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Plan International

Chief of Party

About Plan International

Founded over 75 years ago, Plan International is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organizations in the world. They work in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan’s vision is of a world in which all children realise their full potential in societies that respect people’s rights and dignity.

Purpose of role

The Chief Of Party (COP) contributes to the strategic objectives of a consortium of two international NGOs (Plan International and Strømme Foundation) by ensuring the effective, timely and coordinated implementation of a 5-year, multi-country project. The goal of the Primary (School) Access through Speed Schools (PASS+) Project is to increase access of approximately 180,000 out-of-school boys and girls, aged 6-14, to gender-responsive and inclusive education in Speed Schools and targeted primary schools in 15 regions in Burkina Faso (5), Mali (6) and Niger (4).

Based in Burkina Faso, the COP leads a small Regional Project Team (with M&E and Finance/Compliance expertise) and coordinates the activities of three country Core Teams in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The COP manages the field-level governance of the program and oversees the coordination of program planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting. The COP supports each of the partners to execute the program in accordance with the approved program documents and the regulations of the donor. The COP manages the relationships and information flows between the key stakeholders. These stakeholders include: regional and country program staff; the national representatives and focal points of consortium members in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger; representatives of consortium member organizations in Norway and Canada; the Speed School Secretariat; and the Ministries of Education in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. 

Reports to:

Country Director, Plan International Burkina Faso; with dotted line to Director Program Management & Compliance, Plan Canada.

Plan International (Consortium Lead):

Working in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, Plan’s stated Global Strategic Goal is to reach as many children as possible, particularly those who are excluded or marginalized, with high-quality programs that deliver long-lasting benefits. Plan aims to achieve this goal by working in partnership with others and through high performing teams whose behaviors reflect the corporate values.

Plan has been operating in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger since 1976, 1976, and 1998 respectively and has active programming in child survival and maternal health; education and development; child protection and participation; and livelihood security.

Strømme Foundation (SF):

Strømme Foundation’s main objective is to bring people out of poverty through education and microfinance in a sustainable way. Strømme Foundation works currently with local partners in Africa, Asia and Asia. In West Africa Strømme Foundation has been operating in Mali, (since 1984) Burkina Faso (since 2000) and Niger (since 2007).

Dimensions of Role

The COP’s primary responsibilities include providing overall program leadership and management to ensure performance and adherence to donor regulations; ensuring synergies and an integrated vision among different countries and stakeholders; and, directly managing the human resources of a Regional Project Team.

Program Leadership and Management:

  • Lead high quality, results-oriented program planning, implementation and reporting in compliance with donor, government and partnership agreements.
  • Oversee the design, implementation and maintenance of monitoring and evaluation tools and frameworks.
  • Design and oversee an annual program cycle for country partners in accordance with donor’s annual planning cycle.
  • Serve as primary liaison with the lead consortium member on administrative and technical matters.
  • Work with program staff and technical advisors to identify the technical support needs of the program and ensure this support is provided.

Synergy, Communication and Coordination:

  • Foster and maintain effective and professional relationships with and between all program stakeholders.
  • Lead knowledge development and sharing.
  • Organize and facilitate relevant committees and meetings between key stakeholders and regular inter-agency coordination meetings in accordance with the governance structure agreed by the consortium.
  • Coordinate joint procurement, consultant recruitment, and monitoring and evaluation activities.

Human Resources Management:

  • Lead and manage a Regional Project Team to ensure high levels of motivation, commitment, capacity, and teamwork.
  • Participate in staff and consultant recruitment, in collaboration with Plan’s Human Resources and project stakeholders.

Major Responsibilities – Key End Results of Position

Program Leadership and Management:

  • Ensure execution of the program in accordance with program agreements, action plans and budgets.
  • Create management systems and processes consistent with program needs.
  • Prepare programmatic and financial reports for donor, government, consortium members and the country office as required. This may involve compiling of information from a range of program staff involved in the implementation of the program, and working with Country Project Teams to produce reports.
  • Ensure for effective and efficient use of all program resources.
  • Oversee effective monitoring and evaluation for measuring the effects / impacts of the program, and that program data and information are included in national data / statistics.
  • Ensure that agreed roles and responsibilities between program stakeholders are fulfilled.
  • Ensure program strategies adhere to best practices in the sector, integrating gender and environment as cross-cutting themes.
  • Ensure that local laws and operational policies and protocols, including for security, are observed and respected.

