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Director of Programmes

About Sightsavers

Sightsavers is an international organisation that changes lives for the long term. We work in more than 30 countries to eliminate avoidable blindness and support people with visual impairments to live independently.

We do what we do because 80 per cent of blindness in the world is avoidable, and we think that’s astoundingly unfair. We do it because people with disabilities deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.

Mission Talent has been tasked by Sightsavers with providing an exclusive search for the position of Director of Programmes doe the East Mediterranean, who is to work with the GD in the Middle East, providing programmatic leadership for the region.

Purpose of Position

To provide programmatic leadership for the region, support business development in the Middle East and effective functioning of management processes

  • Work in tandem with GD of Middle East to drive business development activities across the Gulf
  • Provide planning input into new fundraising proposals– and ensure joined up with PS2 objectives and thematic strategies
  • Ensure suitable information systems are maintained for accurate monitoring and reporting purposes
  • Ensure strong financial control and performance reporting is in place throughout the Middle East
  • Promote learning and sharing of best practices across the Middle, and with other Regions
  • Represent Sightsavers externally as appropriate: to Governments, other partners and other agencies
  • Ensure effective management and support for the establishment of our infrastructure and work in any new countries.
  • Effectively manage resources in delivery of operational activities and objectives
  • Deliver financial and operational targets

Core Process Responsibility:

  • Programme delivery planning
  • Programme delivery monitoring
  • Programme quality assessment
  • Analysis, management information and recommendations for programme delivery improvement

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Reports to:  Director Finance and Performance

Responsible for:

  • Programmatic support to fundraising activities in the Gulf, including frequent market development support
  • Management process oversight for Middle East related programmes (fundraising and geographic) including planning & budgeting, delivery issues management, human and financial resources
  • Close working with Country Directors in the region, Bangladesh,  Pakistan and CEO/Programme Director of India and representatives in Sudan, Yemen and other countries in the region
  • Programme design linked to campaigns, including million miracles and working through options to re-scale our eye care programmes in this region and Africa with Middle East funds

Principal Accountabilities:

  • Leadership and Management of Middle East programme
    • Support the DG Middle East in business development activities
    • Develop and cascade operational and business objectives
    • Engender a programme facing and implementation focused performance culture
    • Manage performance against objectives and targets
    • Oversight of the quality of programmatic outcomes delivered in the region
  • Relationship Management
    • Take responsibility for programmatic input to business development activity across the Middle East
    • Build key relationships with priority stakeholders, notably across fundraising, programme countries and relevant PS2 teams
    • Ensure multi-disciplinary support to country and regional offices in programme development, implementation, management and evaluation
    • Support members of the team in stakeholder management activities
  • Programmatic Insight
    • Raise the profile of Sightsavers work in programme delivery support systems through representation and interaction at appropriate fora, networking, publications and contribution to programme learning
    • Keep up to date with changes in practice inside and outside the sector and bring the best thinking into the organisation
    • Provide programmatic delivery insight to feed into strategic planning activities
    • To enhance and support the use of Sightsavers information and knowledge systems
  • Business Operator
    • Develop cogent operational plans in support of strategic objectives
    • Work with management and planning teams in budget setting and financial tracking of cost performance throughout the year
    • Work cross team and cross functionally to ensure effective information and idea sharing
    • Interpret and apply relevant Sightsavers’ policies consistently and effectively, and ensure that our people are aware of and comply with these.

The principle accountabilities are not meant to be an exhaustive list of tasks. The need for flexibility is required and the job holder is expected to carry out any other related duties that are within the employee’s skills and abilities whenever reasonably instructed.


Knowledge (Education & Related Experience):

  • A degree or Masters in development, health, quality etc.
  • Experience of capacity development processes
  • Extensive working experience in an NGO environment, preferably internationally, in a leading position with significant line and team management experience.
  • Significant experience of project design and management, budget development and monitoring, resource management.
  • Knowledge of advocacy, research, impact assessment, partnership development and resource mobilisation.
  • Excellent report writing skills.
  • Experience of translating academic theory and research-based evidence into practice

Skills (Special Training or Competence):

  • Ability to lead and influence diverse and geographically dispersed teams
  • Project management of on-going activities, handling many tasks simultaneously
  • Numerate, with the ability to analyse complex information
  • Ability to think strategically with proven operational planning and development skills
  • Diplomacy and tenacity in dealing with complex relationships
  • Robust, confident, ‘can-do’ attitude that thrives on challenges and calm under pressure
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, must speak and write good English, Arabic speaking an advantage
  • Able to travel to programme countries to accompany donor visits as appropriate
  • An understanding of and commitment to equality of opportunity for disabled people

Core Behaviours:

  • Communicating and influencing
    • Communicates in a fluent and adaptive manner in order to engage with a diverse range of people
    • A professional and confident approach which inspires trust and respect                
  • Team working
    • Works effectively with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders and partners
  • Planning and organising
    • Recognises priorities and aligns the efforts of teams and individuals accordingly                                           
  • Change and improvement
  • Decision making
  • Delivery and implementation
    • Displays a strong results focus and consistently delivers positive outcomes

Key Relationships


  • Director of Finance and Performance
  • Regional and Country Directors
  •  Fundraising
  • Technical, Research and Evidence team
  • Institutional Funding Team
  • PPR and Finance


  • Organizational level programme partners
  • Consultants/advisors
  • Service providers
  • Representatives of quality and monitoring networks
  • Representatives of INGOs in health, education, development
  • Sightsavers partner organisations
  • Bi-lateral and other donors