Country Director at International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) supports citizens’ rights to participate in free and fair elections. Our independent expertise strengthens electoral systems and builds local capacity to deliver sustainable solutions. Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 145 countries – from developing democracies, to mature democracies.
International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is currently recruiting for a long-term Country Director (“CD”) position for its operations in Kenya. This includes an FCDO-funded program entitled Kenya Elections Support Programme (KESP), which is expected to build upon electoral reforms previously supported by FCDO in Kenya to contribute to a credible, peaceful and inclusive 2022 general election in Kenya. The CD serves as IFES’ primary in-country representative and coordinator of programming with local and international actors while providing expert-level technical support to stakeholders and ensuring successful completion of project activities. The CD will direct technical implementation of IFES programs within the assigned location and oversee management of the IFES project field office
Major Duties and responsibilities
Technical Direction and Program Implementation
- Serve as IFES’ senior election technical advisor for the assigned project, providing technical support and advice to various government and non-government stakeholders.
- Provide technical assistance that is well-founded on global best practice and comparative experience.
- Oversee the day-to-day management of IFES’ project(s) in Kenya.
- Oversee the design, implementation, and evaluation of program strategies and activities.
- Prepare and manage the implementation of the project(s) annual work plans in fulfillment of the project’s strategic objectives and goals, and within the allocated budget.
- Establish and maintain close working relationships with local government and non-government stakeholders, including high-level officials.
- Establish and maintain working relationships with international NGOs and the donor community to ensure successful implementation of the project and avoid duplication of efforts.
- Coordinate closely with consultants and field experts on program components.
- Lead the drafting and timely submission of detailed, combined reports to HQ, and ensure that they meet donor and IFES reporting requirements.
- Lead and/or contribute to written technical reports, briefing papers, and IFES thought pieces, both program-specific and non-program specific.
- Represent IFES in global, regional, national and sub-national events and in international meetings, at donor meetings and other fundraising activities, as speaker and/or spokesperson for IFES.
- Ensure the highest quality of program monitoring, evaluation, reporting, and communications.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
- Ensure, in conjunction with the IFES HQ team, compliance with IFES and donor rules and regulations, particularly with respect to fiscal management.
- Establish strong working relationships with the field staff to facilitate the completion of program tasks in a timely manner and within the allocated budget.
- Provide general supervision and mentoring of local and international field staff, including performance appraisals, staff development and other management issues.
- In coordination with IFES/HQ, assist in the identification, recruitment, and hiring of in-country office staff, as well as local and international technical consultants.
- Assist in program development for IFES in Kenya by identifying additional technical needs in- country, contributing to the development of project proposals and reaching out to the international donor community in an effort to diversify IFES funding sources.
- Serve as the primary coordinator for the project, which includes primary responsibility for the overall success and implementation of the project, including but not limited to, effective coordination of partners’ joint activities, regular reporting and meeting with the local FCDO/Kenya Mission and proper sharing of programming information among project partners. Perform other duties as assigned by the Regional Director or IFES senior management.
Position Scope: Serves as primary in-country representative and directs the technical implementation of IFES programming for assigned project. Oversees the management of assigned field office. In conjunction with IFES HQ, ensures compliance with IFES’ and the donor rules and regulations. Recommends policies, controls and procedures to guide performance.
Decision making and problem solving: Evaluates risk factors with potential to disrupt achievement of strategic goals and sets appropriate course of action in response. Investigates and analyzes current information from various sources and in various formats to inform decision making and the development of protocols and procedures. Leads development and oversees implementation of strategies to track and mitigate risk and its potential impact.
Fiscal Responsibility: Ensures the completion of program tasks in a timely manner and within the allocated budget. Ensures compliance with IFES and the donor rules and regulations, particularly with regard to fiscal management. Oversees preparation and presentation of financial reports to internal and external partners. Oversee and approve local and international procurement in accordance with IFES policies and donor rules and regulations. Authority to regularly make purchases and incur expenses, subject to established controls and procedures.
Relationships: Serves as primary in-country representative of IFES with local and international actors. Develops, manages and maintains collaborative working relationship with senior level stakeholders within and outside IFES to ensure timely and successful achievement of project goals and objectives. Represents IFES in global, regional, national and sub-national events and in international meetings, and at donor events and fundraising activities, as a spokesperson for IFES
Supervision Exercised: Supervises and mentors local and international field staff and provides oversight and management of consultants and field experts. Leads project planning, monitoring and evaluation
Education: Master’s degree in international politics, international development, public policy, or related field
Experience: Minimum of 15 years’ experience in election administration and international program management. Familiarity with political, economic and social context within assigned region. Proven track record with democracy and governance programming in developing countries; solid experience working with civil society and in designing and implementing civic programs; solid experience working with elections management bodies in election administration capacity development, training, drafting of elections procedures, logistics and planning, outreach and engagement of electoral stakeholders is required. Familiarity with the international donor community and experience as an action-oriented interlocutor with democracy-development actors at all levels. Demonstrated knowledge of multiple donor rules, regulations and priorities, including FCDO. Demonstrated knowledge in proposal and report writing and management of budget
Skills or knowledge
Prior experience managing an international office in a politically sensitive and challenging environment. Ability and skills to promote and inspire effective collaboration between individuals, organizations and networks, demonstrating strong diplomacy skills and cultural sensitivity. Strong consultative, collaborative and participatory way of working. Strong interpersonal, presentation, and communications skills to meet the diverse technical and managerial requirements of the program and to effectively coordinate with a wide range of stakeholders. Experience living and working overseas, preferably within the assigned region and/or other transition environments. Knowledge of local/regional politics and development preferred.
Fluency in written and spoken English required. Proficiency in at least one other language in use within assigned project location is strongly desired.
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