United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


Position: Senior Consultant (Data Scientist) for Risk Analysis and Risk Modelling in Ethiopia
Job Time: Full-Time
Job Type: Contract
Place of Work: Addis Ababa
Posted date: 6 days ago
Application Deadline: Aug, 14/2020 (9 days left)


The year 2018 was a pivotal year for Ethiopia’s history and marked a new era in internal politics and state-society relations. Following years of unrest, the new Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Abiy signaled an opening of political space. Key policy priority areas for the new administration include peace and stability, broadening the political space and strengthening multiparty system, instituting Rule of Law, improving productivity, stabilizing the economy, encouraging active political participation, and empowering youth and women. The new Prime Minister also committed to the organization of the 2020 General Elections in accordance with the Constitution. The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced an election for August 2020 however the COVID-19 pandemic forced an indefinite postponement of the election until the crisis significantly abates. Regardless of the postponement, the upcoming election is expected to be one of the most competitive in the recent history of Ethiopia. Tensions within and between political parties, along with ongoing ethnic conflicts across the country have increased the risk of electoral disputes and electoral violence. There is a strong need to pre-empt electoral violence including by establishing systemic institutional responses and redress mechanisms.

As part of the UNDP Ethiopia “Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democracy Strengthening (SEEDS)” project and the EC-UNDP Joint Task Force on Electoral Assistance (JTF) “Sustaining Peace through Elections” effort, UNDP shall assist NEBE with the development of an Electoral Violence Early Response (EVER) system. The objective of the system is to provide NEBE with the capacity to efficiently and coherently monitor, manage, and respond to violence throughout the electoral process. In this context, UNDP Ethiopia and the EC-UNDP JTF, in collaboration with the UNDP Crisis Bureau in New York, is looking for a Senior Consultant to develop composite risk indices and risk models. The work will be carried out remotely over 60 days between May and December 2020. The Senior Consultant shall report to the UNDP SEEDS Chief Technical Advisor.

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of the assignment:

The overall purpose of this assignment is to support analytical efforts to prevent and respond to electoral violence ahead of Ethiopia’s forthcoming general election. Based on quantitative perception data, socio-economic data, and incident reports, the Senior Consultant shall propose, develop, and test tools to generate risk scores for all regions, zones and woredas (districts) in the country. The Senior Consultant shall collaborate with developers from the United Nations International Computing Center (UNICC) to integrate both elements into an IT platform and mobile app that will enable NEBE to identify risks, monitor incidents, and coordinate responses to potential or actual electoral violence.

The Senior Consultant shall undertake the following specific duties:

  1. Review socioeconomic data, incident reporting, qualitative and quantitative data collected by UNDP SEEDS, and other related datasets.
  2. Clean data where necessary, develop, and implement workflows to assure appropriate ingestion, processing, consistency, and quality of high-dimensional and large datasets.
  3. Review and refine the data collection methodology applied so far.
  4. Engage in the organization, evaluation, analysis, compilation, and internal dissemination of statistical, geospatial, and other types of data and databases for analytical purposes.
  5. Propose a method for generating an electoral violence composite risk index for consultation within the UN system. Document the composite index methodology and validate results. Complete any adjustments that may be necessary and/or requested by the Chief Technical Advisor.
  6. Assess feasibility and propose a methodology for risk modeling, incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning techniques, in collaboration with UNDP Crisis Bureau. Develop and test the risk model. Complete any adjustments that may be necessary and/or requested by the Chief Technical Advisor.
  7. Collaborate with developers to integrate products into of the IT platform.
  8. Monitor implementation of the system and make any necessary or requested adjustments.
  9. Ensure the sharing of knowledge, lessons, and good practices with the UNDP Crisis Bureau.
  10. Provide overall comments and inputs to the data gathering methodology.
  11. Document and provide guidance for updating the data and risk model, and provide capacity development to ensure the sustainability of the platform once the platform is finalized.

The Senior Consultant is expected to work in close coordination with UNDP Ethiopia, UNDP SEEDS, and JTF.


The key deliverables expected from the Senior Consultant are:

Review available humanitarian/ development/ security data sets and conduct statistical analyses to identify relevant correlations affecting risks of violence:

  • Approximately 10 to 15 data sets to be analyzed, which could include: data collected by UNDP SEEDS; Population Density; DTM/VAS; ACLED Security Incidents/Frequency of conflict per woreda; Road Density Mapping; HH economic approach; ECHS; WMS; DHS; HNO hotspots map; IPC food security; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); Annual Rainfall trends; Water Supply Coverage; OCHA Access database.  A final list will be agreed upon at assignment onset.
  • Initial correlations to be examined could include NDVI vs ACLED security incidents; TerraClimate Monthly climate and climatic water balance variables vs ACLED security incidents; IPC food security classification vs ACLED security incidents; distance from education/health facilities vs ACLED security incidents; proximity to main roads vs ACLED security incidents; proximity to IDP camps vs ACLED security incidents. A list shall be agreed at assignment onset.

