Programme Specialist – Sexual and Reproductive Health

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The Position:

Under the overall supervision of the Deputy Representative and direct supervision of SRHR Team Leader, the Programme Specialist is part of the Country Office’s senior staff and plays a leadership role in coordinating and managing sexual and reproductive health thematic interventions of the UNFPA supported programme and related projects.  S/He is responsible for providing strategic policy and programme advice as well as and overseeing project formulation, implementation and evaluation. The candidate is also responsible advocating for policy change relating to UNFPA’s mandate in the country.

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 strategic plan (2022-2025), reaffirms the relevance of the current strategic direction of UNFPA and focuses on three transformative results: to end preventable maternal deaths; end unmet need for family planning; and end gender-based violence and harmful practices. These results capture our strategic commitments on accelerating progress towards realizing the ICPD and SDGs in the Decade of Action leading up to 2030. Our strategic plan calls upon UN Member States, organizations and individuals to “build forward better”, while addressing the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on women’s and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, recover lost gains and realize our goals.

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 programme results.

Job Purpose:

The Programme Specialist analyses trends in sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as the social and policy related environment in-country.  S/He is responsible for reports, updates and information on progress, and achievements of these components of the UNFPA supported programme and associated projects, in line with the principles of results based management.  S/He ensures coherence with agreed national and international planning frameworks, including the UNFPA Strategic Plan, Country UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), National Development Plan, and related sectoral strategies.  The Programme Specialist will oversee the work of Programme Analysts and/or Programme Associates as well as consultants, advisors, and experts.  S/He and establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with counterparts in government, multi-lateral and bilateral donor agencies and civil society to address emerging issues. S/he must effectively influence counterparts from diverse backgrounds to contribute to achieving UNFPA’s mandate.

You would be responsible for:

A. General programming

  • In collaboration with Government counterparts, NGOs and other partners provide substantive leadership to the formulation and design of the country programme and its AWPs in line with Government priorities and according to UNFPA programme policies and procedures. Ensure quality of programme/project design incorporating lessons learned, newly developed policies and best practices and establishing appropriate execution and monitoring mechanisms and systems.
  • Manage the development, implementation and monitoring of the UNFPA supported sexual and reproductive health programme, in particular:
    • Assesses priority technical requirements of the programme.
    • Provide technical and managerial support to the Government and NGO partners in the implementation of the programme.
    • Organise and participate in periodic technical reviews as well as programme evaluation exercises.
  • Advise and report on achievement of programme and project results, proactively measuring substantive progress and the effective utilization of financial and human project resources using appropriate monitoring and measuring mechanisms and tools. Leads programme and project implementation guiding and orienting executing agencies and project personnel introducing effective modalities and practices of implementation.
  • Analyse and report on programme and project progress in terms of achieving results, using existing monitoring and evaluation tools and introducing new mechanisms and systems; identifies constraints and resource deficiencies and recommends corrective action. Monitor project expenditures and disbursements to ensure delivery is in line with approved project budgets and to realize targeted delivery levels.
  • Oversee project implementation establishing collaborative relationships with executing agencies, experts, government counterparts and other UN agencies facilitating timely and efficient delivery of project inputs and addressing training needs of project personnel.
  • Ensure the creation and documentation of knowledge about current and emerging sexual and reproductive health trends and issues, by the programme team through the analysis of programme, projects, strategies, approaches and ongoing experience for lessons learned, best practices, and uses this knowledge for information sharing and planning future strategies.
  • Advise and report on interdependencies/interlinkages between UNFPA programme components (i.e. population and development, SRH, ASRH, and gender).
  • In consultation with SRHR Team Leader contribute to the implementation of Umoyo Wathu (UW) programme on Health System Strengthening.

