Director of Programs and Operations

TEAM/PROGRAMME : Zambia Country Office Senior Management Team

LOCATION :  Lusaka

GRADE :  1


Child   Safeguarding :

Level 3 – the responsibilities of the post may require the post holder to have regular contact with or access to children or young people


ROLE PURPOSE  As a member of the Senior Management Team, the Director of Program and Operations oversees all program implementation and operational support to our program activities.  They share in the overall responsibility for the strategic direction and coordination of the Country Office.  The Director of Program and Operations in his/her capacity is responsible for Implementation of Education, Child Protection, Child Poverty, Health and Nutrition and Child Rights Governance programming plus any other thematic area that may be initiated in future. This role manages sub offices, emergency preparedness and response (including DRR), logistics management and safety and security to ensure timely, effective and efficient delivery of quality program activities to beneficiaries in Zambia.


Reports to:  Country Director

Dimensions:  This is a challenging senior role requiring a principled, dedicated, experienced and highly motivated individual who can help to drive forward our programs and ambitions. The role will build on an organizational culture utilizing a capacity building approach to strengthen established systems, policies and procedures, emphasizing an empowering strong project management, logistics and procurement support, and ensuring staff understanding and compliance meets organizational quality standards. The position has significant advocacy and external representation responsibilities with government, donors, media, programme partners and communities. In addition, joint responsibility for overall management of Save the Children Zambia, as a member of Country Senior Leadership Team.

We currently have one country office in Lusaka, one field office and one project office, with approximately 75 staff and a current operational budget of $8.8 Million per year.

Staff directly reporting to this post:  Field Office Manager, Child Protection Program Manager, Education Program Manager, Child Rights Governance Program Managers x2, Humanitarian Response Manager and Supply Chain Specialist.

Key Working Relationships :  Director of Programme Development and Quality, Head of Finance, HR/Admin Manager and Award Manager.


As a member of the Senior Management Team, contribute to:

  • Leadership of the Zambia Country Office
  • Support the development of an organisational culture that reflects our dual mandate values, promotes accountability and high performance, encourages a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation, and frees up our people to deliver outstanding results for children and excellent customer service for our Members and donors
  • Help design and implement a coherent organizational structure that is consistent with agency practices and appropriate to program needs
  • Help establish, maintain, and improve active and regular working relationships with: host government authorities, humanitarian and development donors, partner agencies including major institutional donors, and local and international NGOs
  • Ensure that the required support is provided promptly, at scale and in line with the rules and principles during emergencies, working closely with the Regional Office
  • Responsible for program operations KPIs, working closely with other functions to achieve set targets.
  • Contribute to ensuring that risk management and essential standards improvement plans are on track and contribute towards an efficient Country office delivering programs for children.
  • Facilitate program managers to prepare timely and high quality progress reports, program reports, and donor reports in a manner to allow review and consolidation efficiently.
  • Participating in any Donor visit to project(s) within the country office portfolio, as required.
  • Carrying out the responsibilities of the role in a way, which reflects Save the Children’s commitment to safeguarding children, in accordance with our Code of Conduct and Child Safeguarding Policy.
  • Ensuring the Zambia Country Office complies with all Save the Children Quality Standards and Standard Operating Procedures

Oversight and Management of Program Operations

  • Responsible for overall coordination of program operations and delegated responsibility for field delivery of high quality programming in line with the objectives of the country strategy
  • Ensure that all programs are progressing in accordance with grant agreements and are completed within time and on budget and are of high quality.
  • Support budget holders/project/program managers in ensuring proper project management of awards is consistently implemented for all awards.
  • Serve as overall budget holder for most programming; manage and support budget holders for individual projects and grants
  • Ensure programs are implemented in ways responsive to the communities and children in line with Save the Children principles, values and strategic plan and following Save the Children compliance procedures. This includes working with government and national NGO-partners to strengthen national capacity
  • Ensure preparation of timely and high quality progress reports, program reports, and donor reports
  • Coordinate overall funding process from both grants and SC members.  This includes developing funding strategies, creating grant proposals, and identifying strategic leads and concepts
  • Oversee operational functioning of all  sub-offices Emergency Response Management
  • Strengthen the Zambia CO organisational readiness to respond to emergencies in line with global SCI emergency goal and benchmarks
  • Ensure that the CO designs, updates and implements a full set of emergency preparedness actions, drawing on SC member input and resources
  • Mount appropriate and  timely responses at scale to all emergencies consistent with established benchmarks, plans and organizational policies, and in close cooperation with incoming surge teams SKILLS AND BEHAVIOURS  (our Values in Practice)


  • Holds self-accountable for making decisions, managing resources efficiently, achieving and role modelling Save the Children values
  • Holds the team and partners accountable to deliver on their responsibilities – giving them the freedom to deliver in the best way they see fit, providing the necessary development to improve performance and applying appropriate consequences when results are not achieved
  • Ambition:
  • Sets ambitious and challenging goals for themselves (and their team), takes responsibility for their own personal development and encourages others to do the same
  • Widely shares their personal vision for Save the Children, engages and motivates others
  • Future orientated, thinks strategically
  • Collaboration:
  • Builds and maintains effective relationships, with their team, colleagues, Members and external partners and supporters
  • Values diversity, sees it as a source of competitive strength
  • Approachable, good listener, easy to talk to
  • Creativity:
  • Develops and encourages new and innovative solutions
  • Willing to take disciplined risks
  • Integrity:
  • Honest, encourages openness and transparency
    • Master’s degree in development or other social sciences
    • Minimum of 7 years of management experience in a NGO or corporate environment, including significant field operations experience running both emergency and development programs
    • Robust experience of NGO emergency program cycle management, and with experience of working within a complex and matrix organisation structure
    • A very good understanding of at least 3 of the sectoral programs and a working knowledge of the program priorities of the Country Office
    • Substantial experience in, logistics, including procurement, supply chain, fleet management & inventory
    • Significant knowledge of international humanitarian systems, institutions and donors, and of procedures, accountability frameworks and best practices in emergency management
    • Substantial experience and knowledge of effective financial and budgetary control and securing and managing grants from major institutional donors
    • Solid project management skills related to organisational development projects and international, cross-functional teams with a proven history of delivering results
    • Ability to analyse information, evaluate options and to think and plan strategically
    • An in-depth understanding of national and international development issues in particular in relation to children
    • Previous experience of managing and developing a team and the ability to lead, motivate and develop others
    • Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills
    • Fluency in written and spoken English
    • Ability and willingness to change work practices and hours, and work with incoming teams in the event of major emergencies
    • Commitment to and understanding of Save the Children’s  aims,  values  and principles  including rights-based approaches
    • Willingness and ability to travel extensively in country.


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