Social Development Specialist -Soc Sustainability & Safeguards at World Bank Group, Lesotho


Background/ General Description:

Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2014, the WBG committed $65.6 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $22.2 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188 member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally.

The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). IBRD and IDA are commonly known as the World Bank, which is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions, and – as of July 1, 2014 – has introduced fourteen Global Practices (GPs) as well as five Cross-Cutting Solution Areas (CCSAs) to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.


The 14 GPs are: Agriculture; Education; Energy and Extractives; Environment and Natural Resources; Finance and Markets; Governance; Health, Nutrition and Population; Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management; Poverty; Social Protection and Labor; Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience; Trade and Competitiveness; Transport and ICT; and Water. The 5 CCSAs are: Climate Change; Fragility, Conflict and Violence; Gender; Jobs; and Public-Private Partnerships. The new operating model is part of a broader internal reform aimed at delivering the best of the World Bank Group to our clients, so that together we can achieve the twin goals of (1) ending extreme poverty by 2030, and (2) promote shared prosperity for the bottom 40% of the population in every developing country.


Urbanization is occurring at an unprecedented pace. Cities generate 80% of global GDP and are key to job creation and the pursuit of shared prosperity. Yet one billion city residents live in slums today, and by 2030 one billion new migrants will arrive in cities. This concentration of people and assets will exacerbate risk exposure to adverse natural events and climate change, which affects the poor disproportionately. The absence of secure land tenure underpins deprivation and is a major source of conflict in the urban and rural space. One and a half billion people live in countries affected by repeated cycles of violence. In the absence of services, participative planning and responsive institutions, these trends will result in increased poverty, social exclusion, vulnerability and violence. Finally, avoiding a 4-degree warmer world requires drastically reducing the carbon footprint of cities.

The WBG is in a unique position to support national and sub-national clients to: harness urbanization and enable effective land management in support of both growth and poverty reduction; foster social inclusion of marginalized groups; support the responsiveness and fiscal, financial, and management capacities of local governments – cities, municipalities, and rural districts – to deliver local infrastructure and decentralized services; strengthen resilience and risk management related to natural disasters; reduce conflict and violence; scale-up access to finance for sub-national governments; and reduce the carbon footprint of cities. The WBG brings a combination of lending ($7-8 billion in annual lending to cities), analytical and advisory services (e.g., social inclusion flagship, urbanization reviews, Sendai dialogue), its growing portfolio of reimbursable advisory services, its convening power (e.g., understanding risk and the land conferences), its leveraging capacity (e.g., guarantees and risk mitigation), and its ability to work with the private sector to tackle the challenges at scale and to effect.

The SURR GP covers a wide gamut: (i) developing green, inclusive and resilient cities; (ii) addressing the social inclusion of the poor, vulnerable and excluded groups through accountable institutions, and ensuring compliance with social safeguards; (iii) enhancing urban and rural development through supporting and managing the urban-rural transition, assisting local development through developing land tenure, management and information systems; and (iv) assisting in disaster risk management through issues of risk assessment, risk reduction (including flood management, urban drainage, coastal management, and retrofitting of infrastructure), disaster preparedness (including hydromet services, early warning systems, and civil defense), risk financing (including CAT-DDO), and resilient reconstruction (including post-disaster damage and loss assessment). A key responsibility of the GP is to provide professional expertise and operational support to other GPs to implement the WBG social policies (the WB’s safeguard policies and the IFC’s Performance Standards) to deliver sustainable development results that ensure that any adverse impacts of WBG interventions are limited and mitigated.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.


The World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice (GPSURR) has an active work program in the Africa Region (AFR), encompassing project loans and grants to a wide range of clients, an advisory and analytical program, active partnerships with national, regional, and local institutions, and a wide range of engagements including social safeguards (involuntary resettlement and Indigenous Peoples); community driven development; citizen engagement and social accountability; social inclusion; and social resilience.
The East and Southern Africa Social Development Unit is looking to recruit a Social Development Specialist – Social Sustainability and Safeguards, based in the World Bank Office in Maseru, Lesotho, to support social risk management across a growing lending portfolio and country program. The Lesotho country office is part of the wider country management unit (CMU) managed from Pretoria, South Africa, where the Country Director is based, which also includes: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe (the CMU is known as AFCS1).
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a small, landlocked, lower-middle-income country with a per capita GNI of US$1,350 (2016). Lesotho is one of the poorest countries in Southern Africa, and has one of the highest income inequality in the world. Home to about 2 million people, Lesotho is a small and highly dependent subsistence farming economy surrounded by South Africa, the second largest and most industrialized economy in Africa. Its macro-fiscal vulnerability is exacerbated by other vulnerabilities, such as political instability, climatic vulnerability, including to El Niño, and high rates of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and maternal and infant mortality.

The World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Lesotho focusses on two critical areas. The first is on improving efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector, through improved: public sector fiscal management; equity of the social assistance system; basic education outcomes; improved health outcomes. The second focus area addresses the promotion of private sector job creation through improvements in: the business environment and diversification of the economy; smallholder and MSME agriculture productivity; increased transport connectivity to facilitate private sector growth; and increased water and renewable energy supply for industrial, agriculture and export opportunities. The Bank’s lending portfolio and its Advisory Services and Analytics reflect this two-pronged focus, and are expected to grow substantially over the coming few years.

