Country Director

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IRC - The International Rescue Committee

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Job Description

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, IRC offers life-saving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in more than 40 countries and in 25 U.S. cities, IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted by conflict or disaster.

Job overview

The Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire is responsible for overall leadership and supervisory management of IRC staff, programming, operations offices, and relationships in the country, including stewardship of resources, staff safety and security, program quality and accountability, partnerships with Ivorian civil society organizations, and performance management. The Country Director is IRC’s principal representative to the Ivorian government, donors, international organizations, other NGOs, civil society, and the media. The Country Director is expected to resource and manage a portfolio of responsive and effective humanitarian and development programs implemented both directly and with partner organizations. The Country Director is expected to respond effectively to a constantly changing environment for displaced and vulnerable host populations with effective humanitarian programs implemented directly and with local partner organizations. She/he will lead country program staff in pursuing the outcomes identified in the strategy action plan bringing them together to deliver high-quality, cost-effective programming results.

Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary leadership abilities who deploys strong communications and interpersonal skills effectively, both internally and externally. The successful candidate will enjoy developing networks to build partnerships and diversify program resources. The Country Director will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the country program; providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior managers; leading country program teams to identify, design and deliver responsive, high-quality programs; ensuring efficient management of public grants and private funds for results, compliance and focused, timely reporting; and oversight of financial management and compliance systems.

Based in Abidjan, the Country Director oversees all IRC operations in Côte d’Ivoire. Reporting to the Regional Vice President, this position receives support from regional and headquarters staff in the areas of program quality, new business development, safety and security management, finance, operations management, and external affairs. The Country Director is additionally expected to actively participate in defining and delivering IRC’s public advocacy positions. The Country Director directly supervises 9 positions in a country program of approximately 250 staff. This position is fully accompanied and requires in-country and occasional regional and global travel.

Main responsibilities:

Leadership and Representation

• Lead the country program by establishing and maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit throughout the country program, and providing guidance, oversight, and resources to enable staff to perform successfully.

• Develop and carry out strategies that result in strong representation with Côte d’Ivoire Government authorities at various levels; donors, including the CDC, USAID, World Bank, Private foundations, AfD, European Union, private donors; UN agencies and other international organizations; international and local NGOs; and networks such as the INGO Forum.

• Develop and maintain a high level of understanding of donor priorities and planned funding.

• Ensure that IRC remains a partner of choice for major international donors.

• Provide leadership for strong, mutually beneficial, and effective partnerships with local organizations.

• Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of IRC and its partners in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the lives and the needs of the people IRC seeks to serve.

• Play a leadership role in efforts to improve humanitarian response coordination in Côte d’Ivoire.

• Lead country program collaboration with colleagues in the IRC’s West Africa region to deliver regional programming and advocacy.

• Ensure leadership and management processes enable the IRC to effectively adapt to contextual changes and fully leverage opportunities to expand its interventions.

Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth

• Ensure the strategic vision and direction of the country program is aligned with IRC’s strategy to serve people with responsive, high-quality, and accountable programming, and secure the resources necessary for realization.

• Ensure the strategy action plan is of quality, implemented and guides decision making, to achieve IRC’s ambitions in Côte d’Ivoire and contribute to IRC’s strategic objectives globally.

• Ensure program quality through consistent use throughout the country program of rigorous assessment, design, and proposal development and review processes; comprehensive monitoring & evaluation, accountability and learning systems; staff development investments; and partner organization capacity strengthening.

• Actively seek out and pursue opportunities to expand, in line with the IRC’s mission, humanitarian, resilience and development programming in Côte d’Ivoire, in terms of populations and areas served.

• Ensure timely submission of competitive, responsive, and high-quality proposals, and support colleagues in negotiations with donors.

• Lead implementation of IRC’s objective of expanding partnerships with Ivorian civil society organizations, and ensuring strong collaborative, principled partnerships that deliver effective and efficient program outcomes.

• Remain current on national and regional issues impacting the country program and partners and develop responsive strategies to changing contexts.

• Ensure the SMT delivers the leadership, management structures, staffing skills and approaches, and operational systems required to ensure a coherent “one IRC” approach to achieve Côte d’Ivoire and regional objectives.

• Identify opportunities for appropriate expansion and growth of programs, supported by the acquisition and investment of human resources.

Safety and Security Management

• Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program.

• Oversee the management of all security issues, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.

• Create and maintain a culture of safety and security awareness throughout the country program, including training and briefings that prepare all country program staff for security incident prevention and response.

