REACH GIS Specialist for Somalia


REACH was born in 2010 as a joint initiative of two International NGOs (IMPACT Initiatives and ACTED) and the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). REACH’s purpose is to promote and facilitate the development of information products that enhance the humanitarian community’s decision making and planning capacity for emergency, reconstruction and development contexts. REACH facilitates information management for aid actors through three complementary services: (a) need and situation assessments facilitated by REACH teams; (b) situation analysis using satellite imagery; (c) provision of related database and (web)-mapping facilities and expertise.

IMPACT Initiatives is a humanitarian NGO, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The organisation manages several initiatives, including the REACH Initiative. The IMPACT team comprises specialists in data collection, management and analysis and GIS. IMPACT was launched at the initiative of ACTED, an international NGO whose headquarter is based in Paris and is present in thirty countries. The two organizations have a strong complementarity formalized in a global partnership, enabling IMPACT to benefit from ACTED’s operational support on its fields of intervention.

We are currently looking for a GIS Specialist to support our team in Somalia.

Department: REACH

Position: GIS Specialist – Intersectoral team

Contract duration: 12 months

Location: Hargeisa, Somaliland

Starting Date: February (middle or start)


Somalia’s prolonged humanitarian crisis is characterized by ongoing conflicts, climate shocks including floods and drought, communicable disease outbreaks and weak social protection. Since the beginning of the 2020, two additional shocks have compounded the effects of ongoing and seasonal crises: The Desert Locust infestation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Somalia experienced the worst Desert Locust invasion in 25 years; tens of thousands of hectares of cropland and pasture were damaged with potentially severe consequences for agriculture and pastoral-based livelihoods.

COVID-19 has directly impacted the lives of Somalis and the healthcare system, worsening patterns of vulnerability. Healthcare providers have faced increased burdens and costs, forced to alter the way care is provided. This comes on top of ongoing outbreaks such as cholera, measles and, recently, vaccine-derived poliovirus.

In addition, flooding has caused the widespread displacement of 840,000 people. Communities living in conflict areas are severely impacted by armed violence. Civilians bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict through death and injury, destruction of property, taxation of communities (including through forced child recruitment), land grabbing, destruction of livelihoods, limited freedom of movement and limited access to services and humanitarian assistance.

As a result of these drivers of humanitarian needs, the overall number of people in need has consistently increased over the last three years from 4.2 million people in 2019 to 5.2 million in 2020 and 5.9 million in 2021. This is further reflected in the numbers of displaced persons in 2020. Somalia recorded the highest number of displacements over the past three years with 1.1 million, compared to 569,000 in 2018 and 770,000 in 2019.


Under the line management of the IMPACT Intersectoral team research manager in Somalia, the GIS Specialist will perform two main functions:

  • First, they will run a specific project to support the WASH cluster in Somalia.
  • Second, they will ensure the validity and strengthen the quality and efficiency of all geospatial data, analysis and information systems across IMPACT research cycles in Somalia, in accordance with IMPACT’s standards, partner expectations, and IMPACT’s ethos of facilitating an evidence-based response.

In this first function the GIS Specialist will run a stand-alone project for the Somalia WASH cluster. This project provides the WASH cluster with specialist IM support, ensuring that the WASH clusters programming is based in the intersectoral analysis produced by the intersectoral team. It will also involve running a number of smaller research cycles such as KAP surveys, price monitoring, and require the production a yearly WASH cluster report. This is a longstanding and positive relationship between REACH and the cluster. It gives us the opportunity to feed into a significant cluster strategy each year.

In coordination with the Country Senior Management Team, the GIS Specialist will provide technical inputs at all stages of relevant research cycles, including for secondary data reviews, assessment conceptualization, research design, data cleaning, data and geo-spatial analysis, production of information products (inclusive of maps and factsheets), and dissemination of information products, etc. S/he will be involved in partner coordination, donor reporting, presentations, and will be required to provide input to the strategic development of IMPACT in Somalia. The GIS Specialist will also be responsible for developing and implementing a continuous capacity building program for national and international team members, and (when relevant) for providing trainings to partners.

In his/her mission, the GIS Specialist will be hosted by IMPACT’s global partner ACTED and will fall under the direct responsibility and management of ACTED’s Country Director and his/her delegates for all Administrative, Security, and relevant Logistics and Finance issues. S/he will therefore fully abide to ACTED’s Security, Administration, and relevant HR, Logistics and Finance rules and regulations.



