Position Title: Humanitarian Affairs Officer/Cash Receiving Agency: OCHA P Level: P3 Location: Kabul, Afghanistan (some travel to field offices may be required) Duration: 6 months Language: English is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.
Brief description of emergency outbreak/upsurge and the consequences for OCHA: The end of the 20 year armed conflict between the Taliban and the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces and International Military Forces in August 2021, and the simultaneous takeover of the country by the Taliban, has ushered in a new era characterized by the almost-total exclusion of half the population – women and girls – from public life, economic challenges, hunger and risk of malnutrition, inflation driven by global commodity shocks, drastic rises in both urban and rural poverty, a near-collapse of the national public health system, a stifling of the media and civil society sectors, and violations affecting former government personnel (including Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) in violation of a general amnesty.
Population growth, internal displacement and migration and continued high rates of cross-border return are contributing to increased strain on limited resources, livelihood opportunities and basic services, as well as an increase in protection risks, especially for most at-risk groups, including women and girls.
Since it was introduced as a modality in 2009, cash and voucher assistance (CVA) in Afghanistan has grown rapidly and become one of the preferred response modalities among humanitarian and development actors. In addition, cash continues to be vulnerable households’ preferred assistance modality of choice: 69 per cent of respondents surveyed as part of the 2022 WoAA identified cash as their preferred modality of assistance. Despite an increase in interference in humanitarian programming by the DFA during 2022, the main cash actors have gradually adapted to the current context and as of the 3rd quarter of 2022, at least 35 partners are implementing CVA responses, which is a small decrease as compared to the same period in 2021. However, due to the prevailing access constraints brought on by the ban on women NGO workers, the CVWG assesses that the impediments in directly accessing women beneficiaries by employing women staff may hamper the uptake of CVA and may bring on additional implementation risks.
Brief surge need justification (including why the post is urgent and why current/other OCHA capacity cannot cope/does not apply): A dedicated cash coordinator position in the Strategy & Coordination Unit is required to ensure the Country Office’s transition to the new cash coordination model in March 2024. The CO was initially meant to transition in September 2023 but challenges with establishing the post to-date have meant that the CO has had to request a six-month extension from the IASC. The CO intends to meet information management requirements of the transition through existing IM resources in country.
OCHA’s role and key challenges: OCHA’s role is to ensure adequate, predictable, and timely cash coordination across the country and supports the development of coherent cash related tools/guidance for the clusters and partners through the existing cash working group. In line with the endorsed IASC new model on Cash Coordination, OCHA will provide nonprogrammatic role in the coordination of CVA and MPC.
In the foreseeable future, there are several challenges threatening the implementation of CVA operations in Afghanistan. At the time of writing, cash liquidity continues to be a significant challenge given the suspension of loan packages by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the freezing of the financial assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan. Similarly, as seen at the start of 2022, the fluctuation of the USD-AFN exchange rate is another key risk which can have significant consequences on purchasing power of vulnerable households.
Main partners and stakeholders in the field: There are national and international NGOs, as well as UN Agencies providing cash programming in Afghanistan. The principal Clusters employing CVA as a modality, are the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) – mainly Cash for food and ES-NFI mainly cash for shelter/winterization/transportation, with protection and WASH sectors occasionally employing CVA.
Main tasks and duties to be executed (specify precisely in a maximum of 10 bullet points):
Monitors, analyzes and reports on humanitarian cash response and developments, and cash disaster relief/management programmes or emergency situations in the country.
Leads and/or participates in large, complex projects, to include cash-related assessment or other missions; coordinates international humanitarian/emergency assistance for complex emergency/disaster situations; ensures necessary support (e.g. staff, funding, specialized equipment, supplies, etc.); prepares situation reports to the international community, apprising of situation to date and specifying gaps and unmet requirements.
Assists in the production of appeals for international assistance particularly on cash related programming; ensures the proper use and spending of donor contributions channeled through OCHA.
Assists stakeholders in capacity-building for handling emergency situations; develops country-specific indicators in collaboration with area experts and ensures the subsequent monitoring of these indicators; recommends actions based on the analysis of pertinent information related to cash programming.
