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Cluster Development Expert


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Job Description

3 Year
Male, Female, Both
Master Degree


The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. The mission of UNIDO, as described in the Lima Declaration adopted at the fifteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in 2013 as well as the Abu Dhabi Declaration adopted at the eighteenth session of UNIDO General Conference in 2019, is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States. The relevance of ISID as an integrated approach to all three pillars of sustainable development is recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will frame United Nations and country efforts towards sustainable development. UNIDO’s mandate is fully recognized in SDG-9, which calls to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. The relevance of ISID, however, applies in greater or lesser extent to all SDGs. Accordingly, the Organization’s programmatic focus is structured in four strategic priorities: Creating shared prosperity; Advancing economic competitiveness; Safeguarding the environment; and Strengthening knowledge and institutions.

Each of these programmatic fields of activity contains a number of individual programmes, which are implemented in a holistic manner to achieve effective outcomes and impacts through UNIDO’s four enabling functions: (i) technical cooperation; (ii) analytical and research functions and policy advisory services; (iii) normative functions and standards and quality-related activities; and (iv) convening and partnerships for knowledge transfer, networking and industrial cooperation. Such core functions are carried out in Divisions/Offices in its Headquarters, Regional Offices and Hubs and Country Offices.


The Directorate of Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Industrial Development (TCS), headed by a Managing Director, oversees the Organization’s development of capacities for industrial development as well as industrial policy advice, statistics and research activities and the Organization’s normative contribution to Member States and global development community in achieving the SDGs. The Directorate also ensures the application of strategies and interventions for sustainable industrial development related to Environment, Energy, SMEs, Competitiveness and Job creation, as well as Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence. Through coordination in-house and with Member States and industry stakeholders, it ensures that the services provided in these areas contribute toward effective and appropriate technical, business and policy solutions and are focused on results and on realizing any potential for scaling up and positioning UNIDO as a leading platform for industrial development in developing countries and global fora.


The Directorate houses the technical Divisions of Capacity Development and Industrial Policy Advice (TCS/CAP); Circular Economy and Environmental Protection (TCS/CEP); Decarbonization and Sustainable Energy (TCS/DSE); SMEs, Competitiveness and Job Creation (TCS/SME); and Digital Transformation and AI Strategies (TCS/DAS). The Directorate also ensures close coordination and collaboration among the Divisions as well as with relevant entities in the Directorate of Global Partnerships and External Relations (GLO) and the Directorate of SDG Innovation and Economic Transformation (IET).


This position is located under the Competitiveness, Quality and Compliance Unit (TCS/SME/CQC) which builds national and regional production and quality infrastructure systems, with an emphasis on providing internationally recognized services, facilitating SME participation in regional and global value chains; strengthening institutional quality infrastructure capacities (i.e. standardization, metrology, and accreditation); building conformity assessment capacities (testing, inspection, certification, calibration, etc.); and supporting trade facilitation and quality awareness with the public sector, economic operators and consumers, placing a special emphasis on capacitating SMEs.




SAP ID 230127 (STFA Joint Programme for the South-Eastern Region of Afghanistan: Addressing Basic Human Needs (‘JP-South-Eastern’).


The current situation in Afghanistan continues to call for life-saving assistance and for the provision of essential services to help meet basic human needs among vulnerable communities in the country: against this backdrop, the United Nations remains committed to ‘stay and deliver’ for the people of Afghanistan. The new UN Transitional Engagement Framework (TEF), launched in January 20224, represents the common basis for the United Nations and partners to deliver a coordinated and effective crisis response after the power shift in August 2021.


The programme contributes directly to two main outcomes of the TEF: to sustain essential services (Outcome 2); and to preserve social investments and community level systems essential to meeting basic human needs (Outcome 3). It is part of the unprecedented efforts of the United Nations and partners to ‘deliver as one’ in the new socio-economic and political landscape in Afghanistan. As of April 2022, seventeen Agencies, Funds and Programmes (AFPs) have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as Participating UN Organzations (PUNOs) of the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan (STFA); seven of these PUNOs are implementing partners under this initiative. For the first time, these PUNOs are engaging in such a comprehensive joint programme to deliver assistance with speed and scale on the ground in Afghanistan.


