Off Grid Solar Energy Associate

Melkadida Refugee camp, Ethiopia United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Off Grid Solar Energy Associate



The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. UNHCR recognizes the global need for a broader “cultural shift” from long-term care and maintenance to self-reliance and solutions-oriented planning and programming in its refugee operations. UNHCR’s operation in Dollo Ado - with the support from the IKEA Foundation since 2012 – serves as one of the key locations for UNHCR to implement a new type of programming which gives priority to activities that increase refugees’ self-reliance in order to decrease dependency on aid. The program is aimed at building refugees’ resilience in preparation for their eventual return to Somalia. The national, legal and policy environment in refugee hosting countries places varying degrees of restrictions on refugees' right to work and freedom of movement. In spite of these, refugees use different strategies to generate income, mostly through daily labouring jobs in the informal sector. 

The conditions necessary for refugees to earn an income that will make them self- reliant through circulation of capital in Dollo Ado woreda, do not yet exist. However, UNHCR is actively and creatively seeking opportunities for refugees to improve their income while they are in Dollo Ado and to provide them with opportunities to gain and improve skills, which will help with their integration when they return to Somalia.  Refugees will be supported to improve their livelihoods through skills training, paid employment, energy and business development. 

The refugee camps are in a transition phase from emergency to the recovery stage with a wide variety of income levels and energy needs in the camps. Successful businesses have developed through the sale and distribution of electricity and energy technologies. Small-scale independent energy providers have emerged providing electricity through independent diesel mini grids. The generation and distribution of electricity through these grids is inefficient and often safety is not of the required standard. There is scope for improvement of current systems and development of new electrical generating and distribution to support business and income generating activities. Energy for productive use has been a consistent request from refugees along with access to higher quality lighting and home charging systems. 


UNHCR wishes to recruit an experienced, motivated and highly qualified Solar Energy Associate to support the energy section in the realization of the energy interventions in the refugee camps and host communities under support of the Sub Office Melkadida. 

Tasks and responsibilities: 

  • Identify equipment, cost, training and capacity needs for new and existing electrical generation and distribution grids.
  • Design and support local communities to install and maintain sustainable energy systems.
  • Conduct training as required, support and build the capacity of local electricians and skilled personnel to design, install and maintain sustainable energy systems.
  • Identify energy and system requirements to meet the demand of homes and small businesses identified through community discussions and an energy survey together with the Livelihood team.
  • Prepare bill of quantity (BOQ) for electrical infrastructure.
  • Provide and verify specifications and quality for materials to be utilized.
  • Ensure that UNHCR-Melkadida program’s work on energy is implemented effectively with high quality technical standards
  • Provide technical support on activities regarding the energy projects to IP’s and government field offices including Melkadida-field office staff
  • Assist energy teams with activities regarding implementation, project management, and supervision of implementing partners, M&E and report writing
  • Further advance the networking of UNHCR Sub-Office Melkadida energy programs with relevant national and international level initiatives and networks, feeding information from the ground-up and keeping the team informed of national energy strategies, policy procedures and UNHCR global energy priorities, principles and guidelines
  • Maintain effective working relationship with key actors and partners operating within the relevant sectors to effective and efficient utilization of resources
  • Follow up on compliance and financial issues to ensure efficient management of UNHCR Sub-Office Melkadida’s energy programs/projects
  • Promote technical and strategic alliance between and within the UNHCR-Sub-Office Melkadida programs including: Shelter, Protection, Health, Livelihood, Education, WASH and Nutrition
  • Performs any other energy sector related duties that may be assigned 


  • Report on generation and distribution schemes.
  • Field fact finding assessments for mini-grid, discussion with communities
  • Comprehensive technology requirements, cost estimates, safety specifications and BOQ for existing and new mini grid for the Dollo Ado region.
  • Work plans in relation to each new mini grid planned.
  • Records and timely generation of progress reports.
  • Electronic copies of all relevant documents shared with relevant personnel. 


  1. Education B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering, Renewable Energy Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or similar.
  2. Work Experience: - Minimum 3 years of relevant work experience

- Working in challenging environments where the intense climate, logistic limitations and cultural differences create barriers towards accomplishment of goals

- Working as a team player by contributing to the overall project strategy and intended outcomes 

  1. Key Competencies

- Proven coordination, planning and organizing skills

- Excellent spoken and written communication skills in English

- Excellent computer skills

- Strong experience in data analysis

- Ability to apply technical knowledge in day to day work

- Learning and researching 

- Ability to work in a multi-cultural team

- Political awareness

- Willingness to work in Somali region

- A good understanding of international best practices with regards to craftsmanship and renewable energy applications

- Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, good report drafting ability.

- Highly motivated and efficient with excellent organizational skills, and ability to be innovative and 'think outside the box' 


This vacancy is open for qualified Ethiopians Only. 

Female candidates are encouraged to apply.

UNHCR is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization. 


Applicants who wish to be considered for this position should send a motivation letter, the most recent factsheet and the new updated P11 Form through the online application system. 

Candidates will be required to sit for a test.

Due to the volume of applications only short-listed candidates will be invited for interview. 

Former UNHCR General Service staff members, having held an Indefinite or FTA appointment for an uninterrupted period of at least one year may apply for internally advertised vacancies at their previous grade or equivalent or one grade above, if the seniority requirements are met, for a period of two years following separation.


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