Refugee Led Video Game Development Consultant at UN High Commissioner for Refugees

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a part-time individual consultancy position supportingthe **Country Operation in North Macedonia and the Innovation Service.**The position is home-based.

The Consultant for Refugee Engagement with Video Games will temporarily support the Innovation Service’s digital inclusion programme on a feasibility study around an international refugee-focused game development festival that looks to leverage videogames as a vehicle to support digital inclusion. They will also be working directly with the Country Operation in North Macedonia, leading on the project jointly with the Innovation Service.

UNHCR is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions of displaced people and supporting the communities where they live.

Title: Refugee Led Video Game Development Consultant

Duty Station: Home-based

Working Hours: 20 hours a week

Duration: 1st September 2022 to 31st December 2022 (4 months)

Contract Type: Individual Consultant

Closing date: 24th August 2022 at 23:59 CET

Start date: 1st September 2022

Organisational context

UNHCR believes that Persons of Concern should have equitable access to digital technology and channels and be able to safely use them to pursue opportunities for lifelong learning, inclusion in the digital economy, leisure, and solutions. UNHCR’s Digital Inclusion programme aims to ensure that refugees and the communities that host them have the right, and the choice, to be included in a connected society, and can have their voices heard in the design and implementation of humanitarian response. This programme is led by UNHCR’s Innovation Service and utilises innovative approaches, tools, and methodologies to achieve its goals – encouraging community-centric creative approaches that address identified challenges.

Under this programme, the UNHCR Representation in North Macedonia, together with UNHCR’s Innovation Service, is exploring novel approaches to advance digital inclusion by building bridges between Persons of Concern and the video game industry and related industries and communities. We have set out to answer the question: How can we utilize the universal popularity and adoption of the medium of gaming to empower refugees to tell their stories, build communities, develop digital skills and livelihoods?

In that context, the international consultant will report to the Innovation and Transformation Lead in the Country Operation in North Macedonia, in liaison with the Innovation Service Digital Inclusion programme, and be tasked with conducting a feasibility study on organising an international refugee-focused game development festival in 2023 (Ref Jam).

The position

The objective of this assignment is to collect information on how to improve access to digital leisure and livelihoods for refugees, conduct a feasibility study for an international refugee focused video game development competition (game jam), and establish contacts with the video game industry and gaming communities for future UNHCR engagement. The research should be based on a participatory approach, through consultations with refugees and asylum seekers, UNHCR staff, partners, and relevant stakeholders, also ensuring co-design with Persons of Concern.

Based on the Innovation Service’s Digital Inclusion Programme and in line with relevant strategic documents and publications (e.g. The Digital Leisure Divide and the Forcibly Displaced), the consultant would need to adapt or develop a methodology for collection, systematization, and analysis of data relevant for improved access to digital leisure and livelihoods for Persons of Concern, and work alongside the project team in refining a project proposal for Ref Jam 2023. During this process, the consultant will be expected to collect data from key identified stakeholders through interviews, focus groups and other methods and facilitate co-design workshops with Persons of Concern (in person and/or remote, depending on the context and location of identified stakeholders). The assignment will take place in two phases and be supported by UNHCR Regional Teams and Country Offices across the organization.

Duties and responsibilities

Phase 1: Stakeholder mapping, developing research methodology, consultations with stakeholders

With the support of the project team, in liaison with UNHCR regional offices and country teams, the consultant will perform a stakeholder mapping to identify i) refugee gamers and game developers, ii) organisations with experience in organising game jams and iii) game development companies and studios.

Based on the mapping, the candidate will develop and implement a research methodology to collect information about:

  1. How refugees engage with the medium of gaming, which games they play, which skills they would like to develop, and which specific activities would be most beneficial for them in a refugee focused game jam.
  2. Best practices for organizing social coding events based on consultations with game development professionals and game jam organisers.
  3. Partnership opportunities with game development companies and studies for the initiative and beyond.


  • Develop research methodology for gathering quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Perform stakeholder mapping and stakeholder consultation plan and carry out consultations.
  • Design and deliver co-design workshop with Persons of Concern.
  • Co-author blogpost outlining relevant literature, project aspirations, and potential utility for refugees.

Phase 2: Data analysis, feasibility study and presentation of results

Based on the data collected in Phase 1, perform an analysis, and provide an evidence basis and recommendations for organizing an international refugee focused game development festival in 2023 (Ref Jam), including the logistical and administrative aspects (budgeting, timeline, implementation partners etc.). The consultant will present the findings to stakeholders and UNHCR management and advise and provide guidance to UNHCR on the potential of videogames and related media in its Digital Inclusion Programme and other programming. Finally, the consultant will maintain an online channel where stakeholders can stay in touch, exchange ideas and information and together with the project team support its growth into a community (e.g., discord server).


  • Produce Feasibility Study Report based on a participatory approach containing recommendations on organizing an international refugee focused game development festival, including the logistical and administrative aspects (project brief, stakeholder map, budget, timeline, implementation partners etc.).
  • Present findings and recommendations to UNHCR management and key stakeholders.
  • Co-author blogpost outlining the results of the study and next steps in the project co-authored with project team.
  • Document the process (photographs, screenshots, transcripts, quotes etc.).

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required

Academic Qualifications

  • Undergraduate degree (essential) or graduate degree (desired) in a related discipline (information science, software engineering, video game design, social sciences, anthropology, humanitarian studies, development studies, or related fields.)

Experience (Required / Desired)

  • At least 5 years of relevant and practical experience in the video game industry or related areas, with experience in organizing video game, social coding and/or e-sports events desired. Strong relationships and networking with international game development community and/or social coding event organizers is essential.
  • Research/analytical skills,including ability to collect data and information from varied sources using various methods in varied cultural contexts.
  • Experience working with UNHCR’s people of concern or other marginalized people in a humanitarian or development context; academic (research) experience with video game design; practical experience with social innovation design is considered an asset

Skills and Competencies

  • Excellent knowledge of English (both written and spoken) and working knowledge of another UN language an advantage
  • Highly organized and autonomous, able to multitask and prioritize workload when necessary
  • Excellent writing and documentation skills, demonstrating high levels of attention to detail
  • Works well in a multicultural team and has a strong work ethic: strives to deliver high-quality, error-free deliverables potentially targeting different types of users (e.g. senior management, fundraising specialists and advocacy officers)
  • Communication: encourages and contributes to clear and open communication; explains complex matters in an informative, inspiring, and motivational way.
  • Managing and sharing knowledge: continuously seeks to learn, share knowledge and innovate.


  • Inclusion and respect for diversity: respects and promotes individual and cultural differences; encourages diversity and inclusion wherever possible.
  • Integrity and transparency: maintain high ethical standards and acts in a manner consistent with organizational principles/rules and standards of conduct.
  • Professionalism: demonstrates ability to work in a composed, competent and committed manner and exercises careful judgment in meeting day-to-day challenges.


The position is home-based, with potential travel as necessary.


This is a deliverables-based consultancy and remuneration will be negotiated on this basis, though UNHCR expects the overall level of effort to be approximately 50% of full-time equivalent over a 4 month period.

How to apply

For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit

Closing date of applications: 24 August 2022.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

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