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Country Director Job at Merlin in Kenya

Position: Country Director Country: Kenya Responsible to: Regional Manager for East Africa Location: Nairobi Contract Duration: 12 months - 24 months
Salary: £38,170 - £38920 per annum (dependant on relevant experience) inclusive of additional Cost of Living Allowance Benefits: Insurance cover, accommodation, return flights, additional flights (for contracts longer than 12 months) and annual leave entitlement of 24 days per annum rising to 30 days at the completion of 12 months of continuous employment with Merlin.
Please note that this is an unaccompanied position.
Merlin International Profile Merlin specialises in health, saving lives in times of crisis and helping to rebuild shattered health services. Each year, Merlin helps more than 15 million people in up to 20 countries.
Context and Background Merlin has been working in Kenya since 1998 and currently runs programmes in two regions of the country – the Nyanza Province in the Western Highlands and Turkana in Northern Kenya – in partnership with the Ministry of Health. In Turkana, Merlin offers essential primary health and nutrition services to the drought affected population. Merlin supports 72 outreach sites, 66 clinics, 10 health centres and 5 hospitals. Because of the area's high maternal mortality rate, Merlin also provides maternal health services to improve safe motherhood. In Nyanza province, Merlin has been supporting the Ministry of Health in the provision of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria preventative and curative services.
Main purpose of the role As the Country Director you will be responsible for the overall leadership, strategic direction and operational management of the country programme. You will also assume responsibility for the smooth running and development of Merlin programs through the development and implementation of a strategic plan, analysis of the humanitarian and transitional context, needs assessments and the appropriate responses. The post also includes responsibility for identifying and securing donor funding and an expectation to increase Merlin’s profile through representation to external actors and advocacy on behalf of the vulnerable population Merlin supports. You will be working very closely with the Country Director Somalia as well as the shared Support Unit structure.
Responsibilities Strategic planning and implementation • Ensure a full understanding of Merlin’s organisational strategy and objectives, and in that context, lead the design, implementation and management of the country strategy and project plans, engaging staff, and other stakeholders in the process. • Assess and respond as necessary to changes in the external environment ensuring these changes are reflected in the country strategy and project plans. • Ensure there is a regular, documented meeting for all key staff to discuss and plan the country programme objectives and plans
Country Programme development • Explore plans for programme expansion (activities and / or geographically) and develop the potential for further programme funding, in consultation with Merlin’s Regional Manager • Contribute to raising the profile of Merlin within country, strategically networking with government agencies, donors and other international agencies, using the media as appropriate and encouraging a broad understanding of Merlin. • Regularly assess the donor environment and opportunities for funding, and ensure concept notes are submitted when funding opportunities are identified. • Ensure effective and timely coordination of technical inputs (e.g. health, logistics, etc.) in proposal development within country programme and then at Head office level • Develop and maintain Merlin’s emergency preparedness response capacity as relevant to the geo-political and humanitarian situation • Organize and/or undertake needs assessments as necessary • Update Kenya desk at head office on programme development at regular intervals • Create and advance appropriate partnerships with MoH, INGOs, local NGOs and local partners
Operational leadership and management • Ensure that projects remain within the remit of their initial design, budget and proposal and prepare any amendments when necessary • Support field sites and specific departments in the fulfilment of their duties by providing sound technical advice on all aspects of programme management. • Overall responsibility for establishing the country programmes systems for monitoring and evaluation of projects against both their strategic plans and relevant accountability tools and ensuring these M&E systems are appropriate and operational. • Be accountable for full compliance with donor contracts including all terms and conditions and reporting requirements. Ensuring that these and Merlin procedures are adhered to at all times. • Regular review of programme management with the Kenya desk at Head office • Ensure that appropriate systems and plans are in place for dealing with emergencies, and provide leadership for staff and volunteers in emergencies • Ensure regular, documented forums / meetings for all key staff to discuss and plan progamme objectives and plans • Ensure Merlin is legally registered in the country of operation while ensuring compliance with local law including NGO law, tax, employment, Health & Safety, Insurance and any other applicable law
People leadership and management • Manage and lead the country team within a clear performance management framework, promoting a culture of high performance, continuous improvement, positive communication and teamwork. • Ensure good management practice is continued at all levels within the Country Programme. • Ensure appropriate and inclusive staffing structures are in place, while playing an active role in key recruitments to ensure these structures are adequately filled. • Interpret and apply all Merlin’s HR policies and terms and conditions consistently and effectively, and ensure that all staff are aware of and comply with these.
