Regional Director: Southern and East Africa

National Democratic Institute
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    Jan 10

Position description

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) seeks a Regional Director to provide the strategic vision and overall direction for the Institute’s efforts to promote responsive and inclusive governance, support democratic transitions and strengthen the institutions that are fundamental for more democratic societies in Southern and East Africa (SEA). The Regional Director will lead a multi-cultural team located across the region and Washington, DC, in strategic planning, creative program design, effective project implementation and the nurturing and expansion of relationships with political leaders, democratic activists, citizen representatives and other key stakeholders to encourage citizen participation, electoral integrity and greater government accountability. This position is also part of the senior leadership for the organization, providing input on overall institutional strategy, policies and management. This position manages direct reports both in Washington and in the region.


  • Creates and leads high-level design of NDI’s regional strategy for programs promoting democratic transition and stabilization in SEA, directing staff in their work with local partners to execute program activities and the application of NDI expertise
  • Provides collaborative leadership and oversight to in-country field teams, ensuring accountability in the execution program activities and management of field operations and local staff based on established institutional procedures, local laws, donor regulations and best practice
  • Actively assesses new program opportunities, evaluates current initiatives, and engages with key program contacts, political leaders, donors and other relevant stakeholders throughout Southern East Africa region
  • Represents NDI’s institutional interests with partners, donors, supporters and members of the foreign policy community, as well as at professional conferences, thematic events and other gatherings
  • Anticipates trends or events in political, social and economic developments to gauge the impact on and opportunities for active and future new programs
  • Cultivates and maintains collaborative relationships and communication with the diplomatic and donor community, other democratic development organizations, regional civic and political leaders from across the political spectrum, the media and NDI’s network of political and technical experts, and other meaningful contacts to maximize impacts on democratic development in the region
  • Ensures the finalization and quality of department-generated documents, submissions for NDI publications and reports, program proposals and updates to the Board of Directors and other key supporters
  • Leads overall regional fundraising strategy and supervises complex relations and negotiations with bilateral and/or multilateral government agencies, donors or relevant audiences as necessary
  • Monitors and oversees the department’s overall annual budget and spending strategy to ensure proper stewardship, including review of financial status reports and ensuring compliance with budget management tasks and processes for appropriate fiscal management
  • Maintains an understanding of changing donor and NDI policies and procedures and provides oversight to ensure grant compliance and application within local legal frameworks
  • Hires, directs and supervises field and DC staff, including oversight of performance appraisals and for support of departmental staff professional development
  • Provides leadership and direction to managers and staff through coaching, routine engagement, relationship and team building
  • Establishes and executes communication structures (staff meetings, knowledge management, etc) for team to ensure information is disseminated appropriately and timely for team cohesion
  • Promotes and ensures a professional and respectful workplace environment for staff throughout the region
  • Contributes to the development of messaging across the organization to promote NDI’s mission, technical expertise and programmatic achievements, as well as engaging with peers and executive leadership in ongoing assessment of risks, challenges and opportunities


Please note that this job posting is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change based on organization needs.


  • Graduate degree, preferably in International Development or related field or relevant experience; Additional years of relevant work experience may be substituted for educational requirement
  • A minimum of twenty-two (22) years of relevant experience with a progressive leadership career trajectory preferably in an NGO or related environment required
  • Experience in the Southern and East Africa region, working with civic organizations, legislatures, executive branch institutions and political parties, particularly in the area of grassroots organizing, institutional development, civic education and governance
  • Requires an experienced management professional who possesses the necessary leadership skills to lead, inspire and motivate staff
  • Exceptional competency and knowledge of substantive areas of NDI programming such as election monitoring, political party strengthening, civic engagement and legislative strengthening
  • Highly developed knowledge of the region’s various political, social and economic environments
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and cultural sensitivity to effectively interact and negotiate with all levels of staff, US and foreign government personnel, program partners, members of donor organizations, donors, and policy makers
  • Superior written and oral communications skills to present information to and respond to questions from various entities
  • Ability to articulate NDI’s institutional interests in informed and persuasive manner to external constituency and colleagues
  • Exceptional analytical skills for interpreting complex program and political issues
  • Created network of significant contacts and political leaders acquired through years of experience
  • Capacity to develop and implement effective strategies and tactics for accomplishing assigned duties
  • Exceptional ability to analyze political work (multiple issues) and develop project-specific recommendations
  • Working knowledge of PC-based word processing and spreadsheet applications
  • Seasoned budgeting and accounting skills and knowledge of grant funding procedures
  • Knowledge of USG funding policies and regulations
  • Ability to travel frequently to regional locations which are often remote and difficult to reach

Application instructions

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