The Social Development Specialist – Social Sustainability and Safeguards will work under supervision of the GSURR Social Development Practice Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa (based at HQ in Washington, DC), in close coordination with the Regional Social Safeguards Coordinator and the focal point for social safeguards for the AFCS1 CMU (both based at HQ in Washington, DC), and the Sustainable Development Program Leader for the AFCS1 CMU (based in Pretoria).

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 3 year term appointment.


Duties and Accountabilities:

The Social Development Specialist – Social Sustainability and Safeguards will have the following
• Work under the coordination of the regional social safeguards coordinator and the CMU focal point for social safeguards on the social safeguards portfolio, providing oversight and quality assurance. This will include direct operational support to operations.
• Serve as a social development specialist, advising task teams and clients on the Bank’s policies relating to assessment and mitigation of social risks and impacts during preparation and supervision of lending operations.
• Support policy dialogue with clients on social sustainability and safeguards issues and advise counterparts on technical options for social development, particularly involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, mitigation plans and institutional development strategies.
• Support the social development focal point for the Country Unit and engage actively and regularly with country units and teams, to identify business opportunities for the social development team in consultation with clients and country units.
• Participate in cross-practice teams responsible for the preparation of policy notes, Systematic Country Diagnostics, Country Partnership Frameworks, sector studies, and research and policy development activities on the full range of social development topics; advise on the social sustainability of the portfolio, including gender, social inclusion, social accountability, beneficiary feedback and safeguards issues, etc.
• Advise and participate in project teams to help develop operational designs and mechanisms to assess social opportunities, impacts, constraints and risks related to Bank supported operations; develop and evaluate proposed technical solutions, and assist in the preparation of project documentation.
• Support Senior and Lead Specialists in handling complex technical, institutional and program implementation issues regarding social development.
• For high risk projects for which OPSOR is providing direct oversight, liaise closely with Regional Safeguards Advisors and Lead/Senior Social Development Specialists to ensure timely distribution, completion and follow up on social review processes. This will include ensuring that technical comments related to social aspects have been fully addressed and integrated into project documentation, and ensuring compliance with applicable procedures and disclosure requirements.
• Participate in portfolio reviews on selected social risk and social development issues.
• Build capacity with clients on issues related to safeguards and broader social issues, including clients’ monitoring and evaluation of social development activities and outcomes.
• Improve feedback mechanisms through participating in and contributing in high quality training and other learning events related to social assessments, social safeguards and broader social development issues.
• Develop and build client relations within the Bank and with clients, and contribute to generating new business for the Bank.
• Contribute to ongoing and emerging corporate initiatives related to social safeguards and standards, through participation in the Global Solutions Group on Social Sustainability and Safeguards. This will include contributing to the ongoing safeguards policy reform at the Bank.
• Liaise with other social development specialists and other groups within GSURR and other Global Practices and across the World Bank Group, to develop and promote the use of consistent approaches to social assessment and risk management.
• Participate in the broader social development work of the team.
• Work under general direction of the Practice Manager, seeking guidance on complex projects/issues from Senior and Lead specialists.


Selection Criteria

• Master’s degree with a minimum of 5 years’ experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience in a related social science (e.g., Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, etc.).
• Demonstration, through written work and dialogue, of in-depth knowledge of social issues, including social analysis and social impact assessment; a detailed understanding of vulnerable and marginalized groups; and land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation policy and practices in Lesotho.
• Relevant experience in social development issues in Lesotho (Urban and Rural).
• Relevant experience with operations addressing critical social development issues in Lesotho (social inclusion, HIV/AIDS, gender equity, social resilience in face of climate change, etc.)
• Basic knowledge of World Bank’s operations including social safeguard policies on involuntary resettlement and indigenous peoples. Familiarity with environmental safeguards policies is a plus.
• Demonstrated skills and direct work experience with at least one or more of the following: public consultations, and other forms of citizen and stakeholder engagement, including public hearings; participatory research methods (including observation, surveys); participatory rural and urban appraisal; participatory poverty assessments; participatory monitoring and evaluation; social audits; and grievance redress mechanisms, or other related experience.
• Proven capacity to work with a wide range of stakeholders, international organizations, development agencies, government counterparts, beneficiaries of Bank projects, and civil society organizations.
• Strong oral and written presentation skills, creativity and problem-solving skills.
• Outstanding interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams, including being proactive and self-motivated, requiring a minimum of supervision.
• Willingness to travel regularly throughout Lesotho.
• Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, poverty alleviation, social development and addressing the needs of the most vulnerable.
• Oral and written fluency in English.

• Social Development Implications on Policy, Institutions, and Operations – Familiarity with the implications of social development on policy, institutions, and operations.
• Analytical Tools for Social Sustainability – Solid experience conducting social development analyses, producing meaningful results, and applying the tools during an operation.
• Participation and Consultation – Solid experience conducting social development consultative and participatory approaches.
• Social Safeguards – Familiar with and can apply (under supervision) the social safeguard policies to a situation and identify issues and risks.
• Integrative Skills – Working to develop an integrated view across all facets of current sector.
• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena – Understands policy making process; distills operationally relevant recommendations/lessons for clients.
• Policy Dialogue Skills – Identifies and assesses policy issues and plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders.
• Innovate – Develops innovative solutions.
• Deliver Results for Clients – Proactively addresses clients’ stated and unstated needs.
• Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives.
• Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – Applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
• Make Smart Decisions – Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.


Closing date: 18 September 2017

Apply here!