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Position: Sociologist/Anthropologist (UNHABITAT)
Job Time: Full-Time
Job Type: Contract
Place of Work: Jijiga - Ethiopia
Posted date: 2 years ago
Deadline: Submition date is over


The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities to provide adequate shelter for all. 

Through its Regional Office for Africa (ROAf), located in Nairobi, Kenya, UN-Habitat has been supporting African governments to take early action to position themselves for predominately urban populations to achieve sustainable urbanization and the right to adequate housing for all, within the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda – particularly Sustainable Development Goal 11 to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” – and the New Urban Agenda.

Since 1998, the UN-Habitat has implemented several projects in Ethiopia. Key areas of partnership include Capacity Building for Sustainable Urban Development, Implementation of the Habitat Agenda, Integrating Local Development Planning and Slum Upgrading in Urban Policy, Cities without Slums, Water for African Cities Programme - Phases I and II, Promoting Sustainable Transport Solutions for East Africa (SUSTRAN), Support to the improvement of Public Spaces in Addis Ababa, Support in the rehabilitation of Solid waste dumpsites in several cities, Support in the development of Structural plans, Supporting the Ethiopian Cities Sustainable prosperity Goals (ECSPGs), and Development of the State of Addis Ababa Reports.

Together with the Ethiopian Ministry of Urban Development and Construction (MUDCo), UN Habitat’s latest endeavor is the preparation of Regional Development Spatial Plans to strengthen coordination and cooperation among spatial development plans at all levels (federal, regional, local) and to identify unique opportunities and comparative advantages to support regional economic development, complementarity for growth and also to attract investments. 

 The main objective of the project is to prepare regional development spatial plans for the regional states of Tigray, Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali, Benishangul Gumuz, Southern Nations, Nationalities and People (SNNP), Gambella, Harari, and Sidama that can enable them to define and achieve their own development goals in line with the national development goals.

The objective of the Project:


The main objective of the project is to prepare regional development spatial plans for the regional states of Tigray, Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali, Benishangul Gumuz, Southern Nations, Nationalities and People (SNNP), Gambella, Harari, and Sidama that can enable them to define and achieve their own development goals in line with the national development goals.


The specific objectives of the assignment for each Regional Development spatial plan are:

  • To conduct situational analysis: this includes regional spatial diagnosis and base-mapping at the Wereda level, a summary of the key strategic issues (constraints and opportunities), and determination of the emerging spatial structure which influences regional development, based on desk review, data collection (Matrix of Function and spatial documents), and consultative workshops;
  • To identify the existing resources and plan utilization of such resources in each region;
  • To prioritize and guide investment decisions as per the regional spatial development plan;
  • To prepare a complete Regional Spatial Development Framework (SDF) comprising of vision for 2040, spatial development strategies (i.e. goals, objectives, targets, and strategies), and planning guidelines for the desired future, in the context of the national development goals as stipulated in strategic development plans of the country (i.e. NUSDP and the Ten-Year Perspective Plan) and other relevant global agendas, especially the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda (NUA);
  • To identify and prepare regional development policies and measures (i.e. policy statements, programs, projects, etc.) that can achieve the objectives under the SDF following the regional spatial structure proposed based on a preferred scenario;
  • To develop a comprehensive implementation plan, including an investment roadmap, institutional arrangements, legislation framework, and organizational capacity development program;
  • To prepare a monitoring and evaluation system that inform government budgeting, private investments, public-private partnership, etc…


Duties and Responsibilities

The incumbent will have to perform the following assignments independently and in collaboration with the project team leader and other team members:

