Thematic Director, Health and Nutrition

at Save the Children
Location Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Date Posted June 22, 2021
Category Health Care / Medical
Job Type Full-time
Currency ETB


No of Positions: 1

Duty Station: Addis Ababa


The Health and Nutrition Thematic Director (H&NTD) is primarily responsible for development and quality of all Save the Children’s health and nutrition (H&N) programs in Ethiopia in both humanitarian and development contexts. This includes developing a multi-year thematic strategy and annual plans; identifying innovative and technically sound project ideas, approaches and methodologies that can help the Country Office effectively achieve its strategic breakthrough goals; proactively engaging with CO’s business development team, SC members and donors in identifying funding opportunities through presenting and marketing of those ideas; playing a major/leading role in technical designs of new programs; developing and maintaining strong external relations with key stakeholders in particular the Government of Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health, H&N cluster and coordination forums; ensuring the development and application of H&N quality assurance standards/benchmarks, tools etc. across the programs of the CO. The position also includes responsibilities of overseeing the provision of quality and timely technical assistance to all projects; leading/managing a team of H&N experts; ensuring the production and utilization of high quality, well-articulated project evidence and research by working together with Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability, Learning (MEAL) and Innovation team of the CO; supporting and strengthening Communities of Practice forums to disseminate learning and knowledge; and supporting advocacy and campaign strategies.

S/he represents SC values and principles in interactions with staff and external audiences, including frequent interaction with member technical staff.  These values and principles include commitment to the mission of Save the Children, team orientation, quality management and leadership development, introducing systems and procedures to strengthen staff motivation and productivity.  The Thematic Director will also understand our work in the field by frequently travelling to field locations.  S/he is a member of Program Development, Quality and Impact (PDQI) Department Senior Leadership Team.


Reports to:  Director, Program Development, Quality and Impact (PDQI)

Dimensions: Save the Children works in all regions in Ethiopia with a current staff complement of approximately 1,700 members and current expenditure of approximately $90+ million each year.

Number of Positions/Staff directly reporting to this post:  5-8 Senior Advisors and Technical Specialist


Strategic Program Development and Representation

· Provide overall leadership for the strategic development and quality implementation of the H&N program, including development of strategic plans and supporting a portfolio of projects, research and initiatives required to achieve of strategic objectives.

· Lead the strategic planning process for H&N and then annual operational planning based on the strategic plan, and regular internal program planning and review meetings for the health and nutrition teams, as well as related inputs to quarterly and annual reports.

· Support Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) for the documentation of program achievements

· Communicate program achievements against agreed strategic objectives and milestones, and any emerging new evidence for a wide range of internal and external audiences.

·  Actively communicate and coordinate with the other Thematic Directors, relevant technical specialists and project managers to ensure synergy and integrated approaches across themes that take into account current good practices.

·  Develop and maintain strong external relations with key stakeholders in particular the Government of Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health, H&N cluster and coordination forums

· Ensure a deep understanding of FMOH priorities; communicate these to the H&N and relevant Program Operations team; and use these for program development and implementation.

·  Maintain and cultivate key external relationships including with the GOE FMOH, donors, multi-lateral organizations, and INGOs

·  Regularly coordinate with member technical staff.  Identify technical support requirements, inclusive of field visits, as and when necessary.

·       Serve as the senior representative for all relevant external representation opportunities

Program Development

·       Contribute to the development and regular updating of an SCI Ethiopia fundraising opportunities matrix.

·       Identify innovative and technically sound project ideas, approaches and methodologies that can help the Country Office effectively achieve its strategic breakthrough goals in collaboration with PDU and SCI members, identify institutional and other funding opportunities.

·       Work proactively by engaging with CO’s business development team, SC members and donors in identifying funding opportunities through presenting and marketing of technically viable ideas

·       Support pre-positioning for identified opportunities including understanding FMOH and donor priorities, and identifying partners

·       Present compelling H&N business cases through analytical assessment of donor and Ethiopia’s priorities in the sector

·       Develop and maintain contacts with current and potential donors, potential partners and key technical agencies, in coordination with the Program Development Unit (PDU) and DCD PDQ. Attend relevant donor meetings and visits.

