Organizational Setting and Work Relationships
The Shelter Officer conducts comprehensive sectoral needs assessments in liaison with other relevant sectors such as protection, programme, community services, public health, WASH, administration and supply. To ensure the most effective response, both quantitative and qualitative data should be gathered on the profile/needs and living conditions of both the displaced population and host community. In first instance, the incumbent ensures that UNHCR Field Operations are supported in carrying out shelter, infrastructure and settlement needs assessments taking into account the current situation, projected population planning figures and the expected scale of returns.
Close and regular contact is also maintained with technical and non-technical staff of UN Agencies, Implementing Partners, and shelter sector members, national and international NGOs and Government Authorities. The incumbent also discusses matters relating to shelter and infrastructure coordination and provision. S/he normally reports to a Senior Shelter colleague or Technical Coordinator and maintains a strong collaboration with the Shelter and Settlements Section in HQ.
Specialized functions to be dealt with by the incumbent include shelter & infrastructure design, planning, implementation and construction monitoring including remote monitoring (if necessary) throughout all phases of the sheltering cycle, therefore the person should have a strong academic qualification in civil engineering, architecture or a related discipline.
The incumbent ensures that shelter responses within the Area of Responsibility (AoR) evolve according to the changing nature of the situation, progressively working towards more durable solutions and drawing from local building practices and materials.
Within an urban context, it is essential that shelter responses take into consideration urban planning strategies, including an analysis of residential areas, housing affordability and availability. In addition, regardless of the context, shelter assistance should at all times minimize the risk of eviction, exploitation and abuse, overcrowded living conditions, limited access to services and unhygienic conditions. Special attention must be given to the environment and low carbon approaches, attention to material selection through sustainable means to ensure a green approach to shelter delivery.
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.
– Develop and periodically update a suitable shelter approach for the Operation, taking into consideration area-based multi-sectoral approaches, age and gender, culture, climate, environmental protection and the availability of local resources, including materials, capacities and existing infrastructure.
– Carry out comprehensive sectoral needs assessments while liaising with other relevant sectors such as protection, programme, community services, WASH, administration and supply. Engage with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the beneficiary selection process prioritises the shelter needs of the most vulnerable Persons of Concern (POC) are addressed.
– Contribute to the development of shelter strategies and periodically review them to reflect evolving situations and ensure alignment with national and global level policies and guidelines including: the Global Compact on Refugees, Sustainable Development Goals, Relevant Global Strategies and Policies.
– Provide shelter responses that are developed in line with the Master Planning Principles and designed to adapt to an area-based approach in implementation.
– Review, identify and monitor shelter programmes and initiate responses to address the gaps in collaboration and coordination with key UNHCR technical staff, operational partners and authorities as required.
– When planning shelter solutions, ensure that due consideration is given to standards in other relevant sectors such as water and sanitation, infrastructure for reception, education and health so that implementation is synchronised and coordinated.
– Enforce the adherence of technical elements to standards that reflect UNHCR and other international minimum standards and implementation within budgetary requirements for all shelter and infrastructure works.
– Establish clear guidance and detailed standards for coordinated shelter assessments, specific to the operational context in line with emergency standards and long-term durable shelter solutions.
– Monitor and follow up the design and construction works to confirm these are approved by the relevant authorities, technically sound, supplemented with accurate drawings, detailed BOQs and specifications.
– Provide technical information on the SIP (settlement information portal), and ensure shelter dashboards are populated with relevant data, prepare mission reports and debrief.
– Advice UNHCR¿s implementing partners on sound technical shelter and settlement issues while ensuring compliance with global, national and operational strategies and guidance.
– Disseminate and ensure compliance with appropriate internationally accepted shelter standards, best practice and guidelines within UNHCR and among partners to meet quality and oversight expectations.
Coordination and Leadership
– Ensure that UNHCR¿s operation is technically sound in the field of shelter, construction and infrastructure development within the AoR to best meet the needs of POC.
– Coordinate and manage UNHCR¿s shelter and infrastructure interventions in a timely, cost-effective, inter-sectoral manner providing adequate delivery of technical interventions and services to support operational needs. Liaise with the government, line ministries and relevant authorities and counterparts to ensure strong coordination and partnership.
– Where activated, ensure a close and operational leading role in the Shelter Cluster so that UNHCR¿s operational footprint is aligned with the agency goals. In refugee operations, take on the role of the coordination of shelter and settlement activities in line with the Refugee Coordination Model.
– Participate, as technical focal point for shelter/infrastructure, in coordination meetings with various stakeholders including Government counterparts to ensure UNHCR¿s interests and those of the POCs are adequately reflected and disseminate information to all stakeholders in a timely, efficient manner.
– Coordinate with partners to assess, analyse and map available information on shelter options in country considering relevant policies, guidelines and plans adopted by the Government.
