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Technical Competencies Humanitarian Advisers DfID


									               Humanitarian Technical Competencies Updated August 2011

Technical Competencies: Humanitarian Advisers

The focus of DFID’s Humanitarian Advisory Cadre is to support DFID’s
humanitarian policy as well as humanitarian response in developing countries
– both long term/chronic and acute/rapid onset. Humanitarian Advisers also
have a key role in building resilience and helping reduce the risks of
humanitarian crises including climate change, disasters, food insecurity,
violence or conflict. Humanitarian Advisers do this through:
     Humanitarian risk assessment and analysis
     Managing and planning humanitarian responses
     Understanding of humanitarian theory, practice and architecture

Qualifications and Experience

All Humanitarian Advisers are required to have a minimum of a masters
degree or equivalent level of academic and professional experience in a
subject area clearly related to humanitarian work. In exceptional
circumstances substantial experience will be accepted in lieu of higher
degrees. Knowledge and experience gained working on or in developing
countries and/or in fragile and conflict affected environments, is required.
Humanitarian Advisers are required to demonstrate knowledge and
experience of technical competencies alongside the core DFID competencies.

Competence Levels by Grade

The required competence level at each grade is summarised in Table 1.

    Table 1 - Humanitarian Primary and Specialist Technical Competencies by Grade
                                            A2L/SEO         A2/G7           A1/G6
    Technical Competencies
1   Level of understanding of the required Broad – all  Strong with    Fully proficient
    technical competencies                              depth in some in all aspects
                                                        aspects - all
2   Knowledge of desired technical         Not required One            Both - broad
    competencies                                                       based
    Shared Advisory Competencies
3   Knowledge and understanding of         Not required Yes            Yes to
    shared technical competencies                                      leadership level
    Core DFID Competencies
4   DFID Core Competencies                 At Grade     At Grade       At Grade

               Humanitarian Technical Competencies Updated August 2011

Technical Competencies: Humanitarian

Humanitarian risks      For example, knowledge/understanding of:
assessment and
analysis                        context in which they operate including in particular gender,
                                climate, conflict, and security risks
                                early warning and early response systems
                                humanitarian risk assessment methodologies and analysis
                                humanitarian implications of political, media, scientific, and
                                other non humanitarian reporting
                                government and non government capacities and readiness
                                for humanitarian analysis and response
                        Enabling Advisers to:

                                draw timely, objective and accurate judgments regarding
                                risk reduction and humanitarian response, based on
                                relevant political, social, legal, economic historic and
                                anthropometric analysis and data
                                provide advice to geographic and policy departments
                                regarding the scale, severity and urgency of humanitarian
                                risks, and advise on steps necessary to ensure these
                                adequately and appropriately addressed by DFID and
                                where appropriate, work with geographic and policy
                                departments to strengthen the capacity of governments to
                                plan for and respond to humanitarian crises, and to be
                                accountable for their actions in disaster management
                                contribute to the development of relevant country strategies
                                specifying how humanitarian and developmental resources
                                can be deployed to reduce risk and meet basic needs in
                                line with humanitarian principles
                                work with regional and policy departments to ensure that
                                humanitarian issues are addressed as an integral part of
                                DFID’s work, providing support and advice as required
                                report succinctly and effectively on humanitarian risks.
Planning and managing For example, knowledge/understanding of:
responses                    context, operating environment, including security issues
                             humanitarian principles and best practice
                             the principles of Good Humanitarian Donorship
                             the respective roles and responsibilities of different
                             the repertoire of possible interventions including gender
                             dimensions, the actions required to deliver them and the
                             respective risks associated with them
                             international humanitarian aid architecture
                             humanitarian monitoring and evaluation best practice
                             scale and timing of required responses, and how these
                             relate to other interventions, including developmental ones.

              Humanitarian Technical Competencies Updated August 2011

                       Enabling Advisers to:

                              advise DFID and HMG more broadly on the range of
                              humanitarian options, including on financing and other
                              forms of support, and on when to withdraw humanitarian
                              develop a comprehensive package of responses, including
                              an effective strategy of financial support to relief agencies;
                              effective working with the broader international
                              humanitarian system and other donors; and, where
                              relevant, efforts by the UK and others to support
                              humanitarian diplomacy
                              monitor the performance of key partners, in particular of the
                              UN, in terms of both operational delivery and coordination
                              roles. Analyse more broadly the overall impact and
                              effectiveness of the humanitarian response
                              advise on the balance of risks related to different types of
                              interventions – for example home based v. centre based
                              therapeutic feeding
                              identify the most important constraints on humanitarian
                              interventions, to advise on how these constraints might be
                              removed, and what it means if they cannot.
Humanitarian theory,   For example, knowledge/understanding of:
practice and
architecture                  humanitarian tools, methodologies, theory and practice,
                              survey techniques and other analytical tools
                              HMG and international humanitarian response system,
                              particularly other state supporters of humanitarian
                              responses, the UN, NGOs and Red Cross system. Civil-
                              Military Cooperation (CIMIC) issues, including with
                              Peacekeeping Operations
                              humanitarian standards, human rights, international
                              humanitarian law and other relevant legal and customary
                              expectations of overall systemic performance
                              humanitarian funding mechanisms and associated
                              DFID humanitarian operational and policy objectives
                              UK policies with regard to improving international
                              humanitarian system
                       Enabling Advisers to:

