Programme Specialist (Social and Human Sciences)

Full Time


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences (ADG/SHS) and the direct supervision of the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) based in Harare, Zimbabwe, the incumbent will be responsible for the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of the UNESCO Social and Human Sciences Programme for the countries covered by the Office. S/he will ensure SHS’s contribution to the United Nations Country Team’s (UNCT) programmatic work and Delivering as One exercise in the countries covered by the Office. In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Manage, coordinate, implement and monitor SHS programmes in the countries covered by the office, in line with the UNESCO Programme and Budget document (C/5), the UNESCO Country Programming Documents, the countries’ United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and other common UN strategic country instruments, particularly through capacity building, policy advice, technical assistance, and networking of relevant stakeholders in the SHS Sector’s fields of competence.
  • Provide strategic and operational advice to Governments in close cooperation with the SHS Sector at Headquarters, in SHS thematic areas. Provide input, including data and statistics for the preparation of reports and briefings on the implementation of programmes and projects.
  • Develop strategic partnerships and mobilize extra-budgetary resources to reinforce the Regular Programme. Promote and strengthen partnerships and networking, as well as research and capacity-building, on SHS Sector priority areas namely with African social scientists’ organizations.
  • Increase the relevance and the impact of SHS programs on the ground, including the flagships: Recommendation on Ethics of AI and ethics of neurotechnology’s; Youth programme in general, including the tour grant scheme, and Youth as researchers; MOST: Fit for Life sport initiative; Antiracism and discrimination; gender stereotypes and changing mentalities; Inclusive Policy Lab; Art lab, Intercultural dialogue; antidoping in sports; people with disabilities and humanities.
  • Create synergies between needs on the ground and what UNESCO and SHS can offer.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)

Accountability (C)

Innovation (C)

Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)

Planning and organizing (C)

Results focus (C)

Teamwork (C)

Professionalism (C)

Building partnerships (M)

Driving and managing change (M)

Making quality decisions (M)

Managing performance (M)

Strategic thinking (M)

Leading and empowering others (M)



  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in the field of social and human sciences, political science or a related discipline.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of seven (7) years of progressive relevant professional experience in the areas of social and human sciences at national and international level.
  • Experience in one or more of the following thematic areas: management of social transformations, social inclusion, intercultural dialogue, bioethics and ethics of science and technology, youth and sport.
  • Experience in fund raising and resource mobilization.
  • Experience in conducting research and producing research papers.

Skills and competencies

  • Good knowledge of UNESCO’s work in the field, and familiarity with SHS Sector activities.
  • Good analytical, organizational and project management skills.
  • Proven ability to communicate (in writing and oral), advocate, and negotiate with colleagues, staff and stakeholders at all levels within and outside the organization.
  • Proven ability to provide high-level advice and technical support in public policy, planning and research.
  • Strong sense of responsibility, tact and discretion.
  • Excellent coordination and interpersonal skills, flexibility, drive and enthusiasm.
  • Capacity to build and maintain effective working relations with national/local authorities, relevant institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
  • Ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with internal and external partners.
  • Ability to work in a team in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity to diversity.
  • Solid IT skills including knowledge of office software.
  • Familiarity with the work and general functioning of international organizations and/or the United Nations System.


  • Excellent knowledge (spoken and written) of English.



  • PhD or equivalent in social and human sciences, or related discipline.

Work Experience

  • Demonstrated experience in international cooperation programmes.
  • Demonstrated experience in establishing and maintaining professional networks.
  • Research and analysis in the fields relevant to the post as demonstrated through authored peer-reviewed publications.


  • Good/fair knowledge of French.
  • Knowledge of another official language of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian and/or Spanish).


UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 100 524 USD

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview.

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.