Social Protection Theme Group Consultancy, Pretoria At UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Operational Context

  • South Africa’s Constitution establishes a foundation for a solid social protection system. The Constitution sets out the basic human rights for all persons with regard to appropriate care (basic nutrition, shelter, education, health care services and social services), detention, population development and disaster management as functional areas of concurrent national, provincial and local legislative competence. Despite the fundamental provision of constitutional equality for all, social challenges such as poverty, unemployment and violence remain a daily reality for a large sector of society.
  • The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in South Africa is committed in assisting and supporting the Government of South Africa in enhancing humanitarian and development programmes by holistically strengthening all spheres of social protection.
  • The area of social protection is identified as one of three national key SDG accelerators, hence the work of the UNCT Social Protection Theme Group (UNCT SPTG) serves as an opportunity to assist the Government of South Africa to meet the SDGs agenda as well as its Agenda 2030 – thus leaving no one behind. The mutual reinforcements between the SDG targets are clear: A better targeted social protection system with expanded coverage will ensure that those who are most marginalized receive adequate support, while those who are able to work can find decent employment, and thus lift themselves out of poverty and contribute to society and a better funded social protection system.
  • Duty Station: Pretoria, South Africa
  • Duration: 3 months
  • Contract Type: Individual Consultant
  • Closing date: 20 August 2021
  • Job Opening: JO28746

The position

Duties and responsibilities

1. Purpose and objectives

The Consultant will provide support to the UNCT SPTG in developing capacities, providing technical support to UN agencies, the UN Resident Coordinator (RC), single issue theme groups and the various coordination fora in the UN family on Social Protection. The Consultancy aims at improving the performance of the social protection system through targeting the most marginalized and vulnerable groups such as children, elderly, refugees and asylum seekers, survivors of GBV, violence and persons with specific needs. Therefore, the purpose of this Consultancy is to provide high-level technical expertise in policy and programmatic design and deliverables in the area of social protection to the UNCT in South Africa as well as the UNSCDF Results Groups, to ensure that the national system is well-designed, well-targeted, well-implemented and cost-effective. There is a unique window of opportunity to integrate SDG acceleration. The overall objective is therefore to strengthen evidence-based policy and programmatic design, and to ensure the country benefits from innovative models of designing and implementing cost-effective policies and programmes. Specifically, the consultancy will provide technical support in the following areas:

  • Literature review of research, studies and publications on social protection in South Africa
  • Critically review existing legislation and Government programming and its impact on the most vulnerable groups outlined above**;**
  • On the basis of the above review, advise on UN agencies South Africa programming on social protection, ensuring a coherent approach to vulnerable persons, informing and guiding the nexus between humanitarian and development focused advocacy and programming, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID 19 pandemic; and
  • Recommend social protection policy and programmatic tools that prioritises the poorest and the most vulnerable (More effective and better targeted social protection policies and measures planning and implementation of social protection programmes developed).

In furtherance of the foregoing, the Consultant will support the UNCT SPTG to facilitate access to relevant analyses, datasets and assessments to the extent possible. It is foreseen that the following data (sets) should be analysed:

  • Core Diagnostic Instrument (CODI) – comprehensive social protection system assessment containing information about strengths and weaknesses of the social protection system, in consultation with the Government and stakeholders, and as a guidance for further action and consideration by the government.
  • Governmental administrative and statistical data held in recently implemented social welfare information.
  • UN Common Country Analysis and UNSDCF, South Africa; and UN Flash Appeal for COVID-19, Socio-Economic Impact Assessment and Rapid Needs Assessment for COVID-19, South Africa.

1.1 Timeframe and General Objective of the Desk Review and Report:

The Consultant will assist and support the UNCT SPTG in the implementation of the planning phase of the work plan which will entail a desk review and report, and prior and continuous consultation with key Government and relevant interlocutors to obtain acquaintance with the current developments in the social protection sector, including:

  • policy/legal environment, ongoing national reform processes,
  • ongoing development interventions implemented by key partners,
  • available data at household/individual level (official statistics, administrative data) on income, poverty, living conditions, etc.,
  • available fiscal space,
  • overall social insurance system,
  • tax policies, and
  • available data on COVID-19 impact on poverty and social violence, etc.

