Capacity Building Specialist (Governance & Technical Specialist) – Retainer, Freetown, Sierra Leone At United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Closing date: Monday, 15 May 2023

Background Information – Job-specific

Multi-Country Office Context:

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations. With over 6,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, where they need it. By implementing around 1,000 projects for our partners at any given time, UNOPS makes significant contributions to results on the ground, often in the most challenging environments.

UNOPS Ghana Multi-country Office (GHMCO) located in Accra covers five West African countries namely Ghana, The Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The GHMCO is also responsible for managing strategic and operational risks associated with a subset of the regional portfolio of engagements, developing and delivering cost effective services contributing to partners’ sustainable results and achievements of UNOPS management results.

Project Information:

Sierra Leone has one of the lowest rates of electricity access in the world; the country has a national electrification rate of 26 percent, although this figure declines to 6 percent in rural areas where the majority of the population lives. There are a number of barriers to expanding grid-based electricity access and improving service quality, including a weak and limited transmission and distribution system; non-technical deficiencies with the utility, which result in high technical and commercial losses; insufficient generation capacity; seasonal variability in hydropower production; and institutional and regulatory constraints.

Furthermore, a large portion of small towns and rural communities of the country are not likely to be connected to the main grid for at least ten years. Hence the reason why the Government of Sierra Leone is increasing its effort on access to electricity in Sierra Leone . UNOPS through the Ministry of Energy (MoE) signed an agreement with the World Bank to implement a $12.7m project with the aim to increase rural electricity access through mini-grids and standalone home systems in Sierra Leone. The mini-grid option provides a cost- effective solution for small towns, large communities and settlements.


The objective of this project is to increase energy access in Sierra Leone by electrification through mini-grids targeting communities with productive use potential, and stand alone solar systems aimed at electrifying schools and hospitals across the country.

Expected Benefits

A total of 2.8 MW of solar power system capacity is expected to be installed and it is expected to benefit about 3,000 households and 350 industrial and commercial businesses, 200 health facilities and 500 schools which are not going to be electrified through grid extension in the next five years. Libraries of about 50 selected schools will be provided with solar lanterns.

Project Outputs and Activities

The project will facilitate the implementation of renewable energy through power generation and distribution. Key objectives with activities of the project will include: Objective 1 (Component 2a): installation of mini grids with storage capacity

  •  Activity 1.1 Moyamba Power Generation Assets – A detailed technical and financial analysis has been carried out to determine the sizes of the solar PV (Photovoltaic) capacity and battery storage capacity needed. The proposed size for the Moyamba power generation assets is 850 kw solar Mini-grid with 1,800 kwh battery backup.
  •  Activity 1.2 Other Community Mini-grids -This subcomponent will include the installation of generation capacity and distribution networks in 9 communities.

Objective 2 (Component 2b): Installation of solar PV systems for the health facilities and schools

  •  Activity 2.1 Health Facilities – Activities will aim to install solar PV systems for approximately 200 health facilities which are not going to be electrified through grid extension in the next five years.
  •  Activity 2.2 Schools – Activities under the sub-component will aim to install solar PV systems for about 500 schools which are not going to be electrified through grid extension in the next five years.

Objective 3 (Component 2c) Provision of TA for market assessment, capacity building, result monitoring and evaluation (M&E)

  •  Activity 3.1 Market Assessment – The project will conduct a market assessment and affordability analyses of productive uses in rural Sierra Leone
  •  Activity 3.2 Results Monitoring – A market assessment and affordability analyses of productive uses in rural Sierra Leone will be conducted. Lessons learned will be documented and shared with key stakeholders. MoE’s existing M&E system will be further strengthened, to track and monitor progress against the targets
  •  Activity 3.3 Awareness Raising – Communities will be engaged to sensitize them on upcoming projects, the need to pay for electricity supplies, tariff structures, complaint mechanisms, safeguarding issues; and raise their awareness and understanding of energy access

Activity 3.4 Capacity Building – Capacity building activities will be implemented to strengthen business management skills among rural and urban business communities, including women-led businesses; and the private sector.Purpose and Scope of Assignment