B. Technical expertise/management:

  • Review the political, social and economic environment relevant to population and development, reproductive health and gender, and pursue opportunities for UNFPA assistance and intervention. Assess implications of new policy developments and strategies on programme execution and ensures appropriate implementation.
  • Analyse and interpret the political, social and economic environment relevant to sexual and reproductive health and identify opportunities for UNFPA assistance and intervention. Keep abreast of new policy developments and strategies by analysing policy papers, strategy documents, national plans and development frameworks and prepares briefs and inputs for policy dialogue, technical assistance coordination and development frameworks.
  • Participate in relevant national and sub-national fora, enhancing UNFPA mandate on sexual and reproductive health and rights and work to ensure that technical issues are incorporated in national development plans and frameworks.
  • Address policy issues and provides substantive inputs to facilitate policy dialogue and the central positioning of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues within policies, national plans and strategies, UN system initiatives, and development frameworks in national and development partners’ coordination mechanisms in line with the new aid environment.
  • Ensure increased availability and use of technical information to improve data collection, analysis, and use; with special attention to recent developments in analysis of data from censuses, surveys, statistics, etc.
  • Create substantive knowledge of sexual and reproductive health issues in the country, assesses technical assistance needs in these areas and advises on the suitability of programmes and related interventions to meet these needs.
  • Participate actively in appropriate UN coordination mechanisms (e.g. Joint UN Teams) and support and contribute to all joint programmes/activities among the UN agencies.

C. Policy support

  • Keep abreast of new policy developments and strategies by analysing policy papers, strategy documents, national plans and development frameworks and prepares briefs and inputs for policy dialogue, technical assistance coordination and development frameworks.
  • Address policy issues and provide substantive inputs to facilitate policy dialogue and central positioning of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues within policies, national plans and strategies, UN systems initiatives and development frameworks (i.e. CCA, UNSDCF, UN Reform, PSRPs, SWAPs, CAPs, SDGs) in national and development partners’ mechanisms in line with the new aid environment.
  • Initiate policy dialogue, develop policy briefs and position papers on relevant issues and support other programme team members in their policy dialogue, and at the country level with key partners.
  • Strength national capacity for implementation of the ICPD agenda in Malawi, particularly focusing on institutional capacities, support for national policies and strategies, and community partnerships and networking.

D. Advocacy and resource mobilization

  • Contribute to advocacy and resource mobilization efforts of Country Office by preparing relevant documentation (i.e. project summaries, conference papers, speeches, donor profiles, and participating in donor meetings and public information events).
  • Develop factsheets, briefing materials, info graphics, and presentations for public information, advocacy and resource mobilization purposes.
  • Prepare project proposals and share information about UNFPA tools for co-financing and funding.
  • Build strong technical and programme multi-sectoral partnerships for advocacy for ICPD agenda through national institutions, networks, alliances and coalitions.  Monitor and keep updates on existing and potential partnerships. Follow through and ensure that recommendations and action points agreed to are addressed.

E. Funds management

  • Prepare and manage relevant budgets.
  • Monitor expenditures to ensure delivery is in line with approved budgets and to realize targeted delivery levels.
  • Ensure the timely and accurate reporting of financial information.
  • Raise requisitions for relevant travels and procurement under the e-procurement module in Atlas.
  • Manage assets that have been procured by the UNFPA and supplied to the implementing partners; ensuring that they are put to proper use (Form C).
  • Carry out any other duties as may be required by UNFPA leadership.

Qualifications and Experience: 


Master’s Degree in political sciences, social policy, public health, social mobilization, business administration, international relations or other related fields.

Knowledge and Experience: 

  • Minimum of five years of programme experience, advocacy work and capacity development.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, negotiation, and managerial skills required. Self-starter, proactive, passion for the issues.
  • Proven ability to develop and implement effective resource mobilization strategies and campaigns.
  • Excellent written and oral communications and editing skills in French and, ideally, English;
  • A thorough understanding of the UN system.


Fluency and a good working knowledge in English is required  (written and oral).

Required Competencies: 


  • Exemplifying integrity,
  • Demonstrating commitment to UNFPA and the UN system,
  • Embracing cultural diversity,
  • 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 focus
  • Engaging internal/ external partners and stakeholders
  • Leading, developing and empowering people/ creating a culture of performance
  • Making decisions and exercising judgment

Compensation and Benefits:

This position offers an attractive remuneration package including a competitive net salary plus health insurance and other benefits as applicable.

Apply Now

Posting Date
13/05/2024, 09:49
Apply Before
30/05/2024, 09:49

To apply for this job please visit