Social Development Specialist / Social Sustainability and Safeguards at World Bank Group

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The World Bank Group – Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188-member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally.

We are recruiting to fill the position of:

Job Title: Social Development Specialist / Social Sustainability and Safeguards
Job No: req20366
Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Sector: Safeguards
Grade: GF
Term Duration: 4 years 0 months
Recruitment Type:  Local Recruitment
Required Language(s): English


  • Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges.
  • The World Bank consists of two entities – the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). It is a global development cooperative owned by 189 member countries.
  • As the largest development bank in the world, the World Bank provides loans, guarantees, risk management products, and advisory services to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, and coordinates responses to regional and global challenges. For more information, visit

Western and Central Africa (AFW) Region

  • We need the best and brightest talent focused on Sub-Saharan African countries in order to harness the potential and innovation happening across the continent. Africa is a continent on the move, with a young population and a growing market of nearly 1.2bn people. We are committed to making the Africa regional teams into leading innovation hubs.
  • Yet, these vast opportunities are tempered by persistent gaps in education, health, and skills, which have Africa only reaching forty percent of its estimated potential. Moreover, conflict, food insecurity, population growth, and the disruptive forces of climate change threaten to curtail or even reverse the progress that has been made over the past decades.
  • In West and Central Africa, the World Bank is a leading partner with a growing portfolio of 387 projects totaling more than $44.1 billion in areas such as agriculture, trade and transport, energy, education, health, water, and sanitation- all to support job creation, gender equality, poverty reduction, and better lives. Across the continent, the World Bank’s program has nearly doubled over the last 10 years. By 2030, about 87% of the world’s extremely poor are projected to live in Sub-Saharan Africa, so this is where our mission to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity will be achieved.
  • Are you ready to make an impact? We are looking for dedicated professionals to join our innovative and diverse team to improve people’s lives and help countries build back better after COVID.

Social Sustainability And Inclusion Global Practice

  • The Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice helps countries tackle deep-rooted social problems stemming from fragility, climate change, exclusion, and the digital age with people-centered solutions that build on local values and institutions.
  • The Practice engages with citizens, communities, and governments to deepen resilience, build inclusion, and empower vulnerable and marginalized groups to have influence and voice. It prioritizes participatory, multi-sectoral approaches that build on norms and informal institutions to address social challenges and to build more inclusive, empowered communities. 
  • The Practice also works across the Bank’s portfolio to implement the Environment and Social Framework (ESF) standards (
  • The ESF offers an overarching platform for fostering inclusive approaches to ensure vulnerable groups benefit from Bank investments and mitigate against related risks.

The Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice has adopted a new strategy that aims to promote inclusive sustainable development anchored on three pillars:

  • Social Inclusion: enhancing opportunities for equality and inclusion of all people irrespective of income level, geography, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or other grounds of discrimination; advancing inclusive laws, regulations, policies, and institutions;  and investing in access to markets and services for hard to reach and marginalized groups living in lagging regions.
  • Social Resilience: strengthening social risk management for social sustainability; enhancing social cohesion and opportunities in fragile communities; strengthening social resilience to climate extremes and natural hazards; and supporting emergency response and an inclusive recovery from COVID-19.
  • Social Empowerment: supporting community empowerment for more effective service delivery; fostering accountable governance, including from the bottom up; and promoting community-driven women empowerment and livelihood support programs.


  • The Social Sustainability and Inclusion Practice has a growing work program in Nigeria, encompassing environment and social risk management, project loans and grants, advisory and analytical programs, and active partnerships supporting a wide range of engagements across sectors, including multi-sectoral community-driven development program, social inclusion, citizen engagement, and social accountability; social resilience, FCV prevention and response; women empowerment and gender equality, and; social risk management.
  • SAWS1, one of the two Social Sustainability and Inclusion units in West and Central Africa, is looking to recruit a Social Development Specialist who will be based in Abuja, Nigeria, and will support the Bank’s expanding Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) and social safeguards agenda in the Nigeria Country Management Unit and promote the social sustainability of its investments.
  • She/he will report directly to SAWS1 Practice Manager and will be expected to work closely with the Nigeria country unit and task teams.
  • The selected candidate will also be expected to work collaboratively and develop good relations with the corporate safeguards team, and the Bank-wide Social Sustainability and Safeguards Global Solutions Group (GSG), coordinated by the Global Lead.

