Targeting Consultant, Home-based At UN High Commissioner for Refugees

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a full-time consultancy within the Operational Partnership Management Unit, IMAS, DSPR based at UNHCR Geneva HQ.

The purpose of the consultancy is to strengthen UNHCR’s targeting approaches to ensure effective and efficient prioritization of resources to meet the needs of persons of concern. UNHCR is hiring a consultant with expertise in assessments and targeting to develop a targeting guidance note that includes a menu of targeting approaches adapted to various contexts and designed specifically for refugees, internally displaced, asylum seekers at household and individual level.

UNHCR is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.

  • Title: Targeting Consultant
  • Duty Station: Home-based
  • Duration: six (6) months
  • Contract Type: Individual Consultant
  • Closing date: 31 August 2021
  • Start date: 1 October 2021

Organisational context

UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are present in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions of people. UNHCR supports States to provide persons of concern with protection, universal primary health care, shelter, livelihoods, education, access to clean water and sanitation and energy alongside other basic assistance. It also supports the integration of persons of concern into national system and programmes, where possible, in line with the Global Compact on Refugees.

Recognizing growing humanitarian needs and financial burden pre-Covid-19, donors expect humanitarian organizations to pursue transparent targeting and prioritization criteria.

UNHCR is looking at targeting as process and aims to fully embedded the following steps in its programming cycle: Assessment, analysis to decide if targeting of assistance is appropriate / best approach/s, identification and verification of eligibility criteria, implementation of targeted assistance monitoring.

This leads to increasing demands from UNHCR Country Offices and Regional Bureaus to receive guidance and support to the targeting or prioritization processes. Many operations already support targeting of basic assistance, particularly cash assistance, based on vulnerability (socio-economic, protection and food security). Joint Principles and Guidance on Targeting Assistance to meet basic needs have been agreed with WFP and a Joint UNHCR/WFP Programme Excellence and Targeting Hub has been set up to roll out these commitments and build capacity in joint assessment and needs-based targeting in selected country operations.

The roll-out of the new UNHCR results framework and multiyear strategy approach, other data transformation efforts as well as the expansion of Cash Assist, offer opportunities to integrate targeting requirements into ongoing software development and analysis and monitoring frameworks are important initiatives linked to UNHCR’s broader transformation.

As part of UNHCR’s data transformation strategy, the Organization created the Common Good Data Initiatives (CGDI) which brings together the work of different HQ-based Divisions in an effort to transform existing norms, standards and practices concerning data collection, management and analysis within UNHCR. One of the three workstreams is dedicated to harmonizing and streamlining common assessments, targeting and monitoring approaches and aims to provide UNHCR’s operations with a standardized collection of assessment, monitoring and targeting tools applicable in diverse contexts. To create an assessment, monitoring and targeting toolbox, the workstream is currently preparing for a stocktake of tools and assessment practices in UNHCR’s Operations worldwide.

Complementary to this work, a specific Targeting Task Force has been established to bring together several HQ Divisions and Regional Bureaux to offer a forum for discussion on technical approaches for targeting humanitarian assistance and national social protection assistance to refugees, to facilitate greater understanding and coordination amongst HQ Divisions and Regional Bureaux on targeting and leverage expertise.

To support these efforts, UNHCR is recruiting a consultant to work with UNHCR’s Division of Strategic Planning & Results (DSPR). The consultant will provide close support to selected activities under the Common Good Data Initiatives and the work of Targeting Task Force (see deliverables below).

The position

Under supervision of the Head of the Operational & Partnership Management Unit within the Division of Strategic Planning and Results, the consultant will maintain primary strategic and technical responsibility for the development of a targeting guidance for UNHCR. The consultant will be responsible for working with internal technical experts to develop a concise targeting guidance. The consultant will need to coordinate and collaborate closely with the members of the Targeting Task Force, Regional Bureaux and the CGDI Workstream 2 to ensure alignment. The scope of this work requires a very collaborative approach, involving intra-team discussions and group work. Input and feedback on the consultancy deliverables will include both written and oral comments solicited through stakeholder meetings and consultations, involving HQ, Bureaux and Country Operations.

The scope of the consultancy includes a consolidation of best practices from within UNHCR. Furthermore, UNHCR expects the consultant to provide an overview of the most applied targeting approaches by humanitarian actors and to assess their relevance to UNHCR. The consultant will craft a menu of targeting options explaining the purpose and trade-offs of each approach which helps guide UNHCR personnel of different functions (e.g. programme, data analysis, protection, head of office) in determining appropriate approaches for their operational context.

The proposed targeting approaches need to be protection-centered and driven by the needs of UNHCR’s people of concern, allowing to identify the most vulnerable. Accountability towards people of concern is of utmost importance to UNHCR, and all country targeting strategies shall be developed in close consultation with UNHCR’s beneficiaries. The targeting guidance shall spell out potential risks of targeting as well as strategies to mitigate the risks, while also describing contexts, in which targeting may not be a viable option.

In crafting the targeting guidance the consultant builds on best practices and content already developed by members of the Targeting Taskforce, including the joint UNHCR/WFP targeting guidance, existing survey modules, as well as household survey models currently in development, socio-economic and protection assessments and registration data. The main reference documents in use for targeting are available on the ALNAP website. One of the deliverables of the targeting task force is the development of a targeting glossary for UNHCR, which the consultant shall embed in the targeting guidance if/when available.