Synergy, Coordination and Communication:

  • Foster strong coordination/collaboration among consortium members through regular coordination meetings/program reviews, joint field visits and action planning.
  • Ensure productive relationships, synergy and good communications with and between all stakeholders.
  • Document and share best practices and lessons learned, and monitor the integration of these into programming.

Human Resources Management:

  • Directly supervise and mentor staff of Regional Project Team.
  • Conduct periodic reviews of staff performance in line with Plan International performance management system.
  • Ensure the internal planning of the Regional Project Team in accordance with the work plan of the Country Project Teams and other partners involved in the program.
  • Clarify roles, delegate responsibilities to senior staff, and clearly communicate expectations for staff contribution to program activities.

Dealing with Problems:

  • The COP is expected to work collaboratively, anticipate and overcome challenges or potential challenges faced by the consortium in the implementation of this program.
  • The COP works within a matrix relationship that requires excellent working relationships and communication in solving problems or conflicts.
  • The role requires the ability to analyze issues, determine key risks or adverse trends, and come up with appropriate corrective measures.
  • An ability to arbitrate between parties and to find solutions to challenging issues in an evolving development/emergency context is necessary.

Communications and Working Relationships:

Close working relationships are expected with the following:

  • Members of the Program Steering Committee.
  • Members of the Country Core Teams in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
  • Members of two consortiums management teams in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger (high level).
  • Representatives of the Ministries of Education and other relevant ministries in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Knowledge, Skills, Behaviours, and Experience Required to Achieve Role’s Objectives

Knowledge and Experience:

  • Masters Degree (or equivalent) in a related development field or evidence of equivalent knowledge gained through experience.
  • At least 10 years of demonstrable, progressive experience in managing government and bilateral donor funded grants.
  • Experience of working for INGOs in senior positions (Chief of Party/Program Director level strongly preferred), ideally in West Africa.
  • Experience managing programming in education is highly desirable.
  • Knowledge of development challenges and context in West Africa, in particular of education systems in West Africa.
  • Fluent in both French and English.
  • Demonstrated experience working collaboratively without the need for close supervision.
  • Previous management of a consortium and partnership relations, in particular with national governments, would be advantageous.
  • Experience in child-centered programming will be preferred but is not essential.
  • Proficient in computer skills and use of relevant software and other applications (e.g. word processing, spreadsheet, database, internet).

Skills and Behaviours

  • Proven leadership, inter-personal and cross-cultural skills, and ability to build and motivate multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Possesses a demonstrated ability to establish strong working relationships with senior representatives of international donors, national and local governments and consortium members.
  • Ability to take responsibility, make decisions and monitor implementation in a timely manner.
  • Ability to effectively lead multi-stakeholder meetings and processes.
  • Demonstrable skills in strategic planning, financial and human resources management, supervision, and budgeting.
  • Demonstrated ability to implement programs with rigorous timelines and deliverables and to track program quality through donor approved monitoring and evaluation systems.
  • Ability to compile and finalize reports, analysis and briefing notes for senior management and stakeholders.
  • Strong negotiating, facilitation & influencing skills while maintaining political neutrality.
  • Demonstrated creativity and willingness to innovate.
  • Strong analytical skills and problem solving skills.
  • Ability to work under pressure, multi-task and meet deadlines.
  • Commitment to working transparently and with integrity.
  • Proven ability in working in insecure or hardship environments. The position will require frequent travel.

Physical Environment and Demands:

The post holder works on a typical office environment. He/she will travel frequently within Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and other countries as deemed necessary.

Level of Contact with Children: 

Mid contact:  Occasional interaction with children.

This position is contingent on confirmation of donor funding.