Associate Protection Officer

UNV - United Nations Volunteers


Mission and objectives

UNHCR works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home. 
Since 1950, UNHCR has provided support in the face of multiple crises globally, and provided vital assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people, many of whom have nobody left to turn to. 
UNHCR helps save lives and build better futures for millions forced from their homes. 


Colombia is the country most impacted by the outflow of over 7.2 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants, hosting over 2.9 million Venezuelans, the majority of whom are in the process of regularization. In addition and despite the 2016 Peace Agreement, conflict and armed violence continue to uproot Colombians (an estimated 955,000 people newly displaced by the internal conflict since November 2016) and, in a growing and worrying trend, also Venezuelans and other nationalities. Afro-Colombians and indigenous people continue to be disproportionally affected by large-group displacement events and confinements, particularly in the Pacific Coast. UNHCR and partners work to strengthen preventive actions as well as to respond to emergencies, providing protection and solutions for the people with and for whom UNHCR works.
Over 2.9 million Venezuelans who live in Colombia have registered to benefit from the Temporary Protection Status (TPS), issued by the Government of Colombia in February 2021. The TPS provides a 10-year protection status and access to a full range of rights including healthcare, education, formal employment, and financial inclusion. More than 1.6 million permits have been delivered, however, challenges remain in terms of access to rights and services. Xenophobia against Venezuelans persists, as misinformation and the perceptions that Venezuelans will take away job opportunities from Colombians, fuel general discontent. UNHCR supports the TPS roll-out and believes it is a promising pathway for addressing the vulnerable situation of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, and continues to work towards durable solutions.
Mixed movements of refugees and migrants continue to increase in the region, including more than 240,000 transiting through the Darien in 2022 and up to 400,000 persons estimated for 2023. UNHCR continues to advocate for the expansion of lawful pathways, including resettlement, that avoid the risk of irregular, dangerous journeys, while, at the same time, preserving the fundamental human right to seek asylum.

Task description

Under the direct supervision of the Head of Sub Office, the UN Volunteer will undertake the following tasks:
– Apply and contribute to the design of comprehensive national and regional strategies for durable solutions based on a community-based approach to protection.
– Stay abreast of political, social, economic, and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.
– Implement activities following the comprehensive solutions strategy, to find durable solutions to the maximum number of persons of Concern (PoCs).
– Provide functional and administrative support in all protection-related AGD (Age, Gender and Diversity) -based programming with implementing and operational partners, and provide advice for improvements.
– Engage in productive dialogues with key actors around solutions, promoting a whole-of-society approach, including the academy, the private sector, and development entities. Participate in the planning of, and advise on opportunities for alternative solutions, including available regional and national legal frameworks.
– Participate in consultative processes within UNHCR and with a broad range of regional and national external partners, to promote voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement.
– Meet PoC, assess their durable solutions needs, and identify the most appropriate solutions for them.
– Analyze statistics, trends, and other documents, and draft reports.
– Liaise with relevant UNHCR units to guarantee the “solutions from the start” approach in the MFT (Multi Functional Teams).
– Conduct protection/resettlement interviews as required, in line with applicable SOPs.
– Perform other related duties as required.
Furthermore, UN Volunteers are encouraged to integrate the UN Volunteers programme mandate within their assignment and promote voluntary action through engagement with communities in the course of their work. As such, UN Volunteers should dedicate a part of their working time to some of the following suggested activities:
– Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and take active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark International Volunteer Day);
– Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country;
– Provide annual and end of assignment self- reports on UN Volunteer actions, results and opportunities.
– Contribute with articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, e
– Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly-arrived UN Volunteers;
– Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering, or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible.
Results/expected outputs
As an active UNHCR team member, efficient, timely, responsive, client-friendly and high-quality support rendered to UNHCR and its beneficiaries in the accomplishment of her/his functions, including:
• The protection needs of populations of concern are met through the application of International and National Law, relevant UN/UNHCR protection standards;
• Effective and timely support is provided for the development of a clear and coherent community-based protection strategy that incorporates a comprehensive age, gender and diversity analysis, and reflects the Organization’s global, regional and national priorities;
• The participation of persons of concern is assured through continuous assessment and evaluation using participatory, rights and community based approaches, ensuring that UNHCR is accountable to persons of concern;
• Protection incidents and gaps in assistance are immediately identified and addressed;
• The development of capacity through coaching, mentoring and formal on-the-job training, when working with (including supervising) national staff or (non-) governmental counterparts, including Implementing Partners (IPs);
• Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) perspective is systematically applied, integrated and documented in all activities throughout the assignment;
• A final statement of achievements towards volunteerism for peace and development during the assignment, such as reporting on the number of volunteers mobilized, activities participated in and capacities developed

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