UNHCR Innovation Officer Jobs in Kenya

UNHCR Innovation Officer Jobs in Kenya

Nature of the Position

  • The Innovation Service is mandated to help nurture and support a culture of innovation within UNHCR. The service works closely with country operations, regional bureaux and HQ based divisions and services in the pursuit for more efficient, effective, and creative solutions to challenges that refugees and forcibly displaced populations face.

  • The service does this by rethinking the way UNHCR works, the way it involves Refugees and forcibly displaced populations in the design of the programs, and the way it looks at good practices in the humanitarian, development and private sectors. For the advertised position, the Innovation Officer is responsible for leading the Innovation Service’s Refugee Led Innovation Programme ¿ a new workstream includes oversight of a Refugee-led Innovation Fund aimed to ensure that forcibly displaced persons are at the centre of designing and developing innovative solutions to complex challenges.

  • The Officer will oversee the implementation of the programme which includes the set-up and roll out of the programme, delivery of projects supported by the fund, mobilization of resources, building partnerships, engagement with UNHCR¿s bureaux and operations, and documenting lessons learned. The Refugee Led Innovation Programme helps realize UNHCR¿s commitments to Accountability to Affected People by placing communities at the centre of the organization’s innovation work, it will also help realize UNHCR¿s localization agenda by ensuring resources are made available to affected communities.

  • The Innovation Officer will need to leverage their experience working with refugee led/community-based organizations and funding mechanisms to establish a robust and inclusive pilot; in the longer term the Innovation Officer will need to identify pathways to scaling a) the fund itself and b) initiatives developed by refugee-led organizations.

    Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

  • UNHCR¿s Innovation Service aims to create an enabling environment for innovation to flourish in UNHCR by equipping staff with the knowledge, resources, and skills they need to use innovation as a tool to solve challenges.

  • The Innovation Service facilitates creative problem-solving alongside colleagues, partners, and refugees, generating new and needed, multi-disciplinary approaches that benefit displaced communities and the Organization.

  • All team members are expected to be able to work on a range of projects in a collaborative manner regardless of subject area and geographic location (HQ, Multi-Country or Country Office). At times this means working directly with the High Commissioner¿s team, at other times with the Division of Human Resources, with a remote field operation in an emergency, or in a CRRF operation. As such, the incumbent is experienced in using innovation processes and methodologies through which to innovate, on a wide-range of challenges faced by refugees, UNHCR staff, and partner staff, agnostic of subject area.


  • Lead and contribute to innovation projects and programmes (both within the service and at organizational level), including research, design, planning, coordination, implementation and monitoring functions as and when requested /appropriate.

  • Support UNHCR colleagues in identifying pressing challenges in their context and co-develop novel and creative solutions by drawing on a broad range of innovation approaches, frameworks and methods.

  • Cultivate and manage diverse strategic relationships with both UNHCR and external partners, including consultants, donors and subject matter experts, academia, civil society and private sector organisations.

  • Proactively solicit and exchange views and methods, ensuring that relevant and promising lessons learned are incorporated from broader ecosystems into UNHCR¿s work.

  • Support fundraising opportunities for project
    partners or UNHCR field operations, either through the application and management of a fund or supporting projects managed by innovation fund opportunities.

  • Work with strategic communications, designers and writers to develop and produce compelling written and visual material to advance the goals of the Innovation Service.

  • Promote and support a culture of innovation, learning, risk-taking, diversity and inclusion within operations, teams and across portfolios.

  • Remain up-to-date on new innovations, approaches and technologies, particularly those that could be potentially applied to the humanitarian sector and/or forced displacement settings.

  • Document and share insights on innovation in UNHCR as a way of strengthening the Innovation Service¿s work and building internal credibility for innovation as a respected source of good ideas and tested approaches.

  • Facilitate dialogues and workshops to make innovation accessible to UNHCR peers by guiding them through problem exploration, solution design and experimentation.

  • Ensure that Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) sensitive analyses, rights and community-based approaches inform human-centred design processes.

  • Apply relevant research, evidence and data-driven decision making to support UNHCR and Partners in the improvement of services and programmes, as well as innovative approaches through assisting in documenting, codifying and disseminating key programme processes and lessons learned.

  • Perform other related duties as required.

    Minimum Qualifications

  • Education & Professional Work Experience

  • Years of Experience / Degree Level

  • For P3/NOC - 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

    Field(s) of Education

  • Social Sciences, Science, Technology, Engineering, Humanities, Administration, Management, or other relevant field.

  • (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)

    Relevant Job Experience


  • Experience of forging and/or maintaining partnerships and collaborative working methods, simultaneously with a range of stakeholders, including private sector entities, donor governments, civil society, communities of concern, INGO, NNGO, and other UN entities.

  • Experience applying innovation and/or innovative methodologies in forced displacement contexts. Significant experience of providing support to a range of operations through capacity building around scale, evidence building and provision of guidance and creation of tools.

  • Experience managing budgets for innovation activities, including experimentation. Experience delivering training, and knowledge transfer to partners and UNHCR staff. Experience working in organisations with multi-year planning processes, such as development agencies, whether governmental, UN, or other.


  • A strong understanding of theory, principles, established approaches and evidence concerning effective innovation and programme design.

  • Experience working for research and development organisations, producing data and evidence for key decisions to be made. Experience supervising people in international organisations.


  • English – mandatory. Any other UN language is a plus.

    Additional Relevant Skills

  • CL-Programme/Project Mgmt (formulation, implementation, programme cycles and reporting)

  • PR-Community-based Protection - Coordination and project management Mandatory

  • PR-Community-based Protection - Community engagement and capacity building Mandatory

  • CB-Communication with Communities (e.g. community outreach, sensitisation, feedback)on CBI Desirable

    How to Apply

  • For more information and job application details, see; UNHCR Innovation Officer Jobs in Kenya

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