Program Director
Job Type: Full time
Location: Freetown, Sierra Leone
Start Date: 15th October, 2023
End Date: 14th October, 2024; Annual contract (renewable)
Reports to: Country Director
Open to Expatriates: No
Grade: M

Helen Keller International is a global health organization dedicated to eliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition, and diseases of poverty. Helen Keller Intl partners with communities that are striving to overcome longstanding cycles of poverty and is devoted to scaling up evidence-based, cost-effective solutions to improve care practices and ensure that basic health interventions reach vulnerable people, with a focus on women, youth, and children.
Helen Keller Intl has been operating in Sierra Leone for nearly 20 years in support of the Nutrition and Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs) components of the National Health Development Plan of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, as well as food security component of the ministry of Agriculture. The organization is also committed to generating evidence, carrying out robust research and a high input into research publications.
The Program Director will provide strategic overall leadership of the Helen Keller programs and the program team in Sierra Leone. The PD is expected to be a seasoned manager with acute political acumen and strategic thinking with proven ability to deliver the Country Office’s strategic and program goals.
Key Responsibilities
- Manage a team of seasoned program managers and experts o Develop job descriptions (as needed) and ensure competent staff are hired
- Set annual objectives with the direct reports and review performance on a regular basis in line with Helen Keller’s People & Culture policy and guidance
- Build team cohesion and effectiveness
- Coach/mentor staff to strengthen both technical and management capacity o Approve and manage leave for all direct reports
- Ensure annual workplans are in place, resources, implemented and monitored
- Be a part of the Country Management Team (CMT) and make meaningful contribution to overall running of the office as mandated at CMT
- Co-lead program risk management across the country portfolio
- Provide leadership and coordination oversight to all proposal developments within the CO and ensure a participatory approach to proposal design
- Lead/co-lead the development of strategic plan, its implementation and review for the CO
- Lead/co-lead donor relations and discussions
- Ensure budgets are realistic and able to deliver agreed deliverables as per deadlines
- Liaise with regional and global teams as needed to ensure there is regular engagement and oversight of the country program
- Lead/co-lead the program coordination for all budget vs actuals meetings, ensuring follow up action points are delivered/met
- Ensure budget utilization across the country portfolio
- Ensure all program work is in accordance with the grants and contracts policies of the organization and donor compliance
- Work closely with MEL Manager on all program measurement related initiatives
- Oversee the quality assurance of all program activities
- Ensure production of timely and high quality workplans and donor narrative and financial reports of all programs
- Participate in and contribute to all relevant meetings, platforms, workshops in the country and represent Helen Keller at these platforms (as needed)
- Establish and maintain good relationship with Government counterparts key amongst these being MoPED, MAF and MoHS
- Carry out additional tasks, as delegated by the Country Director.
Qualification and experience
- A master’s degree in a relevant field – international development, nutrition, public health, social sciences, etc.
- At least 6 years’ of proven in an INGO in a similar senior role
- Successful experience writing and coordinating high value proposals for major donors (USAID, FCDO, Irish Aid, UN, etc.)
- Demonstrated experience of directly managing and leading diverse teams
- Demonstrated sharp political acumen and leadership
- Must possess highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing, negotiating and coaching
- Willingness to travel to the field
- Ability to carry out responsibilities independently with minimal guidance
- Proven experience in research, analysis and publication an added advantage
- Excellent written and verbal English language skills
To apply, please send your CV and cover letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or hand-deliver to: Helen Keller Int Office at 16H James Macarthy Drive, off Spur Road, Wilberforce, Freetown.
- Please mark your application as per the references stated in the position above (referencing the SUBJECT heading)
- Closing date for the receipt of applications for the above vacancies is 17:00hrs on Thursday 5th October. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.
“Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

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