Indigenous Engagement Expert


UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

Job Information

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    Duty Station Kathmandu
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    Type of Appointment Full time
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    No. of Openings 1 opening
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    Salary Negotiable / Monthly
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    Job Level : Mid-Level
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    Job Experience : 15+ Years
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    Job Category UN | United Nations
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    Job Qualification : Master
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    Posted Date : Mar 17, 2022

Job Description

Mission and objectives

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, sciences and culture. UNESCO’s programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.


As UNESCO has broad mandates in the fields of education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information, it’s policies, programmes and projects provide opportunities and have significant impacts (positive and negative) for indigenous peoples worldwide. The 2030 Agenda commitment to ‘Leave no one behind’ also brings new impetus to ensure that indigenous peoples’ priorities are heard.

Indigenous peoples are living manifestations of cultural diversity, repositories of thousands of rare languages, and essential partners in building knowledge societies and achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. as such, their societies, which among the most vulnerable in the world, are also the heart of the concerns of UNESCO’s mandate. It was therefore urgent for UNESCO to reflect our own contribution to one of the major challenges of our time.

The International Decade aims at ensuring indigenous peoples’ right to preserve, revitalize and promote their languages, and mainstreaming linguistic diversity and multilingualism aspects into the sustainable development efforts. It offers a unique opportunity to collaborate in the areas of policy development and stimulate a global dialogue in a true spirit of multi-stakeholder engagement, and to take necessary for the usage, preservation, revitalization and promotion of indigenous languages around the world.

Through partnerships with indigenous peoples, UNESCO also seeks to support indigenous peoples in addressing the multiple challenges they face, while acknowledging their significant role in sustaining the diversity of the world’s cultural and biological landscape. In this light, UNESCO’s Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme (LINKS) promotes local and indigenous knowledge and its inclusion in global climate science and policy processes.

Task description

Within the delegated authority and under the direct supervision of Head of Office and Representative to UNESCO Nepal or his/her designated mandated representative(s), the UNV Indigenous Engagement Expert will:

  •  Familiarize the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL 2022-2032) and support the implementation of IDLD global action plan in Nepal
  • Manage the UNESCO LINKS programme in Nepal through identifying indigenous community stakeholders and compiling a community profile with socioeconomic information, data and analysis;
  • Establish and manage networks with indigenous leaders, activists and groups across Nepal
  • Carry out consultations with the communities to assess level of understanding on the role of indigenous communities/knowledge and to identify community needs and areas for future UNESCO intervention
  • Assess communities’ roles and responsibilities in issues such as preservation of indigenous languages, biodiversity management and climate change and their capacity needs for fulfilling the roles
  • Develop the comprehensive indigenous engagement plan related to UNESCO projects
  • Ensure considerations on indigenous communities/knowledge are well integrated into UNESCO projects
  • Support UNESCO teams to identify actions on preservation and protection of indigenous knowledge, build synergies with scientific knowledge, strengthen resilience and enhance the transmission of indigenous knowledge
  • Support the UNESCO teams to develop communications and public advocacy initiative related to the communities including social media content
  • Build partnerships with indigenous bodies, local and national governments, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders relevant to the LINKS programme.
  • Contribute to the knowledge management to document stories, lessons learnt and good practices on the communities
  • Any other related tasks as may be required or assigned by the supervisor.

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 articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc.;
  • 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:

  • Developed comprehensive indigenous community profile and analysis
  • Identified priority areas and action plans for further UNESCO intervention
  • Strengthened linkages and dialogues of local and indigenous communities, scientists and decision-makers with the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu
  • Enhanced visibility and recognition of indigenous communities/knowledge and UNESCO LINKS programs in Nepal
  • Enhanced indigenous communities’ engagement with UNESCO projects
  • Developed communications and advocacy materials related to issues on indigenous communities
  • Built and strengthened partnerships with other organizations
  • Documented stories, lessons learned and good practices
  • 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

Required Qualification & Experience


35 – 80


Candidate must be a national or legal resident of the country of assignment.

Required experience

15 years of experience in local and indigenous communities and traditional knowledge management, indigenous community engagement, community development.

Area(s) of expertise

Community development

Driving license


Nepalese, Level: Fluent, Required English, Level: Working knowledge, Required

Required education level

Master degree or equivalent in sociology, anthropology, social sciences, natural sciences or area related to local/indigenous/traditional knowledge

Competencies and values

• Professionalism: demonstrated understanding of operations relevant to UNESCO technical capabilities or knowledge relevant or transferrable to UNESCO procedures and rules; discretion, political sensitivity, diplomacy and tact to deal with clients; ability to apply good judgement; ability to liaise and coordinate with a range of different actors, especially in senior positions; where appropriate, high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; resourcefulness and willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented;

• Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; excellent interpersonal skills; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, mixed-gender environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; sensitivity and adaptability to culture, gender, religion, nationality and age; commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of UN operations; ability to achieve common goals and provide guidance or training to colleagues;

• Communication: proven interpersonal skills; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, articulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff)

• Integrity: demonstrate the values and ethical standards of the UN and UNESCO in daily activities and behaviors while acting without consideration of personal gains;

How to Apply

Living conditions and remarks

Kathmandu is in Low level (Level 2) of the UN Security level but may change depending on the development of the security situation. English is widely spoken and understood by both locals and expats and is considered to be the business language in Kathmandu although Nepali and Nepal Bhasa are the official national languages of Nepal. Kathmandu has a multi-ethnic population with the majority being Hindu and Buddhist. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. In terms of living costs, Kathmandu is considered as a very inexpensive city with average living expenses being significantly low compared to numerous other Asian cities. The climate in the city of Kathmandu is characterised by warm days followed by cool nights and mornings and unpredictable weather can be expected given that winter temperatures can drop to 1ºC or less. During the monsoon season (June to August) heavy rainfalls reach the city with average humidity of about 75%. As this is a national UN Volunteer assignment, the UN Volunteer will be responsible for arranging his/her own housing and other living essentials. National UN Volunteers are part of the malicious insurance plan. **This call strongly encourages people belonging to indigenous communities to apply**

Inclusivity statement

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements

Selected candidates for certain occupational groups may be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in line with the applicable host entity policy.