Head of Program

at Danish Refugee Council
Location Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Date Posted April 25, 2020
Category Management
Job Type Full-time
Currency ETB


The Danish Refugee Council (DRC), an international non-governmental organization (NGO), has been providing relief and development services in the Horn of Africa since 1997. DRC promotes and supports solutions to the problems faced by refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and migrants. The organization has offices across the region, and has been operational in Ethiopia since 2009.  With funding from bilateral and multilateral donors, DRC is currently implementing a range of activities across Ethiopia and Djibouti, including WASH and shelter provision, child and youth protection, gender based violence response, awareness-raising of migration risks, protection monitoring of migration routes, and livelihoods support for returning migrants or those at-risk of migration.




The Head of Program is responsible for the overall quality and delivery of DRCs program across seven established areas of operation in Ethiopia and Djibouti (Tigray, Gambella and Somali Regions in Ethiopia & Djibouti) with a significant contribution expected to the conceptualization, technical support and implementation of development, emergency and “nexus” projects. The HoP will play a vital role as a member of the SMT and will drive the overall country-level vision, mission, and objectives, and guide implementation of area and technical level strategies.  The Head of Programme ensures the development of country strategies, which are translated into action plans and day-to-day tasks. The role provides support and/or technical guidance to country operations while overseeing country activities.

S/he will be active in high level and strategic decision-making, collaborating closely with the Head of Support Services and Country Director, ensuring outputs are in line with the programs country priorities, DRCs mandate and according to DRC policies and systems. This role has a multi-country focus and ensures compliance to DRC procedures and guidelines.

•      Responsible for the overall programmatic strategy across the entire country operation

•      Responsible for providing technical input to the implementing actors within the different sectors

•      Responsible for developing policies, processes and standards within respective areas

•      Enable and oversee the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation activities across the entire country operation

•     New Business development and proposal development activities and external representation at programs level




The Head of Program works under the direct supervision of the Country Director based in Addis Ababa and liaises with all program and operations across Ethiopia and Djibouti. Moreover, s/he has the following responsibilities:

Program Strategy, Management, & Development

    • Participate in country level strategic planning and contribute to the sustainable management of program growth with an eye towards program growth and development.
    • Enabling and overseeing effective, efficient and timely implementation of all projects according to agreed contracts, budgets, policies and in accordance with specific donor requirements
    • Ensure that relevant beneficiary data is collected, compiled, analyzed and distributed and that relevant assessments are conducted in the project area
    • Lead the planning and development of concept papers, budgets and project proposals with support from country team
    • Provide regular internal and external reports, and other relevant information on programme activities, policy matters and external relations
    • Contribute to the conceptualization and evolution of the country strategy, develop/define the country programming in a collaborative way ensuring program appropriateness and accountability among the country program team.
    • Collaborate closely with senior management staff in the development and design of innovative initiatives to drive new program development in DRC Ethiopia/Djibouti in accordance with DRC’s assistance framework.
    • Foster synergies between program areas (integrated approach), support the strong integration of protection and age, gender, diversity throughout all humanitarian initiatives and ensure adherence to Sphere standards or any other international standards when relevant.
    • Lead assessment and rapid response in any humanitarian situation, with written report and recommendation to initiate and setup relevant emergency projects if a response is decided and in line with the country strategy.
    • Advocate for DRC’s program in DRC Ethiopia/Djibouti with government, donors and humanitarian stakeholders, in cluster meetings, workshops, conferences and in other relevant fora at the program level.  Support the Country Director in advocacy at higher levels.
    • Support the Country Director to ensure effective coordination and visibility of the implementation of the projects with all humanitarian and development actors.

Fundraising, Grant proposals writing & reporting processes

    • Lead funding opportunities in all DRC areas of competence and coordinate the activities of the program managers, budget holders, and SMT to identify and materialize opportunities in alignment with country and regional strategies ensuring that all new funding opportunities and proposals reflect the existing capacities and strategy of the DRC country programme
    • Lead and oversee the drafting of concept notes, proposals, and donor reports by program managers (including budgets for cost-related activities) in coordination with support departments in line with DRC HQ/Region and donor requirements.
    • Ensure all concept notes and project proposals are well written, professionally presented, have undergone technical review by relevant sector focal points, are reflective of best practices and are in line with DRC’s country strategy as well as broader regional and global strategies of the organization. This responsibility may entail support in designing and coordinating needs assessments and other research initiatives.
    • Oversee the work of the program support function, and the budgeting coordinator to make sure timely and coherent budget preparation for all new proposals and budget revisions.
    • Ensure timely and targeted communication and information flow to all relevant internal and external parties in coordination with the Country Director, Regional Office, HQ and other program stakeholders to remain informed about program achievements.
    • Program Staff Management and Capacity Building
    • Effectively manage program teams, including managers, specialists and technical experts located at sites throughout the country with an emphasis on program implementation excellence, promoting a culture of cooperation, learning, creativity, and innovation.
    • Lead and manage the programme department staff including people planning, recruitment, objective setting, performance reviews, well-being, and development
    • Ensure that all new staff receive a comprehensive induction package from each sector lead upon arrival with the organization and as per DRC’s Operations Handbook requirements
    • Build a technically excellent team in accordance with programmatic and country-level strategy.  Develop overall staff competence through leadership, training, and coaching of technical and management key program staff
    • Conduct annual staff performance reviews, ensuring that poor performance is identified and corrective measures are put in place to develop staff capacity and encourage improvements
    • Collaborate closely with the Head of Support Services to allocate funding for staff development, performance management, and team building processes.

