Senior Social Development Specialist, Safeguard Policies, Accra, Ghana At The World Bank


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Ghana sits on the Atlantic Ocean and borders Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. Its population is of about 31.1 million (2021). Ghana has achieved substantial economic and social progress over the past three decades. It is a lower middle-income country with an annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of US$2,063 (2020), and one of the most peaceful countries in the region. Over the past decade, annual economic growth has averaged 5.6 percent and resulted in substantial poverty reduction, as the proportion of the population living on less than US$1.90 per day declined from 23.4 percent in 2005 to 10.5 percent in 2020 bringing Ghana to the forefront of poverty reduction in Africa. Human development indicators, including primary and secondary school enrolment, average life expectancy, stunting, and under-5 years old mortality, have also improved over the past three decades. Political stability, capital accumulation and rising productivity, a large expansion in education and agricultural production, and rapid urbanization, all contributed to the achievement of this remarkable progress. The FY22-26 Country Partnership Framework (CPF) was approved by the World Bank Group Board on February 22, 2022. It is anchored in the government’s ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ vision, its Coordinated Program of Social and Economic Development Program (CPSEDP), and the Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprise Support Program (CARES). Consistent with the World Bank Group COVID-19 Response Framework, the CPF seeks to support the Government in managing the COVID-19 crisis’s impact through preserving critical human capital and capabilities while taking the opportunity to build back better for a dynamic and diversified economy, creating job opportunities for a greener, more resilient, and inclusive society. The proposed focus areas are: (i) improving equitable access to services for improved human capital development; (ii) enhancing conditions for diversified growth and quality jobs; and (iii) promoting resilient development. For more information please see the link below:

Sustainable Development Practice Group

The Sustainable Development Practice Group helps countries tackle their most complex challenges in the areas of Agriculture and Food; Climate Change; Environmental and Social Framework (ESF); Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy; Social Sustainability and Inclusion; Urban, Resilience, and Land Development; and Water.

Social Sustainability and Inclusion Development Context

The Social Sustainability and Inclusion (SSI) GP helps countries tackle deep rooted social problems stemming from fragility, climate change, exclusion, and the digital age with people centered solutions that build on local values and institutions. The Global Practice engages with citizens, communities and governments to deepen resilience, build inclusion, and empower vulnerable and marginalized groups to have influence and voice. The SSI GP prioritizes participatory, multi-sectoral approaches that build on norms and informal institutions to address social challenges and to build more inclusive, empowered communities. It also works across the Bank’s portfolio to implement the ESF standards and strengthen inclusive development ( Cross-GP collaboration is critical for the ESF and also the direct operational work of the staff. In particular, the GP focuses on three opportunity sets:

  •  Social Resilience: Deepening opportunities for people to thrive by building cohesive and resilient communities able to withstand divisions caused by inequality, violence, climate change, and other risks to their livelihoods.
  •  Inclusion for All: Expanding opportunities for people who have been excluded from participating fully in markets, services and society, because of their ethnicity, gender, disability, income, or religious or sexual orientation.
  •  Empowerment: Creating opportunities for people to lead their communities, engage more fully in government, and shape their own futures.

Three overarching priorities of the Global Practice are to strengthen: (1) the analytics that underpin our country dialogue, operations, social risk management across the Bank’s portfolio, and engagements on the global agenda exploiting traditional and new sources of data and analytical tools, including digital tools; (2) the synergies between operational interventions (ASAs and financing) and the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) to help deliver on the promise of the ESF to bring a development focus to social risk management of the Bank’s portfolio; and (3) the Community Driven Development operational instrument to more consistently focus on social dimensions of climate change, digital applications for community learning, empowerment and livelihoods, and norms and behavior change.


The Senior Social Development Specialist will be based in Accra, Ghana and will support the Ghana portfolio’s work on social risk management including managing issues related to the old Bank safeguards policies and the new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF). In addition, the specialist may provide support to some projects in other CMU countries, such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. The specialist will also provide technical support on broad social development themes including gender, social accountability and youth centered activities. The specialist will report to the SAWS1 SSI Practice Manager and in close collaboration with the Regional Safeguards Coordinator and the CMU Social Risk Management Coordinator based in Ghana.

Duties and Accountabilities

The Senior Social Development Specialist will have the following responsibilities: Social Safeguards Risk Management

  •  Provide high quality technical social risk management support to task teams, Borrowers and clients regarding the identification, preparation and implementation of social risk management measures, ESF compliance and other efforts to enhance the social sustainability of projects in close coordination with the Regional Safeguards Coordinator (RSC) and CMU coordinator. This support may include providing guidance in the preparation of Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs), resettlement action plan (RAP), social impacts assessments (SIAs) and corresponding social management plans (SMPs), Resettlement Frameworks (RFs) Environmental and Social Commitment Plan, Stakeholders Engagement Plan (SEP), and Labor Management Procedures (LMP), indigenous Peoples Plan (IPP), Security Management Plan, etc.
  •  Proactively carry out dialogue regarding the implementation of the ESF and other areas of SSI work program (i.e., social sustainability and inclusion, voice, and accountability) with policy makers and government officials, international development partners, civil society, and other stakeholders and advise counterparts on technical options for social and inclusive development including institutional development strategies.
  •  Build capacity with clients on issues related to safeguards/ESF and broader SSI issues, including clients’ monitoring and evaluation of social development activities and outcomes and high-quality training and other learning events related to social assessments, social safeguards, and broader social development issues.
  •  Manage challenging cases of social risk management including responding to complaints and support overall compliance with the World Bank ESF.
  •  Provide guidance for management regarding project related complaints and work to resolve them directly with the task team, RSC, Regional Safeguards Advisor, Grievance Redress Service (GRS), Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) and the PM.
  •  Develop sustainable local and national consultation mechanisms and strategies.
  •  Identify ways to improve overall quality, consistency and due diligence as it pertains to social development and the ESF across the portfolio and liaise with other social development specialists and other Global Practices, to develop and promote the use of consistent approaches to social assessment and risk management.
  •  Participate in portfolio reviews on selected social risk and social sustainability and inclusion issues.
  •  Provide technical cross-support as required to other teams across the CMU portfolio for social risk management and to share knowledge and experience.
  •  Work closely with environment colleagues to enhance the capacity of the client to implement the Bank’s ESF.

