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Executive Assistant at UNHCR December, 2023

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Executive Assistant

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships
Guidance will be given by the supervisor (often Regional Representative, Director of Bureau/Division). The Executive Assistant liaises with colleagues within the same office, at HQ, and in the field, on matters of non-routine significance in order to prepare documents for the supervisor and manage the flow of information.

Regular contacts with external parties, including UN office, donors and International organizations, are made to provide the supervisor’s contacts with background information on relevant topics prior to meetings, to respond queries on behalf of the supervisor at his/her discretions and to obtain assistance of others on matters of relevant to the office.

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.

– Assist in managing the flow of information to the supervisor, in identifying priority matters that need to be urgently addressed by the supervisor and in proposing actions; analyse supporting documentation and summarize most relevant points for the supervisor; contribute to ensuring that appropriate action is taken by responsible Section Heads on matters brought to the attention of the supervisor.
– Assist in following-up on policies and instructions presented by the supervisor. Keep the supervisor aware of developments in UNHCR’s major world-wide operations and of policy issues related directly to UNHCR or to humanitarian issues under the broader UN system.
– Assist the supervisor in the preparation of statements that represent UNHCR’s overall policies and which highlight specific areas of concern. Propose and draft substantive correspondence for the supervisor.
– Confer with Section Heads to secure timely and authoritative information relevant to matters requiring action, decisions or the signature of the supervisor.
– Ensure that the supervisor is prepared for meetings and missions by drafting talking points, by researching relevant information; and by establishing contacts (within and outside UNHCR) on the subject matters to be discussed.
– Accompany the supervisor to meetings and on missions in order to prepare notes on the discussions, ensure follow-up in matters raised, and support the supervisor with any relevant input.
– Support the supervisor in efforts to raise the profile of UNHCR and the agency’s concerns within the context of the broader United Nations system.
– Contribute to coordinating drafts of position papers and other documents relevant to the activities of the Office.
– Ensure that high-level visitors are appropriately addressed, that they receive background information as necessary, and that protocol is respected.
– Prioritise tasks and organize work independently.
– Select and make pertinent abstracts and search for information.
– Have access to sensitive and confidential information.

– Support the identification and management of risks and seek to seize opportunities impacting objectives in the area of responsibility. Ensure decision making in risk based in the functional area of work. Raise risks, issues and concerns to a supervisor or to relevant functional colleague(s).
– Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications
Education & Professional Work Experience
Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P2/NOB – 3 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 2 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 1 year relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education
International Relations; Law; Political Science;
or other relevant field.
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Certificates and/or Licenses
Not specified.

Relevant Job Experience
3 years of previous work experience relevant to the function. A proven ability to act with discretion and diplomacy is essential for this function.
Good knowledge and experience of UNHCR operations.

Functional Skills
CO-Drafting and Documentation
(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 ideal candidate assists in managing the high flow of information coming to the Office of the Regional Director, identifying priority matters that need to be urgently addressed by the Director and coordinating closely with other Sections/Units in the Bureau and within operations in the region. S/he should review and analyse supporting documents. Prioritizing emails and phone calls. Summarize the most relevant points for the Director’s attention. S/he will ensure that appropriate action is taken by responsible Section/Unit Heads on matters brought to the attention of the Director.

S/he should ensure that the Regional Director is prepared for meetings and missions by drafting talking points, researching relevant information, and establishing contacts (within and outside UNHCR) on the subject matters to be discussed. The candidate will ensure fast and efficient follow-up on notes of meetings, matters raised, and support the Director with any relevant input required. S/he will also be responsible for arranging meetings and business events and preparing reports.

The incumbent should be able to communicate clearly and effectively in English. Ability to communicate in French is highly desirable. S/he should have excellent drafting skills, be very well-organized, and have excellent time management skills and be able to work with minimal guidance. S/he should be a strong team player and have solid service orientation, flexibility, and proactivity to manage situations and challenges.

– Minimum 3 years of previous work experience relevant to the function,
– Proven drafting and editing skills,
– Excellent communication skills,
– A proven ability to act with discretion and diplomacy is essential for this
– Office Package (excellent knowledge of Word, good knowledge of Excel
and PowerPoint), and Internet browsing,
– Good knowledge and experience of UN operations.


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






Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

To view occupational safety and health considerations for this duty station, please visit this link:


Nature of Position:

The UNHCR Regional Bureau for East, Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes (EHAGL) of Africa is based in Nairobi, Kenya. It is a critical hub for collaboration, strategic engagement, and addressing cross-cutting operational challenges. A Regional Director heads the Bureau and has primary accountability for strategic decision-making, regional prioritization, and quality assurance—and enhanced delegated authorities to manage the region effectively. With functional links to the Divisions at HQs, technical experts are integrated within the regional bureau structures/pillars and lines of authority.


