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ActionAid International Kenya

Executive Director

As one of the first global affiliates of the ActionAid International federation, ActionAid International Kenya has an important voice in the General Assembly. As the Executive Director, you will be leading this country affiliate to implement the next three years’ strategy and strengthen national brand recognition. You are a strategic leader who will work closely with a vibrant and outspoken team, to strengthen programmes that empower women living in poverty and exclusion. Furthermore, you will ensure the financial sustainability of the organisation through resource mobilisation. Using a human rights approach based on feminist values and principles, you will engage with the government and other partners to ensure alleviation of poverty for communities living in remote parts of Kenya.

About ActionAid International Kenya

ActionAid International Kenya (AAIK) is a member of the ActionAid Federation. ActionAid works in more than 43 countries all over the world, in the places where it can make the biggest impact. ActionAid tackles poverty and denial of human rights at the local level, and challenges the causes behind them locally, nationally and globally. In Kenya, AAI works in solidarity with women and people living in poverty and exclusion; connecting their voices, sharing ideas, spreading inspiration, campaigning, advocating and influencing public policy to eradicate poverty and ensure social justice. ActionAid International Kenya has a presence in 16 counties in Kenya: Mombasa, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Kakamega, Homabay, West Pokot, Baringo, Migori, Isiolo, Garissa, Kajiado, Nairobi, Kisumu, Makueni, Embu and Laikipia.

About the Role

The Executive Director will inspire vision, provide strategic leadership and ensure financial sustainability. He/ she will provide guidance on harnessing human and financial resources, partnerships, alliances and other resources so as to deliver the organization’s mandate in line with its values and established policies. The Executive Director will continue to translate the AAI global strategy into the Kenya context, and provide country support to peer countries and engage in regional and global initiatives.

Purpose of the Role

The Executive Director is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the operations of ActionAid International Kenya. This is in line with the Constitution, established policies, principles, and operating practice of ActionAid and the political, social, cultural & economic environment.

Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • Provide leadership in shaping the organizational strategic direction, identifying and diffusing bottlenecks in the delivery of the organization’s mandate. Provide conceptual and thought leadership in strategy development and reviews.
  • Implement and further develop ActionAid’s vision, mission, philosophy and principles in line with agreed strategies and organizational priorities.

Development and maintenance of a good organizational and country programme corporate identity

  • Plan, develop and project a corporate image in line with the vision, mission, value and philosophy of AAIK.
  • Ensure implementation and further develop AAIK’s vision, mission, philosophy and principles in line with agreed AAI corporate strategies and organisational priorities. 
  • Ensure a pro-active communication strategy is followed with a sound relationship with media and stakeholders to manage the external impact of AAIK’s initiatives.
  • Encourage research with a view to improving the quality of ActionAid Programmes and Policy development.
  • Establish, develop and maintain excellent working relationships with government, donors, partners, network alliances and civil society organizations.

Values Practice & Strategy Change Priorities

  • Establish a culture of excellence in respective to a team that values experimentation and continuous improvement.
  • Championing feminist leadership principles and values including commitment to diversity and inclusion (race, gender, power).
  • Embed ActionAid and the sector’s approach to child protection and safeguarding is embedded in all initiatives holistically.
  • Ensure a personal and team culture that demonstrates all of the AAIK Values, including Mutual Respect, Equity and Justice, Integrity, Solidarity with People Living in Poverty and Exclusion, Courage of Conviction, Independence, and Humility.
  • Lead the Country Strategic Plan development so that the strategy is relevant to national policies, constituencies and civil society as well as being in line with ActionAid International strategies and priorities
  • Oversee the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Country Strategic Plan. 

Programme Implementation

  • Lead and direct the work of AAIK in accordance with sound management practices and ActionAid’s development policies and accountability systems.  
  • Ensure AAIK has a well-balanced, well documented and cost-effective programme.

Policy, Research and Advocacy

  • Encourage the development of appropriate research with a view to improving the quality of fieldwork and influencing change in policy to improve the quality of life for those living in poverty in the country.
  • Maintain sound relations with policy, research and advocacy specialists at Asia and international levels.

Emergency Preparedness

  • Develop and maintain appropriate contingency plans for all kinds of emergencies. Such plans to be presented for approval of the Head of Country Coordination for inclusion in corporate emergency response mechanisms.

