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UNHCR-Shelter Officer-P3-Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan
Position Title: Shelter Officer
Receiving Agency: UNHCR
P Level: P3
Duration: 3 months
Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
Language: English required
Operational Context
For over 40 years Afghanistan has seen some of the world’s largest population movements. Between 2002 and 2020 an estimated 7 million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, with more than 5.2 million being refugees who have voluntarily repatriated with UNHCR’s assistance. Refugee returns during the last three years have been far lower than in previous years, with 2,147 Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan (1,092), Iran (939), and other countries (116) in 2020, the lowest return figure that could be attributed to the deteriorating political, security and economic situation in Afghanistan and the impact of COVID-19.
Despite strong political will to achieve peace in Afghanistan, uncertainties result from the current political context, including the significant delays in the intra-Afghan peace negotiations and the withdrawal of US troops as part of the US/Taliban negotiations. The US has recently made its decision to draw down from Afghanistan by 11 September 2021. Another round of peace negotiation proposed in Istanbul on 24 April – 4 May has been postponed until the end of Ramadan. In the meantime, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on the U.S. policy on Afghanistan was held on 27 April 2021.
It is anticipated that the conflict may result in high displacement and influx into urban areas. As a cluster lead agency UNHCR will aim to provide rental assistance adequate for a period of 3 months targeting 5,000 families displaced in urban areas with a budget of USD 1.5million. The objective of the cash for rent programme will be to provide essential shelter support for extremely vulnerable individuals and protection cases supporting existing housing options and giving households more flexibility and mobility in choosing their housing options. UNHCR will also provide transitional shelter either through cash for transitional shelter or in-kind materials and tools to displaced populations residing in emergency shelter within new formal and informal settlements. UNHCR will engage two qualified international site planners to ensure effective planning of temporary settlements and to coordinate activities within them, in close collaboration with the Government and other partners.

Aim of the Mission
Shelter officer will conduct a series of regular on-site monitoring of shelter interventions in Jalalabad, Mazar, Kandahar, Herat and Bamiyan or other requested location to facilitate the shelter support and infrastructure constructions intervention linked to returnees and coordination of temporary settlements.

Interventions include immediate emergency shelter assistance, transitional shelter solutions, cash for rent, technical capacity-building activities aimed at partners and field offices, communities, and affected households.

  • Ensure that UNHCR Field Operations are supported in carrying out shelter and construction of common facilities and infrastructure facilities considering the current situation, projected population planning figures and the expected scale of returns and displacement.
  • Contribute to the development of country level shelter strategies which are framed by UNHCR’s Global Strategy for Settlement and Shelter and take into consideration the local context, age and gender, culture, climate, environmental protection, and the availability of local resources, including materials, capacities and existing infrastructure.
  • Coordinate activities in standard emergency shelter kit distribution, Cash for rental subsidy, and transitional shelter with ES/NFI cluster and physical site planners, the Government, local authority partners and other stakeholders including hosting community
  • Monitor successful implementation in all the area of intervention in Afghanistan based on UNHCR standard and report regularly.
Under the supervision of Dinesh Thalpawila, the Shelter Officer will:

The Shelter Officer will work under direct supervision of Shelter Officer in undertaking of following duties:
  • Work in close coordination with all functional Units in UNHCR (Protection, Programme, Community Services, Field, Administration, and Supply) for all issues related to protection, population of concern figures and assistance, and work in close coordination with the Shelter Officer and Geographical Information System (GIS) Expert based in the Regional Hub in Nairobi for issues concerning GPS points and mapping of refugee sites.
  • Assist UNHCR office with any other shelter and settlement related issues as required by the Supervisor.
  • Assist in analyzing budgetary implication of technical components and advise on the matters related to procurement of sector-related materials or equipment (including development and preparation of technical specifications for bid documents, technical evaluation of bids, review/inspect quality of the products/works as requested), and assist in fund raising efforts (provision of information and preparation of project proposals, and participation in negotiations) and other publicity endeavors;
  • Provide clear guidance on standards and best practices for shelter and constructions, including minimum emergency standards to meet basic and essential needs.
  • Ensure that specifications, bills of quantities and drawings are produced in a technically sound and standardized manner and monitor programme performance to ensure works are implemented according to plans and completed within the designated timeframe.
  • Together with UNHCR's implementing partners and Shelter Cluster members, compile, analyze and map available information on shelter options in country considering relevant policies adopted by the Government. When planning shelter works, ensure that the technical component reflects UNHCR minimum standards for the provision of emergency and other types of shelter assistance and is within the budgetary requirements. Due consideration should be given to standards in other relevant sectors such as water and sanitation.
  • Prepare the payment certificates and maintain the payments tracking sheets in close coordination with UNHCR Programme unit.
  • Coordinate with the affected committees, Local Authorities, and other partners the identification of potential needs related to shelter and NFIs and ensure that NFIs need identification/distribution is coordinated among all the actors.
  • Coordinate provision of technical inputs for formulation of project submissions to address the needs, taking into consideration the technical standards (UNHCR/ Sphere/ National) and UNHCR protection mandate and policy priorities, such as environment, women and children, with specific needs etc.
  • Provide support to relevant sectors in the market analysis of locally available construction materials and skills, promoting the use of local capacity as appropriate.
  • Regularly liaise and maintain close working relationship with Sector Specialists at Branch Office, through different coordination and information sharing mechanisms.
  • Ensure regular monitoring and evaluation of shelter activities, providing inputs for situation reports and reporting back to the country office on progress and standards.
  • Develop the shelter strategies to meet the ongoing needs of IDPs, considering the preferences of the beneficiaries, local construction practices and available materials. Plan and supervise the maintenance and upgrading of family shelters to improve standards.
  • Promote the sustainability of technical interventions through local capacity building and self-help in collaboration with local partners in the field. Ensure that local communities have been consulted on all activities so as not to create unnecessary tension between the displaced and host populations.
  • Ensure technical information is available on the SIP (settlement information portal), ensure shelter dashboards are populated with relevant data, prepare mission reports and debrief.
  • Enforce compliance with, and integrity of, all shelter standard operating procedures.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

  • Prior knowledge of training and staff capacity building initiatives preferred.
  • Knowledge of humanitarian settlement planning and construction with standardized design.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and be a team player
  • Excellent communication, drafting and editorial skills

Essential requirements
  • University degree in Architecture or Urban Planning or Civil Engineering.
  • Advanced University Degree (Master) in Project Management, Architecture, Civil Engineering or other relevant discipline or University Degree (bachelor’s degree / first level) with a combination of 6 additional years of relevant professional experience in Project Management, Architecture, Civil Engineering, or other relevant discipline, may be accepted.
  • Computer literacy in MS Office and other relevant software to produce geo-referenced digital maps, site plans, layout, and technical drawings
Personal Characteristics
  • Capacity to work with multi sectorial teams’ Cultural sensitivity to the specific needs of the persons of concern.
  • Willingness and ability to work in hardship environments.

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