Program Director, Ivory Coast (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) Local Contract At Helen Keller International

We are seeking a Program Director to join our growing country program in Côte d’Ivoire.

Country Program Overview

Helen Keller started its activities in Côte d’Ivoire in 2000. Helen Keller provides vital technical assistance in support of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality, both in the areas of nutrition and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Helen Keller is particularly involved in the fight against malnutrition, implementing a wide range of activities including vitamin A supplementation, food fortification, infant and young child nutrition (IYCN) and agricultural nutrition programs targeting small-scale women farmers. In addition, Helen Keller Côte d’Ivoire is working on the link between nutrition and early childhood development as well as the link between nutrition and postpartum family planning.

Helen Keller also plays a key strategic and decision-making role in defining health and nutrition policies and guidelines in the country and serves on several key steering and advisory committees related to child health and nutrition and health systems strengthening. Helen Keller is also a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) technical committee for Côte d’Ivoire. Helen Keller also works at the policy level by supporting efforts to implement new strategies and approaches to achieve universal coverage for vitamin A supplementation using both routine health services and national Child Health Day campaigns.

Functional Relationships

The Program Director reports directly to the Country Director (CD) and serves on the Country Management Team (CMT). The position directly supervises a team of professional level staff, works closely with colleagues at all levels of Helen Keller’s global management structure and may be called upon to participate in global working groups and/or steering committees.

Helen Keller’s programs require close relations with governments, partner universities and NGOs, private industry, donors, and UN agencies and the Program Director will represent Helen Keller at relevant external meetings.

Helen Keller has a matrixed reporting structure that respects both the line management and authority within country office and global management hierarchies; and the accountability and oversight duties of the many subject matter experts that support our country offices. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally are essential to make this structure thrive.

Scope of the Position

The Program Director supports the efficient achievement of program objectives and activities by leading on program quality and program management while supporting the CD and the team in implementing sound management practices for optimal performance in all areas of financial and grants management, risk management, safety and security, office management, information technology, and human resource management in compliance with Helen Keller and donor policies. This may include leading the screening of sub-grantees, development of sub-grant agreements, and monitoring of their financial performance.

The Program Director supports the CD to develop country office strategies and goals and backs up the CD in overall supervision of the country office. S/he supports efforts to ensure all aspects of finance and administration are fully integrated with the work of program teams to fulfill the Helen Keller mission and the objectives established in grants. The Program Director contributes to securing funding for project activities in Côte d’Ivoire as well as to organization-wide efforts to optimize systems and procedures.

This is a local position based in Abidjan with periodic travel to field sites, as well as international travel for meetings and training, as needed and appropriate.

City: Abidjan

Career category: Program/Project Management

Years of experience: 5-9 years

Themes: Agriculture/Food and Nutrition/Health

Specific Responsibilities

Project Development

  • Work closely with the CD to identify funding opportunities that support the country program objectives.
  • Participate in operational and strategic planning with the country management team; support the development of the Annual Program Plan, including ensuring this is in alignment with Helen Keller’s strategic plan, and budget.
  • Contribute to project design and proposal development processes in close collaboration with the CD, global program technical advisors and the Business Development unit.

Program Oversight

  • Oversee the design and implementation of effective work plans that allow for timely and ongoing review of all key outputs of the programs.
  • Ensure that project implementation is in accordance with Helen Keller established plans, policies and procedures and Helen Keller core values.
  • Facilitate the integration with other projects and activities within Helen Keller as well as with other partners and government entities.
  • 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.
  • Oversee research and special studies design and implementation with project staff and ensure dissemination of information with a focus on publications of major findings.
  • Conduct field-level monitoring for quality assurance; provide timely and constructive feedback and support to Helen Keller and partner project staff; identify and seek necessary technical support for programs as required.
  • Work with project and/or finance staff to ensure:
    • Sound planning, implementation and evaluation of programs and operations;
    • High-quality financial planning, management, reporting and auditing of programs, including thorough budget oversight;
  • Compliance with Helen Keller standards, policies and procedures, and processes across the portfolio, including performance management; and
  • Compliance with donor requirements, including timely and accurate reporting of results and expenditures, and required interim and final reports.
  • Work closely with the CD to address all issues raised by Helen Keller staff, donors or respective line ministries regarding program implementation.

Team and Performance Management

  • Mentor, supervise and evaluate project coordinators for assigned project portfolio and contribute to an atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development.
  • Coordinate and develop terms of reference and supervise consultants and other technical support resources needed for program-related activities.
  • Cultivate an atmosphere conducive to sharing of lessons learned and to mutual learning among Helen Keller staff and among partners.
  • Consult with and guide staff to achieve goals and ensure accountability to beneficiaries, partners, colleagues and donors by providing ongoing feedback in a context of mutual respect.
  • Provide guidance to program coordinators in supervising their project teams to implement high quality programs on time and on budget as outlined above.

External Representation / Coordination with partners

  • Work with project staff to ensure partners are knowledgeable of Helen Keller’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.
  • Collaborate with respective line ministries and other organizations’ technical staff working in the sectors of interest to Helen Keller to build partnerships.
  • Ensure that Helen Keller programs are recognized/promoted and implemented in accordance with national agendas.
  • Participate in meetings and seminars within Helen Keller, nationally, and internationally as requested by CD.

Financial and Administrative

  • Support and back up the Finance & Administrative duties of the CD including but not limited to:
    • Working with Global Management to manage the development and implementation of annual country budgets;
    • Ensuring timely submission of financial reports within the guidelines established by the Accounting and Grants & Contracts units of the Finance Department;
    • Authorizing expenditures for grant or contract allocations and ensuring compliance with procedures required by grant or contract agreements;
    • Hiring and managing personnel in compliance with Helen Keller policies and leading initiatives to develop staff capacity; and
    • Managing the safety and security of staff and responding promptly to emergent issues.


  • Masters’ degree or above in development, nutrition, public health, program management, international development or other relevant field, plus minimum seven years working in project management for an international organization in the area of public health, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Excellent interpersonal and people management skills, including an ability to effectively lead a team, communicate a vision, make timely and transparent decisions, manage conflict, and represent the organization externally.
  • Excellent oral and written English and French language skills, including the ability to synthesize complex technical and programmatic issues.
  • An ability to work in challenging and changing environments.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop budgets, monitor financial status and manage administrative and financial activities of complex programs.
  • Substantial experience with a variety of donors including, e.g., USAID, Canada, European Commission, UNICEF, and private foundations.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrable respect for all persons regardless of religion, ethnicity, class or gender.
  • Willingness to travel within the country to project sites.

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

How to apply

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

In the spirit of our namesake, Helen Keller is dedicated to building an inclusive workforce where diversity of all types is fully valued.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to ethnicity, race, caste, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic that has no bearing on the ability to perform the required job duties.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities.

If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need to request an accommodation during the application or interview process, please contact us at the email above.



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