– Collaborate with Programme and emphasise the importance of reviewing technical components of the Project Partnership Agreements that contain any construction and infrastructure projects. Provide advice to Programme during Implementing Partner Selection of shelter sector partners.
– Work with Programme as an active member of the Multi-Functional Team in the Operation and regularly participate in multi-sectoral activities to ensure protection and assistance needs of the population are met.
– Work with the Supply team to advise on matters related to the procurement of construction, infrastructure and other sector related works and services, including the development of technical specifications, BoQs and drawings for bid documents.
– Carry out technical evaluation of the received bids as well as review/inspect the quality of shelter and infrastructure products/works during implementation and at completion.
– Work in close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders including local authorities, implementing and operational partners and affected communities on issues related to the shelter and settlement programme, while ensuring the full participation of them in all work in order to achieve optimum levels of adequacy in the shelter response for enhancement of skills development and income generating opportunities.
– Perform other related duties as required.
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
Architecture; Civil Engineering; Structural Engineering;
Construction Management; or other relevant field
Certificates and/or Licenses
Shelter Coordination Training
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Relevant Job Experience
Prior experience of implementing shelter and infrastructure projects in humanitarian context and large-scale emergencies coordinating with operational partners governmental technical departments. Prior experience in designing and implementing a shelter strategy, including host family situations, collective shelter and camp settings, in emergency while considering the transition to more sustainable solutions. Project formulation, planning, supervision and management skills. Previous involvement in implementation processes (including development of bill of quantities, analysis of local capacity and local markets, cost estimations, etc.) Experience of construction management (including site supervision, monitoring, quality control, evaluation etc.) including application of participatory approaches to facilitate active participation of communities into the project cycle and into the construction process. Experience in developing shelter and settlement need assessments and undertaking gap analysis for development of shelter programmes. Experience in building on existing local capacity and transfer knowledge as appropriate.
Knowledge of UNHCR shelter standards, as well as standards related to protection, WASH, environment and land use. Knowledge of a range of shelter assistance options, humanitarian infrastructure, including sensitivity to cultural and gender specific needs to ensure that the social and cultural background of the refugees is taken into account while designing, developing and implementing shelter options. Proficient in basic computer software¿s, including engineering (AutoCAD) and basic geo-spatial analysis tools (GPS). Familiarity with and considerable Field exposure to UNHCR programme planning and implementation and on humanitarian operations. Ability making the linkages to rehabilitation and development programmes will be an added advantage.
SP-Shelter and Site Planning Technical Guidelines and Standards
SP-Infrastructure Development/Construction Management/Property Management
SP-Design tools such as Global Positioning System (GPS)
SP-Autocad for Settlement Planning
SP-Global Shelter Cluster Strategy
SP-Shelter and Infrastructure Coordination
(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)
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
– Experience in leading teams/units, coordination involving country office and field, UN agencies;
– Experience in developing shelter and settlement need assessments, gap analysis for development of shelter programs in conflict and post emergency situations.
– Experience in applying the standards related to protection, WASH, environment and land use, with sensitivity to cultural and gender specific needs to ensure that the social and cultural background of the beneficiaries is taken into account while designing and developing shelter options.
– Previous experience in programs / construction management (including site supervision, monitoring, quality control, evaluation etc.) including application of participatory approaches to actively engage affected communities.
– Experience in developing conducting sectoral needs assessments and leasing results with other relevant sectors such as protection, programme, community services, public health, WASH, administration and supply.
– Field and shelter-related experience including emergencies, infrastructure development, working with relevant governmental technical departments and various organizations in identifying, designing, and implementing shelter solutions and experience in implementation processes (including development of bill of quantities, analysis of local capacity and local markets, cost estimations etc.
– Experience in development of UNHCR shelter strategy in line with shelter sector objectives, including coordination with the Shelter Sector as well as the Field offices on multiple and adequate response options;
– Experience in joint planning with stakeholders and partners, implementation and post-implementation follow up of shelter interventions.
– Ability to work in a sensitive operational environment including cultural, security, workload pressure etc.
Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):
Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:
To view occupational safety and health considerations for this duty station, please visit this link:
Nature of Position:
The Shelter Officer expects to have capacity and ability to lead the UNHCR Technical Shelter Unit and closely coordinate with the Sub and Field Offices, as well as with the Shelter/NFI Sector and other relevant counterparts. Thus, the incumbent must have good coordination, communication and managerial skills.
Experience and Skills:
He/she expects to conduct comprehensive sectoral needs assessments in liaison with Shelter/NFI and other relevant sectors such as protection, programme, community services, public health, WASH, administration and supply. To ensure the most effective response, both quantitative and qualitative data should be gathered on the profile/needs and living conditions of both the displaced population and host community. In first instance, the incumbent ensures that UNHCR Sub and Field Operations are supported in carrying out shelter, infrastructure and settlement needs assessments including prioritization based on the current situation, projected population planning figures and the expected scale of returns.
