As Country Representative you will lead, manage and advance the programming and operations objectives and the mission of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to serve the poor and vulnerable. Your strategic leadership will enable you to advance CRS’ reputation and impact while you proactively manage security and mitigate security risks and liabilities.
CRS has been supporting program activities in Benin since 1958 and has long-standing relationships with Church and non-Church partners and communities throughout the country. The Benin country program has a diverse funding base with projects in agriculture, nutrition, education, community health, microfinance (SILC), and emergency response, partnership capacity strengthening and local leadership. CRS/Benin currently has over 135 national and 4 international staff. The CRS Benin main office is in Cotonou, with project offices in Parakou, Kandi, Natitingou and Porto-Novo.
Roles and Key Responsibilities
- Champion and lead the vision, mission and strategy. Lead the design of medium and long-term goals. Ensure program and operations leads coordinate their objectives in alignment with the strategy.
- Ensure that all projects meet and exceed donor expectations and are designed and implemented for maximum impact and reach. Ensure the CRS program quality standards are adhered to per MEAL policy and procedures.
- Effectively manage senior programming and operations talent and supervise. Manage team dynamics and staff well-being. Provide coaching and mentoring for HOP and Head of Operations. Strategically tailor individual development plans and complete performance assessments for direct reports. Oversee the development of staffing plans for large and complex projects and the recruitment process of senior staff.
- Lead the development of strategic partnerships with national and international organizations that leverages resources, reputation, and expertise in line with CRS partnership principles. Ensure strong representation to key stakeholders, including Church partners, local and national government, US government and international donors.
- Manage and mitigate risk through monitoring national and regional issues that may impact staff and programming. Ensure all staff understand and adhere to CRS staff safety and security policies and plans, and ensure the updating of such plans.
- Promote, uphold and model a commitment to the efficient use of agency and donor resources. Ensure compliance in operations functions. Provide oversight and analysis regarding monthly expenditures.
- Lead and direct the pursuit of strategic growth opportunities, prepositioning and capture planning.
- Create and maintain proper conditions for learning. Establish a safe environment for sharing of ideas, solutions, and difficulties and the capacity to detect, analyze and respond quickly to deficiencies. Promote accountability, learning and knowledge management overseeing application of the MEAL policy, as well as cross-sectoral and cross-department learning.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Excellent strategic, analytical, systems thinking, and problem-solving skills, with capacity to see the big picture and ability to make sound judgment and decisions.
- Excellent relations management abilities. Ability to relate to people at all levels internally and externally. Strategic in how you approach each relationship.
- Team leadership abilities with diverse/multi-disciplinary teams. Coaching/mentoring skills.
- Strong communications and presentation skills; able to develop tailored and persuasive messaging for varied audiences.
- Proactive, resourceful, solutions-oriented and results-oriented.
- Demonstrated experience successfully managing a variety of complex, high-value projects from multiple international donors, including USAID and UN agencies; understanding of relevant donor regulations.
- Experience engaging partners and strengthening partnerships. Experience working with Church partners a plus.
- Staff management experience and abilities that are conducive to a learning environment. Experience coaching and mentoring senior program staff.
- Ability to represent the agency at high levels.
- Experience in MS Office package (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Visio), Web Conferencing Applications, and information and budget management systems.
- English and French fluency.
- 40% in-country travel with occasional trips outside the country program.
- Head of Programming, Head of Operations, Risk and Compliance Manager, and Executive Assistant.
Key Working Relationships
- Internal: Regional Office and headquarters staff, other CRS colleagues, as applicable.
- External: Host country government officials at all levels, Catholic Church leadership, donors, heads of international agencies, local NGO directors, etc.
- Master’s degree in international development, International Relations or a related field.
- 10 or more years’ experience managing complex relief and development programs.
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