    • Donor liaison, Partnerships and Representation
    • As required represent DRC Ethiopia/Djibouti program to existing and potential donors
    • Cultivate key relationships that enhance DRC’s visibility, credibility and notoriety in DRC Ethiopia/Djibouti
    • Identify local NGOs/partners with whom to cooperate and partner
    • Provide support to the Country Director and Area Managers in advocacy efforts


Program Implementation & Coordination: 

    • Provide oversight, guidance, and leadership to all aspects of program implementation in DRC Ethiopia/Djibouti.
    • Collaborate closely with Area Managers and provide daily oversight to programmatic technical needs
    • Ensure effective and transparent budget follow up, planning, and use of financial resources in coordination with the Area Managers (budget holders), in compliance with DRC and donor policies and priorities.
    • Work with Area Managers to ensure that Detailed Implementation Plan and Project Management Plans are updated and reviewed on a bi-weekly basis, driving implementation teams to achieve results as per donor contracts and monitoring of burn rates associated with program activities.
    • Effectively stay abreast of donor policies, procedures, rules and regulations; and train DRC program and support staff in these policies, developing guidelines and ensuring kick-off meetings take place in both the Country Office and Area Offices to ensure compliance with donor rules and regulations.
    • Program Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning:
    • Design and ensure the implementation of effective and participatory program monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning strategies at all levels of the DRC’s program in DRC Ethiopia/Djibouti.
    • Ensure that all projects contribute to measuring impact and are in line with DRC’s country strategic plan.
    • Ensure quality programming by coordinating the technical support provided by the Regional Office and HQ and contributing to the development of M&E tools and indicators and other quality improvement initiatives
    • Identify, propose, test, and roll-out new monitoring and evaluation approaches and methods
    • Promote learning and knowledge management within the country program.
    • Document lessons learned and best practices for dissemination within DRC country and Region teams, to donors and to other stakeholders when relevant in order ensure synergetic programming and cross-program collaboration in DRC Ethiopia/Djibouti and in the whole region.
    • Supervise monitoring and evaluation of the operations to ensure the overall implementation is in accordance with agreed work plans, donor agreements, and humanitarian accountability framework.
    • Develop appropriate monitoring, tracking and reporting systems, tools and templates that enhance monitoring of programme outputs and quality, generate quality evidence on program impact and promote and ensure use of data for decision-making processes/ program adjustments.

All DRC roles require the post-holder to master DRC’s core competencies:


  • Striving for excellence: You focus on reaching results while ensuring an efficient process.
  • Collaborating: You involve relevant parties and encourage feedback.
  • Taking the lead: You take ownership and initiative while aiming for innovation.
  • Communicating: You listen and speak effectively and honestly.
  • Demonstrating integrity: You act in line with our vision and values.

Job Requirements

    • Over 8 years of progressively responsible experience in program management, leadership, and design
    • At least 7 years of experience in managing program operations, including 4 years minimum at country senior management level and at least 2 years in Senior Management
    • Demonstrate experience and skill in proposal development, budget development, program implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
    • Proven leadership skills and a competence in people management and leading by example as per DRC Core Competencies
    • Proven experience in effectively coordinating with national governments, international, and national NGO partners.
    • Proven experience in managing a diverse program portfolio, particularly in protection programming integrated with WASH and livelihoods, in both development and humanitarian contexts
    • Full professional proficiency in English is required; full proficiency in French is highly desirable


Applying Instructions

Interested candidates who meet the required qualifications and experience are invited to submit updated CV and cover letter explaining their motivation and why they are suited for the post.


We only accept applications sent via our online-application form on www.drc.ngo under Vacancies.


Please note that we receive applications up to May 10, 2020.


For general information about the Danish Refugee Council, please consult www.drc.ngo.


Gender Equality: DRC is committed to achieving gender parity in staffing at all levels. In light of this, women candidates are particularly encouraged to apply to bridge the gender gap.

Equal Opportunities: DRC is an equal opportunity employer. We value diversity and we are committed to creating an inclusive environment based on mutual respect for all employees. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, disability status, religion, ethnic origin, colour, race, marital status or other protected characteristics


We encourage only qualified Ethiopian Nationals to apply. DRC considers all applicants based on merit.

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