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Head of Programme

Accra (Ghana)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Accra (Ghana)
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-22

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Background information - AFR

Africa Region

Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Africa Region supports UNOPS country offices in the region, providing financial oversight of projects, procuring goods and services and managing human resources.

AFR helps ensure that projects are executed to the highest standards, providing a shared knowledge base and ensuring that best practices and lessons learned are disseminated between projects across the entire region.

Background Information - Job-specific

Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO)

UNOPS Ghana Multi Country Office  (GHMCO), located in Accra, spans across West Africa, covering Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. 

GHMCO  is responsible for managing strategic and operational risks associated with a subset of the regional portfolio of engagements, developing and delivering cost effective services contributing to partners' sustainable results and achievements of UN OPS management results. 

The core functions of the Operational Hub are to: 

  • Liaise and develop engagements, and deliver services responding to partner needs. 

  • Leverage advice and integrate delivery modalities of the three Delivery Practices and the

  • Global Partner Service Office. 

  • Maintain appropriate arrangements and capacity for direct transactional support for delivery of the sub-regional portfolio. 

 Job Specific

GHMCO has a diverse portfolio covering infrastructure, urban plan development, project management, procurement and futuristic studies. Opened in 2015, GHMCO is one of the newest Multi-Country offices in UNOPS with a vision and drive to deliver top quality results to its partners with a sharp focus on operational excellence. 

GHMCO is looking for a Head of Programme that is adventurous and welcomes a challenge to support the GHMCO portfolio development. GHMCO is known for operational excellence and the HoP leads this process within the Programme/Project management teams by modeling and hands on coaching and mentoring of members of this business unit. The Head of Programme reports directly to the Ghana Multi Country Office Director who provides direction and general supervision.  
The Head of Programme is responsible for programme planning and preparation and for managing all stages of programming to achieve results in the area/s of responsibility.  The  HoP is a leadership role which contributes to the development and implementation of strategies to enhance the competencies and position of UNOPS in sustainable project management and services to partners, stakeholders and UN system partners.

Functional Responsibilities

Summary of key results:

  1. Programme governance, implementation and monitoring

  2. Programme development and planning

  3. Manage programme resources

  4. Partnership networking and advocacy 

  5. Knowledge management and innovation

1. Programme governance, implementation and monitoring
  • Accept responsibility for project portfolio oversight as delegated by the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) Director and through the role of Project Executive on Project Boards.

  • In collaboration with other business units, develop the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) multi year business plan in line with the AFR and UNOPS corporate plan and lead the implementation of the programme component 

  • Establish and execute the programme implementation plans in collaboration with the team and partners, including setting objectives, performance measurements, standards and results expected to ensure timely delivery and client-oriented services. 

  • Monitor and supervise the timely and cost-effective implementation of the programme according to UNOPS goals and partner expectations, agreed quality standards, approved budget and full cost recovery, and in line with signed Legal Agreements 

  • Supervise the Programme Management Office (PMO) and its set up, to ensure that project management governance, policies, processes and methods are complied with and practiced according to the UNOPS standards, best project management practices are promoted, and overall assurance of projects is provided.

  • Ensure proactive programme and project risk identification and assessment and implementation of adequate mitigation measures.  

  • Mentor and assist Project Managers in planning, execution and delivery of allocated projects, ensuring incorporation of best practice project management processes,and participating in the monitoring and evaluation of their projects. 

  • Facilitate timely and accurate project tracking, analysis of outputs, and reporting.

2. Programme development and planning
  • Support the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) Director in ensuring the financial sustainability of the programme and delivery of desired results, compliance with organisational strategies, rules, regulations and standards of performance.

  • Submit mandated reports and critical issues to the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) Director and clients, to drive future process improvement and business development planning.

  • Analyse and keep abreast of political and development trends in the geographical area, to identify and propose to the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) Director areas for UNOPS engagement and support based on priorities in the relevant geography, strategic areas of focus and comparative advantage.

  • Manage and oversee the preparation of programme documents (including business cases/strategies, policy briefs, programme plans and risk assessments).

  • Ensure the accurate and timely completion of programme/business recommendations for the review and approval of the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) Director.

