Programme Director

United Nations Office for Project Services

Kabul, Afghanistan

Following the political events in Afghanistan in August 2021, the subsequent economic collapse has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis putting over 20 million people in need of aid. To provide immediate short-term livelihood opportunities and deliver urgent essential services in rural and urban areas, UNOPS is working with the World Bank managed Afghanistan Resilience Trust Fund to implement the Afghanistan Community Resilience and Livelihood Project (CRLP). The initiative aims to reach an estimated 1.1 million households, or 7.1 million Afghans, with livelihoods and income support. In addition, nine million Afghans in some 6,450 rural communities and eight cities will benefit from improved access to essential social services through strengthening the capacity of community institutions in inclusive service delivery. The project is in its second year and already reaching millions of Afghans, providing work and livelihoods. A second phase is currently being considered.   

Under the direct supervision of the Country Director, the Programme Director is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the project, liaison and communication with the funding partner, implementing partners, and project beneficiaries. In consultation with the Country Director, the Programme Director will also liaise with local and national authorities including with the De facto Authorities, in line with United Nations guidelines. The Programme Director will manage a team with expertise in different areas: program and contract management, financial management, procurement and supply chain, social mobilization and training, engineering, reporting, monitoring and evaluation, regional coordination, gender, grievance redress, security risk management and environmental and social risk management. They will be responsible for the overall coordination, procurement arrangements with local organizations and contractors, engagement with communities, fiduciary, environmental and social risk management, quality assurance, monitoring and reporting, and managing technical assistance activities.

The Programme Director manages the project on an ongoing basis. They ensure performance of the project funds in the areas of financial (budget/cash flow/expenditure), work planning and resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), programmatic/administrative (including audit results) and procurement operations. 

Overall, the main responsibility of the Programme Director is to ensure that the project outputs are delivered within the specified project tolerances of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits. They will engage, discuss, negotiate, liaise and represent UNOPS with the private sector, civil society including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other relevant stakeholders (including UN agencies) to promote excellence, good practice and policy dialogue.
 Functional Responsibilities:

  • Summary of Key Functions  
  • Project and performance management
  • Procedures 
  • Monitoring and reporting
  • Stakeholder engagement and communication
  • Fund Management
  • Personnel management and leadership
  • Knowledge sharing and knowledge building

Project delivery and performance:

  • Develop, complete and update project implementation plan(s).
  • Implement the approved plan (including the establishment of milestones) within tolerances set by the Project Team. 
  • Embed sustainability dimensions including social and gender inclusion, environmental and economic aspects into project life span. 
  • Oversee the community and Community Development Council institution building aspects.
  • Ensure that women and vulnerable groups receive assistance.
  • Manage the production and community development aspects of the required outputs, taking responsibility for overall progress and use of resources and initiating corrective action where necessary.
  • Ensure that quality of work packages and deliverables complies with the quality requirements defined in the Implementation Plan.
  • Liaise with any external suppliers or account managers.
  • Manage acceptance and delivery of work packages.
  • Monitor project progress ensuring that work packages are being executed properly.
  • Control project and work packages changes.
  • Identify, and anticipate in a timely manner, potential risks and issues and advise mitigating measures to funders and senior management so that maximum benefit to partner(s) and other stakeholders is achieved.
  • Identify and report to the Country Director potential engagement opportunities for UNOPS.
  • Ensure the smooth and effective transition or completion of the project and its orderly and efficient closure as required.


  • Comply with all organizational policies and specifically the Project Operations Manual.
  • Prepare/adapt all relevant plans for approval by key stakeholders.
  • Manage the reporting obligations defined in the Legal Agreement(s) and in the Implementation Plan.
  • Oversee the works of the Procurement Senior Advisor in drafting the requirement definitions for procurement processes. Approve requisitions and requests for non-purchase order payments; evaluate submissions received, if appointed to the evaluation team (if applicable).
  • Ensure that grants are awarded and managed in line with UNOPS procedures
  • Ensure maintenance of the project files and lessons learned are recorded as per the UNOPS requirements.
  • Ensure the development and implementation of project financial management guidelines and control mechanisms, in conformity with UNOPS rules and regulations (if applicable).
  • Manage budgets, cash flow and obligations to ensure that deliverables are met and payments to contractors and personnel are received on time.
  • Understand and manage UNOPS overheads, allocable charges, and related corporate charges as they apply to the project.
  • Understand the unique structures of the UN and budget appropriately for personnel.
  • Manage expenditures against the budget (based on accurate financial reports).
  • Ensure audit is carried out and completed in accordance with the project agreement and as per the donor requirements 

Monitoring and reporting:

  • Puts in place and continuously implements solid reporting mechanisms in the project on a regular basis against set targets and indicators.
  • Prepare and issue regular reports in accordance with the funding partner and UNOPS requirements for reporting.
  • Regularly review project status, evaluating performance criteria (scope, cost, schedule and quality).
  • Lead monitoring and reporting of the project's activities to ensure compliance with Inter Agency Standing Committee and Resident Coordinator reporting requirements, and others that may emerge,  related to principles of operating in Afghanistan.
  • Maintain diaries and progress reports as required by the organization’s standard procedures.
  • Provide routine oversight and analysis of delivery data within the dashboard system.
  • Ensure all project team members track and regularly update milestones and targets for the duration of projects' life span.
  • Coordinate quality reviews of project documents and deliverables.
  • Provide quality control for management outputs (project documents, reports, etc.)

