The Country Programme Specialist (P3) supports the East and Southern Africa Portfolio in the Regional Bureau for Africa Country Support Team. S/He provides technical support to his/her supervisor in the team’s support to CO’s day-to-day activities and leads the coordinated support within his/her assigned portfolio, including but not limited to programme and management-related matters from a corporate perspective, planning, monitoring and reporting, and troubleshooting; this includes interacting closely with, the Regional Service Center’s policy teams, operations, partnerships, and the Regional Service Center leadership. S/He also works closely with the relevant units in HQ (including the Country Oversight Team) to ensure coherent, timely and appropriately prioritized support to COs. S/He facilitates alignment and linkage with regional and corporate strategy and priorities, tracks CO performance against corporate standards and agreed results commitments between the CO and RBA and identifies and recommends solutions to complex performance issues, escalating to his/her supervisor and the Bureau leadership as needed. S/He contributes to external partnership and resource mobilization by liaising with external parties, drafting technical presentations for external forums of relevance, and conducting research.
The Specialist is supervised by the Country Advisor/Team Leader for East and Southern Africa. While not required at this level, s/he may manage Country Programme Associates.
Duties and Responsibilities
Ensures targeted and aligned CO portfolio management support, including crisis by:
- Proactively engaging with COs to better align CO programmes with corporate and regional priorities, offering knowledge from other country programmes, evaluations, performance analytics, and other available sources of lessons learned;
- Appraising, reviewing and presenting recommendations to CO’s annual plan on individual projects as well as in support to the supervisor on CO wide planning, working with policy teams to offer a joint portfolio of available knowledge and resources, and proactively liaising with the COs throughout their programme cycles in order to identify and propose additional support needed;
- Reviewing CO requests for policy and programme management support and advising the Team Leader on urgency/prioritization against other competing demands; quality assurance and contributing to CO’s ToRs for technical and programmatic support, providing substantive inputs and knowledge of national, sub-regional, regional and sectoral context; and guiding COs to identify and address HQ or regional-level bottlenecks impinging on CO’s performance or compliance with corporate requirements, escalating and seeking advice from the Team Leader as needed;
- Facilitating the provision of CO support in crisis situations by supporting working closely with the Regional Advisor/Specialists in RBA, BPPS and CRU to coordinate response to crises, liaising closely with the COs to monitor emerging, existing, and evolving crises, and identifying required support; regularly monitoring data on country programme and project performance to inform RBA management decision in preparing for or responding to crisis situations; providing inputs to briefing notes on country-level crisis with up to date information for HQ meetings;
- Providing substantive technical inputs into briefings notes on all CO aspects for Regional Bureau leadership and/or ExO, including drafting analysis of evolving CO context and risks and proposing recommendations for mitigation actions and ways to improve performance levels.
Enhances CO planning and evaluation by:
- Supporting CO programming including (a) supporting the formulation of the UNDAF/equivalent and to the country programme by proposing established and comparative methods and concepts that help ensure the relevance of UNDP’s support to national development priorities; (b) performing quality assurance of CO programme planning in alignment with corporate and regional priorities to enhance completeness, appropriateness and compliance of the planning documents with corporate expectations; (c) briefing Regional Advisor/Specialists and Bureau leadership in advance of the HQ PAC; (c) providing support towards authorization of direct implementation where required; and (d) quality assuring results management frameworks, programme monitoring plans, and the CPD ensuring adequate budgeting and good practice for the conduct of decentralized evaluation throughout the programme cycle, including management response, dissemination, and learning;
- Facilitating alignment/linkage between CO programmes and projects with regional and corporate strategy and priorities by sharing the Bureau’s newly developed policies and priorities with the CO leadership, disseminating corporate analysis on sub-regional trends, and providing first level of oversight of compliance with corporate programme management standards;
- Guiding and reviewing CO IWP and evaluation workplan elaboration process to align with corporate, operational and programmatic standards, conducting field missions, providing advice to CO leadership and undertaking first level of quality assurance before approval by the Bureau.
Enhances CO monitoring and reporting activities by:
- Providing technical guidance to COs in establishing a realistic and measurable monitoring and evaluation framework / approach including sharing evaluation, monitoring and oversight tools and drawing on support of the Results Based Management (RBM) team;
- Monitoring CO progress against IWP and evaluation workplan by sharing RBM guidance, corresponding with CO staff, conducting field visits, analyzing periodic progress reports, participating in reviews and evaluations, utilizing information obtained as input to corrective decision-making and revisions and identifying opportunities for and/or facilitating formal training on monitoring and evaluation as well as assisting with usage of evidence and data collected against relevant SP/IRRF, CPD, and IWP indicators and targets;
- Monitoring CO operational, financial performance and efficiency, and timely implementation of audit recommendations, identifying issues and/or delays and escalating concerns to his/her supervisor; consolidating all CO managerial performance information to support effective and efficient corporate oversight functions.
- Monitoring CO risks and mitigation/escalation plans using the IRRF platform and escalating to his/her supervisor as needed, providing seasoned guidance on corrective activities; and
- Supporting the enhancement of CO results reporting including donor reporting and ROARs by sharing corporate guidance and providing first level of quality assurance of CO ROAR before their approval by the Bureau.
Enhancing knowledge management support for external relationship and partnerships by:
- Drafting presentations for external fora of relevance, conducting research, maintaining up-to-date information on emerging opportunities and donor intelligence, and advising COs on funding opportunities,;
- Contributing, coordinating and aggregating input for briefs to inform engagements with external partners;
- Analyzing results from partnership surveys and recommending applicable follow-up actions to supervisor and/or senior management.
Required Skills and Experience
- Advanced university degree in International Relations, Economics, Policy Science or other related social sciences or a Bachelor Degree and seven years of working experience
- At least five years of progressively responsible professional work experience in development, economics or other related field of work;
- Knowledge and experience of country programme management, preferably within UNDP or the UN system.
- Full proficiency in English is required;
- Knowledge of French is desirable/optional.