Digital Social Protection Specialist, Regional Bureau for Western Africa (RBD)

World Food Programme

🚩 Vacancy Announcement n°: 160048

📢 Job Title: Digital Social Protection Specialist, (RBD)

📌Type of Contract: Consultancy – Level 2

➡️ Unit / Division: Programme Support Unit

📍 Duty Station: Dakar, Senegal

➡️ Duration: 11 months


About WFP:

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. The mission of WFP is to help the world achieve Zero Hunger in our lifetimes. Every day, WFP works worldwide to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry and that the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and children, can access the nutritious food they need.

To learn more about WFP, visit our website and follow us on social media to keep up with our latest news: LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Social protection is an increasingly popular strategy for governments to reduce extreme poverty, hunger, and inequalities and promote access to essential needs for the most vulnerable. Virtually every country in the world has at least one social protection scheme in place, and 3.5 billion people are already covered by some type of social protection benefits.

As a global leader in fighting hunger and malnutrition worldwide, the World Food Programme (WFP) is increasingly called upon by governments to support national social protection systems. In 2020, WFP partnered with governments in 78 countries to strengthen their national social protection systems, making support for social protection an integral part of its activities in most of the countries where it operates. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, lives, and livelihoods of the most vulnerable were put at risk across the globe, undermining decades of progress toward the SDGs. In response to this, many governments are currently adapting and/or putting new social protection schemes in place.

Government demand for WFP’s technical expertise in social protection frequently has digital components. Organizationally, WFP is managing numerous ongoing and burgeoning high-profile engagements with governments to help strengthen their social protection digitalization agendas. This position will be focused on supporting the Regional Bureau for Western Africa (RBD).

WFP RBD seeks dedicated technical advisory to help country offices (COs) maintain strategic and programmatic priorities at the forefront of their engagement with Governments on the digital social protection agenda. This role requires an individual who is confident in forecasting opportunities, risks, and potential pathways to support governments in their digitalization endeavours, while also having a keen ability to translate complex concepts to non-technical audiences to better inform decision making. This includes distilling key implications of digital social protection agendas to programme staff, senior management, advisory counterparts, and government partners.

What will you do in this position?

This role will be expected to ground social protection digital advisory from a programmatic perspective, continually liaising with other relevant departments and programme teams such as Legal, Technology (TEC), and Cash-Based Transfers (CBT) to ensure consistency in approach and advisory when assisting government-led digitalisation. The ideal candidate will be conversant in social protection programming and its relevant stakeholders, while also being comfortable shepherding multi-stakeholder digital transformation efforts.

The Regional Bureau seeks a Digital Social Protection Specialist (CST 2) to design and support its portfolio of ongoing and burgeoning digital social protection engagements. The incumbent will operate under the direct supervision of the Regional social protection advisor and will be responsible for:

Technical Support to Country Offices

  • Act as RBD’s digital social protection focal point, ensuring clear and strong connections between field operations, Regional Bureau, and Headquarters across all relevant departments (i.e. SP, CBT, Legal, TEC)
  • Provide frontline advisory support to COs at the field, programme, and senior management levels regarding digital social protection assistance to governments
  • Lead strategic risk analyses on comprehensive digital engagements, request for technical support, and otherwise as related to governments in the region
  • Coordinate feasibility studies need assessments and other scoping exercises in partnership with relevant departments
  • Help COs navigate complex issues related to data governance/sharing (including supporting privacy impact assessments (PIA) and the application of global data sharing protocols)
  • Road-mapping government engagements, facilitating cross-functional collaboration and input gathering with other units (e.g. TEC)

Strategic direction and guidance

  • Apply WFP’s evolving global practice and standards to regional priorities, using guidance to articulate and communicate WFP’s role in the digital social protection space and formulate partnerships with key actors
  • Provide solid technical leadership on a broad range of strategically important and complex digital social protection issues and government requests, often in support of senior stakeholders. Including but not limited to government-led data protection policies, identity management architecture, interoperability standards
  • Help COs define and prioritize programmatically relevant entry points regarding digital assistance to governments, in strong collaboration with CBT and TEC colleagues
  • Contextualize corporate policies and strategies pertinent to digital social protection to local contexts and provide guidance to COs on their implementation.
  • Support stakeholder and systems mapping, including inputs to ongoing studies or initiatives related to digital capacity assessments, management information systems (MIS) mappings, etc.
  • Support capacity strengthening throughout the region, identifying opportunities to exchange knowledge, learnings, and good practice across COs and other Regional Bureaus


Education: Advanced University degree, or University degree with experience and training/courses in one or more of the following disciplines: Public Policy, Public Administration, International Development, Social Sciences, International Relations, Sociology, or other fields relevant to social protection, or Systems Engineering.

Experience: 8 or more years of professional experience related to national development programmes, policies, strategies or plans and institutional structures, with a focus on government-led digitalization agendas. Preferably in relation to social protection and/or revolving around food security and/or nutrition and/or emergency responses:

  • Has worked with government agencies and gained experience with digital change management from policy and implementation cycles
  • Has experience working across the policy and programme cycle management, especially in cross-department or cross-Ministry initiatives. (e.g. Social Affairs, ICT)
  • Has direct experience working across various programme types relevant to social protection (e.g. cash-transfer programmes, school feeding, public works/food assistance for assets, insurance programmes)
  • Has managed discussions with experts in other sectors of WFP expertise e.g., VAM, Nutrition, Supply Chain, Technology, etc.
  • Has experience managing and advising substantial components of a complex programme
  • Has experience leading a substantive team
  • Has taken leadership in implementing humanitarian or developmental projects with digital outcomes

Knowledge & Skills:

  • Understanding of Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 and respective targets – particularly SDG1, SDG2 and SDG17 – and how the work of WFP can contribute to achieving them
  • Knowledge of the World Food Programme Strategy for Support to Social Protection – 2021
  • Knowledge of current thinking and developments in the field of social protection and public policy and implications on digital strategies and architectures
  • Knowledge of current thinking and developments in-country capacity strengthening and effective knowledge transfer models, concepts, and principles
  • Knowledge of key national and regional contexts and issues as related to government-led digitalization
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Aptitude for supervising, guiding and empowering staff
  • Ability to develop and maintain relationships with a variety of stakeholders, conveying an informed and professional demeanour toward internal and external partners and stakeholders
  • Ability to analyse and synthesize quantitative and qualitative information to contextual understanding of current and future social protection needs and identify practical solutions that are digitally enabled
  • Learning and teaching agility, and appetite for exploring and experimenting with new ideas and approaches in collaboration with other departments and stakeholders
  • Demonstrated ability to produce high-quality written outputs and ability to present in English and the working language
  • Ability to work independently in a timely and organised manner
  • Ability to work as part of a team, participate in open dialogues and value diverse opinions of others, regardless of gender, culture, background, experience, or country assignment


  • Fluency in French and English languages

How to apply

Follow the link below to apply: