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Project Director - STAR Project, Afghanistan

Kabul

  • Organization: CRS - Catholic Relief Services
  • Location: Kabul
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Translations and Languages
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed

About CRS

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS works to save, protect, and transform lives in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.

Background:

CRS began working with local partners in Afghanistan in 1998 and launched its own direct operations in 2002. CRS is currently implementing programs in the provinces of Bamiyan, Daykundi, Ghor, Herat, and Kabul. CRS currently maintains five (5) main offices in the country in Kabul, Bamiyan, Ghor, Daykundi, and Herat, as well as sub-offices that support the direct implementation of program activities. CRS’ main program areas in Afghanistan are education, emergency response, agriculture, and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH).

Supporting Transformation for Afghanistan’s Recovery (STAR) Consortium project:

STAR is a high-profile, multi-sectoral project implemented by a consortium of 6 INGOs led by CRS which aims to build the resilience of households in some of the poorest and most conflict-affected districts across Afghanistan. The initial, $20 million phase of the project took place from February 2021 – September 2023 and reached 110,323 direct participants (52% M, 48% F) and 605,392 indirect project participants across 324 communities in 9 provinces. The project team strengthened the food and livelihood security of community members through resilience-focused agricultural and livestock support, business training and value-chain activities, and skill-building and linkages to markets. The project also supported to improved access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene and helped improve child protection networks and well-being of children and youth.

CRS is preparing for an extension of the project that will focus on strengthening the resilience and capacities of civilian victims of conflict through livelihoods interventions. Through this $8.3 million, 15-month cost extension, STAR will finish up WASH activities and support an estimated 7500 new individuals across approx. 3 provinces to increase income, restore livelihoods and enhance resilience. The extension will build upon successes and learning from the first phase of the project. The program strategy will be informed by an in-depth conflict-sensitive livelihoods assessment and refined through a co-design process with USAID and other stakeholders. Additionally, the extension will have a strong focus on gender and protection considerations as well as local leadership and coordination with existing local actors, organizations, and groups.

Job Summary:

The STAR Project Director will provide overall leadership, management, and technical oversight to this complex consortium project. The Project Director will look for ways to advance local leadership and catalyze outcomes at scale in the way the consortium is structured and planning for results. The Project Director will ensure that the management structure of STAR streamlines technical and operational oversight, supports local capacity building, and strengthens coordination and communication to enable quality program implementation and good stewardship of resources.

Your management skills and knowledge will ensure that the CRS and STAR implementing partners deliver high-quality programming and continuously works towards improving the impact of its resilience and recovery programming.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Roles and Key Responsibilities:

  • Provide management, guidance, and technical oversight of the USAID-funded STAR project throughout the project cycle to ensure project design, start-up, implementation, and close-out are in line with CRS quality principles and standards, donor guidelines, and industry best practices. Serve as the primary point of contact to USAID and consortium partners, as well as public, private, and non-government stakeholders.
  • Effectively manage talent and lead the STAR project team consisting of staff from multiple organizations. Manage team dynamics and staff well-being. Provide coaching, strategically tailor individual development plans, and complete performance management for direct reports.
  • Oversee the design and implementation of a conflict-sensitive livelihoods assessment and lead a co-creation process with USAID, STAR implementing partners and other stakeholders to develop program implementation strategy based on findings.
  • Coordinate with the MEAL team to oversee the design and implementation of the MEAL system for the entire consortium, using appropriate forms, procedures, and tools for data collection and analysis as the basis for measuring, documenting, and reporting outcomes. Coordinate with USAID’s Third Party Monitoring (TPM) organization on the preparation and implementation of TPM visits to program activities; respond to any findings that emerge from these visits.
  • Lead collaboration, learning and adaptation for the STAR consortium - identify opportunities for learning, reflection, and adaptive management, ensuring integration of innovations and best practices. Coordinate any thematic working groups and learning initiatives for the consortium.
  • Coordinate relationships with consortium partner organizations, including organization of review/planning workshops. Contribute to coordination of roles and activities of staff from consortium member organizations in line with CRS partnership principles.
  • Oversee technical assistance and capacity strengthening activities for the STAR Consortium, especially for the area of livelihoods for staff and partner organizations to enhance program quality and impact.
  • Ensure timely and appropriate project expenditures in line with financial plans and efficient use and stewardship of project material sources. Ensure compliance with the USAID cooperative agreement, including financial tracking and oversight of partner budgets, finance, administration, and reporting to USAID.
  • Oversee the timely preparation of high-quality donor reports, quarterly performance indicator tracking tables, baseline and final evaluation reports, as well as other reports as needed/required by the local government, donors, the region or headquarters.
  • Oversee the development of communication strategies and materials, complying with donor and CRS’ branding and marketing requirements and procedures.
  • Coordinate with consortium partners and CRS Afghanistan’s management team to manage risk associated with the project, including but not limited to, security, financial, compliance, and organizations risks – particularly associated with a shift toward local leadership.
  • Coordinate with other ongoing projects of CRS and other INGO consortium partners to ensure consistency and avoid duplication.