Tasks specific to this phase:

  • Identify, review and analyse available quality social protection data, and identify data required (available and missing) for implementing social protection policy and programme models potentially fitting to the case of South Africa.
  • Examine linkages between socio-economic factors and social violence and explore of opportunities that would mitigate these causalities through the social protection system.

2. Preliminary phases and good faith

If the circumstances require so, and in consultation with the lead Co-Chair UNHCR and UNCT SPTG Co-Chairs, the Consultant(s) will guarantee his/her availability and good faith in accomplishing the necessary tasks and formalities towards the full achievement of the study.

3. Methodology

The consultant will develop a methodology of the Study which will be validated by UNHCR, and which should include i) desk review, and ii) drafting and review of the Report, and iii) ethical standards.

The desk review should include (non-exhaustive list): current developments in the social protection sector; existing national and regional legislative developments and programmes.

The Consultant (s) will provide a methodology that will also consider the following:

  • A detailed work plan, a timeframe for the activities and a budget thereof;
  • Initiatives to ensure the engagement of key actors for the achievement of the report;
  • Method to identify the areas for the report (in consultation with UNHCR);
  • The tools for the collection of information reflecting the objectives which can be adapted to the context, including an explication guide;
  • Method for the information analysis;
  • List of key actors to interview, including the relevant Ministries (Social Development, Justice, Health, Education, Department of Statistics, etc.), Tribunals and Justice Courts, International Organisations – including UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, IOM, UN Women, international and national NGOs for the defence of human rights, Universities, etc.

3.1 Ethical standards

The Consultant(s) should provide a method for the treatment of the data collected, respecting the principles of anonymity, informed consent and protection. The Consultant (s) should also sign and adhere to the UNHCR Code of Conduct.

4. Draft and review of the report

The final report should be validated by UNHCR, the UNCT SPTG and subsequently, by the key actors in the framework of an atelier.

The final report should be written in English, not exceeding 30 single spaced pages, excluding annexes, using a template provided by UNHCR, “UNCT SPTG DESK REVIEW”.

5. Reference documents

In the framework of the study, the Consultant(s) should take into account, inter alia, the documents “UN Protection Strategy, 2020” and the TORs of the “SPTG on social protection”.

6. Expected products

  • UN High Commissioner for RefugeesA preliminary report including the work plan, a detailed methodology, the tools for information collection;
  • The draft report of the desk review;
  • The report, finalised in consultation of the UNCT SPTG and its annexes;

All the following products should be available to the UNCT SPTG.

7. Progress report

The UNCT SPTG and the Consultant will agree upon reporting methods and timing in order to ensure that the UNCT SPTG is regularly informed on the development of the project.

8. Definition of the final products

  • The final report is reviewed and validated by the Co-Chairs of UNCT SPTG.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required

The ideal candidate will be required to have:


  • Advanced university degree (Master or Equivalent) in law, international human rights law, development and/or sociology;

Work Experience

  • At least 5-year research experience in the area of international human rights law, development and/or sociology;
  • At least 5-year experience conducting reseach studies; Advanced Knowledge of international human rights law, development and/or sociology;
  • Excellent knowledge of MS Office Suite (in particular Excel) and other business tools.


  • Fluency in English. Knowledge of one or more local languages is an asset.

Key Competencies:

  • Demonstrated project management skills in a relevant area of work.
  • Excellent knowledge of English and working knowledge of another UN language will be an advantage.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills for a multi-cultural environment, including demonstrated competency in writing documents.


If the Covid-19 restrictions allow, the successful candidate will be based in UNHCR Multi-Country Office in Pretoria, South Africa.


The consultancy starts as soon as possible and it is for 3 months.

How to apply

Interested candidates are requested to apply on the UNHCR career page at – by clicking on the Vacancies tab and entering job ID 28746.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Closing Date

Please note that the closing date for this advertisement is Friday 20 August 2021.

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