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Position: Assistant Shelter Officer
Job Time: Full-Time
Job Type: Contract
Place of Work: Jijiga - Ethiopia
Posted date: 1 year ago
Deadline: Submition date is over

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The Assistant Shelter Officer contributes to the preparation of comprehensive sectoral needs assessments in liaison with other relevant sectors such as protection, programme, community services, public health, WASH, administration and supply. To ensure the most effective response, both quantitative and qualitative data should be gathered on the profile/needs and living conditions of both the displaced population and the host community. The incumbent will oversee the day-to-day operations of all construction and general infrastructure projects within the Area of Responsibility (AoR) to ensure that works proceed as designed and comply with established standards and procedures for the full project cycle. In the first instance, the incumbent ensures that the Operation is supported in carrying out shelter and infrastructure needs assessments taking into account the current situation, projected population planning figures and the expected scale of returns.

Close and regular contact is also maintained with a technical and non-technical staff of UN Agencies, Implementing Partners, and shelter sector members, national and international NGOs and Government Authorities. The incumbent will also participate in discussions relating to shelter and infrastructure coordination and provision. The Assistant Shelter Officer normally reports to a more senior shelter colleague or Technical Coordinator and maintains a strong collaboration with the Shelter and Settlements Section in HQ.

The incumbent contributes to ensuring that shelter & infrastructure responses within the AoR evolve according to the changing nature of the situation, progressively working towards more durable solutions and drawing from sustainable local building practices and materials.

Specialized functions to be dealt with by the incumbent include shelter and general infrastructure planning, design and construction monitoring including remote monitoring, therefore the person should have a strong academic qualification in civil engineering, architecture or a related discipline.

Within an urban context, it is essential that shelter responses take into consideration urban planning strategies, including an analysis of residential areas, housing affordability and availability. In addition, regardless of the context, shelter assistance should at all times minimize the risk of harm, eviction, exploitation and abuse, overcrowded living conditions, limited access to services and unhygienic conditions. Special attention must be given to the environment and low carbon approaches, and attention to material selection through sustainable means to ensure a green approach to shelter delivery.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCRs core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


Technical Guidance

  • Assist in developing and periodically updating a suitable shelter approach within the AoR, taking into consideration area-based approaches, age and gender, culture, climate, environmental protection and the availability of local resources, including materials, capacities and existing infrastructure. 
  • Participate in comprehensive sectoral needs assessments while liaising with other relevant sectors such as protection, programme, community services, WASH, administration and supply. Engage with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the beneficiary selection process prioritizes the shelter needs of the most vulnerable Persons of Concern (POC) are addressed.
  • Contribute to shelter strategies and periodically review them to reflect evolving situations and ensure alignment with national and global level policies and guidelines including Global Compact on Refugees, Sustainable Development Goals, and Relevant Global Strategies and Policies.
  • Oversee all construction and infrastructure projects within the AoR ensuring that works are carried out in compliance with established UNHCR and national standards/best practices for the full project cycle.
  • Review, identify and monitor shelter programs within the AoR and initiate responses to address the gaps in collaboration and coordination with key UNHCR technical staff, operational partners and authorities as required. 
  • When planning shelter solutions, work closely with other relevant sectors such as water and sanitation, infrastructure for reception, education and health so that implementation is synchronized and coordinated. 
  • Work with established clear guidance and detailed standards for coordinated shelter assessments, specific to the operational context in line with emergency standards and long-term durable shelter solutions. 
  • Monitor and follow up on the design and construction of infrastructure and other facilities (schools, health centers, reception centers, drainage and roadworks, etc) to confirm these are approved by the relevant authorities, technically sound, supplemented with accurate drawings, detailed BQs and specifications.
  • Support implementing partners on sound technical shelter and settlement issues while ensuring compliance with global, national and operational strategies and guidance. 
  • Work with appropriate internationally accepted shelter standards, best practices and guidelines and disseminate this information among partners within the AoR to meet quality and oversight expectations.


  • Support the supervisor in ensuring that UNHCRs operation is technically sound in the field of shelter, construction and infrastructure development within the AoR to best meet the needs of POC.
  • Participate in coordination and management of UNHCRs shelter and infrastructure interventions in a timely, cost-effective, inter-sectoral manner providing adequate delivery of technical interventions and services to support operational needs. Work with the government and relevant authorities and counterparts to ensure strong coordination and partnership. 
  • Where activated, provide support to a close and operational leading role in the Shelter Cluster so that UNHCRs operational footprint is aligned with the agency's goals. In refugee operations, take on the role of the coordination of shelter and settlement activities in line with the Refugee Coordination Model within the AoR. 
  • Participate, as a technical focal point for shelter/infrastructure, in coordination meetings with various stakeholders including Government counterparts to ensure UNHCRs interests and those of the POCs are adequately reflected and disseminate information to all stakeholders in a timely, efficient manner.
  • Coordinate with partners to assess, analyze and map available information on shelter options in the AoR considering relevant policies, guidelines and plans adopted by the Government. 


  • Support Programme in reviewing technical components of the Project Partnership Agreements that contain any construction and infrastructure projects. Provide technical inputs and advise Programme colleagues during Implementing Partner Selection of shelter sector partners. 
  • Actively work with Programme as a member of the Multi-Functional Team in the Operation and regularly participate in multi-sectoral activities to ensure the protection and assistance needs of the population are met. 
  • Support the Supply team on matters related to the procurement of construction, infrastructure and other sector-related works and services. Draft complete sets of bid documents for all construction and infrastructure projects including technical specifications, BoQs, drawings, etc. 
  • Carry out technical evaluation of the received bids as well as review/inspection of the quality of shelter and infrastructure products/works during implementation and at completion.
  • Work in close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders including local authorities, implementing and operational partners and affected communities on issues related to the shelter and settlement program, while ensuring full participation of them in all work in order to achieve optimum levels of adequacy in the shelter response, for enhancement of skills development and income generating opportunities. 
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Education & Professional Work Experience

Years of Experience / Degree Level

  • For P1/NOA - 1 year relevant experience with an Undergraduate degree; or no experience with a Graduate degree; or no experience with a Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education 

  • Architecture; Civil Engineering; Structural Engineering; Construction Management; or other relevant fields.

Certificates and/or Licenses 

  • Not specified

Relevant Job Experience


  • Hands-on technical support including experience in assistance delivery in emergencies and relief operations. 
  • Knowledge of SPHERE standards and ability to use basic survey equipment, digital cameras, GPS receivers, and computer equipment.
  • Knowledge of AutoCAD and other tools forming a part of the UNHCR settlement planning toolkit


  • Knowledge of the UNHCR system and operating modality. 
  • Understanding of the humanitarian architecture.

Functional Skills 

  • IT-Computer Literacy
  • CO-Drafting and Documentation
  • SP-CAD 3D modeling for Settlement Analysis (eg. Infraworks, Civil 3D)
  • SP-Shelter and Infrastructure Coordination
  • *SP-Autocad for Settlement Planning
  • (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential) 

Language Requirements 

  • For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.
  • For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.
  • For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.