RTI is currently accepting applications for Chief of Party (COP) for a four-year USAID-funded Local Solutions project in Laos. The goal of this project is to strengthen the operational and managerial capacity of nonprofit associations (NPAs) and other organizations that serve vulnerable populations in the country so that they can be more effective and sustainable. Capacity development services will focus on the individual, team, and organizational levels (e.g., strengthening structures, tools, policies, procedures, and practices). Areas of capacity development support may include financial management, project management, strategic planning, human resources, USAID rules and regulations, institutional governance, leadership, gender, monitoring and evaluation, and procurement, to name a few areas. The Local Capacity for Local Solutions project will focus on strengthening the capacity of organizations in Laos through a variety of means – training, study tours, individual technical assistance, and coaching and mentoring. Activities during the first year of the project will focus on conducting research on capacity development approaches and experiences while RTI obtains formal registration in the country.
The COP will represent RTI and the project and will create a team dynamic among RTI’s partners and beneficiaries, stimulating broad project buy-in and engagement with a wide variety of institutions in Laos. She/he will be responsible for the overall implementation and management of the project so that activities and deliverables are executed out at the highest levels of quality. In addition to a management role, the COP will also play a major technical role on the project, helping to design, deliver, and oversee the quality of our capacity building activities. This position will be based in Vientiane but travel throughout the country will be required, as needed. Nationals of Laos are strongly encouraged to apply.
The responsibilities of the COP for the Local Solutions Support project are diverse and require an individual who is able to multi-task, work under pressure, and manage complex relationship dynamics. Specific responsibilities are as follows:
- Provide overall strategic direction of the project in order to ensure that activities are carried out with stakeholder buy-in and can achieve timely results within the constraints of the project budget.
- Prepare major deliverables required by USAID, including the project work plan, monitoring and evaluation plan, quarterly and annual progress reports, and other required reports or products.
- Directly contribute to the development of capacity strengthening materials in order to ensure that there is consistency and exceptional quality to the capacity strengthening activities that various partners are engaged in and tasked with implementing across the region.
- Oversee the implementation of project activities at all levels in order to ensure that they are taking place on time and within budget. She/he should also ensure that project partners are closely coordinated so that the team has a shared vision and understanding of goals and progress in meeting them.
- Supervise and mentor staff to ensure that they are empowered to perform their duties, collaborate as a team, and are performing at the highest of levels.
- Serve as the project point of contact / liaison to USAID and develop an effective and collaborative relationship so that USAID is regularly updated and consulted at appropriate levels.
- Liaise regularly with RTI’s home office in order to share updates, collaborate on deliverables, and consult on approaches. The COP must ensure that all activities are performed according to both USAID and RTI policies and procedures.
- Oversee and assume overall responsibility for managing the project budget, including those of the budgets of local partners, to ensure that resources are utilized efficiently and judiciously.
- Ensure that grants to local partners are managed efficiently and that grantees are accountable for results and can comply with RTI and USAID procedures.
- Continuously monitor the results of project activities in order to gauge progress against project targets and discuss course-corrections that may be needed in order to improve impact.
- Succinctly and articulately convey project results to partners, the donor, and the general public via social media, reports, success stories, and public events, stimulating greater interest and momentum around project activities.
Required Skills and Qualifications
The successful applicant will have extensive experience in managing complex, multi-dimensional, and multi-year programs that focus on strengthening the institutional and managerial capacity of organizations in Laos. She/he will be results-driven, able to absorb and respond to information in a timely manner and possess strong team-building and negotiating skills in order to engage local partners / beneficiaries.
The candidate must be a strategic thinker with a proven ability to develop innovative program approaches to strengthening local capacity (beyond training) that can be successfully implemented and sustained. Experience in mentoring and coaching, peer-learning, and training is highly desirable.
Excellent management, organizational, and interpersonal skills and an ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff, partners, and the donor are essential to the role. Applicants must be able to successfully work with a wide range of NPAs and other local stakeholders. Applicants should possess:
- A minimum of a master’s degree in international development, public administration, public policy, finance management, economic policy, or related field.
- A minimum of 12 years of experience in increasingly responsible positions implementing and managing development projects.
- A minimum of 5 years of experience in a senior management role within a development project of equivalent size and scope.
- Substantial experience in working with organizations in Laos and strengthening their institutional capacities.
- Successful experience in non-traditional approaches to capacity development, such as peer-to-peer learning and mentoring and coaching.
- A proven track record in managing staff.
- An ability to manage and track budget expenditures to achieve outcomes with limited resources.
- Effective cross-cultural and communication skills so that she/he is able to create a shared vision on project objectives and activities among diverse stakeholders.
- An ability to resolve sensitive and complicated work issues with senior high-level country counterparts, donor representatives, and senior-level staff.
- Fluency in English and Laotian.
- Experience in managing a project by USAID or another international donor is highly desirable.
Application Instructions: Qualified candidates are invited to apply for this position and submit their CV and cover letter to RTI at http://m.rfer.us/RTIJ3f3tI Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Only short-listed applicants will be contacted.
About the Organization
RTI International is an independent nonprofit research institute and leading development organization headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA. Since 1958, RTI has worked in over 150 countries and designed and implemented cutting-edge solutions in the sectors of economic growth, governance, education, and health. A cornerstone of RTI’s work is strengthening the capacities of local partners and systems in order to increase local ownership and ensure that host country individuals and organizations have the skills and resources to achieve their missions and sustain their services in the long term.