Shelter Officer, P3, Bamako At UN High Commissioner for Refugees

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.


Technical Guidance

– 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. Collaboration

– 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.

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 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

Essential 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. Desirable 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. Functional Skills SP-Environment Planning IT-Computer Literacy 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) 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 best fit candidate should have:

– Demonstrated substantive Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI) Cluster coordination experience, particularly in the Sahel region with good knowledge of Mali’s humanitarian context and challenges.
– Excellent knowledge and understanding of the humanitarian response planning cycle, including engagement with OCHA, Cluster partners, and relevant government entities involved in the shelter and NFI coordination structure.
– Have undertaken a comprehensive needs assessment for shelter and non-food items and supported response in refugee and internal displacement contexts in a challenging environment with limited humanitarian access.
– Civil engineering/architectural background and technical experience in Shelter/Settlement & Infrastructure construction/rehabilitation is a distinct advantage for this position.
– Knowledge and a strong understanding of the UNHCR operations and partnership management including Results Based Management is a strong added advantage.
– Understanding and experience of UNHCR’s core mandate and protection and solutions work particularly responses to basic needs and essential services response is desirable and an added advantage.
– Ability to coordinate Shelter/NFI Cluster Coordination meetings, document and produce meeting reports as well well-structured technical and evaluation reports.
– Fluency in French and the ability to communicate and write reports in English would also be an asset.

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


Desired languages


Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:


On a 1 to 6 overall security level scale, Bamako is at 4 (substantial) while the central and northern parts of the country are at 5 (high). The capital city is at the same security level as the Southern regions which is higher than those of the Western regions. Notwithstanding Bamako ‘s security level, staff are discouraged from using accommodations that are not recommended by UNDSS or renting apartments in unrecommended suburbs. All accommodations need to be approved, and residential security measures (RSM) implemented.

The capital city ‘s security level 4 rating hides high levels of security threats related to terrorism, civil unrest and criminality. Past incidents and frequent security threats demonstrate that these threats remain a concern. Recent attacks at Kati military barrack (15 km from Bamako) by extremist combatants, reported presence of sleeping cells of terrorist groups in Bamako highlight the intention to harm within Bamako. Furthermore, with a long-lasting socio-political crisis, demonstrations are recurrent in Bamako and other urban locations and are set to take place very often. Up regions, road movements remain the main challenge to the access of POCs due to asymmetric warfare of extremist groups. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and highway banditry are frequent. UN humanitarian agencies enjoy the broad acceptance by communities through their leaders, but criminals and Non-State Actors are beyond the control of the community leadership. Al Qaeda affiliated groups are present in the center of Mali (Mopti and Tombuktu) while the Islamic State in the Great Sahara operates mostly around Gao and Menaka, yet their demarcation lines of influence overlap very often.

The UN staff remain potential targets of crime, armed assaults, and robberies. The crime threats exist both in Bamako and elsewhere in Mali and are becoming more and more violent. Road Traffic accidents also represent a substantial threat with scores of careless ridings of motorcyclists and driving irresponsibility.

To view additional information on health considerations for this duty station, please visit this link:

Nature of Position:

The crisis in Mali is characterized by inter- and intra-community conflicts, military operations, and an increase in human rights violations. The four types of shocks-conflict/security, environmental and climate related emergencies-are the main drivers of displacement that create cyclical needs for shelter and non-food items (NFIs). While the need for shelter and NFIs is growing nationwide, out of the 5,173,970 people affected, the Shelter and NFIs Cluster estimates that there will be approximately 2,879,039 people in need of shelter and NFIs by 2023.

Moreover, UNHCR leads the shelter cluster at the country level and co-leads with the government (DNDS) four regional clusters at Gao, Mopti, Tombouctou and Menaka. The 2023 Humanitarian Overview (HNO) found that in total 8.8 million people in Mali are in need of humanitarian assistance. As a long-standing capacity of the agency, UNHCR funds shelter and NFI projects with its partners. New IDP and refugees’ sites development are currently approached from a community angle in view to better compile data collected, analysis and disseminate information as well as interventions in Shelter/NFIs sector.

Considering this operational context, the Shelter Officer will:

  • Support the Shelter Cluster coordinator for the development of shelter/NFI 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 technical information on the SIP (settlement information portal), and ensure shelter dashboards are populated with relevant data, prepare mission reports and debrief
  • Coordinate with programme unit and partners to assess, analysis and map available information on shelter and NFI options across the country in order to emphasize the importance of reviewing technical components of the Project Partnership Agreements that contain any construction and infrastructure projects and activate the Multi-Functional Team in the operation for more efficiency.

Living and Working Conditions:

The position is based in Bamako, a D duty station with good accommodation, public facilities/services and availability of amenities. International staff in Bamako are entitled to R&R every 8 weeks, with Dakar as designated R&R location.
There are several supermarkets that have a good selection of local and imported products. Power cuts are frequent, making a generator necessary. UN Clinic and hospitals are available in the country.

Hot and dry weather conditions during most of the year, with a rainy season between May and September. Road traffic accidents remain a pertinent risk to staff and roads are congested. Vehicle travel is difficult at certain times of the day due to traffic volume and accidents.

Additional Qualifications



BA: Architecture (Required), BA: Civil Engineering (Required)


Shelter Coordination Training – UNHCR

Work Experience


Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Judgement & decision making, Organizational awareness, Stakeholder management, Teamwork & collaboration, Technological awareness

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Add.2 to Bi-annual Compendium 2022 – Part B

Functional clearance

This position requires Functional Clearance

How to apply

For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit

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)

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