Head of Programs

Catholic Relief Services, Uganda

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
25th December, 2017

Job Description

About CRS:

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.


Catholic Relief Services has been working in Uganda since 1965, initially providing emergency assistance to Sudanese refugees living in the north. Over the years, CRS has expanded its programming to also address development needs in western, central, and eastern Uganda. CRS' projects in Uganda currently include agriculture, health (focus on childhood well-being), emergency response and recovery, microfinance, and youth. CRS Uganda implements its programs through partnerships with local organizations, including the Catholic Church, other faith-based organizations and community entities for maximum impact and sustainability. Program value for the 2017/2018 year is estimated to be approximately $25 million USD, with funding from USAID/Food for Peace, US Department of State/BPRM, USAID Uganda, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Corp., Gavi Alliance, and private foundations with potential increases in funding for emergency response and recovery activities from various donors.

Primary Functions:

The main functions of the Head of Programs (HOP) include, providing oversight of CRS Uganda programming interventions, ensuring that the necessary staff and systems are in place to develop and implement high-quality programs. CRS Uganda is engaged in several complex consortium relationships, as well as integrated programming. The HOP must ensure timely and pertinent communication and coordination with other departments especially with the Head of Operations and consortium members. The HOP must give special attention to make sure the relationship with our partners is consistent with partnership principles and give special focus to nurture CRS' relationship with the local church. In collaboration with the Country Representative (CR), the HOP will lead the resource mobilization agenda of the country program.

Specific Responsibilities:

Program Quality and Management

  • Provide management oversight for ongoing programs.
  • Ensure program quality through implementation of project review systems, comprehensive M&E systems and staff/partner development.
  • Ensure that every project in CP has a M&E plan, and full adheres to the new MEAL policy and procedures.
  • Assist program staff to use appropriate project management tools to plan, review and track progress on project implementation as well as on the utilization of project resources.
  • Support program staff in the planning of project activities and the establishment of high quality performance targets, ensuring adherence to technical standards, best practices and donor guidelines. Ensure staff follow the EARO project management guidelines, based on PMD Pro and ProPack.
  • Oversee the internal review process of all project proposals and ensure project format, design and quality are in compliance with agency/donor standards and program quality principles, East Africa Regional Office (EARO) guidelines, and the CRS ProPack.
  • Work with program staff to ensure that all programming documents (Annual Program Plans, project proposals/reports, etc.) are of the highest quality.
  • Ensure that all projects are guided by Uganda, EARO and agency Strategic Plans.
  • Work with program staff to ensure CRS interventions are integrated wherever appropriate in order to increase impact.
  • Support the coordination of action plans and activities to ensure complementarity and consistency in the various interventions and to eliminate duplication and waste.
  • Ensure that activities are compatible and in compliance with CRS guiding Principles, and ensure that staff are trained accordingly.
  • Ensure that gender sensitivity is taken into account in day-to-day operations as well as in program interventions and with partners.

Budgeting, Financial Planning and Reporting

  • Work with CR, program staff and finance department to ensure compliance with CRS and donor regulations and requirements for financial accountability and project reporting.
  • Ensure appropriate budget planning and tracking, and financial reporting of CRS public and private projects.
  • Collaborate with Head of Operations to ensure project managers are trained on budgeting and finance tools and systems to increase their capacity to adequately track project expenses.
  • Monitor project burn rates closely with the project managers to ensure that spending in the projects are consistent with the budgets and are on time.
  • Maintain a schedule for reporting of all publicly and privately funded projects. Review and submit required reports including donor and private fund narrative reports, quarterly performance indicator tracking tables, baseline and evaluation reports, as well as others needed/required by the local government, donors, the region or headquarters.

Coordination and Communication

  • Ensure transparent coordination mechanisms and regular information-sharing with relevant staff.
  • Actively participate as a member of the Senior Leadership and Management Teams and contribute to strategic planning and key decisions of the CP.
  • Encourage active and open dialogue among program staff and with operations staff.
  • Oversee regular programming and coordination meetings between the programming and operations departments.
  • Ensure systems are in place for the proper documentation of meetings and timely circulation of resulting information/outcomes.
  • Promote the documentation and sharing of lessons learned/best practices.
  • Maintain communication with regional technical advisors, deputy regional director/PQ and headquarters staff as appropriate.

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership and support to the hiring of highly-skilled workforce aligned to CRS values; ensure that CRS Uganda is hiring highly qualified project managers.
  • Supervise staff in the program unit to ensure efficient and quality implementation of project activities, on time and on budget, to deliver results, including the Deputy Head of Programs, MEAL Manager, Business Development Manager, Partnership and Capacity Strengthening Technical Advisor, Project Directors and Fellow.
  • Mentor and coach staff and assist them to develop performance and development plans and that the CRS Performance Management System is implemented in the programming unit.
  • Work with CR and program staff to identify key training needs, and proactively seek and promote appropriate training opportunities for staff, specifically in proposal development, project management and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Work with HR and program staff to develop and use standardized job descriptions and performance review. Develop the career paths of staff in the department.
  • Ensure that programming staff are cognizant of CP, region and agency strategies, and the general and sectoral program quality principles.
  • Ensure that in-house training skills and expertise are shared among staff.
  • Work in close coordination with other department heads to promote a team approach that involves programming staff at all levels whenever possible/appropriate.

Fundraising and Proposal Development

  • With the Business Development Manager, identify program priorities and actively develop a plan for program growth in active engagement with partners, CP staff, regional/HQ technical advisors, and the business development team.
  • Work with CR, CP staff, and relevant regional and HQ staff to strengthen relationships with existing and potential donors.
  • In collaboration with the CR, provide vision and guide the process of growth based on agency/region/country strategic frameworks and plans, including the development of CRS fundraising strategies and alliances and the identification of potential funding sources and strategic opportunities to expand the program's focus, reach, and influence.
  • With the Business Development Manager, support the preparation of proposals from intel gathering and capture planning to submission; work closely with the BD RTA and DRD/PQ EARO.

Partnership and Church Relations

  • Ensure that CRS program managers and field staff maintain good relationships with the Church and other implementing partners and provide them with smooth support throughout the project cycle.
  • Maintain strong partner relations and lead the identification of diverse and new potential partners.
  • Working with the CR and managers, develop and implement strategies for improving the capacity of CRS staff to enhance partner capacity.
  • Contribute to the core SiS team on the roll out of the SiS initiative with EARO and HQ support.


  • Working with the CR, represent the country program to government officials, Church officials, partners, NGOs, and UN agencies.
  • Together with the CR, revise and update country briefing materials and assist as necessary with VIP visits and guests.
  • As required by the CR, serve as a spokesperson to the public, including local and international media outlets and journalist, regarding CRS programs and activities.

Key Working Relationships

Internal: Country Representative, Head of Operations, COP and DCOP, other department heads; program staff; support staff; Deputy Regional Director for Program Quality; regional technical advisors (RTAs), various HQ departments.

External: Consortium and other partners, especially Caritas; government ministries; local church; USAID; UN agencies; local bilateral institutions; local/international NGOs.

Personal/Professional Skills:

  • Excellent supervisory skills, strong analytical and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work independently, but also coordinate effectively as part of a team.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.
  • Strong computer skills (MS Word, Excel, Outlook and Power Point).
  • Strong project management skills and experience, particularly PMD Pro, ProPack, etc.


  • Master's Degree or equivalent in social work, international development or related field.
  • Minimum five years in a management position with proven leadership in supervising senior staff, with international or intercultural experience (preferably in a developing country).
  • Minimum three years living and working in a developing country.
  • Minimum five years of experience of NGO (preferably CRS) project management, including proposal writing and project review processes.
  • Demonstrated strong ability with project grants management, including project design, budget preparation, expenditure tracking, monitoring and evaluation, reporting, etc.
  • Ability to lead a multi-cultural team with a high level of respect for local culture.
  • Ability to represent the Agency in high level meetings with donors, local government, etc.
  • Experience with institutional strengthening and partnership building.
  • Commitment to work with local church and capacity to work closely with, and support them.

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff): These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

  • Serves with Integrity
  • Models Stewardship
  • Cultivates Constructive Relationships
  • Promotes Learning

Head of Programs Competencies: These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each head or programs to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

  • Builds and leads effective teams
  • Supervises and develops staff
  • Focuses on quality
  • Leads growth in programs

Physical Requirements/Environment: The position is based in Kampala, Uganda, which is the headquarters of the CRS Uganda program. The position requires approximately 35 percent travel within Uganda, especially to country program activities that are primarily in western, central, and eastern Uganda.


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