Innovation for Development Specialist (SC10), Somalia, Qaran Jobs

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Job Description
Innovation for Development Specialist (SC10)
Job ID
Vacancy End Date
(Midnight New York, USA)
Time Left
12d 17h 19m
Mogadiscio, Somalia
Education & Work Experience
G-Bachelor’s Level Degree – 7 year(s) experience, I-Master’s Level Degree – 5 year(s) experience
English, Somali
Vacancy Type
Service Contract (SC)
Posting Type
Arab States
Contract Duration
One year
Open to Somali National only

The National Development Plan set the bar high – aiming to realize an ambitious set of development objectives in a three-year period. Major problems continue to bedevil the economic and development front. For example, high youth unemployment, weak development of business in the agriculture sectors (fisheries, farming, livestock), unsustainable forest and water management, very large numbers of IDPs coming to the urban centers, and limited public service provision.

The traditional ways of working will not be sufficient to realize the NDP objectives nor to achieve the Agenda 2030 principle of “leaving no one behind.” Innovative approaches are needed to turn these challenges into serious social and economic ventures that can make a positive impact that ripples across the country, including for those most marginalized and at risk, like low-income women, youth, and IDPs.

UNDP Somalia in collaboration with the Federal Government of Somalia Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development and the Ministry of Trade and Industry launched the “Innovate for Somalia” project in July 2017 and successfully organized the first ever Social Innovation Camp in Somalia in September 2017.

This present project builds upon the PIP – 2017. While further strengthening the initial approach, the project seeks to tap into the potential of all sectors of Somali society to innovate and design solutions that will help address the development challenges the country is facing.

Within this context, social innovation is a potential force for widespread engagement and collaborative solution-seeking and can be leveraged to address four key issues:

  • Limited window of opportunity. The window of opportunity in Somalia, as in any fragile setting, is limited. After the protracted conflict, citizens have very high expectations of the new government, which is to replace the previous unorganized and often predatory governance arrangements. Citizens expect the government system to provide – or to ensure – that non-state
  • actors provide services and opportunities that have a direct impact on their quality of life in a manner that is commensurate with their expectations concerning service delivery.
  • Collaboration between state and non-state actors required. The government system is still very young, still in the process of establishing itself fully and is faced with a very low level of revenue (estimated to be some 4 to 5% of GDP). Even while the financial position of the government is improving, it will take several years before the government will generate sufficient revenue to engage in large enough investment and service delivery to satisfy the expectations of the citizens. Hence, collaboration and engagement with non-state actors is essential.
  • Unlock the most efficient and effective approaches. Even if the Government would have sufficient revenue to invest, this still might not be the most efficient and effective manner to stimulate private sector development, create employment and provide services to improve the living conditions. Non-state actors might be better placed and more effective in identifying the actual needs and the opportunities and existing resources.  Collaborative approaches, based on solid understanding of roles and responsibilities and commensurate with implementation capacities of the involved agencies, in the context of Somalia, are likely to prove to be a constructive avenue ahead.
  • The usual versus the unusual suspects. Most development initiatives evolve within a limited network of professionals (the ‘usual suspects’) who know each other and who regularly meet in coordination settings. Innovative approaches have the capacity to reach out to potential actors that do not circulate in these networks (the ‘unusual suspects’), and – importantly – can engage ordinary citizens directly into the problem or opportunity identification and subsequent solution design, building a much more inclusive, transparent and open development arena.
  • The “Innovate for Somalia” (I4S) project builds on a three-months Project Initiation Plan (PIP) titled “Development of Innovation Programme Design” and ended in December 2017, whereby the social innovation “ecosystem” was surveyed; partners identified and partnerships formed; and social innovation activities were tested and tried.  The experience demonstrated the interest in, and demand for, social innovation among a variety of sectors (public, private, civil society, academia) and an environment that welcomes the implementation of innovative approaches to tackle the development challenges in Somalia.  It also demonstrated the immediate benefits, as well as potential impact, that taking an innovative approach to engaging citizens, particularly youth, can have in terms of generating potential solutions to Somalia’s development challenges.
  • Building on the findings, innovate for Somalia aims to further design, test and pilot several innovation approaches and activities. The intention is that by the end of 2018, the most productive approaches have been identified and tested; and hence the proof of concept can be established.

In the vein, the following outputs are identified:

  • Output 1: Mechanisms and processes to generate ideas and solutions to Somalia’s sustainable development challenges established, tested and operational
  • Output 2: Arrangements, partnerships to incubate, develop and bring solutions to market are established
  • Output 3: Mechanisms for connecting to national, regional and global innovation for development networks are established
  • Output 4: Recommendations for establishment of public sector innovation lab produced, including processes or engagement, policy making and performance management are produced


