Job vacancy: Head of Programmes, Rift Valley Institute

The Rift Valley Institute (RVI) seeks an experienced, dynamic and dedicated regional Head of Programmes to work with its Executive Director in the management and growth of the Institute. This is a new, full-time position, based in Nairobi, involving travel between Nairobi and RVI’s offices in eastern Africa and with occasional travel to the UK. The Head of Programmes will lead and support the team managing RVI’s growing portfolio of research, education and public information programmes. Minimum qualifications include over six years programme and organizational management experience. A commitment to the Institute’s aim of bringing local knowledge to bear on policy is essential and research experience is highly desirable. A Masters-level qualification or equivalent experience in a relevant subject is required. The application deadline for this post is 13 June 2018.



  • Title of Position Head of Programmes
  • Location Nairobi, with travel to RVI offices in Juba, Hargeysa and London
  • Salary Competitive salary, based on RVI salary scale and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
  • Benefits 28 days annual paid leave, travel insurance, pension plan, medical insurance, training allowance.
  • Employment type Permanent contract, five days per week
  • Reporting Arrangements Reports to RVI Executive Director
  • Staff Reporting Programme Managers
  • Start Date August 2018 (negotiable)

How to apply
Please apply online by filling out the application form below and upload the specified documents: your CV, including the names and contacts of two referees; and a letter, no longer than two pages, explaining why you are interested in the position and how your experience qualifies you for it. The deadline for applications is 13 June 2018. Only applicants invited for interview will be contacted. For further information write to

Qualifications and Skills

Essential knowledge and interests

Proven interest and competency in at least three of the following themes:

  • Education and training
  • Social research and evidence based policy
  • Gender and social inclusion
  • Conflict analysis
  • Knowledge management

Essential qualifications and skills

  • University qualification at Masters level in a relevant subject.
  • Minimum of six years’ relevant programme and organizational management experience in the development sector or relevant field.
  • Fluent spoken and written English.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong analytical skills and proven capacity to develop and implement strategic plans.
  • Experience of conducting and managing research.
  • Experience of working in the international NGO Sector.
  • Proven operational and project management experience.
  • Experience of developing and managing organizational budgets.
  • A team player with proven management and leadership experience, and excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Proven experience of developing and implementing monitoring and evaluation systems.
  • Able to travel.

Desirable experience and skills

  • Knowledge and working experience in one or more countries where RVI works.
  • Spoken and written French and/ or one or more language of eastern Africa.
  • Experience of working with donors and proven success in fundraising.
  • Knowledge and practical experience of designing and implementing research.
  • Good presentational and facilitation skills.
  • Human resources management.

Description of Duties…

The Head of Programmes is a senior position within the Institute, is a member of the senior management team and participates in decisions that support the development of the Institute. The Head of Programmes has management oversight responsibility for RVI’s programmes. Working closely with the Executive Director of the RVI and other members of the senior management team, the Head of Programmes will be responsible for coordinating the strategic development and implementation of programmes across the RVI’s operational areas in the Horn of Africa, the Sudans and Great Lakes sub-regions, building on and deepening the Institute’s track-record in research, education and public information. The responsibilities of the post include developing and maintaining relations with partner organisations and funders. The Head of Programmes will be expected to play a leading role in the development of a long-term strategic plan for the Institute. They will spend at least 30 per cent of their time travelling within the region. They will deputize for the Executive Director when required.

Key Responsibilities

Programme Oversight, Development, and Coordination

  • Supervise and support the management of existing RVI programmes in Africa, developing working practices and tools for effective project management and implementation.
  • Coordinate and support exchanges and synergies between programmes.
  • Provide strategic leadership, and support RVI staff in the design and development of new projects and proposals.
  • Support the development of relations with project partners and collaborations with other like-minded regional and international organizations.
  • Develop and maintain systems for monitoring the quality and impact of RVI’s work, including standards of research.
  • Ensure documentation of projects, including narrative reports, budgets and lessons learnt reports, and promote best practice in these areas within the Institute.
  • Maintain oversight of programme budgets, monitoring income and expenditure and ensuring that financial reporting complies with RVI’s procedures and policies and the requirements of funders.
  • Participate in projects as a researcher or project manager where your services are specified in the proposal or are otherwise appropriate.
  • Support and advise the RVI education team in the design and implementation of existing training courses and the development of new ones.
  • Advise and assist in the peer-review, author management, editing and preparation of RVI publications.

Strategic Development

  • Work with the Executive Director to advance the development and operationalization of the Institute’s strategy, in consultation with colleagues, Trustees and Fellows.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of RVI’s annual work plan, together with programme managers and other staff.

Partnerships, Collaborations and Networking

  • Cultivate and expand RVI’s network of international consultants and regional specialists, and collaborating institutions, including regional and local NGOs and educational and research organizations.
  • Represent RVI in external engagements with government and civil society actors.

Personnel Management and Development 

  • Line manage RVI Programme Managers.
  • Work with staff to identify organizational staffing needs.
  • Support the professional development of staff through structured trainings.
  • Assist in the recruitment, hiring and supervision of staff and consultants.
  • When required, prepare and approve job descriptions of programme personnel.
  • Deputize for the Executive Director as required.

Fundraising and Communications

  • Support the expansion and diversification of RVI’s funding sources.
  • Work with Programme Managers to identify new projects and funding opportunities, and prepare funding bids and proposals that fall within the aims of the Institute and support the long-term development of RVI’s programmes.
  • Negotiate and conclude funding agreements with funders.
  • Monitor the implementation of programmes, and develop tools and systems to do this.
  • Ensure compliance with donor contract requirements, and RVI’s own internal policies and procedures.
  • Represent RVI in discussions with funders, international organizations and officials from governments of the countries in the region, and at seminars and conferences.
  • Publicize RVI and raise its profile in the region through participation in public events, official functions and media appearances.

Knowledge Management

  • Maintain an on-going analysis of political, social and economic developments in the regions and countries where RVI works, ensuring that RVI’s programmes, operations and strategies are informed by this analysis.
  • Ensure reporting on RVI programmes is completed on schedule and is of expected quality.
  • Oversee preparation of monthly narrative and financial reports for RVI internal circulation.
  • Chair weekly meetings of Nairobi-based RVI staff according to an established schedule, and bi-monthly meetings with programme managers.
  • Assist in the collection and addition of new contacts to the RVI contact database and updating of existing contacts.
  • Maintain contact and calendar data in Daylite or other database software used by RVI; file documents appropriately in RVI Dropbox or other RVI online storage systems.
  • Assist in the creation, testing, revision and updating of manuals, templates and guidelines related to the areas of responsibility outlined in this job description.


  • Ensure that RVI’s programme of work is delivered in a safe and secure manner.
  • Monitor the security situation in countries where RVI works.
  • Develop and update RVI security protocols in consultation with staff and the Executive Director.
  • Ensure adherence to security protocols and procedures for programmes in Africa.


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