Senior Program Officer level Country Desk Officer (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran)

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Relief International
Apply by 22 April 2013
Mid-level , Field assignment
Posted on 14 December 2012

Job Description

JOB TITLE: Senior Program Officer level Country Desk Officer (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran)

Location: London (UK) orWashington DC Headquarters (60%); Field (40%)

Reports To: Regional Director, (Asia)

SUMMARY: The Senior Program Officer is a mid-level country desk officer at RI responsible for ensuring substantive contributions to and developing a leadership practice for the achievement of HQ-level management, continuing development, and daily support for assigned country programs and the region under the direction of the Regional Director and broader oversight of the Vice President of International Programs. The Senior Program Officer upholds the highest standards of the RI country desk officer management practice by delivering those areas of work and associated duties via a basic foundation of skills and capacities. At the discretion of the Regional Director, the Senior Program Officer may be assigned to supervise and mentor interns in the HQ regional team.


All duties will be conducted under the RI established Standard Operating Policies and Procedures. The following terms of reference summarizes the Areas of Work and associated Tasks for RI’s Country Desk Officer Practice to be performed and delivered by the Senior Program Manager. The Senior Program Officer will execute this common set of duties and practices as a mid-level, country desk management practitioner capable of contributing with a good foundational skills with a willingness to grow in depth for teamwork and independent leadership in the delivery of results and meeting expectations under the guidance and direction of the Regional Director and in accordance with senior management.

Program Management (70%)

The following Program Management areas of work and tasks are to be executed from the HQ level in partnership with Country Offices / Country Leadership, with complimentary support and effort on the same areas of work conducted specifically during Field Visits.

Project Cycle Management: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned for the coordination and organization of project designs, project mobilization and closure management; project management support to country and project personnel; performance and impact tracking; and at-risk projects management.

Country Office-HQ Liaising: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned for the coordination and organization of communications with assigned country offices; management of country and regional context information; conducting routine country field visits; contributing to host country and local relations; managing country program hibernations; and organizing linked Country Office-HQ calendars for time management on project cycle deliverables.

Personnel Support & HR Coordination: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned for the coordination and organization of country-based personnel matters in coordination with the Human Resources Department for country personnel staff care; international personnel recruitment; performance evaluation of international personnel; grievance management; international deployments and repatriations; information management and support for country office-based human resources matters; and nominations to the RI National Officer Corps.

Continued, Program Management (70%)

Safety and Security Management: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned in coordination with the Global Safety and Security Department for country and regional safety and security plans; incident management; and situation monitoring.

Emergency Response: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned in coordination with the Country Office and Emergency Response Department for emergency situation monitoring and response coordination; emergency assessments; and emergency situation reporting.

Grants and Contracts Management: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned for execution of review and approval processes for material submissions managed in the Grants and Contracts system; organization of country contracts and modifications; coordination for new programs entered in RI systems; and quality and timely project reporting.

Budget Management: Provide Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned to the development and use of regional and country-specific operational budgets and budget projections; design of sound proposal / new project budgets and cost share applications; analysis and recommendations for budget versus actual (BVA) spending reports; review and analysis of country requests for funds (RFFs); and as requested on audits.

Procurement & Travel Management: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned with the Country Office for the development of country and project-based procurement plans in support of sound project cycle execution; substantive pre-reviews for country program and operations procurements requiring HQ senior management approval; and organization in coordination with the Operations Department for any movement of personnel into or out of the country programs assigned.

Administrative Management: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned for the organization of country and regional material archives at HQ.

Internal & External Representation: Provide hands-on contributions where requested to support RI efforts in institutional advancement and philanthropy; networking; information sharing on country, regional, and sector issues for internal capacity building; representing for RI on countries and region of assignment in the donor and interagency community; and providing inputs for the preparation of organizational print and web communication content in support of the RI Mission and constituency.

RI Mission & Culture: Provide positive contributions and developments to the RI operating and program environment, including mentorship of junior colleagues. Remain current on and uphold RI’s policies and best practices. Forge professional and positive connections with departments and colleagues to achieve optimal support for the country and regional programs and teams.

Cross Cutting Details for Program Management Execution (level of effort to be determined by the Regional Director based on progressive performance and proven capacities in the Senior Program Officer role)

