Established in 1915 with Helen Keller as a founding trustee, Helen Keller International (HKI) is dedicated to saving the sight and lives of the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Headquartered in New York City, HKI has an operating budget of some $80 million and currently conducts programs in 21 countries in Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States. Renowned for its reliability, efficiency and high level of technical expertise, HKI promotes the development of sustainable, large-scale programs that deliver effective preventative and curative services for nutrition, eye health and neglected tropical diseases. The hallmark of the organization’s work is its proven success in developing, testing and scaling-up health interventions, and integrating them within government and community structures to support and build local capacity and sustainable solutions.
Africa Regional Overview
HKI’s programs in Africa have a long history, going back more than 30 years. We are currently implementing regional, multi-country and country specific projects in 13 countries in Africa. With about 630 staff and an annual operating budget of over $45 million, HKI’s programs in Africa are funded by a mix of government, corporate and foundation donors, including, USAID, Global Affairs Canada, Irish Aid, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Funding for the programs is generated through country, regional and headquarters fundraising efforts, as well as through HKI’s affiliate, HKI Europe.
The country offices are supervised and supported directly by the Africa Regional Office (AFRO) team, and multi-country program managers, most of whom are based at the regional office in Dakar. The regional office is also responsible for all regional partner relations including regional UN offices, regional economic communities, African Union, regional health organizations, etc.
HKI is seeking a Regional Director of Operations to lead, develop and provide oversight of the Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology and other administrative functions in country and regional offices in Africa.
Reporting to the Vice President (VP), Africa, the Africa Regional Director of Operations (ARDO) serves as a member of both the Regional Management Team and the organization-wide Senior Management Team. In addition, the position has a strong dotted line relationship to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the US headquarters and is a member of a global Finance leadership team. The ARDO also works closely with the HQ-based VP, IT and Operations Systems, the VP, Human Resources, compliance experts and members of their teams to ensure alignment across all areas under his/her purview.
As the functional lead for all areas of operations, the ARDO supervises and guides the Operations responsibilities of two other Regional Directors for Country Programs and Business Development, and is the line manager of three regional managers within Finance, HR and IT as well as the Finance and Operations Manager for the regional office. Additionally, the ARDO provides operational support and oversight to country offices and regional projects and serves as the Regional Officer-in-Charge in the absence of the VP, Africa.
HKI has a matrixed reporting structure that respects both the line management and authority within country office and regional hierarchies; and the accountability and oversight duties of subject matter experts and multi-country program managers at the regional and headquarters level. Regular communication and a spirit of team work among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally are essential to make this structure thrive.
Scope of the Position
The ARDO will take the lead in ensuring high quality operational (financial, HR, administration, IT) standards and compliance and provide guidance, input and oversight to ensure that country programs and operations are implemented and reported on to the highest standards, and that all aspects of finance and operations are fully integrated with the work of program teams to fulfill the HKI mission and the objectives established in grants.
This position is based at the regional office in Dakar, Senegal, with field travel to the HKI country programs in West, Central, Southern and Eastern Africa for country office financial and operations support and to HKI HQ for meetings.
Overall Management and Leadership
- Within the mission, policies and guidelines of HKI, provide direction and guidance to operations planning in countries and contribute to strategic development of the Africa Region in accordance with the overall organizational strategic plan.
- Collaborate with the VP, Africa, the CFO, the VP, IT & Operations Systems and the VP, Human Resources, both individually and on organization-wide workgroups, in the development of and roll-out of agency-wide policy and procedure changes, providing guidance and training as needed at the regional and country level to ensure that the quality of operational support meets HKI operations standards.
- Regularly analyze Africa Region operations capacity and lead all efforts to develop strategies and initiatives to close identified gaps. This responsibility will include workforce, operational, and infrastructure analysis and planning at the regional and country office level.
- Ensure that effective coordination and teamwork in strategy development, including technical and financial management, are in place in the Africa Region.
- Build strong relationships with Country Directors and country Finance Managers, providing advice, guidance and support in all areas of operations and in ensuring compliance at country office level to HKI policies and procedures.
- Ensure understanding and compliance with host country laws
- Directly supervise a team of senior and professional level operational staff (finance, HR, IT and administration) in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws, including interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employee; and addressing complaints and resolving problems.
