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Description of assignment title


Assignment country


Expected start date


Sustainable Development Goal


Volunteer category

National UN Volunteer Specialist

DoA reserved for persons with disabilities


Host entity





3 months (with possibility of extension)

Number of assignments


Duty stations



Mission and objectives

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. UNHCR strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. UNHCR also has a mandate to help stateless people. As of 31 December 2020, UNHCR had recruited 17,878 people, of whom around nearly 91 per cent are based in the field. UNHCR works in 132 countries and territories, with personnel based in a mixture of regional and branch offices and sub and field offices. Our teams work hard to help the displaced, specializing in a wide range of disciplines, including legal protection, administration, community services, public affairs and health.


In a letter to UNHCR in 2020, the Zambian Office of the Commissioner for Refugees/Ministry of Home Affairs expressed concern over the increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. In the same letter, Zambian authorities noted that the country has stiff criminal laws against consensual and non-consensual same sex relationships and thus expressed reservations to processing these asylum applications. For these case profiles therefore, in as much UNHCR continues to advocate with GZR – there is identified need for mandate refugee status determination procedures to complement the government’s efforts to provide protection and find durable solutions for this vulnerable group of asylum seekers. This is informed by the current protection environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, queer, intersex and allies (LGBTQI) asylum seekers in Zambia which is compounded by the COVID 19 situation. Interpreters perform a key role in many UNHCR Offices. They are essential to UNHCR’s work in discharging its core mandate functions, including registration, refugee status determination, resettlement and counseling on issues relating to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) which are generally regarded as sensitive. The identification of qualified interpreters is frequently a challenging task for UNHCR. In the absence of other qualified persons, interpreters are often drawn from the refugee community, which may give rise to issues of confidentiality and impartiality. Although most interpreters discharge their functions in a professional manner in keeping with their terms of reference, this power has at times been abused to the detriment of refugees as well as UNHCR’s overall program integrity.

Task description

Within the delegated authority and under the supervision of SGBV/ Protection Officer or his/her designated mandated representative(s), the UN Volunteer Interpreter / Translator will perform the following tasks: • Conduct face to face and or virtual interpretations (consecutive interpretation) from Luganda to English and Swahili to English in the context of refugee status determination interviews in accordance with confidentiality and integrity; with interpretations been held 1-2 days/week or 8-16 hours/week; • Assist coverage of 17 interviews that will run from mid-October to mid-December 2021; • Perform any other related tasks as may be required or assigned by the supervisor.

Eligibility criteria


27 – 80


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


Required experience

3 years of experience in Translation/Interpretation in the refugee, mixed migration, or judicial context; Trained interpreter with deep understanding of impartiality, confidentiality, and professionalism as well as understanding the ethical principles and sensitivity to cultural issues; Extensive experience translating in the context of Refugee Status Determination interviews, policiary and judiciary hearings and proceedings or psychosocial counselling; Preferably LGBT-certified interpreters.

Area(s) of expertise


Driving license



English, Level: Fluent, Desirable

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in Interpreting and translation, social sciences or related fields.

Competencies and values

• Accountability • Adaptability and Flexibility • Building Trust • Client Orientation • Commitment and Motivation • Commitment to Continuous Learning • Communication • Creativity • Empowering Others • Ethics and Values • Integrity • Knowledge Sharing • Managing Performance • Planning and Organizing • Professionalism • Respect for Diversity • Self-Management • Vision • Working in Teams

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

Zambia is a landlocked, middle-income country with a population estimated at 18 million. Lusaka became the capital city of Zambia in May 1935. Lusaka’s central position in Zambia and its pleasant climate were two of the main reasons for its selection as the capital. It is a metropolis, which provides a home to about two and half million (2.5M) inhabitants of different nationalities. It has grown to become the seat of the Government of the Republic of Zambia and as such all diplomatic missions, international organizations, industrial and commercial entities are based there. Its political, social, economic and cultural significance has also increased through the years. Public transport is provided by private operators using minibuses and taxis. The bus routes are not mapped and roads are often congested. Good modern housing for rent is available on the open market. The official language is English, which is widely spoken. The country is generally food secure, with sufficient local fresh fruits and vegetables available in the markets, as well as various dairy, poultry and meat products. There are several international schools using the Cambridge GCSE or IGCSE syllabi, from key stage one through to A levels. Health conditions are generally good, although malaria is endemic. Zambia is generally a safe place to live in, although not free of crime. Some prudence is required. For more info, visit:

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

To apply for this job please visit .

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