Review and refine the data collection methodology applied by SEEDS so far:

  • History of violence (woreda level).
  • Perception of risk (zone level).

Propose a method for, develop, and test an electoral violence composite risk index. The proposal should be presented in:

  • A ranked risk index format comparable to well-know political risk and fragility indices (e.g. the Fund For Peace Fragile States Index, the Human Development Index) categorized by region and sub-region (both at the woreda and zone levels) and disaggregated by component risk dimensions (e.g. political, social, demographic, security, etc.)

Propose a method to develop and test a risk model, incorporating AI and ML techniques, and where possible, real-time data (i.e. local online news, Twitter, Facebook), in collaboration with UNDP Crisis Bureau.

Collaborate with developers to integrate the composite index and risk model into the IT platform.

Monitor the system once operational and incorporate any minor adjustments, including the possibility of in-country capacity development to ensure sustainability

Develop a final report comprising actions, challenges, lessons, and good practices.



Corporate competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness by modeling UN values and ethical standards;
  • Demonstrates professional competence and is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Display cultural, gender, nationality, religion and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Functional Competencies:

  • Demonstrated ability to work harmoniously in a multi-cultural environment;
  • Ability to work on own initiative as well as a member of a team and to work under pressure;
  • Excellent relationship management;
  • Excellent communication, facilitation, presentation and reporting skills;

Ethical Considerations, Confidentiality, And Proprietary Interests:

  • The IC holder needs to apply standard ethical principles during the assignment. Some of these must deal with the confidentiality of interviewee statements when necessary, refraining from making judgmental remarks about stakeholders.
  • The incumbent shall not, either during the Term or after the termination of the assignment, disclose any proprietary or confidential information related to the service without prior written consent by the contracting authority. Proprietary interests on all materials and documents prepared by the contract holder under this assignment shall become and remain properties of the Government of Ethiopia and UNDP.

Required Skills and Experience


  • A minimum of Master’s degree in Information Systems, Data Science, Computer Science, Mathematical Modelling and Computation, Software Design, Quantitative Methods, Risk Management, or a related subject. Those with qualifications/expertise in more than one area will have an added advantage.

Work Experience:

  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience in areas of risk modeling, quantitative research methods, early warning.
  • Experience in leading the process of creating a composite risk index and assistance on risk modeling.  
  • Experience in early warning and electoral assistance or peacebuilding efforts will be an added advantage.
  • Experience working with and developing and implementing data architectures.
  • Experience working with advanced statistical techniques, concepts, and applications (i.e. regression, clustering, properties of distributions, probability, model evaluation, multivariate statistical inference).
  • Highly proficient in data harmonizing methodologies and statistics to enable comparisons between individual datasets and data variables.

Functional Skills:

  • Extensive knowledge in IBM SPSS, Stata, R, Python, or similar statistical analytical software;
  • Knowledge of risk modeling using advanced statistical computing techniques;
  • Knowledge of ML libraries (i.e. PyTorch, Keras, TensorFlow, Theano, Scikit-learn) is an asset
  • Knowledge of automated contemporaneous data collection methods and software;
  • Knowledge of GIS software, Earth observation, and Geospatial analytical frameworks is an advantage;
  • Excellent interpersonal and teamwork skills;
  • Proven ability to meet deadlines and work with minimum supervision;
  • Ability to effectively prioritize and execute tasks while under pressure;
  • Experience working in a team-oriented, collaborative environment;

Language requirements:

  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.


1. Review available data sets and conduct statistical analyses to identify relevant correlations. Estimated work effort (in working days), 5 days

2. Review and refine the data collection methodology applied so far. Estimated work effort (in working days), 5 days

3. Propose a method for, develop, and test an electoral violence composite risk index. Estimated work effort (in working days), 15 days

4. Propose a method for, develop, and test a risk model. Estimated work effort (in working days), 10 days

5. Collaborate with developers to integrate the composite index and risk model and into the IT platform. Estimated work effort (in working days), 5 days

6. Monitor the system once operational and incorporate any minor adjustments. Estimated work effort (in working days, 15 days

7. Develop a final report comprising actions, challenges, lessons, and good practices. Estimated work effort (in working days), 5 days

Total number of days, 60 days

Payment milestones against deliverables:

The successful expert shall receive payments upon certification of the completed tasks satisfactorily, as per the milestones shown below. The days are spread across the contractual period according to need with room for flexibility.

How to apply

Follow the link to apply: https://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_job.cfm?cur_job_id=93038

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups, and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

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