Regional Program Director – Africa/ Asia at Relief International

Regional Program Director – Africa/ Asia at Relief International

Job Title: Regional Program Director – Africa/ Asia

Department: Africa/ Asia Region

Location: Nairobi, Kenya or to be negotiated within the time zone range of CAT to PKT; frequent travel in the region at minimum of 30% of time (dependent on developments with COVID-19)

Reporting to: Regional Director – Africa/ Asia

Direct reports: Regional Program Manager and Regional MEL Manager; dotted line technical management and support to Program Directors (or equivalent) in all Country Offices of Africa/Asia region and Regional Awards Manager

ABOUT Relief International.

Relief International (RI) is a leading non-profit organization working in 16 countries to relieve poverty, ensure well-being and advance dignity. We specialize in fragile settings, responding to natural disasters, humanitarian crises and chronic poverty.

Relief International combines humanitarian and development approaches to provide immediate services while laying the groundwork for long-term impact. Our signature approach — which we call the RI Way—emphasizes local participation, an integration of services, strategic partnerships, and a focus on civic skills. In this way, we empower communities to find, design and implement the solutions that work best for them.

RI includes the four corporate members of the RI Alliance: RI-US, RI-UK, MRCA/RI-France and RI-Europe. Under our alliance agreement, we operate as a single, shared management structure.

About our Region.

RI operates in nine countries in the Africa/Asia region:

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, South Sudan, and Sudan. With a focus on the four RI sector pillars: Health, WASH, Education and Economic Opportunity.

RI currently employs more than 3,000 staff (direct and indirect) in the Africa/Asia region and implements a range of emergency response and development programs valued at approximately $50 million USD on an annual basis.

Position Summary.

The Regional Program Director will work closely with the Regional Director to contribute to and implement RI’s Global strategy, by providing vision and strategic direction to all of RI’s work in the region. This includes RI’s humanitarian responses in addition to looking at future long-term development, program design and implementation that will ensure RI’s longer-term presence in the region and working with both host communities and governments.

The Regional Program Director role will focus on increased facilitation and coordination between Global and RI country programs to create a stronger regional portfolio that is globally coordinated and is able to evolve from day-to-day management to growth and improvement in quality.

The Regional Program Director is expected to take a leadership role in supporting a multi-departmental approach to strategy design, program management, program development, and risk management in close coordination with Finance, Awards Management, Security, Supply Chain and Operations, and HR departments.

Essential Responsibilities and Duties.

Strategic Leadership

  • Work directly with Technical Assistance Department and other initiatives that are focused on improving quality implementation in countries and ensuring that regional priorities and needs are understood and incorporated in the design.
  • Articulate a compelling vision for the region and support country programs in setting country strategies.
  • Support the management of country level strategic and annual planning, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive creative solutions for greater impact.
  • Prepare the region to be strategically positioned for new opportunities and prioritize needs to enable region to go for them.
  • Work closely with the Regional Director to ensure that the voice of the Region is effectively heard and influence the direction of RI through the participation and contribution of the Region and organization wide activities.
  • Promote sharing of learning with others and drawing on learning from across RI and externally and utilizing the results to inform program decisions and enhance institutional knowledge.
  • Support the Regional Director and Country Directors in program development, networking with new donors, and developing partnerships with INGOs, LNGOs and other relevant external stakeholders.

Risk Management

  • Work closely with country teams on anticipating and mitigating programmatic and organizational risks.
  • Assume a leadership role in the roll-out and follow up of compliance and due diligence policies and procedures to country offices in coordination with other regional team members.
  • Support the Regional Director to present calculated risks based on evidence-based assumptions to help identify actions and decisions that need to be taken. Develop action plans to move decisions forward, convening stakeholders and leading follow up as needed.

Program Cycle Management

  • Contribute robustly to program development process, including revision of proposals to ensure alignment with country and regional strategy, technical input/writing/quality control, and coordination with program and technical staff.
  • Oversee the Regional Program Manager and Regional Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Manager in the provision of in-person and remote guidance and support on implementation of sound project cycle management and technical quality standards for all Country Programs.
  • Ensure country offices have appropriate backstopping to meet RI’s required tools and processes and ensure the coordination of RI’s program quality and portfolio reporting mechanisms throughout the region.
  • Work closely with Regional Awards Manager who is responsible for ensuring compliance of the regional portfolio in accordance with RI and donor policies, including, but not limited to support for timely identification and preparation of no-cost extensions, budget realignments, and program grant modifications.
  • Lead on donor communications and serve as key focal point to donors at HQ-level (ie, DC-based for USG, Brussels based for EU, etc), where counterparts for donor country level representation exists.
  • The Regional Program Director is expected to take a lead in the Regional Team in all efforts towards accountability; focusing on how we can improve our current program implementation to specifically respond to our beneficiaries and to international standards. In addition, how and what steps we can begin to take to actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our programs.

Other Management Responsibilities

  • Assume the role of Regional Director when Regional Director is on leave.
  • Supervise and mentor program staff in the regional team, and Program Directors (or equivalent) in country offices.
  • Participate in meetings convened by Global Support Office and champion new organization initiatives.
  • Participate in key recruitment processes and decisions throughout the region.


  • Uphold and promote RI’s commitment to ensuring the safeguarding and safety of the vulnerable communities we serve.
  • Consistent with RI’s safeguarding and protection policies, ensure all people who come into contact with Relief International are as safe as possible.

Equity and Diversity commitment

  • Demonstrate sensitivity and understanding of systemic diversity and cultural differences.
  • Ensure that gender equity is addressed in our staffing and programming

Experience and Skills required for the role

This position will require a demonstrated ability to achieve results in a demanding and fast paced environment.

  • Master’s degree in international studies or equivalent in international development, political or social science management or other relevant field.
  • Proven field experience in team management; finance and administration; donor relations; and inter/intra-agency communications in progressively senior roles.
  • Significant program operations experience including direct “hands-on” skills in program development strategic planning, program implementation and evaluation.
  • Extensive experience in managing both development and emergency programs.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the critical development issues in the assigned region and significant experience with the challenges of operating programs in the region.
  • Demonstrated proficiency and experience with US, EC, UN and other public and private donors, Government grant and financial management requirements.
  • Exceptional program and project conceptualization and design skills.
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication, organization, and prioritization skills and experience.
  • Strong preference given to candidates with prior experience in Africa and/or Asia.
  • Fluency in English is required.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Relief International (RI) is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity.

We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to RI’s Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct e-learning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

RI Values:

We uphold the Humanitarian Principles: humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence. We affirmatively engage the most vulnerable communities.

We value:

  • Inclusiveness
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Agility and innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Sustainability


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