                              have a firm grip on the theoretic and technical
                              underpinnings of humanitarian action
                              understand and advise on the overall international
                              response and the position of UK within this
                              flag up and explain standards and legal issues
                              advise on proper relationships and respective roles of
                              international military and humanitarian engagement
                              ensure that DFID’s response is in line with humanitarian
                              principles and law, and does not inadvertently contribute to
                              increasing the risks facing affected populations
                              promote UK humanitarian reform agenda, and interact with
                              the wider humanitarian community, including donors.

               Humanitarian Technical Competencies Updated August 2011


Disaster Risk            For example, knowledge/understanding of:
Reduction theory,
practice and                     DFID Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Policy and
architecture (required           Implementation Plan
for certain posts)               DRR methodologies, theory, best practice and analytical
                                 DRR programmes, objectives and priorities
                                 indicators for monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of
                                 DRR programmes, including cost effectiveness
                                 International system and funding mechanisms for DRR,
                                 including the 10% commitment
                                 how DRR applies to different contexts and how it relates to
                                 other sectors, including climate change adaptation, food
                                 security, social protection (safety nets) and the private
                         Enabling Advisers to:

                                 advise DFID on most effective way of implementing the
                                 DRR Policy and ensure current commitments are met by
                                 integrate DRR effectively within DFID’s development and
                                 humanitarian programmes, as well as provide training to
                                 DFID staff
                                 work with other DFID teams which form central
                                 components of the DRR Policy to ensure DRR remains a
                                 key part of their own strategies
                                 monitor performance of key DRR partners, assess impact
                                 of programmes and advise DFID on how they could be
                                 strengthened and improved if appropriate
                                 advise DFID country offices on how DRR can be most
                                 effectively implemented drawing on examples of best
                                 practice in prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response
                                 and recovery
Practical experience of For example, knowledge/understanding of:
running humanitarian
operations                     setting up and running humanitarian operations in the field
                                 leading staff to achieve results in difficult conditions,
                                 including insecure environments
                                 practical problems encountered in the field including
                                 deliberate interference by controlling authorities
                                 Field based co-ordination arrangements.
                                 Supporting DFID country offices in recovery and response

                Humanitarian Technical Competencies Updated August 2011

                          Enabling Advisers to:

                                  have better understanding of the work of concerned
                                  authorities, humanitarian and development agencies in the
                                  play a constructive and supportive role with agencies in
                                  dangerous, isolated or unhealthy environments. Know when
                                  to advocate for improvements – for example increased or
                                  safer air transport
                                  be an effective support to agencies working with local
                                  understand how co-ordination works on the ground, what
                                  are the opportunities and pitfalls.


There are four areas of knowledge and skills are common to all advisory groups. These are
intended to add value to DFID’s professional advisory skill base and the ability of advisers to
meet business needs.

Knowledge and                    The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and
understanding of                  international architecture for aid and development the
international aid                 UN, European Union, G20, International Finance
                                  Institutions, regional institutions and NGOs
                                 Aid instruments and how they are deployed – project
                                  financing, sector-wide approaches, budget support,
                                  technical assistance, results based aid, and global funds
                                 The changing aid landscape and the role of new players –
                                  e.g. emerging economies, BRICS, private foundations,
                                  business and think tanks
                                 The UK international policy framework and its implications
                                  for international development – e.g. trade, security, fragility
                                  and climate change

Collating, analysing      Able to access, critically appraise and use evidence, demonstrating
and presenting            skills in the following areas:
using statistical and              Understand a range of qualitative and quantitative research
wider analytical skills             methodologies including the application of basic statistical
                                Critically appraise* and assess the quality of published
                                    research and other potential sources of evidence
                                Interpretation, use and presentation of data and evidence in
                                    defining policy and practice
                                    Comprehension of key concepts from social and cultural
                                    analysis and basic understanding of the use and application
                                    of political economy analysis
                          *Critical appraisal is the process of carefully and systematically
                          examining research to judge its trustworthiness and its value and
                          relevance in a particular context

                 Humanitarian Technical Competencies Updated August 2011

Economic concepts,              Familiarity with key economic concepts
appraisal and value             Good level of general numeracy
for money                       Understanding economic approaches to project appraisal
                                 and evaluation, including different ways
                                 of measuring efficiency, equity and impact
                                High quality professional input to programme design and
                                 evaluation in line with assessing value for money and

Evaluation and                  Competent (level II or above in DFID’s evaluation
results                          competencies) in applying best practice in evaluation
                                 design, using a range of rigorous methods, and ensuring
                                 high standards of independence and quality
                                Ability to design, commission and manage evaluations
                                 including rigorous impact evaluations, with appropriate
                                 technical support, in line with DFID standards
                                Familiarity with the core concepts underpinning DFID's
                                 approach to results


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