  • Participate in the pre-planning phase (i.e. induction program, reconnaissance survey, stakeholder mapping, etc.) and contribute to the development of the inception report tailored to the specific region the incumbent is applying for. The contribution focuses on the social development planning issues, including the definition of the study area and planning horizon, the design of study approaches and methodologies, and appropriate survey plan (i.e. locations, schedule, sampling approaches, checklists, staffing, etc.); the review and analysis of policy documents and legislations; and formulation of the detail work plan with project activities and schedule.
  • Develop data collection instruments based on the agreed-upon checklists, which will be used at federal, regional, zonal, and wereda levels, specifying the types of data to be collected, the sources of data, and methods of data collection.
  • Establish regular field contact and rapport building with the stakeholders (i.e. community, development actors, etc.) and zonal- and wereda-level data collection supervisors and facilitators. Guide the supervisors and facilitators of data collection to collate the social, cultural, and historical information of the region with the field observations.
  • Execute data collection and analysis at national, regional, zonal, and wereda levels as per the agreed-upon data collection plan (i.e. content, schedule, and survey methods);
  • Conduct situational studies and analysis of different social development issues, including but not limited to, demographic characteristics, social infrastructure (basic services and functions), social protection aspects, gender and youth engagement, societal frameworks, organizations and transformation, poverty aspects, local community well-being, and outreach, cultural and historical heritages, social impacts, etc., across the region. More specifically:
  • Review sector-specific policies, strategies, development plans, and previous studies relevant to the social development sector;
  • Using the agreed-upon internationally accepted set of multiple criteria (the normative situation), evaluate the existing and planned social development situations and conditions to identify shortcomings and constraints as well as current outcomes (gap analysis between the normative and the current situation);
  • Conduct SWOT analysis, trend analysis, and deploy other relevant methods in identifying the key strategic issues impacting the social development realm;
  • Maintain regular contacts with other sector studies within and across the region to timely detect and remove unnecessary overlaps and to ensure the achievement of synergy;
  • Participate in project-level meetings to be organized by the Team Leader to review, present progress, or solicit inputs from project staff and stakeholders (regional steering committee, client, and other key development actors) and to enhance the participation, commitment, and perception of the various aspects of the project;
  • Participate in the organization and facilitation of national, regional, and zonal/wereda-level consultative and validation workshops, meetings and events to be organized by the Team Leader and Project Managers; and
  • Write synthesis reports for the social development sector including those thematic areas that will be integral components of more holistic identification of opportunities and constraints.
  • Keep custody and backup of documents, data, and information to be collected in due course of carrying out the various tasks of the social development sector study.
  • Help in the development of participatory mechanisms and framework for establishing and strengthening regional and wereda-level community and stakeholder engagement and collate and document participatory processes for lessons learned.
  • Liaison with institutions, government agencies, and multiple stakeholders.
  • Contribute to the development of strategic development framework (vision, development objectives, and mitigation strategies to address key issues, etc.), spatial plan proposals and solutions, and mitigation strategies for all constraints and potentials identified in the diagnosis of the existing conditions.
  • Prepare weekly and monthly project progress updates and reports.
  • Conducts another task as assigned by the Regional Team Leader and Project Managers.

Expected Outputs:

  • A comprehensive and complete inception report developed for the region the Sociologist, Social Development and Heritage Specialist is applying for, illustrating appropriate mechanisms that support the development of a Regional Development Spatial Plan for the region under consideration.
  • Appropriate checklists and data collection instruments, tailored to the region, developed with the involvement of the Sociologist, Social Development and Heritage Specialist.
  • Social development sector-specific training and capacity building programs are organized and delivered with the inputs of the Sociologist, Social Development and Heritage Specialist for project staff, data collectors and supervisors, members of the steering and technical committees, client, and other key stakeholders.
  • Comprehensive field surveys were conducted, and social development data and information were collected, collated, analyzed, and interpreted by the Sociologist, Social Development and Heritage Specialist to produce regional sectoral profiles and identify key issues and social development priorities.
  • Participatory mechanisms and civic engagement programs are designed and implemented with the focused contribution of the Sociologist, Social Development and Heritage Specialist.
  • Project results of the region were compiled, presented, and communicated consistently to project staff, clients, and key stakeholders with the inputs of the Sociologist, Social Development and Heritage Specialist.
  • Regional profiles were prepared and key emerging development issues were identified with the contribution of the Sociologist, Social Development and Heritage Specialist.
  • Strategic Development Framework (SDF) of the region comprising Vision 2040, development objectives, and mitigation strategies formulated with the focused contribution of the Sociologist, Social Development and Heritage Specialist.


Core Competencies:


  • Ability to identify key strategic issues, opportunities, and risks. Ability to generate and communicate broad and compelling organizational direction. Ability to communicate links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals. Demonstrated ability to provide innovative technical leadership by performing and/or overseeing the planning, development, and management of operations. Demonstrated ability to negotiate and apply good judgment Shows pride in work and achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines, and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations.  

Planning & Organizing:  

  • Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently. 

Client Orientation: 

  • Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to the client. 

Managing Performance: 

  • Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability, and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities, and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly. 


  • Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions before making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.

Functional Competencies:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Proven ability for building and managing effective partnerships; 
  • Excellent writing skills, with analytical capacity and ability to synthesize project outputs and relevant findings for the preparation of quality reports.
  • Ability to work independently or with minimal supervision with a high degree of responsibility, in a flexible manner, and often under pressure;
  • Knowledge of financial resources and human resources management, contract, asset and procurement, and general administration;
  • Capacity to coordinate and organize a team and to support project implementation;
  • Ability to conduct interviews, surveys, and other data collection techniques. 

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Sociology/Social Development/Anthropology/ Heritage Specialist and relevant research projects. Specific work experience in social management in connection with regional and urban planning;
  • Recognized experience and knowledge on social issues, including social assessment and consultation/participation methodologies and related fields;
  • Excellent knowledge of the Ethiopian context and particularly aware of the regional economy. 

Work Experience:

  • A minimum of four (4) years of progressively responsible experience in Sociology/Social Development/Anthropology or equivalent and relevant research projects and programs at the national level and at least three (3) years of similar experience on planning and development related international projects or international level is required;
  • Proven experience in planning projects/program design and implementation with the UN or other international agencies is desirable;
  • Recognized experience and knowledge with excellent knowledge of the Ethiopian context.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of any of the local languages is an asset.


Important applicant information

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

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