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Terre des Hommes

Secretary General

Role Objectives

Terre des Hommes are proud of the way they have brought their name to the forefront of child protection and want to continue that work and increase the impact they have had at a global level; including their influence on FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, civil society networks and the UN. Issues such as child migration are urgent, complex and shaking international organizations.

Terre des Hommes, a federation of ten members operating across 68 countries, works in close collaboration with communities that are the primary participants in their own development. It acts directly or works with 1,120 local and national civil society organisations. Terre des Hommes enables children to participate in community life and in decisions which affect them.

Reporting to the Board, the Secretary General leads about 10 international secretariat staff based in Geneva and Brussels, along with two signature campaigns; Destination Unknown and Children Win! The General Assembly has recently decided on a new strategy that will see the Federation strengthened; building on the capabilities and synergies of the members and forging a common identity.

As part of this, the new Secretary General will champion a new vision for the Federation and bring together member organizations that range from highly-committed groups of volunteers to larger, professionally-based bodies with the capacity to implement. This will mean addressing governance; including the structure, processes and powers of the Board, as well as the types of membership that can be proposed in future.

In parallel with this, the Secretary General will represent Terre des Hommes on the global stage, providing the federation with recognized leadership and a single voice upholding and increasing its influence.

About you

Diversity brings many benefits, and needs careful management to be used to its best advantage. This means you are ambitious—but also a good listener. You have clear vision and ideas—but are also adaptable. You are a negotiator with a thick skin—but can suppress your ego to get things moving.

The work of Terre des Hommes means you have a thorough knowledge of child rights and understand advocacy at the highest level. You can deal with supra-national bodies and international organizations as well as win over individuals with your enthusiasm for your subject.

To be successful at this pivotal moment in Terre des Hommes’ evolution, you will need legitimacy in programming and the endurance of a long distance runner who has a clear view and the patience to achieve their goals.


We expect you to be able to demonstrate abilities in:

  • External representation & Advocacy: strong communicator capable of high-level advocacy and raising the profile of the organization. Experience in children’s rights and development is essential.
  • Strategy: experience setting a vision and developing strategy.
  • Internal Leadership & Governance: experience in team leadership and ability to strengthen, lead and manage the secretariat, including distance management. Experience working with a board and bodies made up of member organizations.
  • Diplomacy: strong social skills, with intercultural sensitivity and the ability to work with diverse stakeholders. Capable of defusing and resolving internal tensions and disagreements.
  • Change Management: Able to lead transformation and change. Experience leading organizational change and establishing structures and processes with staff, Board and membership organizations.