Senior Social Development Specialist

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Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit .

Eastern and Southern Africa (AFE) Region:

We need the best and brightest talent focused on our region in order to harness the potential and innovation happening across the continent. Home to about 700 million of Africa’s people, Eastern and Southern Africa is a geographically, culturally and economically diverse region of 26 countries stretching from the Red Sea in the North to the Cape of Good Hope in the South.

The sub region harbors some of Africa’s protracted conflicts, rendering many of its countries fragile, while significant gaps in education, health, and skills development continues to keep people from reaching their full potential. This creates a huge development challenge, impacts heavily on the lives and livelihoods of people, and hinders regional integration and trade! But it also creates an opportunity to work closely with country leaders, civil society, development partners, and young people to chart a brighter course for the future.

Are you ready to make an impact? We are looking for dedicated professionals to join our innovative and diverse team to improve people’s lives and help countries build back better after COVID!  Eastern and Southern Africa (E AFR) Region:

The Sustainable Development Practice Group

The Sustainable Development (SD) Practice Group (PG) helps countries tackle their most complex challenges in the areas of Agriculture and Food, Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources & Blue Economy, Environmental and Social Framework, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience & Land, Social Sustainability and Inclusion, and Water.

Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice

Social Sustainability and Inclusion – formerly known as Social Development – reflects the World Bank’s focus on addressing long lasting barriers to development, strengthening the focus on people who have been excluded from economic and social opportunities, and increasing investment in inclusive growth. For more information:

Unit Context

The East Africa Unit of SSI (SAES2) provides social development support to Borrower countries in East Africa – Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. SAES2 manages a portfolio of SSI operations and analytics across East Africa, supports other global practices in meeting the Bank’s social risk management requirements on their operations and is responsible for quality assurance on all social risk management instruments for the region.

Operational work:

As a core member of project teams, the specialist will help design projects to handle social risks and find opportunities to enhance the social outcomes of Bank financed operations in East Africa. Within the project team, Senior Social development specialists are responsible for preparing the Environmental and Social Review Summaries as a key part of the Bank’s due diligence on a project. The specialists support clients in preparing and implementing plans to handle the social risks and impacts of Bank financed projects in accordance with Bank policy requirements. These include legal documents such as the Environmental and Social Commitment Plan, as well as other social assessment and planning instruments such as stakeholder engagement plans, labor management procedures, Indigenous peoples plans, resettlement action plans, environmental and social impact assessments, and environmental and social management plans as determined by the needs and impacts of a project. The role includes the following:

  • Provide technical support to government agencies in due diligence, preparing and implementing of project related social risk management activities and activities to improve the social sustainability of high and substantial risk projects;
  • Provide timely and expertly competent technical review of social assessment products prepared for other Bank Global Practices, such as Education, Health, Water, Rural Development, Urban Development, Infrastructure, private sector development, and others as needed;
  • Participate in project preparation, appraisal and supervision activities of project implementation, including operational missions and support the resolution of emerging issues to ensure results on the ground and project implementation progress.
  • Advise task teams on technical options for social development analytics on the full range of social development issues. Provide cross-support to other regions and business units as required;

Policy work:

  • As needed, contribute to dialogue on the implementation of the Environmental and Social Framework with government officials, development partners, civil society, and other stakeholders, and coordinate the Bank’s relations with clients on social development;
  • Participate in portfolio reviews on social sustainability and social risk management as required;
  • Make recommendations on strategies and policy options for counterparts in local and central government agencies;
  • Contribute and provide support to practice teams responsible for the preparation of policy notes, Systematic Country Diagnostics, Country Partnership Frameworks, Country Policy and Institutional Assessments, Development Policy Lending, sector studies, and research and policy development activities;

Analytical work:

  • Conduct and contribute to formal and informal analytical advisory activities and research work on key social development issues, notably related to local governance and service delivery, gender mainstreaming, and land property and tenure rights;

Capacity building:

  • Work closely with environmental colleagues to enhance the capacity of the client to implement the Bank’s new environmental and social framework for handling project risks and enhancing the sustainability of World Bank financed projects;
  • Supervise the work of consultants and technical specialists to ensure consistency and conformity to Bank standards;


  • Maintain active engagement with a broad range of key stakeholders, identifying potential partnerships and new opportunities for engagement around social development aimed at advancing social development in general and social risk management in particular;
  • Work as an active member of the Country Office and Country Team;


  • Reports to Practice Manager, SAES2, based in Nairobi.
  • Works under the mentorship of more senior social development staff based in Dar es salaam, and under the general direction of the Lead Social Development Specialist (Regional Social Safeguards/ Standards Coordinator, based in Nairobi) and the Practice Manager.

Selection Criteria

  • Advanced degree in a relevant social science (anthropology, sociology, political economy, social development, development studies etc.) or related field;
  • Extensive knowledge and experience in addressing issues covered by the World Bank’s new Environmental and Social Framework in complex and complicated settings, and across sectors;
  • Demonstrated ability to translate analytical work into policy advice and substantial, practical recommendations;
  • Consistent track record in resettlement and relocation, land acquisition and in the analysis, assessment and monitoring of resettlement plans, livelihood restoration plans and Indigenous peoples plans;
  • Experience with community consultation and the preparation, implementation and monitoring of Partner Engagement Plans;
  • Ability to present complex social safeguards and social development issues in a simple way to people of different technical backgrounds;
  • Proven ability to engage effectively with Government, private sector, project beneficiaries and civil society;
  • Strong analytical skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal, problem-solving skills, and ability to think innovatively and strategically to find solutions to complex development problems;
  • Very high level of energy and initiative;
  • At least 8 years of experience working in social risk management, social inclusion, social accountability in Eastern and Southern Africa and/or elsewhere in Sub-Sahara Africa;
  • Readiness for frequent travel within Country duty station and the region;
  • Proven ability to work in and actively contribute to teams and champion a positive team dynamic;
  • Experience working in a multicultural setting;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English;

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