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UNFPA-SRH Technical Specialist-P4-Damascus, Syria

Damascus, Syria
SRH Technical Advisor -Surge Capacity
(TOR’s adapted during COVID-19)

Title:  SRH Technical Specialist Level: P4
Requesting Agency UNFPA Country:   Syria
Principal duty station and
% of time of any travel to other duty stations

Security phase in country / duty station/s person will be required to work in  Substantial
What type of working arrangement is available now?
In-country international deployment: Yes 
In-country telecommuting: Partially
Remote-based support from outside country acceptable: NO  
Some movement on the ground is permissible: Yes 
Requested date of deployment  ASAP Requested length of deployment (in months) 6 months
How will the assignment be funded?
First request or extension?
What type of emergency is the person to support? (Please select or highlight)
  1. COVID-19 response efforts
  2. Rapid onset emergency
  3. Protracted humanitarian emergency
  • Combination. Specify:  Protracted humanitarian emergency exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic for which response efforts are in place

Mission Specific Considerations during COVID-19

Remote-Based Deployments (if remote-based please only fill in this table)
Considerations for remote-based deployments
If the deployment is remote-based, is the country office set up to ensure ongoing communication / team integration and appropriate supervision with the deployee from afar? Please explain.  

Physical deployments (only fill out if you anticipate surge to physically deploy)
Pre-departure considerations for physical deployments
Does this duty station require candidates to have undertaken SSAFE training? If so, can the office provide training upon arrival? Yes, the candidate is required to undertake SSAFE training. The SSAFE training module specific to Syria context will be provided upon arrival. 

Are there any special/new, specific visa considerations that need to be considered?
Nationalities restrictions apply (to be consulted with Rep. or Deputy Rep.)
What type of quarantining rules does the local government mandate at this stage upon arrival?
Be sure to include how long for, and possible locations the person will/should be quarantined. i.e. government mandated facilities or pre-approved hotels, et.c
Yes, upon arrival with COVID-19 negative test result with 12 hour validity, the surge deployee will be transported by the UN car to the Four Seasons Hotel (residence of All UN staff in Damascus) for 72 hours self-quarantine. Exceptions to the quarantine apply: the exceptions may change and are to be communicated by the Country Office prior to the start of the travel.
C-19 testing and clearance
Does the Surge need to undertake any COVID-19 testing prior to arrival or upon arrival? Are there any other medical clearances or vaccines deployees need to undertake before travel to this country?
Yes, the candidate needs to undertake one PCR prior to arriving in Beirut airport (max 72 hours). Based on negative testing, the surge deploy will be able to cross the border and enter into Syria with a valid negative PCR test (max 96 hours prior to arrival). 
Is there any equipment that the Surge should become equipped with prior to travel, e.g. PPE such as masks, gloves, sanitizer, etc?
Yes, PPE: masks, gloves, sanitizer and the country office will be proving upon arrival and during the deployment.
Is there any other paperwork that the local government authorities require upon entry/re-entry into the country? No
On mission considerations (for physical deployments):
What type of accommodation is available for Surge deployees?
Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus. This is the only possible accommodation for All UN staff in Damascus. 
Is the duty station on an R&R cycle and if so how often? Please provide any details that have changed because of COVID-19
Yes, regular R&R cycle each 28 Days. The global guidelines developed for the pandemic for R&R duty stations applies.
Medical Treatment
Are there any government restrictions or limitations that would adversely impact in-country medical treatment plans or medical evacuation?
What is the capacity of local facilities that can be used to treat and/or stabilize those affected by COVID-19? UN in Syria has special arrangements with two hospitals in Damascus for priority access of affected UN personnel for treatment. Health facilities in Lebanon can be used as back-up facilities in case medevac from Syria will be needed.
Office arrangement for telecommuting
If the Surge needs to telecommute within the country, can the country office demonstrate that the deployee is realistically able to work in terms of remote connectivity, equipment, etc.?
Yes. Internet connectivity in the hotel room as well as in the UNFPA office room in Four Seasons Hotel. The surge deployee will also be provided with 4G.
If the Surge is required to physically deploy, can the country office provide necessary equipment, e.g. masks, gloves, sanitizer?
Yes, all needed equipment will be provided.

Background Description of Emergency / Justification for Request
Ten years of crisis have had a devastating impact on Syria’s economy, infrastructure, social services and social fabric. The crisis has led to massive population displacement and hardship. Of the 22 million inhabitants that Syria had at the start of the crisis in 2011, around 6.7 million are now internally displaced, and over 5 million have become refugees residing outside the country. More than 90% of Syrians are currently living in poverty and require humanitarian assistance.[1]

Syria’s economy has been devastated by the crisis. Manufacturing, agriculture, transport and communication sectors have been decimated, while the health and education sectors have been hard hit. Twenty-eight per cent of families now adopt ‘crises or emergency’ food-related coping strategies, including withdrawing children from school to have them work instead, selling property, migrating due to lack of food and early child marriage.  Maternal and child mortality rates have increased by more than 20%. Since 2011, the economy has shrunk by more than 60 per cent due to a series of massive and successive shocks brought about by the widespread destruction of infrastructure and housing, disruption of trade, transport and production, and loss of lives and human capital[2]. The vulnerability of women, girls and young people have increased dramatically as a result of displacement, a collapse of the rule of law and due to changing social norms and household structures. 

Women, girls and youth are increasingly facing the loss of household income and social protection. Sexual violence has been a characteristic of the Syrian conflict from its inception and negative coping mechanisms such as child, and forced marriages are increasingly prevalent among particularly vulnerable populations. Meanwhile, the absence, or unemployment of male relatives requires women and girls to generate additional household income, while social norms increasingly restrict their ability to enter the public space alone.
Overall COVID-19 Situation in country:
Following the removal of lockdown and curfews by the Government, the COVID-19 pandemic has moved to the stage of community transmission with little mitigation measures being implemented in the country.  The Country, as of June 2021, is seeing the number of cases decreasing, including among UN staff, and hospitals with less COVID-19 cases due to vaccination.

The UN has introduced SOPs and measures to mitigate this high risk of transmission. UNFPA CO monitors the situation regularly and takes appropriate measures accordingly.

Security Situation Summary in country and main threats:
The security situation across Syria is considered as volatile and unstable. While the main hot spots remain, including: Daraa, Al-Hassakah, Deir Ezzor, Latakia, Hama, Aleppo and Idlib governorates.
As per the updated UN Security Risk Management documents “SRM,” Security Risk levels are still unchanged, Substantial in Damascus and its rural side, High in the south including Daraa, As Sweida and Quneitra. Also High in both northern the country in Aleppo/rural Aleppo and north-east in Ar Raqqah, Qamishli Al Hassakeh and Deir Ez Zor. While Idlib is considered on Extreme level.

While the main threats are the Armed Conflict, Terorrirism and Crime, the ERW/UXO threat is still a major concern across the country.
Role Description: Under the overall supervision of the UNFPA Deputy Representative or a designated officer, and in close collaboration with International Program Coordinator and the National Programme Officer (Reproductive Health), the SRH Surge will provide support to the development, implementation and monitoring of the Sexual and Reproductive health and rights component of the UNFPA programme in Syria.

  • Provide substantive support in the overall management of the SRH programme, including supporting program and operations staff in financial management and ensuring timely allocation and expenditure of available funds.
  • Support UNFPA efforts in integrating SRHR and GBV services in UNFPA programme in Syria, including, but not limited to, through technical support to the SRH Team in Syria CO, the implementing partners, monitoring the progress at facility and community level, and supervising the overall implementation.
  • Support in strengthening access to quality of sexual and reproductive health interventions to the affected communities in liaison with the humanitarian coordination forum and local authorities.
  • Assist in monitoring progress on the implementation of SRH services and providing technical support to strengthening quality assurance systems.
  • Design culturally and socially acceptable interventions to assist in strengthening the provision of integrated SRH/GBV services in selected districts of priority locations whilst observing the local policy and regulatory environment.
  • Scan for and identify opportunities for UNFPA to strategize and undertake humanitarian work in partnership with other UN agencies, INGOs, National NGOs and other partners.
  • Work closely with the International Programme Coordinator to facilitate coordination of emergency responses in Syria, ensuring UNFPA covers the most in need population in strategic locations.
  • In close cooperation and coordination with the International Programme Coordinator, identify RH supplies needs and oversee the allocation to the identified areas and facilities, ensuring that the distribution is in line with the LMA process and procedures.
  • Support in advocacy efforts: Assist in preparing technical briefs on selected priority areas and project / research briefs on the basis of systematic analysis of processes and outputs derived from the UNFPA supported projects.
  • Ensure UNFPA and donor visibility at all supported partner project sites and locations
  • Provide, and ensure that the RH Unit provides substantive, qualitative and timely contribution in all reporting documents to inform donor progress reports as well as any other reporting and communication material in need for RH contribution.
  • Undertake any other responsibilities as may be assigned by the UNFPA Representative/ officer designated by him.

Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Undertake field monitoring missions and ensure follow up on all SRH-relevant monitoring missions’ recommendations.
  • Work in close cooperation with the M&E team to analyse available data and identify trends and areas of concern.

Capacity Development
  • Provide coaching to newly recruited UNFPA staff and SRH service providers, where appropriate;
  • Coach and build the capacity of staff members and staff of implementing partners responding to emergency/humanitarian crisis, as needed with emphasis on MISP, CMR, Basic and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care among other training needs.

Must Have Demonstrable Qualifications and Experience in the Following Areas

Qualification and experience:
  • Advanced degree in medicine, nursing, midwifery or public health with at least 7 years’ experience in SRH/SRHR programmes.
  • Experience of working in humanitarian settings.
  • Experience in monitoring and evaluation, including qualitative assessments.
  • Demonstrated understanding and support of gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • Experience in working closely with communities, community health workers and with the public health system.
  • M&E skills - ability to analyse data, monitor projects and prepare analytical reports.
  • Contribute to design of beneficiary materials / pilot test documents (if any)
  • Multitasking, handling various responsibilities and meeting deadlines.
  • Good negotiation and facilitation skills including the ability to work in humanitarian settings.
  • Fluency in English. Knowledge in Arabic is an asset.
[1]  Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) Syria Arab Republic, 2021
[2] Humanitarian Need Overview (HNO) Syria Arabic Republic, 2021

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