Head of National Programs

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Job Description

TEAM/PROGRAM: Operations

Gob Grade: 1A


Level 3:  the post holder will have contact with children and/or young people either frequently (e.g. once a week or more) or intensively (e.g. four days in one month or more or overnight) because they work country programs; or are visiting country programs; or because they are responsible for implementing the police checking/vetting process staff.


The Head Of National Program is directly responsible for the management of the Multi Region Awards Senior Program Managers and the overall quality implementation Monitoring, technical & Management support of projects across the Implementation Areas. S/he is responsible for contributing to the Area annual plans (i.e. programs and projects constituting the plans), and contributing to the implementation of Operational Core Business Processes at the project/programs implementation level. The Head shall ensure that individual accountabilities for this at project/program implementation level are clearly stated, understood and internalized.

The role supports the Director of Program Implementation in facilitating key relationships between the Program Implementation Team, particularly Area Representatives, and other CO units (PDQ, HR, Finance, and Safety & Security).

In the event of a major humanitarian emergency, the role holder will be expected to work outside flexible working arrangement.  Performs other related tasks as required and as assigned by his/her supervisor.


Reports to: Director of Program Implementation

Staff directly reporting to this post: Senior Program Managers

Budget Responsibilities: USD 10 – 20 million


Roles and Responsibilities

Program Team Leadership

  • Support the development of an organizational culture that reflects our dual mandate values; promotes accountability and high performance; encourages a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation; and frees up our people to deliver outstanding results for children and excellent customer service for our Members and donors
  • Help establish, maintain, and improve active and regular working relationships with: host government authorities, donors, partner agencies including major institutional donors, and local and international NGOs
  • Ensure that the required support is provided promptly, at scale and in line with the rules and principles during Program Implementation, working closely with the Program Development and Quality/Impact/MEAL Team.

Oversight and Management of Project/Program Implementation

  • The primary responsibility of this position is to provide management support to the Senior Program Managers in the management of the their respective Projects, implementation of quality programs, as well as operations core business processes.
  • Ensure quality program implementation and ustilization of evidence based solutions applicable to varying contexts through the application/adaptation of SCI systems, guideline, Common Approaches, standards including humanitarian minimum standards and tools in consultation and support of Program Development, Quality and Impact/MEAL Team
  • Ensure coordination and integration across thematic and programs to ensure cost-effectiveness
  • Ensure that the progress and quality of program implementation are continually tracked and timely corrective measures are taken through maintenance and roll out of effective MEAL system
  • In close coordination with the Program Development and Quality Team to ensure that the Project Managers and their teams are fully involved in concept note/proposal development
  • Ensure that the Project teams undertake monthly Award Implementation Review (AIR) sessions to monitor expenditure against budget (Budget Variance Analysis – BVA) and that all programs progress in accordance with grant agreements and are completed on time, on budget, with compliance, and with an emphasis on cost effectiveness, innovation and high-quality programming to serve hard-to-reach children.
  • Ensure that Project teams undertake monthly Project meetings to update each component of the project on its current key priorities and achievements, present any issues that would require attention and support from other units and come up with solutions to address those.
  • Have an overall budget holding responsibilities for programs/projects, in line with the SOD threshold of the position.
  • Ensure programs are implemented in ways responsive to the communities and children in line with Save the Children principles, values and strategic plan, and following Save the Children’s compliance procedures. This includes working with government, local administrations and national NGO-partners to strengthen national capacity.
  • Working with colleagues in the PDQ department to ensure the preparation of timely and high-quality progress reports, program reports, and donor reports; quality benchmarks and regular monitoring; and accountability systems are in place.
  • Ensure the full adherence of core SCI’s policies and guidelines within the work of all programs. This include the maintenance of robust risk management and mitigation strategies and plans to ensure the safety of children, partners, staffs and programs.
  • Assist the Director of Program Implementation in implementing Program Best Practices.

Staff Management, Mentorship, and Development

  • Responsible for ensuring that a strong performance monitoring culture is promoted at National Program Management team level.
  • Develop high performing team through identification and management of talents and put succession plan in place for all the senior roles in the Program Implementation
  • As the head program implementation ensure that all staff understand and are able to perform their role in the implementation of the National Programs.
  • Promote a culture of inclusive and consultative management, of building high performance teams that work together efficiently and in harmony.
  • Incorporate staff development strategies and Performance Management Systems into team building process.
  • Participate in the recruitment of all Senior Program Managers and of other senior positions within the National Program Management teams as possible.
  • Establish result based program management system and follow up.

