Country Director – DRC

Search For Common Ground

Erica Henderson


Position Summary

The Country Director has overall responsibility for the program in DRC from a programmatic and operational perspective, as well as leading on fundraising, strategic orientation, and donor relations. He/she leads the Senior Management Team and ensures and models transparent and accountable leadership of the program. This position reports to the Regional Director for Central and Southern Africa and collaborates closely with various Washington and Brussels-based divisions of Search, including the Global Affairs and Partnerships, the Institutional Learning, Communications and Finance teams. The position is located in Goma or Bukavu, with substantial travel to other field offices around the country.

DRC is Search’s largest country program with an annual budget of approximately $4 million and approximately 120 staff working in 8 provinces using community dialogue, media and research tools to address community violence reduction, security sector reform, conflict-sensitive value chains, intercommunal reconciliation, Ebola response, and stabilisation with a diverse range of donors and partners. DRC is the largest Search program in terms of revenue, portfolio, staffing, and geographical reach. Search is seeking a dynamic and experienced leader to support and oversee the management team, develop and maintain excellent relationships with donors and partners, establish and pursue new opportunities for funding, ensure excellence in program implementation and participate in defining the strategic direction of the program over the next 10 years. The Country Director will also be expected to set a zero-tolerance culture of compliance, and to bring a rigorous, analytical and solutions-oriented approach to this key leadership position.


Key Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities include:

  • Define program priorities and long-term strategy, in close collaboration with the Regional Director and VP for Strategy;
  • Ensure efficient start-up and timely delivery of projects, collaborating with SMT members to identify and address any obstacles to implementation by strengthening planning and implementation systems and processes;
  • Ensure consistent collecting and sharing of results across DRC teams, and with other programs and external stakeholders;
  • In collaboration with the Program Quality Director, ensure that programming is implemented to the highest standards, adhering to approved methodologies, adaptive to changing contexts and leading to demonstrable results and impact;
  • Stay abreast of the international conflict transformation field to ensure that the program’s work remains innovative and relevant;
  • Be directly engaged in the continuing development of the organization, its mission, and its staff, through the sharing of experience and knowledge, particularly contributing to its Institutional Learning efforts.

Key area 2: Program Development

  • Strengthen existing funding relationships and identify and pursue new potential donors in collaboration with headquarters in Washington, DC, and Brussels, Belgium;
  • Lead country team contributions to proposal development, assign staff as appropriate and ensure deadlines are respected;
  • Contribute substantively to project design, ensuring comprehensive articulation of context, the potential for innovation, identification of relevant partners and integration of approaches to include women, youth, etc;
  • Together with the Regional Director, make decisions on opportunities based on the quality of revenue, alignment to strategy and mission, operational capacity.

Key area 3: Compliance and grants management

  • Ensure excellent collaboration between country and regional teams to prepare quality financial and narrative reports, ensuring clear reporting processes, respect of deadlines and capture of quality data;
  • With HoOs and regional program manager, ensure that project contractual deliverables are met within deadlines;
  • Set a strong culture of compliance and integrity within the DRC team, with clear links between compliance and performance evaluations, consistent communication and rigorous oversight.

Key area 4: Financial Management

  • Directly manage the country Finance Director, ensuring financial compliance with DRC laws, donor requirements and Search procedures;
  • Maintain regular and proactive communication with regional and HQ finance focal points on finance issues and ensure that the organization is ongoingly audit-ready and preventing and mitigating financial losses;
  • Identify potential shortfalls and strategize with the organization’s senior management as necessary to ensure the program’s financial sustainability;
  • Ensure all project budgets are regularly monitored and analyzed and appropriate action taken to ensure burn rates are in line with projections and prevent overspending;
  • Ensure an accurate and updated country-level operational budget is in place, and conduct a monthly analysis with SMT members to ensure proactive decision-making to maintain coherence between operational costs and available budget.

Key area 5: HR, Admin, and Operations

  • Manage a team of diverse senior staff members (expatriate, national and third-country nationals), modeling effective communication, coordination, collaboration, and accountability;
  • Ensure creation and execution of staff development plan to ensure ongoing staff opportunities for capacity building, and personal growth and to increase job satisfaction;
  • With the HR Manager, ensure staff performance is managed in a consistent, fair and coherent manner appraisals, staff feedback;
  • Ensure all in-country policies and procedures (financial, operations, HR, etc) are up to date, in line with global policy and local law and exhaustive for the needs of the program;
  • Address rapidly any non-compliance to organizations policy with appropriate communication, incentives and disciplinary measures;
  • Ensure an updated security and contingency plan is in place for all offices.

Key area 6: Organizational Representation 

  • Serve as Search’s country representative within DRC and in international settings;
  • Promote Search’s key program priorities, country analyses, and policy recommendations to relevant national, regional and international stakeholders;
  • Develop and maintain proactive, positive and professional relationships with partner organizations, other INGOs, donors, clients, government, etc;
  • Maintain responsible media coverage of program events and issues related to Search mission and share with the regional team opportunities for visibility and external representation;
  • Maintain regular written and oral reporting to Washington and Brussels on the key country, regional, program, security and staff issues.

As job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, the position holder may be required to undertake other duties that are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.


You meet the following qualifications:


  • At least a Bachelor degree (Masters preferred) in a relevant field (eg. conflict transformation, security studies, media and communications, sociology, political science, international development or related fields)


  • Experience in managing large programs, with multiple grants and donors in a fragile context
  • Demonstrated experience successfully managing multimillion-dollar budgets, project development, fundraising, and grants management.
  • At least five years’ experience living overseas, preferably in Sub-Saharan Africa; experience living in DRC preferred.
  • At least ten years’ experience in managing conflict transformation, governance, human rights or related programming
  • Track record in successful fundraising
  • Experience in capturing results and overseeing reporting, monitoring and evaluation systems.

Skills & Knowledge

  • Knowledge of the conflict dynamics of the Great Lakes region, and specifically in the DRC
  • Knowledge of major donor rules and regulations, and the ability to manage and prioritize multi-donor funding.
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills
  • A problem-solving approach to challenging situations
  • Ability to multi-task while leading a complex team
  • Professional-level Proficiency in French and English, written and spoken
  • Highly developed conflict management and problem-solving skills
  • Acute business acumen and understanding of NGO challenges in complex operating environments
  • Ability to work independently, and manage competing priorities
  • Able to work effectively at all levels in an organization

This position will close on November 15, 2019.

How To Apply

 To apply

To apply, interested candidates should send the following items  to our employment portal here:

  • current resume
  • cover letter

Type: Full Time

Application Deadline: 11/15/2019