Social Safeguards Specialist

Higher Education Development Project



Social Safeguards Specialist



Afghan policy makers perceive higher education as a vital engine of growth and development. The higher education system produces a pool of high level human resources, including policy makers, administrators, managers, entrepreneurs, engineers, medical personnel, highly skilled technicians, as well as qualified teachers and academics, that are essential for economic development. The availability of such a pool of well-educated human resources will be of central importance for the overall future development of the country. Recognizing this, the Government of Afghanistan and the World Bank (WB) have agreed to support the higher education sector through a Higher Education Operation that will succeed the previous Strengthening Higher Education Project (SHEP). The new Higher Education Development Project (HEDP) will support the overall Government’s own effort to expand and strengthen its higher education sector.




The proposed project contains two components: (1) A program component that finances strategic initiatives to develop the higher education sector. The strategic initiatives are (a) increasing participation in universities in priority degree programs for national economic development, (b) modernizing and enhancing the quality and relevance of teaching and learning; (c) expanding the professional qualifications and skills of academic and technical staff; (d) strengthening governance, quality assurance and accreditation; and (e) stimulating development orientated research. And (2) a program operations and technical support component that would support project coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, research activities, human resource development for academic managers and administrative and technical staff, policy studies, beneficiary satisfaction surveys, communications and policy dialogues. The Director of the Operations and Monitoring Support Team (OMST) in the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) will coordinate and facilitate the implementation of HEDP in close collaboration with its relevant departments.




Support under OMST will cover coordination, technical assistance (TA), monitoring and evaluation, research and policy studies, and communication. The technical assistance and capacity building activities of this component will assist the MoHE to implement the development initiatives of the NHESP-II. Policy studies could include tracer studies of graduates to analyse their job search and labor market experience, as well as beneficiary satisfaction surveys of staff and students of institutions and programs supported by HEDP. Resources for communication would enable higher education authorities to disseminate development initiatives to political authorities, policy makers, academics, students, and the general public. The team would help MoHE to fine tune policy reforms, such as piloting and evaluating innovative approaches to promote female enrolment in priority programs. Component 2 of the Project will also finance the incremental operating costs of an Operations and Monitoring Support Team (OMST) in the MoHE.


Further to the overall gender/equity objectives of the National Higher Education Strategy, which will guide the development of the gender/equity strategy of the project, the MoHE/OMST has developed an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) and Resettlement Policy Framework (RFP) to manage the environmental and social safeguards aspects of the project.



Objective of the Assignment:


The social safeguards specialist shall be responsible for: a) being be able to fulfil the duties and mainstreaming Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) b) identify the potential social safeguards issues within the project activities; c) provide technical assistance on mitigation strategies for the potential negative social impacts; d) identify training needs at different levels of HEDP project and of clients and advising on how to fulfil the ESMF  and RPF and citizen Engagement requirements; e) Coordinating environmental and social commitments and initiatives with relevant government agencies.




The main duties and responsibilities of the Social Safeguards Specialist are to:


Social Safeguards


  • Ensure that the project activities follow the guidelines of the ESMF and RPF into overall project operations.
  • Prepare screening list through field observations in order to identify the potential social safeguards issues and prepare a schematic diagram/base map of each scheme and mark the socio-environmental features of the scheme on the diagram.
  • Prepare the site-specific ESMPs based on environmental and social screening survey and field observations considering the ESMF guidelines, the ESMPs will include Monitoring Plan (MPs).
  • Guided by the ESMF and RPF, conduct environmental and social monitoring of the sub-project in association with engineering staff and ensure the implementation of recommendations prescribed in the ESMPs.
  • Ensure that the land acquisitions approaches are in full compliance with project ESMF and PRF and ensure proper recoding of land documents and prepare abbreviated Resettlement Action Plan if required.
  • To provide technical assistance to clients on mitigation strategies and requirements for the potential negative social impacts.
  • Provide training to HEDP Project’s staff on overall ESMF and RPF trainings and awareness raising of contractors on their immediate requirements to ensure compliance with ESMF and RPF.
  • Support the project team on implementation of Citizen Engagement mechanisms and ensure the delivery of satisfaction surveys with the level of affordability and reliability of services.
  • Ensure implementation of Grievance Redress Mechanism which will include the grievance handling procedures, channels, grievance database in order to ensure that all registered complains are addressed properly.
  • Prepare Grievance Redress Mechanism training materials which to be disseminated among the project staff and project beneficiaries and establish functional GRM system.
  • Conduct training and awareness raising of the project staff and contractors on GRM utilization and functionally.
  • Prepare safeguard training plan which will cover the social safeguard, environmental and GRM aspects.
  • Ensure that grievance redress mechanism (GRM) is functional and its outcome is included in reporting system.
  • Conduct a cross-checking and vetting of specification conflicts, tender, and contract documents, making them suitably orientated towards the social needs of the residents in the area.
  • Help strengthen capacity for managing Social concerns of the relevant staff and the contractors working with HEDP project.
  • Develop safeguards reporting formats and maintaining social records on established formats.
  • Develop and submit the safeguards monitoring reports to project director on monthly basis; which to be reflected in the progress report to the World Bank.
  • Contribute to capacity building for project staff and partner agencies, training and other dissemination efforts on social safeguards.
  • Addressing the social inclusion of the poor, vulnerable and excluded groups/students and ensuring compliance with social safeguards are included in regular reporting mechanisms.
  • Work closely with environmental safeguards colleague(s) and maintain close linkage for flow of information between the World Bank and the project regarding safeguard issues in project implementation.





The position is for the duration of the project with annual contracts renewed based on performance, subject to satisfactory performance. There will be a probation period of three months. Annual performance evaluations will be organized by the Director OMST. Feedback will be obtained from the MoHE and universities for the performance evaluation.



  • Master’s degree in the Social Sciences or Social Development from a recognized university.
  • Good knowledge of computer packages, including MS Power Point, MS Word and Ms. Excel is required.
  • Full working knowledge (in writing and orally) of English and Pashto and/or Dari


  1. b) Experience:
  • Five years of relevant professional experience in a government, NGO/donor agency or International Agency context, including experience working in the field;
  • At least one of year experience with community mobilization activities and empowerment of local actors;
  • Proven capacity to organize training activities in the field and to coordinate with implementing partners;













  • Ability to speak, read and write excellent English, produce project reports in English for regular and continuous presentations and computer literate
  • Ability to interact with senior academics and administrative staff in the universities
  • Ability to work with and be a partner of a team of diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to work efficiently and to meet deadlines
  • Ability to function effectively in a team environment inspiring trust and cooperation of other team members
  • Strong communication, negotiating skills and good interpersonal relations




  • Good knowledge of local administrative, budgetary and financial practices
  • Effective human resource management skills
  • Effective Project Management Skills
  • Basic knowledge of Procurement and Logistics Management
  • Ability to work in crisis management
  • Effective organisational and administrative skills
  • Good knowledge of employment and economic development issues
  • Be able to communicate effectively both in the written and oral mode
  • Be culturally sensitive and possess good interpersonal skills
  • Be a self-starter and be able to work without supervision
  • Be well organised, reliable and able to deliver quality outcomes on time
  • Possess critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Must be willing to travel throughout Afghanistan