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Why be an advisor?

Timor-Leste is among the least developed countries in East-Asia on most social indictors, with one in five people living below US$1 a day.  A legacy of colonial rule and twenty-four years of occupation and conflict have left Timor with an extremely underdeveloped human resource base.   Government structures led by a competent civil service are vital if the country is to address the many development challenges it faces, including managing change and giving greater weight to the private sector and civil society.

Our advisors have the unique opportunity to use their professional and inter-personal skills to contribute to development in the world's newest democracy.  By sharing their knowledge and experience through skills transfer, training and capacity development, they can help Timor-Leste to develop a professional and effective public administration.

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How does it work?

All of our advisors work on-site in Timor-Leste.  The majority of our positions are with the central Government in the capital, Dili, but a few are also in the districts.  Contracts are usually for 6 months, although depending on the task, contract length may vary from 3-12 months in duration.  Some contracts may also be extendable beyond their initial term.

Advisors work directly with their East-Timorese counterparts at all times.  Their first task together is to develop a Capacity Development Workplan  based in their respective Ministries' Annual Action Plan.  The workplan is a task and activity map for the duration of the contract, which should outline goals in the 3 pillar areas of Skills & Knowledge, Systems & Processes and Attitudes & Behaviours.  The plan should also identify specific areas in which training will be required in order to obtain their objectives.  Remember, the overall goal of the programme is to ensure that by the end of the contract, counterparts have the necessary skills, systems and attitudes in order to sustainably and autonomously perform their functions, and this should always be foremost in the advisor's mind!

Advisors and their counterparts are supervised by an appropriate official from their government agency.  Advisors, counterparts and supervisors are required to report and evaluate their progress regularly. 

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What's in it for me?

As an advisor in Timor-Leste, you would have a unique opportunity to participate in the formation of a brand-new nation.  Putting behind them a history of violence, conflict and oppression, the East-Timorese finally have the opportunity to create a country of their own, and the contribution of our advisors is a valuable part of this process.

Mentoring is not just about teaching, but learning as well.  As an advisor, you would have the enriching experience of living and working in another country, gain first-hand insights into the East-Timorese culture, and most likely learn some of the Timorese language, Tetum, or Bahasa Indonesian.  You would also gain valuable experience in skills-transfer, cross-cultural and inter-personal communication, and human resources management.

Whether you are a young professional seeking experience, a career professional looking for new challenges, or retired and in search of a way to continue using your skills, being an advisor is a rewarding and stimulating experience, both personally and professionally.

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What is skills transfer?

Skills transfer can be achieved through several modalities, including on-the-job training.  In Timor-Leste, many civil servants do not have the skills to carry out the day-to-day functions of their positions in the most effective manner.  The role of the Advisor, then, is to transfer their skills and knowledge to their counterparts to enable them to achieve the level of competency required by their position.  For skills transfer to take place, advisors must work closely with their Timor-Leste counterparts and involve them in all activities, encouraging them to take a lead role.  On-the-job training should be complemented with formal and informal training.

In May 2002, the National Development Plan (NDP) for Timor-Leste was completed.  This document is the blueprint for Government activities for the next five years.  From the broad activities outlined in the National Development Plan, Annual Action Plans (AAPs) for each Ministry have been developed. And from these Ministry level Annual Action Plans, Divisional Work-plans and Individual Work-plans have been produced.  Each civil servant has an Individual Work-plan: a statement of duties for their position.

In Phase 2 of the Support to Development Posts Project, the focus is on institutional capacity building, and each advisor is assigned several different counterparts within a division or unit.   Thus her/his skills transfer strategy must take into account this institutional focus and synthesize the needs of the different counterparts into one overall capacity development strategy.  Advisors are also encouraged to take part in sector-specific or cross-sectoral programs and activities.

This joint process between the advisor and her/his counterparts results in the formulation of a detailed Capacity Development Work-plan.  The work-plan should be based in the Annual Action Plan of the institution, and should outline capacity development goals in the 3 'pillar' areas of: Skills & Knowledge, Systems & Processes, and Attitudes & Behaviours*, all within the time-frame of their assignment.  Advisors must also coordinate with other advisors working within the same institution, to ensure the greatest communication, efficiency and institutional harmony in implementing capacity development. 

The Capacity Development plan is the result of careful analysis and planning.  First of all, advisors and their counterparts should identify which skills, systems and attitudes are required by the counterparts' position. They must then determine collaboratively 1) which of those skills and attitudes the counterpart already possesses and which systems are already in place, and 2) the level of those skills and adequacy of those systems. For example, the counterpart may be a competent user of Microsoft Excel at an intermediate level but the position he/she occupies may require advanced skills.  From this analysis, the team can then identify the areas which capacity building is most required, and develop strategies to tackle existing deficiencies and plan for future needs.

Finally, advisors must keep in mind the temporary nature of their positions, and develop an Exit Strategy, a plan for the gradual transfer of responsibilities to their counterparts leading up to the end of the advisor's contract.  Developing an exit strategy as part of their initial plan ensures that their counterparts don't become dependant on the presence of advisors to perform their functions.  Rather, a gradual transfer of responsibility takes place, with the counterparts performing their roles autonomously by the end of the placement, and advisors providing support only when necessary.

* For more information about the 3 Pillars, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Application Procedure

Please review the following application guidelines before consulting the list of current vacancies .

Please bear in mind when applying for these positions that they are ADVISORY POSITIONS. Selection is based not only on technical merit but also on ability to transfer technical skills to Timorese counterpart(s), experience in transferring skills and/or willingness to be involved in a skills transfer situation.

  1. Read the Job Description carefully.
  2. Prepare a brief Covering Letter in which you mention:
    a. relevant work experience
    b. experience working or living in a developing country
    c. relevant language skills
  3. Attach the Covering Letter and a completed Personal History (P11) Form to a copy of your current CV.
  4. Send to personnel.tp@undp.org.  
Please note that we cannot respond individually to your application. Only short-listed applications will be contacted.

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Selection Procedure

In May 2003, the Support to Development Posts project began implementing the new recruiting process recommended by the Capacity Development Mission, and presented to donors and the Government. All agreed on its benefits to ensure transparency and speed. The key steps in the streamlined recruiting process are as follows:

  • UNDP receives the CVs of candidates for a position through various channels: Relief Web, UNV database, local applications and Ministry indications.

  • UNDP prepares a first short list of candidates who best meet the basic criteria (e.g. education level, language skills).

  • Additional criteria according to the Terms of Reference (TOR) are incorporated to revise the initial short-list and then the final short list along with the selection matrix (showing how the candidates were ranked) is forwarded to the ministry for review and an indication of a representative to take part in the final selection panel. The ministry also provides technical questions to use in the panel interviews.

  • The selection panel, which consists of representatives of the Ministry, CDCU, the donor and UNDP, conducts panel interviews with the candidates to make the final selection based on the technical questions and inter-personal and communication skills.

  • UNDP informs the selected candidate of the outcome of the selection panel and finalizes contract details and the logistics of the hiring process.

We regret that we are unable to respond to enquiries about the current status of applications.