Feminism, child protection and safeguarding

  • Ensure feminist approach is embedded in the ways of working, policies and engagements.
  • Foster and promoting ActionAid’s approach to sexual harassment, exploitation, and abuse and other safeguarding concerns (including child abuse and abuse of adults at risk) in policies, practices, programming, stakeholder engagement etc.
  • Expand the portfolio of support and secure additional funding for further business development:
  • Establish and maintain a strong relationship with donors, corporate sponsors and supporters.
  • Lead the organisation in local and external fundraising and maintenance and expansion of donors.

Operations & Finance

  • Ensure that there is a medium-term sound financial sustainability plan and that it is implemented for the smooth running of the organization. 
  • Manage the financial resources allocated to or raised by the country in compliance with approved policies/ frameworks as well as the national law and donors’ regulations.
  • Ensure the financial integrity and accountability of Kenya in accordance with ActionAid’s financial management framework.
  • Prepare budget and financial plan to ensure that that the control of expenditure and the disbursement of resources is in accordance with the established procedures.
  • Maintain an efficient internal control framework and good practice with regard to the identification and management of risk.

People Management

  • Maintain effective and appropriate staff recruitment, induction, appraisal, remuneration and development practices at all levels to ensure the optimum utilisation and development of AA Kenya’s human resources.
  • Appoint, develop and manage all staff. Ensure a high calibre of staff is recruited while promoting a gender balance in the organisation, and that optimum investments are made in their development.
  • Encourage a corporate perspective amongst staff and actively promote staff exchange, secondment and development schemes, where these contribute to the meeting of ActionAid’s programme objectives and priorities.

Servicing of the National Board

  • Strengthening governance and membership development processes.
  • Have requisite knowledge of all the legal documents, policies of the organisation to note applicability during Board meetings. Regularly communicate with the board chairperson to update the board on strategic management, policy and oversight issues.
  • Work with the global secretariat and governance for the board development and increased dual citizenship and oversight of the county programme.

Steering the Senior Management Team (SMT)

  • Provide leadership to the Senior Management Team (SMT).   
  • Plan and facilitate platforms and events that encourage shared leadership and team-building such as Senior Management Team (SMT) retreat and solidarity events.
  • Create an enabling environment for innovation and performance excellence for staff.
  • Set and ensure performance targets for Heads of departments and other relevant staff are achieved.

Skills and Experience

Person Specification

  • The ideal candidate should have a degree either in social sciences, IT, development studies, management, international development studies or any other development-related fields. A Master’s degree in related fields is an advantage.
  • Ten years of relevant experience, five years of which must be at the senior management level in development work and poverty eradication programmes with proven initiative, flexibility and enthusiasm in managing complex activities in a changing environment. 
  • Strong leadership, management, analytical/problem solving, and management of crisis, conflict and risk skills.
  • Sound and up to date knowledge of development concepts, methodologies and techniques including demonstrated expertise in at least one specialist development field.
  • Proven ability to develop the capacities of multi-disciplinary professional teams undertaking comprehensive social justice, poverty eradication and gender equality strategies. 
  • Experience in leading organisational development and human resource change and transition processes.
  • Excellent negotiation and communication skills. 
  • Experience in external engagements, networking, working with social movements, youth and feminist led movements.
  • Experience in resource mobilization.
  • Proven experience in managing complex financial controls and management systems. Proficiency in accounting, grant management, project management, conflict management and resolution and/or monitoring and evaluation will be an added advantage.
  • Demonstrated expertise in strategic and long-term planning, budgeting and the ability to ensure that operational plans and activities meet targets and appropriately reflect longer-term perspectives.
  • Proven experience of working and negotiating with government officials and/or donors at all levels. Demonstrated ability to handle sensitive diplomatic and government level negotiations on matters affecting AAIK’s country programmes.
  • Experience working with Boards in similar organisations. 
  • This position will require extensive travel of up to 30% to remote areas and interaction with partners in Kenya and beyond. 

Additional requirements

  • A strong commitment to ActionAid’s vision, mission and values, especially the rights-based approach and the principles of equal opportunity as outlined in ActionAid’s code of conduct.
  • Sound awareness of the political, social, economic and historic environment in which ActionAid’s poverty alleviation programmes are operating at both national and community levels.
  • A strong commitment to feminist leadership approaches and ActionAid’s humanitarian signature.
  • A strong commitment to adhering to, and promoting AAIK’s approach to sexual harassment, exploitation, and abuse and other safeguarding concerns (including child abuse and the abuse of adults at risk).