Harmful Practices Specialist, Kathmandu

  • Full Time
  • Kathmandu
  • Applications have closed

Website United Nations Population Fund


Job Title : NATIONAL POST: Harmful Practices Specialist, Kathmandu, Nepal Country Office, NOC

Job ID : 40840
Location : Asia and Pacific
Full/Part Time : Full-Time
Regular/Temporary : Regular
Closing Date : 28 Janauary 2022, 5PM Nepal Time
Duration : One year (renewable)*
Contract Type : Fixed-Term
Duty Station : Kathmandu, Nepal

* No expectancy of renewal in accordance with UN Staff Regulation 4.5

Organizational Setting
The Position:

The Programme Specialist (Harmful Practices) leads UNFPA’s work on harmful practices, towards accelerating the achievement of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA), the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and other regional and national frameworks. S/he provides technical leadership, policy advice, management support to the country component under two global programmes on harmful practices i.e. UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage and the UNFPA Global Programme on Gender Bias Sex Selection (hereafter referred to as the Global Programmes).

In addition, the Programme Specialist will be responsible for the work related to adolescent development and empowerment and other harmful practices. In the context of humanitarian settings, the incumbent shall support the implementation of programmes through innovative approaches to minimize the risk and increase in harmful practices.

The Programme Specialist (Harmful Practices) will be working under the direct supervision of the Deputy Representative.

How you can make a difference:

UNFPA is the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency, taking the lead in delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA’s current strategic plan (2018-2021) focuses on three transformative results: to end preventable maternal deaths; end unmet need for family planning; and end gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls.

UNFPA recruits principled and ethical staff with a firm belief in and commitment to upholding human rights and gender equality, who embody UN international norms and standards, and who will defend these diplomatically and courageously.

UNFPA is seeking candidates that transform, inspire and deliver high impact and sustained results and who are true team workers; we recruit staff who are transparent, exceptional in how resources entrusted to us are managed, and are committed to delivering excellence in programme results.

Job Purpose:

Harmful practices are deeply embedded within social, cultural and religious norms and are often perceived as traditional in communities in which they are practiced. In Nepal, harmful practices keep women and girls from reaching their full potential and deny them dignity and individual freedoms. For women and girls from excluded groups, the impact is heavily compounded as they are already more vulnerable to violence, poor physical and psychological health and educational and economic outcomes.

Despite significant advancements in legislative and policy frameworks in Nepal, harmful practices such as child marriage and gender-biased selection continue to prevail, reflecting a persistent son preference. Child marriage which is declining slowly remains high at 32.8 percent in 2019 (MICS) among women aged 20-24 who were married before the age of 18. Similarly, gender biased sex selection pervades with a ratio of 110 boys for every 100 girls. As the total fertility rate falls to almost replacement level with a corresponding rise in the desire to limit families to two children, the preference for at least one son grows, leading to gender biased sex selection. Menstruation is considered taboo across the country and although criminalized, chhaupadi – which prevents women and girls from participating in normal family and other activities when menstuaring- still continues.

In recognition of harmful practices being barriers to the achievement of gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and reaching those furthest behind as embodied in Agenda 2030, UNFPA implements the country component of two global programmes to combat harmful practices i.e. UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage and the UNFPA Global Programme on Gender Bias Sex Selection.

Working within a Country Office (CO) environment, the Programme Specialist will provide technical leadership and ensure the effective management, implementation and monitoring of interventions under the harmful practices Global Programmes. You will play a vital role in operationalizing UNFPA’s commitment to eliminate harmful practices, particularly ending child marriage, reducing gender bias sex selection and undervaluing of girl/girl child in line with the experiences of the Global Programmes. In the current COVID-19 context, where the economic burden in families and society is expected to have an effect on increase in harmful practices, you will be working towards innovative programme implementation approaches to reach out to vulnerable groups and sustain the negative effect.

Employing your programme management experience, you will oversee the work of the programme team as well as consultants, advisors, and experts. You will establish and maintain collaborative relationships with counterparts in government, multi-lateral and bilateral donor agencies and civil society to address emerging issues, and effectively influence diverse stakeholders to contribute to achieving UNFPA’s mandate.

