Programme Specialist – Head of unit (Inclusive Growth & SDGs)

This listings application deadline has expired so it is probably out of date

View all jobs →

UNDP Zambia is strategically repositioning its country programme implementation based on emerging opportunities and UNDP’s comparative advantages that maximizes partnerships, resource mobilization and impact in keeping with UNDP’s mandate and its current Country Programme Document (CPD) covering the period 2016 – 2021 and embarking on the next programme cycle to support the Government of Zambia through its 8th National Development Plan (8NDP).

In addition, the review of the programme portfolio also showed a pressing need to recalibrate the programme implementation in Zambia through a more integrated vision aligned with the current CPD, the six (06) signature solutions of the current Strategic Plan and the RBA’s strategic offer and where UNDP will fully play its integrator role for accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Zambia.

As the development world and UNDP Zambia move into 2020, defined as the Decade of Action, with only 10 years left to achieve the SDGs, it is more pressing that UNDP Zambia revisits its approach to programming to ensure both it continues to explore new ways of optimally supporting the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) to achieve the objectives set out in both Agenda 2030 and the 7th National Development Plan (7NDP) using a strategic approach to planning resulting in an efficient and effective delivery of the Country Programme to promote sustainable human development.

Against this backdrop and building upon the lessons learnt over the past months, UNDP Zambia is strengthening its Inclusive Growth and SDGs Cluster to rollout the vision of repositioning its CO programme through an optimized planning exercise to ensure smooth and accelerated delivery that delivers on UNDP mandate in Zambia.

The Inclusive Growth and SDGs is one of three pillars of the Programme Unit along with the Governance and Gender and the Environment and Energy Clusters. Each cluster is headed by an Programme Specialist, Head of Unit and supported by a Programme Analyst and a Programme Associate in addition to the dedicated personnel of projects under each pillar.

  • The Programme Specialist, Head of Unit – Inclusive Growth and SDGs, reports to the Deputy Resident Representative (DRR) and acts as the senior technical advisor on sustainable, inclusive growth and SDG problematics and questions to the CO Senior Management team. S/he leads the CO efforts to ensure the achievement of the country programme results and provision of thought leadership and strategic positioning on sustainable and inclusive growth issues, including resilience, livelihood, community development, social protection, private sector engagement and cross thematic problematic on SDG acceleration.
  • As a member of the Country Office Management Team (COMT), s/he also helps drive integration of work at all levels, from overall direction setting to ideas generation, design, implementation – and further on to reporting, partnerships and communication. In exercising these roles, s/he supervises a diverse team with various profiles and manages the deployment of additional long and short-term expertise as required.
  • Success in achieving results in this portfolio is reliant on robust national and international partnerships. The Programme Specialist, Head of Unit, is responsible for mobilizing joint advocacy, expertise and resources across UNDP global and regional initiatives in these fields, engaging with global and regional networks, and connecting with cooperating partners, academia, NGOs and private sector in involving them to successfully implement UNDP programmes in these fields. S/he will act as the thought-leader in her/his area of expertise in various fora including UNDP support to UN coherence and stronger UN Development System (UNDS) in Zambia.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of Key Functions:

  • Ensuring the strategic development of the Inclusive Growth Cluster through the provision of quality policy advisory services to UNDP Country Office, the Government, cooperating partners and the UN system to accelerate SDGs implementation.
  • Management and implementation oversight of Inclusive Growth and SDG initiatives and expected unit results and supervision of the Cluster team.
  • Strategic partnerships and support to resource mobilization in the areas of coverage.
  • Ensuring results focus, in management, monitoring and reporting, with priority to tracking capacity change and gender equality impact in policy and programmes; facilitation of knowledge management and sharing.
  • As a member of the CO Management Team (COMT), ensure the strategic development of the Inclusive Growth and SDG Cluster, in areas including integrated planning for inclusive and sustainable growth at all levels of the society in particular rural and peri-urban areas, local development, support to job creation and economic diversification as well as initiative to reduce inequalities and address poverty and inequality challenges and the development of multisectoral partnerships, for achieving the following results:
  • Serve as the focal point of UNDP for the provision of overall technical and management support to the GRZ on matters related to inter alia integrated development planning, inclusive and sustainable growth and SDGs, local development, job creation and livelihoods, women/youth economic empowerment, economic diversification, reduction of poverty and inequality;
  • Provide top quality technical and managerial advice and policy advisory support to relevant Government institutions and GRZ counterparts with focus on strengthening institutional capacity for policy, strategies and programmes formulation and implementation;
  • Conduct thorough analysis in the area of expertise of the political, social and economic situation in the country and collaborative preparation/revision of Common Country Analysis (CCA), UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), Country Programme Document (CPD), project documents, Annual Work Plans (AWPs) and other documents
  • Ensure contribution to the CPD though ongoing sustainable programmes and projects and in collaboration with the main partners and other UN sister Agencies;
  • Identify opportunities for new programme/project development including joint programming with UN agencies
  • Operationalization of UNSDCF/ CPD in collaboration with the main partners and other UN Agencies. Identification of possibilities for joint programming
  • Analysis and presentation of UNDP policies in the focus areas and their implementation
  • Identify, in close collaboration with national and international partners, strategic programme areas of cooperation
  • Ensure that the cluster overall strategic and technical direction is maintained and flexibly adapted to meet the challenges experienced during implementation of the programmes and projects under the cluster, remaining responsive to opportunities and promptly addressing externalities
  • Design and formulate components of the cluster portfolio translating programme priorities into local interventions and ensuring coordination and networking with clients, stakeholders and programme partners
  • Keep abreast of all significant developments, both in Zambia and internationally, on integrated development planning, inclusive and sustainable growth and SDGs, local development, job creation and livelihoods, women/youth economic empowerment, economic diversification, reduction of poverty and inequality and coordinate closely with counterpart GRZ institutions, international stakeholders, lead agencies and adapt work plans and programme strategies, as required
  • Collaborate with colleagues in Regional Hubs and platforms and HQ to apply in country programming new global and regional initiatives, policies and knowledge products that further the Cluster
  • CO business processes mapping and establishment of internal Standard Operating Procedures in Results Management, control of the workflows in the Programme Unit.
  • Provide effective management and implementation oversight of Inclusive Growth and SDG programmes and initiatives, focusing on quality control through the full programme cycle from design, to implementation and reporting. This would include:
  • Effective application of RBM tools, establishment of management targets (BSC) and monitoring achievement of results
  • Design and formulation of UNDP poverty reduction/inclusive growth &SDG acceleration programmes within the areas of responsibility, translating UN/UNDP priorities and SDG analysis into local interventions
  • Coordination of programme development implementation with the implementing partners and donor entities
  • Strategic oversight of planning, budgeting, implementing and monitoring of the programme, tracking use of financial resources as per commitments with key partners and in accordance with UNDP rules and regulations and
  • Effective monitoring of results capture and measuring the impact of poverty reduction/inclusive growth &SDG acceleration programmes, including facilitation of necessary evaluation. Results of monitoring and evaluation used to draw crucial lessons and constructive learning for timely readjustment of programme
  • Follow up on evaluation and audit recommendations.
  • All exceptions reported in time
  • Organization of cost-recovery system, including Direct Project Costing (DPC), for the services provided by the CO to projects under the Inclusive Growth Cluster and SDGs, and in close collaboration with Operations Manager
  • Aggregate reports prepared on activities, outputs and outcomes. Preparation of timely donor reports, public communication and advocacy materials as needed;
  • Preparation of regular strategic and technical notes, briefings to the attention of the Senior Management
  • As team leader, provide day to day direction and leadership to guide and support the work of the cluster team (including advisors, technical and programme specialists and support staff, consultants etc.), quality assurance, troubleshooting and supervision to the unit team
  • Ensure effective utilization of technical and financial resources of the Cluster, ensuring programmatic cohesion and efficiency
  • Prepare cluster work-plans, ensuring complementarities and coordination with the portfolio of projects work plans
  • Ensure timely and well-sequenced execution of approved work plans and programmes
  • Undertake regular reviews of the Cluster work plan and make necessary revisions;
  • Prepare financial projections and monitor progress and delivery of cluster programmes/projects
  • Advise on staffing requirements and administer recruitment processes in collaboration with the Programme Compliance, Oversight and Compliance (PCOM) Unit
  • Prepare staffing tables, job descriptions for advertisement and ensure effective and consistent administrative and operational support to the DRR;
  • Participate as required on staff recruitment and consultancy procurement panels;
  • Ensure smooth operation and harmonious interaction with other units and clusters and identify solutions to bottle necks
  • Enhance synergies and functionalities within the cluster and across the Country Programme with other clusters
  • Engage regularly with the Strategic Policy Unit, to ensure alignment of programme goals with the revised GRZ and UNSDCF/UNCT priorities
  • Represent the cluster at all meetings with the senior management as well as with donor coordination meetings related to the cluster thematic areas;
  • Maintain close coordination with other clusters and units within UNDP CO, and extend technical and programme support to the other clusters as needed
  • Coordinate across the Cluster to develop joint programmes and seek technical and programmatic partnerships from other clusters. In line with the former; to actively participate in regular programmatic and management meetings
  • Advise the senior management team regarding deliverables as well as constraints on implementation of the cluster work plans, and seek support from the other cluster team leaders to resolve obstacles and bottlenecks
  • Follow up on audit recommendations including timely reporting of all exceptions;
  • Take responsibility to ensure that regular progress and financial reporting is provided to all cooperating partners, donors, Government stakeholders and UN counterparts, that satisfy the need for informative, clear and transparent reporting against signed project documents and committed resources and timetables and focuses on results towards transformational change, in compliance with UNDP rules and regulations as well as agreed templates and frequency.

