Country Focal Officer


  • Tonga-based position
  • Join the principal development organisation in the region



The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 27 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our unique organisation works across more than 25 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

The Human Rights and Social Development Division - For over 20 years SPC has operated as the region’s pioneer in human rights and gender capacity building to Pacific states, institutions and civil society. Through a team of regional advisors and Country Focal Officers (CFOs) based in member states, it provides a comprehensive suite of policy and legislative advice, technical assistance and capacity building to support Pacific states to respond effectively to priority regional human rights priorities, such as gender equality, ending violence against women and children, disability rights, climate change and equitable, sustainable development.

The role – the Country Focal Officer will support the Kingdom of Tonga government through relevant ministries to meet its national, regional and international Human Rights, Gender Equality, Social Inclusion and Culture for Development commitments through the provision of advisory services, technical assistance, networking, coordination, and capacity-building.


The key responsibilities of the role include the following:

Country Planning and Implementation

  • Serves as the liaison between SPC HRSD and the Government of Tonga Civil Service and other stakeholders as required to further HRSD’s work in the host country.
  • In consultation with host Ministry, other relevant government ministries and key stakeholders, develop annual country work programme in alignment with national development priorities and HRSD business plan.
  • Ensures effective implementation of activities and programs in the annual country work plan.
  • Maintains accurate financial records in compliance with SPC financial and procurement policies and procedures evidenced by accurate, compliant and timely reports and acquittals – as and when required.

Technical Assistance and Advice

  • Provides timely, quality, and contextualised advice and technical assistance to Government and other stakeholders on national, regional and international commitments on human rights, gender, social inclusion, culture and youth development.
  • Facilitate and/or provides technical assistance to Government to ensure policies, programmes, and legislation fulfil regional and international commitments made by the government on human rights, gender, culture and youth.
  • Supports preparation of State delegations prior to regional and international forums and meetings through coaching and mock simulations.
  • Supports participation of civil society and communities through the provision of advice, technical assistance, coaching and mentoring to deliver on human rights and social development issues.

Training and Capacity-Building

  • Plans responses to country’s human rights, gender, culture, social inclusion and youth capacity needs through research, consultations and monitoring data.
  • Coordinates, facilitates, supports delivery, monitors and reports on, in-country capacity development programs for state and non-state actors on human rights, gender, culture, social inclusion and youth.
  • Applies appropriate and relevant capacity-building and training methodologies for adult learners.
  • Continuously reviews and adapts capacity building and skills development materials informed by learning.

Networking and Partnership

  • Represents HRSD effectively at national, regional and international forums.
  • Shares information on country’s human rights, gender, culture and youth situation and priorities with key stakeholders.
  • Establishes, strengthens, and supports partnerships that advance HRSD objectives at national, regional and international levels.
  • Facilitates good communication and information flows among agencies involved in implementation at national, regional and international forums.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

  • Monitors the progress towards the country’s HRSD plans and in accordance with the results framework including identification of outcomes, gaps and any required mitigation measures.
  • Ensures accurate and timely reporting of all interventions including training and technical assistance.
  • Develops and submits 6-monthly progress reports against work plans, including activity and budget execution rates.
  • Applies learnings to improve programme performance.
  • Identifies and documents performance stories, case studies and outcomes of HRSD work.
  • Collects and shares media demonstrating human rights and social development issues in country and HRSD’s work.
  • Contributes to design and implementation of effective monitoring, evaluation and learning (M EL) system for country work using both qualitative and quantitative indicators.
  • Contributes to HRSD and national donor reports, HRSD publication and communication products.

For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the online job description.


Key selection criteria


  • Tertiary qualification in any of the disciplines: public policy, law, human rights, gender, youth, culture, social science, community development, international relations, development studies or similar field

Technical expertise

  • At least five years’ experience in Pacific Island country/territory working to advance human rights, gender equality and social inclusion, youth for development or culture for development (in government and/or civil society).
  • Strategic planning experience and in-depth understanding of country cultures, context, challenges and opportunities.
  • Knowledge of legislative reform processes and policy development.
  • Proven experience in report writing, analysis, and project proposal writing.
  • Experience in community development, non-formal adult education and/or community outreach.
  • Experience in financial management, budgeting, and acquittals.
  • Computer literacy in Microsoft Office suite.

Language skills

  • Fluency in English.

Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Knowledge of Pacific Island countries and territories is an advantage.


Salary, terms and conditions

Contract Duration – This position is budgeted for 2 years and is subject to renewal depending on performance and funding.

Remuneration – the Country Focal Officer is a Band 7 position in SPC’s 2023 salary scale, with a starting salary range of TOP 21,192–26,490 per year, plus local staff benefits. An offer of appointment for an initial contract will be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration being given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews.

Benefits – SPC provides medical and life insurance for eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and access to SPC’s Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution). Tonga nationals employed by SPC in Tonga will be subject to income tax.

Languages – SPC’s working languages are English and French.

Recruitment principles – SPC’s recruitment is based on merit and fairness, and candidates are competing in a selection process that is fair, transparent and non-discriminatory. SPC is an equal-opportunity employer, and is committed to cultural and gender diversity, including bilinguism, and will seek to attract and appoint candidates who respect these values. Due attention is given to gender equity and the maintenance of strong representation from Pacific Island professionals.  If two interviewed candidates are ranked equal by the selection panel, preference will be given to the Pacific Islander. Applicants will be assured of complete confidentiality in line with SPC’s private policy.


Please note that applicants must be Tonga Nationals currently residing in the country, or hold the proper work permit for salaried employment there.


Application procedure

Closing date: 10 December 2023 – 11:00 pm Noumea time

Job Reference: CR000159

Applicants must apply online at

For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:

  • an updated resume with contact details for three professional referees
  • a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
  • responses to all screening questions

Your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage if all the above documents are not provided. Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference.

Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.

SPC does not charge a fee to consider your application and will never ask for your banking or financial information during the recruitment process.

Screening questions:

  1. What are the current key human rights and social development issues in Tonga, why do you think they are the most pressing issues?
  2. What are your experiences in capacity development with both state and non-state actors?
  3. Financial and narrative reporting are an integral part of this position. Please explain why financial and narrative reporting are important and how you will ensure that it is done on according to the HRSD required standard?


Position Description

Type: Contract - Local

Category: Human Rights

Reference ID: CR000159

Date Posted: 21/11/2023