Main Tasks & Responsibilities
You will be responsible for:

A. Policy Advocacy and Technical Leadership

  • Leads the positioning of UNFPA on accelerating action to end child marriage and gender bias sex selection within broader national development and humanitarian agendas.
  • Engages in policy dialogue as part of the Global Programmes Team with the Government, UN system and other development partners to incorporate strategies to end harmful practices and protect rights of women and girls into national policies, strategies and plans, and within UN system wide initiatives and frameworks.
  • Promotes awareness on the barriers placed by harmful practices as well as of the critical role of the ICPD PoA in addressing those barriers in the context of Agenda 2030 principle of Leaving No One Behind in high-level meetings, conferences and other fora.
  • Keeps abreast of policy and legal developments that affect harmful practices, particularly in relation to child marriage and gender bias sex selection and prepares analysis on the implications for the work of UNFPA.
  • Acts as focal point for both the global programmes for coordination with UNICEF and other partners and stakeholders in the region and beyond.
    Ensures support for holistic and gender-responsive, human rights-based approaches including facilitating linkages across relevant sectors, innovation and partnerships.
  • Develops and maintains collaborative relationships with relevant government authorities at national and sub-national level, civil society organizations, and the external development partners and advocate UNFPA’s comparative advantage and a leadership role in facilitating effective coordination among the key partners.
  • Represents UNFPA in relevant technical working groups, professional meetings and in coordination mechanisms linked to harmful practices and adolescents.
  • Ensures state-of-the-art thinking and research on harmful practices is integrated within UNFPA’s programmes and projects, incorporating an intersectionality lens.
  • Provides input to UNFPA’s contributions to the CEDAW, CRC and UPR reporting processes in the country to ensure issues relating to the ICPD PoA are addressed and the interlinkages between harmful practices, gender equality, human’s rights, GBV and reproductive rights are established and reflected in the reports.

B. Programme Management

  • Takes the lead in the overall oversight and management of the harmful practices programmes to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and quality of programme delivery and results.
  • Coordinates the development of a multi-year work plans and budgets together with implementing partners (IPs) and key stakeholders based on the project documents and promote sustainability of interventions.
  • Provides timely and adequate technical support to ensure integration with the gender, comprehensive sexuality education and adolescent health interventions and adherence to global quality standards and protocols, as per national commitments.
  • Provides substantive technical support to relevant UNFPA staff and undertakes technical support and monitoring mission as requested.
  • In collaboration with the M&E officer and other relevant staff, reviews, analyzes, and evaluates the effectiveness of programme interventions and recommends areas for further improvements as needed.
  • Contributes to the development and implementation of humanitarian response interventions, in consideration of the potential increase in the incidence of harmful practices in humanitarian settings.
  • Manages progamme and support staff, supervises consultants and facilitates working groups and task teams, as needed.

C. Knowledge Management, Resource Mobilization and Coordination

  • Reviews the existing global practices in harmful practices and continuously guides in improving the quality of project interventions and implementation including interlinkages with other related areas of work and programmes within UNFPA.
  • Responsible for synthesizing and documenting the global programmes experiences, including through direct communication with regional and other country offices, to feed into UNFPA thematic and other related reports and communication materials.
  • Supports the conduct of research and analysis aimed at providing information and expanding the knowledge base to guide policy and programme interventions.
  • Contributes to analytical works through documenting lessons learned from implementation including effective strategies for reaching vulnerable groups.
  • Actively participates in relevant UN inter-agency and development partners working roups and consultative process, as needed.
  • Advocates for increases in national and sub-national budgetary allocations and expenditures for eliminating harmful practices and advancing gender equality and women’s rights to leverage financing for the ICPD agenda and to ensure the sustainability of interventions.
  • Collects, analyzes and synthesizes information/data and experiences on programme priorities to be used in advocacy efforts and for resource mobilization.
  • Contributes technical inputs to communication materials to advocate for the elimination of harmful practices and the advancing of gender equality and women’s rights.
  • Provides inputs to content for visibility of UNFPA’s work and achievements on, child marriage, gender-biased sex selection, and other harmful practices including for the development of briefs, reports, press releases and social media.
  • Identifies potential funding opportunities, including from public and private sectors.
  • Develops concept notes, proposals for funding that are innovative and demonstrate potential for high impact as well as UNFPA’s comparative substantive role.
  • Maintains partnerships with donors, keeping them regularly updated on implementation, in coordination with the project team lead and senior management.

