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Note: This position is listed for reference purposes only. Applications for this position are no longer being accepted.

CLOSED: International consultant: consultancy on how volunteerism contributes to disaster prevention and risk reduction

Job description


The United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) is the United Nations programme that supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism and the mobilization of volunteers. It operates against a background of growing recognition that volunteerism brings benefits to both society at large and the individual volunteer; that it makes important contributions, economically as well as socially; and that it contributes to more cohesive societies by building trust and reciprocity among citizens. Universal and inclusive, UNV embraces all types of volunteer action while holding to the values of free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity, which are the foundations of volunteerism.
UNV engaged 7,521 UNV volunteers in 2007, on a total of 7,766 assignments. With an average of 39 years and the requisite professional skills and qualifications of some 5 to 10 years relevant experience, UNV volunteers served in 139 countries in 2007 and came themselves from 162. The majority – 77 per cent – come from developing countries themselves. One third of UNV volunteers served in their own countries, with the others carrying out international assignments. The financial equivalent of programme activities exceeds US$150 million annually.

UNV is headquartered in Bonn, Germany and has approximately 150 staff positions – the majority in Bonn with some dozen positions in different UN peacekeeping missions, and other Headquarters locations (e.g. New York and Tokyo). The major organizational groups within UNV are:

-The Office of the Executive Coordinator, comprising also Special Operations, and units for Evaluation and Management Support;
-The Programme Development and Operations Group (PDOG) comprising three geographical sections, as well a Volunteer Resources Unit and a Research and Development Section;
-The Support Services Group (SSG) comprising sections for Information Support Services, Finance, Human Resources, as well as Units for Common Services and Administration; and
-The Partnerships, Communications and Resource Mobilization Group (PCRG) comprising units for Donors Relations and for Communications.

Organizational setting

The Programme Development and Operations Group (PDOG) of UNV has primary responsibility for programming in the organization and includes three geographic sections (Africa; ARLAC - covering Latin America, the Caribbean and Arab States, and APEC – covering Asia, Pacific, Europe and CIS).

The Executive Board in June 2006 approved the Business Model (BM) as the main planning and programming framework for UNV. This is the basis and provided the framework for the UNV Corporate Plan 2009 – 2011 that presents high-level corporate outcomes and outputs for both programme and management processes, thus capturing all of UNV’s work. Under the goal of UNV, which is to contribute to peace and development through volunteerism, there are four outcomes: contribution of volunteerism to development is recognized globally; volunteerism is integrated into development policies, strategies and programming; volunteer engagement in development is strengthened and diversified, and UNV is recognised as a relevant, results-based and efficient organization.

It is in this context that the PDOG has formulated a programme strategy for the period of 2009 – 2011. In integrating volunteerism into development programming, specific focus and sub-focus areas have been identified for special targeting:

Delivery of basic services
-Strengthening local governance
-Primary health care and HIV & AIDS
-Non-formal education

Crisis prevention and recovery
-Disaster risk reduction
-Recovery including livelihoods
-Local conflict resolution / reconciliation / peace-building / human rights

Environment and climate change

-Community-based natural resource management and sustainable biodiversity conservation
-Community-based adaptation to climate change
-Food security through sustainable livelihoods

The strategy also has three crosscutting social inclusion pillars i.e. youths, gender, and marginalised groups. In addition, partnership must be an integral aspect of any UNV intervention.
To support implementation of the PDOG strategy, a series of practice notes on how volunteerism contributes to each of the focus areas is being commissioned.
The focus of this consultancy will be the practice note on integrating volunteerism into disaster prevention and risk reduction.

The UNGA resolution (A/RES/56/38)[1] on support for volunteering identifies disaster response as one of the leading areas in which volunteers can contribute to society and development. The Hyogo Framework for Action adopted at the 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction also explicitly recognises the contribution of volunteerism to disaster risk management, particularly in strengthening community capacities to respond to and prevent disasters.

On support for volunteering identifies disaster response as one of the leading areas in which volunteers can contribute to society and development. The Hyogo Framework for Action adopted at the 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction also explicitly recognises the contribution of volunteerism to disaster risk management, particularly in strengthening community capacities to respond to and prevent disasters.

UNV has extensive experience and expertise with volunteerism in the areas of disaster and crisis prevention and recovery with almost 23% of current UNV projects falling in these areas.

Disaster prevention and risk reduction

Involves focusing on supporting countries and situations where there is an identified risk and high vulnerability to disaster. In order to be able to mitigate the effects of crisis and address the root causes. UNV can support efforts to reduce the impact of such disasters through working at both the national and community levels to encourage and support inclusive and coherent disaster prevention and risk reduction national strategies.

UNV response

UNV response will be provided at national and community levels. At the national level, UNV can:
-support the establishment of a common awareness and understanding of crises among key stakeholders, including local authorities and local communities
-support governments in preparing and implementing crisis-sensitive development and recovery plans, including establishing and/or strengthening contextually appropriate national volunteer programmes or schemes for disaster relief;
-advocate for the recognition of the role and contribution of volunteerism of local communities and authorities in the designing of disaster risk reduction plans;
-facilitate the development of institutional capacities of national/local authorities to strategically plan, constructively negotiate, form consensus, coordinate, mobilise, register, support and monitor local volunteers and civil society organisations for disaster relief activities; and
-provide coordination, operational and technical support to district administration and non-governmental organisations, including volunteer involving organisations in the implementation of disaster risk assessment and reduction plans.

At the community level, UNV can:

-create a space for inclusive dialogue and support the capacity development of community-based organisations and communities to engage, empower and mobilise community members in grassroots disaster risk management efforts as stakeholders;[3]
-raise awareness, promote preparedness, and conduct community level hazard, risk, vulnerability and capacity assessments and community mapping as a significant step towards the development of a local disaster plan, feeding into district and national disaster plans and encouraging behaviour change;
-mobilise community contributions (volunteer, in-kind and financial resources) for implementation of local disaster risk management plans;
-facilitate the inclusion and participation of affected communities, especially women and youth, in the planning and implementation of disaster risk management plans and tools;
-mobilise extended volunteering support to other districts/regions hard-hit by disasters;
-revitalise community members’ voluntary mutual support practices and self-help activities for implementation of disaster risk management plans in times of crisis, recovery and reconstruction.

Duties and responsibilities

The consultation will be under the overall supervision of the Chief of the research and development (R&D) unit, who may delegate to colleagues within R&D as appropriate. Interim deliverables are defined for steps of the consultation for monitoring and quality assurance purposes. The expected output is a practice note knowledge document with:

From analysis of the case studies will be drawn lessons learned and practice recommendations for integrating volunteerism into this focus area, through partnerships, especially at the local, meso and national levels.

Key Areas/Issues to be addressed
UNV recognises that there is a wide range of expressing and promoting volunteerism and it varies among different people, contexts, and cultures. Based on the objectives of the programme or project and reviewing the volunteerism-related activities undertaken, the research will consider the following key questions:
-What are the key results? How are they achieved?
-What factors help or hinder the volunteering contribution?
-What is the added value of volunteering? Is there any specific added value of volunteering in terms of this focus area?
-Who were the partners involved? What value did the different partners bring? What were the key factors contributing to building good partnerships?
-How is volunteering perceived by other stakeholders and partner organizations?
-Are there any actions that demonstrate that volunteerism can support the inclusion of youth, gender, or other marginalised persons? Is there any evidence of changes in practices relating to inclusion because of the volunteerism aspect of the project?
-To what extent did the volunteerism in the project influence capacity development?
-Is it possible to establish a link between volunteering actions promoted by the project and stimulating national/local volunteerism and/or stakeholder participation more generally or in other areas?
-How can these lessons be used to enhance future planning and partnering in integrating volunteerism to programming into this focus area?

Methods and approaches
The consultancy will be home-based and done in part based on UNV sources, but will also require the consultant to identify and pursue additional primary and secondary information sources, in developing the case studies. Methods and tools can be combined at various stages in the process:
-Desk review: most of the relevant UNV documents will be compiled beforehand to expedite the review by the consultant. The consultant will be responsible for designing and implementing additional research and exploratory consultations to identify case study topics.
-Based on the desk reviews and exploratory consultations, a detailed outline of the proposed case study topics will be drafted and submitted to UNV for approval
-Direct informant research: the consultant should in most cases also need to conduct interviews or online exchanges in order to obtain the necessary data for fully developing the case studies.
-Analysis and report writing
-Presentation of the draft note for UNV comments will be followed by a final version incorporating comments as appropriate.

Steps in the review process
1. UNV and volunteerism orientation. Preparatory work, desk reviews and exploratory consultations, including detailed outline of case study and research plan
Estimated # of Workdays: 8 days
Deadline - 16 November 2009
2. Direct informant research plus initial analysis
Estimated # of working days: 5 days
3. Analysis and practice note drafting. Submit draft to UNV.
Estimated # of working days:5 days
Deadline - 6 December 2009
4. Incorporation of UNV comments into practice note. Produce final document of approximately 15 pages.
Estimated # of working days: 2 days


The assignment will be contracted to a consultant with demonstrated expertise and experience with volunteerism in the particular focus area of crisis prevention and recovery through disaster risk reduction.
-At least 5 years relevant work experience in the focus area of disaster risk reduction, especially in developing countries
-Knowledge and experience of volunteerism with its diverse manifestations and cultural settings
-Proven experience in developing practice guidance notes or similar knowledge products
-Excellent analytical and writing skills
-Good people and communication skills
-Experience with UNV would be an advantage

Language requirements
-Fluency in written and spoken english as well as a working knowledge of french and/or spanish is preferred.

-University degree at the post-graduate level in a relevant field of study

The contract shall be awarded to the consultant who is the most technically qualified and provides the best value for money. Interviews will be used to determine the technical competencies of the candidates. Only companies/consultants with relevant experience in supplying similar services will be considered qualified. Only those who receive a technical score of 64 points or higher will be considered qualified and may be asked to submit a financial offer.

Evaluation criteria : weight
-Knowledge of disaster risk reduction: 25
-Professional qualification: 15
-Experience in volunteerism for disaster risk reduction: 15
-Relevant work experience: 15
-Writing ability: 10
-Total: 80

Contract type

SSA, 20 days.

Additional information


Related Links


  • Themes:Capacity Development, Community-based DRR, Disaster Risk Management, Risk Identification & Assessment

  • Short URL:http://preventionweb.net/go/11236

Note: This position is listed for reference purposes only. Applications for this position are no longer being accepted.

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