Country Director- Burkina Faso

Closing date: 31 Dec 2019

Throughout 2019, non-state armed groups have consolidated their presence in northern areas of Burkina Faso, perpetrating an increasing number of violent acts, and compounding already tense dynamics in the region. At the same time, ethnic and community violence has risen and interfaced with actions from radical groups and military responses, further exacerbating the situation and resulting in significant population movement and humanitarian needs.

In response to growing needs, the IRC deployed the emergency response team, opened a country office and launched humanitarian assistance programming in April, 2019. The IRC currently has one field base in the Sahel region in addition to the administrative office in Ouagadougu, and is looking to expand in programme scale, scope and geographic support over the coming months. The DDP will play a key role in move forward on programmatic strategies, securing the necessary resources, and ensuring programme quality during these initial phases.

The Country Director for Burkina Faso is responsible for overall leadership and supervisory management of IRC offices and operations in the country, including stewardship of resources, staff safety and security, program quality and accountability, and performance management. The Country Director is IRC’s principal representative to the Burkinabe government, donors, international organizations, other NGOs and the media. The Country Director is expected to respond effectively to a constantly changing environment with effective humanitarian and eventual development programs, implemented directly and with Burkinabe partner organizations. The Country Director will lead country program staff in pursuing the outcomes identified in the FY2020 emergency strategy, bringing them together to deliver high-quality, cost-effective programming results, and supporting the development of a strategic action plan, establishing the long term approach for the country office.

Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary leadership abilities who deploys strong communications and interpersonal skills effectively, both internally and externally. The successful candidate will enjoy developing networks to build partnerships and diversify program resources. Given the operating environment, the Country Director is expected to be attentive to risk management. S/he will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the country program; providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior managers; leading country program teams to identify, design and deliver responsive, high-quality programs; ensuring efficient management of public grants and private funds for results, compliance and focused, timely reporting; and oversight of financial management and compliance systems. A candidate with prior experience with program and systems start-up, who has proven skills leading strategy and business development, will be regarded favourably.

Based in Ouagadougou, the Country Director oversees all IRC operations in Burkina Faso. Reporting to the Regional Vice President, this position receives support from regional and headquarters staff in the areas of program quality, new business development, safety and security management, finance, operations management, and external affairs. The Country Director is additionally expected to actively participate in defining the IRC’s public advocacy positions.

The overall security situation in Burkina Faso is dynamic, and varies from one IRC operating area to another. Security is volatile in IRC areas of operation, and this role requires someone with strong context analysis and security and access experience, especially as the country gears up for the election in 2020.


Leadership and Representation

  • Lead the country program by maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit and providing guidance, oversight and resources to enable staff to perform successfully.
  • Develop and carry out strategies that result in strong representation with: Burkinabe Government authorities at various levels; donors (including instituational, non-institutional and private), European Union; UN and other international organizations; international and local NGOs; and networks such as INGO coordination mechanisms and appropriate working groups.
  • Ensure that the IRC becomes a partner of choice for major international donors.
  • Develop and maintain a high level of understanding of donor priorities and planned funding.
  • Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial and authentic partnerships with Burkinabe organizations.
  • Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of the IRC and its partners in Burkina Faso, as well as the lives and the needs of the people the IRC seeks to serve.

Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth

  • Set the strategic vision and direction of the country program to serve more people with the most responsive and highest quality programming possible, and secure the resources necessary to do so.
  • Align programming to the country program strategy, sectoral expertise and technical standards.
  • Ensure program quality through consistent use throughout the country program of: rigorous assessment, design, and proposal development and review processes; comprehensive monitoring and evaluation, accountability and learning systems; staff development investments; and partner organization capacity strengthening.
  • Remain current on national and regional issues impacting the country program and partners, and develop responsive strategies to ensure the IRC mission can be carried out appropriately in case of contextual changes.
  • Ensure country program alignment with and involvement in meeting regional objectives.
  • Identify opportunities for appropriate expansion and growth of programs, supported by the acquisition and investment of human resources.
  • Ensure timely submission of competitive, responsive and high-quality proposals, and lead negotiations with donors and build links with Burkinabe Ministries.

Safety and Security Management

  • Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program.
  • Oversee the management of all security issues, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.
  • Create and maintain a culture of safety and security throughout the country program, including trainings and briefings that prepare all country program staff for security incident prevention and response.
  • Keep security, evacuation and contingency plans current and accessible to country program staff.
  • Maintain close coordination and communication with the Regional Safety and Security Advisor on safety and security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.

Staff Performance Management and Development

  • Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.
  • Provide constructive feedback and counsel on appropriate career paths and professional development for IRC staff.
  • Oversee the management, coaching and development of national and international staff to build a cadre of skilled, committed and motivated personnel.
  • Pursue nationalization of senior management positions, especially as the country programme moves to stabilisation.
  • Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of both national and international staff.
  • Offer leadership support for successful adherence by all staff to IRC’s Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.
  • Work with regional HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Undertake regular reviews of labor and salary markets in Cote d’Ivoire for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of the IRC’s overall compensation package for national staff.

Stewardship and Operational Management

  • Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.
  • Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements.
  • Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, especially in the areas of HR, finance and supply chain.
  • Provide timely and effective oversight of the Burkina Faso country program’s financial position.
  • Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds.
  • Seek opportunities to introduce efficiencies and eliminate redundancies in existing business processes.


  • Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Burkina Faso country program.
  • Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations.
  • Maintain open communications with regional management staff, regional technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.

Supervisory Responsibilities: Direct reports include the DDP, the Finance Controller, the DDO, Security Coordinator and other support leadership positions. Update


The IRC and IRC staff must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, 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.


  • Graduate degree in a relevant field
  • At least ten years of progressively responsible international work experience, including at least three years in a leadership role at the Country Director level of multi-site, multi-sectoral operations in a complex operating environment
  • Experience working on programme and country office start up strongly preferred
  • Experience of building personal networks at a senior level, resulting in securing new opportunities for the organization
  • Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with a multi-disciplinary team in a cross-cultural setting, including active mentoring and coaching
  • Proven experience delivering appropriate levels oversight of a portfolio consisting of a variety of complex, high-value donor-funded projects
  • Extensive representation and fundraising success, including prior experience with European, US and international development donors
  • Experience of managing security in a fluid environment
  • Proven ability to negotiate and work with partner organizations. Experience with organizational capacity strengthening and partnership building helpful
  • Strong budget and fiscal oversight capacities
  • Established capacity to deal with ambiguity in stressful situations
  • Ability to respond to multiple priorities in a timely manner, producing high-quality outcomes
  • Previous experience working in Burkina Faso/WA region and/or with IRC preferred
  • Fluency in French and English required This position is based in Ouagadougou and will be unaccompanied during the initial start-up/stabilization phases, with the possibility of review within the first year based on security levels and funding availability. Housing will initially be in shared, IRC accommodation during the start-up phases. The Country Director will be expected to travel up to 30% out side of Ouagadougou-in the region and/or to other areas of Burkina Faso, based on security and needs.

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