Initiates and coordinates activities related to technical cooperation and technical assistance projects in disaster cash response and disaster response preparedness; formulates project proposals and relevant project documents related to cash coordination and cash programming; provides technical support to field work on humanitarian cash-related matters; reviews and clears project reports for submission to donors.
Analyzes and assists in introducing new technologies and approaches for cash modalities especially as they pertain to humanitarian programming.
Organizes and prepares studies on humanitarian, emergency relief and cash-related issues; organizes follow-up work, including inter-agency technical review meetings to support policy development work and decision- making on important cash-related issues; and ensures the implementation of recommendations emanating from relevant studies on humanitarian cash programming.
Assists or leads, as appropriate, in the preparation of OCHA reports, studies, background papers, policy guidelines, correspondence, presentations, background papers, policy guidelines, parliamentary documents, etc.
Partners with other humanitarian agencies to plan and evaluate complex humanitarian and emergency assistance programmes notably vis-à-vis cash programming; helps ensure that latest findings, lessons learned, policy guidelines, etc. are incorporated into these activities, including gender-related considerations. Establishes and maintains contacts with other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, etc. on issues related to humanitarian cash, including through the Cash Working Group, amongst other forums; ensures appropriate mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and exchange of information on humanitarian cash-related matters both in and outside the UN system, including on early warning and contingency planning, etc.
Serves as the primary focal point on cash-related issues, including in relation to safeguarding humanitarian principles, humanitarian access, and ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance; keeps abreast of latest developments, liaises with other humanitarian organizations, donors, etc., ensures appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms; provides information and advice on a range of related issues.
Organizes and chairs the Cash and Voucher Working Group, participates in meetings, conferences, consultations with other agencies and partners on humanitarian and emergency cash-related matters. Performs other duties as required including support for other broader work of the Inter- Cluster Coordination Team.
Expected outcome of the deployment (detail in bullet point form the anticipated achievements and added value expected from the deployment):
The Standby Partner is expected to engage with the co-chair(s) of the CVWG to help improve the coordination of cash assistance, quality of implementation of cash assistance, monitoring, evaluation and learning by ensuring:
Harmonized transfer values across clusters by working closely with clusters to have harmonized sector specific assistance; provide technical support to calculate the final MEB.
Strengthened and effective inter sectoral coordination of cash and voucher assistance across sectors by coordinating with clusters and partners to incorporate sector CVA in to their strategic, technical, and operational planning (e.g., mapping of cash assistance where necessary etc.)
Real time market analysis relevant to decision making for cash-based programming, using market and supply chain data as availed by participating agencies.
Effective integration of cash and market-based approaches into all coordination platforms (inter sectoral and sectoral) of the response, including government- led humanitarian coordination platforms.
Strong, systematic, and evidence-based cash and market programming for the Afghanistan response.
Increased use of CVA especially integrated and multi-sector CVA.
Production of timely and regular operationally relevant information management products are produced and that information on cash assistance is fed into response-wide information management.
The capacities and skills of CVA actors are strengthened in a tailored and effective manner.
Specific required skills (languages, experience, ability to work remotely/as a singleton, soft skills, etc.):
French and English are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.
An advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in political science, social science, international studies, public administration, economics, engineering, earth sciences or a related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with an additional two (2) years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
A minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in humanitarian affairs, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation, development, or other related field is required.
Humanitarian experience in the field (actual setting where a mission and/or project is being implemented) in emergency situations (complex emergency or natural disaster) is required.
Experience in leading cash coordination structures or sub-structures as part of humanitarian relief operations in complex emergency situations is required.
Experience in working with cluster mechanisms is desirable.
Experience in management of cash-based programmes is desirable.
CANADEM and its partners have a no-tolerance policy for inaction to prevent, respond to and follow up on alleged cases of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (SEAH). For this reason, we adhere to all policies, procedures and training of the United Nations on The Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment (PSEAH). CANADEM mandates all deployees successfully complete the PSEA online course. This e-learning course is composed of a set of lessons designed to raise awareness about SEAH, become familiar with a range of measures to combat SEAH, understand the impact on victims and the consequences for UN Personnel who commit Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment.