Regional Director, East, Southern, Central Africa and New Business Development

Helen Keller International (HKI)
  • Location
    Dakar, Senegal
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Apr 07

Position description

HKI is seeking a Regional Director to provide both oversight to four country offices in the Eastern, Southern and Central Africa (ESCA) region and leadership in new business development across the entire region..

Functional Relationships

Reporting to the Vice President, Africa, the Regional Director serves as a member of the Regional Management Team (RMT) and has a dotted line relationship to the Regional Director of Operations. The position works in close collaboration with the Regional Director for West Africa, Regional Advisors for Nutrition, NTDs, and Monitoring & Evaluation, other program and operations staff in the region, as well as the program and operations team at HKI headquarters.

The Regional Director provides technical and operational support and oversight to country offices, through line management of country directors (who lead and oversee country office programs) and one or more regional managers. This position will be the lead coordinator of new business development across the AFRO region. While many regional and HQ staff play an active role in business development for AFRO, this position will coordinate their efforts to ensure high-quality proposal development, providing support to all country programs in Africa in this regard.

HKI has a matrixed reporting structure spanning two levels, with line management and management authority at the country-office level but also accountability and oversight duties by regional directors, and subject-matter experts and multi-country program managers at the regional and headquarters levels. Strong communication skills and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally, are essential to thrive within this structure.

HKI’s programs require close relations with governments, partner NGOs, private industry, donors and UN agencies. The Regional Director plays a key role in nurturing and overseeing some of these cooperative relationships and representing HKI AFRO to donors and the international community, as needed.

Scope of the Position

The Regional Director will have two main areas of responsibilities

  • Oversight of country and multi-country program managers, as assigned, through supervision and coaching of direct reports and their teams to ensure technical quality of programs in the portfolio in collaboration with the technical advisors. This includes providing guidance, input and oversight to ensure that country office programs and operations (finance, HR, IT and administration) are implemented and reported on at the highest standards to fulfill the HKI mission and the objectives.
  • Provide overall leadership on new business development for the AFRO region. This includes identification of new major opportunities and tracking and forecasting opportunities and proposals. The position will support country offices and the regional office in proposal development and contribute to writing proposals in collaboration with colleagues at country, regional and HQ level. When a major proposal is being developed, s/he will lead planning and coordination, delegating tasks to colleagues and ensuring efforts are completed on time.

This position is based at the regional office in Dakar, Senegal, with field travel to HKI country programs for oversight and support and/or business development purposes, or to attend relevant regional or international events, as needed.

Key Responsibilities

Management and Operations

  • Provide leadership to designated country offices and programs, ensuring alignment with the mission, policies and guidelines of HKI.
  • Through direct supervision and support of the Country Directors and Regional Managers for the assigned portfolio, ensure direct accountability for planning, implementation and evaluation of the operations, including the domains of programs, finance and budgeting, human resources, information systems, administration and safety and security.
  • Ensure compliance with HKI and donor standards, policies and procedures as well as host country laws.
  • Regularly participate in regional management team meetings (in person or via teleconference).

New Business Development

In collaboration with colleagues at regional, country and HQ levels

  • Lead the identification and pursuit of new program initiatives that are consistent with HKI’s mission and strategic plan.
  • Network with potential partners and donors at country, regional and global level.
  • Coordinate the tracking and forecasting of opportunities and proposal development.
  • Lead the planning and coordination of major proposal development processes, including major multi-party proposals on which HKI seeks to be the prime recipient.
  • Together with HQ, develop tools and templates to support business development.
  • Lead and contribute heavily to the development of concept notes and proposals for submission to various donors.
  • Identify and implement strategies to meet longer-term funding needs, including identifying and pursuing funding opportunities with donors based in the region.

Facilitation and Control

  • Serve as the link between designated country and regional programs and the regional office.
  • Advocate for designated programs within HKI as a whole, including regional office, headquarters and HKI-Europe.
  • Identify technical needs in designated country offices and programs and facilitate meeting them through regional and/or HQ resources (i.e. technical advisors).
  • Ensure regular review and documentation of roles and responsibilities within our matrixed structure, especially as it pertains to multi-country programs and input of technical experts outside traditional line management. Facilitate dialogues, as needed.

