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The contribution of young professionals

The Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme is a United Nations system-wide programme, established in 1961 and adopted by the World Food Programme (WFP).

The JPO Programme provides valuable work experience and training opportunities for young and motivated professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in international development.

About the programme

  • Who are JPOs?

    WFP’s JPOs are highly talented young professionals. Most will already have significant work experience, either in their home countries or abroad. More than 80 percent have had between three and five years’ international work experience. Around 90 percent have a master’s degree and 2 percent have a Ph.D. In the past six years, 70 percent have been women.

  • What JPOs do at WFP?

    JPOs work in WFP’s country offices, regional bureaux, and at our Headquarters in Rome. They assist us in carrying out WFP’s mandate to combat global hunger – in emergencies through food aid and logistical support, and in recovery and development contexts through nutritional support, food assistance and resilience-building.

  • Benefits for JPOs

    WFP provides all JPOs with intensive training and mentoring. Our programme is managed to ensure that every individual’s potential is maximized. The recruitment process is highly competitive, and candidates who succeed gain unique, hands-on experience in responding to complex emergencies.

  • Recruitment criteria

    Applicants must:

    • be under 32-35 years old, depending on the donor country’s selection criteria;
    • have a master’s degree in a relevant subject;
    • be fluent in one or more official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish);
    • have 3 to 5 years’ professional working experience relevant to their assignment’s Terms of Reference.

How the selection process works

  1. computer icon

    Online application

  2. assessment icon

    Technical assessment
    (if required for the position)

  3. interview icon


  4. staff icon

    Final selection

Our JPOs tell their stories

How two Junior Professional Officers showed their skills amid ebola outbreak