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Country Director Malawi


  • Organization: JRS - Jesuit Refugee Service
  • Location: Lilongwe
  • Grade: Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Refugee rights and well-being
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2022-08-28


Organizational Context


The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is ministry of the Society of Jesus, incorporated as an international non-governmental organisation with a mission to accompany, serve, and advocate for the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. The organisation was founded in November 1980 and now has a presence in over 57 countries. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support and guidance of an international office (IO) in Rome. The style of JRS service is human and spiritual, working in situations of greatest need, seeking the long-term well-being of refugees and displaced people while not neglecting their immediate or urgent needs.

The main services provided are in the field of education, emergency assistance, and psychosocial support and livelihood activities. Currently, almost 1 million individuals are direct beneficiaries of JRS projects.

Operational Context/ Role

Under the supervision of the Regional Director, the Country Director is responsible for all JRS activities in the country.

The Country Director will guarantee the efficient and effective management of the JRS Malawi Country Office while respecting and implementing JRS processes and guidelines. S/He will provide the strategic vision and leadership for the Malawi country programmes and will be responsible for ensuring the design and delivery of quality programmes, donor and government relations, fundraising and budget management, security and operations management, and developing a motivated and professional team. The Country Director will work in close collaboration with the International Office (IO) departments.

Key Responsibilities

In collaboration with the Regional Director:



  • Establishes and remains faithful to a shared vision for the organization’s activities in Malawi
  • Cultivates positive working relationships and environments
  • Ensures staff motivation through mutual respect, professional development opportunities and inclusion in project planning
  • Ensures appropriate levels of communication with staff at all levels
  • Ensures that staff can properly represent the organization by equipping them with knowledge about JRS’ vision, mission and the region’s strategic plan


  • Cultivates positive working relationships and develops partnerships with UNHCR and other UN agencies, other NGOs and the Malawi government etc. for better coordination at programmatic level
  • Cultivates positive and collaborative relations with bilateral and multilateral donors, the Catholic Church and other main stakeholders to ensure the financial stability of the Country Office
  • Ensures positive perceptions of JRS’ presence in Malawi

Strategic planning:

  • Leads development and update/amendment of country 3-year plans in full accordance with Humanitarian Guidelines in the country, JRS Strategic Framework and Programmatic policies and procedures
  • Monitoring of projects through regular visits to field
  • Ensure the strategic vision and direction of the country program is aligned with JRS’ Global strategy, and secure the resources necessary for realization
  • Ensure strategic collaboration with all stakeholders including beneficiaries, UNHCR, other NGOs and donors
  • Maintains strategic supervision on needs of people served, opening/closing and scaling up/down projects accordingly

Staff management:

  • Oversee the management, coaching and development of national and international staff to build a team of skilled, committed, and motivated staff
  • Coach, train, supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and constructive performance feedback
  • Ensures that human resources needs are fully identified, assessed, described and communicated
  • When required, recruits key positions with the assistance of the Country HR Officer and the HR Department of the International Office
  • Ensures JRS Malawi adherence to and operational practice of JRS global policies, including, but not limited to, the code of conduct, gender policy, and the child safeguarding policy.
  • Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices ensuring that staff have adequate rest, relaxation and that wellbeing is addressed. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of both national and international staff
  • Ensures that Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan and Security Guidelines are regularly updated and implemented in all field locations 
  • Ensures that HR issues are tackled and taken in serious consideration

Financial Supervision:

  • Proposes a balanced yearly budget to the Regional Director and ensures a timely monitoring of resources and expenses according to related control mechanisms
  • Ensures high-quality, efficient, and transparent planning, utilization and reporting of financial tools made available for JRS Malawi programs
  • Provides support for yearly accounting audits, for quarterly revision and yearly accounting audits
  • Ensures procurement policy is in place and followed
  • Actively monitors and reports on business risk profiles, ensuring alignment with Finance and Logistics policies, processes, and procedures

