Technical Officer - Environmental Health Promotion /Chemicals (WHO)

United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo 🇨🇬

General

Description of assignment title: Technical Officer – Environmental Health Promotion /Chemicals

Assignment country: Congo

Expected start date: 19/08/2022

Sustainable Development Goal: 3. Good health and well-being

Volunteer category: International UN Volunteer Specialist

DoA reserved for persons with disabilities: No

Host entity: WHO

Type: Onsite

Duration: 12 months (with possibility of extension)

Number of assignments: 1

Duty stations: Brazzaville

Details

Mission and objectives
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations Public Health Organization established in 1948. The objective of the World Health Organization shall be the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.
World Health Organization achieves its goals by performing its essential functions:

  1. Take a leadership role in key health issues and create partnerships when joint action is needed;
  2. Set research priorities and encourage the acquisition, application and dissemination of useful knowledge;
  3. Setting standards and criteria and encouraging and monitoring them;
  4. Develop ethical and evidence-based policies
  5. Provide technical support, be an agent of change and build institutional capacity in a sustainable way;
  6. Monitor health status and assess health trends.

Context
This UNV assignment is part of WHO’s project on resilience and recovery from COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to reduce transmission and adopt Public Health Measures were compromised by factors including crowded housing, lack of water and sanitation facilities in homes and public places (including health facilities), lack of relevant information for adoption of appropriate behaviours, and lack of community cohesion. Defeating COVID-19 and future pandemics requires a more holistic approach to public health emergency preparedness, building response capacities, strengthening health systems, tackling the risk factors that drive infection (environmental degradation, climate change, air pollution, cross-border threats, unplanned urbanization, trade, food and nutrition insecurity, population density and other structural factors). Another risk factor exposed by COVID-19 is the management of waste accruing from the preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic tools used to control the pandemic. All these issues require a holistic view of population health and wellbeing beyond medical care.

Climate change, environmental and air pollution, unhealthy living conditions that weaken people’s immune systems and wellbeing, rising non-communicable diseases caused by poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption contribute to poor health and increase susceptibility to infectious diseases like COVID-19. Recovery from this pandemic and preparing for the next, requires emphasizing an ecological approach to disease treatment, prevention of epidemics and health promotion including a deliberate engagement between health and the sectors that are home to the social, environmental, and economic determinants of health. The unfinished agenda of implementing the humanitarian-development nexus remains central to true preparedness, with resilient individuals, households, and communities as a critical complement to resilient health systems. Therefore, investments in disease prevention and decentralized primary health care will ensure that health systems are not overwhelmed when outbreaks do occur.

The Emergency Response Framework highlights the key role played by WHO during emergencies response to ensure a more effective and predictable response to and recovery from natural disasters, conflict, food insecurity, epidemics, environmental, chemical, food and nuclear incidents, including political or economic crises and all other types of emergencies with public health consequences. WHO supports Member States and local health authorities to lead a coordinated and effective health sector response together with the national and international community, in order to save lives, minimize adverse health effects and preserve dignity, with specific attention to vulnerable and marginalized populations. Risk communication and Community engagement (RCCE) is a key component and integral to successful response to health emergencies and WHO and partners have been supporting Members States to implement an effective RCCE. This involves communicating in real time with affected communities, to ensure community involvement and to promote accountability and cohesion to affected communities.

Task description
Within the delegated authority and under the supervision of Team Lead Climate Change, Health and Environment or his/her designated mandated representative(s), the UN Volunteer Technical Officer – Environmental Health Promotion/ Chemicals will:

• collaborate with and provide Member States with up-to-date information to strengthen the development and implementation of regional strategies, norms, standards and guidelines that improve and resolve environmental health issues such as sound management of hazardous chemicals, including pesticide used in public health, with special emphasis on children’s environmental health, poison management and reducing unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals in air, soil, crops and water, emergency preparedness and response to chemical incidents and the management of hazardous chemical and bio medical wastes.
• proactively participate in supporting development of national chemical profiles, identifying country needs and support the planning and implementation of environmental health protection programmes and projects that address weaknesses and ensure full collaboration and efficient implementation of cross-cutting activities, with particular attention to safe food and drinking-water, adequate sanitation and hygiene promotion; preventing risks associated with exposure to toxic chemicals, hazardous waste and air pollution; and mitigating and adapting to the human health impacts of climate change.
• be actively engaged with the monitoring and evaluation of environmental health protection programmes and projects to determine progress against implementation targets and plans, effectiveness and specific vulnerabilities and propose remedial actions and innovative solutions to identified constraints; support preparation of national, regional and global reports to share successes, lessons learnt and best practices as an authoritative reference to make policy decisions and resource allocation, in addition to raising awareness of environmental health threats brought on by shifting patterns of disease, extreme weather events, the degradation of air quality, food and water supplies and sanitation.
• fully participate in the identification of country capacity gaps to improve existing procedures and develop innovative approaches for capacity building based on continuous review and monitoring of the environmental health situation and on environmental health protection research results and support the planning and management of workshops, seminars and training to strengthen health staff and Member State skill-sets.
• support the development of strategic partnerships, including drafting proposals, to increase advocacy and resource mobilization to sustain CHE activities and interventions that contribute to comprehensive approaches to promoting health protection within the context of sustainable development.
• Support the regional office to communicate science information/recommendations promptly that address critical risks and counter misinformation.
• Support regional and country offices to accelerate priority research and innovation in social sciences to support the implementation of public health measures and to ensure participation of at-risk and affected communities.
• Support countries to enhance country-level capacity to roll out effective and coordinated RCCE approaches through the identification of capacity needs.
• Supporting AFRO/Hubs and COs Offices to effectively counter and manage rumors and infodemic.
• perform any other related responsibilities as assigned by the supervisor, including replacing and backstopping for other team members as required.
Furthermore, UN Volunteers are encouraged to integrate the UN Volunteers programme mandate within their assignment and promote voluntary action through engagement with communities in the course of their work. As such, UN Volunteers should dedicate a part of their working time to some of the following suggested activities:
• Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and take active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark International Volunteer Day);
• Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country;
• Provide annual and end of assignment self- reports on UN Volunteer actions, results and opportunities.
• Contribute articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc;
• Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly-arrived UN Volunteers;
• Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering, or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible.

