Head of Sub-Office at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in 1950, during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes. We had three years to complete our work and then disband. Today, over 65 years later, our organization is still hard at work, protecting and assisting refugees around the world.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Head of Sub-Office
Reference ID: JR2205473
Location: Ogoja, Cross River
Employment Type: Full Time
Hardship Level: D
Grade: PR5
Residential Location (If Applicable): Accra, Ghana
Staff Member / Affiliate Type: Professional

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

  • Head of a UNHCR Sub-Office (HoSO) is a senior managerial position within a given country operation. The incumbent carries the full delegated authority of the UNHCR Representative (or the country Manager) of the country, who will exercise entire supervisory managerial responsibility over the position.
  • The position, on the other hand, provides all information on developments in relation to the protection (legal protection issues relating to the persons of concern to UNHCR), security (Physical security in relation to the UNCR staff and the persons of concern to UNHCR) and operational matters (programme and office management / administration) within the domain of its geographical area of responsibility to the UNHCR Representative (or the country manager) on a regular and timely manner.
  • Subject to the specific legal or socio economic or security developments in the Area of Responsibility (AOR), Representative will direct and guide the Head of the Sub-Office to take the most appropriate course of action. Concerning overall physical security concerns, HoSO will liaise directly with the competent UN security coordinator while keeping the UNHCR Representative fully informed.
  • While the functional responsibility of a Head of a Sub-Office will always remain the same despite its grade level, the other parameters (therefore the depth and breadth of the competencies) such as the size of the population of concern to UNHCR, their specific legal/security concerns, volume of assistance, Number of operational / Implementing partners and the size of the Office (i.e. number of UNHCR staff and their grade levels) will determine the appropriate grade level. The operational autonomy also depends upon the same parameters/competencies.
  • As the most senior UNHCR staff member within the given geographical area, he/she is required to liaise with all the relevant senior government officials, security organs in the area, the Head of various Non-Governmental Organisations (both national and internationals based in the area), Civilian/tribal leaders/elders, local opinion makers and the local media net-work to ensure his/her assigned responsibilities are effectively and efficiently discharged.
  • As the extended field representative of UNHCR at the front line of High Commissioner’s operations, he/she remain as the effective advocate and assistant to the local authorities to ensure that the respective government authorities in the area implement their conventional responsibilities in favour of refugees and others of concern to UNHCR.
  • 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.


  • Monitor and report on the implementation of refugee conventional responsibilities and international obligations of the local authorities Vis a Vis the population of concern to UNHCR within the given geographical area; based on local situations/developments make appropriate recommendation to the UNHCR Representative.
  • Advocate and promote UNHCR standards concerning the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and returnees as well as IDPs, where applicable; Advocate, promote and encourage the concerned authorities and local opinion makers to uphold established UNHCR standards that have become the international norms.
  • Ensure that the basic needs of the concerned population are properly assessed with the participation of the beneficiaries themselves, the host governments and/or the competent Implementing partners and/or UNHCR itself.
  • Subject to the needs, ensure that the planning, formulation and budgeting of identified assistance projects are done as per UNHCR programme cycle; upon approval of assistance project, ensure the timely implementation and rigorous monitoring of identified assistance activities
  • Ensure through the subordinate staff that all deadlines for monitoring and reporting of UNHCR operational activities (i.e. include assistance as well as Administrative) are met on a regular basis.
  • Manage all UNHCR resources, both human, financial/material, at an optimum level for the wellbeing of the concerned population and the UNHCR staff.
  • Ensure that all security measures of UNHCR office (and residential, wherever applicable) compounds are always up to date; any security breaches and/or potential security threat should be reported immediately to competent UN security coordinator in the country.
  • Ensure that staff welfare, both in terms of working and living conditions, are maintained at a satisfactory level within the constraints in the operational area; this requires remaining current in health and medical facilities locally available and evacuation options available in a moment of medical urgency.
  • Guide, coach and advocate the subordinate staff to maintain highest standards of conduct and behaviour thorough one’s own practice and deeds.
  • Prepare and submit regular reports, both verbally and written, to the UNHCR Representative. In the event of substantial telephone conversation that leads to specific action or non-action, it should be recorded and share with the other party.
  • Represent UNHCR in inter-agency fora and with local authorities in the AOR.
  • Enforce compliance with UNHCR’s global protection, programme, finance, human resources and security policies and standards.
  • Submit project proposals for assistance to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR Representation in coordination with local authorities and NGOs.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

  • For P5 – 12 years relevant experience with Undergraduate Degree; or 11 years relevant experience with Graduate Degree; or 10 years relevant experience with Doctorate Degree.

Field(s) of Education:

  • Human Resources Management, Personnel Administration, Law, Political Science, International Relations, Economics, or other relevant field.

Certificates and/or Licenses:

  • HCR Management Lrng Prg
  • HCR Managing Operatns Lrng Prg.

Relevant Job Experience:

  • In-depth knowledge in all aspects of UNHCR¿s Field level operation.  Applied experience of protection principles, operational arrangements/standards in relation to protection, assistance, UNHCR office management and staff administration. Should be conversant in the current priorities in the organisation and existing mechanisms within the organisation to implement those priorities.
  • Desirable
  • Working experience both in UNHCR HQ and/or a Regional Office and the Field.

Functional Skills:

  • IT-Computer Literacy;   
  • IT-Microsoft Office Productivity Software;
  • MG-Office Management;   
  • PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators;   
  • HR-Administration of Staff Contracts and Benefits.

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.

Nature of Position

  • UNHCR Sub Office Ogoja, covers three Field Offices (Calabar, Adikpo and Takum) and two Field Units (Makurdi and Gembu) with 65 staff members (13 internationals and 52 nationals) and 12 AWF, and reports directly to the Representation Office in Abuja. SO Ogoja is implementing protection and assistance programmes and plays an important role in coordination and leadership of Cameroonians Refugee Response Plan and Internally Displaced Nigerian Population in Benue State.  
  • Under the supervision of UNHCR Country Representative in Nigeria, the Head of Sub Office is responsible for effective management of UNHCR presence, staff and assets in the Area of Responsibility, including formulation and/or representation of UNHCR’s position to external partners in the AOR, by participating in meetings and events, facilitate, take and implement measures to ensure safety and security of UNHCR staff and assets.
  • S/He leads the Sub Office team and manages the performance and conduct of the staff members to deliver protection and assistance for refugees in four states-Cross River, Taraba, Benue and Akwa Ibom as well as IDPs in Benue State.  
  • UNHCR has been present in Nigeria since 1978, working with the Government and other partners mostly NGOs to uphold the rights and wellbeing of refugees, asylum seekers IDPs and stateless persons. As a result of the influx from Cameroon, UNHCR established a Sub- office in Ogoja Local Government area in mid-2018. The office also covers the needs of IDPs in Benue state through its field Unit in Makurdi.
  • Benue State has been battling with farmer-herder conflicts for several decades. While seasonal flooding has historically been the main driver of population displacement in the state, Benue has in the last two decades become the major flashpoint for farmer-herder clashes that have claimed thousands of lives and displaced thousands of others. There is an estimated over 1 million IDPS according to the Benue State Emergency Agency.   
  • Since the outbreak of the Anglophone crises in Cameroon in 2017 UNHCR and the Government of Nigeria have registered over 80,000 refugees. Of these 57% are in Cross River state, 25% in Taraba, 16% in Benue and 2% in Akwa Ibom and elsewhere. The Government has provided land for the establishment of 4 refugee settlements and supports inclusion of refugees in existing health and education services.  
  • The majority of refugees (61%) however live amongst the host population These refugees are hosted in local government areas that have weak social services, reduced economic opportunities and self-reliance and very limited access to electricity, water, sanitation and health services. UNHCR is the only UN agency providing limited lifesaving support to refugees due to budgetary constraints.

Living and Working Conditions

  • Very basic infrastructure as well as leisure and recreational facilities.
  • Limited health facilities available locally; Malaria & typhoid diseases are common in the region.
  • Due to the security restrictions, office has established well organized guest house facilities where all international professional staff are required to reside; Movement of international staff is restricted to avoid risk of kidnapping; Frequent mission travel to the deep Field locations; High stressful work context, therefore capacity for self-care is critical.

Application Closing Date
15th December, 2022.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online


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