Raising funds sourced in-country

  • Seeks and exploits funding opportunities at country level to balance budgets and expand project operations
  • In coordination with the Regional Director and the Director of Programmes and Innovation and Director of Communications and Development in the International Office, engages in fundraising activities for projects in Malawi

Advocating for people served and Communication

  • Ensures appropriate degree of information-sharing at all levels
  • Maintains positive working relationships with all JRS partners and humanitarian actors, and particularly with the Catholic Church and the Jesuit provinces
  • Advocates for people served with international organizations, national/local authorities
  • Ensures public awareness of JRS’s contributions to their communities

Project-Related activities

The JRS Malawi Country Director is responsible for

·   Coordinating all the Malawi Programmes and providing strategic direction

  • Leading the Malawi’s team and ensuring responsive and high-quality performance of staff
  • In close collaboration with the Country team, frequently traveling to the Projects to evaluate and assess the Programmes

Qualifications and Experience

An advanced, accredited university degree in Management, Political Sciences, Law, International Development, or another related discipline. An undergraduate degree with strong relevant field experience will be considered in lieu of an advanced degree

Minimum of seven (7) years’ experience of increasing responsibilities in human service organizations, ideally in humanitarian or development organizations with a strong human rights and/or faith background.  Experience in project development and management, work with refugees, and/or advocacy with forcibly displaced people is a particular advantage

Minimum 4 years’ experience in leadership roles. Employment or collaboration with the Catholic Church (parish, diocesan, or bishops’ conference level) in a leadership role is an additional asset 

Demonstrated experience of and sensitivity to gender responsive programming within a refugee context

Demonstrated evidence of leadership in a professional setting/humanitarian response with the ability to think strategically, motivate others, create new projects, solve problems and be part of a multi-cultural and multi-faith team

Proven performance in organizational management, and general office coordination

Proven performance in budget management and ideally, knowledge of financial systems and management.  JRS uses Microsoft Navision as its financial and budgeting system.

Demonstrated ability to fundraise

Demonstrated evidence of an entrepreneurial spirit

A proven ability to capture impact and learning from operations and feed it into new Programmes

Knowledge of and/or familiarity with key concepts and current trends in forced migration and challenges faced by forcibly displaced people

Demonstrated experience of and sensitivity to gender responsive programming in a refugee, social empowerment or social service context

Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to listen, effectively communicate, negotiate and work creatively with stakeholders of varying backgrounds:  beneficiaries, government representatives, church leaders and refugee groups among them


Excellent proficiency in written and verbal English; a working knowledge of French and or Swahili is desirable

Required Skills and Competencies

Very good pastoral sense and listening abilities and communication/inter-personal skills

Excellent communication and presentation capacities, able to persuasively articulate JRS’s message and impact to external audiences

Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a multi-cultural, international, high-energy professional environment

Demonstrated experience and commitment to working with marginalized communities.

Strong analytical, strategic-thinking and planning capabilities

Ability to innovate in a changing environment and promote creativity within the organization

Understanding of and commitment to humanitarian relief work and international humanitarian standards

Advanced computer proficiencies in MS Office packages

Familiarity with the Jesuit network is an asset

Willingness to work and travel to refugee settings in challenging environments

Core Values and Ethics

Commitment to JRS’s mission, vision and values; ability to convey with enthusiasm JRS’s role in accompanying and serving forcibly displaced people and to advocate for their right to protection and a life in dignity

High integrity, honesty and confidentiality; ability to deal tactfully and discreetly with people, situations and information

Acceptance of diversity and inclusion as a core value


The position requires regular travel to JRS locations

Terms and Conditions

Contract is for two (2) years with an initial probationary period of 3 months and possible extension based on funds availability and performance. The JRS remuneration policy is aligned with the JRS ethos to offer effective and professional services and at the same time express solidarity with the people served.

How to apply

All applicants are requested to submit the following documents:

A cover letter describing the candidate’s desire and motivation to work for JRS and how her/his qualifications and experience are a good fit for this position

Curriculum Vitae (CV) in English, including three (3) professional references with contact information, phone and email address.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Thank you for your interest in joining JRS.

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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