DRR Specialist

Lilongwe, Malawi 🇲🇼


Promoting volunteerism for peace and development is an integral part of every UN Volunteer  assignment. The Description of Assignment (DOA) needs to outline ways to promote volunteerism for development through and alongside the UN Volunteer  assignment.

Assignments in the fields of agriculture, HIV/AIDS, community mobilization, human rights, civil or humanitarian affairs should all provide ample opportunities for demonstrating that volunteerism contributes directly to development. For all these areas of specialization the promotion of volunteerism for development should not be expressed solely through a number of bullet points in the DOA template but should be clearly mainstreamed within the DOA. The promotion of volunteerism for development, engaging in volunteering activities, building volunteering-based partnerships, and/or mobilizing local communities needs to permeate UN Volunteer  assignments and be carried out within the context of their duties.

Volunteerism for development is a means to achieve the overarching objective of the assignment; therefore the DOA should include specific tasks related to the promotion of volunteerism for development tailor-made to the specific position. UNV encourages the inclusion of volunteerism for development in all areas of UN Volunteers’ work while, at the same time, recognizing that not all assignments easily lend themselves to the pursuit of volunteerism within their framework. For such DOA where the volunteerism for development cannot be mainstreamed, we suggest the inclusion of a number of bullet points that pursue the promotion of volunteerism for development throughout the assignment in addition to the bullet points indicated in the DOA template. Those bullet points could include:

  • Networking and building relationships with local organizations, groups or individuals and supporting and/or participating in local volunteering initiatives;
  • Encouraging, mobilizing and supporting co-workers, fellow UN Volunteers and members of the local community to play an active part in development on a voluntary basis;
  • Initiating and/or participating in local volunteer groups, including assisting them in submitting stories and experiences to the World Volunteer Web site;
  • Discussing with supervisors on how volunteerism for development can be mainstreamed through the assignment and integrating activities that promote volunteerism for development into work plans.
  • Building on this DOA template will ensure further advocacy through the promotion of volunteerism within the programme/project and within the context of the assignment. Including in DOA gives greater recognition and legitimacy to this commitment  with concerned host organizations and partners.

UNDP has committed to contribute to the disaster risk management and climate change adaptation in Malawi and supports the Government of Malawi in the process. The UN Volunteer District Disaster Risk Reduction Specialists (Assistant District Disaster Risk Management Officer) would work within the framework of the Office of the Vice President – Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA). Established through the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act of 1991, the DoDMA is the Government of Malawi’s agency responsible for coordinating and directing the implementation of disaster risk management programmes in the country in order to improve and safeguard the quality of life of Malawians, especially those vulnerable to and affected by disasters.

The UN Volunteer would represent the DoDMA in the district and based on the description of tasks as laid out in this DOA, volunteer to address the issues pertaining to the impact, frequency and scope of natural hazard induced disasters in Malawi which have intensified in the past two decades and are likely to worsen with climate change, compounded by other factors such as population growth (3.2%) and environmental degradation.

A once-in-500-years flood in 2015, impacted more than 1.1 million people, displaced 230,000 people, killed 106 while causing damage amounting to US$ 286.3 million and losses of US$ 48.4 million (2015 PDNA). This was followed by a devastating drought, induced by an unusually strong El Niño, with loss and damage totaling US$ 365.9 million and requiring recovery interventions estimated at US$ 500.2 million (2016 PDNA). An estimated 6.5 million Malawians – 39% of the population – will face food and nutrition shortages in the 2016-17 consumption period due to the ongoing drought. Malawi is also at high risk (76 per cent) of being impacted by La Niña in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The effect of a La Niña event is uncertain, but is expected to impact the same regions as El Niño with extreme weather, possibly flooding. 7 countries in Southern Africa are seriously impacted by the drought, with Malawi as a priority, given the low capacity to respond.

The Government of Malawi is adopting a risk-reduction and people-centred approach to mitigate the impact of future disasters through recovery pillars aimed at enhancing peoples’ capacity to prepare for and withstand risk; strengthening disaster risk reduction (DRR) and drought resilience; and integrating gender concerns into all recovery interventions. Government is committed to address implementation gaps, as confirmed in key policy documents such as the National Resilience Strategy, Food Insecurity Response Plan and National Disaster Risk Management Policy. Government has developed an approach to further strengthen the DRR system based on an analysis of the challenges highlighted by the recent drought which include short, medium and long-term interventions to strengthen EWS, promote risk identification and assessments; strengthen emergency preparedness, response and recovery; mainstream risk reduction; strengthen institutional capacity and risk financing.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of The Secretary and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs and the District Commissioner the national UN Volunteer will undertake the following tasks:

  • Planning and coordinating disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation programmes in liaison with other stakeholders at district level;
  • Developing and reviewing district disaster preparedness and mitigation plans, and multi-hazard contingency plans;
  • Supporting the development of Hazard, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments at the District level and in target Communities;
  • Maintaining and updating the national/district disaster profile and inventory of stakeholders;
  • Preparation of budgets for disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation and emergency relief and rehabilitation programmes at district level;
  • Conducting civic education, awareness and training of civil protection committees, officials and community representatives at all levels on likely disasters, assessments, response and risk reduction interventions;
  • Coordination of post disaster needs assessment to determine relief, recovery and rehabilitation requirements at district level
  • Monitoring and supervising the implementation of disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation programmes in the district;
  • Identifying disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation training needs for district councils;
  • Maintaining  and updating a database for all stakeholders engaged in disaster risk reduction activities in the district; and
  • Coordination of construction and maintenance and rehabilitation of flood mitigation structures in the districts.
  • Liaise with various stakeholders on emergency relief and rehabilitation interventions being planned and/or implemented;
  • Compiling progress reports of emergency relief, rehabilitation and disaster risk reduction programmes for appraising Government, donors and other stakeholders.
Required Skills and Experience
  • Bachelor in Social Sciences, Agriculture,  or any other relevant subject
  • At least 3 years of experience working with the Government, Multilateral Agency or the in relevant Private Sectore
  • Effective communication skills in English and the local language of the district

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme which welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture.

United Nations Volunteers reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this opening for other openings with United Nations Volunteers with similar assignment description, experience and educational requirements.