- Lead team to develop and maintain strong working relationships within a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural environment to ensure that regional and country office teams develop, promote and maintain integrated and cooperative operational units.
- Oversee all Regional finance and accounting functions and training through supervision and management of the Regional Finance Manager and his team abd ensure compliance with HKI and donor standards, policies and procedures and processes.
- Ensure that HKI financial systems are operational throughout all Africa countries by working in close coordination with HQ and providing training and supporting implementation, as needed.
- Oversee the Africa region’s participation in the global annual budgeting process.
- Review and approve all proposal budgets and ensure they are in compliance with donor and HKI requirements.
- Liaise with compliance experts in the Grants & Contracts and Audit units to seek support for technical, legal, financial, and administrative oversight of grant management for the region.
- Assure the accurate and timely financial reporting of projects including the multi-country projects and monitor their burn rates to ensure proper financial implementation.
- Monitor the shared costs of country offices to ensure reasonable levels in accordance with country portfolio.
- Conduct financial analysis and forecasting to support strategic planning for the region.
Internal Capacity Development and HR Management
- In consultation with the VP, Human Resources, and the Regional Management Team, lead the development of an annual work HR plan for the region that sets priorities for projects pertaining to compensation design and analysis, the development of standardized HR policy and procedures, labor law compliance, learning & development initiatives, etc. across the Africa region.
- Through oversight and management of the Regional HR Manager, authorize and oversee effective and efficient changes to regional and country office organization structure and staffing levels to ensure program delivery and anticipation of funding or programmatic changes.
- Guide the resolution of complex employee relations matters in the regional and country offices, calling upon expert resources, as needed.
- Ensure continuous performance management of regional operations managers, including continuous dialogue, coaching and mentoring, team meetings and regular performance evaluation.
- Participate in Country Director and country Finance Managers recruitment.
- Provide training and capacity building to all operational teams as necessary
IT & Operations Systems Management
- In consultation with the VP, IT and Operations Systems, and the Regional Management Team, and relevant subject matter experts, coordinate the development or an annual work plan to advance organization-wide initiatives pertaining to IT, Safety & Security, and global systems in the Africa region..
- Through supervision of the Regional IT Manager, oversee the continuous improvement and adaption of the IT infrastructure to the changing work environment.
- Ensure that the AFRO and country offices operate in a safe and secure manner. This includes ensuring that all necessary operations and staff-wide insurance policies are in place and that there is compliance with all operational policy and procedure manuals.
- Partner with country and regional management to respond promptly to emergent issues.
- Minimum MBA or comparable degree with 10 - 15 years’ experience in an operations leadership and management role, with several being in an international NGO environment.
- Demonstrated understanding of the synergy between the programmatic, operational and financial components of public health initiatives.
- Substantial experience with a variety of donors such as USAID, Global Affairs Canada, Irish Aid, UKAid, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.
- Demonstrated experience with INGO reporting, financial management, procurement, logistics and project management and procedures including demonstrated ability to develop and monitor budgets, and collaboratively manage operational activities of complex programs including sub-grant management.
- Demonstrated attention to financial anti-corruption efforts.
- Excellent capacity building, team building/management, and coordination skills. An ability to delegate responsibilities effectively and coach and mentor staff;
- Ability and willingness to work in challenging and changing environments, and to see through challenges and find solutions
- Communication and language skills:
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to exercise diplomacy and tact as demonstrated in previous roles that required communication with a broad and diverse set of partners such as government, civil society, international organizations, community and political leaders
- Excellent oral and written French and English skills required. Ability to read, analyze and interpret documents, and to summarize the information succinctly – both verbally and in writing, using an engaging style.
- Ability to make effective and persuasive presentations on controversial or complex topics to top management and other groups.
- Demonstrated knowledge of the application of information technologies to HKI financial and operation areas. Advanced Excel skills a strong plus.
- An ability to maintain balance when under stress
- Demonstrable respect for all persons regardless of religion, ethnicity, class or gender, with a high comfort level working in a diverse environment with a demonstrated commitment to high professional ethical standards.
- Residence in or willingness to relocate to Dakar, Senegal.
- Ability and willingness to travel within the region plus occasional trips to HQ, up to 25% of the time
Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to HKI.Recruitment@hki.org noting the job title in the subject line. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.