Save The Children

Deputy Country Director (Programme Operations)

Save The Children

Job Description


As a member of the Senior Management Team, the Deputy Country Director of Programme Operations (DCD-PO) takes a significant share in the overall responsibility for the direction and Coordination of the Country Office. The DCD-PO in his/her capacity is primarily accountable for the successful implementation of quality programmes in the country on time, to budget and in compliance with donor requirements. Furthermore, s/he will be expected to undertake related engagement with members and donors, as well as the management of all sub-offices, humanitarian preparedness and response. Given the frequency of R&R schedules, the post will share the overall management of the CO with the CD and the Deputy Director for Programme Development and Quality (DCD-PDQ). Women are strongly encouraged to consider filling this role.


As a member of the Senior Management Team, contribute to:

  • Contribute to the overall leadership of the Afghanistan Country Office with a particular focus on operations, implementation, emergency preparedness and provincial-level support.
  • Support the development of an organisational culture that reflects our dual mandate values, promotes accountability and high performance, encourages a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation, and frees up our people to deliver outstanding results for children as well as excellent customer service for our members and donors.
  • Continually implement a coherent organisational structure that is consistent with agency practices and appropriate to program needs, upsizing and downsizing where needed.
  • Help establish, maintain, and improve active and regular working relationships with counterparts, government authorities, donors, and partner agencies including major institutional donors, and local and international NGOs.
  • Ensure that the required support is promptly provided to provinces and that the challenges and perspectives of the field are escalated up to the SMT level where appropriate.
  • Support the implementation of national initiatives under the guidance and steer of the Country Director, including the 2022-2024 Country Strategic Plan, KPI improvement plan, audit recommendations and other general risk management plans.
  • As a member of the SMT, play a significant role in ensuring gender equity among staff is maintained across the organization with quarterly follow-up on the gender balance in all offices and sub-offices across Afghanistan.
  • Contribute to the strategic development and delivery of international programming, in both humanitarian and development contexts, in line with the Save the Children mandate, strategy and theory of change.
  • Contribute to global knowledge and learning in Save the Children, including the use of Workplace.

Oversight and Management of Programme Operations

  • The post holder is responsible for the overall functioning of the Programme Operations Department and has delegated the delivery of high-quality programming in line with the objectives of the country strategy.
  • In collaboration with the Provincial Managers and SMT, define and implement an effective, efficient and sustainable operating model, including defining and developing the role of Save the Children and its partners.
  • Ensure that
  • Ensure that all sub-offices have a monthly work plan, with updates shared by the Provincial Managers every fortnight
  • Ensure that any bottlenecks between sub-offices and country offices are swiftly addressed and resolved.
  • Ensure that programmes are implemented in ways responsive to the communities, and children in line with Save the Children principles, values and strategic plans in compliance with SCI procedures.
  • Ensure preparation of timely and
  • Visit sub-offices to solicit staff feedback and observe project sites.
  • Continuously promote the importance of child safeguarding by increasing awareness of its meaning, and its reporting mechanisms and through the feedback when visiting field sites.

Support Programme Development

  • In close coordination with the Awards Management Unit, participate in the program proposal process (where appropriate, including programme staffing) making use of lessons learned and strategic aims.
  • Participating in Go/No Go decision-making processes for new opportunities based on the aims of the 2022-2024 Country Strategic Plan and operational realities on the ground.

Budget Management

  • Serve as the overall budget holder for most programming; manage and support budget holders for individual projects and grants.
  • Ensure expenditure is authorised in accordance with the budget authorization procedures within the scheme of delegation (SoD) - including notifying Finance of new awards and who the relevant budget holders are.
  • Maintain oversight over the first and second forecast process, working closely with the Director of Programme Implementation and project managers to ensure that financial forecasts are accurate and based on well-structured detailed implementation plans, lessons learned and operational realities.
  • Monitor Agresso for significant variances between budget and actual expenditure.
  • Ensure appropriate action is taken for a budget under/overutilization working closely with the Awards team.
  • Support the Director of Programme Implementation and Head of Awards to get prior approval from the Member (and/or donor) for incurring costs on any individual budget line which are more than budget line flexibility as per Fund Summary and review with Awards Unit for variations 10% above the costs budgeted for that line item.

Humanitarian Response Management

  • Strengthen the Afghanistan CO organisational readiness to respond to emergencies in line with global SCI humanitarian goals and benchmarks through the emergency preparedness planning process (including workshop and planning).
  • Ensure that the CO delivers humanitarian responses in line with the Core Humanitarian Standard.
  • Mount appropriate and timely responses at scale to all emergencies consistent with established benchmarks, plans and organizational policies, and in close cooperation with incoming surge teams.
  • Ensure that the Humanitarian Adviser improves awareness of all staff of humanitarian principles, policies and ways of working.
  • Support the Humanitarian Adviser to maintain consistent and coherent engagement in key inter-agency emergency preparedness and response coordination mechanisms including the Cluster system.

Staff Management, Mentorship, and Development

  • Ensure appropriate staffing within program operations, including sub-office staff.
  • Ensure that all direct reports understand and are able to perform their role and receive support where needed.
  • Ensure the recruitment and training of staff as appropriate.
  • Contribute to a positive working environment in which all staff are treated as equals irrespective of gender, ability, religion etc.
  • Manage the Programme Operations department: define expectations, provide leadership and Technical Support as needed, and evaluate direct reports regularly.

Risk Management at Organisational and Project Level

  • Proactively participate in the identification of risks for the organization, its beneficiaries and its staff including reputational, physical and monetary risks with a specific focus on the area of Programme Operations.
  • Proactively engage and discuss risk management with staff to raise awareness of risks related to the department and what mitigations can be done.
  • Provide bi-monthly updates of the Risk Management Plan for areas under the supervision of Programme Operations.
  • If required, be part of or participate in the SCI Afghanistan Risk Management Committee.
  • Report any newly identified risks immediately to the Country Director or the Regional Director (in case of CD).


  • Recommended a minimum of 5 years of senior management and 10 experience in non-profit environment, including significant Field Operations experience running both emergency and development programs.
  • Master's Degree in development or other social sciences or relevant degree
  • Robust experience with an INGO in a complex emergency and development program cycle management, and with experience of working within a complex and matrix organisation structure
  • A very good understanding of at least 3 of the sectoral programs (Education, Livelihoods, Child Protection and Nutrition) and a working knowledge of the program priorities of the Country Office
  • Significant knowledge of international humanitarian systems, institutions and donors, and of procedures, accountability frameworks and best practices in emergency management
  • Substantial experience and knowledge of effective financial and budgetary control and securing and managing grants from major institutional donors
  • Solid project management skills related to organisational development projects and international, cross-functional teams with a proven history of delivering results
  • Ability to analyze information, evaluate options and to think and plan strategically
  • Previous experience of managing and developing a team and the ability to lead, motivate and develop others and excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Ability and willingness to change work practices and hours, and work with incoming teams in the event of major emergencies and work in a setting with limited movement and security restrictions

How to apply

Please follow this link to apply:

Apply Now