Deputy Country Director – Sierra Leone
Helen Keller International
Deputy Country Director – Sierra Leone
(Freetown, Sierra Leone)
Established in 1915 with Helen Keller as a founding trustee, Helen Keller International (HKI) works to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Headquartered in New York City, HKI currently offers programs in 21 countries in Africa and Asia as well as in the United States. The organization combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research. Across the globe, HKI programs address malnutrition, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) including onchocerciasis, and eye health.
Country Program Overview
The HKI Sierra Leone office first opened in 2002. Now with 22 staff and an annual cash operating budget of over $2.3 million, the country office has undergone significant growth especially over the past 5 years. With the recent major funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for both vitamin A supplementation and response to the food price crisis, regional USAID funding for food fortification, diverse donors for nutrition and NTDs, funding from Irish Aid for nutrition, and support from USAID for improving the education facilities of the blind.
Scope of the Position
The Deputy Country Director (DCD) will oversee, programs, under the supervision of the country director. The primary responsibilities include: project planning/design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting, ensuring timely, effective and compliant programming in accordance with HKI programming principles and donor requirements. The position requires close cooperation with the government of Sierra Leone partner NGOs, food industries, donors and UN agencies. The DCD directly supervises four program managers, with a total program staff of around 15 employees and interns.
The position is based in Freetown with regular travel to project sites.
The Deputy Country Director (DCD) has oversees the implementation of HKI-Sierra Leone programs, including performance management of staff, to achieve the HKI mission and the objectives established in grants. The DCD is responsible developing project proposals and implementation plans to further HKI’s mission in Sierra Leone, including program design, proposal development, implementation, monitoring & evaluation, and reporting. As an evidence-based organization, HKI places great importance of operational research and impact evaluation. The DCD plays a key role in overseeing research and evaluation, usually in partnership with qualified institutions. Field travel includes visits to project sites working from three sub-offices. The DCD reports to the country director (based in Freetown) and works closely with other staff members at HKI’s Africa regional office and headquarters. The DCD leads and directly supervises the program team, and is a member of the country management team, including finance manager and the manager for administration and human resources. The DCD serves as acting country director when the CD is absent.
- Identify and seek out funding opportunities that support the country program objectives.
- Participate in operational and strategic planning of the country senior management team; support the development of the Annual Program Plan, including ensuring alignment with the agency’s strategic plan, and budget.
- Identify technical assistance needs, develop terms of reference and supervise consultants and other technical support resources needed for program-related activities.
- Strengthen staff and partner capacity in project development.
- Coordinate project design and proposal development processes by working with field, regional office and headquarters technical, development, and operational staff.
- Play an active role in identifying and obtaining support for new initiatives that foster and improve the strategic objectives of the country office.
- Oversee the design and implementation of effective work plans that allow for timely and ongoing progress review of all key outputs.
- Ensure that project implementation is in accordance with HKI established plans, policies and procedures and HKI core values.
- Work with staff and partners to ensure strong M&E systems are in place for the development of regular project monitoring systems, the agency’s shared indicator system, as well as for special studies and project evaluations, including baseline, mid-term and end-of-project.
- Conduct field-level monitoring; providing timely and constructive feedback and support to HKI and partner project staff.
- Continuously monitor and identify necessary technical assistance or other project inputs that may be needed including recommending actions to obtain technical assistance or inputs from local consultants, AFRO or headquarters.
- Work with project and finance staff to review all budgets on a monthly basis to identify either over or under spending trends, and if significant trends are noted to alert the Country Director for appropriate action.
- Review all budgets, in collaboration with finance managers, on a regular basis to ensure adherence to HKI and donor requirements.
- Mentor staff and contributing to an atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development. Provide timely feedback, including annual performance reviews.
- Work closely with the Country Directors to address all issues raised by HKI staff, donors or respective line ministries regarding program implementation.
- Work with project staff to ensure all financial and narrative reports are submitted to donor and regional office and HQ office (as required) in a timely and compliant manner.
- Work with project staff to ensure the proper maintenance of all files, records and documents relating to HKI activities of the project.
- Ensure all projects are properly closed in accordance with HKI and donor requirements
Coordination with partners:
- Work with project staff to ensure partners are knowledgeable of HKI’s technical and financial policies and procedures, and donor compliance requirements.
- Ensure that project staff have the skills and tools necessary to build partner capacity.
- Coordinate with respective line ministries/officials and other organizations working in the sector to build strategic partnerships.
- Ensure that HKI programs are recognized/promoted and implemented in accordance with national agendas.
- Participate in meetings and seminars within HKI, nationally, and internationally as requested by the Country Director.
- Masters degree or equivalent in development, public health, business administration, program management, international development or other relevant field, plus minimum 5 years working in project management for an international organization in the area of public health, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
- Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills, including fluency in spoken and written English
- Strong budget management skills
- Substantial experience with a variety of donors including USAID, CIDA, DfID, European Commission and/or UNICEF an advantage
- Demonstrated ability in project design and proposal writing
- Experience with monitoring and evaluation tools and systems
- Proven track record with institutional strengthening and partnership building
- Experience in Sierra Leone a preference
- Ability to work independently, but also coordinate effectively as part of a team
- Strong analytical and organizational skills
- Excellent inter-personal skills; demonstrating diplomacy and tact
- Proven ability to effectively manage people and to build teams
- Demonstrable respect for all persons regardless of religion, ethnicity, class or gender
- Willingness to travel within the country and West Africa region
The initial contract is for two years with possibility of renewal. Interested and qualified applicants should submit: (1) cover letter, (2) current curriculum vitae in English, and (3) a short writing sample (2-3 pages) in English to: Dr Mary Hodges, Country Director, email@example.com with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the title of the position you are applying for in the subject line. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. No calls, please.