QUALIFICATIONS

Required Languages – Very strong oral and written English language skills. Knowledge of Dari/Pashto a plus.

Travel – Position is based in Kabul but must be willing and able to travel to Herat and Ghor provinces where CRS implements STAR activities, and potentially to other provinces where consortium partners will implement activities, with up to 25% within Afghanistan.

Supervisory Responsibilities: TBC based on revised management structure of the consortium. Likely direct reports will include the consortium MEAL Manager, Finance Officer, and Technical Advisors.

Key Working Relationships:

Internal Country Representative, Head of Programs, Heads of Office, Head of Operations, Technical Advisers, Deputy Regional Director for Program Quality (DRD/PQ), Deputy Regional Director for Operations (DRD/Ops), and Finance Managers.

External Consortium INGOs, donor representatives, government representatives (national, provincial and district levels); other stakeholders.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Experience engaging with partner organizations and managing consortiums.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, with ability to make sound judgment and decisions and offer innovative solutions.
  • Strong ability to forecast risk and develop and implement sound mitigation measures.
  • Strong relations management abilities. Ability to relate to people at all levels internally and externally. Strategic in how you approach each relationship.
  • Good presentation and facilitation skills
  • Proactive, resourceful, solutions-oriented and results-oriented
  • Proven experience in building and maintaining institutional linkages
  • Ability to work systematically to meet deadlines in multiple tasking environments
  • MEAL skills and experience required
  • Excellent report writing skills

Preferred Qualifications

  • Good experience in project grants management, including project design, preferably for grants from multiple public donors, including USAID.
  • Demonstrated ability to write high quality technical proposals.
  • Staff management experience and abilities that are conducive to a learning environment.
  • Experience using MS Windows and MS Office packages (Excel, Word, PowerPoint), Web Conferencing Applications, information management systems.
  • Familiarity with and commitment to addressing gender equality
  • Experience working in Afghanistan or similar context preferred

Basic Qualifications

  • Master's Degree in International Development, International Relations or in the fields of Agriculture, Business Administration or related field required. Additional experience may substitute for some education.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in relevant field-based project management experience required, with preferably at least 2-3 years working in the area of Agriculture, WASH, protection or similar programming,
  • Experience in managing moderately complex projects preferably with an international NGO.

Agency REDI Competencies (for all CRS Staff):

Agency competencies clarify expected behaviors and attitudes for all staff. When demonstrated, they create an engaging workplace, help staff achieve their best, and help CRS achieve agency goals. These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfil his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.

  • Personal Accountability – Consistently takes responsibility for one’s own actions.
  • Acts with Integrity - Consistently models values aligned with CRS Guiding Principles and mission. Is considered honest.
  • Builds and Maintains Trust - Shows consistency between words and actions.
  • Collaborates with Others – Works effectively in intercultural and diverse teams.
  • Open to Learn – Seeks out experiences that may change perspective or provide an opportunity to learn new things.

Agency Leadership Competencies:

  • Lead Change – Continually looks for ways to improve the agency through a culture of agility, openness, and innovation.
  • Develops and Recognizes Others – Builds the capacity of staff to reach their full potential and enhance team and agency performance.
  • Strategic Mindset – Understands role in translating, communicating, and implementing agency strategy and team priorities.

***Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. We welcome as a part of our staff people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.

Disclaimer: This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.

Note: All positions requiring residence or frequent travel outside their home country must undergo and clear a pre-employment medical examination.

ABOUT US

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS works to save, protect, and transform lives in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.

ABOUT THE TEAM

CRS' talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to safeguarding the rights and dignity of all people - especially children and vulnerable adults - to live free from abuse and harm.

CRS welcomes candidates from the countries and regions in which we work. In the event the successful candidate is an expatriate or global telecommuter, the anticipated duration of the assignment is informed by a term limit, based on the type and level of the job and the needs of the agency.

CRS is an Equal Opportunity Employer

To apply please click here.

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