The Capacity Building Specialist (Governance & Technical Specialist) is expected to work closely with the various work-package team leaders, Project Management Unit (PMU) to support the delivery of the project and provide overall technical backstopping and advice or key components of the project st. One of the main responsibilities of the is to maintain regular engagement with the relevant stakeholders (including Ministry of Energy, Electricity Water and Regulatory Commission, Private Public Partnership Unit, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Local Government, World Bank, Private Sector Mini-grid operator and developers, third Party consultants/service providers and local level community groups) as well as the various units in the project team.Functional Responsibilities

The project relies on a number of external stakeholders for its successful delivery, monitoring dynamic timelines through multiple work packages. The Capacity Building Specialist (Governance & Technical Specialist) is responsible for supporting the Project Manager in coordinating the deliverables from WP 3: Technical Assistance and governance and ensuring the quality of the through all aspects of its life cycle.

S/he must be able to apply, with a great degree of autonomy, the below duties and responsibilities of the project success criteria: Stakeholder Management:

  •  Establish solid working relationship with the client and key stakeholders;
  •  Support the effective and timely coordination of communications and ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress as it relates to WP 3;
  •  Advise the Project Manager on issues that may impact the achievement of WP 3 objectives and project outcomes;
  •  Support the monitoring of outputs of sub-contractors to ensure effective execution of their workflow

Delivery and Performance:

  •  Provide guidance to the Capacity Building Specialist (Governance & Technical Specialist) to coordinating the delivery and maintenance of Work Package plan;
  •  Direct the needs and performance assessments ensuring WP3 objectives and deliverables are well documented;
  •  Monitor delivery of milestones to ensure adherence to project timelines;
  •  Monitor milestones against internal delivery forecast to support proper budget delivery
  •  Support the coordination and implementation of approved Work Package plans (including the establishment of milestones) within tolerances set by the project;
  •  Liaise with any external suppliers or account managers as required;
  •  Alert Project Manager (as required) of any deviations from the planned work plan or delivery forecast
  •  Support management of risk/issues register for the Work Package
  •  Support the Monitoring and evaluation related to work package


  •  Follow the Project Management Cycle Instructions and ensure that all organizational policy is complied with (Organizational Directives and Administrative Instructions);
  •  Contribute to the monitoring and adaptation of work plans for effective delivery tracking and UNOPS reporting
  •  In support of Project Manager, provide inputs on WP 3 progress towards the overall project objectives into the following reports:
  •  Highlight Reports
  •  End Stage Reports
  •  Operational Closure Checklist
  •  End Project Report
  •  Handover Report
  •  Actively contribute to the maintenance of the following:

i. Project Document Archive;

ii. Procurement, HR and Finance files as required;

  •  Coordinate with the Project Manager to support the Project Manager, Deputy Project Manager and PSO to ensure that all expenditure comply with UNOPS Financial Rules and Regulations (FRR);
  •  Support the Project Manager in managing budgets, cash flow and obligations related to the Work Package to ensure that deliverables are met and payments to contractors and personnel are received on time;

Knowledge Management:

  •  Participate in the relevant Communities of Practice
  •  Knowledge of industry best practices
  •  Support the Project Manager in documenting and maintaining lessons learnt from the delivery of the Work Package for the purposes of knowledge sharing and continuous improvement in the delivery of similar activities
  •  Strong analytical skills

Personnel Management:

  •  Establish a thorough understanding of UNOPS personnel contract modalities (including ICA and Staff);
  •  Support the selection, recruitment and training of the team as required by project plans

Monitoring and Progress Controls

  •  Effective project governance
  •  Timeliness and accuracy of reporting on Work package 3 performance
  •  Accuracy of project planning and delivery (according to plans)
  •  Identification and implementation of continuous process improvement.


  •  Provide support to ensure that the project produces the required products within the specified tolerance of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits.