Budget Management

  •  Working with the SPMs in projects/programs budget planning, phasing and alignment of the Detai Implementation plan and phased budget.
  • Ensure appropriate action is taken for budget under/overutilization identified working closely with Award team.
  • Ensure expenditure is authorized in accordance with the budget authorization procedures within the scheme of delegation.
  • Monitor for significant variances between budget and actual expenditures.
  • Ensure that budget holders under direct report prepare reports on financial performance of their award as required either by donors or by other, internal demands.


  • Proactively seek and maintain, active and regular working relationships with government authorities, development, humanitarian and corporate donors and partner agencies.
  • Interact regularly with relevant stakeholers to ensure awareness of SC programmes and to collect up to date information about the plans and programs of other actors.

Partnership Management

  • Through delegation to the Partnership Manager, be responsible for the development and implementation of the Country Office Partnership Strategy.
  • Support the Partnership Manager to ensure all our national and international partners are able to deliver the programs as per the SGAs and in compliance with the rules and regulations of SCI and the donors.
  • Through delegation to the Partnership Manager, hold the partners accountable for the contractual commitments between them and SCI.
  • Support the Partnership Manager to ensure the technical and operational capacity of our implementing partners are enhanced.
  • Support the Partnership Manager to ensure strong and vibrant local Civil Society Organizations are developed through our support in the areas we are implementing programs

Safety and Security

  • Support the DCD Program Implementation and the Head of Safety and Security to ensure that each operational area (i.e. all area offices and sub offices) holds a clear, updated and understood contingency plan to respond to various foreseen and potential scenarios.
  • Emphasize and support Area Managers in ensuring that national security guidelines, and in particular those on travel and incident reporting, are adhered to.
  • Support the DCD Program Implementation and the Head of Safety and Security to ensure that all safety and security minimum operating standards and in country guidelines and procedures are met by all area offices.
  • Support the DCD Program Implementation and the Head of Safety and Security in promoting a culture of security awareness and a shared duty of care amongst staff in area team
  • BEHAVIOURS (Values in Practice)Accountability:
    • Holds self accountable for making decisions, managing resources efficiently, achieving and role modelling Save the Children values
    • Holds the team and partners accountable to deliver on their responsibilities - giving them the freedom to deliver in the best way they see fit, providing the necessary development to improve performance and applying appropriate consequences when results are not achieved.


    • Sets ambitious and challenging goals for themselves and their team, takes responsibility for their own personal development and encourages their team to do the same
    • Widely shares their personal vision for Save the Children, engages and motivates others
    • Future orientated, thinks strategically and on a global scale.


    • Builds and maintains effective relationships, with their team, colleagues, Members and external partners and supporters
    • Values diversity, sees it as a source of competitive strength
    • Approachable, good listener, easy to talk to.


    • Develops and encourages new and innovative solutions.
    • Willing to take disciplined risks.


    • Honest, encourages openness and transparency; demonstrates highest levels of integrity.

Job Requirements



  • Minimum of Masters Degree in relevant field.
  • Minimum of 8 years’ management experience ina corporate or an NGO environment, in range of cultures including significant field operations experience, running both emergency and development programs.
  • Robust experience of Multi Region Program Management including program cycle management, and with an experience of working within a complex and matrix organization structure.
  • In depth understanding of at least two of the sectoral programs and a working knowledge of the program priorities of the Country Office.
  • Substantial and proven experience and knowledge of effective financial and budgetary control and securing and managing grants from major institutional donors.
  • Solid project management skills related to organizational development projects and international, cross- functional teams with a proven history of delivering results.
  • Ability to analyze information, evaluate options and to think and plan strategically.
  • An in-depth understanding of national and international development issues particularly in relation to children.
  • Previous experience of managing and developing a team and the ability to lead, motivate and develop others.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.
  • Ability and willingness to change work practices and hours, and work with incoming teams in the event of major emergencies.
  • Willingness to spend significant time in visiting field offices.
  • Commitment to and understanding of Save the Children’s aims, values and principles including rights- based approaches.
  • Additional job responsibilitiesThe 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 the SCI Equal Opportunities and Diversity policies and 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 any form of abuse.

    • Health and Safety

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


Job Summary

Employment Type
Full Time
Minimum of Masters Degree in relevant field
December 7, 2022
How to apply
Please attach a copy of your CV and cover letter with your application using Application Link (shown below) and include details of your current remuneration and salary expectations. 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.

Employer Information

Company Name
Save the Children
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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