Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The role of the Policy Officer is to support the coordination and preparation of guidance, positions, strategic protection and solutions policies, and advocacy on protection and solutions matters in the region, building on comprehensive responses outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The incumbent may be based in the Division/ Field/Regional Bureau. S/he will normally report to and be guided by a Senior Policy Officer and may supervise a small team of local staff. The Policy Officer will provide advice and assist in drafting UNHCR positions on assigned protection and solutions issues and areas, coordinating closely within the office, as well as with other HQs Services, Regional Bureaux, field offices and operations. The incumbent is expected to have regular contact with staff throughout the office, Bureau and operations on thematic and situational issues. S/he is responsible for staying abreast of protection and solutions developments under a number of thematic and situational issues that are relevant for the region, supporting strengthened and coordinated responses of the Bureau in the provision of related advice and implementation of external advocacy.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


– Provide inputs to draft guidance on protection and solutions advice, strategic protection and solutions policies, and advocacy on protection matters. Reflect major global developments influencing UNHCR’s work, such as the Global Compact on Refugees and UNHCR’s support to applying comprehensive responses included therein.

– Contribute towards the preparation of UNHCR strategies, positions and public papers on assigned thematic and geographical areas, situations or issues.

– Gather, analyse and disseminate information on protection and solutions, political, legal, social and economic developments, including the application of comprehensive responses, which have a bearing on UNHCR’s protection activities in the area to promote the adoption of protection policies and activities.

– Organize and prepare studies on key protection and solutions policy issues to inform management decision making; conduct follow-up work, including inter-agency technical review meetings to support policy development and decision-making on important issues, including UNHCR’s contribution to reinforce comprehensive responses at national and regional levels.

– Assist in the preparations for high level events, including regional meetings, ExCom, Standing Committee, NGO Consultations, Protection Dialogues and others, by contributing to the preparation, drafting, and editing of various protection and solutions positions and policy papers.

– Draft inputs for oral and written briefings and background notes, talking points, reports and other documents as required. – Coordinate appeals and reporting on UNHCR activities in the area of responsibility, and ensure quality control for important publications. – Coordinate and harmonize cross-cutting policy issues and documents.

– In the regional bureaux, respond to queries and requests for assistance and guidance from the field, and follow-up where needed, in close coordination with other concerned focal points of the Bureau.

– Maintain a wide range of external contacts with Permanent Missions, donors, and civil society organization.

– Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Years of Experience / Degree Level For P3/NOC – 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree. Field(s) of Education Public Policy; Public Administration; Law;International Relations;Political Science;Human Rights; or other relevant field.

Relevant Job Experience


Experience in policy analysis and development in international context. Demonstrated experience in drafting and editing, in particular on protection and solutions strategies, advocacy strategies, or partnership building.

Desirable Experience in coordination of UN interventions with other actors, in a refugee or humanitarian context. Strong experience in conducting research, fact sheets, global appeals, speeches and concept papers.

Functional Skills

PO-Policy Advocacy in UNHCR; PO-Policy Development, Evaluation, Research, Publication; MS-Drafting, Documentation, Data Presentation; (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential) Language Requirements For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English. For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language. For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.

All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power. As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise. This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.

Desired Candidate Profile

The desired candidate has a strong understanding of refugee and asylum issues, with a focus on Africa as well as experience of humanitarian and/or policy work in the field. The candidate should have strong interpersonal and communication skills, as well as excellent written and oral communication skills.
Prior experience in coordination of drafting high level documents is desirable, as well as a strong understanding of UNHCR’s operations cross functionally.

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):


Desired languages


Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

Nature of Position:

The Policy Officer will provide strategic advice and prepare UNHCR positions covering the Rwanda operation on assigned issues and areas, coordinate closely with other staff, at headquarters, regional bureau, and internally across units and field offices, and will provide information and guidance whenever required.

The Policy Officer plays a pivotal role in assisting the Representative in the coordination of strategic direction matters as they pertain to all aspects of UNHCR’s work including the operations. She/he performs an essential liaison function between the Representative, the Regional Bureaux, and across sectors and units without the Operation. As a core member of the Office, she/he will maintain effective linkages with other relevant functional units and will work in full coordination with the team. Externally, the incumbent will provide strategic input to discussions among interlocutors in Rwanda in advocacy processes, in order to promote collaborative and aligned strategies to promote UNHCR’s mandate in Rwanda. The incumbent will also keep the Representative aware of political and operational developments in the country by liaising with Offices within the field.

Draft policy and strategy documents to further develop UNHCR’s policies and strategies in relation to the protection space in Rwanda.

– Prepare, contribute to and coordinate the preparation of oral and written briefings and background notes, talking points, reports and other documents for the Representative and other personnel as required.

– Work in a collaborative manner and provide policy advice and guidance to colleagues, working closely with external relations on communications matters.

– Provide strategic input to discussions among interlocutors in Rwanda in advocacy processes, in order to promote collaborative and aligned strategies to promote UNHCR’s mandate in Rwanda.

– Support the Representative in setting and pursuing key strategic objectives.

– Support the management in prioritizing work in line with these objectives and in communicating strategic priorities to the Office’s internal and external counterparts at all levels.

– Analytically review information received by the Representative and the Management and identify priority matters that need to be urgently addressed, advising on action as appropriate.

– Manage the flow of information to the Representative and ensure that appropriate action is taken by responsible functional units on matters brought to the attention of the Representative.

– Assist with the drafting of guidance documents, policy statements and speeches for delivery by the Representative, and initiate, edit, and finalize drafts prepared by other units.

– Coordinate activities related to policy formulation, preparing background and position papers for the Representative’s consideration in cooperation with various functional units.

– Assist in planning and managing the Representative’s missions, accompanying the Representative when required, ensuring the maximum effectiveness of the mission and ensuring that all necessary follow-up action is taken.

– Follow-up on policies and instructions presented by the Representative.

– Keep the Representative aware of political and operational developments in the region by liaising with UNHCR Regional Bureau and within the field on policy issues related directly to UNHCR.

– Assist the Representative in the preparation of strategic documents for high-level meetings involving the Ambassadors, Special Envoys and other high-level visitors.

– Draft substantive correspondence for the Representative’s signature, and edit and clear draft correspondence prepared by other units, ensuring accuracy, coherence, and correct protocol.

– Confer with functional units to secure timely and authoritative information relevant to matters requiring action, decisions or the signature of the Representative.

– Assist the Representative with establishing and nurturing alliances with external actors, including donors, academics, regional organizations and other UN actors to join forces in raising the profile of refugee issues in the country.

– Work with the External Relations Officer with all inputs and preparations needed for the Representative’s interactions with donors and external partners.

– Liaise regularly with the functional units and Sub Offices.

Living and Working Conditions:

This position is based in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. The main airport in Kigali has several international flights with easy connections to the region. Basic health facilities are available with a UN Clinic, as well a variety of public and private hospitals and clinics. Housing conditions in Kigali are of a good standard and rents are reasonable. There are international schools existing in Kigali for primary and secondary, in English and French. Kigali is considered to be one of the safest cities in Africa.

Additional Qualifications



BA: Human Rights (Required), BA: International Relations (Required), BA: Law (Required), BA: Political Science (Required), BA: Public Administration (Required), BA: Public Policy (Required)


Work Experience


Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Negotiation & conflict resolution, Organizational awareness, Policy research & development, Teamwork & collaboration

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Add. 3 to Bi-annual Compendium 2022 – Part B

Additional Information

Functional clearance

This position doesn’t require a functional clearance

How to apply



The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Closing date of receipt of applications: 16 March 2023 (midnight Geneva time)