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Senior Project Lead


Post Number : ED 754

Grade : P-5

Parent Sector : Education Sector (ED)

Duty Station: Multiple

Job Family: Education

Type of contract : Project Appointment

Duration of contract : 1 year

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 9-OCT-2020 (EXTENDED)


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism


The post of Senior Project Lead (Spotlight Report) will be based in Paris or in one of the following duty stations: Dakar, Senegal or Nairobi, Kenya.

The initial contract duration is for one year and may be renewed subject to availability of funds and satisfactory performance.


The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) is an editorially independent, authoritative, and evidence-based annual report that monitors progress towards the global education goal and targets adopted by the UN in September 2015. The Report is developed by an independent team and published annually by UNESCO; it is widely recognized as an indispensable reference tool for global education policy leaders.
In collaboration with the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), the GEM Report is launching the development of a Spotlight report series – a country-focused accountability tool on education.
Building upon and strengthening existing education sector processes at country level, the Spotlight report aims to place easily understood, evidence-based and compelling diagnostics in the hands of education leaders and advocates. The series will put the spotlight on education progress, in terms of access, equity, quality, learning and finance in primary and lower secondary education in up to 40 countries in Africa as measured by the two global indicators: the completion rate and the percentage of children achieving minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics. Unlike other GEM Report products, the Spotlight report series will be produced annually, focusing on a dozen countries per year, of which four each year would be analyzed in greater depth.

Long Description

Under the overall authority and immediate supervision of the GEM Report Director, the Senior Project Lead will take responsibility for supporting the strategic development of the GEM Report Spotlight series – a new GEM Report project focused on completing and learning in primary and lower secondary education in Africa. The incumbent will be responsible for the following major activities:

Lead the project development

  • Finalize the project vision, objectives and workplan for approval by its Steering Committee.
  • Refine and develop the project investment case and fundraising plan.
  • Organize and facilitate Steering Committee meetings and updates, ensuring recommendations are incorporated into the project workplan.
  • Identify risks that threaten the delivery of results and mitigating actions to manage these.
  • In collaboration with ED/HR, manage the recruitment and selection process of project staff. Manage and guide the project staff.
  • Communicate regularly with the GEM Report team on project progress.
  • Represent the project and communicate its vision and objectives.
  • Prepare the necessary project reporting documentation.
Long Description

Manage effective partnerships with national, regional and global organizations and mechanisms

  • In collaboration with the GEM Report Director, establish communication channels and collaboration arrangements with key regional organizations, notably the African Union and Regional Economic Communities, to promote the policy areas championed by the Spotlight series into regional and sub-regional policy dialogue processes.
  • Establish communication channels and collaboration arrangements with national partners, especially in the focus countries, notably with the government and parliamentarians but also with the research community, civil society and local development partners, where possible through the Local Education Group, to ensure the relevance of project activities, feed relevant information into the project workplan and report content, and promote the policy areas championed by the Spotlight series into the national policy dialogue and decision making processes.
  • Establish and maintain communication channels with international development partners to ensure the relevance of project activities and feed relevant information on their country-level activities into the project workplan and report content.
  • In collaboration with the Senior Communication and Advocacy Specialist, develop a tailored national, regional and global engagement and advocacy approach.
  • In collaboration with the GEM Report Director, manage the partnership with the Association for the Development of Education in Africa and monitor the implementation of the workplan.
Long Description

Develop the content of the first issue of the Spotlight report

  • Finalize the identification of countries to be covered in the first, second and (indicatively) third editions of the Spotlight report based on opportunities for change, political context, presence of effective policy leaders and advocates, country-level partnership opportunities and entry-points/opportunities to facilitate country agency and regional representation.
  • Finalize the analytical research framework, report structure and writing style for the Spotlight series.
  • In collaboration with the Senior Policy Analyst (monitoring) and key education data partners (e.g. UIS, IIEP World Bank, PAL Network, etc.), reflect the latest data available informs the analysis presented in the Spotlight series.
  • In collaboration with the GEM Report Director, lead on the development of the outline and draft of the 2022 Spotlight series.
  • Identify experts to be contracted for country-level analysis in countries of focus.
  • Facilitate the establishment of the Expert Review Group, ensuring excellent technical expertise of education issues in Africa, geographical and gender balance.
COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)
Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Building partnerships (M)
Driving and managing change (M)
Leading and empowering others (M)
Making quality decisions (M)
Managing performance (M)
Strategic thinking (M)
For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in education, development studies, economics, sociology, social policy, or other related social science discipline. 

Work experience

  • A minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience engaging in national and international education planning processes (e.g. education sector analysis, education sector planning, GPE or other major donor country programme) and/or education programming, of which preferably 5 years at international level.
  • Experience working in Africa.
  • Experience in collaborating with a diverse set of national authorities, partners and donors using data and evidence to inform education system priorities. 
  • Proven record of publications, particularly in peer reviewed journals.
  • Experience in managing and supervising staff.


  • Excellent understanding of the state of basic education in Africa, with proven knowledge of at least two of the following three areas: 1.financing, including knowledge of the public and international financial management and policy cycles; 2.quality, including teachers; and 3.data analysis and visualization skills. 
  • Strong analytical research thinking, including excellent analytical and drafting skills, with understanding of existing education frameworks. 
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate complex data and research findings to specialized and non-specialized audiences, including an ability to place recommendations in context.
  • Strong networking skills and demonstrated ability to function successfully in a politically demanding environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead teams through complex, ambiguous and novel tasks.
  • Demonstrated ability to  work independently and effectively, with sensitivity across barriers such as language, culture and distance.
  • Commitment to maintain GEM Report’s editorial independence, while satisfying UNESCO administrative requirements.


  • Excellent command of English or French, (both written and spoken) and a good level of the other language.

Work experience

  • Experience in producing high quality analytical reports on education.


  • Knowledge of other official UNESCO languages (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).

UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.


For more information in benefits and entitlements, please consult ICSC website.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.


The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 


UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.


Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States (last update here) are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.