Duties and Accountabilities
The Social Development Specialist will provide direct support to clients and Bank teams on social sustainability, social risk management, and stakeholder engagement to ensure compliance with the Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF), which consists of ten Environmental and Social Standards. Responsibilities will include the following:

Operational Work:

  • Work with the Government of Nigeria on the preparation of activities to enhance the social sustainability of WB-supported operations and in resolving project implementation issues, particularly where the project has inadvertently impacted the local community adversely.
  • Supervise and provide technical support to government agencies, including project implementing agencies, on the preparation and implementation of project-related social risk management activities and activities to enhance the social sustainability of projects.
  • Provide timely and professionally competent technical review of social assessment products prepared for rural development, infrastructure, private sector, transport, urban, and other projects, as needed.
  • Participate and supervise activities designed to manage social risks on major projects as a technical expert.
  • Interact with clients at the policy and operational levels.
  • Advise and participate in project teams to help develop operational designs and mechanisms to assess social opportunities, impacts, constraints, and risks related to Bank-supported operations.
  • Develop and evaluate proposed technical solutions, and assist in the preparation of project design documentation, supporting reports, annexes, etc.
  • Provide cross-support as required to the various teams in the portfolio and monitor adherence to the World Bank Environmental and Social Standards.
  • Guide the preparation of Stakeholder Engagement Plans to ensure that the level of consultations is proportional to project risks and impacts and monitor implementation.

Policy Work:  

  • Support dialogues on the implementation of the Environmental and Social Framework with policymakers and government officials, international development partners, civil society, and other stakeholders, and coordinate the Bank’s relations with clients on social development.
  • Participate in and play an active role in portfolio reviews on social sustainability and social risk management.
  • Make recommendations on strategies and policy options for counterparts in local and central government agencies.
  • Advise government counterpart agencies on policy options for social risk management, particularly resettlement, social risk mitigation planning, and institutional capacity development.
  • Work closely with environmental colleagues to enhance the capacity of the client to implement the Bank’s new environmental and social framework for managing project risks and enhancing the sustainability of World Bank-financed projects.

Analytical Work:

  • Participate and contribute to formal and informal analytical advisory activities and research work on key social development issues, notably related to child labor and child protection, local governance and service delivery, gender mainstreaming, and land property and tenure rights.

Capacity Building:

  • Participate in developing sustainable local and national consultation mechanisms and strategies.
  • Deliver ESF training on specific social standards and tailored it to individual projects to strengthen client capacity.
  • Supervise the work of consultants and technical specialists to ensure consistency and conformity to Bank standards.


  • Participate in cross-practice teams responsible for the preparation of policy notes, Systematic Country Diagnostics, Country Partnership Frameworks, sector studies, and research and policy development activities on the full range of social development topics.
  • Identify potential partnerships as well as new opportunities for engagement around social development aimed at advancing social development in general and social risk management.
  • Work as an active member of the Country Office and Country Team; engage in the Bank-wide professional community of staff in Social Sustainability and Inclusion.
  • Work independently under the general direction of the Regional Standards Coordinator (RSC) and seek advice from RSC and from senior members of the Social Sustainability and Inclusion team when needed.

Selection Criteria

  • This is a challenging position suited to constructive, highly motivated team players with an eye for detail, an understanding of the bigger picture context of operations, and creative problem-solving abilities.
  • The successful candidate should have strong social risk management skills, analytical skills, practical experience with participatory processes of stakeholder engagement, and be able to integrate socially sustainable and inclusive development considerations in an operational context. Experience working in complex and challenging settings is highly desirable.
  • Master’s Degree or Ph.D. in Social Sciences (Anthropology, Sociology, Political Economy, Social Development, etc.)
  • A minimum of five (5) years of directly relevant professional experience in social sustainability and social standards/safeguards and/or social development (voice and participation, gender, community-driven development, citizen engagement).
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience in addressing issues covered by the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) and social safeguards policies or similar policies in other international financial institutions in Nigeria  This includes experience with social assessments and analyzing social risks and impacts on different population groups; involuntary resettlement in different socio-economic contexts and tenure systems; Indigenous Peoples’ issues; coordination of transparent consultative and stakeholder engagement processes; grievance redress mechanisms, integration of relevant planning instruments such as Resettlement Action Plans and Indigenous Peoples Plans in overall project planning and implementation; labor and working conditions (in particular child labor);  community health and safety; and cultural heritage.
  • Experience in social sustainability and risk management policy development, including dialogue with governments, and collaboration in these areas with other international development agencies.
  • Solid track record in conducting analytical work related to social development and the implications of social issues on policy, institutions, and operations; experience in deriving results that resonate with the client.
  • Experience with consultative and participatory approaches to project design and implementation.
  • Grievance redress mechanisms to ensure accountability and problem-solving in a timely fashion.
  • Experience in areas of social inclusion such as gender; conflict, fragility, violence; and disability.
  • Demonstrated experience in interacting with governments to bring about changes to the policy.
  • Demonstrated ability to anticipate needs in the field and to conduct independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners to develop strategies to meet these needs.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, problem-solving, and team skills, and ability to think innovatively and strategically to find balanced solutions to complex development problems, with a strong client focus.
  • Achieves results and identifies mission-driven solutions for the client; acts with integrity at all times to build trust and to create an enabling work environment, whether as a team leader or a team member; recommends and takes decisive action.
  • Demonstrated ability to create, apply and share knowledge from a range of sources to strengthen internal and or external client solutions.
  • Very high level of energy, initiative, and self-motivation; willingness to travel and work under challenging circumstances.
  • Excellent oral and writing skills in English are essential.

Application Closing Date
26th December, 2022.

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


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