These are:

Strategic Planning and management ensure the region’s overall coherence with UNHCR’s global objectives and High Commissioner’s Strategic Directions; set regional bureau-wide priorities, manage and direct all regional resources and assess contextual changes to adjust regional operational priorities; provide support to country operations, including on Human Resources , Supply, Finance and Information and Communications Technology (ICT); ensures financial and procedural oversight.


Protection elaborates and empowers regional approaches to UNHCR’s global protection priorities; monitors and supports the exercise of UNHCR’s core protection mandate at the country level.


External engagement defines and oversees the implementation at country and regional level of strategic communications, resource mobilization, and partnership strategies, including with UN and NGO partners, development institutions, and the full range of stakeholders under the whole of society approach of the Global Compact on Refugees. The partnership approach includes cultivating and supporting partnerships for economic and financial inclusion, livelihoods, and social protection, supported by socio-economic analysis.


Data, Identity Management and Analysis (DIMA) supports regional information, data management, and analysis in alignment with regional objectives and provides expertise in the collection, validation, curation, protection, interpretation and representation of operational data.


The Bureau provides operational support and oversight to 11 country operations: Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Some 4,300 staff are deployed in the Bureau and country offices. The Bureau also supports UNHCR’s Representation to the African Union (AU) and the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Most UN agencies, including WFP and UNICEF, have regional offices in Nairobi.


The region has the largest number of people with and for whom UNHCR works in Africa. This includes over 5 million refugees and asylum seekers, 14 million internally displaced people, as well as approximately 900 000 returnees, stateless persons or persons at risk of statelessness. The majority of people forced to flee their countries are hosted in 7 countries, namely Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania (United Republic of), and Rwanda. Uganda hosts over 1.57 million refugees, the largest refugee population in Africa. Ethiopia has over 4.3 million internally displaced people. Before the current crisis in Sudan, approximately 3.7 million people were internally displaced in Sudan. In the six months since the start of the current crisis, an estimated 4.5 million people were newly uprooted and forced to flee their homes to safer parts of the country. Sudan is one of the largest internal displacement situations in the world and one of the fastest-growing displacement crises. The Regional Bureau Director also serves as the Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Sudan situation thus EHAGL RB supports him with coordination and planning, reporting and resource mobilization for the Sudan situation. In Somalia, around 3.87 million people are internally displaced throughout the country. Mixed movements and human trafficking are significant regional protection challenges.


The region is characterized by pockets of instability and insecurity, recurrent climatic events contributing to resource-driven intercommunal conflict, fragile state institutions and governance systems, and heightened socio-economic vulnerability of forcibly displaced. Political instability and conflict in Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan have sparked new internal displacement, resulting in large internal and external population movements. Despite the challenges, the Bureau seeks to expand opportunities that exist in the humanitarian/development/peace nexus to enhance collaboration and engage strategically with governments, donors and financial institutions for the inclusion of refugee programmes in national systems, while seeking contributions of development actors to sustainable reintegration initiatives in Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. The Bureau engages with partners in the UN, financial institutions (AFDB, IFC, WB) and Regional economic communities (IGAD, EAC, ICGLR) as part of its agenda. The EHAGL region is highly strategic, as it has received over half (51%) of the World Bank’s total global IDA allocations under the special instruments for refugees and host communities covering seven countries. Many of the pledges made at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF) were relevant to the region, with additional commitments expected during the 2024 GRF.


Living and Working Conditions:

Despite the security concerns mentioned below, Nairobi is a good duty station for families. It has good medical facilities. Recreational facilities, schools and hotels are of international standards.
Sufficient housing is available, as well as good banking facilities, unlimited access to communication means, such as internet, telephone etc.
There is no malaria in Nairobi, but cholera, malaria and yellow fever occur in other parts of Kenya.
Security Considerations
Nairobi is in UN security level 6, but politically instigated demonstrations and riots may occur at any time.
General crime in Nairobi is high and like many other large cities. A high sense of vigilance and alertness is required.


Additional Qualifications



CO-Drafting and Documentation


Bachelor of Arts (BA): International Relations, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Political Science





Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Organizational awareness, Planning & organizing, Political awareness, Teamwork & collaboration


Additional Information

Only Shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
Candidates may be required to sit for written test. Oral interviews are mandatory.
Female candidates are encouraged to apply.






This position doesn’t require a functional clearance


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