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Publicado el 07 de Julio de 2020

Country of Origin Information Consultant

Fecha límite: 15 de Julio de 2020


Title of Position: Country of Origin Information Consultant
Category/grade: NOB equivalent
Type of contract: National consultancy
Length of Contract: 3 months part time (50%)
Location: Home Based reporting to Multi Country office Panama
Date of Issue: 7 July 2020
Effective date of assignment: 1st August 2020
Closing Date: 15 July 2020

General Overview

This proposal is for the Country of Origin Information (COI) consultancy to be provided to National Office for Refugee Attention (ONPAR) and the Panama Commission for Refugee (CONARE). The objective of the consultancy will be the development of a COI Manual to be used by eligibility officers and adjudicators while assessing cases from Nicaragua and Venezuela and to provide training to the ONPAR and the CONARE on the use of COI. Through this consultancy UNHCR aims to build capacity in terms of individual knowledge and skills of the ONPAR and the CONARE for enhancing quality of the asylum procedure and Panama and to expedite decision making.

      Overall purpose and Scope of Assignment:

The integrity of any asylum system depends largely on the quality of information available to adjudicators in refugee status determination procedures. In this regard, COI is a tool that also serves both to identify potential cases of exclusion and to assess conditions in countries of origin when considering possible return. Furthermore, the availability of the same COI in a refugee protection system provides all adjudicators with access to the same body of information, promoting consistency in decision-making.


Ideally, the Consultancy consist of four phases. The first phase will be to conduct a needs and knowledge Assessment based on consultation to be done with ONPAR Director and its technical team.

The second phase will consist of analysing the needs assessment results and designing COI information reports and the COI Manual, both focused on Venezuela and Nicaragua. The third phase, will consist include a process for assessing training needs, defining training objectives and the creation of capacity building materials. The fourth phase will be the on-site delivery of the training in COI research methodology as well as the implementation of a research report production process.

I.               Needs and knowledge assessment (two weeks)

The needs and knowledge assessment will consist of a process of interviewing decision makers, and ONPAR lawyers on their work duties related to interviews, information gaps regarding COI, knowledge about COI sources, review of refugee claimant data, claim profiles, trends, etc.; and review of technical resources available. It will also include an assessment of operational processes and resources in order set objectives for operational implementation. The needs assessment will be done directly by the consultant, with support of the a UNHCR Protection Associate, and it is expected to take 10 working days and will comprise information gathering, documentation of gaps, and determination of training and operational needs.

II.    Analysing the needs assessment results, designing COI information reports on Nicaragua and Venezuela and the adapting Preparation of COI manual for Panama (three weeks)

The COI is a fundamental tool for refugee status determination; it is the body of information that allows a refugee status claim to be assessed in its historical, political, economic and social context, and serves as relevant, credible, objective and current evidence in refugee status determination procedures. This stage will consist in assessing needs and on the COI research for Nicaragua and Venezuela caseload, in order to inform the production of a manual that aims incorporating the highest quality of standards in COI research. This activity is expected to last 15 working days.

III.  Assessing training needs, defining training objectives and the creation of capacity building materials

This stage will consist on assessing training needs on COI methodology and operational aspects of report production to meet the objectives identified in the need’s assessment phase. This material will be developed in draft form to be shared to the ONPAR. Training materials will have two different targets, for the ONPAR and the CONARE (decision makers). The following are some of the areas that could be included in the training package:

Content of Training Material for ONPAR:

·       Principles of COI research methodology;

·       Open source information gathering (special skills for using the Internet);

·       Selection and evaluation of sources;

·       Oral source interview techniques;

·       Use of style guides and referencing style;

·       Peer review process and checklists for quality control; and

·       Writing style, proofreading for consistency, and fact-checking.

Content of Training Material for CONARE:

·       Principles of COI research methodology;

·       Types of research requests;

·       How sources are selected and evaluated;

·       Formulation of research requests; and

·       Storage and retrieval of responses to requests.

IV.     Delivery of Training

Training will be delivered separately to the ONPAR and the CONARE by the consultant. During training, the materials developed in phase 3 will be assessed by the consultant, in conjunction with feedback from the participants of the training, to further refine the research and production workflow protocols of research reports.

The training style will be developed during phase 3, following the assessment of available facilities and resources that took place during phase 1.

      Monitoring and Progress Controls (report requirements, periodicity, format, deadlines):

a.       The final product (e.g., survey completed, data collected, workshop conducted, research documents produced specify):

In applying the training and the production of the materials, the consultant will also monitor and evaluate the training and operational outcomes to determine if they meet the needs and expectations of ONPAR and the CONARE. The outcomes of the training and operational processes should be measurable, and some examples of criteria for assessing the success would be:

·     The text of research reports properly reflects the following:

o   The research methodology developed during the consultancy;

o   The use of research techniques, both documentary and oral sourced;

o   Best practices with regards to citation guidelines and writing style;

·     The production of research reports properly reflects the following:

o   Information requests are properly formulated

o   A quality control process that ensures that facts presented in the reports are appropriately checked and that reports are fit for dissemination;

o   The tracking system identifies each step of the production process;

·         Archival and disposal of documents and research material and research requests reflect the following:

o   User-friendly databases;

o   Best practices in storage and retrieval of research reports}

·         Finalization of the research manual that incorporates all aspects related to the production, dissemination and storage of research reports, as well as their respective protocols.

Required experience

-         Completion of secondary education with masters in law, political science or similar field.

-         Minimum 6 years of previous experience in refugee field, preferably with experience in adult learning processes as well as refugee status determination systems.

-         Experience in Microsoft word, as well as using communication platforms (Webex, Zoom, etc)

-         Fluency in Spanish and working knowledge of English.

Desired qualifications and competencies

§  Knowledge of research methodologies, particularly as it pertains to information on regional COI.

§  University level course in law, policy, political science or related subject.

§  Working experience in refugee status determination with a government.

§  Analytical thinking.

§  Technological awareness.

§  Planning and organizing

USD 6,916 for the part time 3 months consultancy (total amount), equivalent to NOB level Panama rate prorated salary.

Submission of applications
 If you wish to be considered for this vacancy, please submit your letter of motivation, signed Personal History Form and its supplementary pages by e-mail clearly stating the position title and your Last Name in the subject line to: panpava1@unhcr.org by the closing date. The Personal History Form (PHP) and its supplementary sheet can be found by following the link: https://www.unhcr.org/how-to-apply.html

UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, processing or any other fees).


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