UNRWA: Human development researcher wanted

Posted: January 19, 2014 by Rex Brynen in employment/internships/volunteers, UNRWA

UNRWA-logoUNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is the largest UN operation in the Middle East with more than 30,000 staff. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.


Human Development Researcher (Consultant)


UNRWA is currently developing a Medium Term Strategy for the period 2016–2021. As part of this process, the Agency will conduct a study on the human development needs of Palestine refugees in its five fields of operations. The study will identify gaps in the human development fabric that should be addressed – whether by UNRWA or by other actors – in order to make a meaningful contribution to improving human development indicators that are considered to be lagging by reference to the regional context. Such a study will not only be a valuable input to UNRWA in defining its overall organizational strategy and planning for each field of operation, but should also serve as an advocacy tool in highlighting the human development needs of one of the largest refugee populations in the world, whose refugee condition has lasted for more than 60 years.

The study will: (i) apply the same conceptual framework and methodologies used to measure human development of countries, including those that host Palestine refugees; (ii) establish measures and associated baselines against which to periodically monitor progress; and (iii) identify gaps between the status of Palestine refugees’ human development and relative comparators.




UNRWA will require an experienced researcher who will also act as a project manager to produce the human development study. In producing the study, the researcher will provide technical expertise, ensuring a high quality output, accuracy and consistency of data analysis.

Expected output

The expected output is the inaugural Palestine Refugee Human Development Study. The study will analyze the human development condition of Palestine refugees by reference to standard human development indicators and indices including, but not limited to: Human Development Index (HDI), Inequality-adjusted HDI, Multidimensional Poverty Index, Gender Inequality Index, and other key impact indicators. The indicators would, to the extent possible and relevant, be disaggregated by: (i) gender, (ii) location of residence (camp/non-camp/rural/urban), (iii) age (stage in the life-cycle), (iv) field of registration; (v) socio-economic status; and (vi) disability.  The study should identify statistical gaps that cannot be filled within the time available to conduct the study and what would be required to fill those gaps in the years ahead.

Description of Duties

  • Collect and analyze existing relevant data, engaging with national/regional research institutes, eminent researchers and academics;
  • Facilitate partnerships with key partners, such as the World Bank and UNDP researchers, in producing the study;
  • Work with internal and external partners to define the methodological and conceptual approach, as well as the final structure of the study;
  • Coordinate reviews and consultations with relevant stakeholders, particularly on sensitive topics;
  • Ensure that gender differentials are analyzed throughout the report, giving special consideration to policy recommendations that promote equity in access and outcome;
  • Draft and edit the study, ensuring consistency of data, logical linkages, and coherence of conclusions and recommendations;
  • Prepare a statistical annex with data tables and a methodological note.



  • Advanced university degree from an accredited educational institution (minimum Master degree, preferably PhD) in political science, social sciences, public policy or other relevant subject;
  • At least ten years of progressively responsible relevant professional experience in academia or research institutions, with a focus on socio-economic analysis, experience with gender analysis and the development of composite indices, and social impact assessment;
  • Proven experience of managing research projects;
  • Understanding of the political context and situation of Palestine refugees in UNRWA fields;
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.


  • Fluency in written and spoken Arabic.



  • Advanced understanding and proven application of qualitative and quantitative research methods;
  • High level analytical, statistical and IT skills;
  • Ability to be creative in conceptualizing and analyzing problems to identify key issues, problem solving and decision making;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity;
  • Strong organizational skills, ability to meet deadlines and to manage multiple tasks effectively and efficiently;
  • Committed to human development principles and values.

Supervision and reporting

  • The Human Development Researcher will report to the Senior M&E Officer of the Department of Planning and work closely with the Director, Department of Planning.



  • The duration of this assignment will be approximately 8-12 calendar months.
  • Remuneration for this consultancy will depend on the qualifications and experience of the expert.



Applicants should submit a cover letter and CV or UN Personal History Form demonstrating clearly the knowledge and experience required to meet the consultancy requirements via consultancy@unrwa.org, clearly indicating the title of this consultancy “Human Development Researcher” in the subject line of the message. The deadline for the submission of applications is 7 February 2014 (late applications will not be considered).


UNRWA is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from both qualified and experienced women and men. UNRWA encourages applications from female candidates. Only those applicants short-listed for interview will be contacted. UNRWA is a non-smoking work environment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s