  • The GIS Specialist will participate and actively contribute to the development of IMPACT’s strategy in Somalia, in support to the Country Coordinator/Representative.
  • She/he will be an active member of the Senior Management Team. In particular they will support in identifying and concretising:
  • GIS and information management gaps in country and develop a national GIS and IM strategy
  • Ensuring the national GIS/IM strategy is integrated and actioned across Units and within individual work plans of GIS officers
  • Supporting the construction of the WASH cluster strategy through the HNO/HRP process which itself is based heavily on the JMCNA findings.
  • Synergies with other GIS and IM actors
  • Dissemination strategies to strengthen the impact of our GIS and IM work
  • Engagement with IMPACT HQ in global level GIS priorities


In coordination with management and assessment teams, ensuring that assessments are planned in line with project and program objectives and with IMPACT GIS, research cycle and other relevant guidelines;

Plan and execute the research cycles required for the WASH IM support. Namely:

o Water price monitoring

o Infrastructure mapping

o Wash yearly report

o COVID KAP Surveys

Identification of available GIS to inform secondary data review, in coordination with the assessment team;

• For each assessment, ensure contribution to and review of draft ToRs with a specific focus on the analysis plan, as well as data management plan, and related mapping;

• In coordination with Assessment team, co-construct qualitative and quantitative data collection tools, ensuring GIS requirements of research cycle/assessment are met;

• Develop geo-spatial analysis of assessment areas to be used, as relevant, in developing daily assessment plans, field movement plans and accompanying operational maps for field teams;

• Keep track of progress and delays of all GIS and relevant data- and information-management tasks throughout the research cycle. Ensure that delays or identified problems are reported by writing and orally in a timely manner.

• When relevant, ensure that support is provided by the GIS staff for the identification and training of enumerators for primary data collection;

When relevant, ensure that support is provided by GIS staff in overseeing data collection, in line with agreed TORs (including their Annexes), including spatial verification and validation as part of daily assessment checks;

Ensure that collected data is geo-referenced, enabling the production of maps and related products;

In coordination with the assessment team, ensure that all changes in data collection that lead to a modification in the agreed TORs are documented; and that the IMPACT Country Coordinator and IMPACT HQ are informed and agree on the modifications.


• Ensure that all collected data is stored in line with IMPACT’s Data Management Guidelines, and with the ToRs (data management plan Annex);

• Ensure that data is revised and cleaned, and that all revisions are recorded;

• Ensure spatial analysis is conducted on collected data as per ToRs;

• Ensure that data and its spatial analysis are validated by IMPACT HQ before product drafting stage;

• Ensure that data and its analysis do not contain personal information and are validated by IMPACT HQ before sharing to external parties;

• Ensure the quality and accuracy of technical information provided as well as the confidentiality and protection of collected information.


• Ensure accurate linkages between spatial databases and assessment data;

• Ensure that the GIS products meet the requirements of IMPACT and concerned partners;

• Maintain regular communication with IMPACT HQ on progress and deadlines for GIS products;

• Ensure the drafting of timely and accurate GIS products, which comply with IMPACT’s guidelines;

• Ensure that all GIS products are validated by IMPACT HQ before external release;

• When relevant, in close coordination with IMPACT HQ, support the regular maintenance and update of web GIS products;

• In coordination with the CC/CR, liaise with IMPACT HQ on the procurement of UNOSAT services and satellite imagery.


• Close collaboration with Research Managers who are line managing GIS staff in their units on the career development, work planning and technical guidance of the relevant GIS staff; in addition to direct line management of cross-cutting GIS staff (if relevant);

• Conduct regular meeting with all international and senior national GIS Team members to assess progress in all research cycles and to review work plan;

• Reviewing the GIS unit staff work throughout research cycles (clean datasets, analysis scripts, maps, etc.)

• Bilateral management of international and senior national GIS team members as needed, including (in consultation with IMPACT Country Coordinator) the conduct of appraisals, as well as participation in staff career management;

• In coordination with Country Coordinator/Representative, conduct induction for new staff members, and provide ongoing training for staff;

• Be available to provide regular support and technical backstopping;

• When relevant, support Country Coordinator/Representative and RMs in staff appraisal and recruitment process.


