Governance Specialist

UNDP’s work in the area of governance in Malawi contributes to the aim of the UN Development Assistance Framework [2019 – 2023] to address root causes of poor governance, through supporting governance institutions at all levels to harmonize policy, legal and organizational frameworks, strengthen data systems and oversight institutions for enhanced accountability, strengthen gender and human rights frameworks, institutional systems, civic engagement and participation and early warning systems. While governance is pivotal to all other pillars of the UNDAF, UNDP’s work focuses on contributing to the achievement of three outcomes: 1) Rights holders access more accountable and effective institutions at the central and decentralised levels that use quality disaggregated data, offer integrated service delivery and promote civic engagement, respect for human rights and rule of law; 2) Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls enhanced; and 3) Malawi has strengthened institutional capacities for sustaining peace, inclusive societies and participatory democracy.
The UNDP’s current Country Programme Document considers Good Governance as the core to ensuring poverty reduction and sustainable development. It looks at Governance as having a maximum multiplier effect on achieving the SDGs and a leverage point for development. Governance has also been one of the strategic pillars in the development agenda of Malawi’s government. The national development strategy considers governance to be the “the backbone for an efficient and effective public sector” and acknowledges the extent to which mind-set changes and behavioural shifts are needed to sustain profound transformations.
In order to support the Government more effectively and efficiently in delivering on its governance agenda, UNDP Malawi undertook a sense-making exercise of the Governance portfolio to identify solutions for accelerating the impact of UNDP support in this area with a view to establishing a Portfolio of Development Options and managing the Portfolio more dynamically, acting on levers within the system aimed at systems transformation.
In this regard, UNDP Malawi is seeking a dynamic and creative Governance Specialist to provide technical and advisory services to the country office portfolio ensuring effective cross-portfolio synergies and coordination of partners including government, UN agencies and other development partners. This will include technical advisory and coordination functions over UNDP support to Parliament and cross-portfolio work on Gender.
Under the guidance and direct supervision of the Deputy Resident Representative the Governance Specialist leads UNDP’s involvement in the preparation and coordination of the UNDP Governance Strategy and subsequent programmes. He/she will provide substantive advice on the subject area, including planning, implementing and managing dynamically the delivery of innovative programmes. He/she supervises staff including certain projects and programme staff.
In carrying out her/his responsibilities, S/he will advocate and promote the work of UNDP in Malawi and will also be the governance liaison between RICE portfolio and Resilience and Sustainable Growth portfolio within the country office and Development Impact Advisory Team (DIAT) ensuring that inclusive governance is an integral part of their programmatic plans, interventions and evaluations. She/he and works in close collaboration with the Country Office Accelerator Lab, Government officials, other UN Agencies, UNDP HQ, technical Specialists and experts, multi-lateral and bi-lateral donors and civil society to strategically position UNDP in the Governance area.

Duties and Responsibilities
Under the direct supervision of the DRR, and working closely with the Responsible Institutions and Civic Engagement Portfolio Manager, the Governance Specialist will perform the following key functions:
Provision of top-quality policy and technical advisory support to UNDP’s Governance programme, implementing partners and UNDP programme team and high-quality support to management and achievement of performance targets.
  • In reference to the Governance sense-making report, provide quality technical support in the development of an overarching Governance portfolio programme framework for UNDP.
  • Ensures alignment and coordination of Governance Programme with other programme activities of the CO as well as those of UN Agencies and capitalizes on synergies where possible;
  • Leads the development of relevant strategies to ensure the effective programmatic and operational interface and complementarities between recovery and longer term governance interventions of the UN system;
  • Ensures synergies across all programming areas of governance;
  • Oversee the procurement of top-quality expertise in the programme and take part in the assurance of the quality of their deliverables.
  • Guide UNDP and programme partners in monitoring and adjusting to unfolding country events and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.
  • Assist the partners in planning implementation to achieve intended results, including co-leading planning engagements and ensuring relevance, high quality and timeliness of planning processes.
  • Introduce innovative ideas and benchmarks based on international good practices, and actively promote their application in the Governance portfolio.
Provision of effective coordination and information sharing on program activities with relevant stakeholders; Governance liaison with government institutions –as well as UN agencies, CSOs and donors. Ensure effective communication, visibility and effective management of strategic partnerships.
  • Ensure quality UNDP contribution to UNDAF pillar 1 ensuring effective sharing of information and lessons learnt from pillar programs.
  • Provides of top quality policy and strategic advice to Government on development and implementation of reforms in areas of Governance;
  • Ensure the appropriate visibility of governance programme in public media and in high-level channels using innovative technology;
  • Facilitate and ensure the effective communication among all programme partners underpinning greater mutual understanding and the collective achievement of results;
  • Organize knowledge/experience sharing platforms and events in furtherance of programme results.
  • Prepare issues papers, analytical policy memos and strategy papers to inform and enable UNDP’s and government’s agenda setting, prioritization and implementation decisions.
  • Distil, document, package and share programme success stories and good practices;
  • Ensure the timely and high quality programme reporting to partners; escalate any issues that warrant senior management involvement.
  • Strategic engagement with key regional and national stakeholders from government and civil society organizations, development partners and UN agencies to build synergy and collaboration, and to promote wider participation.
  • Strengthen UNDP relations with programme partners and other key stakeholders including UN and national/international organizations, civil society.
Ensure the development and oversight of the UNDP’s Governance programme and effective resource mobilisation.
Leads the development of UNDP’s Governance Programme in collaboration with the main development partners and other UN Agencies;
  • Design and formulation of Governance Programme portfolio, translating UNDP priorities into local interventions;
  • Coordination of programme implementation with the executing agencies and implementing partners;
  • Strategic oversight of planning, budgeting, implementing and monitoring of the Governance Programme, tracking use of financial resources in accordance with UNDP rules and regulations.
  • Effective monitoring, reviews and evaluation to measure the impact of the projects. CO programme and evaluation. Constant monitoring and analysis of the programme environment, timely readjustment of programme. Ensure that results and lessons learned feed into the analytical and project work (i.e. results used to make decisions)
  • Aggregate reports are regularly prepared on activities, outputs and outcomes. Donor reports are prepared and submitted within deadlines;
  • Analysis and research of information on donors, preparation of substantive briefs on possible areas of cooperation, identification of opportunities for cost-sharing;
  • Prepare concept/position papers and project proposals for mobilization of human, technical or financial resources from international development organizations, non-government organizations and the private sector.
Provision of technical advisory services on specific issues, including: Parliament, Gender and others. Contribute to the achievement of the following results:
  • Support the development and roll out of the UNDP support to Parliament project ensuring harmonised implementation of activities in collaboration with other UN agencies supporting Parliament.
  • Provide technical support to the adoption of Governance sense-making portfolio. Liaise closely with the RSG portfolio, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and other UN Agencies to ensure harmonization of development partner support to Parliament.
  • Manage the recruitment of experts, as well as identifying short-term international & local consultants as necessary, and effectively supervise the team.
  • Supervise procurement of goods and services including quality assurance of specifications, Terms of Reference (TORs) and Request for Proposals (RFPs) to accomplish results and in accordance with UNDP procedures.
  • Implementation of global and country office gender strategy as well as the sexual harassment policy ensuring that UNDP supported programmes are gender and disability responsive.
  • Strategic gender and disability responsive policy and analytical papers to inform policy decision-making including national and district development planning and programming.
  • Provide technical guidance on Gender to the programme team  and advise on possible areas for UNDP support and adjustment of on-going programmes to ensure that UNDP programmes are in line with national policies and priorities.


Core Competencies
Innovation (Ability to make new and useful ideas work)
Level 5: Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them
Leadership (Ability to persuade others to follow)
Level 5: Plans and acts transparently, actively works to remove barriers
People Management (Ability to improve performance and satisfaction)
Level 5: Models high professional standards and motivates excellence in others
Communication (Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform)
Level 5: Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others
Delivery (Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement)
Level 5: Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions
Technical/Functional Competencies
Complex Adaptive Systems (Knowledge of complex adaptive systems and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations)
Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise
Partnerships (Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships)
Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise
Project Management (Ability to plan, organize, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals)
Level 5:Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise
Strategic Planning (Ability to make decisions that align with strategy, vision, and mission)
Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise
Data Analysis and Visualization (Ability to evaluate, transform and model data to derive relevant findings- undertake & provide analysis of data to assess Org performance and or global trends)
Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise
Results-based Management (Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results)
Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Public Administration, Economics, Political Sciences, Social Sciences or related field.
  • Min7 years of relevant experience in promoting national level democracy and governance issues (parliament, civil service, public administration, electoral reforms, police and security, judicial reforms, human rights, decentralisation), in providing management advisory services;
  • Experience in working directly with government, development partners on governance and public service delivery (e.g. governance programme support, technical and policy advice, monitoring and evaluation, etc.), with an excellent understanding of developing country context.
  • Demonstrated experience of working effectively with high level government officials, as well as NGOs, UN agencies, traditional authorities;
  • Highly developed organizational and communication skills;
  • Ability to build consensus among a wide range of stakeholders;
  • Experience of leading workshops and being a resource person;
  • Experience working with UN, international organisations will be added advantage;
  • Experience in design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of large development projects; and
  • Proven successful experience in establishing strong relationships among international organization and national governments;
  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages, experience in handling of web based management systems.
  • Excellent knowledge of English, both spoken and written.


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