Thus, an incumbent for this position must have clearly demonstrated field and shelter-related experience in responding to emergencies, infrastructure development, working with relevant governmental technical departments and various organizations in identifying, designing, and implementing shelter solutions and experience in implementation processes (including development of bill of quantities, analysis of local capacity and local markets, cost estimations etc.).
Experience in developing shelter and settlement need assessments and undertaking gap analysis for development of shelter programs in conflict is essential. In addition to UNHCR shelter standards, it would also be desirable for the incumbent to have knowledge of standards related to protection, WASH, environment and land use, with sensitivity to cultural and gender specific needs to ensure that the social and cultural background of the beneficiaries is taken into account while designing and developing shelter options is also important. It would be helpful for the incumbent to have previous experience in programs / construction management (including site supervision, monitoring, quality control, evaluation etc.) including application of participatory approaches to actively engage affected communities.
The Syria displacement situation remains the largest globally, with 5.6 million refugees scattered across the region. Ten years of conflict, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, continue to generate far-reaching consequences for persons of concern. While many communities across the country experience improved security conditions, protection concerns persist and, in some areas ongoing insecurity impact people’s lives and trigger new population movements.
The operation in Syria is a complex political, security and operational environment, placing enormous pressure on staff. The position of Shelter Officer, P3, in Damascus reports to the Assistant Representative Programme requires to act the Head of Shelter Technical Unit necessitating managerial along with strong technical capacities and ability to lead the unit and coordinate with the field offices as well as with the shelter sector and other counterparts. Thus, good coordination, communication skills and flexibility are among the essentially required.
UNHCR implements simultaneous shelter responses, consisting of emergency response for the newly displaced in certain areas of the country, and of a longer-term shelter response for the returnees, including IDP returnees and increasing number of Syrian refugees spontaneously returning from asylum countries.
Emergency shelter response consists of collective shelter rehabilitation and transformation of public and private unfinished buildings into structures able to host IDP families, as well as of distribution of shelter kits, as the quickest and effective way of providing shelter support as part of the emergency response to the newly displaced.
Living and Working Conditions:
Longer term intervention consists of rehabilitation of damaged houses/apartments through contractors and increasingly through basic rehabilitation of community infrastructures in areas of return such as public facilities, health centers / clinics, schools and some other institutions with a direct impact on the lives of returnees and host communities.
An intervention of this magnitude requires a well-coordinated multi- agency approach.
The planning and implementation of shelter intervention requires huge efforts and administrative procedures both on local and central levels. The shelter unit in CO Damascus is expected to:
-Develop/adjust UNHCR shelter strategy in line with shelter sector objectives,
Closely coordinate with the Shelter Sector as well as the Field offices on multiple and adequate response options in all regions as per their peculiar situation
-Interact with stakeholders and partners in regards of efficient planning, implementation and post-implementation follow up of shelter interventions.
This includes guidance and supervision of the UNHCR shelter program and any other shelter related activities, in respect of:
-Adequate planning and implementation of activities in line with shelter sector planning
Implementing partners performance:
-Achievements against plans, quality and within the set time frame.
Currently, the Shelter Unit under the Operations Section consists of 3 positions P3, an NOA (in Country Office Damascus) and UNOPS dedicated to shelter related activities. Each Field office has a focal person or a small shelter team, depending on the size of their shelter intervention.
UNHCR is also the Shelter Sector lead, and the sector team is also situated in CO Damascus.
The fluid security and operational situation in Syria creates on-going pressures at work and in daily life as priorities are frequently upended for other urgent ad hoc tasks. The incumbent should be prepared to work under such conditions and be able to manage stressful situations. As of 12 February 2012, Syria is officially a non-family duty station with a four-week R&R cycle (to Amman). Staff are accommodated in the hotel.
IT-Computer Assisted Design Software (e.g. AutoCAD), SP-Design tools such as Global Positioning System (GPS), SP-Environmental Assessment/Planning/Monitoring/Evaluation of integrated projects/programs, SP-Environment Planning, SP-Global Shelter Cluster Strategy, SP-Infrastructure Development/Construction Management/Property Management, SP-Shelter and Site Planning Technical Guidelines and Standards
BS: Construction Management (Required), BS: Engineering (Required), MS: Construction (Required)
Shelter Coordination Training – UNHCR
Working with Persons of Concern: Asylum Seekers, Working with Persons of Concern: Internally Displaced Persons, Working with Persons of Concern: Others of Concern, Working with Persons of Concern: Refugees, Working with Persons of Concern: Returned IDPs, Working with Persons of Concern: Returned Refugees, Working with Persons of Concern: Stateless
Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Judgement & decision making, Organizational awareness, Stakeholder management, Teamwork & collaboration, Technological awareness
UNHCR Salary Calculator
Add.2 to Bi-annual Compendium 2022 – Part B
This position requires Functional Clearance
How to apply
For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit https://bit.ly/3YjdLeB
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 February 2023 (midnight Geneva time)