Establish and maintain strategic partnerships and support resource mobilization in cooperation with the Senior Management and UN Result Groups, to include:

  • Develop and consolidate strategic partnerships, with government, non-government and private sector entities, Development Partners for joint work and resources mobilization to achieve programme outcomes;
  • Determine and develop programmatic areas of cooperation, based on strategic goals of UNDP, country needs and Development Partners’ priorities
  • Initiate, nurture and coordinate partnerships with UN Agencies, IFI’s, government institutions, bi-lateral and multi-lateral donors, private sector, civil society for programme support and implementation
  • Prepare substantive briefs, advocacy materials and technical reports as needed, to report on the areas of cooperation, and for identifying further opportunities for cost-sharing
  • Represent UNDP on the UN Joint Team Task Forces, and contribute to joint planning, programme and policy development, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and advocacy activity. Convene and coordinate the Result Group of the UNSDCF, ensuring quality of activities throughout the programme’s life cycle;
  • Identify and implement collaborative working arrangements in areas of coverage, to facilitate Delivering as One with the other UN agencies.
  • Strategic results management and facilitation of knowledge management and sharing. This includes:
  • Identification of sources of information related to policy-driven issues; synthesis of good practices and lessons learned directly linked to programme and policy applications;
  • Ensuring a robust evidence base, with research and analysis carried out, where possible, together with others
  • Coordination of capacity development support to national and local institutions in collaboration with the Government and relevant partners
  • Drafting and advocacy of UN/UNDP policy positions on topics of relevance
  • Establishment of advocacy networks at national level and linking to regional and global networks. Relevant, high-impact advocacy campaigns implemented with key partners
  • Contributions to local and global knowledge networks and communities of practice
  • Capture and analyse results, and produce timely results reports for office reporting, with special focus on tracking capacity change and gender equality impact
  • Communicate results through the use of multi-media channels to share results
  • Organize learning and training relating to the Cluster’s area of expertise for the staff of the CO and implementing partners.



  • Innovation
  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work
  • Leadership
  • Ability to persuade others to follow
  • People Management
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction
  • Communication
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
  • Delivery
  • Ability to get things done
  • Technical/Functional
  • Primary
  • Advocacy/Advancing A Policy-Oriented Agenda
  • Ability to design and implement strategic short/long term campaigns and carry out customized activations to highlight UNDP’s position and support issue-based advocacy
  • Results-Based Programme Development and Management
  • Ability to manage Programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results

Building Strategic Partnerships:

  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships
  • Innovation and Marketing New Approaches
  • Ability to manage organizational resources and deployment in pursuit of innovative approaches and initiatives. Ability to scan the horizon and identify approaches and initiatives to bring into policy and programme design

Resource Mobilization:

Ability to identify and organize programme and projects to implement solutions and generate resources

  • Political Economy Analysis:

Knowledge of the interaction of political and economic processes in a society; including distribution of power and wealth between groups and individuals, and the processes that create, sustain and transform these relationships over time, and how these dynamics both affect, and are affected by, UNDP’s development support


  • Knowledge Management
  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge
  • Client Orientation
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse groups of professionals towards common goals
  • Promoting Organizational Learning and Knowledge Sharing
  • Knowledge of organizational development concepts, issues and principles and the ability to apply them to strategic and/or practical situations

Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Business Administration, Public Administration, Economics, Political Sciences, Social Sciences or related field.
  • Experience:
  • 5 years of relevant experience at the national or international level in providing policy support and management advisory services
  • Hands-on experience in designing/formulating, planning, monitoring and evaluation of development projects and establishing inter-relationships among international organizations and national governments
  • Experience in providing policy and advisory support and demonstrated strategic and technical expertise in strategic planning, sustainable development, poverty reduction, local development, community resilience and development, livelihood, social protection, private sector engagement or related field
  • Experience in managing (including financial management) inclusive growth/SDG acceleration programmes/projects at the national or international level in areas such as poverty reduction, local development, community resilience and development, livelihood, social protection, private sector engagement and cross thematic issues pertaining to SDG acceleration
  • Experience in managing project teams and budgets of comparable complexity and scope
  • Experience with UNDP and/or International organizations/UN agencies an asset
  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages, experience in handling of web-based management systems.

Language Requirements:

Fluency in English with good verbal and writing skills is required


Important applicant information

All posts in the GS categories are subject to local recruitment.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Method of Application

Submit your CV and application on company website: