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Country Director at Helen Keller International


Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International is dedicated to saving the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition. We currently have more than 180 programs in 21 African and Asian countries. Part of this work is focused on preventing blindness and vision loss for millions of vulnerable people through cataract surgery, vision correction, vitamin A supplementation, screening and treatment for diabetic retinopathy, and distribution of treatments and cures for neglected tropical diseases. We also work to reduce malnutrition by promoting solutions aimed at improving nutrition practices for millions of families. These include vitamin A supplementation, maternal and child nutrition education, fortification of staple foods with essential nutrients, globally recognized family-led agricultural programs, and community based management of acute malnutrition. Helen Keller International also reaches tens of thousands of under-served youth in the United States each year through ChildSight®. This unique program provides free vision screenings and prescription eyeglasses to students living in poverty in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio.

  • Job Type: Full Time
  • Qualification: BA/BSc/HND , MBA/MSc/MA
  • Experience: 10 years
  • Location: Abuja
  • Job Field: NGO/Non-Profit  , Project Management 

Functional Relationships:

  • The CD reports directly to the Regional Director for Eastern, Southern & Central Africa and leads the Country Management Team (CMT). The position directly supervises a team of professional level staff, works closely with colleagues at all levels of Helen Keller’s global management structure and may be called upon to participate in global working groups or steering committees.
  • Helen Keller has a matrixed reporting structure. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally are essential to make this structure thrive.
  • Helen Keller’s programs require close relations with governments, partner universities and NGOs, civil society organizations, private industry, donors, and UN agencies.
  • The CD will represent Helen Keller at relevant external meetings.

Key Responsibilities:

Overall Management and Leadership:

  • Provide strategic vision and direction for overall program design, implementation, and proposal development; work closely with the country team to accomplish the strategic goals.
  • Lead and oversee all aspects of the implementation of country programs and the management of the country office.
  • Represent Helen Keller in formal and informal meetings with government officials, international donor agencies, and national technical advisory groups pertinent to Helen Keller project activities.
  • Identify opportunities and generate funding from international and bilateral agencies, and donor agencies.
  • Develop and nurture in-country donor relationships and identify potential partners to participate in joint proposals.
  • Lead and prepare concept papers and proposals and provide other information as needed for submission to donors and others for fundraising and marketing purposes.
  • Model collaboration for your matrixed team: effectively consult and inform colleagues to maximize efficiency and knowledge sharing and integrate guidance and direction from subject matter experts in your office and elsewhere in the global organization to maximize performance.
  • Build a highly effective Country Management Team, recruiting, supervising, mentoring, and evaluating staff, and engaging in frequent performance conversations with team members.
  • Delegate authority, consult with, and guide staff to achieve goals and contribute to an atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development.
  • Ensure accountability to beneficiaries, partners, colleagues, and donors by providing ongoing feedback in a context of mutual respect.
  • As a senior leader in the organization, participate in global working groups, the recruitment process of global colleagues and other activities, as requested.


  • Oversee and coordinate the program portfolio to ensure the highest level of project quality and accountability, while fostering continuity through building local capacity.
  • Provide technical input to the government, international donors, and technical advisory groups pertinent to Helen Keller project activities.
  • Ensure implementation of strong program monitoring, evaluation and learning functions.
  • Oversee research design, methodology and dissemination of information needed to monitor and evaluate project activities and/or advance programmatic and policy changes.
  • Disseminate findings from Helen Keller projects that are of importance to decision- makers in a position to fund or implement projects in country and internationally.
  • Keep the national partners and others informed about progress of the projects, plans for the development of new programs/projects/activities and donor involvement in the overall program.
  • Ensure safeguarding measures are integrated into program design and implementation at all levels.

Operations and Finance:

  • Supervise all aspects of people management in the country office; including hiring and managing human resources, leading initiatives to develop staff capacity, and promoting team morale and retention.
  • Supervise the safety and security function, ensuring that Helen Keller meets its Duty of Care responsibilities to staff, clients and other stakeholders in the context of Nigeria’s challenging security situation.
  • Provide oversight to finance and administrative services including procurement, property management, human resources management, vehicle and facilities management, and staff safety and security.
  • Work with global management colleagues to manage the development and implementation of annual country budgets.
  • Authorize expenditures for grant or contract allocations and ensure compliance with procedures required by grant or contract agreements.
  • Ensure the preparation and accuracy and timely submission of financial and narrative reports that comply with grant or contract agreements and ensure compliance with all aspects of donor funding and HKI policies.

Required Qualifications and Competencies:

  • Minimum ten years of field experience in international public health, nutrition and/or Neglected Tropical Disease programs including demonstrated experience in program management, including design, implementation, and evaluation, plus a minimum master’s degree in public health, nutrition, development or related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Technical knowledge in an area related to Helen Keller’s mission and programs.
  • Experience managing all aspects of program and operations management in a large country office in a challenging context including demonstrated experience and ability to: supervise safety and security in a challenging operating environment; integrate safeguarding measures; manage compliance with diverse donor requirements (private foundations, GAC, USAID, etc.); o supervise key administrative, procurement, and logistics functions; supervise financial management, develop and create budgets monitor financial status, and hold budget owners accountable; lead and manage people; and lead program development and management and strategic planning.
  • Demonstrated ability to: undertake high-level representation and advocacy. mobilize program funding including donor cultivation and proposal writing. 
  • Experience working in Nigeria and/or elsewhere in Africa, with Ministries, international and local NGOs. 
  • Experience in designing and implementing workshops, seminars, surveys, monitoring systems, and evaluations. Experience in research design, data analysis, and interpretation. 
  • Familiarity with and experience promoting health systems strengthening in developing contexts is strongly desired. 
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including an ability to effectively lead  team, communicate a vision, make timely and transparent decisions, and manage conflict. 
  • Very good oral and written English language skills, including the ability to quickly synthesize complex technical and programmatic issues into concise communications. 
  • Well established and practiced organizational and planning skills;

Method of Application:

Interested and qualified candidates should send their Cover Letter and Resume to: nigeria.recruitment@hki.org using the Job Title as the subject of the mail.


  • Applications will be accepted until the position is filled
  • In the spirit of our founder and namesake, Helen Keller is dedicated to building an inclusive workforce where diversity is fully valued.
  • We are an Equal Opportunity Employer where all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.
  • We are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and support during the application or interview process, please contact us at the email above.


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