Eligibility criteria

Age: 27 – 80

Nationality: Candidate must be a national of a country other than the country of assignment.

Requirements

Required experience
5 years of experience in
Required Degree Level: Master’s degree
Required Experience: 05 years

• Essential: Advanced university degree in Environmental, Civil or Sanitary Engineering, Toxicology, or in Environmental-related Science and a postgraduate degree in Public Health or a related field.
• Desirable: Post-graduate training or specialization in Public Health, Science/Engineering, Management, Chemical Safety, Health Education or Communication for Development.
• Essential: At least five years’ practical experience in implementing and managing programmes or conducting research on environmental and social determinants of health, of which at least three years were at the international level. Experience, ideally in developing countries, working with individuals and issues pertinent to environmental health protection projects, policies and/or monitoring, including with governmental bodies at global, regional and national level.
• Desirable: Experience developing technical guidance and tools for assessing effectiveness of health interventions and working knowledge of the use of databases and spreadsheets and statistical programmes. Experience with the UN System or WHO, ideally related to environmental health, and knowledge of national, regional and global partnerships and networks.

• Other desired/mandatory required technical knowledge
• Excellent oral and written skills; excellent drafting, formulation, reporting skills;
• Accuracy and professionalism in document production and editing;
• Excellent interpersonal skills; culturally and socially sensitive; ability to work inclusively and collaboratively with a range of partners, including grassroots community members, religious and youth organizations, and authorities at different levels; familiarity with tools and approaches of communications for development;
• Ability to work and adapt professionally and effectively in a challenging environment; ability to work effectively in a multicultural team of international and national personnel;
• Solid overall computer literacy, including proficiency in various MS Office applications (Excel, Word, etc.) and email/internet; familiarity with database management; and office technology equipment;
• Self-motivated, ability to work with minimum supervision; ability to work with tight deadlines.

Area(s) of expertise: Health, Natural and life sciences

Driving license:

Languages
French, Level: Fluent, Required
English, Level: Working knowledge, Desirable
Portuguese, Level: Working knowledge, Desirable

Required education level
Master degree or equivalent in • Essential: Advanced university degree in Environmental, Civil or Sanitary Engineering, Toxicology, or in Environmental-related Science and a postgraduate degree in Public Health or a related field.
• Desirable: Post-graduate training or specialization in Public Health, Science/Engineering, Management, Chemical Safety, Health Education or Communication for Development.

Competencies and values
• Professionalism: demonstrated understanding of operations relevant to WHO; technical capabilities or knowledge relevant or transferrable to WHO procedures and rules; discretion, political sensitivity; ability to apply good judgement; personal initiative and ability to take ownership; resourcefulness and willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented;
• Integrity: demonstrate the values and ethical standards of the UN and WHO in daily activities and behaviours while acting without consideration of personal gains; resist undue political pressure in decision-making; stand by decisions that are in the organization’s interest even if they are unpopular; take prompt action in cases of unprofessional or unethical behaviour; does not abuse power or authority;
• Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; excellent interpersonal skills; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, mixed-gender environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; sensitivity and adaptability to culture, gender, religion, nationality and age; commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of UN operations; ability to achieve common goals and provide guidance or training to colleagues;
• Planning and organizing: effective organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage a large volume of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects/activities;
• Communication: proven interpersonal skills; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, articulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff), military personnel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse backgrounds; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups;
• Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond;
• Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards WHO’s mission and vision, as well as to the UN Core Values.

Other information

Living conditions and remarks
This is a family-duty station for most UN staff despite the limited operationality of health facilities; there is an American International school, a French Lycee and several other private institutions of education. All major cards can be used through a network of automated teller machines (ATMs) throughout the city. There is a wide range of housing options including what WHO offers in its multiple compounds (houses and apartments).
An entry visa to the Republic of Congo is mandatory. Visas can be obtained at the Embassy or Consulate of the Republic of Congo in your country of nationality or residence. If there is no diplomatic representation of the Republic of Congo in your country, it is mandatory to please bring the following:
• The waiver provided by WHO, with the circular in French;
• A copy of your travel authorization or official letter of invitation.

Congo provides for an interesting and enriching environment, but also requires a mature level of cultural awareness, as well as more stamina and commitment than elsewhere to make life comfortable and affordable. Therefore, flexibility and the ability and willingness to live and work in potentially difficult conditions, involving physical hardship and limited comfort, are essential.

Inclusivity statement
United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements
Selected candidates for certain occupational groups may be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in line with the applicable host entity policy


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DEGREE REQUIRED

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IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development