Broader Social Development Work:

  •  Support work on the mainstream social development agenda, including providing analytic inputs to operational activities, with an emphasis on social sustainability, inclusion and cohesion, youth, and migration.
  •  Support work to develop new areas of focus and business around social sustainability and inclusion issues that emerge in the context of growth and transition (gender, youth, employment, migration, etc.).
  •  Contribute to the development of learning products/activities such as Technical Assistance, internal BBLs, guidance notes, peer learning events.
  •  Initiate and lead innovative studies, formal and informal analytical advisory activities, and research work regarding key social development issues, notably related to social inclusion, local governance and service delivery, gender mainstreaming and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment (SEA/SH), land property valuation and tenure rights, labor issues such as child and forced labor, people living with disabilities or other areas of social risk management.
  •  Actively participate in and contribute to Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA), Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCDs), Country Partnership Frameworks (CPFs), Development Policy Operations (DPOs) and other corporate products as relevant on the full range of SSI topics and advise on the social sustainability of the portfolio, including gender, beneficiary feedback and safeguards issues, etc.


  •  Identify potential partnerships as well as new opportunities for engagement around social development aimed at advancing social development in general and social risk management in Ghana
  •  Participate as an active member of the Country Office and Country Team as well as the CMU Coordinator team. eGcRz5K BIpnb
  •  Work independently under general direction of the PM, RSC and provide guidance and technical support for junior staff, in close collaboration with SSI staff in Ghana
  •  Travel regularly to field sites as needed. Sites may be in remote areas with very limited facilities.

Selection Criteria

  •  Advanced university degree (Masters or PhD) in relevant social science (e.g., Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, and Political Science) or related fields.
  •  At least 8 years of knowledge and professional experience in addressing issues covered by the World Bank’s ESF and social safeguards policies or similar policies in other international finance institutions in complex and challenging settings.
  •  Experience with the preparation, implementation and monitoring of Stakeholder Engagement Plans (SEPs) as well as other safeguard instruments such as the Labor Management Procedures (LMP), SEA/SH Action Plan and Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM).
  •  Experience with social assessments and analyzing social risks and impacts on different population groups; involuntary resettlement in different socio-economic contexts and tenure systems; coordination of transparent consultative and stakeholder engagement processes; grievance redress mechanisms, integration of relevant planning instruments such as Resettlement Action Plans in overall project planning and implementation; labor and working conditions community health and safety; and cultural heritage.
  •  Experience in social sustainability and risk management policy development, including dialogue with governments, collaboration in these areas with other international development agencies, corporate reviews and policy development and improvement efforts.
  •  Experience leading complex cross-cutting analytical work related to social sustainability and inclusion.
  •  Ability to present complex social development and ESF/safeguards issues to task teams and Bank audiences, and to engage effectively with government counterparts, the private sector, project beneficiaries and civil society.
  •  Excellent interpersonal, problem-solving, communication and team skills, and ability to think innovatively and strategically to find balanced solutions to complex development problems, with a strong client focus.
  •  Acting with integrity at all times to build trust and to create an enabling work environment, whether as team leader or team member.
  •  High level of energy, initiative, and self-motivation; willingness to travel and work under challenging circumstances.
  •  Ability to work across practices, work in cross-thematic teams, foster teamwork, and mentor junior staff.
  •  Excellent oral and writing skills in English.


In addition, the successful candidate is expected to exhibit the following core competencies:

  •  Social Safeguards/ESF: Experience in successfully applying social safeguard and/or ESF policies to both high and low risk projects, with minimal supervision, covering issues of involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, labor, community health and safety, stakeholder engagement, etc.
  •  Social Development Implications on Policy, Institutions, and Operations: Familiarity with the implications of social development on policy, institutions, and operations.
  •  Analytical Tools for Social Sustainability: Solid experience conducting social development analyses, producing meaningful results, and applying the tools in operations.
  •  Participation and Consultation: Solid experience conducting social development consultative and participatory approaches and applying the approaches in operations.
  •  Policy Dialogue Skills: Identifies and assesses policy issues and plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders.
  •  Deliver Results for Clients: Proactively addresses client’s stated and unstated needs.
  •  Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries: Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective, and willingly received diverse perspectives.
  •  Create, Apply and Share Knowledge: Applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
  •  Make Smart Decisions: Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.

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April 2024