The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) are embarking on a new multi-year programme, called the ‘Spotlight Initiative (SI),’ which is focused on eliminating violence against women and girls (VAWG) and harmful practices (HP). In eight countries in Africa, including Liberia, the Spotlight Initiative will deploy targeted, large-scale investments to improve the rights of women and girls, helping them to live lives free of violence.
The Initiative is so named as it brings focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the center of efforts to achieve gender equality and women's empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The name reminds us that violence often takes place in the dark, is denied or rendered invisible and that it cannot survive in the light. It also highlights the importance of targeted investments in women and girls to achieve sustainable development, making this renewed and unwavering commitment of the EU and the UN visible.
The Joint United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) Liberia Spotlight Initiative (LSI) to eliminate Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Harmful Practices (HP) and promote Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) is a joint initiative that will be implemented in close partnership with the Government and Civil Society Organizations in Liberia. The Spotlight Initiative is a global UN/EU program and will be implemented in eight countries in Africa including Liberia.
Liberia has an estimated population of 4.8 million, roughly half of which is under the age of 18, with a median age of 18.7, but the country will not reap the benefits of this demographic dividend unless the situation of women and girls improves. With strong and entrenched patriarchal social norms and stereotypes, violence against women and girls has been socially accepted. As such, on a global scale, Liberia currently ranks 177 out of 188 countries on the overall measures used to determine the gender inequality index. Rates of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), harmful practices (HPs), female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and teenage pregnancy are all high, while access to sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) is low.
Progress in peacebuilding and security over the last decades has not translated into actions to eliminate violence against women and girls (VAWG) and marginalized groups; rather, VAWG has contributed to destabilizing the peace and security, with increasing media attention leading to demonstrations by the public, with the youth that make up 63% of the population especially expressing frustration at the lack of response and action from the Government. However, the current Government has indicated a strong focus on improving the realization of women’s and girls’ rights in its recently launched five-year development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). The PAPD is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are strongly embedded within the overall PAPD.
The programme will be implemented in the five most-affected counties which comprises of about 75% of the total population. It was formulated through an extensive and inclusive participatory process. This process identified the priority interventions needed to tackle violence against women and girls by addressing structural causes, thus ensuring sustainability in six key areas of intervention;
- Legislative and Policy Framework
- Institutional Strengthening
- Prevention: Changing Norms and Behaviours
- Response: Delivery of quality essential services
- Management of Data and Information
- Strengthening Women’s Movement and Civil Society Organisations
The LSI will be implemented by five UN Agencies including UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP and OHCHR and two associated UN agencies IOM and UNHCR in close collaboration and partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as the lead Ministry who will coordinate with other relevant Health, Education, Youth, Internal Affairs, Information, Finance and Planning Ministries.
The Programme Coordinator will report to the Resident Coordinator on overall programme performance, lead the LSI Secretariat as Focal Point, establish and maintain good working relations with the relevant institutional and organizational partners. S/he will ensure the programme is implemented in compliance with the approved Country Program Document, in collaboration with RUNOs, Implementing Partners including the Government and CSOs and the Joint National Steering Committee (NSC); provide support to the NSC; coordinate the convening of the relevant committees (eg CSO Reference Group); provide strategic support to achieve programme outcomes, consolidate AWPs, budgets and reports and support the Resident Coordinator to develop a joint resource mobilization and sustainability strategy. S/he will oversee implementation, schedules, deliverables and budgets as articulated in the programme document and liaise with the Spotlight Secretariat when programme revisions are foreseen. S/he will coordinate, guide and manage the PMC team including the Program Technical/Knowledge Management Specialist, Program Officers, M&E Specialist, Communications Officer and Field Officers located in the counties.
Duties and Responsibilities
The summary of key tasks:
- Strategic Planning and Portfolio Coordination
- Advocacy and Resource Mobilization
- Programme monitoring, quality assurance and reporting
- Management of the LSI
- Strategic Planning and Portfolio Coordination
- As LSI Secretariat Focal Point for the Joint National Steering Committee, provide strategic advice on priorities that require strengthening for effective use of funding, programmatic and financial allocations to achieve programme outcomes;
- Ensure linkages and consistency among global/regional/national agendas (e.g. Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, the Liberia Peacebuilding Plan, SDGs, National Gender Action Plan) particularly related initiatives by the UNCT like the UNDAF;
- Support the National Steering Committee by organizing meetings, ensuring timely distribution of documents prior to meetings, recording and distributing minutes, and ensuring follow-up actions in consultation with relevant stakeholders;
- Ensure ‘delivering as one’ amongst the implementing RUNOs with focus on complementarity and promotion of synergy between the different pillars of the SGBV, HP and SRHR interventions to maximize impact and catalytic effects;
- Coordinate and advise the CSO National Reference Group to ensure timely and effective actions, decisions are taken and implemented as articulated in the LSI programme document and alert issues for attention to the for guidance and decision making in a timely manner;
- Liaise with the EU delegation and HQ Spotlight Secretariat to provide implementation updates, facilitate any trouble-shooting including program and budget revisions foreseen; and represent LSI in regional/global Spotlight related events.
- Monitor project risks as initially identified in the Project, advise the National Steering Committee on new risks as they emerge for consideration and decision on possible actions if required;
Advocacy and resource mobilization:
- Establish and maintain strategic partnerships with donors, and lead on resource mobilization for SGBV, HP and SRHR efforts;
- Support the Resident Coordinator to develop a resource mobilization and sustainability strategy for the LSI;
- Lead the coordination to strengthen synergy and best practices between the LSI program with other donor funded programs of the EU, World Bank, Sweden, Ireland etc, with a view to building alliances and catalytic effects of PBF interventions;
- Coordinate, guide and supervise the Communications Specialist with advice from UNICEF for the implementation of the LSI communication and visibility component in close partnership with the EU with strengthened visibility and the production of communication materials for the different target beneficiaries;
Programme monitoring, quality assurance and reporting:
- Consolidate AWPs, budgets and reports and provide advice to improve quality of the implementation of their programmes, particularly focusing on joint integrated planning, implementation, monitoring and results and evidence-based reporting;
- Oversee implementation, schedules, deliverables and budgets as articulated in the programme document;
- Strengthen the government’s and local partners’ capacity to integrate relevant agendas (e.g. SDGs, Gender Policy and Legislation, the Pro-Poor Agenda) into their work plans aligned to the results framework with baseline data and indicators articulated in the program document with support from the M&E officer;
- Regular joint field monitoring and reporting of activities especially by advocating for joint advocacy, joint field trips to strengthen harmonization amongst the seven different UN agencies, Government and CSO partners to strengthen joint programming;
- Ensure RUNOs, Implementing Partners including the Government and CSO comply with LSI (UN/EU) guidelines, including programming, monitoring and reporting tools and templates;
Management of PMC:
- Oversee, guide and manage the operationalization of the LSI particularly the Program Management and Coordination Unit including setting up operational and management arrangements, rules of procedures and establishing an information and knowledge management system;
- Lead, coordinate and collaborate with the M&E Officer, liaise with the Program Technical Advisors, Specialists and Program Officers including field officers in respective UN agencies, to set up a robust and simple regular reporting system to regularly measure and update progress to the RC/UNCT and Joint National Steering Committee;
- Ensure RUNOs and Implementing Partners are trained and comply with UN/EU guidelines, including programming, monitoring and reporting tools and templates;
- Facilitate and coordinate the convening of the relevant committees (e.g. Joint National Steering Committee, CSO Reference Group; Technical and Programme working Groups) and build synergy with updates to the relevant coordination groups/mechanisms namely the UN Gender Thematic Group, Inter Agency Programme Team, UN Communications, Youth, Human Rights and M&E working group;
- Provide sound financial and human resource management of the LSI PMC and relevant programme components.
Impact of Results:
The Programme Coordinator under the leadership, guidance and decision-making authority of the Resident Coordinator will review and respond to the specific context, programme strategy, capacities and expertise needed. The PMC sits in the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator to bring all of the pieces of the programme together including: ensuring consolidated timely results reporting; promoting agencies’ leadership to advance programme elements; convening the high level Joint National Steering Committee; and overseeing implementation schedules, deliverable and budgets as articulated in the programme document.
Required Skills and Experience:
Education:Master’s Degree in Social Sciences, International Development Studies, or related field.
- Minimum of 7 years of experience in programme management including design, implementation, monitoring and reporting at national and international level in development, humanitarian, recovery particularly post conflict contexts;
- Demonstrate experience in complex inter agency coordination and joint programming including working with field teams;
- Experience in coordinating with international organizations, Government, donors, and civil society; establish good working relations with relevant institutional and organizational partners
- Experience in monitoring and reporting on overall programme performance to senior leadership; resource mobilization
- Ensure programme is implemented in compliance with the approved document and in collaboration with RUNOs, Implementing Partners and the National Steering Committee
- Strategic support to achieve programme outcomes, consolidate AWP, budgets and reports; oversight of implementation, schedules, deliverables and budgets as articulated in the programme document
- Strong analytical, conceptual thinking, communication, facilitation and interpersonal skills;
- Knowledge of UN rules, regulations and procedures or having worked with the UN in Liberia, is an asset.
Language Requirements: Fluency in English