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  • Executive Career at Helen Keller

  • Posted on: 1 October, 2015 Deadline: 31 December, 2015
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  • Established in 1915 with Helen Keller as a founding trustee, Helen Keller International (HKI) is dedicated to saving the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Headquartered in New York City, HKI currently conducts programs in 21 countries in Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States. Renowned for its reliability, efficiency and high level of technical expertise, HKI promotes the development of sustainable, large-scale programs that deliver effective preventative and curative services for nutrition, eye health and neglected tropical diseases. The hallmark of the organization’s work is its proven success in developing, testing and scaling-up health interventions, and integrating them within government and community structures to support and build local capacity and sustainable solutions. HKI is recruiting a country director for Nigeria.

    Country Program Overview

    HKI began working in Nigeria in 1999 with an initial focus on onchocerciasis control. In the first year of assistance, about 1 million people were treated. HKI is now well known in the country through its efforts to support the National Strategy for the elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTD), and its work in providing twice annual Vitamin A supplementation to children aged under 5 years in partnership with Ministry of Health. HKI also supports the National Infant and Young Child Feeding Strategy by building awareness among women support groups through the national health system. The current program portfolio also includes building the awareness around the production and use at the household level of biofortified crops rich in essential micronutrients and working with the national government in the promotion of industrialized food fortification. HKI works in close collaboration with UNICEF, WHO, local civil society organizations and international NGOs as well as the Ministries of Health and Agriculture to execute its programming in the country. The current program is supported by a diverse group of donors including DFID, Queen Elizabeth Trust, USAID, END Fund, and DFATD (Canada) and the Ministry of Agriculture.

    Country Director


    Scope of the Position

    The Country Director (CD) has overall responsibility for ensuring the ongoing implementation of the HKI/Nigeria program portfolio in compliance with HKI’s mission and policy, and donor requirements. The CD is responsible for representing HKI and securing funding for project activities in Nigeria; developing and implementing strategic and annual plans to further the HKI’s mission in Nigeria; program design, proposal development, implementation and reporting; financial and grants management; operations, security, and human resource management. This position is based in Abuja, Nigeria, with travel to field sites. The CD reports to the Regional Director for East, Central and Southern Africa (based in Nairobi) and works closely with other regional staff based in HKI’s Africa regional offices (Dakar and Nairobi) as well as the headquarters office in New York. The CD directly supervises the country senior management team, including the Operations Manager, and Program Managers for Nutrition and NTDs.

    Specific Responsibilities:

    Overall Management and Leadership

    • Implement and periodically update HKI-Nigeria strategic plan.
    • Make rapid adjustments to HKI programs, in line with our mission, but responding to the challenges and opportunities presented by the evolving political situation.
    • Generate funding from international and bilateral agencies, donor agencies, corporations, and individuals in collaboration with national, regional and headquarters staff in alignment with the country office’s strategic plan.
    • Manage financial resources and provide oversight for grants.
    • Manage key project personnel including supporting their ongoing professional development.
    • Provide vision and direction for overall program design and proposal development; program implementation and reporting; grant management; financial planning; and human resource planning and management.
    • Represent HKI within the donor and NGO community, as well as relevant Ministries at the National and State level governments;

    Program Management

    • Together with the technical staff, provide technical input to the government, international donor agencies and technical advisory groups pertinent to HKI project activities.
    • Oversee research design, dissemination of information gathered and advocacy to advance programmatic and policy changes.
    • Oversee and coordinate the program portfolio to ensure the highest level of project quality and accountability, while fostering continuity through building local capacity.
    • Ensure implementation of strong program monitoring, evaluation and learning functions.
    • Disseminate findings from HKI projects that are of importance to decision-makers in a position to fund or implement projects in Nigeria and internationally.
    • Keep national partners and others informed about progress of the projects, plans for the development of new programs/projects/activities and donor involvement in the overall program.

    Finance & Operations

    • Work with HKI Regional Office and HQ to manage the development and implementation of annual country budgets.
    • Work with finance team to ensure the timely preparation and submission of routine financial reports within the guidelines established by the HKI Finance department, and donor reports that comply with grant or contract agreements.
    • Review and authorize expenditures for grant or contract allocations and ensure compliance with procedures required by grant or contract agreements.
    • Review and approve supporting documentation in compliance with policy and procedures.
    • Supervise the solicitation, management and closure of all internal and external audits.
    • Hire and manage personnel for Nigeria projects in compliance with HKI policies and lead initiatives to develop staff capacity.
    • Work with relevant regional, HQ and country-based staff to ensure country compliance with HKI policies and procedures regarding procurement, fleet management, inventory, records management, HR administration, security, lease and contract management.


    • Master’s degree in public health, nutrition or related development field, or equivalent combination of education and experience;
    • Minimum seven years of field experience in managing complex, mult-sectoral country programs including demonstrated experience in program development, implementation and evaluation. Experience in, or willingness to learn about, nutrition and NTD control is necessary.
    • Demonstrated ability to undertake high-level representation and advocacy.
    • Demonstrated capacity to mobilize program funding including donor cultivation and grants writing.
    • Demonstrated ability to manage staff and other administrative and financial activities in developing country programs – five years’ experience in a management position.
    • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to lead a team, communicate a vision, make timely and transparent decisions, and manage conflict.
    • Demonstrated ability to develop and create budgets and monitor financial status.
    • Experience in managing USAID projects and familiarity with USAID policies and regulations. Experience with a variety of other donors, an advantage.
    • Ability to design and implement workshops, seminars, surveys, monitoring systems and evaluations Experience in research design, data analysis and interpretation.
    • Computer literacy, including use of Internet, word processing and spreadsheets. Experience with data analysis and cell phone data collection will be an advantage.

    Excellent oral and written English language skills, including the ability to quickly synthesize complex technical and programmatic issues into concise communications.

    An ability to maintain balance when under stress.

    The initial contract is for two years with possibility of renewal.

    Method of Application

    Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to noting the job title in the subject line. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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