The IRC started operations in Cameroon in 2016 to respond to the increasing concerns for people affected by violence linked to Boko Haram, in the Far North of the country. Assistance to displaced populations extends across the Far North, notably Mayo Sava, Mayo Tsanaga and Logone & Chari departments, delivering lifesaving programming to increase access to water and improving hygiene practices in vulnerable displaced and host communities, cash programming to enable poor families to meet basic needs and improve food security, education programming and protection programming, with a priory focus on the needs of women and girls. Following the increasing crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon, the IRC expanded its operations into the South West region in August 2018, and North West in December 2019, delivering lifesaving humanitarian assistance to internally displaced populations. The IRC’s field offices are located in Maroua and Kousseri in the Far North, Buea in the South West, Bamenda in the North West, and a representation office in Yaoundé.
Scope of work
The Country Director will provide the strategic vision and leadership for the country program with the primary focus on ensuring IRC Cameroon’s programs meet the expressed needs of the beneficiaries we serve. S/he is responsible for ensuring the delivery of quality programs, maintaining/expanding donor and government relations, fundraising and budget management, security and operations management, and developing a motivated and professional team.
Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary leadership abilities who deploys strong communications and interpersonal skills effectively, both internally and externally. The successful candidate will enjoy developing networks to build partnerships and diversify program resources. Given the operating environment, the Country Director is expected to be attentive to risk management. S/he will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the country program; providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior managers; leading country program teams to identify, design and deliver responsive, high-quality programs; ensuring efficient management of public grants and private funds for results, compliance and focused, timely reporting; and oversight of financial management and compliance systems.
Reporting to the Regional Vice President, this position receives support from regional and headquarters staff in the areas of program quality, new business development, safety and security management, finance, operations management, and external affairs. The Country Director is additionally expected to actively participate in defining the IRC’s public advocacy positions.
1. Leadership and Representation
•Lead the country program by maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit and providing guidance, oversight and resources to enable staff to perform successfully.
•Develop and carry out strategies that result in strong representation with: Cameroon Government authorities at various levels; donors (including institutional, non-institutional and private), European Union; UN and other international organizations; international and local NGOs; and networks such as INGO coordination mechanisms and appropriate working groups.
•Ensure that the IRC becomes a partner of choice for major international donors.
•Develop and maintain a high level of understanding of donor priorities and planned funding.
•Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial, and authentic partnerships with Cameroonian organizations.
•Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of the IRC and its partners in Cameroon, as well as the lives and the needs of the people the IRC seeks to serve.
2. Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth
•Set the strategic vision and direction of the country program to serve more people with the most responsive and highest quality programming possible, and secure the resources necessary to do so.
•Align programming to the country program strategy, sectoral expertise and technical standards.
•Ensure program quality through consistent use throughout the country program of: rigorous assessment, design, and proposal development and review processes; comprehensive monitoring and evaluation, accountability and learning systems; staff development investments; and partner organization capacity strengthening.
•Remain current on national and regional issues impacting the country program and partners, and develop responsive strategies to ensure the IRC mission can be carried out appropriately in case of contextual changes.
•Ensure country program alignment with and involvement in meeting regional objectives.
•Identify opportunities for appropriate expansion and growth of programs, supported by the acquisition and investment of human resources.
•Ensure timely submission of competitive, responsive, and high-quality proposals, and lead negotiations with donors and build links with Cameroon Ministries.
3. Safety and Security Management
•Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program.
•Oversee the management of all security issues, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.
•Create and maintain a culture of safety and security throughout the country program, including trainings and briefings that prepare all country program staff for security incident prevention and response.
•Keep security, evacuation and contingency plans current and accessible to country program staff.
•Maintain close coordination and communication with the Regional Safety & Security Advisor on security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.
4. Staff Performance Management and Development
•Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.
•Provide constructive feedback and counsel on appropriate career paths and professional development for IRC staff.
•Oversee the management, coaching and development of all staff to build a cadre of skilled, committed and motivated personnel.
•Pursue nationalization of senior management positions.
•Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of both national and international staff.
•Offer leadership support for successful adherence by all staff to IRC’s Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.
•Work with regional HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies.
•Undertake regular reviews of labor and salary markets in Cameroon for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of the IRC’s overall compensation package for team members.
5. Stewardship and Operational Management
•Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.
•Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to comply with IRC and donor requirements.
•Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, especially in the areas of HR, finance and supply chain.
•Provide timely and effective oversight of the Cameroon country program’s financial position.
•Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds.
•Seek opportunities to introduce efficiencies and eliminate redundancies in existing business processes.
•Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Cameroon country program.
•Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations.
•Maintain open communications with regional management staff, regional technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.
•Graduate degree in a relevant field.
•At least seven years of progressively responsible international work experience, including at least three years in a leadership role at the Country Director level of multi-site, multi-sectoral operations in a complex operating environment
•Experience of building personal networks at a senior level, resulting in securing new opportunities for the organization
•Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with a multi-disciplinary team in a cross-cultural setting, including active mentoring and coaching
•Proven experience delivering appropriate levels oversight of a portfolio consisting of a variety of complex, high-value donor-funded projects
•Extensive representation and fundraising success, including prior experience with European, US and international development donors
•Experience of managing security in a fluid environment
•Proven ability to negotiate and work with partner organizations. Experience with organizational capacity strengthening and partnership building helpful
•Strong budget and fiscal oversight capacities
•Established capacity to deal with ambiguity in stressful situations
•French and English fluency
•Ability to respond to multiple priorities in a timely manner, producing high-quality outcomes
•Previous experience working in Cameroon or in the West Africa region preferred
This position is based in Yaounde and is fully accompanied with an estimated 33% of the Country Director’s time spent in other locations in Cameroon and the region.
The IRC and IRC staff must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti-Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.
IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability.