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Director, Regional Support Team, East & Southern Africa

UNAIDS is going through an exciting time of change and transformation under the new Executive Director. As Director of the Regional Support Team for East and Southern Africa, you will play a pivotal role in influencing and shaping policy around HIV/AIDS while ensuring it stays high on the agenda of national governments in the region and world leaders. In this unique and influential role, you will provide thought leadership in the region on issues closely related to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention such as gender, education and human rights. You will lead on translating the new global strategy to one that serves this important region that carries the highest burden of HIV/AIDS.


UNAIDS is leading the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Since it started operations in 1996, UNAIDS has led and inspired global, regional, national and local leadership, innovation and partnership to ultimately consign HIV to history. UNAIDS provides the strategic direction, advocacy, coordination and technical support needed to catalyse and connect leadership from governments, the private sector and communities to deliver life-saving HIV services. 

UNAIDS is the only cosponsored Joint Programme in the United Nations system. It draws on the experience and expertise of 11 United Nations system cosponsors and is the only United Nations entity with civil society represented on its governing body.

The Secretariat has offices in 70 countries, with 70% of its staff based in the field, and has a budget of USD 140 million for 2018 with the budget for the Joint Programme being USD 242 million for the same year.

About the Role

The Director of the Regional Support Team for East and Southern Africa is a unique and important role that oversees Country Directors in 17 country offices spread out across the region. The role is a coordinating one, ensuring that all stakeholders including UNAIDS cosponsors, civil society organisations, governments and also communities a re working together to tackle issues around HIV.

Purpose of the Role

Provide leadership and coordinate support for an expanded UN system response to ending the AIDS epidemic at regional and country level. Promote, support and provide guidance to regional and national partners and the UN system in reaching Global AIDS targets by 2020 with a Fast-Track approach to rapidly scale up HIV services focused on populations and in locations most affected by the epidemic. Promote effective use of strategic information and documentation of trends on the epidemic and the response as well as provide intellectual leadership on the status of the response to HIV in the region.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the guidance of the Executive Director, the incumbent is responsible for:

1. UN system strengthening at the country level

  • Formulate, promote and lead the implementation of regional strategies, processes and programmes in line with UNAIDS strategic priorities.
  • Coordinate the development, implementation, monitoring and reporting of work to strengthen UN country team responses to ending the AIDS epidemic.
  • Implement and strengthen thematic groups with country teams and partners to ensure effective UN country team responses.
  • Develop plans to strengthen the relevance, consistency and effectiveness of UN system country-level support.
  • Ensure the provision of policy, programming and organizational development advice to country teams in support of the implementation of their work plans.
  • Explore and facilitate the application of the United Nations Development Group Office (UNDGO) guidance on joint programming and resource management.
  • Monitor implementation of initiatives and report on progress, constraints and issues.
  • Oversee the development of sub-regional advocacy strategies on key issues (e.g access to prevention and treatment, 90-90-90, women/adolescent girls and HIV, key populations).

2. Advocacy, resource mobilization and partnership development

  • Lead the response to HIV across the sub-region and continent, engaging effectively with key partners such as Heads of State, Governments and Ministers to keep HIV and health high on the political agenda.
  • Coordinate contact and liaison with intergovernmental organizations, donors, civil society organizations, and the private sector.
  • Convene regular partner meetings and provide authoritative advice to enable epidemic and response monitoring, information exchange and substantive discussion on issues of interest to UNAIDS.
  • Provide guidance to and advocate with UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) in the development, implementation and monitoring of inter-agency work to achieve agreed deliverables and intensify joint programming opportunities.
  • Make recommendations on UN reform strengthening and acceleration to enable a more effective UN response in Eastern and Southern Africa and make progress towards ending the AIDS epidemic as part of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

3. Guidance, leadership and reporting

  • Provide guidance and leadership to UNAIDS Country Directors (UCDs) and Country Managers (UCMs) in setting ambitious targets and implementing fully costed National Strategic Plans to achieve the targets of the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS and future Member State set targets.
  • Lead and manage the Regional Support Team through the definition of priorities and strategies; team building and development; guiding, motivating and coaching staff; and elaborating work plans and budgets.
  • Establish the institutional arrangements and capacities required to provide substantive and coordinated support for UN country teams, inter-agency collaboration, advocacy and partner coordination in Eastern and Southern Africa.
  • Effectively supervise staff within the regional support team, with a particular focus on resolving conflict and promoting and embracing diversity.
  • Monitor and keep senior management apprised of progress in strengthening the UN system response to HIV at the country and sub-regional levels.
  • Facilitate inter-agency collaboration in tracking the epidemic and the response.
  • Oversee the preparation of periodic reports on sub-regional trends in the response for use by UNAIDS and UNDG.

4. Regional level coordination of the UN system response to HIV

  • Convene regular meetings of cosponsor Regional Directors and RCs to oversee and support progress in strengthening UN country team responses to HIV.
  • Ensure effective communication and liaison with all UN system regional offices and regional and inter-country technical support teams.
  • Establish mechanisms to facilitate effective communication and coordination between offices within the region.
  • Maintain effective liaison with and provide technical support to the Global Fund, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and donors to maximise funding to national programmes and projects in Eastern and Southern Africa.

5. Regional technical support platforms

  • Provide overall leadership, coordination and support for the development and functioning of technical support hubs in key thematic areas and joint or collaborative UN Programming initiatives to expand HIV-related responses.

6. Representation

  • Represent UNAIDS at high-level national, regional and international fora, promoting and advancing/influencing the position and priorities of UNAIDS.
  • Represent the Eastern and Southern Africa region in Senior Management Team (SMT) meetings, implement and monitor the decentralization process in decision-making in the Secretariat and participate in virtual teams across issue areas.
  • In collaboration with UNAIDS Country Directors, the RST Director is responsible for ensuring a collaborative and supportive work environment for all UNAIDS staff in the region, centred on shared commitment to UNAIDS’ mandate, with zero bullying, harassment, discrimination or abuse of authority.

Skills and Experience

  • Advanced university degree at Master’s level in development, economics, social science, public health, public administration, and/or related field. For internal candidates, a first university degree and 17 years of experience will be considered as equivalent.
  • A minimum of 15 years of work experience leading, managing and implementing development or cooperation programmes at the international and national level, of which a minimum of ten years’ experience in developing countries. 
  • More than ten years’ experience managing diverse teams. 
  • Experience in the UN and/or in an international organization.
  • Complementarity with UNAIDS’ values: commitment to the AIDS response, integrity, and respect for diversity
  • Advanced level of English; working knowledge of another UN language desirable