  • Consult and collaborate with internal and external colleagues and partners to ensure linkages, consistency, and harmonisation of approaches and compliance with guidelines, framework and standards of accountability, integrity and performance.

  • Act as the Gender Focal Point for the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO)  to assume accountability for the Gender Mainstreaming in the Country Office/Multi Country Office, including Gender Mainstreaming Action Plan being actioned and timely implemented, as well as ensuring that the office has required gender mainstreaming capacity and knowledge, and that gender is mainstreamed into relevant projects, programs, and processes.

3. Manage programme resources

  • Plan and propose to the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) Director, required programme resources (human and financial).

  • Compile from the Project Managers, monitor and submit revenue and expenditure forecasts based on UNOPS and Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) financial goals.

  • Determine pricing strategies based on UNOPS pricing policy and models to ensure an appropriate balance between revenue and development capacity within UN mandate and spirit.

  • Manage programme resources in accordance with UNOPS standards of ethics, integrity and accountability framework and financial sustainability. 

  • Plan, recruit, manage and develop programme personnel/technical experts with the skills and competencies needed to ensure optimum performance and encourage the formation of diverse teams.

  • Promote teamwork, collaboration and diversity by providing the programme team with clear direction, objectives and guidance to enable them to perform their duties responsibly, effectively and efficiently and also to facilitate collaboration with other business units. 

  • Foster a positive work environment, respectful of both men and women, and ensure that the highest standards of conduct are observed.

  • Plan, conduct and/or respond to UNOPS performance evaluation reviews and surveys.  

4. Partnership, networking and advocacy

  • Build and strengthen strategic partnerships through active networking, advocacy and effective communication of UNOPS competencies in project service delivery and management.

  • Support the business development function by identifying and developing new business and partnership/customer opportunities. 

  • Work closely with the partnership unit to ensure and facilitate the capture of lessons learnt from programme and project implementation into new opportunities and engagement development, as well as the adequate identification of risks and mitigation measures.

  • Contribute to current and future growth plans for the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) ,ensuring alignment with the UNOPS Strategic Plan.

  • Support Communication Specialists to develop communication strategies to maximise communication impact and outreach and build awareness of UNOPS goals and competencies to reinforce UNOPS competitive edge as a provider of sustainable projects results.

  • At the request of the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) Director participate and/or represent the Ghana Multi Country Office (GHMCO) in inter-agency discussions and planning to ensure UNOPS position, interests and priorities are fully considered.  

5. Knowledge management and innovation

  • Keep abreast of and incorporate best practices, approaches and technology to enhance the programme delivery and results. 

  • Operationalise and share best practices and lessons learned for corporate development planning and knowledge building.

  • Draft policy papers and/or recommend policy changes to align operations with changing environments.

  • Lead the planning, implementation and organization of strategic capacity building of personnel, clients and stakeholders within the programme.

Impact of Results

The effective and successful performance by the Head of Programme directly impacts on achievement of programme results and consequently reinforces the visibility and image of the UNOPS as an effective service provider in project services and management and strengthens its competitive position as a partner of choice in sustainable development and project services.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

A. Education 
  • A Master’s degree in engineering, project management, public administration, social science or other relevant related field is required.
  • A combination of a Bachelor's degree with an additional 2 years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of the education requirements outlined above
B. Work Experience
  • A minimum of 7 years of experience managing engineering or procurement projects or that combines strategic and managerial leadership in social development, business development, executive management and/or programme management planning and operations in an international environment.

  • Some experience in UN system organizations preferably in a developing country is desirable.

C. Language 
  • Full working knowledge of English is essential. . 
  • Fluency in one or more additional official UNOPS languages is an advantage
D. Certification 
  • PRINCE2® Foundation/Practitioner an asset, but required completion within the first 6 months of onboarding.
  • Programme/Project Management Professional (MSP® or PMI-PgMP/PMI-PMP) an asset


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.
Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Contract type, level and duration

  • Contract type: International Individual Contractor Agreement (IICA)
  • Contract level: I-ICA 3 / ICS 11
  • Contract duration: Ongoing ICA – ‘Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.
NB: Ongoing ICA – ‘Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.’

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • Accra is a Family Duty Station
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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