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ActionAid International

Director of Programme Development, Quality and Impact

About the Role

  • Enhance organisational performance and mission impact across the Federation in relation to AAI’s Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) and the mission objectives within the AAI Strategy by focusing on enhancing quality programme design, implementation and innovation; as well as monitoring and evaluation.
  • Ensure greater integration between local, national and international programmes.
  • Promote AAI in wider development debates, externally positioning AAI’s development approach to help build stronger networks, people movements and alliances. 

Direct Reports

  • 1x Humanitarian Director
  • 1x Head of Programme Development
  • 1x Head of Monitoring and Evaluation
  • 1x Team Administrator
  • 1x Programme Coordinator
  • 1x Transparency & Accountability Advisor

Key Activities

People Leadership and Management

  • As a member of the International Leadership Team (ILT); act as a key change agent, reinforce AAI’s mission, vision and values and make informed decisions;
  • Lead and manage the Programme Development, Quality and Impact (PDQI) Directorate within a clear performance management framework, promoting a culture of high performance, continuous improvement, positive communication and teamwork;
  • Ensure good management practice is continued at all levels within the PDQI Directorate;
  • Interpret and apply all AAI’s HR policies consistently and effectively, and ensure that all staff are aware and compliant;
  • Champion women’s leadership and empowerment.

Strategy, Planning and Budgets

  • As a member of the ILT, participate in the development of AAI’s international strategy;
  • Use AAI’s strategy and objectives to lead the design, implementation and management of the PDQI Directorate and project plans, engaging staff and other stakeholders in the process;
  • Assess and respond to changes in the external environment ensuring that these changes are reflected in the PDQI Directorate’s strategy and project plans;
  • Develop and be accountable for the budget of the entire PDQI Directorate.

Programme Development

  • Ensure specialist and technical programmatic support for countries with the appropriate tools and content analysis;
  • Promote and co-ordinate the sharing of best practice across the Federation;
  • Identify opportunities for innovation and programmatic alternatives that provide sustainable solutions in AAI’s efforts to eradicate poverty;
  • Lead the Directorate as the custodian of a repository of tools, content, program approach and best practice;
  • Ensure integration with policy, campaigns, advocacy and research;
  • Support and provide the tools for better integration between local, national and international programmes;
  • Support the implementation of the International Platforms and ensure integrated planning between countries and International Secretariat (IS) units for each of the mission objectives;
  • Oversee the preparation of cross-country funding proposals and follow through on delivery.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit

  • Develop and support the implementation of monitoring and evaluation methods, with tools and skills aligned to HRBA;
  • Drive the Quality assurance of evaluations and key processes on selected technical reviews;
  • Set standards for M&E requirements;
  • Drive the central system for monitoring the international strategy;
  • Build Campaigns M&E capacity;
  • Co-ordinate the EAGLES (Evaluation and Accountability Global Leaders) network;
  • Ensure monitoring and evaluation of AAI’s performance in other organisational areas beyond programmes.


  • Support country preparedness in emergencies and build resilience;
  • Manage Emergency funds;Support existing capacity of Members/Countries to deliver emergency response;
  • Facilitate country leadership of preparedness planning and emergency response;
  • Lead and/or oversee timely, agile and HRBA-led humanitarian responses. 

Program Quality

  • Promote platforms for sharing best practice and identify countries that have knowledge and best practice;
  • Ensure that a repository of programmatic knowledge is kept up to date;
  • Ensure that AAI’s partnership policies are updated and applied.

Capacity Development

  • Collaborate to build the capacity of PDQI and seek synergies with Policy, Research, Advocacy and Campaigns (PRAC) directorate, make use of skills at country level in programme development and PRAC;
  • Build partners’ capacity on HRBA. Work with the capacity building team and with countries in supporting capacity development of staff and partners.

Financial Management Responsibilities 

  • Manage and take responsibility for budget, including delegated responsibility for resources within approved limits;
  • Prepare activity-based budgets and monitor actual monthly spend against these budgets, including providing relevant accruals and explanations for variances;
  • Approve all transactions (including amendments) to the budget;
  • Act within the parameters set by International Secretariat financial policies and procedures.


  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to develop, promote and practise AAI’s vision, mission, values and strategy;
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to Gender issues with a strong focus on women’s leadership;
  • Collaborate on cross functional learning, participate (where applicable) in international platforms and cross functional project initiatives within AAI;
  • Promote, practise and contribute to continuous improvement in the areas of transparency and accountability in line with the AAI Accountability Charter;
  • Support the International Board’s Committees;
  • The role holder will also be required to carry out any other duties that are within the scope of the job from time to time.

Person Specification

Education, Language & Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree with significant experience working in programmes development;
  • Excellent understanding and experience of HRBA, program quality and impact assessment;
  • Good command of the English language, both verbal and written.

Essential Knowledge, skills and Experience 

  • A high achieving, experienced and dynamic professional with a proven ability to develop the kind of clear strategies required for the PDQI Directorate;
  • Proven experience of managing/leading a large diversified team, with a focus on high performance and problem solving;
  • Proven experience of promoting women leaders and gender-aware programme development;
  • Proven track record of facilitative, collaborative team management to drive a culture of accountability and ownership along with a natural ability to network and build successful lasting relationships;
  • Outstanding communications skills across various cultures;
  • Commercial acumen, with strategy and planning expertise as well as financial and budgeting expertise and a flair for innovation;
  • Commitment to AAI’s vision, mission and values;
  • Proven experience in program development at local and national levels;
  • Proven experience in international development;
  • Proven experience in impact assessment;
  • Proven experience in multi-stakeholder management.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience working at an International Leadership Level, including working with Boards;
  • Knowledge of other international languages such as Spanish, Portuguese and French is desirable.

Competency Profile

  • Strategic Perspective – Demonstrates understanding of the Organisation’s priorities and goals and analyses complex problems effectively.
  • Change Management – Uses effective strategies to facilitate organisation change initiatives and overcome resistance to change by involving others, listening and building commitment.
  • Decisiveness– Prefers quick and appropriate actions in many management situations.
  • Leading Employees – Attracts, motivates, and develops employees.
  • Building Collaborative Relationships – Builds productive working relationships with co-workers and external parties, whilst valuing people of different backgrounds, cultures and demographics.
  • Communication – Expresses ideas clearly and concisely; disseminates information about decisions and plans.
  • Leading with Purpose– Has personal direction and is not easily sidetracked by details or workload.
  • Credibility– Acts in accordance with stated values; follows through on promises; uses ethical considerations to guide decisions and actions.
  • Taking Initiative – Takes charge and capitalizes on opportunities.