·       Ensure that high quality technical inputs are provided while designing new H&N project proposals

·       Ensure that technical proposals are relevant through proactively and systematically gathered needs and information from beneficiaries and stakeholders in the field

·       In collaboration with MEAL ensure current technical knowledge, research and current/previous programming lessons learned and good practices are widely shared and used in proposals.

Program Quality and Effectiveness

·       Ensure the development and application of H&N quality assurance standards/benchmarks, tools etc. across the programs and research initiatives of the CO

·       Ensure quality of projects are attained at delivery level by working closely staff involved in implementation through provision of continuous capacity improvement measures and rolling out of relevant quality benchmark tools/processes

·       Ensure all health and nutrition programs use evidence based solutions adopted to their context, including SCI common approaches, programming principles, global strategies and humanitarian minimum standards

·       Work closely with Program Operations teams to support quality implementation including incorporation of recommendations for technical improvements.

·       Conduct regular field visits to provide support to quality assurance initiatives in the field

·       Work closely with MEAL in developing a robust evidence-based learning to support program implementation, development and advocacy; and insuring that lessons learned and good practices are properly documented, effectively disseminated and, where appropriate, incorporated into wider advocacy initiatives.

·       Work closely with the MEAL team to ensure quality benchmarking is in place for program implementation and all evaluations are conducted at a high level of quality.

·       Work with MEAL to ensure dissemination of learning and knowledge to H&N, PDQ and relevant Program Operations and partner staff through the active use of Communities of Practices

·       Develop and implement effective strategies to integrate resources and lessons of large stand-alone projects in the thematic area; support cross-fertilization of good practices.

·       Understand cross-cutting issues of resilience, gender, child participation, and others to ensure their incorporation into program design and implementation.

·       Support Program Operations and Awards in submitting quality donor reports by providing timely and thorough technical review of such reports including recommendations on how these reports could be improved.

Policy Analysis, Policy Engagement and Advocacy for Policy Change

·       Oversee the development and implementation of Save the Children’s H&N advocacy work. Provide technical guidance to advocacy efforts (objectives, messages, targets, approaches) and manage the achievement of each specific objective.

·       Develop relevant policy briefs and position papers related to the H&N Program. Lead in networking and articulating SC’s position, policy and strategy in national forums and meetings.

·       Ensure that the voices of children guide advocacy and policy change objectives and related activities.

·       Keep abreast of national policies and global trends/good practices in the area of H&N, analyze and share with relevant PDQ H&N and Program Operations staff- ideally through the Community of Practice.

·       Represent Save the Children in relevant working groups, task forces, seminars and related fora in the thematic area; and among donors, UN agencies, International NGOs, and national and sub-national government counterparts.

Staff and Budget Management

·       Lead and manage the H&N team composed of health and nutrition experts.

·       Provide ‘dashed-line’ technical leadership for all SC H&N Program technical staff in Ethiopia.

·       Ensure the ‘right-sizing’ of the H&N team structurally.

·       Coaches, mentors and provides structured training as necessary to team members.

·       Develop and manage budgets for staff of the H&N team, advocacy, consultancies and research, as required.

·       Conduct regular, comprehensive performance management.  This includes work plans and performance reviews and support of staff learning and development.

Identify succession plans and team members with high capacity for future promotion


SKILLS AND BEHAVIOURS (our Values in Practice)


§  Holds self-accountable for making decisions, managing resources efficiently, achieving and role modelling Save the Children values

§  Holds suppliers accountable to deliver on their responsibilities


§  Sets ambitious and challenging goals for themselves and takes responsibility for their own personal development

§  Widely shares their personal vision for Save the Children, engages and motivates others

§  Future orientated, thinks strategically and on a global scale


§  Approachable, good listener, easy to talk to; builds and maintains effective relationships with colleagues, Members and external partners and supporters

§  Values diversity and different people’s perspectives, able to work cross-culturally.