Administration and Logistics • Ensure that appropriate logistic and administrative structures and procedures are established and / or maintained in accordance with the Merlin guidelines • Maintain regular communications with head office using the established procedures • Ensure that reports and articles for both internal and external distribution as requested by the desk and as stated in the operation contracts signed with donors, including monthly and quarterly reports
Financial and budget management • Be accountable for the financial management of the entire country programme. • Along with the Country Finance Director develop the country budget and ensure expenditure stays within budget. • Ensure the required financial controls are in place and are implemented. • Ensure operations are cost effective through regular review of resource usage, and that there is a team culture of cost effectiveness.
Security • Take full responsibility for security management, ensuring a security policy and an emergency plan is in place to deal with any serious incidents and that all staff are briefed and are aware and clear on their roles and responsibilities in the handling of emergencies and security incidents. • At all times be aware of the national security situation and its impact on both Merlin staff and project activities. • Fulfil the leadership role when security risks are identified as significant, taking appropriate action to ensure staff safety at all times, especially in times of civil, military or natural disturbances.
Person Specification
Essential Qualifications, experience and competences • Considerable overseas experience in operational management with an international NGO • Substantial experience of strategic thinking, including identifying, analysing, problem solving and responding to opportunities and challenges and the ability to translate into practical plans of action • Significant experience of the financial management of significant budgets, including preparing financial projections, general financial management and reporting. • Extensive experience of securing substantial external funding and grants. Evidence of understanding the challenges of donor and contract management and the implications for programme management. • Developed ability of raising the profile of an organisation, strategically networking with government agencies, donors and other international agencies, and using the media as appropriate. • Extensive knowledge and experience of project planning and budgeting; proposal and report writing.
• Substantial experience of establishing systems and standards for assessment and monitoring/evaluation of programmes against both their strategic plans and relevant accountability tools. • Substantial experience of managing security and developing emergency preparedness plans as it relates to staff and programme activities • Evidence of developed leadership skills including the ability to take difficult decisions to get results when required, for example handling difficult personnel situations to effective conclusion. • Significant people management skills and proven ability to create an environment which encourages team-working and motivates a team. • Extensive experience of using a range of strategies, in order to develop staff and support them in being able to do their job effectively and confidently. • Significant experience of monitoring and evaluation, using both internal and external influences and factors • Extensive experience of policy development, including drafting, implementing and review • Experience of public speaking and communicating to the media • Significant experience of using project management process and cycle • Strong communication skills, with excellent written and spoken English • Confident and proficient in the use of MS Office • Experience of establishing strong working relationships with colleagues from different functions and cultures • Experience of a flexible approach to managing and prioritising a high workload and multiple tasks in a fast paced environment with tight deadlines • Experience of proactively identifying and creatively addressing issues • An understanding of and commitment to Merlin’s mission and values
Desirable Qualifications, experience and competences • Ability to travel regularly, both within country and internationally, sometimes for weeks at a time • Previous responsibility for managing a health programme in either an emergency or transitional/development setting • Previous experience in the region (Horn of Africa)
How to Apply To apply for this job, please go to and apply using our online recruitment system. In order to apply for a job with Merlin online you will need to complete a short registration process and create an account – the online recruitment system explains how to do this. Once your account has been created, you will be able to save the information that you have entered in your application and re-visit it at any time before you submit it.
If you are unable to apply online please download and complete an application form and email it to:
Please note that we do not accept CVs and any application must therefore be made online or by completing our application form. Unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.
Data Protection In accordance with the 1998 Data Protection Act Merlin will hold and use personal information that you have given for the purposes of recruitment and employment should an offer of employment be made. This information will be stored in manual and/or computer form. This information may also be disclosed to third parties in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
In cases where a job offer is conditional on ensuring that potential employees’ names do not appear on counter terrorism lists generated by the United Nations, European Union or the United States due to donor funding requirements, Merlin will use the information that you have given for checking that your name does not appear on these lists.

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