• Maintain close coordination and communication with the Regional Safety and Security Director on safety and security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.

Staff Performance Management and Development

• 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.

• Provide a measurable development plan including on-the-job learning with the aim of strengthening technical capacity, exchanging knowledge within the team, and providing guidance on career paths.

• Oversee the management, coaching and development of national and international staff to build a team of skilled, committed, and motivated staff. Coach, train, supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting quarterly performance objectives, providing regular and timely positive and constructive performance feedback.

• As part of succession plan and nationalization goals, identify, train, and develop capability and capacity of national staff to successfully transition role and responsibilities.

• Create and nurture an environment that supports learning, teamwork, and high performance at all levels.

• Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of both national and international staff.

• Offer leadership support for successful adherence by all staff to IRC’s Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.

• Work with regional HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies.

• Undertake regular reviews of labor and salary markets in Côte d’Ivoire for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of the IRC’s overall compensation package for national staff.

Stewardship and Operational Management

• Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.

• Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements.

• Drive effective implementation of IRC’s the Partnership Excellence for Equality and Results System (PEERS), including by ensuring all departments collaborate effectively to deliver a coherent, joined up approach and decision-making with respect to IRC’s partnerships.

• Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, especially in the areas of HR, finance, and supply chain.

• Provide timely and effective oversight of the Côte d’Ivoire country program’s financial position.

• Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant and discretionary funds.

• Seek opportunities to introduce efficiencies and eliminate redundancies in existing business processes.


• Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Côte d’Ivoire country program.

• Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest, and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations.

• Maintain open communications with regional management staff, regional technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.

Key Working Relationships:

Position reports to the Regional Vice President

Position directly supervises: A senior management team responsible for Programs, Supply Chain, Finance; People and Culture; ITC4P, Field Coordinators; and Compliance.

Key Internal Contacts:

• Country Program: All staff

• Region: West Africa Regional Team

• HQ: Awards Management, Ethics & Compliance, Operations and Strategy, Finance, Global Philanthropy & Partnerships, Program Quality, Advocacy and Communications, and General Counsel

Key External Contacts:

• Partner organizations

• Host country government officials

• Public and private donor agencies

• International and national NGOs

• UN agencies

• Foreign governments and regional and sub-regional institutions

Job Requirements:


• Graduate degree in a relevant field or equivalent experience

Work Experience:

• At least 12 years of progressively responsible international work experience, including leadership at the Country Director level of multi-site, multi-sectoral operations in a complex operating environment.

• Experience working in conflict/post-conflict/development.

Demonstrated Technical Skills:

• Demonstrated communications skills, verbal and written, in English and French.

• Experience of managing security in a complex and rapidly changing security context.

• Proven ability to negotiate and work with partner organizations. Experience with organizational capacity strengthening and partnership building helpful.

• Strong budget and fiscal oversight capacities.

• Extensive representation experience and demonstrable fundraising success, including prior experience with European, US, private sector, and/or other international donors.

• Ability to respond to multiple priorities in a timely manner, producing high-quality outcomes.

• A keen understanding of political complexities in the West Africa region, especially in neighboring conflict affected countries.

Demonstrated Managerial/Leadership Competencies:

• Experience building personal networks at a senior level, resulting in securing new opportunities for the organization by keeping an eye on the direction of the humanitarian and developmental opportunities in country.

• Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with multi-disciplinary teams in cross-cultural settings, including active mentoring and coaching.

• Effective in developing high-potential staff to achieve career growth and maximum contribution.

• Proven experience delivering appropriate levels of oversight of a portfolio consisting of a variety of complex, high-value donor-funded projects.

• Established capacity to handle stressful situations in a healthy, constructive manner.

Languages Required/Preferred:

• Professional fluency in written and spoken English and French.

Computer/Other Tech Requirements:

• Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

• Working knowledge of file sharing protocols such as Box an advantage.

Ability to Travel: Approximately 20% within Côte d’Ivoire; to other countries in the West Africa region and IRC offices elsewhere for meetings, workshops, representation, and conferences.

Professional Standards: The IRC and IRC staff must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Equality and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti-Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

Gender Equality: IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits and allowances.

Attention Returning National Candidates: IRC strives to attract, motivate, and retain qualified national staff in our programs. We strongly encourage national or returning national candidates to apply for this position. If you are a national of the country in which this position is based and are currently located outside of your home country and possess over two years of international work experience, an attractive remuneration package would be available. The package includes competitive compensation, return flight to post, shipping allowance, temporary housing, and a relocation allowance. Certain restrictions may apply.

IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic.



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