§  Develops and encourages new and innovative solutions

§  Cuts away bureaucracy and encourages an entrepreneurial approach



§  Honest, encourages openness and transparency, builds trust and confidence

§  Displays consistent excellent judgement

Job Requirements


Experience and Skills: 

·       Post graduate level education with extensive experience in health and nutrition (H&N).

·       A minimum of 10 years health and nutrition technical management and leadership with significant field experience with both emergency and development programs.

·       Strong, proven and successful H&N technical and policy level engagement with donors, academia, CSOs and national and regional policy actors.

·       Experience in providing technical oversight to a portfolio of diverse projects, including humanitarian and development, and research and advocacy projects.

·       Successful track record in designing and contributing technically to large-scale funding

·       Proven representation, influencing and advocacy skills and experience.

·       Strong analytical and writing skills with demonstrated ability to write business cases, technical proposals, briefing papers (ability to present complex information in a succinct and compelling manner) and reports.

·       Proven ability to manage a networked team of professionals, with good communication and interpersonal skills and an ability to motivate staff.

·       Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiation and coaching

·       Experience in humanitarian programs and preparedness.

·       Experience working with government partners, with partner agencies, including local partners, and in consortia and relevant to resilience programming.

·       An understanding of child rights programming and commitment to Save the Children values.

·       Highly developed cultural awareness and ability to work well in an international environment with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures

·       Strong results orientation, with the ability to challenge existing mindsets

·       Proven ability to manage a complex and demanding workload

·       Excellent spoken and written English

  • Good computer skills (particularly Excel, Word and database)


Technical competencies:

·      Ensures linkages across portfolio ensuring quality and coherence of MEAL systems and evidence gathering

·      Manages resources and capacities to develop and maintain quality MEAL systems

·      Facilitates strategic alignment of data to global priorities

Generic Competencies

·      Child Rights: Promotes an enabling environment for participation, and accountability to children

·      Be the Innovator: Promotes innovation to find new and better approaches to driving progress for children

Deliver Results at Scale: Promotes a clear focus on impact in a project and programme design, management, and oversight

Generic Competencies

  • Being the Voice of Children: Promotes evidence-based policy and public engagement that includes the voices of children and their communities
  • Advancing Equality & Inclusion: Displays a commitment to ensuring everything we do considers the most deprived and marginalised children and adolescent
  • Building & Strengthening Partnerships: Promotes working with diverse partners as critical to delivery

Child Rights: Promotes the rights of children in own work and in work with colleagues and peers

Additional job responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities as set out above are not exhaustive and the role holder may be required to carry out additional duties within reasonableness of their level of skills and experience.

Equal Opportunities

The role holder is required to carry out the duties in accordance with SCI’s global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Gender Equality Policies, supported by relevant procedures.

Child Safeguarding:

We need to keep children safe so our selection process, which includes rigorous background checks, reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse.

Safeguarding our Staff:

The post holder is required to carry out the duties in accordance with the SCI anti-harassment policy.

Health and Safety

The role holder is required to carry out the duties in accordance with SC Health and Safety policies and procedures.

We offer a competitive package in the context of the sector. The duty station of the position holder will be in Addis Ababa This role is offered on the basis of national terms and conditions only.

The Organization
We employ approximately 25,000 people across the globe and work on the ground in over 100 countries to help children affected by crises, or those that need better healthcare, education and child protection. We also campaign and advocate at the highest levels to realize the right of children and to ensure their voices are heard.

We are working towards three breakthroughs in how the world treats children by 2030:
• No child dies from preventable causes before their 5th birthday
• All children learn from a quality basic education and that,
• Violence against children is no longer tolerated

We know that great people make a great organization, and that our employees play a crucial role in helping us achieve our ambitions for children. We value our people and offer a meaningful and rewarding career, along with a collaborative and inclusive environment where ambition, creativity, and integrity are highly valued.


Applying Instructions

Please attach a copy of your CV and cover letter with your application, and include details of your current remuneration and salary expectations. A copy of the full role profile can be found at

We need to keep children safe so our selection process, which includes rigorous background checks, reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse.

All employees are expected to carry out their duties in accordance with our global anti-harassment policy.

Interested applicants who meet the MINIMUM requirements should apply using the below link:

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