Core Values and Principles:

  •  Understand and respect UNOPS sustainability principles:
  •  Look for ways to embed UNOPS sustainability principles in day to day project management
  •  Seek opportunities to champion gender equality at workplace
  •  Champion and communicate project’s sustainability aspects with key stakeholders
  •  Understand and Respect National ownership and capacity:
  •  Understand the principles of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and mainstream them into the project plans
  •  Seek opportunities to support recruitment of qualified local staff
  •  Look for ways to build capacity of local counterparts
  •  Partnerships and Coordination Understand the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and UNOPS, the project’s place in the UN system:
  •  Strive to build strong partnerships and effective coordination among relevant project actors (e.g. United Nations, governments, and non-governmental organizations or other relevant partners)
  •  Accountability for results and the use of resources:
  •  The project management processes are designed to deliver maximum accountability, transparency and results. If a project or processes is not in line with this, it is the responsibility of the TL to raise the issue with a supervisor
  •  Excellence:
  •  Contribute to innovation and the adaptation of best practice standards of sustainability and quality.

Additional Requirements:

  •  Advise Facilitate engagement of stakeholders in the technical assistance and capacity building plans
  •  Maintain engagement with local level stakeholders and facilitate collaboration with the project team
  •  Close collaboration with procurement team to ensure timely and effective contract management
  •  Assigned the role of focal point for community engagement
  •  Champions the implementation of the project according to PMM, proactively seeks out knowledge and good practices and shares them across the SL Country Office. Supports capacity building within the team

Education/Experience/Language requirements

A. Education

  •  Master’s Degree in Project Management, Development Studies, Energy studies or other relevant disciplines is required.
  •  A University Degree (Bachelor’s Degree level) in Project Management, Development Studies, Energy studies or other relevant disciplines with a combination of an additional 2 years of relevant professional experience in the implementation of development projects in a project management support related role may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University degree.

B. Work Experience

  •  A minimum of five (5) years of relevant experience in the implementation of development projects in a project management support related role is required;
  •  Experience working with Government institutions in the delivery of activities is highly desirable;.
  •  Experience interfacing with service providers and/or contract management is desirable;
  •  Strong experience with qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis is desirable;
  •  Experience in the use of google software packages (Google Doc, Sheets and Slides) and experience in handling web-based management systems is an added advantage.
  •  Knowledge of the UN system and familiarity with UNOPS procedures is an advantage;

Language Requirements:

Fluency in written, reading and spoken English is required


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above

Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.

Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).

Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.

Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.

Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.

Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Contract type, level and duration

  •  Contract type: International Individual Contract Agreement (I-ICA)
  •  Contract level: IICA 2/ ICS 10
  •  Contract duration: Ongoing ICA – ‘Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance’.

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: information on retainer contracts:

  •  A retainer ICA does not accord any exclusivity to the Individual Contractor with respect to the Services listed in the job description. UNOPS shall have no limitation on its right to obtain Services of the same kind from any other source at any time.
  •  A retainer Individual Contractor Agreement (ICA) is issued for a period of time during which the services of the individual contractor may be required intermittently.
  •  A retainer ICA will specify a unit price (e.g. amount per day actually worked). For budgetary purposes, a monetary limit will be specified at the time the ICA is awarded and issued.
  •  UNOPS shall have no obligation to obtain any minimum quantity of Services from the Individual Contractor during the duration of the retainer ICA.
  •  Payment will be made only after completion of work (if any) or reaching agreed milestones.

Additional Information

  •  Please note that UNOPS does not accept unsolicited resumes.
  •  Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  •  Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process, which involves various assessments.
  •  UNOPS embraces diversity and is committed to equal employment opportunity. Our workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. UNOPS seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce.
  •  Qualified women and candidates from groups which are underrepresented in the UNOPS workforce are encouraged to apply. These include in particular candidates from racialized and/or indigenous groups, members of minority gender identities and sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
  •  We would like to ensure all candidates perform at their best during the assessment process. If you are shortlisted and require additional assistance to complete any assessment, including reasonable accommodation, please inform our human resources team when you receive an invitation.

Terms and Conditions

  •  For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post.
  •  For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (they take around 4 hours to complete) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS. For more information on a retainer contract here.
  •  All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter and UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
  •  It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential personnel. Recruitment in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.


June 2024