Qualifications and Experience
Education and Experience:

  • Master’s Degree in Gender Studies, Social Sciences, Human Rights, Public Policy, Development Studies, Sociology or related fields.

Knowledge and Skill:

  • Minimum of five years professional experience in policy advocacy work and in managing harmful practices programmes, preferably within the area of child marriage, gender bias sex selection.
  • Good analytical skills and ability to provide strategic technical leadership, handle complexities and engage effectively with a wide range of stakeholders
  • Experience of working with Government and Non-Government partners at the national and local level, with current knowledge of the federal structure and latest developments in the field of harmful practice particularly on child marriage, gender bias sex selection preferable.
  • Demonstrated leadership, management, and team working skills required.
  • High degree of proficiency in both written and spoken English and Nepali required.
  • Excellent writing and communications skills and ability to prepare succinct reports.


  • Fluency in English and Nepali (both oral and written) is required. Other UN languages are an asset.

Required Competencies

  • Exemplifying integrity
  • Demonstrating commitment to UNFPA and the UN system
  • Embracing diversity in all its forms
  • Embracing change

Core Competencies:

  • Achieving Results
  • Being Accountable
  • Developing and Applying Professional Expertise/Business Acumen
  • Thinking analytically and Strategically
  • Working in Teams/Managing Ourselves and our Relationships
  • Communicating for Impact

Functional Competencies:

  • Advocacy/ Advancing a policy-oriented agenda
  • Leveraging the resources of national governments and partners/ building strategic alliances and partnerships
  • Delivering results-based programmes
  • Internal and external communication and advocacy for results mobilization

Managerial Competencies:

  • Providing strategic vision and focus
  • Engage internal/external partners,
  • Lead, develop and empower people, create impact a culture of performance
  • Making decisions and exercising judgment

UNFPA Work Environment
UNFPA provides a work environment that reflects the values of gender equality, teamwork, Embracing diversity in all its forms, integrity and a healthy balance of work and life. We are committed to maintaining our balanced gender distribution and therefore encourage women to apply. UNFPA promotes equal opportunities for all including persons with disabilities.

WARNING TO APPLICANTS: UNFPA does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you have received a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web. Should you feel that you have received a fraudulent notice, letter or offer that makes use of the name or logo of UNFPA, you may submit a report through the UNFPA fraud hotline http://www.unfpa.org/help/hotline.cfm

Notice to applicants: In accordance with the rules of the United Nations, persons applying to posts in the international Professional category, who hold permanent resident status in a country other than their country of nationality, are required to renounce such status upon their appointment. Exceptions to this rule are very limited and can be made only for: (a) stateless persons; (b) newly appointed staff members who have applied for citizenship by naturalization, when such citizenship will be granted imminently; (c) acting staff members in the General Service and related categories with permanent residency status, on promotion to the Professional category; (d) staff members appointed under a temporary appointment. Please understand that UNFPA is not in a position to provide advice on or assistance in applying for any citizenship.

HOW TO APPLY: UNFPA has established an electronic application management system. This allows applicants to create a candidate profile, which can be updated regularly and submitted for more than one vacancy.

A full job description of the position can be accessed at https://nepal.unfpa.org/vacancies and only online applications using this link will be accepted.

Download the Step by Step Guide to Applying in the E-Recruit System of UNFPA at https://www.unfpa.org/resources/step-step-guide-applying-jobs-unfpa Please print out the Guide for your reference during the registration and application process.

Notice: There is no application, processing or other fee at any stage of the application process. UNFPA does not solicit or screen for information in respect of HIV or AIDS and does not discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status. UNFPA provides a work environment that reflects the values of gender equality, teamwork, embracing diversity in all its forms, integrity and a healthy balance of work and life. We are committed to maintaining our balanced gender distribution and therefore encourage women to apply. UNFPA promotes equal opportunities for all, including persons with disabilities.

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