This is an exciting opportunity for the right candidate to shape the significant growth of Concern’s Education Programme in Sierra Leone, in partnership with the Ministry of Basic & Senior Secondary Education (MoBSSE), Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) and other development partners. It should be noted that education is singled out as a key priority within the government of Sierra Leone’s current Mid Term National Development Plan.
Reporting to the PD, you will lead the strategic development and effective implementation of Concern’s work in primary school education in Sierra Leone, targeting extremely poor and vulnerable communities and focusing on issues of access, quality and safety. A major objective of this role is to enable the effective and timely sharing of lessons from our programme with government and other key actors in Sierra Leone in order to contribute to national-level policy and strategy development – in particular lessons arising from our action-research project, the ‘Safe Learning Model’ in Tonkolili District. You will develop and strengthen existing linkages with government, donors, and other partners in education at all levels - local, district and national.
You will be based in Freetown, Sierra Leone with frequent travel to the other districts where Concern works, in particular, Tonkolili District. Travel outside of Freetown will be approximately 50% of the post holder’s time. We offer an attractive and competitive salary package with benefits.
Reports To: Programme Director (PD)
Direct line reports: Education Project Coordinators and Managers (up to 5 in total).
- Country Director, Systems Director, Area Coordinator Tonkolili, Programme Coordinators (Health, Monitoring & Evaluation, Programme Integration), Project Managers, Human Resources, Systems and Finance departments. Desk Officer, Education Adviser and other staff in Concern Headquarters as may be relevant.
- Ministry of Basic & Senior Secondary Education (MoBSSE) and other relevant line ministries (e.g. Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs) at national and district levels, Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC), District authorities, other INGOs and NGOs, donor agencies and other relevant Education Development Partners.
- University College Dublin (UCD) for the existing ‘Safe Learning Model’ programme and other research institutions as may be required.
- Other stakeholders as required by the programme.
You will be responsible for:
- Strategic Partnership - External Representation & Networking with Government and key education actors.
- Actively engage at strategic and operational levels with the MoBSSE and TSC to contribute to the development and implementation of effective education policy and strategy, which fully includes the extreme poor and other vulnerable groups.
- Provide technical support to Ministry-led working groups and other structures at different levels.
- Develop and maintain positive linkages with other strategic agencies (national and international NGOs, UN agencies, donor institutions, etc.) within the field of education in Sierra Leone to maximise and optimise coordination and learning. Ensure Concern’s policy and strategy framework are effectively represented within key education fora in the country;
- Promote joint planning and implementation of programme interventions with relevant government institutions and other actors to help achieve maximum sustainability.
- Effectively generate and disseminate learning internally, nationally and internationally from our Education sector programme, (note in particular the current research being led by University College Dublin (UCD) in the ‘Safe Learning Model’), with the aim of positively influencing education policy and strategy at different levels.
Programme Leadership and management.
- Lead the strategic development and implementation of Concern’s education programme in Sierra Leone, in line with Concern’s organisational policy framework, organisational strategy, and the Country Strategic Plan.
- Support in actively seeking future funding opportunities and develop strong project proposals in line with the country and sector strategic plan.
- Take the lead role in implementing the integrated ‘Safe Learning Model’ education action-research component aimed at improving school safety and the protection of children, engaging UCD as the lead research partner.
- Develop and implement capacity-building strategies with partner institutions as and when needed.
- Ensure that issues of equality (gender, disability, etc.), sexual & gender based violence (SGBV), accountability, risk and vulnerability are continuously monitored and addressed.
- As the budget holder for Concern’s education sector programme, oversee and support effective budgeting, expenditure tracking and all aspects of financial management of the programme, continuously developing the capacity of project coordinators and managers in this regard. Liaise regularly with the Country Financial Controller and other finance staff, the Area Coordinator Tonkolili, etc. as required.
- Produce regular high quality programme reports both for internal and external use.
- Leadership and management of programme teams – including full compliance with Concern’s Policies & Procedures by staff and other actors.
- Directly manage five project coordinators/managers.
- Assist and lead as necessary in the recruitment, management and support of education programme staff to ensure that staff have the required skill sets and competencies.
- Assist in identifying training needs for staff and provide (or coordinate) the technical support, training and advice to staff necessary for the delivery of a high quality education programme.
- Promote the development of staff within the education sector programme via Concern’s Performance & Development Review (PDR) mechanism and continually support staff to grow and develop their skills & experience. Work in particular to ensure our teams have strong community facilitation and coaching skills, and have a good understanding of participatory and child-centred learning methodologies.
- Conduct performance reviews on a regular basis and as per Concern National and International Staff Manuals.
