Research Assistant

  • Added Date: Thursday, 13 September 2018
  • Deadline Date: Friday, 14 September 2018

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Living Conditions:

Colombo is situated on the Western Province of Sri Lanka and is the commercial capital of the country. Colombo is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to the administrative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura, Kotte. The climate is fairly temperate all throughout the year but humidity is usually high. From March to April the temperature averages around 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit). The only major change in the Colombo weather occurs during the monsoon seasons from May to August and October to January when heavy rainfalls occur. Sri Lanka became a member of the United Nations on 14 December 1955.


Organizational Context & Project Description:

The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) elected in 2015 recognizes the fact that the sources of growth over the past few years are not sustainable over the long term. Moreover, jobs linked to commodities are exposed to price fluctuations and cannot be the basis for better livelihoods going forward, while jobs at the government and SOEs undermine fiscal sustainability, while also depriving the private sector from an already small talent pool. Going forward, the vision of the Government is one where Sri Lanka is able to grow on the basis of higher added value goods and services, the country reaches higher trade volumes, and the growth and job creation is led by the private sector. In other words, the objective of the Government is to lead a transformation of the economy from inward-oriented, government driven, to export-oriented, private sector led.

The Government of Sri Lanka has approached the World Bank Group (WBG) with the request for assistance throughout the structural transformation of the economy that will be required to materialize its vision.

In response to this request, the Governance team of the World Bank is implementing a program that aims to support the GoSL in designing and implementing reforms in the area of corporate governance of public enterprises.



Task descriptions

Under the direct supervision of Director General of Public Enterprise Department and the Lead Public Sector Specialist of the World Bank, the UN Volunteer will undertake the following tasks:

  • Conduct a comprehensive desk review on current policies, procedures and provisions applicable to the SOEs on administrate and financial matters;
  • Develop a concept note and relevant TORs for the development of Manuals of Procedures under the guidance of Director General of Public Enterprises;
  • Assist the cluster and the relevant consultant in conducting consultations with line ministries and other stakeholders;
  • Assist the cluster in preparing reports, presentations and any other technical assessments;
  • Produce meeting minutes and other brief write-ups as required with the guidance of the team;
  • Coordinate communications between World Bank Task Team and PED;
  • Liaise with government counterparts to ensure agreed deliverables are met;

Sustain the momentum between technical visiting missions;

  •   Any other relevant tasks assigned by the supervisor.    

Furthermore, UN Volunteers are required to:

  • 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;
  • Reflect on the type and quality of voluntary action that they are undertaking, including participation in ongoing reflection activities;
  • 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

  • Comprehensive desk review on current policies, procedures and provisions applicable to the SOEs on administrate and financial matters completed.
  • Momentum for reform and good relationship with the government is maintained/sustained.
  • Support provided as required for technical visiting missions.
  • Analysis and research on scope of SOEs in Sri Lanka conducted and completed
  • Progress reports provided and donor documentation prepared.
  • Reports, presentations, technical assessments, meeting minutes and any other brief write-ups prepared.
  • A final statement of achievements towards volunteerism for development during the assignment, such as reporting on the number of volunteers mobilized, activities participated in and capacities developed.
  • The development of capacity through coaching, mentoring and formal on-the-job training, when working with (including supervising) national staff or (non-) governmental counterparts, including Implementing Partners (IPs);
  • 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


Competencies and Values:      

  • Integrity and professionalism: demonstrated expertise in area of specialty and ability to apply good judgment; high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures in a politically sensitive environment, while exercising discretion, impartiality and neutrality; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented.
  • Accountability: mature and responsible; ability to operate in compliance with organizational rules and regulations.
  • Commitment to continuous learning: initiative and willingness to learn new skills and stay abreast of new developments in area of expertise; ability to adapt to changes in work environment.
  • Planning and organizing: effective organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage a large volume of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects/activities.
  • Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity and gender;
  • 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), military personnel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse backgrounds; ability to maintain composure and remain helpful towards the staff, but objective, without showing personal interest; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups;
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and ability and willingness to operate independently in austere, remote and potentially hazardous environments for protracted periods, involving physical hardship and little comfort, and including possible extensive travel within the area of operations; willingness to transfer to other duty stations within area of operations as may be necessary;
  • Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards the UN core values.


EducationRequired Degree Level:         Bachelor's degree


Type of degree:

A bachelor’s degree in a Numeric, Financial or Economics is essential. A professional accounting qualification (ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA or equivalent) would be an additional advantage.


Required Experience:

minimum years of experience 2 years


Experience Description:

  • Strong Microsoft Office skills including a satisfactory level of proficiency in Excel
  • High attention to detail and ability to multi task.
  • Excellent research and report writing skills.
  • Demonstrated capacity to undertake assigned responsibilities and work under pressure.
  • Excellent skills in interpersonal relations, networking, and communication.
  • Willingness to contribute and work as part of a team.
  • Flexible and open to learning and new experiences.


Language Skills: 

Strong written and spoken English language skills is essential; Sinhala and/or Tamil would be an advantage.


Areas of Expertise:

Economics, finance, administration and human resources

Conditions of Service:

A 6- month contract; with subsequent contract extensions subject to availability of funding, operational necessity and satisfactory performance. However, there is no expectation of renewal of the assignment.

Travel to duty station (if applicable) and a Settling-In-Grant will be provided in the event duty station is not within commuting distance from the place of recruitment. A Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) of LKR 77, 366 is provided monthly to cover housing, utilities and normal cost of living expenses. Life, health and permanent disability insurance are included (health insurance for up to 3 dependents), as well as final repatriation (if applicable) and a resettlement allowance


Supervision, induction and duty of care of UN Volunteers

UN Volunteers should be provided equal duty of care as extended to all host entity personnel. Host entity support to the UN Volunteer includes, but is not limited to:

  • Introductory briefings about the organization and office-related context including security, emergency procedures, good cultural practice and orientation to the local environment;
  • Support with arrival administration including setting-up of bank accounts, residence permit applications and completion of other official processes as required by the host government or host entity;
  • Structured guidance, mentoring and coaching by a supervisor including a clear workplan and performance appraisal;
  • Access to office space, equipment, IT support and any other systems and tools required to complete the objectives of the assignment including a host entity email address;
  • Access to shared host entity corporate knowledge, training and learning; ?
  • Inclusion of the volunteer in emergency procedures such as evacuations;
  • Leave management;
  • DSA for official travel, when applicable
  • All changes in the Description of Assignment occurring between recruitment and arrival or during the assignment need to be formalized with the United Nations Volunteer Programme.



The United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) is an equal opportunity programme which welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. 


Contract Duration: 6 Months

This vacancy is archived.

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