UNIDO’s contribution to the STFA Joint Programme in Southeastern region focuses on economic recovery through enterprise development, which is captured in outcome 2 of the programme, namely:

Outcome 2: By the end of 2025, more people in Afghanistan, notably women and vulnerable groups, will benefit from an increasingly inclusive economy, with greater equality of economic opportunities, jobs, more resilient livelihoods, strengthened food value chains, and improved natural resources management.


To this end, UNIDO will focus on three outputs:


  1. Diagnostics and awareness raising: UNIDO will carry out mapping and identification of potential beneficiaries, conduct market assessment to identify business development and investment opportunities in potential sectors and value chains and finally raise awareness of the potential beneficiaries, through workshops on investment opportunities and project support mechanisms (i.e., technical assistance and grants). All the market assessments, mapping and value chain studies will have a gender focus to identified specific opportunities for supporting women and women-led economic activities.


  1. Technical Assistance: The technical assistance will include provision of training and capacity building in soft and hard skills based on the needs of the target value chains, provision or equipment to individual enterprise or for establishment of common facility centers, and support to formation of clusters for joint business activities and better market access. UNIDO’s technical assistance will draw on various specialized services of UNIDO such as quality, enterprise development, value chain and cluster development, entrepreneurship, human security and poverty reduction.


  1. Co-financing: UNIDO will within the project co-finance investment proposals submitted by entrepreneurs and businesses, which have direct link to project objectives. The grant support will be closely linked with the Technical Assistance and will specifically target investments that involve women as beneficiaries of the business. UNIDO will seek collaboration with other relevant PUNOs in each of the three areas of activities.


UNIDO interventions will be under output 2 of the Joint Programme and Activity 2.3. which directly involves providing asset support (financial, physical and/or technical) to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (formal and informal sectors) with particular focus on women-led business and community-owned social enterprises, with a view to stimulating decent employment opportunities for women and men.


UNIDO target beneficiary groups can be categorized as the following as well as consortia thereof:


  • Micro, small and medium enterprises in manufacturing sector (urban based)
  • Micro, small and medium enterprises in food (agroindustry)
  • Women-led micro, small and medium enterprises
  • Internally displaced people (IDPs) and Returnees





The Cluster Development Associate (CDA) is the local STFA Joint Programme staff in target districts who would be instrumental in achievement of programme objectives in their assigned districts. The CDA is the face of STFA Joint Programme in the eyes of the final beneficiaries of the programme. Therefore, they must promote values of UNIDO and the STFA joint programme through a consistent, professional, transparent, trusted and value-adding performance. The CDAs role under the supervision of Chief Technical Advisor is to support and contribute to the following:


  1. Stakeholder management: the CDA will work with a range of actors from the public sector, private sector and the civil society as well as other UN agencies active in the target regions. He or she must build a comprehensive knowledge of the who-is-who in their target districts. The CDA will understand the relations between each actor group and the level of influence they exert over each other. The CDA will gauge each actor’s level of interest and power to influence the local economic development process. Based on the above, the CDA will engage with relevant stakeholders throughout the delivery of the programme activities. Above all, the CDA must build a trusted, transparent and unbiased relationship with all stakeholders. The CDA must ensure he or she is seen as a neutral broker and facilitator of local economic and sustainable livelihood development, without any particular interest or preference towards any particular stakeholder.  The CDAs are agents of UNIDO and the STFA and must ensure portraying a positive image among local stakeholders.


  1. Assessment and investigation: for the CDA as the local agent of change, it is critical to have an in-depth understanding of livelihood challenges and opportunities on one hand, and income generation and enterprise development challenges and opportunities on the other, for each of the target beneficiary groups. This knowledge and understanding are built overtime. Nevertheless, the CDA must use various resources such as poverty related data, census data, own interviews and data collection, secondary resources, etc. to build such knowledge. The CDAs must apply available diagnostic and assessment tools as much as possible to investigate the major livelihood and business development opportunities and challenges. In this effort, the CDAs will be assisted, where needed, by specialized technical experts who can support the CDAs to investigate specific sectors/fields in more depth.