Stakeholder Management:

  • Engage, discuss, negotiate, liaise and represent UNOPS with the private sector, civil society and other relevant stakeholders (including UN agencies) to promote excellence, good practice and policy dialogue.
  • Where necessary and in consultation with the Country Director; liaise and manage relations with the De facto Authorities in line with United Nations guidelines. This involves representing UNOPS to the DfA at both a national and local level. 
  • Lead in liaising with UN counterparts to ensure coordination of project activities with other UN interventions at a national and local level. 
  • In coordination with AFCO, ensure that UNOPS is represented in the relevant sector working groups, and on the Humanitarian Country Team and its relevant sub-committees.
  • Establish solid working relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Lead the development and implementation of an effective communications strategy including maintaining effective relations with stakeholders.
  • Enable the formulation of project communications plans; coordinate internal project communications; and monitor the effectiveness of project communications.
  • Coordinate stakeholder engagement and communication, ensuring effective timing and interdependency management of communications. Ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions and are in a position to accept handover outputs.

Fund Management:

  • Ensure performance of the Fund in the areas of financial (budget/cash flow/expenditure), work planning and resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), programmatic/ administrative (including audit results) and procurement operations.
  • Implementing the Fund in accordance with the rules and regulations of UNOPS and in line with the Delegation of Authority received from the UNOPS Executive Director.

Personnel management and leadership:

  • Lead the process of establishing a team to implement and work on the realization of the Project.
  • Establish strategic team objectives, key performance indicators and measurement standards toward delivering expected results. 
  • Continuous assessment of the performance and effectiveness of Project services, recommending changes and/or corrective actions in the team structure and/or financial operations to enhance and maintain effectiveness in the changing environment.
  • Attract, retain and develop talent with the skills and competencies needed to ensure optimum performance, offering guidance to enable responsible, effective and efficient performance.
  • Ensure principles of human rights, gender equity, peace, voice and accountability, ‘doing no harm’ and aid effectiveness in all activities.
  • Create, foster and role model a culture of respect and zero tolerance for discrimination, abuse of authority, harrassment, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation and abuse. Ensure accountability for actions and perform duties in accordance with protection mechanisms and action plans, as expected by UNOPS policies, standards and commitments.

Knowledge building and knowledge sharing:

  • Knowledge building and sharing with regards to the development and implementation of the Project, synthesis of lessons learnt/best practices, and sound contributions to UNOPS knowledge management initiatives.
  • Provide technical guidance and on-the-job training to ensure work standards are achieved, both in terms of quality and quantity of inputs/outputs processed.

Impact of Results:

The effective and successful achievement of results by the Programme Director directly impacts on achievement of project results by adhering to project management methods and strategies, reducing risks, cutting costs and improving success rates.  It confirms UNOPS role as a trusted partner to the World Bank, and UNOPS position as a service provider in challenging work environments. If successful, CRLP will provide critical and timely support to millions of Afghans in need.  Given the current political and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, this project would support the repositioning of AFCO and strengthen UNOPS presence and relevance in Afghanistan, demonstrating UNOPS capacity to deliver basic human needs at scale. 
Monitoring and progress controls will be in accordance with work plans that the supervisor and incumbent will prepare at the beginning of the assignment
Education/Experience/Language requirements:


  • An Advanced University degree (Master’s Degree or equivalent) combined with fifteen (15) years of relevant experience OR 
  • A First level University degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent) combined with seventeen (17) years of relevant experience is required.

Work experience: 

  • A minimum of 15 years of experience that combines strategic and managerial leadership in international development, business development, operations and/or program management in a large international and/or corporate organization.
  • Experience in programme implementation and/or fund management is an advantage.
  • Experience in community development and livelihoods is an advantage.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the political, social and economic context of Afghanistan is an advantage.
  • Ability to build strong, trusted relationships and operate in an influential manner with the de facto government authorities, UN officials, etc. to assist in driving key initiatives is an advantage.
  • Demonstrated experience managing multidisciplinary teams is an advantage.
  • Knowledge of the UN system and familiarity with UNOPS procedures is an advantage.
  • Experience with an international organization and/or UN agencies is an advantage.
  • Ability to consistently exercise discretion and confidentiality with sensitive information is essential.


  • Proficiency in English is required.