UN University Volunteer in External Relations

  • Contract
  • Lao PDR
  • Posted 2 months ago

UNV - United Nations Volunteers


Mission and objectives

The World Health Organization (WHO) was established on 7 April 1948 as the directing and coordinating authority in global public health within the United Nations system. The objectives of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Missions of WHO are to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic joined WHO on 17 May 1950, when it was one of the Associate States of the French Union. The Republic became independent when French Indochina was dissolved in 1954.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic was covered by the WHO Area Representative Office in Saigon, Viet Nam from 1956 to 1 January 1968, when the WHO Representative Office in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic was established. Before the establishment, the WHO Country Liaison Office was administered by the WHO Representative Office in Saigon.
A WHO Country Liaison Office was first established in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1962, and it was later expanded into a WHO Representative Office in 1968. The early days were historically challenging for the health sector, but WHO built a strong partnership with the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Ministry of Health, based on mutual trust.
Over the years, the scale and scope of WHO partnerships have grown exponentially. From fewer than 20 staff when WHO opened its first office, to the more than 50 international and national staff members and more than 100 non staff members, WHO maintained continuity and uninterrupted presence as the country underwent political and economic changes.


In the face of a myriad of challenges, including COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks and disasters, Lao PDR has been able to make significant improvements to health. However, the country faces future risks that could impede progress, including climate change, a challenging fiscal environment, and a transition from least developed countries (LDC) status with large im-plications to international cooperation.
The greatest challenge emerging during COVID-19 recovery is health financing. Lao PDR has sustained robust economic growth since 2010 and aims to graduate from Least Developed Country status by 2026. Consequently, many institutional donors have planned to gradually phase out support as national contributions increase. However, a high debt burden and infla-tion have left government fiscal space extremely limited – with reductions in budget across all sectors including health since 2020. GDP growth slowed from 5.5% in 2019 to 0.5% in 2020 and 3.8% in 2022. Inflation rose from less than 2% in February 2021 to 40.97% in March 2023.
With demographic and economic transitions underway, and increasing health needs, strong health sector coordination, as well as support to improve or streamline funding for the health sector – both to WHO and beyond – is critical. Similarly, as the context changes, strong en-gagement with WHO partners and donors is critical, including communications, visibility, re-porting and relationship management.

Task description

Under the direct supervision of Technical Officer, Communications for Health / Coordination, the UN University Volunteer will undertake the following tasks:
• Support coordination, mapping and/or monitoring or development partner efforts across the Lao PDR health sector, as well as critical updates and changes in the health sector landscape;
• Support relevant meetings including Technical Working Group Meetings, Sector Work-ing Group Meetings, Informal Health Partners Meeting and other technical meetings re-lating to health financing, health sector coordination, donor/partner coordination, and other areas as required, from supporting hosting of the meeting, to coordinating with partners, brainstorming new approaches to engage participants with these for a, de-veloping notes, and supporting follow-up activities and actions.
• Support collation of donor intelligence, strategies and reports on a timely basis to units requiring these, as well as consolidating a library of information and guidance;
• Support WHO staff with donor rapport and fostering partnerships with existing and pro-spective donors/partners in Lao PDR;
• Assist in collecting feedback from donors, reporting back to the Technical Officer, Communications for Health, WHO Country Representative and Technical Officers on data collected, and using this to ensure continued enhancements in quality;
• Assist with identifying and tracking donor demands and requirement for reporting, communications and visibility, and develop and implement donor-specific plans for re-lated activities (i.e. media content, success stories, events, social media material, briefings, field visits) to meet these needs. This includes production or overseeing pro-duction of content, and coordination of visits.
• The UN University Volunteer supports other activities in the Communications for Health team as required.

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