Senior Project Manager

UNOPS, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
7 to 10 Year
Closing Date for Applications: 
20th January, 2020

Job Description

Background Information - Job-specific

The RREP is West Africa’s largest renewable energy mini-grids project with the aim of extending electricity supply and promoting economic development in rural areas of Sierra Leone covering nearly 500,000 people. The project will to contribute to Sierra Leone economic development through increased access to rural energy resources while simultaneously contributing to a significant reduction in the country’s future Green House Gas emissions.

The project supports the Ministry of Energy in achieving its Sector Strategy and is implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Ministry of Local Government, the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) unit, the energy and water regulator (EWRC), community leaders and other partners.

The RREP implementation strategy is developed around six work packages (WP):

  • Work package 1 and 1+ has been implemented in two phases, targeting 54 CHCs in 13 districts:
  • 6kWp solar photovoltaic (sPV) generation facilities installed at CHCs in 54 communities.
  • Transformation of the facilities installed during the Phrase 1 into small mini-grids with a capacity of up to 36kW to connect all other public institutions and households in the village. The small mini-grids will be operated by private operators with commercial interests, ensuring long term sustainability.
  • Extension of mini-grid installations with a capacity of more than 36kW to additional 44 communities, while testing sustainable business models for private sector service delivery. This would bring the project’s power generation capacity up to 5 MW.
  • Technical assistance and institutional support (capacity building) to the government and the private sector, to facilitate an enabling environment for mini-grid development and long term sustainable operations.
  • Benefits, Visibility and Communications. A robust M&E plan has been developed to enable tracking of project performance towards its expected outcomes and deliverables. Drawing on the data collected, and building on the stories of the beneficiaries the project serves, a strategic national and international visibility and communications strategy has been developed.
  • Productive use. This work package aims at consolidating the project outcomes by facilitating links between the local private sector, other development projects and the new energy opportunities in their districts.
  • The Project Manager is responsible for the day-to-day performance management and operations of the project(s) and provides services to the different donors, partners and beneficiaries. He/she is expected to meet and exceed the organizations performance and delivery goals.

Functional Responsibilities

  • The Project Manager is responsible to have a thorough understanding of the terms, conditions, and the respective roles and responsibilities of the partners/stakeholders to ensure the project(s) products are capable of meeting the business cases for both UNOPS and the client. Success of the project(s), and hence Project Manager, will be based on the Success Criteria of UNOPS engagements which are linked to the below responsibilities.
  • The project relies on a number of external suppliers for its successful delivery, managing tight timeline with some flexibility. The Project Manager is responsible for supporting the Project Leader in all aspects of the project life cycle. S/he must be able to apply, with a high degree of autonomy, the below duties and responsibilities of the project success criteria:

Stakeholder Management:

  • Establish solid working relationship with the project board (Executive, Senior Users and Senior Suppliers), client and key stakeholders;
  • Establish solid working relationship with the project Steering Committee members
  • Coordinate communications and ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions and are in a position to accept handover products;
  • Advise the Project Leader and client on issues that may impact the achievement of their outcomes (including issues of sustainability and post project requirements such as maintenance);
  • Manage the information flows between UNOPS and the Ministry of Energy (MOE) and the Project Board/Hub Director, Project team and Programme Management Office.
  • Coordinate the Steering Committee and Project Board secretariat functions

Delivery and Performance:

  • On behalf of the Project Leader, coordinate and provide assurance over the development and maintenance of project plans;
  • Manage the implementation of approved project plans (including the establishment of milestones) within tolerances set by the Project Board;
  • Embed sustainability dimensions including social and gender inclusion, environmental and economic aspects into project life cycle;
  • Oversee and provide assurance over the production of the required products, taking responsibility for overall progress and use of resources and initiating corrective action where necessary;
  • Liaise with any external suppliers or account managers;
  • In consultation with the Project Leader, authorize Work Packages;
  • Alert the Project Leader and Head of Programme (as required) of any deviations from the plan;
  • Identify and manage risks so that maximum benefit to client and stakeholders is achieved;
  • Review product quality and ensure products are accepted by the Project Leader;
  • Monitor and evaluate performance of service providers;
  • Identify and report potential business opportunities for UNOPS to the Country Manager;
  • Identify and report threats to UNOPS internal business case to the Project Leader


  • Follow the Project Management Cycle Instructions and ensure that all organizational policy is complied with (Organizational Directives and Administrative Instructions);
  • Prepare/adapt the following plans for approval by the Project Board:
  • Project Initiation Documentation;
  • Stage/Exception Plans and relevant Product Descriptions;

On behalf of the Project Leader, prepare the following reports:

  • Highlight Reports
  • End Stage Reports
  • Operational Closure Checklist
  • End Project Report
  • Handover Report