  1. Building common vision: the CDA’s knowledge of the livelihood and business development challenges and opportunities can lead into local economic development results only if such knowledge is shared between stakeholders and lead to creation of a common vision for local economic development in the area. Therefore, it is an important role of the CDA to actively share information and knowledge with stakeholders through formal and informal channels, to raise their awareness on the livelihood and business development opportunities, and to foster creation of common vision through facilitating dialogue among stakeholders.


  1. Turning vision into action: the CDA, will support technical experts (both in livelihood and business sectors) and in consultation with the local stakeholders (government, communities and businesses) will assist in development initiatives to address identified livelihood and business development challenges and opportunities. Such development initiatives may be led by individuals, MSMEs, local government, community organizations, NGOs or networks consisting of two or more actors. STFA joint programme has two main mechanisms to support implementation of the identified development opportunities, namely technical assistance and co-financing support.


  1. Mobilizing technical assistance: under the supervision of technical experts, the CDAs will support in planning, mobilizing and coordinating delivery of technical assistance to support sound planning and execution of investment initiatives. CDAs will coordinate with project subcontractors and technical experts to ensure effective and efficient delivery of technical assistance to supported enterprises. It is responsibility of the CDA to plan provision of timely, efficient and effective technical assistance and with the overall support of the STFA team. The technical assistance proposed by the CDAs do not necessarily have to be linked with grants. For example, the CDA may propose the provision of a training programme to women, IDPs or Returnees on a specific topic with the view to increase their employability.


  1. Mobilizing financial support: In addition to technical assistance, the project can co-finance suitable and promising development initiatives. The CDA, in collaboration with project technical experts and service provided can support individual or group of stakeholders to turn development initiatives and ideas into grant proposals for submission to UNIDO for co-financing. The CDA will support UNIDO’s efforts to actively raise awareness about the grant scheme and incentivize the local communities, enterprises, and public sector to take advantage of the co-financing support available.


  1. Monitoring and evaluation: The CDA, under the guidance of the Chief Technical Advisor, and in line with STFA monitoring and evaluation framework of STFA will support continuous monitoring, report and evaluation activities in relation to their own operations as well as technical assistance and co-financing initiatives of the project. The CDAs will have access to the MEL experts, guidelines and tools that would allow them to undertake their M&E tasks correctly.


  1. Communication: CDAs will perform various communication and outreach activities to ensure the relevant news, message and information reach out to the relevant audience. In addition, CDAs are the focal point for local stakeholders to communicate with UNIDO.


In order to perform their tasks, the CDAs will be guided by the Chief Technical Advisor of the project as well as the Project Manager to be able to perform independently. Various technical experts from livelihood and business sectors are available to support the CDAs in their work. In addition, UNIDO gender, communication, MEL experts etc. will provide guidance and necessary tools to CDAs in support of their work.


Under the overall guidance of the Project Manager in Vienna and Chief Technical Advisor in Kabul, the Cluster Development Associate is expected to deliver the following Main Duties:


  1. Stakeholder management
  • Identifying potential beneficiaries and partners (e.g. clusters, cooperatives, businesses, investors, women-led businesses and business groups/IDPs and Returnees) in the target districts.
  • Establish trusted and transparent working relationship with potential beneficiaries, project partners and sister agencies, as well as the local government and community institution in the target areas.
  • Ensure clear communication with project beneficiaries, partners and counterparts.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with appropriate economic development organisations, financial institutions, business support organisations and community leaders.
  • Develop networks and networking opportunities that complement the work of UNIDO as well as STFA in general.


  1. Coordination
  • Establish a personal workplan in line with the objective and overall workplan of the project and coordinate various work streams of the project at the local level in consultation with the CTA.
  • Work closely with project national and international experts and technical service providers (i.e. subcontractors) and coordinate their work on the ground to ensure effective and timely delivery of services to project beneficiaries.
  • Coordinate UNIDO’s interventions with other UN sister agencies in the target areas, related to common beneficiary groups and within common thematic areas, to ensure synergies and avoiding duplications.
  • Encourage cocreation of interventions that complement the STFA joint programme objectives and avoid duplication of efforts and resources.


