Programme Manager

United Nations Development Programme

Kabul, Afghanistan

UN Women, grounded in the vision of gender equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the center of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations System efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s most complex emergencies, and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Afghan people are grappling with the impact of conflict, poverty, economic decline, and natural disasters. In this context, Afghan women and girls face unique vulnerabilities and require urgent support as gender inequality is interwoven with conflict dynamics and humanitarian needs. It is essential that Afghan women and girls can continue to shape the future of their country, and that their gains are protected. UN Women remains fully committed to supporting Afghan women and girls and to placing them at the center of the global response to the crisis in Afghanistan.

UN Women has been in Afghanistan for two decades. UN Women’s programming approach is informed by analysis of the political, economic and humanitarian situation, risks to and capacities of partner organizations, and needs and priorities of Afghan women and girls. UN Women Afghanistan currently has four key programme priorities: (1) Gender in Humanitarian Action, (2) Ending Violence Against Women, (3) Women’s Economic Empowerment, and (4) Women, Peace and Security. UN Women Afghanistan operates through its main office in Kabul and five sub-offices located in the provinces Balkh, Bamyan, Herat, Kandahar and Nangarhar. 

Women’s civil society organizations are a driving force for ensuring the availability of essential programming for women and girls and for advancing social cohesion and resilience, anchored in gender equality. However, women-led and women’s rights organizations in Afghanistan face a range of constraints that may limit their operational effectiveness. In absence of a dedicated investment in strengthening the organizational resilience of women civil society organisations, these organizations risk being unable to adapt to the Afghan crisis. 

To respond to the urgent need of support for the women’s movement in Afghanistan, UN Women has launched an initiative to rebuild organizational resilience of women’s civil society organizations. The Women Civil Society Project, offers core grants and demand-driven grants that aim to strengthen the institutional and adaptive capacity of Women’s Rights Organization (WROs) and Women Led Organizations (WLOs) within the context of ongoing humanitarian crisis; as well as other forms of support for advocacy and coordinated learning, sharing, and networking. Reporting to Deputy Country Representative and under the overall guidance of the UN Women Afghanistan Country Office Representative, the Programme Manager-Women CSOs Project exercises overall responsibility for planning, implementing, and managing UN Women interventions under the women civil society project as well for managing the human and financial resources of the team. The Programme Manager works in close collaboration with the wider Country Office programme and operations teams, civil society, other UN agencies, and donors, as well as with the UN Women Regional Office and Headquarters in ensuring successful UN Women programme implementation under this portfolio.

Duties and Responsibilities

Manage the implementation of the women’s civil society project

  • Provide strategic leadership and direct the effective implementation of this project;
  • Finalize the project workplan and budget and manage their implementation;
  • Act as focal point on operational and programmatic queries about the project from internal and external stakeholders, both ;
  • Provide oversight to the technical implementation of the project; ensure synergies with other teams;
  • Support and manage the submission of partners’ financial and narrative reports;
  • Provide guidance to personnel and partners on Results Based Management tools and performance indicators;
  • Organize Project Management oversight arrangements, including the Technical Advisory Committee, project review and/or evaluation meetings, as needed;
  • Troubleshoot and advise on addressing the challenges to implement the project.  

Manage engagement with project partners, including strategic and technical assistance, and capacity development

  • Build, manage and contribute to relationships with partners – including civil society, UN agencies, and donors - to support implementation and expansion of the women’s civil society project; respond to any potential problems;
  • Provide strategic and technical advice and guidance to programme partners;
  • Coordinate with other UN agencies, government departments, donors and NGOs to ensure the projects’ capacity development programme is harmonized and aligned with other in-country efforts
  • Organize and coordinate learning, sharing, networking, and capacity development events, both physical and virtual.

Provide lead expertise support in the monitoring and reporting of the project

  • Provide oversight to monitoring of project implementation and finances using results based management tools;
  • Oversee field missions and review reports on monitoring missions;
  • Manage and support quarterly reports and donor reports, focusing on results, output and outcomes;
  • Contribute to office donor and UN Women reports.

Advice and manage people and financial resources of the women’s civil society project

  • Provide management support on the programme budget and draft financial reports;
  • Manage coordination with the operations and finance team and the thematic pillar managers
  • Ensure compliance of the project with UN Women procurement and financial rules and regulations;
  • Contribute to recruitment processes and mentor project staff, as necessary.

Design and develop programme strategies and provide technical advice in the area of civil society engagement in ACO

  • Design and formulate programme/project proposals and initiatives; ensuring linkages with other thematic pillars, particularly the women, peace and security pillar
  • Draft inputs to country strategy documents, briefs, policy dialogue and other documents;
  • Draft and coordinate Country Office internal strategies on the office’s overall programmatic engagement and partnerships with women’s civil society organizations;
  • Liaise with the Country Office Operations Team on addressing potential operational barriers faced by civil society partners.

Build partnerships and support in developing resource mobilization strategies

  • Develop and implement partnerships and resource mobilization strategies;
  • Contribute to relevant documentation on donors and potential opportunities for resource mobilization;
  • Provide strategic and technical support to the Country Representative and Deputy Country Representative on inter-agency coordination related activities by advising, attending meetings, events, participating in groups and committees as needed;

Manage advocacy, knowledge building and communication efforts

  • Support the development and review of background documents, briefs and presentations related to the women CSO project;
  • Represent UN Women in meetings and policy dialogues on issues related to Women, Peace and Security as necessary;
  • Develop project-related advocacy strategies across relevant stakeholders and oversee their implementation;
  • Identify best practices and lessons learned to guide programme improvement and strategy planning;
  • Develop knowledge management strategies, products and methodologies anchored in the implementation of the women CSO project.

Key Performance Indicators:

  • Timely and quality programme design and inputs to Strategic Note
  • Timely and quality of programme delivery in line with budget and workplans, and in line with all UN Women operational rules and regulations, including security
  • Timely and quality monitoring and evaluation of programmes
  • Relations with partners and stakeholders
  • Quality reports and timely submission
  • Regular communication with other agencies and partners
  • Quality of advocacy and communication initiatives

Required Skills and Experience

Education and certification:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in social sciences, human rights, gender/women's studies, international development, or a related field is required
  • A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
  • A project/programme management certification would be an added advantage


  • At least 7 years of progressively responsible work experience at the national or international level in design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects;
  • Experience in grant making , especially in the areas of women’s rights and empowerment and gender equality will be an advantage;
  • Technical experience in engagement with women’s civil society and programming in support of women’s movements.
  • Knowledge and experience in working on addressing issues related to gender equality and women’s empowerment in complex humanitarian context;
  • Experience working in the region and/or in Afghanistan is an asset;
  • Experience coordinating and liaising with government agencies and/or donors is an asset;
  • Experience working in the UN System is an asset;
  • Experience in leading/managing a team is an asset.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required;
  • Working knowledge of another official UN language is an asset;
  • Knowledge of Dari or Pashto is an asset.