UNFPA recruits a Reproductive Health Programme Specialist.

Organizational Setting

The Position

The Reproductive Health Programme Specialist provides strategic, technical and programmatic support for the Sahel Women Empowerment and Demographic Dividend project (SWEDD) Regional Technical Secretariat (RTS) and the region in the area of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and nutritional health (RMNCNH), and the link with the Demographic Dividend Roadmap.

You will work under the direct supervision of the SWEDD Regional Coordinator and in collaboration with the Reproductive Health Unit at the UNFPA West & Central Africa Regional Office.

How you can make a difference:

UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA’s new 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.

In a world where fundamental human rights are at risk, we need principled and ethical staff, who embody these international norms and standards, and who will defend them courageously and with full conviction.

UNFPA is seeking candidates that transform, inspire and deliver high impact and sustained results; we need staff who are transparent, exceptional in how they manage the resources entrusted to them and who commit to deliver excellence in program results.

Project description

The Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project (SWEDD) is a regional collaboration encompassing Cameroun, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Benin, and is funded by the World Bank’s regional IDA (International Development Association) resources. The Project acts on the UN-World Bank commitment and partnership to address the Demographic Dividend in the Sahel. The overall goal of the project is to accelerate the demographic transition, to spur the demographic dividend, and to reduce gender inequality in the participating countries.

The SWEDD Project interventions are structured around 3 primary components: (1) Generate demand for reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health, and nutrition (RMNCHN) services by promoting social and behavioral change and the empowerment of women and adolescent girls; (2) Reinforce the regional availability of RMNCHN commodities and qualified health workers; (3) Reinforce advocacy and dialogue at high levels and promote policy development and the project’s implementation.

Project governance is vested in a Regional Steering Committee, supported by the Regional Technical Secretariat (RTS) located at the UNFPA’s West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO). The RTS is responsible for strengthening project management capacities of implementing agencies at national and regional levels. It also oversees the programming and implementation of all funding channeled through UNFPA for the project activities directly executed by UNFPA or sub-contracted to other agencies and partners.

Main Tasks & Responsibilities

Job purpose

The Reproductive Health Programme Specialist will provide technical advisory services to Component 2 and will be responsible for:

Strategic guidance:

Work with the HQ, regional/country teams in charge of RHCS, maternal health, M&E and communication teams, to determine the type of technical interventions that may be funded by the project (Forecast and supply plan, distribution, logistics system redesign, implementation of performance-based approaches, logistics management information systems (LMIS), regional dashboard for commodity monitoring, human resources professionalization, private sector engagement, etc.)

Development of strong collaboration with external partners:

Reinforce regional capacity in terms of availability of RMNCNH commodities, working in close collaboration with key SWEDD partners/donors (WAHO, World Bank, USAID, etc.), as well as national, regional, and international health partners. Development of public-private partnerships and scaling up of last-mile distribution pilot projects.

Regional harmonization:

  • Provide support to national regulatory authorities and quality control labs, in order to implement a sustainable pooled procurement process for essential medicines between the SWEDD countries governments.
  • Develop and lead the implementation of the Technical Assistance plan and annual work plan for component 2 of SWEDD Project, including management of implementing partners. For policies and programs in the field of RMNCHN commodities and qualified health workers, s/he fosters dialogue, collaboration and shares information with all concerned.

Capacity development and partnerships:

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  • Supervise the ongoing regional technical hub aimed at enhancing the performance of the countries’ RMNCHN supply chain, and advise WCARO on the best institutional arrangement to put in place in order to harvest the maximum impact of the pool of experts.
  • Contribute to enhancing national capacity to develop and maintain reproductive health services and commodity systems. These tasks will involve design and facilitation of formal training and conducting informal, on-the-job training.
  • Supporting the implementation and scaling up of clinical midwifery mentoring, as well midwifery centers of excellence and provision of RH/FP services through advanced and mobile strategies to reach the most vulnerable people
  • Provide technical advice on monitoring and evaluation of RHCS and health systems strengthening; including ongoing capacity development efforts to ensure quality.
  • Draft and adapt training materials and manuals in the substantive area and support their implementation for capacity development.
    Identify IP’s strengths and weaknesses (in the areas of Supply Chain and required risk mitigation actions, including capacity-building efforts.
  • Evidence and knowledge development and dissemination
  • Contribute to the identification, analysis and synthesis of technical knowledge and evidence-based information in RMNCHN commodities.
  • Make significant contributions to analytic works aiming to collect and review lessons learned from implementation and to refine methodologies for effective RMNCHN commodities management within a decentralized planning and budgeting context.
  • Contribute to the successful execution of impact evaluations and provide support in developing a prioritized operational research agenda for UNFPA.
  • Remain knowledgeable and up to date on all technical and implementation issues that relate to RMNCHN commodities as well as other components of Health systems development.


Advanced university degree in public health, medicine, pharmacy, or other related fields. A Doctorate degree is preferred.

Qualifications and Experience

  • 5 years’ experience of increasing responsibility at the national and international level in health systems strengthening (specifically in the areas of family planning, midwifery and commodity security);
  • Extensive knowledge of health systems strengthening in the SWEDD target countries and experience in the development and capacity building of health sector human resources, specifically in terms of midwifery and the rural pipeline;
  • Familiarity with UN development programmes and working procedures, especially UNFPA policies and programming procedures, would be an asset.
  • Professional certificates in logistics, procurement, essential drugs management, health system strengthening and/or financing would be an asset.
  • Proficiency in the use of standard MS Office packages, logistics information management systems, and e-learning/e-health tools.


Fluency in French and English is mandatory; knowledge of other official UN languages is an advantage.

Required Competencies


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

Functional Competencies

  • Providing conceptual innovation to support programme effectiveness;
  • Facilitating quality programme results;
  • Innovation and marketing of new approaches;
  • Leveraging the resources of partners/building strategic alliances and partnerships;
  • Advocacy/ advancing a policy oriented agenda;
  • Strengthening the programming capacity of Country Offices;
  • Generating, managing and promoting the use of knowledge and information;
  • Internal and external relations and advocacy for resources mobilization.

Required Competencies

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

Closing date : 28 July 2021 (5 PM, GMT).

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