The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities that support them, as well as with those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in more than 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. IRC leads the way from harm to home. The IRC implements programs in four Great Lakes countries — Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania (Note that Cameroon and Chad will be integrated to the Great Lakes in FY23, so to form a new region) — and implements programs through the arc of crisis, emergency, humanitarian, and development contexts.
Working in partnership with local civil society, NGO, CBOs, government, and private sector actors is fundamental to the International Rescue Committee’s mission to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster, including climate change, to survive, recover and gain control of their future. Effective local partnerships are central to the IRC’s partnership strategic ambitions in Strategy100 and Great Lakes Country Strategic Action Plans (SAP), resulting in more effective, responsive, and locally owned response and development efforts that reach more people and produce better outcomes for the people served. Investing in local civil society organizations (CSOs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and government entities recognizes those organizations as critical actors in achieving outcomes, as permanent catalysts, and drivers of change. Within that context, IRC must also serve to influence wider regional/sub-regional networks/organizations’ partnership ambitions (such as the Lake Chad Basin Commission, NEAR Network, etc.), as well as donors’ partnership approaches, in support of the realization of the Grant Bargain Commitments
The Senior Program Advisor will be a key member of the Great Lakes regional team responsible for promoting effective and efficient programming in the region’s country programs, to ensure positive outcomes for clients, with a focus on partnership approaches. Will work closely with the regional SMT, Country leaders and the Partnership Unit, to ensure that country programs are able to scope priorities and deliver on partnership ambitions, as well as contribute to position the IRC in the region as a partner of choice. S/he will provide strategic leadership and advise the IRC’s partnership work in the Great Lakes region, by establishing a regional partnership approach and supporting country programs to operationalize local partnership standards as well as define and deliver on the partnership components of their Strategy Action Plans (SAP), consistent with IRC’s partnership ambition. S/he will coordinate the development and implementation of the IRC Great Lakes partnerships priority and contribute to reinforcing reflections and practices that will enhance IRC’s implementation of partnership principles. S/he will ensure that regional partnership initiatives support country programmes, provide change management advisory support to country leadership for quality delivery of SAP partnership ambitions across all functions.
Regional Strategy Support:
• Maintain awareness of key partnership trends and debates in the humanitarian sector and support the regional leadership team to track and engage in these initiatives, as necessary
• Promote a space for dialogue and manage risks associated with organizational transformation related to partnership
• Use findings and recommendations from the Great Lakes “Decolonizing strategic growth” analysis to coordinate development of a contextual informed partnership model;
• Provide regional oversight for developing regional analyses and engaging with regional/sub-regional organizations/networks and regional partnership programming with relevant donors, given the cross-border dynamics within the region and the regional ambition to increase our partnerships throughout the region
• Lead the IRC Great Lakes engagement in strategic partnerships and networks with key local/national/regional organizations to support program quality, research, advocacy, communications, and capacity strengthening that are complimentary to the IRC’s expertise and humanitarian & development goals
• Track and analyze partnership key performance indicators for learning and decision-making.
Partnership Management and Country Support:
• Support Great Lakes country programs in developing strategies to reinforce existing and build nascent partnership relationships with civil society organizations, government entities and private sector actors, as well as with networks
• Support country program in applying proven principles and approaches that will fulfill the Great Lakes region partnership ambitions, including through application of organizational guidance provided as part of the PEERS review process
• Collaborate with technical advisors, regional and programmatic and operation leads, including the Regional Program and Award Support (RPAS) teams, to support Great Lakes country programs to analyze the roles of local actors, to define IRC’s approach based on how it can best ‘add value’, prioritizing opportunities to support and reinforce local capacities and systems (asking ‘why not partner’)
• Facilitate meaningful partner participation in key decision making, including in the context of strategy development and program design and management, and accountability to partner perspectives and feedback
• Provide support and guidance to business development efforts with the aim of reinforcing partnership within multi-country/sub regional opportunities, working closely with the Senior Program Development Advisor or other identified Business Development support teams.
• Promote and guide principled, collaborative, and contextualized risks analysis and management with partners across all organizational functions, consistent with the IRC Partnership Excellence for Equality and Results System (PEERS,) working closely with the Regional Program and Awards Support (RPAS) teams to identify risk mitigation measures and strategies as needed.
• Work with country programs, IRC’s partnership and client responsiveness teams, and the regional business development, and program and awards support teams, to improve clients’ and partners’ greater influence over program design and delivery
• Support effective capacity sharing and systems strengthening approaches across Great Lakes country programs, as well as broader organizational development and systems strengthening approaches, and ensuring that IRC is understanding and leveraging opportunities to learn from partners
• Guide, coach, and mentor partnership leads in each country program in the use of PEERS for the development and management of principled, collaborative partnerships.
• Help country program to evaluate partners on a regular basic
• Support Great Lakes country programs to conduct partnership capacity self-assessments, and to address the priority strengthening opportunities identified through those self-assessments, including through in-country support
• Lead structured interactions with Great Lakes partners to promote accountability and solicit feedback with respect to IRC’s role and partnership practices.
Key Working Relationships:
Direct Reporting: Great Lakes Deputy Regional Director and Partnership Unit Director
Coordination: work in close collaboration with Country Programs SMT, regional SMT, RPST, and other HQ relevant functions as needed
External Contacts: national, regional/sub-regional networks/organizations
Education: Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree is a plus; background in humanitarian and development assistance.
Work Experience: Minimum of 5-7 years of relevant experience.
Field Experience: At least 2 years of senior level field experience in relevant settings.
Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:
• Experience in a range of sectors, in both humanitarian and development contexts, including proven partnership-focused results, experience in building principled partnership rooted in feminist value across various contexts
• Demonstrated experience of coordinating complex projects and leading change both through working culture and business processes
• Experience fostering and collaborating with community-led local organizations, including conducting CBO capacity strengthening
• Team player, flexible and able to work within a small group of decision-makers to diagnose and provide support to country teams in a timely, efficient, and effective way
• Self-starter with excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to develop positive relationships with local and remote team members at multiple levels across the organization
• Professional experience within the Great Lakes to understand the partnership landscape and cultural context
• Ability to work successfully independently and with multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Ability to apply analytical thinking to evidenced, justified recommendations
• Experience in programs and grant management will be an asset.
Language Skills: Working professional Proficiency in French and English required, and knowledge of region’s local language is an asset.
Working Environment: Duty station in Nairobi, Kenya. Estimated 30-40% travel to country programs.
The IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability. The IRC is an equal opportunity employer.
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Equality and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.