- Ensure that staff are properly monitored and supervised and that necessary action is taken when staff are found to be under performing (capacity building or disciplinary action as appropriate).
- Support staff with regular visits to programme locations to complement the information garnered through reports and discussions.
- Promote accountability and ensure compliance by staff, consultants, etc. working within, or engaging with, the Education programme with Concern’s Code of Conduct & Associated Policies, Security Policy, Anti-Fraud Policy and the international Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) to which Concern is signed up to ensure maximum protection of programme participants and the efficient and transparent use of Concern’s resources.
- Support the continuous training of staff and establishing of systems to support effective child safeguarding mechanisms.
- With the support of others, carry out regular briefings on the above policies and otherwise contribute to the implementation of these policies.
- Promote equality and inclusion within the education sector, across other programmes and throughout the organisation in Sierra Leone in line with Concern’s Equality Policy. Ensure targeting and project implementation fully comply with How Concern Understands Extreme Poverty (HCUEP), especially equality (with a particular focus on gender equality and Engaging Men and Boys) and risk (including HIV&AIDS).
- Actively promote Concern’s work in primary education and protect the reputation of Concern in external settings by ensuring that the organisation’s experience and expertise is well communicated and consistently presented to the highest standards of professionalism, guided by organisational policies and Concern’s Code of Conduct & Associated Policies.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
- Maintain strong monitoring and evaluation systems for the Education Programme in line with Concern policies and systems, using standard and approved tools to measure impact and ensure efficiency against programme indicators.
- Implement and revise education programme M&E plans as necessary, ensuring that all staff and partners understand their roles related to M&E, and all programme documentation is based on robust data.
- Support the team and partners to analyse monitoring data and use information generated to inform current and future programming.
- Collaborate with the M&E team to support the review, adaptation, training and application of the annual EGRA, and lead on data interpretation and write-up of findings.
- Ensure that Concern’s accountability and CHS commitments are fully reflected in programme design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
- Coordination with other programme sectors (livelihoods, health, etc.).
- Enhance wider programme integration through liaising and planning with coordinators of the other Concern Sierra Leone sector programmes and senior management. In general, actively promote linkages, synergy and complementarity with other Concern sector programmes in Sierra Leone through joint planning, monitoring and evaluation with other sector programme teams.
- Provide technical assistance to the Area Coordinator Tonkolili, Integration Coordinator and Programme Coordinators/Managers in relation to education issues (e.g. non-formal education activities including Life Skills and adolescent sexual & reproductive health (ASRH)).
- Ensure work related to addressing School Related Gender Based Violence is implemented in a holistic manner, in collaboration with the Health team (particularly related to PHU support), and wider integrated programme and other actors.
- Support the targeting of the Tonkolili Integrated Programme’s Village Savings and Loans initiatives to include families of out-of-school children or those at risk of early school leaving.
- Undertake any other duties as may be reasonably assigned by the Programme Director.
Your skills and experience will include:
- Third level qualification in Education. (An MA/Diploma in Education, development studies, social sciences or other related discipline will be an advantage).
- Minimum 3 years’ experience working at management/coordinator level in education related development programmes in similar contexts to that of Sierra Leone.
- Technical knowledge of education programming and recent developments in child protection, community involvement in education, teacher professional development interventions and Mother Tongue Literacy – e.g. Early Grade Reading Assessments (EGRAs), literacy interventions, safe learning environment & protection. (Knowledge/experience of designing and undertaking or managing research in the field of education will be an added advantage).
- Experience of working to address inequality (gender, disability, etc.), either within the education field or other area of work/experience.
- Strong experience of external networking and representation with government and non-government education stakeholders (other NGOs, UN agencies, donor institutions, etc.) at national and other levels. In particular, previous experience of working in partnership with a Ministry of Education and other institutions will be a particular advantage.
- Strong understanding of community development principles and practice.
- Experience of managing, coaching, training and building the capacity of international and national staff.
- Experience working with local NGOs and partners in the implementation of programmes and institutional capacity development.
- Experience in results based management and M&E (including quantitative and qualitative methodologies).
- Experience in budget management.
- Highly computer literate with extensive knowledge of Word and Excel.
- Ability to translate monitoring & evaluation information into practical evidence that can be used to inform policy level dialogue and engagement with government and other key stakeholders.
- Training and facilitation skills; ability to motivate and develop skills of others.
- Flexible, reliable and with the ability/willingness to frequently spend time in remote project sites with field staff.
- Initiative and ability to work with minimal supervision.
- Cross cultural awareness and sensitivity.
- Ability to work both as part of a team and independently.
- Empathy with organisational Vision, Mission, Goals and Objectives.
- Positive thinking and attitude.
- Fluent communication both verbal and writing (including strong report-writing skills) in English.