Emergency Roster - Technical Officer (Social Science) (1702284)


Purpose of the Position

In the context of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, the incumbent serves as the focal point for coordinating, planning, designing and implementing social science-based  interventions. The work includes use of tools and techniques for collecting data, surveying, analyzing and further communicating the results, including the adaptation of all approaches and materials for different stakeholders.

The incumbent needs to work in partnership and nurture trustful and productive relationships across the full range of stakeholders within and outside the organization. The incumbent is in charge of incorporating social science related contexts and contents into different stages of the outbreak and health emergency response operations, under the health technical expertise.  

Summary of Assigned Duties 

1. Provide technical and operational guidance to epidemic and health emergency response activities by strengthening and mainstreaming social science approaches and strategies to ensure that social science approaches are integrated into the technical and operational decision-making; aligning with the priorities and objectives that are delivered through existing national and local structures.

2. Ensure social science interventions such as community engagement and social and behavioural communication are evidence-based, coordinated, and inform the risk communication, social mobilization and health promotion strategies and plans so that community concerns and socio-cultural-religious contexts which could impact public health interventions are addressed and adapted in all stages of the outbreak investigation and health emergency response work. 

3. Integrate and assess priority   social science practices within the operational response standard operating procedures (SOPs) according to the local context and evolving situation through close collaboration with the responsible authorities and technical teams to assess and  E.g. incorporate social science approaches in the surveillance, clinical care, infection prevention and control protocol, safe and dignified burials, etc. Identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps and design interventions to address weakness and gaps, including organizing training/capacity building for health responders, etc.

4. Collaborate and coordinate with partners to ensure appropriate coordination of approaches and activities; jointly develop monitoring and evaluation tools and mechanisms; 

5. Contribute to planning and building up the national capacity through need identification; and development, operationalization and implementation of a capacity building and training plan.

6. Provide regular feedback to the Incident Management Team, national authorities and partners on the adaptation of response strategies for effective and feasible community engagement in affected areas.

7. Conduct formative and/or operational research, and/or liaise with stakeholders/partners conducting socio-cultural research; and support the analysis of such research and the integration of findings into health operations.

8. Ensure that international agreements and commitments for including community and their perspectives into emergency response, such as the rights to information and participation and commitments such as the Grand Bargain, are supported using own area of expertise in social science approaches.

9. Proactively provide inputs into funding proposals for social science interventions as needed

10. Perform any other incident-specific related duties, as required by the functional supervisor. 

Recruitment Profile Competencies 

1.  Producing results

2.  Moving forward in a changing environment

3.  Fostering integration and teamwork

4.  Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences;

5.  Communicating in a credible and effective way

6.  Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond

Functional Knowledge and Skills

- Strong strategic planning and organizational skills: ability to design, generate, analyze and appropriately apply findings using social science methods, approaches including qualitative research to planning and project design; the ability to work effectively in multidisciplinary and multicultural environment with tact and diplomacy; an ability to meet tight deadlines; an ability to efficiently and effectively co-ordinate activities and tasks to meet specific objectives. 

- Knowledge and understanding of public health approaches related to: social sciences, community engagement; social mobilization; an understanding of emergency response; ability to co-ordinate multidisciplinary and technical inputs into designing social science interventions, strategies and plans.

- Excellent coordination and planning skills: the ability to draw strategic conclusions of scattered information and build from situational analysis into practical solutions in the field, ability to map and identify resources required for activities from broader partnerships. 

- Excellent communication: the ability to clearly present ideas and concepts both orally and written.

- Excellent interpersonal skills: the ability to build relationships and work with stakeholders and partners. 

Education Qualifications


- An advanced university degree in Sociology, Anthropology, Development Studies or other social sciences from an accredited and recognized institution.


- Advanced University degree or substantial training in Public Health or advanced degree in Medical/Cultural/ Social Anthropology.

- Specialized training in participatory approaches; participatory research.

- Specialized training in emergency/disaster/outbreak response.

- Training in impact evaluation of community engagement/social mobilization interventions.



- At least seven years relevant experience at international level in conducting social science research for public health interventions; or health promotion; or community engagement; or social mobilization programmes.

- At least two (2) years of professional work experience in emergency settings.


- Experience in operational research in social sciences for public health and emergency response.

- Experience in disease outbreak response. 

- Prior work experience with WHO/UN. 

Use of Language Skills

- Excellent knowledge of English or French or Arabic (depending on the country of assignment). Working knowledge of another WHO official language would be an asset.

Other Skills (e.g. IT)

- Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Office applications (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, SharePoint, and Excel).

- Familiarity with the use survey tools, analysis tools and web-based platforms for coordination. 

Multiple contractual arrangement
Job type
Permanent full-time
Social Science Interventions Team
Applications close
Sunday 20 August 2017