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Country Manager

About Gain

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. GAIN is a Swiss based foundation that mobilizes public-private partnerships and provides financial and technical support to deliver nutritious foods to those people most at risk of malnutrition. The organization is delivering improved nutrition to an estimated 530 million people in more than 25 countries, half of whom are women and children, Nutrition products are as varied as fortified cooking oil and flour in Africa, soy sauce in China and biscuits in India, as well as specialized products for infant and young child nutrition, and interventions to protect the most vulnerable affected by emergencies or chronic illness.

Purpose of Position

GAIN is seeking a Country Manager to develop and lead its strategy and programming in one of its key and most challenging countries in the region, Afghanistan. Working with public and private sector partners, NGOs and CSOs, GAIN is looking to create innovative and market-based sustainable models to improve the nutrition of populations at risk of malnutrition.
This is an exciting opportunity for someone looking for a challenging role in an environment with a high donor interest to grow GAIN and its programs in Afghanistan. The program in Afghanistan works closely with various ministries, UN agencies, a number of donors, civil society and the private sector, especially in food fortification and developing QA/QC standards, besides programs in Infant and Young Child Nutrition. GAIN is also implementing highly innovative projects through the private sector to develop multi-nutrient powders for home based fortification and lipid nutrient supplements to address moderate acute malnutrition and potentially Severe Acute Malnutrition.

Major Responsibilities

Overall Purpose:

  • Represents GAIN’s interests at country level as appropriate.
  • Responsible for the implementation of GAIN’s country level nutrition strategy, and the identification of GAIN’s niche in country, building relationships with key stakeholders including within government institutions, the donor community, NGOs and the private sector.
  • Responsible for identifying concrete opportunities for GAIN’s engagement in country, in line with GAINs global strategy and comparative advantage.
  • Responsible for GAIN’s resource mobilization efforts in-country.
  • Leads and manages all aspects of GAIN’s Afghanistan Country Office, including program and project implementation budget and staffing needs.
  • Provides management and technical support for the development, planning, implementation, and monitoring of program activities, and monitoring of Executing Agencies with the support of GAIN technical staff. 
  • Contributes to the development of a knowledge base on GAIN’s portfolio,  Afghanistan specifically, and on national and regional trends in nutrition and related issues that might impact on GAIN programming
  • Contributes expertise as required to teams created by GAIN to address specific issues at regional or global levels.
  • Responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the country office staff and assets.

Program Delivery:

  • Builds and leads the Afghanistan country team drawing on technical resources, primarily from GAIN headquarters and field offices, but also from pools of expertise available locally or globally
  • Identifies, builds and manages the national and regional partnerships needed to support program implementation
  • Defines an annual business plan with budget, and staffing plan for country program, and ensures it is reflected in Program of Work and Budget (PWB)
  • Controls and manages the financial resources in the country program envelope defined in PWB
  • Manages local processes to finalize grants, agreements and implementation  plans
  • Oversees implementation, management and monitoring of GAIN programs and projects in Afghanistan
  • Prepares reports for GAIN management, donors and others as required
  • Represent GAIN at high level meetings with donors and government

Office/Operations Management:

  • Manages and develops systems and business processes for finance, HR, contracts, facilities and IT that are integrated and aligned with Geneva HQ
  • Hires and manages local staff as needed
  • Manages resources

Resource mobilization and private sector engagement: 

  • Develops an annual business development strategy and action plan (resource mobilization, private sector engagement, etc) in collaboration with the Investments and Partnerships division
  • Cultivates relationships with key bi-lateral/multi-lateral donors and private sector stakeholders and proactively pursue relevant business opportunities with GAIN’s Investment and Partnerships function.

Regional responsibilities:

  • With other GAIN country managers, represents GAIN at regional meetings and conferences as appropriate
  • Contributes to periodic assessments of the regional portfolio
  • Contributes to periodic assessments of nutrition trends in the region
  • As appropriate, identifies and advises on new program opportunities for GAIN in the region.

Other responsibilities:

  • Participates in teams that GAIN may establish to address critical bottlenecks or develop new thinking on issues of concern at national, regional or global level


Skills and Attributes:

  • Strategic thinking and leadership abilities 
  • Strong project management skills
  • Excellent management, negotiation, and advocacy skills
  • Ability to operate within the corporate and public sectors to effectively liaise with private companies, development agencies, and governments in different cultures. 
  • Ability to use initiative, prioritize, multi-task, and work well under pressure to meet deadlines.
  • Clear and systematic thinking that demonstrates good judgment, expert problem solving, and creativity.
  • Strong communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments.
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a multicultural team.
  • Excellent analytical skills


  • Experience in managing a country team effectively
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a team environment and matrix structure is critical
  • Experience working in an emergency environment


  • Bachelors or Master’s Degree in food science, nutrition, public health, economics, business administration, or a suitable equivalent.

Other Requirements:

  • Fluency in English.
  • Knowledge of a local language (Pashto, Dari, Urdu, Tajiki) would be an asset.
  • Willingness and ability to travel globally.