• Identify GIS capacity gaps, and resolve to bridge these through targeted capacity building, training, performance monitoring, and backstopping where needed;

• Support to the line managers and specialists in the development and implementation of GIS capacity training plans for team members;

• Conduct and support regular training to [country/regional] teams, including regular updates on IMPACT guidelines, adapted (to context) training modules, learning on the job; Complement in house training material with external resources, if and as relevant;

• Ensure impact of trainings and progression of staff is monitored;

• Pro-actively provide regular technical support and backstopping to teams;

• Support to GIS/ Assessment / unit teams to systematically review the efficiency and quality of research cycles and information products;

• Support monitoring and evaluation for relevant Research Cycle, as specified in the research ToRs and in line with IMPACT Guidelines;

• Contribute to generating and documenting robust lessons learned at the end of relevant Research Cycle;

• Ensure knowledge and learning processes are shared across the [mission/region] and with HQ;

• Able and available to engage with Global Units and global learning processes, such as methodology notes, lessons learned, SOPs, Communities of Practice, etc;

• Continuously seek to improve and innovate IMPACT research, GIS practices, information products and processes to identify and meet information gaps in the [COUNTRY/regional] humanitarian response in order to support in the facilitation of an evidence-based response;

• Work closely with other specialists in the [country/region] to develop, implement and monitor a multidisciplinary training and learning plan for IMPACT teams;

• More generally, contributes to creating a culture of rigour, innovation and learning within IMPACT’s operations.


• Contribute to country, regional and unit strategies development with relevant technical and thematic contents;

• Ensure that GIS strategies are implemented in a structured and coherent manner in line with project and strategic objectives;

• Support the development/revision of programme strategies, reports, or new proposals.


• Under the coordination of the IMPACT Country Coordinator/Representative and RMs, ensure that relevant partners are consulted and involved in the preparation of GIS products;

• In coordination with the IMPACT Country Coordinator/Representative , engage in relevant technical fora in country (e.g. IM/GIS working groups);

• In support of the IMPACT Country Coordinator/Representative, engage with other organisations engaged with the maintenance of spatial data in [COUNTRY], ensuring IMPACT Geodatabases are up-to-date and in line with Common Operational Datasets (CODs) and Fundamental Operational Datasets (FODs)

• In coordination with the IMPACT Country Coordinator/Representative, support the presentation of GIS products to relevant third parties, to enhance their use and impact;


• Ensure the strictest confidentiality of data and data processes. The [Senior] GIS Specialist will actively take measures to prevent the unauthorized sharing of information and data;

• In coordination with IMPACT HQ, ensure that GIS products are uploaded on relevant data portals, as specified in Research ToRs;

• In coordination with IMPACT’s Country Coordinator/Representative and with the assessment, GIS and data team, ensure that lessons learned are gathered and documented at the end of each research cycle.


The [Senior] GIS Specialist will maintain the strictest confidentiality on all data collected and related processes. He/she will actively take measures to prevent the unauthorized sharing of any information and data belonging to IMPACT and its partners, or collected during his/her assignment with IMPACT.



  • Academic Excellent academic qualifications, preferably including a Master degree in relevant discipline;
  • Research skills Excellent research and analytical skills required, including a sound understanding of sampling frameworks and their application, an ability to analyse large data sets, as well as conduct temporal or spatial trend analysis. Demonstrable experience with geo-spatial information management and analysis. Excellent spatial analysis skills
  • Coordination skills strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work closely with external stakeholders to ensure that our research has the most and best impact possible.
  • Software skills Advanced knowledge of ArcGIS. Proven knowledge of Microsoft office including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Knowledge of R, STATA, python or equivalent statistical software an advantage.
  • Familiarity aid system Familiarity with the aid system and with the research community;
  • Years of work experience At least 4 years of relevant working experience
  • Experience in xyz sectors Experience working in WASH an asset;
  • Training skills Ability to conduct trainings and mentor IMPACT teams and partners on assessment skills;
  • Communication/reporting skills Excellent communication and drafting skills for effective reporting;
  • Multi-tasking skills Ability to multitask with tight deadlines, on numerous research cycles;
  • Level of independence Strong existing ability to work independently in support of colleagues and partners;
  • Cross-cultural work environment Ability to operate in a cross-cultural environment requiring flexibility;
  • Experience in geographical region Past experience in the East Africa region is desirable;
  • Language skills Fluency in English required
  • Security environment Ability to operate in a complex and challenging security environment


  • Salary defined by the IMPACT salary grid; educational level, expertise, hardship, security, and performance are considered for pay bonus
  • Additional monthly living allowance provided in country by IMPACT’s partner ACTED
  • Food and lodging provided at the organisation’s guesthouse/or housing allowance (depending on contract length and country of assignment)
  • Transportation costs covered, including additional return ticket + luggage allowance
  • Provision of medical, life, and repatriation insurance + retirement package

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