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Oxfam International

Knowledge for Impact Director

About Oxfam International

Oxfam is an international confederation of 18 organizations working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries. One person in three in the world lives in poverty. Oxfam is determined to change that world by mobilizing the power of people against poverty. Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. Oxfam saves lives and helps rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes. Oxfam also campaigns so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them. In everything they do, Oxfam works with partner organizations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.

About the Role

Reporting to:

OI Global Programs Director.

Staff reporting to this post:

Head of Knowledge Network and Head of Program Effectiveness. Managing and coordinating a team of 18 staff, moving potentially to 23 in the near future. Beyond the direct team, this person will have dotted-line coordination to stakeholders in the Innovation, Worldwide Influencing Network (WIN) and Research units.


*Flexible in the global South in places where Oxfam is able to establish a contract of employment and where the right to work can be obtained or maintained. The post will be expected to move to Nairobi as soon as possible.

Annual Budget:

Overview of entire Programs Budget (circa Euro 600 million) and direct responsibility for the Knowledge and Program effectiveness budget (circa Euro 2 million/year, including learning fund budget and others).

Job Purpose – Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities

  • Leads, manages and oversees delivery of the overall vision and resulting strategies that drive and boost the Program Quality, Knowledge Management and Strategic Learning agendas across the confederation, supporting improved program practice and impact of the work as well as thought leadership.
  • This includes ensuring thematic leadership; program policy & practice based on evidence, learning from and engagement with external actors; technical and methodological support to countries and regions, plus working with them to meet standards and anticipate and manage potential operational risks. This person plays a key role working with the Global Program Director Management Team, to formulate and develop strategy and influence corporate level vision and strategy development.
  • Leads and supports the overall improvement of the quality and impact of all programs across countries and regions, through tailored and efficient support to countries and regions (in coordination with affiliates’ advisory capacity) on program design and program implementation (putting gender, influencing and partnership at the core) and robust monitoring, evaluation and learning systems that promote action based on learning and evidence.
  • Supports Oxfam’s increased ability towards influencing programs, ensuring robust evidence and data gathering & use of learning; increased skills and capacities across program staff and partners, as well as the necessary policies, guidance, tools, advice & support and training.
  • Leads Oxfam’s transformation towards a knowledge-based organization, shaping the vision and strategies that will bring Oxfam to the next level, building on existing initiatives on knowledge management and learning in relation to programs. Contributes to developing the foundational elements for corporate-level capacities and capabilities.
  • Brokers programmatic innovation and ensures Oxfam is a relevant and cutting-edge organization, that makes use of and builds on existing work, organizational strengths and experience, while making sure Oxfam regularly scans the horizon, learns from others and adapts program work and approaches to a changing reality and new challenges in the world.
  • Leads and proposes programmatic and thematic strategic priorities to allow informed decision making by the executive board on future strategic themes, innovation pilots and areas to divest from in a way that these choices are supported by evidence based Oxfam-wide processes and external scanning/learning from the sector as a whole. Ensures the consequent alignment of financial and thematic support resources to priorities.
  • Supports proactively the institutional fundraising agenda, ensuring better connection between resource mobilization and program thematic priorities, fostering the development of Oxfam global programs and leveraging the power of program scale and knowledge to tap into new markets and maximize opportunities.
  • Champions the women’s rights agenda internally and externally, ensuring it is well embedded into programmatic work and in all corporate policies, approaches and practice.

In particular and to support the above:

  • Leverages, promotes and incentivizes content development (e.g. program policy, best practices, knowledge products).
  • Represents Oxfam externally and leads on Oxfam’s contribution to external debates ensuring Oxfam is well connected and learns from others, as well as ensuring effective influencing and involvement in appropriate spaces relating to program quality and knowledge.
  • Builds, incentivizes and rewards a knowledge and learning culture, anchored in a network relationship and looking for innovative and flexible ways of working with knowledge hubs, regions, countries and other support teams.
  • Ensures an enabling environment for learning and knowledge practice on systems, processes & tools to support exchange, learning and connectivity; as well as with HR to ensure new skills development and with Finance and Operations to ensure consistency between policies, procedures and tools on the back office support space and the programmatic areas.
  • Brokers with affiliates and others to ensure sufficient, efficient, good quality, demand driven and timely appropriated programmatic advisory support to programs.
  • Monitors and works with the country and regional directors to ensure that program standards, KPIs and best practices are met in the country and to develop the necessary improvement plans and capacity building actions.
  • Program staff capacity building and learning, providing support to develop and implement strategies for learning and skills development, through capturing and sharing learning, facilitating the development of standard tools, guidelines and training materials, facilitating exchange & improve institutional practice.
  • Works closely with the OI Global Programs Director, the Director for Program Operations and the GPD Management Team to develop and oversee the planning and reporting cycles for Countries and Regions; the Global Programs Director strategic and annual plans; manage GPD department staff and resources.
  • Ensures adequate and timely communication and reporting for program related work within the confederation (e.g. Evaluation Report, Outputs and Outcomes reporting, Program Quality Review, etc.). Works and contributes actively within the confederation architecture to ensure relevant groups deliver. Manages joint projects and collaborate across other functions to identify and manage cross-dependencies.
  • Leads and manages her/his team to deliver agreed objectives and achieve team goals in the Oxfam Strategic and operational plans.

Technical Skills, Experience & Knowledge


Driving Program Quality and Knowledge:

  • Experience in leading and supporting organizations to become knowledge-driven organizations.
  • High-level experience of senior knowledge management and organizational learning; preferably in an international context.
  • Track record and field experience at a senior level. Good understanding of program work (long term development, humanitarian and influencing) in different settings, including some complex environments (such as conflict or failed states).
  • Ability to lead on program policy development to enhance Oxfam’s work.
  • Experience in leading and supporting global thematic resource mobilization strategies.
  • Experience in program design, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning.

Management and Leadership:

  • Committed to a rights-based approach and active commitment to putting women’s rights at the heart and the rights of other marginalized people in all aspects of an organization’s work.
  • Significant senior leadership experience of managing and motivating multi-disciplinary, multicultural, geographically remote teams. Highly developed interpersonal, communication and influencing skills to drive/support cultural and behavioral change beyond areas of direct responsibility as well as external influencing.
  • Significant experience of leading and managing complex change processes involving a wide range of both internal and external multi-cultural stakeholders across disciplines and geography.
  • A high degree of self-awareness and an understanding of how to drive and support excellent team performance and individual development. Act as a role model and demonstrate exceptional leadership in line with Oxfam’s values.

Strategic Analysis:

  • High level of analytical and strategic thinking and planning, maximizing adaptability and agility.
  • Track record in encouraging forward thinking, innovation and use of creative approaches in solving complex issues.
  • Demonstrable ability to translate broad organizational aspirations into practical results-oriented support for program staff in the business support areas.
  • Demonstrable sound judgment with complex organizational issues.
  • Understanding of systems and processes and how these can support programmes.

Risk Management:

  • Able to take calculated risks based on evidence-based assumptions. Ability to continually access and analyze the external context of the organization enabling the development of realistic strategies to maximize adaptability and agility, encourage future thinking, innovation and learning from experience, as well as sound judgment on when to stop or start new initiatives.
  • Proven track record of making sound judgments in uncertain and pressurized situations. Including experience of crisis management leadership and complex reputational/financial risks.

Representation and Communication:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills to motivate, influence and negotiate with a wide multi-cultural range of internal and external stakeholders at all levels.
  • Ability to speak English; French or Spanish a plus.


  • Ability to travel away from home, 12-15 weeks per annum in a normal year.