As one of the Common Good Data Initiative Workstreams is currently building standardized survey modules, development of household survey tools is out of scope of this consultancy. However, the targeting guidance shall identify indicators most applicable for targeting from UNHCR’s results framework, survey modules and other existing standard assessments including scorecards and UNHCR’s registration system (ProGres). Thereby the consultant will be involved in the work of the CGDI Workstream 2, which is compiling an assessment and targeting toolbox, the consultant will be responsible for assessing and recommending the targeting tools to be included in the toolbox.

UNHCR’s operations currently mainly spell out targeting approaches in relation to cash and food assistance, while for other types of assistance sector specific inclusion criteria apply. In crafting the targeting guidance, the consultant shall take a holistic approach to targeting, assessing how the identified targeting approaches relate to sectoral programming, including GBV, public health, WASH, shelter or livelihoods.

Duties and responsibilities

The objective of the consultancy is to develop a practical guide that will provide country operations with a menu of targeting approaches supported by decision trees, guiding operations towards the approaches applicable in the respective context. While UNHCR already produced, in parts in collaboration with WFP, detailed targeting guidance, the consultancy shall focus on targeting for various assistance and protection types of UNHCR not yet covered, as well as targeting for national social protection programmes.

As outlined above, UNHCR seeks to engage a consultant with extensive experience in assessment and targeting methods and in-depth knowledge of UNHCR’s protection mandate to carry out the tasks listed below:

  • Map the main targeting actors from the humanitarian sector and/or forced displacement settings and provide an overview of targeting approaches applied outside UNHCR in a summary report, analyzing and one could distilling key themes, trends, similarities and differences among the various targeting purposes, approaches, scoring/analysis methodologies identified as well as common strengths and limitations.
  • Within the timeframe of the consultancy support targeting actors in different UNHCR HQ Divisions, Bureaux and country operations in documenting good practices and lessons learned on targeting assistance, including tools and methodologies for dissemination.
  • Review inter alia the household survey modules under development in CGDI workstream 1, the new core and good practice indicators, as well as UNHCR’s registration system (ProGres) so as to identify indicators of highest relevance for vulnerability assessment.
  • Craft a practical targeting guidance adopted to specific UNHCR operational contexts (protracted vs emergency, urban vs camp) and population types, offering options for small, medium size and big operations.
  • Contribute to the development and compilation of assessment and analysis tools serving targeting by consulting with the teams working on household survey, registrations data and qualitative assessment modules to compile a core set of targeting indicators from the existing frameworks and to identify possible gaps.
  • Gather inputs and feedback from UNHCR stakeholders and partners, UNHCR personnel at HQ, Bureaux and countries as needed in order to draft, refine and complete the deliverables.
  • Joint the targeting task force and Common Good Workstream 2 meetings and connect, liaise with targeting actors as relevant.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Deliverables and payment schedule


  • Summary report of targeting approaches applied inside and outside UNHCR (max 10 pages excluding annexes), with key themes, trends, similarities and differences among the various targeting purposes, approaches, scoring/analysis methodologies identified as well as common strengths and limitations. An expert/technical review will inform the development of guidance. The report should also include in the annex a detailed table presenting the following for all targeting approaches found relevant in the literature review: purpose, key population group(s) of interest, targeting methodology and criteria, scoring/analysis and strengths and limitations. It should build upon approaches already defined in the joint UNHCR WFP targeting hub.

Estimated Timeline & Payment schedule

Week 1-8 (30% payment upon delivery)

  • Practical targeting guidance adopted to specific UNHCR operational contexts (protracted vs emergency, urban vs camp) entailing a collection of good practices, including practical information from Regional Bureaux as well as guidance and tools aligned to practices of stakeholders and partners. The guidance document shall contain a high-level summary, which UNHCR will transform into a print document, as well as several context specific modules (protracted vs emergency, urban vs camp), which will be mainly made available online. It should also list options by different assistance needs such as food, cash transfers, shelter, services. In the guidance, practical implementation limitations should be spelled out, thereby assessing ease of implementation in various contexts and practical hurdles including access and staffing constraints.

Estimated Timeline & Payment schedule

Week 9-27 (70% payment upon delivery)

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required

  • Minimum Masters’ degree in Statistics, quantitative Social Science, Economics, or another relevant field.
  • At least 7 years post Master’s relevant experience working in program, assessment, targeting or related field.
  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience in data analysis to inform design of targeted assistance, design, implementation, and monitoring of targeted assistance in development or humanitarian context.
  • Proven track record of field data collection experience in challenging humanitarian settings with sound data quality assurance mechanisms and systems.


  • Strong interpersonal and coordination skills
  • Excellent communication and writing skills in English, working knowledge of French would be an asset
  • Ability to work both independently and in teams
  • Ability to analyze large amounts of qualitative information and synthesize them effectively into cogent written products


The successful candidate will be based with the team in Division of Strategic Planning and Results, Operational and Partnership Management Unit, Implementation Management and Assurance Service (IMAS).


The consultancy is for six months and the start date is in October 2021. It is a full-time role.

How to apply

To learn more and apply, please visit

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 of applications: 31 August 2021

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