  • Provide day to day support under the Regional Director in delivery of support from the HQ level for the assigned countries / regional offices.
  • Provide support from the HQ level to country directors in the management of sound country-based programs and operations according to internal and external (e.g. donor, host country) standards and contractual requirements for project execution.
  • Provide HQ with immediate knowledge and analysis of any potential misconduct or gap in field procedures with regard to operations and administration policies. Provide for routine (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) country and regional monitoring for assigned locations, and bring necessary issues and upgrades to the attention of senior management without delay with respect to all country administration, program, and operations systems such that they comply fully with all RI policies and procedures, in particular but not limited to the RI Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest policies, RI Policy on Reporting Misconduct, RI Policy on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, and RI’s Field and Field Finance Procedures.
  • Support Country Directors to recruit, screen, and hire key international staff and ensure that all internal administrative and HR policies and procedures are followed and local labor regulations are met, per RI HR manuals.
  • Lead and coordinate at HQ with members of Senior Management Team, HR, Operations, and Security Departments on staff movements in and out of countries, including for necessary safety- or security-driven evacuations.
  • Regularly contribute to and support routine evaluations of safety, security, and functionality of RI country RI guest house and office compounds during field visit periods; provide recommendations and support sanctioned plans and SOPs as set by the Global Safety and Security Team.
  • Regularly contribute to and support routine analysis and recommendations for ensuring that supplies, systems, program implementation, and human resources are managed in RI country programs and regional offices via approved budgets and with full approval by the Regional Director, Programs Management Department, and Finance Department.
  • Provide support to Country Offices in their maintenance of all required standards and regulations for INGOs / humanitarian relief and development agencies, per country laws and with agreement on approaches to local relations (vetted with senior management where political conditions require unique action); provide HQ-level coordination for required administration documents supporting viable RI country presence per all local laws and to RI standards, including but not limited to: country registration, visas, bank accounts, local permissions for access, etc.
  • Lead and provide professional and appropriate preparation and implementation of donor communications, seeking review by the Regional Director in advance for sensitive communications.
  • Lead on routine monitoring and information gathering / sharing on the political, humanitarian, development and security situation in the assigned countries / region and serve as a resource with senior management and across departments on those matters to ensure RI is institutionally updated and informed of evolutions in those spheres that have implications for staff and beneficiary safety and security, ongoing or future programming, and RI’s status and approach.
  • Lead at HQ-level and support field teams at the country level in ensuring RI program activities are coordinated with other humanitarian relief and development agencies to foster inter-agency information sharing, presence at interagency forums, representation and leadership by RI staff at cluster / sector forums, etc.
  • Coordinate at HQ with members of the Communications and Philanthropy Department to support preparation of content for individual giving, foundation, and corporate donor outreach, web and print communications, and events promoting the work of RI within the public at large.
  • Attend all required internal meetings for the assigned country and region, provide coordination on all meetings assigned for direct facilitation, and substantively contribute to decision making within individual and department meetings led by the Regional Director and the Vice President of International Programs.
  • Using RI training systems, self-education, and external training where appropriate and within RI budgets, maintain current and a high level of management skills required in but not limited to: Microsoft Office software platform; management of email and electronic communications; budgeting and finance analysis; project design and writing for concepts and proposals; report writing; project cycle tools and systems; time management and calendaring; basic safety and security for INGOs; continued growth in knowledge and standards for humanitarian and development sectors and resources via the interagency community, think tanks, and web resources; and knowledge of the interagency community for humanitarian relief, development, policy, and advocacy sectors.
  • Maintain a strong interest in developing as a professional manager growing in leadership skills to function as a resource for colleagues, become a positive mentor, and contribute to RI independently and as a member of collaborative efforts.

Program Development (30%)

Program Development: Provide hands-on contributions and leadership where assigned in coordination with the Program Development Department for management of country desk and country office-led development efforts (e.g. expressions of interest, concept notes, full proposals); contributing effectively to Program Development Department-led efforts; management of donor relations; contributing to strategic decisions about development for assigned countries and region; providing substantive inputs on proposal project and budget designs; contributing to capacity statements for assigned countries and region; and organizing and preparing proposal issues letter responses for submissions led from the country desk team.

Cross Cutting Details for Program Development Execution (level of effort to be determined by the Regional Director based on progressive performance and proven capacities)

  • Contribute to country program strategies in partnership with strategy leadership provided by the Regional Director with the Country Office; consider development strategies as part of broader country and regional strategies with the Regional Director and support revisions and action plans in coordination with the Country Offices and other departments.
  • Contribute to identification of new program possibilities in collaboration with the Regional Director, program development colleagues, and region-based program staff.
  • Contribute to concept development, proposal writing, budget design, and other elements of submissions to donors for new projects for development efforts that are organized at the HQ desk by the Regional Director.
  • Contribute effectively to support program development efforts led by others for assigned countries and the region, such as development led by Regional Program Development staff and colleagues in the Program Development Department.
  • Maintain awareness about international standards with regard to program design and implementation and humanitarian relief and development best practices to shape appropriate project designs.
  • Contribute to the integration of ongoing and new program activities proposed as part of creating coherent, quality, and complimentary programming in the assigned country and region and stable, long-term relations in communities and host countries under RI’s mission objectives.


This position demands a dynamic individual with a good foundation of skills in basic management and development who is ready to provide substantive contributions and explore advancing their leadership capacity for achieving results in a demanding and fast paced environment.

  • · Bachelors or Masters Degree in International Development or related field in alignment with the relief and development sectors.
  • · 5 years of relevant international positions (internships not applicable), with some experience evident at the field and headquarters levels.
  • · Foundational and working knowledge and experience with international humanitarian and / or development programming, including awareness of and experience with international standards and best practices, common protocols, and interagency networks and relations. MUST have clear knowledge and awareness in international standards and best practices to apply.
  • · Excellent foundational skills and a strong interest in sound Project Cycle Management.
  • · Foundational skills and experiences in program development producing proposals, development and management of donor relations; experience must be inclusive of some direct experience in contributing substantively or as a leader on proposal writing, proposal budget design, and some history in managing donor outreach and relations. Preference given to candidates with success at winning USAID and private foundation/sector awards. MUST have program development experience to apply.
  • · Evidence of foundational skills and experience in applying capacities in budgeting and financial forecasting, including possession of basic skill sets for in preparing budget designs, providing budget analysis, and expense management. MUST have foundational budgeting and financial experience to apply.
  • · Proven high level of computer literacy and high facility for using the Microsoft Office Suite (with emphasis on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook).
  • · Foundational experience with independent and collaborative narrative writing and research skills; writing samples may be requested.
  • · Familiarity with grants management fundamentals and USAID regulations and grants administration.
  • · Experience in Monitoring and Evaluation and Impact Measurement and Analysis a plus.
  • · Experience with mentoring and team building a plus.
  • · Demonstrated capacity to coordinate complex activities, meet deadlines and manage deliverables on varying timetables and priority levels, and to exercise sound judgment.
  • · Willingness to take part in program related domestic and international travel routinely and as needed.
  • · Willingness to accept and absorb direct critique to improve work quality and results.
  • · Demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a team and independently.
  • · An exceptional interest and shared commitment to the values and mission of RI.

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