens of the Republic of Zambia are eligible to apply.
Please note that only applicants who are short-listed will be contacted.

To apply, please send your application letter, copies of certificates and CV.

Applications should be mailed to

Application closing date is 25th June 2021, midnight (Lusaka time).

Although, due to the current covid-19 situation in Zambia, UN staff will be continuing with the tele-working modality.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for the recruitment process.

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