Facilitator: Staff Retreat

17 October 2018

Gauteng, South Africa

Duty Station: UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office

Location: Sunninghill, Johannesburg, South Africa

Duration: 18 October 2018 – 30 November 2018


UNFPA is the United Nations reproductive health and rights agency that contributes to the expansion of possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives. It is the lead United Nations agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

In East and Southern Africa (ESA), UNFPA works to improve lives in 23 countries in the region. The agency works with governments and through partnerships with other United Nations agencies, civil society, regional economic bodies and the private sector, to ensure that no one is left behind.

Globally, the ESA region is the most affected by HIV, which remains a major contributor to maternal mortality. Women are particularly affected, young women more so. A contributing factor is gender-based violence, which remains widespread. There are high rates of pregnancy-related school drop-outs. The region also faces an unprecedented rise in the number of adolescents and young people. There is a high population growth rate, the result of a substantial decrease in mortality rates and high fertility in 15 countries.

UNFPA focuses on impacting the lives of women and young people by empowering them; the agency seeks to ensure that they enjoy universal access to reproductive health and realize their reproductive rights – including in humanitarian crises. UNFPA places gender equality and human rights at the heart of this.

Background and Context

The ESA Regional Office (ESARO) located in Johannesburg, South Africa, has the core mandate of providing strategic support and technical expertise to colleagues in the 23 Country Offices, including partners who work on the ground to improve people’s lives, including management and technical oversight of Regional and Flagship Programs. The RO, with an average staff compliment of 60 members, is expected to provide policy advice, training and support to country offices including the development of tools, guidelines and templates that can be replicated and contextualized within the country offices.

The RO has recently completed a realignment process, which had an impact to the organizational structure, with the most notable change being the establishment of a Middle Income Country Technical Hub, as well as a Regional Office Shared Services Center; both structures are aimed at providing improved support, including technical support to Middle Income countries.

Consequently, 2018, will see the RO welcome on board a number of new staff and it will be imperative to have a solid integration practice in place, given the large staff mix of new and old colleagues within the team. The RO is cognizant that career transitions are challenging and even unsettling in certain instances, for not only the new hires, but also for the existing staff teams that have to embrace new colleagues with different ways of working.

Noteworthy too, is that fact that the RO is currently implementing a new strategic plan (SP) (2018-2021) that builds on the successes as well as the lessons learned from the last program cycle. Whereas the broad goals may not be significantly different in the new SP, the operating context realities are certainly dynamic and these present both opportunities and challenges that the RO teams need to respond to appropriately to enable delivery of the strategic outcomes. Within the SP document, is the recognition that working together with other strategic partners is a non-negotiable if UNFPA is to reach those farthest behind and to this end necessary investments will be made in strengthening the strategic partnership in existence.  This partnership principle holds true as well internally, within the staff team, more so in light of the numerous transitions within the teams.

Intentional collaboration within the staff teams will be required for the RO to respond effectively to CO needs as well as deliver on its SP. Broad areas of improved collaboration will include:

  1. Improved joint program planning and implementation
  2. Improved information sharing, i.e, timely and relevant information
  3. Better maximization of staff capacity ( knowledge and staff time) including the ability to work on task forces as a means of responding to capacity gaps within the RO team
  4. Peer to peer capacity building ways of working
  5. Improved communication among team members

The RO leadership is cognizant that team cohesiveness is not an event, but rather a process that continuously evolves over time and one that also requires intentional planning for, as well as investment in terms of both time and resources.

It is within this context that UNFPA ESARO seeks to have a facilitated staff retreat that would be the entry point of these critical conversations to seek commitment among the staff teams in regards to building a cohesive team that will effectively carry and deliver the mandate of UNFPA in the ESA Region. The staff retreat dates are currently planned for 28th to 30th November 2018.

Purpose of the Consultancy

The purpose of the consultancy is to (i) Facilitate the integration of the new and existing team members; (ii) Move the team from a negative perception to a more positive, appreciative perception; (iii) Facilitate a clear understanding of everyone’s role in creating a positive team culture.

Main duties and responsibilities

  1. Conduct staff team consultations through surveys and face to face engagements addressing positives and areas that need improvement in the team culture of the office (between 19th to 26th October)
  2. Develop summary report detailing the broad thematic areas arising from the consultation processes. (by 30th October)
  3. Facilitate a management briefing on the findings (31st October)
  4. Develop a concept note (detailing methodology) and detailed agenda for the team (retreat that responds to the thematic areas based on staff consultations (by 9th November)
  5. Delivery and facilitation of the retreat (28th to 30th November)
  6. Develop a consolidated action plan for 2019 (way forward) (by 14th December)


  1. Completed staff consultations (survey and face to face)
  2. Summary report based on staff consultations
  3. Management debrief.
  4. Concept note in response to staff consultation findings
  5. Staff retreat facilitation
  6. Forward looking action plan (2019)

Organizational setting and management  

The consultant is expected to work both remotely (off-site) as well as within the UNFPA ESARO main office in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, South Africa under the leadership of the HR Strategic Partner, the Deputy Regional Director and supported by the staff retreat committee.

The consultant will have weekly planning and progress review meetings with the HRSP and the Deputy Regional Director and bi monthly update meetings with the staff retreat committee.


This consultancy is open to all eligible persons/firms. When in the UNFPA office, the consultants will be provided a work space and access to internet and printing services, but will be expected to have their own computer and other communication tools required for the assignment.

Qualifications and key competencies

  • A Master’s degree in any relevant field
  • Past experience in leading/facilitating similar assignments including developing tailored team retreat programs.
  • Good understanding of team dynamics and familiar with individual and team assessment tools
  • Experience in facilitating sessions of diverse teams including different temperaments and enabling teams remain focused on the end goal.
  • Excellent communication skills in written and spoken English;
  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Intuitive and able to read/perceive team emotions
  • Developed skills/proficiency in the use of Ms Office, ability to utile internet as a source of information
  • Possess Creative/Innovative thinking abilities

Application procedure

Interested candidates are requested to submit CVs (three page max) and motivation letters to, copying by 17 October 2018.

Applicants are requested to demonstrate past experience in similar assignments within their applications, including their expected daily rate for this consultancy.