  1. Awareness raising and promotion
  • Conduct research in the district/s to generate opportunities for sustainable livelihood development through enterprise development for various beneficiary groups of the projects.
  • In collaboration with technical experts, perform outreach and deliver presentations to community and business support organisations to inform about opportunities for accessing project support (technical assistance, grants and equipment).
  • Facilitate organization of consultative meetings and have frequent information exchange with beneficiary groups, business groups and cooperatives to identify investment needs and promote potential collective initiatives and investments.
  • Guide interested beneficiaries and business entities through grant application processes.


  1. Technical assistance
  • In collaboration with project experts and technical service providers, facilitate undertaking value chain assessment and identifying business investment opportunities and livelihood development opportunities for various beneficiary groups.
  • Identifying technical assistance (capacity building), co-financing and equipment needs related to identified investment opportunities for business and livelihood development among target beneficiary groups.
  • Develop a repository of ideas and basic business idea proposals for both common facilities, private businesses and livelihood initiatives.
  • Support with preparation and organization of training events:
    • conducting and analysing needs
    • preparing the list of participants
    • setting up virtual platforms or actual venues for the events
    • inviting business/cluster members and following up on individual inquiries
    • disseminating relevant background materials
    • translating presentations
    • attending the trainings
    • prepare training report
    • save training material and recording for future use by the cluster members.


Identify successful erstwhile projects/interventions by other development sector agencies/Government and Private sector to extract best practices to incorporate in the project interventions.


  1. Monitoring and reporting
  • Support in follow-up/monitor/report progress of MSMEs and supported beneficiaries to ensure project support is provide efficiently and effectively and the individual investments achieve their objectives.
  • Complete weekly, monthly progress reports in accordance with reporting disciplines and agreed format.
  • Participate in project team meetings, as well as inter-agency and donor meetings, and provide inputs as relevant or necessary.



Education: Advanced university degree in business administration, management, engineering, economics, or equivalent, is required.


Experience, technical and functional expertise

  • At least of 3 years of relevant working experience, is required.
  • Experience relevant to technical cooperation in developing countries is required.
  • Relevant professional experience on international development programs and/or work in the civil society sector of Afghanistan is desirable.
  • Excellent communication and organisation skills is required.
  • Knowledge of technical cooperation projects in the country or similar country in the region, is desirable.
  • Computer proficiency for preparation of reports/presentations and for the correspondence is required.
  • Ability to work effectively in a multi-cultural environment, is required.


Languages: Fluency in written and spoken English, Dari and Pashto language is required.



Core Values

WE LIVE AND ACT WITH INTEGRITY: work honestly, openly and impartially.

WE SHOW PROFESSIONALISM: work hard and competently in a committed and responsible manner.

WE RESPECT DIVERSITY: work together effectively, respectfully and inclusively, regardless of our differences in culture and perspective.


Key Competencies

WE FOCUS ON PEOPLE: cooperate to fully reach our potential –and this is true for our colleagues as well as our clients. Emotional intelligence and receptiveness are vital parts of our UNIDO identity.

WE FOCUS ON RESULTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: focus on planning, organizing and managing our work effectively and efficiently. We are responsible and accountable for achieving our results and meeting our performance standards. This accountability does not end with our colleagues and supervisors, but we also owe it to those we serve and who have trusted us to contribute to a better, safer and healthier world.

WE COMMUNICATE AND EARN TRUST: communicate effectively with one another and build an environment of trust where we can all excel in our work.

WE THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND INNOVATE: To stay relevant, we continuously improve, support innovation, share our knowledge and skills, and learn from one another.

This appointment is limited to the specified project(s) only and does not carry any expectation of renewal.
Employees of UNIDO are expected at all times to uphold the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity, both at work and outside. Only persons who fully and unconditionally commit to these values should consider applying for jobs at UNIDO.

All applications must be submitted online through the Online Recruitment System. Correspondence will be undertaken only with candidates who are being considered at an advanced phase of the selection process. Selected candidate(s) may be required to disclose to the Director General the nature and scope of financial and other personal interests and assets in respect of themselves, their spouses and dependents, under the procedures established by the Director General.


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