Program Quality Assurance

  • Collaborate closely with HKI’s technical leadership at regional and HQ levels to ensure that programs in assigned portfolio meet HKI programmatic performance standards (in terms of quality, impact, scale and cost-effectiveness) through appropriate planning and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Identify any issues of non-compliance and ensure prompt corrective action.
  • Assure the accurate and timely reporting of program results.

Strategic Planning and Vision

  • Provide direction and guidance to long, medium, and short-term planning processes in designated countries and contribute to strategic development and planning within the AFRO region in accordance with the overall organizational strategic plan.
  • Act as a communications bridge to designated country offices and regional programs on strategic issues, sharing information and RMT discussions to build buy-in and identify issues requiring attention.

Partnerships and Representation

  • Work with colleagues to identify partnership possibilities and ensure HKI representation at key regional meetings.
  • Build on and expand partnerships with regional institutions, country government officials, international and local donors, international and local NGOs, universities and other institutions and colleagues whose areas of work align with those of HKI.

Internal Capacity Development and Human Resources Management

  • Ensure continuous performance management of country directors/regional managers, including regular dialogue, coaching and mentoring, and regular performance evaluation.
  • Support country directors and regional managers in effective people management, as well as supervision and strengthening of their teams.
  • Collaborate with relevant colleagues to establish staff training, orientation, and development plans for assigned countries within the context of available resources.
  • Lead the recruitment of country directors in designated countries and assist in the recruitment of senior field positions for those countries (and regional staff, as assigned).


  • Minimum Master’s Degree in Public Health, Nutrition or related field and at least ten years international public health work experience (ideally including at least five years managing complex country programs) or equivalent combination of skills and experience.
  • Direct field experience in public health programming, including significant experience in Africa, preferably related to Nutrition or Neglected Tropical Diseases.
  • Strong background, experience and demonstrated success with fundraising, including supporting others (e.g. country programs and regional staff) in proposal development and directly leading proposal development and writing.
  • Experience as an NGO Country Director (Chief of Party/Mission) is strongly desired.
  • Demonstrated experience with INGO reporting, financial management, procurement, and project management including demonstrated ability to develop and monitor budgets and collaboratively manage operational activities of complex programs with sub-grant management.
  • Substantial experience with a variety of donors such as USAID, Global Affairs Canada, Irish Aid, DFID, and/or private foundations.
  • Strong technical skills in one or more of HKI’s program areas and a demonstrated history of high-quality technical writing and presentations at international conferences. Passionate about ongoing learning in HKI’s technical areas. Experience with conducting or overseeing major research projects an advantage.
  • Ability to forge strong working relationship with technical staff inside and outside HKI.
  • Excellent capacity building, team building/management, and coordination skills. An ability to delegate responsibilities effectively and coach and mentor staff.
  • An ability to work in challenging and changing environments, to find solutions to emerging challenges, and maintain balance when under stress.
  • Ability and willingness to undertake extensive field travel (approx. 35%-40%), often under difficult conditions.
  • Communication and language skills:
    • Excellent interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, including the ability to exercise diplomacy and tact as demonstrated through previous roles that required communication with a broad and diverse set of partners, such as government, civil society, international organizations, the local community and political leaders
    • Excellent oral and written French and English skills required. Ability to read, analyze and interpret complex documents and to summarize the information succinctly – both verbally and in writing—using an engaging style.
    • Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to top management and the public.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the application of information technology to HKI program areas. Knowledge of software used to prepare presentations and other work documents (e.g. Microsoft Office suite).
  • Respect for all persons regardless of religion, ethnicity, class or gender, comfortable working in a diverse environment, and with a demonstrated commitment to high professional ethical standards.
  • Residence in or willingness to relocate to Dakar, Senegal.

Application instructions

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume noting the job title in the subject line. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. 

*Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on*

follow us on Twitter