The Director, Program Operations Africa provides both leadership and management support (currently to 3 countries) and project teams in the Africa region, with expected expansion into the Middle East. Responsibilities include, program planning and budgeting; ongoing project implementation and monitoring; and the finance and accounting, human resources, compliance and administrative functions. The Director will demonstrate their commitment to Room to Read’s mission, establish and articulate the vision and strategy for the region, regularly communicate regional realities and perspectives to staff and leadership, engage in program consultation and decision-making at an organization-wide level, and convey the decisions at the country level.
Based in Nairobi, the Director reports to the Vice President of Program Operations (VP), based in San Francisco, and currently supervises two Country Directors (South Africa and Tanzania), one Operations Manager, and Project Managers responsible for specific projects, currently one in Rwanda.
Duties & Responsibilities:
General Program Operations Support
- Lead and manage programs and project implementation in Africa with potential to expand to the Middle East
- Provide strategic and tactical recommendations to the VP of Program Operations, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Country Directors (CDs) that are aligned with and support the global, 5-year strategic plan and ensure that the global strategy guides decision-making in the region
- Maintain knowledge and understanding of the educational context in the region and countries
- Communicate regularly with the VP and other relevant Global Office staff on important issues and events related to regional and Country Office operations - including program implementation; legal, financial and human resource issues; donor, local government and external relations; and new program opportunities, including local fundraising.
- Ensure Room to Read policies including procurement, IT, and security and safety protocols are implemented in all country and project offices
- Provide information and analysis on regional and country specific issues in support of program choice, finances, and budgets, and recommend program and process improvements as needed
Strategy & Planning
- In collaboration with the VP and relevant functional departments and country offices, implement the multi-year and annual strategies for each country office
- Recommend resource allocation among and within countries in the region
- Provide strategic and creative leadership to the region focused on scaling Room to Read’s operations to deliver impact through high quality, efficient and effective programs that maximize outcomes
- Lead program development and support, working with Country Directors and the Global Office Africa focused teams to ensure that projects and programs are of high quality and effectiveness
Management and Coordination
- Develop and facilitate cross-country learning and knowledge management to enable sharing across the organization, incorporating learnings into project design and operations management
- Cultivate and maintain a diverse and highly motivated team in Africa
- Promote teamwork, common purpose, and continuous professional growth with direct reports and “matrix managed” team members
- Ensure that Africa staff members set clear, results-oriented goals for their work; these should include objectives, strategies, work plans and financial projections to accomplish goals; conduct annual performance reviews based on these objectives
- Manage relationships with all departments to optimize impact on program quality within and across country programs and sure that consultative decision processes are used
- Ensure programs are continually adapted to the evolving contexts across the region, in consultation with the Global Office Program Team
- In cooperation with each Country Director, maintain the legal standing in each country where there are programs. Ensure compliance with local laws and regulations governing Room to Read operations.
Program Implementation and Monitoring
- Oversee Country Directors and Project Managers for management and oversight of Room to Read Country programs/projects and operations in Africa region, driving accountability for the achievement of Country Office goals.
- Lead Country Office teams in developing annual plans and budgets, ensuring plans align with Room to Read’s Strategic Plan; appropriate staffing structures, roles and responsibilities; and efficient use of resources.
- Monitor and support the implementation of quality programming, delivery against plans, and management of risk to ensure accountability against stated objectives.
- Provide leadership to increase country programs’ and projects coordination, collaboration, communication of programs
- Drive seamless coordination between programming and operations and across programs and outcomes, with the objective of improving the quality and impact of Room to Read programs
Development and External Representation
- Represent Room to Read to governments and other stakeholders, maintaining a professional and positive public image
- Lead local advocacy efforts and support national advocacy efforts; host Board, senior staff and donor visits; engage in and support community and policy outreach efforts
- Provide local knowledge and context to the fundraising team to create and implement fundraising strategies, plans and goals, as appropriate and permitted per Country
- In partnership with Country Directors and the fundraising team, seek grant funding and provide information important for major donor sourcing, cultivation and solicitation; support all aspects of major donor grants including prospecting, decision-making, proposal development, grant management and reporting
- Make informed recommendations for go/no-go decisions by providing country and regional perspective on considerations including; pursuit of funding opportunities, project alignment with Program Operations strategies, capacity to successfully support the projects and partner viability.
- Attend, plan and facilitate Room to Read and Africa Regional conferences and meetings
- Build strong partnerships in cooperation with County Directors in public, private, and non-profits sectors to meet strategic objectives of Country Offices.
Financial and Resource Management and Oversight
- Oversee annual budget development, and systemic budget monitoring as well as monthly budget-to-actuals in the Country Offices and Projects and ensure necessary support or corrective actions are taken to improve financial accountability.
- In collaboration with internal audit, monitor compliance with organization-wide operating policies; ensure each Country Office and Project has adequate internal financial and program controls, and recommend additional controls as necessary.
- Ensure consistent communication between program and accounts management.
People Operations Management and Organizational Development
- Recruitment and onboard Country Directors and assist Country Directors with recruitment of key staff.
- Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.
- Ensure effective capacity building, professional development and performance improvement strategies are implemented to maximize staff potential using job descriptions, staffing models and performance management tools
- Provide input on human resource growth plan for the organization, including developing and monitoring People Operations policies, employee handbooks and administration policies for in-country operations.
- With support from Global Office People Operations, ensure Country Offices have systems in place for recruiting, hiring, onboarding, performance management, and terminations
Security and Risk Management
- Oversee the management and implementation of up-to-date safety and security protocols and policies in Country Offices and project locations including, timely communication with the Global Office when events occur
- Master’s degree required or higher preferred
- A minimum of 10 years of professional experience
- Experience working in the international educational field
- Demonstrated ability to build the capacity of teams and individuals
- A balance of program technical skills (community driven programming) and strong participatory management experience
- Proven experience in program development, fundraising and networking
- Prior experience living and working in Africa
- Fluency in verbal and written English; knowledge of one or more African languages preferred
- Strong supervisory skills and documented success in staff coaching and mentoring
- Prior success working closely and building relationships with diverse groups of people
- Proven track record of achieving results among staff in different functional areas
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Proven ability to prioritize and multi-task and to clearly communicate priorities and deadlines
- Strong collaborative nature with a commitment to “matrixed” as well as “hierarchal” management
- Willingness and ability to travel frequently (at least 50% of the time), occasionally on short notice
- Prior experience in a fast-paced, growth-oriented global or regional organization
- Effectiveness in working or volunteering in a non-profit organization that is focused on maintaining high quality work and low overhead
Room to Read offers a competitive salary with excellent benefits. The non-monetary compensation includes an opportunity to be part of a rapidly growing organization that is transforming the lives of millions of children in developing countries.