Duties and Responsibilities
Summary of key functions:
  • Ensures implementation of programme strategies
  • Participates in effective management of the Country Programme within the Innovation for Development Practice Area focusing on quality control from formulation to implementation of the country programme.:
  • Identify entry points for innovation in existing UNDP Somalia projects
  • Identify opportunities for resource mobilization and new partnerships
  • Provides effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation support
Ensures implementation of programme strategies focusing on achievement of the following results:
  • Thorough analysis and research of the political, social and economic situation in the contry and preparation of substantive inputs to Common Country Assessment (CCA), UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), Country Programme Document (CPD), Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) and other strategy documents;
  • Analysis and synthesis of proposals on the areas for support and interventions within the Innovation for Development practice area.
Identify entry points for innovation in existing UNDP Somalia projects
  • Define the most appropriate methods for facilitating critical analysis and stimulating innovation proposals in line with UNDP Somalia Strategic Framework, ensuring that the time between generation of ideas and taking action on preferred proposals is minimized;
  • Review and refine plans for stimulating ideas in consultation with other portfolios of UNDP Somalia;
  • Ensure a continual flow of ideas and proposals for review and development;
  • Engage other portfolios of UNDP Somalia in reviewing and contributing to ideas and proposals,
  • Coordinate, monitor and execute the planning and implementation of the I4D activities, as assigned by the Innovation Portfolio Team Leader;
  • Organize, facilitate and implement events, workshops and conferences relevant to I4D activities;
  • Research and select global innovation trends and methodologies to be explored, implemented and scaled through the I4D portfolio;
  • Map, build and establish strategic local, regional and global partnerships.
  • Formulate a yearly strategy for the I4D activities, resource mobilization and budget spending;
Identify opportunities for resource mobilization and new partnerships
  • In collaboration with the Partnership Section, develop a resource mobilization strategy and plan;
  • Draft and finalize concept notes, proposals and project documents relevant to the I4D portfolio;
  • In accordance with identified priorities, plan the use of funds, events and other promotional mechanisms to stimulate new concepts and ideas in collaboration with interested partners.
Provides effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation support
  • Facilitates the achievement of project results by timely monitoring of the progress of programme implementation and ensures on-going monitoring and annual reviews of work plans;
  • Prepare progress reports and evaluations of the lab activities as needed;
  • Develops and periodically reviews the project’s M & E plan;
  • Reports on risks and risks management;
  • Provide other support and assistance as required;
Impact of Result
“Innovate for Somalia” will aim to produce practical and scalable solutions to development challenges as prioritized in the National Development Plan and in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
If models, mechanisms, and methods for innovative thinking, collaboration and problem-solving are established, then all sectors of society will be able to contribute to the generation of “home-grown” solutions as well as the appropriation, adaptation and implementation of solutions from elsewhere. A vibrant business development services sector will need to be in place, offering services to incubate, accelerate, finance and otherwise support the implementation and scaling of ideas and solutions.
As this “enabling environment” for new ideas and solutions is strengthened across the country and connections with other social innovators around the world is established, social entrepreneurs will have the skills and resources needed to establish and grow new ventures (for profit and non-profit alike), creating employment opportunities for themselves as well as their communities and contributing to the economic recovery and resilience of the country.  In addition, the public sector will have innovative mechanisms to improve its processes of decision-making, policy formulation and performance management, making for a more inclusive and transparent process and for more effective policies and programmes.
As a result, the Project will contribute to the following outcomes: i) creation of an  environment that enables and promotes the establishment and growth of productive ventures, including incubation, business development services and access to finance; ii) network of social innovators that cuts across sectors that has experiences and insights to share, with each other and on the regional and global stage, about doing development differently; iii) policies and programmes that more effectively and efficiently meet Somali citizens’ needs; and iv) a change in public perception about the future of Somalia, one that encourages all to “Innovate for Somalia.”
These outcomes will contribute to the creation of new businesses/enterprises, the development of employment opportunities and robust economic activity as well as promote resilience across all sectors of society. They will contribute to the achievement of the ambitious National Development Plan, including the prioritized Sustainable Development Goals.


Corporate Competencies:
  • Demonstrate integrity by modeling the UN’s values and  ethical standards
  • Ability to perform multiple tasks at times within short deadlines without compromising quality
  • Promote the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNDP
  • Display cultural, gender, religious, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism
Functional Competencies:  
  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
  • Develops creative solutions to particularly challenging situations
  • Ability to persuade others to follow.
Team work and People Management:
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction Level;
  • Leads or contributes effectively in team-based activities; displays open, co-operative behavior
  • Embraces additional responsibility within teams (including matrixed teams)
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
  • Writes clearly and convincingly, adapting style and content to different audiences
Task Management and Delivery:
  • Ability to get things done.
  • Produces quality outputs in a timely manner when assigned a given task
  • Analyzes problems carefully and logically, leading to fact-based and practical recommendations
Trends and emerging areas analytics:
  • Ability to scan the horizon and identify approaches and initiatives to bring into policy and programme design.
Strategic Planning:
  • Ability to make decisions that align with strategy, vision, and mission.
Innovator support: 
  • Ability to manage organizational resources and deployment in pursuit of innovative approaches and initiatives adopted by country office staff.
Relationship and Partnerships building:
  • Ability to engage with other agencies and forge productive working relationships.
  • Builds strong relationships with partners and clients, using interpersonal skills to network effectively
  • Understands and anticipates evolving client needs
  • Ability to productively share UNDP knowledge and activities (at UN and other venues).
  • Resource Mobilization:
  • Ability to identify and organize programmes and projects to implement solutions and generate resources.
  • Ability to advocate a point of view and influence others.
Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Science, Information Technology, community Development or any related field;Or
  • A first level university degree in Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Science, Economics or any related field with 7 additional years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree
  • A minimum of 5 years of professional experience in social development analysis and programming at the international and/or in a developing country is required.
  • Relevant experience in program/project monitoring and evaluation in a UN system agency or organization is an asset.
  • Experience working in developing country settings particularly in Arab states is an asset.
English & Somali are the working language required for this assignment

Important applicant information

All posts in the SC categories are subject to local recruitment.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.


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