Principal Project Coordinator

United Nations Development Programme, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Skill Required:, Policy/ Advocacy and CampaignProject/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
1st July, 2019

Job Description


The Senior Human Rights Advisor Unit is a component of the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and is responsible for providing advice, technical expertise, situational assessments and analysing human rights issues to the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team (UNCT) in Sri Lanka as well as OHCHR, the UN Human Rights Mechanisms (Charter and treaty based), and when requested and appropriate, other UN Agency headquarters or UN Secretariat Departments; building the capacity (training and other) of the UNCT to integrate a human rights based approach into on-going and envisaged humanitarian, recovery and development work of the UN: supporting the UNCT in convening relevant working groups on human rights and protection issues, supporting and/or undertaking relevant projects as is appropriate and possible on human rights issues. The other key function and current priority of the Senior Human Rights Advisor in Sri Lanka is support the Government of Sri Lanka in designing a comprehensive transitional justice strategy to address the legacy of past based on four pillars including accountability, truth seeking, reparation and institutional reform, based on its commitment made during 30th session of the Human Rights Council in September 2015 (resolution 30/1 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka).

In this regard the Government of Sri Lanka introduced a bill to establish the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) on 22 May 2016 and Parliament adopted the Office on Missing Persons (Establishment, Administration and Discharge of Functions) Act No. 14 of 2016 on 23 August 2016. The Office on Missing Persons is an independent and permanent body dedicated to the search for and tracing of missing persons and the clarification of the circumstances in which they went missing. A central function of the OMP is to centralise data including from existing records held by other institutions.

This project seeks to ensure the physical preservation of historical records relating to disappearances and the missing; digitise and archive these records comprehensively; create a basic taxonomy and index records; develop an archive database of scanned materials for the OMP to enter metadata of historical records and save scanned materials; and develop the framework for a permanent database.


The Principal Project Coordinator will report to the Senior Human Rights Advisor, with day-to-day guidance from the Commissioner of the OMP.

Specific objectives of the assignment include:

  • Oversee the initial assessment of historical records to determine the quality of the documents, the scale of the task and possible time frame – together with the Research and Archiving Officer;
  • Based on this assessment, determine the strategy needed including the division of labor within the team of Archiving Assistants and the prioritization of files that need to be scanned first;
  • Oversee the development of Standard Operating Procedures for the overall workflow using international and national good practices, bearing in mind the need for accuracy, efficiency, confidentiality and reliability of the process – together with the Research and Archiving Officer;
  • Oversee the development of a tagging and filing system, using international and national good practices, to ensure that the contents of the scanned files are easily accessible and searchable;
  • Oversee the development of the archiving database by the Database Consultant - together with the Research and Archiving Officer;
  • Develop a plan for scanning based on the prioritization plan developed in consultation with the OMP;
  • Devise and assist in the delivery of training sessions on preservation and digitization for the Archiving Assistants and other relevant officers involved in the project;
  • With regard to the scanning of documents, conduct random checks to ensure the accuracy of scanned images and the tagging and devise measures to ensure accuracy of scanned documents and tagging;
  • Assist in the selection of staff for the scanning team;
  • Coordinate the scanning team.

Duties and Responsibilities

Expected Outputs and Deliverables

The Principal Project Coordinator should lead the contribution to the physical preservation of the historical records related to disappearances through the following outputs:

  • Strategy for archiving is developed based on the assessment of historical records;
  • Standard operating procedures and tagging and filing systems are developed for effective operationalization of the scanning, database development and archiving of documents;
  • A training plan on preservation and digitization is developed and undertaken for all scanning officers and other relevant officers prior to scanning and tagging of documents;
  • All scanned documents are accurately tagged and archived in a permanent database.



The consultant should have excellent background and experience in managing a team and developing strategies and SOPs, digitalisation (scanning, preservation and tagging), overseeing the development of databases and information security framework and processing in addition to substantive knowledge in law, human rights and transitional justice.


Technical skills; Excellent expertise in relation to management, record management, digitisation of human rights or research databases, overseeing the development of databases, security systems, human rights, rule of law and transition environment in which it operates,


  • Maturity and confidence in dealing with senior members of the OMP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Knowledge and experience of dealing with archives, digitisation and record management skills;
  • Excellent management and coordination skills and results-oriented collaboration with colleagues – especially during digitisation process.


  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of OHCHR.
  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback
  • Good team player that has ability to maintain good relationships.

Required Skills and Experience

  • A postgraduate degree or equivalent in history, social sciences, law, management or related fields: A specialisation in law, archiving and/or records management is desirable;
  • A minimum of 5 years of demonstrable experience and knowledge in the field of data processing/archiving/management of human rights documentation/research;
  • Demonstrated strategic technical and intellectual skills in the substantive area;
  • Demonstrated leadership, facilitation and coordination skills, ability to manage technical team and long-term strategic partnership;
  • Excellent communication (both oral and written) and partnership building skills with multi-dimension partners, people skills for conflict resolution and negotiation;
  • Computer proficiency especially related to professional office software packages (Microsoft Office);
  • Proficiency in English and Sinhala or Tamil, and knowledge of the other is desirable.


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