RE-ADVERTISEMENT - Harmful Practices and Social Norms Specialist, Regional Office, Dakar, Senegal, P4

  • Level: P-4
  • Contract Type: Fixed Term Appointment
  • Closing date: 09 Feb 2023 05:00 PM (America/New_York)
  • Duty station: Dakar

The Position:

The Harmful Practices and Social Norms Specialist post is located at the UNFPA West Africa Regional Office (WCARO) and works under the overall direction and leadership of the Regional Director and direct supervision of Gender and Human Rights Adviser, WCARO.

The Harmful Practices and Social Norms Specialist at the regional level provides integrated policy, technical and programme advice on the elimination of harmful practices, particularly FGM and child marriage, to countries in the region. In close collaboration with the Regional thematic Advisers, s/he will play a leadership role in furthering the ICPD Programme of Action focusing on supporting holistic and integrated approaches and interventions at regional and country levels for establishing enabling policy and legal frameworks, galvanising partners including civil society organisations and communities to abandon harmful practices including FGM and child marriage. S/he works in an integrated manner with the technical and programme staff in WCARO, and as part of the team which provides technical and programme support to country offices. 

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 Harmful Practices and Social Norms Specialist provides technical, policy and programmatic support to the region, to ensure the Regional (RO) and Country Offices (CO) remain abreast of UNFPA’s policies and programme strategies, as well as current thinking, innovation and academic advance in the substantive area of harmful practices, particularly FGM and child marriage.

S/he analyses regional/cluster trends, and contributes to strategic action in response to these, and ensures that elimination of FGM, child marriage and other prevalent harmful practices are adequately addressed within regional and national development frameworks and programmes, including the achievement of the SDGs, ICPD Programme of Action and the AU Agenda 2063.

In all activities, s/he works within an interdisciplinary team providing integrated policy, programme and technical support to the region and the respective country teams.  S/he also liaises with other regional units, such as the Programme and Technical Units, ensuring the timeliness, adequacy, relevance and quality of technical support to UNFPA country offices. S/he also collaborates within the broader organisation across other regions and with the Headquarter teams working on harmful practices including FGM and child marriage, human rights, GBV and social norms and gender equality.

Qualifications and Experience: 


  • Advanced university degree or equivalent in gender studies, anthropology, feminist studies, public health, sociology, human rights, law, cultural studies, behaviour change, international development, or other field directly related to elimination of GBV and child marriage.

Knowledge and Experience: 

  • At least 7 years of increasingly responsible professional experience in harmful practices programming, gender mainstreaming, social norms change and rights-based programming of which 5 years at the international level;
  • Knowledge and understanding of a Human Rights based and gender transformative approach essential;
  • Experience in gender mainstreaming and programming for women’s development;
  • Experience in evidence informed policy advocacy for eliminating FGM and child marriage and development of national actions plans to address gender and social equity;
  • Demonstrated experience in leading capacity building initiatives in gender and human rights in development settings;
  • Knowledge and experience of working on social protection and Civil Society involvement in related security and protection fields;
  • Strong track record of technical leadership, and proven ability to produce demonstrable results;
  • Demonstrated ability to network within the academic and development community;
  • Familiarity with UN systems and procedures, management and monitoring tools;
  • Field experience is strongly desirable;


  • Fluency in English is required and French is desirable to enable effective communication with English speaking and French speaking country coordination groups and local organizations (West and Central Africa region).

Compensation and Benefits:

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


UNFPA does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Fraudulent notices, letters or offers may be submitted to the UNFPA fraud hotline

In accordance with the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, persons applying to posts in the international Professional category, who hold permanent resident status in a country other than their country of nationality, may be required to renounce such status upon their appointment.

To view the complete job description and apply to this position, click "Apply Now" below.

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