Regional Director, Program Operations - Africa

Room to Read
  • Location
    Nairobi, Kenya
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Nov 03

Position description

Position Overview:

As part of Room to Read’s program operations team, the Regional Director of Program Operations provides leadership and management support related to the design and implementation of children’s educational programs. The Regional Director works closely with country offices in South Africa and Tanzania and project team covering activities in Uganda and Rwanda. The Regional Director will engage in overseeing all operations functions, including program planning, budgeting, project implementation and monitoring, as well as finance and accounting, human resources, compliance, and administration.

The Regional Director articulates the vision and strategy for Room to Read in the African context, communicates regional realities and perspectives to staff and leadership, consults on programs and makes decisions at an organization-wide level, and conveys the decisions at the country level.

The position reports to the Chief Program Implementation Officer (CPIO) based in San Francisco. The Regional Director supervises one Country Director in Tanzania and one in South Africa, one Regional Operations Manager, and Partnership Manager (both respectively based out of Nairobi, Kenya). Travel throughout the region approximately 30% of the time is required.

Duties & Responsibilities:

General Program Operations Support

  • Lead and manage Room to Read children’s literacy programs and projects in the Africa/Middle East Region, driving accountability for the achievement of country office goals and ensuring coordination among country programs and projects.
  • Ensure that country programs are designed and implemented in a cost-effective, outcomes-driven, and evidence-based manner that is responsive to the local context and priorities.
  • Oversee and monitor the annual budget, as well as monthly budget-to-actuals in the country offices and on projects.
  • Support program choice, finances, and budgets through analysis on regional and country-specific issues and recommend program and process improvements.
  • In collaboration with internal audit, monitor compliance with organization-wide operating policies; ensure each country office and project has adequate internal financial and program controls.
  • Oversee the management and implementation of up-to-date safety and security protocols and policies in country offices and project locations; communicate security or other critical country events between the country office and the global office.
  • Communicate with the CPIO on operational issues, Room to Read policies, and reporting key operational and programmatic issues for the region and communicate with other global office staff on important issues and events.
  • Optimize impact on program quality within and across country programs by managing relationships with all departments and employing consultative decision processes.

Strategy & Planning

  • Recommend, implement, monitor, and evaluate annual and long-term strategies for each country office in conjunction with the CPIO and country directors.
  • Scale Room to Read’s operations to deliver impact through high-quality, efficient, and effective programs that maximize outcomes.
  • Recommend and support annual financial resource allocation among and within countries in the region.
  • Communicate Room to Read’s global strategy throughout the region and ensure that it guides decision-making.
  • Facilitate and coordinate regional participation in global strategy discussions and initiatives.

Staff Management and Coordination

  • Ensure that staff members set objectives, strategies, work plans, and financial projections to accomplish goals; conduct annual performance reviews based on these objectives.
  • Implement strategies for capacity building, professional development, and performance improvement.
  • Foster an atmosphere of appreciation, teamwork, common purpose, and continuous professional growth with direct reports and matrix-managed team members.
  • Develop and facilitate cross-country learning and knowledge management to enable sharing across the organization, incorporating learnings into project design and operations management.
  • Recruit and onboard Country Directors as needed and assist Country Directors with the recruitment of key staff.
  • Provide input on human resource growth plans for the organization and support country offices with systems for recruiting, hiring, onboarding, performance management, and terminations.

Compliance And Ethics

  • Work with Country Directors, Project Managers, and Director, Legal Affairs to ensure all legal and compliance issues related to Room to Read’s international corporate and charitable registrations are reported.
  • Serve as regional support for the internal reporting of any allegations of ethics violations, including fraud and corruption, whistleblower, and procurement.
  • Ensure country offices maintain a country corruption/incident register(s) to identify key risks and document strategies to mitigate them; liaise with the global office whistleblower team in the resolution of all reported incidents.
  • Ensure that new senior country team members (e.g. Country Directors, Program Operations Directors) are aware of and understand fraud and corruption policies.
  • Assist the country management team in resolving operational issues related to compliance with Room to Read’s policies and donor regulations, mitigate the risk of fraud or corruption, and facilitate the achievement of program objectives
  • Assist program operations and finance teams with implementing standard procedures or developing and documenting enhanced procedures for high-risk program activities such as those providing a direct financial benefit to participants, requiring high-value procurement, or the distribution of gift-in-kind goods.
  • Assist with the follow-up and implementation of external or internal audit recommendations in coordination with the country management team and international finance.

Development/Fundraising and External Representation

  • Provide local knowledge and context to the fundraising team to create and implement fundraising strategies, plans, and goals.
  • In partnership with country directors and the fundraising team, seek grant funding and provide information important for major donor sourcing, cultivation, and solicitation.
  • Build strong partnerships in public, private, and non-profit sectors to meet country offices' strategic objectives.
  • Support all aspects of major donor grants including prospecting, decision-making, proposal development, grant management, and reporting.
  • Make informed recommendations for go/no-go decisions by providing insight into the pursuit of funding opportunities, project alignment with program operations strategies, capacity to successfully support the projects, and partner viability.
  • Lead local advocacy efforts and support national advocacy efforts; engage in and support community and policy outreach efforts.
  • Attend, plan, and facilitate Room to Read and Africa Regional conferences and meetings; host Board, senior staff, and donor visits.



  • Experience living and working in Africa within the last 5 years and a minimum of 7 years of professional experience in outcomes-driven and evidence-based program design, development, and implementation, preferably in children’s literacy and girl’s education.
  • Ability to conduct strategic planning across diverse functions, countries and cultures.
  • Success at leading both matrixed and hierarchal regional teams in designing and delivering educational programs and supervising staff at the country director and regional manager level.
  • Strong staff coaching and mentoring skills with a demonstrated ability to build the capacity of teams and individuals.
  • A balance of community-driven program technical skills.
  • Proven experience in developing fundraising strategies, working with major donors, building partnerships, advocacy and community outreach.
  • Skilled in creating and monitoring budgets and allocation of resources.
  • Fluency in verbal and written English.
  • Willingness and ability to travel approximately 30% of the time, occasionally on short notice.


  • Experience related to Children's literature and girls' education is preferred.
  • Master’s degree and a background in education development preferred.
  • Preference for Candidates who have previous USAID or bi-lateral donor experience.
  • Experience working in the international educational field preferred including literacy and girl’s education.
  • Knowledge of one or more African languages is preferred

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