Alive & Thrive (A&T) is an initiative to save lives, prevent illness, and ensure healthy growth and development. Good nutrition in the first 1000 days, from conception to two years of age, is critical to enable all children to lead healthier and more productive lives. Alive & Thrive is scaling up improved infant and young child feeding and maternal nutrition (MIYCN) through partnerships with entities that fund or manage large scale programs in several countries in Asia and Africa. Leveraging diverse opportunities to benefit MIYCN is a priority for A&T. The partnerships are facilitated by A&T through strategic technical support, policy advocacy, and the dissemination of innovations, tools, and lessons at country, regional and global levels. Alive & Thrive is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation (BMGF) and the governments of Canada and Ireland.
This position will focus on South Asia, where BMGF has expanded funding for Alive & Thrive. A&T works in Bangladesh and India to provide technical assistance in MIYCN related programs at the national level with multiple Ministries of the Government and other nutrition stakeholders such as the UN agencies, development banks, academic institution, various NGOs, and BMGF grantees. We have national level offices in Bangladesh and India, and two state offices in Bihar and UP in India. In the next few years we expect to work in several other states in India; these are considered ‘diffusion geographies’.
The Director Programs, Asia provides overall strategic direction, engages with and maintains effective partnerships, and guides the national teams in day to day portfolio management to ensure timely, high quality deliverables. She/he makes sure that various stakeholders and collaborators are clear about our mutual roles and responsibilities with reasonable timelines, adequate budgeting and staffing allocated for each area of work, and timebound deliverables and budgets. The Director Programs, Asia also follows up day to day to ensure that we are providing the best possible technical support in a timely manner as per written agreements with each stakeholder. He/she calls upon A&T headquarters teams of technical experts to ensure state of the art technical content and proven methods and approaches. He/she uses existing approaches or develops effective management mechanisms and tools to facilitate clarity in defining A&T’s role and partner expectations commensurate with the mutual capacities and time needed to deliver high quality support by A&T. A key ingredient is to strengthen A&T country team abilities to identify potential bottlenecks in advance and address them efficiently across national and state programs. He/she fosters innovation and drives adoption of leading practices; shares new knowledge, learning, evidence and best practices across country programs through collaboration and cross country fertilization.
The Director Programs, Asia provides direct supervision and oversight to Country Program Directors for Bangladesh and India, and to the members of country teams with administrative, operations and management responsibilities. Technical staff will continue to be supervised by Country Directors. She/he maintains good communication with the donor office in New Delhi, while keeping the global Project Director informed about key issues and progress towards results.
Essential Job Functions
- Provide vision, strategic leadership, coordination across high level partnerships, and program direction across assigned country programs to ensure programs are successfully implemented and planned results are achieved.
- Build leadership in country offices; and guide, coach and support the field-based Country Program Directors to develop and maintain a comprehensive program implementation strategy.
- Ensure programs are designed according to organization and industry best practices, program framework and donor requirements.
- Collaborate with technical and program staff to ensure that program implementation is managed closely through the development of structured work plans, progress reports and approved monitoring plans.
- Ensure rigorous program and financial monitoring systems are in place and senior field-based staff are capable of enforcement of compliance with these systems and are held accountable for this.
- With support of A&T HQ technical experts, ensure technical advice is incorporated based upon expertise and knowledge of evidence-based methods and strategies, current practice, and established operational and research standards to ensure high quality and rigorous program design.
- Lead cross-learning efforts between country programs and ensure best practices and lessons learned are shared.
- Ensure timely and quality donor reporting and communication.
- Work closely with project management to ensure compliance issues are addressed properly and internal controls are in place and followed.
- Communicate regularly in writing and through email and phone/skype calls to senior management at HQ about the status of the programs; provide reporting on governance of the portfolio and insights on financial health.
- Supervises field-based Country Program Directors, and field-based team leaders responsible for administrative and financial management.
- Supervises home office - based Associate Director, Asia
Travel Required: Minimum of 40%
- Bachelor’s degree in a development sector, preferably related to public health or social sciences. Ph.D. preferred. Understanding of the state of the art of two or more of the following: Sustainability and Program Development, Nutrition and Public Health, Knowledge/Information Services, Social Behavior Change, Health Science, Systems Strengthening, Life/Social Sciences International Development, Human Development or related Field.
- Typically requires a minimum of 10+ years of project management experience. Highly prefer 15 years of relevant experience, with at least 5 years of field-based experience in development sector programming.
- Demonstrated experience in multi-sector project management and implementation.
- Demonstrated strategic planning, staff development and capacity building experience.
- Experience in budgeting, financial planning and interpreting financial reports
- Demonstrated experience in leading and managing complex projects that are strategic in nature and national/international in scope.
- Must be able to read, write, and speak fluent English; knowledge of Hindi or Bengali preferred.
- Experience operating in challenging environments.
- Experience working in BMGF funded programs preferred
- Experience working in a non-governmental organization (NGO) preferred
Specific Knowledge Requirements
- Demonstrated experience in leading and managing complex projects that are strategic in nature and international in scope
- Experience in provision of technical support to women and child development, public health, poverty alleviation, and or nutrition programming
- Experience with social and behavior change for nutrition or related areas
- Demonstrated strategic planning, staff development and capacity building experience