STAFF COUNSELLOR, P3 at UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – OCHA


Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Regional Office for Southern & Eastern Africa in the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Nairobi, Kenya, and under the Duty of Care, Wellbeing & Capacity Development Section within the Executive Office. OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response efforts. OCHA’s mission is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate for the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention and facilitate sustainable solutions.
OCHA’s Staff Welfare team, within which this position is situated, is dedicated to supporting the psycho-social well-being of all OCHA staff and their families. The team provides resources, materials, training and support. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, stress and anxiety for all staff has increased significantly and so has the need for psychosocial support.
The Staff Counsellor is also a member of the UN Staff/Stress Counsellor Group and the incumbent adheres to its professional and ethical standards including confidentiality and other technical issuances.
The incumbent will report to the Chief Staff Counsellor who is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and to the Head of OCHA Regional Office for Southern & Eastern Africa.


Within delegated authority, the Staff Counsellor will be responsible for the following duties:
Employee Assistance Programmes to reduce stress and promote wellbeing:

  • Develop and implement employee assistance programs and services aimed to reduce stress levels of OCHA staff and associated parties, in particular those who are exposed to severe emotional and psychological elements related to humanitarian response.
  • The STAFF COUNSELLOR will Assist OCHA managers to identify and resolve issues and situations in OCHA’s operations which may induce stress and stress related symptoms.
  • Participate in the development, implementation and evaluation of staff wellbeing and mental health programmes/projects, including: monitoring and analyzing programme/project development and implementation; reviewing relevant documents and reports; identifying challenges and issues to be addressed and proposing supportive actions to overcome them; liaising with relevant parties; identifying and tracking follow-up actions.
    Informal resolution of workplace relationship matters:
  • Support the informal resolution of workplace relationship matters; assist all parties concerned to find agreements suitable to all; liaise with other relevant stakeholders.
  • Participate in the development of policies and procedures governing employee relations and safety issues, identify potential areas or issues that would benefit from stress-reducing measures (e.g., staff/relations, gender and cross-cultural management issues, contingency procedures etc.) and propose or recommend possible solutions.
  • Collaborate closely with the Office of the Ombudsman and the Ethics Office.
    Counselling on private issues:
  • STAFF COUNSELLOR Provide a professional space for staff to talk about their feelings and any personal challenges in a confidential environment. Assess issues, provide support, and refer to internal or ad-hoc local structures when necessary.
    Mental Health related issues:
  • Identify, evaluate, and select appropriate support resources in the local community; establish a network of trained specialists to whom staff and their relatives can be referred.
  • Implement programmes containing individual or group trauma counselling to survivors of critical incidents.
  • STAFF COUNSELLOR Shall Undertake team-building activities and propose measures to reduce stress in the workplace, with due regard to the realities of the humanitarian response at the United Nations system, as well as to legal and other implications.
  • Provide short-term counselling to staff facing mental health challenges.
  • Develop and deliver training activities on crisis and stress management, conflict resolution and related relevant topics.
    Administrative issues:
  • Assist in dealing with local authorities and referral to appropriate local resources for assistance where appropriate.


PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to the management of information in complex emergencies, disaster preparedness, disaster response and early recovery; Ability to identify issues, analyze humanitarian trends and participate in the resolution of issues/problems; Ability to conduct data collection using various methods; Demonstrates conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases; Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities; Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; Is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; Remains calm in stressful situations; Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
COMMUNICATION: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively. Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately. Asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication. Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience. Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
CLIENT ORIENTATION: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.


An advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in clinical psychology, counselling psychology, or in a related academic discipline, supplemented with other relevant studies/extensive courses in psychological assessment, cross-cultural communication, substance abuse, stress management or related field, is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of five (5) years of professional work experience in developing and implementing counselling and Employee Assistance Programmes at international level is required.
Work experience with stress-related management issues applied in field environments is required.
Experience providing counselling and psychological support in an emergency operational setting is desirable.
A minimum of two years within the last five years of international field experience in humanitarian and/or development contexts is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another UN language is desirable.


The evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise, followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

This post is funded for a finite period of at least one year. Extension of the appointment is subject to extension of the mandate and/or the availability of the funds.
Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.
The United Nations is Secretariat and is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for these positions.
An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.
Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.
The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.
Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.
The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.
Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


More Information

  • Job City Nairobi