Maintain the following:

  • Project Document Archive;
  • Procurement, HR and Finance files as required by those practices as per OD12;
  • Ensure that all expenditure comply with UNOPS Financial Rules and Regulations (FRR);
  • Manage budgets, cash flow and obligations to ensure that deliverables are met and payments to contractors and personnel are received on time;
  • Understand and manage UNOPS overheads, allocable charges, and related corporate charges as they apply to the project;
  • Understand the unique structures of the UN and budget appropriately for personnel;
  • Manage and remain accountable for expenditures against the budget (based on accurate financial reports)
  • Where the Project Manager has no delegation as a committing officer, s/he retains these responsibilities and will monitor and instruct/request others to carry out the relevant commitments and disbursements.

Knowledge Management:

  • Participate in the relevant Communities of Practice
  • Actively interact with other PMs and the PM community to share case studies, lessons learned and best practice on the Knowledge System;
  • Provide feedback to Practice Leads on policy, supporting guidance with an aim towards continuous improvement of UNOPS policies;
  • Complete lessons learned as per reporting format;
  • Incorporate lessons learned from others as per planning format.

Personnel Management:

  • Lead and motivate the project management team;
  • Ensure that behavioural expectations of team members are established;
  • Support the PM and Resources Pool Managers to ensure that performance reviews are conducted;
  • Identify outstanding staff and bring them to the attention of the Project Leader;
  • Establish a thorough understanding of UNOPS personnel contract modalities (including ICA and Staff);
  • Support the selection, recruitment and training of the team as required by project plans
  • Perform the Team Leader role, unless appointed to another person(s)
  • Perform Project Support role, unless appointed to another person or corporate/programme function
  • Ensure safety and security for all personnel and comply with UNDSS standards

Core Values and Principles:

Understand and respect UNOPS sustainability principles:

  • Look for ways to embed UNOPS sustainability principles in day to day project management
  • Seek opportunities to champion gender equality at work place
  • Champion and communicate project’s sustainability aspects with key stakeholders

Understand and Respect National ownership and capacity:

  • Understand the principles of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and mainstream them into the project plans.
  • Seek opportunities to recruit qualified local staff
  • Look for ways to build capacity of local counterparts

Partnerships and Coordination Understand the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) and UNOPS and the project’s place in the UN system:

  • Strive to build strong partnerships and effective coordination among relevant project actors (e.g. United Nations, governments, and non-governmental organizations or other relevant partners)

 Accountability for results and the use of resources:

  • The project management processes are designed to deliver maximum accountability, transparency and results. If a project or processes is not in line with this, it is the responsibility of the PM to raise the issue with a supervisor

Excellence: Contribute to innovation and the adaptation of best practice standards of sustainability and quality.

Monitoring and Progress Controls

  • Project meets its annual delivery targets
  • Accuracy of project planning
  • Stakeholders satisfaction
  • Personnel satisfaction and engagement
  • Effective project governance
  • Timeliness and accuracy of reporting
  • DFID annual review rating of “A” or higher
  • Unqualified Audit


  • Ensure that the project produces the required products within the specified tolerance of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits;
  • Responsible for the project producing a result capable of achieving the benefits defined in the Business Case(s) and as monitored through the Logical Framework;
  • Establishes and maintains effective performance management and control systems that ensures the project meets its delivery targets;
  • Coordinates the work of a diverse multi-disciplinary team with satellite offices in 3 districts;
  • Ensures effective resources (and talent) management within the project team;
  • Creates an inclusive work environment that promotes the principles of shared outcomes, mutual respect, consultation, and information sharing;
  • Demonstrates leadership in the application of the Hub and Region’s Operational Excellence plans and ensures the project is fully compliant with the Project Management Manual;

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Master's Degree in Project Management, Law, Business Administration, International Relations, Political/Security/Development Studies, Engineering, Energy Management or other relevant discipline.
  • Bachelor’s Degree / First Level Degree in Project Management, Law, Business Administration, International Relations, Political/Security/Development Studies, Engineering, Energy Management or other relevant discipline with a combination of additional two (2) years of relevant professional experience can be considered in lieu of a Master’s Degree.
  • A Professional Diploma in relevant discipline in combination of four (4) additional years of experience maybe accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively relevant experience in Project Management within the development sector is required.
  • Demonstrated experience managing multidisciplinary teams is an advantage;
  • Past experience implementing DFID funded projects is an advantage;
  • Past experience in delivering technical assistance and/or institutional capacity building is an asset;
  • Knowledge of the UN system and familiarity with UNOPS procedures is an advantage;


  • Fluency in written and oral English is required.
  • Knowledge of Krio and/or other local languages is an advantage.


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