SOS Children's Villages

International Director (Programme Development)

SOS Children's Villages

Job Description


SOS Children's Villages, founded in 1949, is the world's largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it.

Child neglect, abuse and abandonment is everywhere. Families are at risk of separation. Locally led, we work in more than 130 countries and territories to strengthen families who are under pressure so they can stay together. When this is not in a child or young person's best interests, we provide quality care according to their unique needs.

Together with partners, donors, communities, children, young people and families, we enable children to grow up with the bonds they need to develop and become their strongest selves. We speak up for each child's rights and advocate for change so all children can grow up in a supportive environment.


Location: Innsbruck, Vienna, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Dakar, Faridabad, Skopje 

Duration: limited contract of 5 years, with possibility of prolongation (full time)




The International Director Programme Development leads the International Program Development Function in the General Secretariat. The objective of the International Programme Development function is to drive programme strategy and policy frames that enable Member Associations (MAs) to deliver high quality, locally relevant and impactful programmes for children and young people without or at risk of losing adequate parental care. It does this by working very closely with -and drawing on the expertise of- Member Associations, regional offices and other functions in the General Secretariat. Programme strategy and policy frames are holistically informed by the experience, evidence and innovation from the work of SOS Children’s Villages around the globe, and captures the voices and knowledge of children and young people themselves. Best practice and learnings from the alternative care sector and the wider not-for-profit sector are consistently sought; ensuring the Programme Development function enables SOS Children’s Villages to provide global thought-leadership on programmes for children and young people. 

International Director Program Development will: 

  • Lead the development of a global programme strategy and a programme policy, building on the SOS Care Promise, and support their implementation;
  • Actively contribute to the development of clear minimum federation standards for high quality, innovative programs that are understood and accepted by all federation stakeholders;
  • Ensure that the General Secretariat (GSC) is able to adequately monitor minimum federation program quality standards and support adequate compliance (quality assurance);
  • Ensures holistic safeguarding and child rights-based approaches permeate programme development work. S/he serves as a role model for values-based conduct in the organization;
  • Be a global thought leader, championing and shaping activities/agendas on programme development and innovation, and participate in coalitions, sector networks and partnerships;
  • Mobilize and coordinate global programme development projects focused on programme quality, innovation, growth and ICT for development;
  • Ensure SOS Children’s Villages leads and participates in international research in the alternative care sector and family development, further strengthening the thought leadership of the organization in the sector;
  • Work closely with the Directors of Advocacy and Communications to ensure a strong linkage between Advocacy, Communications and Programmatic work such that the organization's advocacy and communications are evidence based and programme driven and projects are further strengthened and improved through evidence-based advocacy and communications.
  • Grow the capacity and understanding of programme development across the federation;
  • Given limited resources, ensure that the Programme Development Function is constantly setting clear priorities and focusing its work for maximum impact. 
  • Drive implementation of Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) across the federation; 
  • Collaborate and support interlinkages of programme development with the humanitarian actions and projects, ensuring that the organization's humanitarian work builds on the daily programmatic work;
  • Leads programme cycle management processes and linked digital systems for effective planning, monitoring, evaluation and research, and learning all following a Results-based Management (RBM) method.  
  • In a drive towards research, innovation and development, support and promote strategies and projects that enable the implementation of new services and programmes

The International Director leads a team of programme development experts and advisors ensuring they have the support, environment and resources needed to grow and perform. S/he is a member of the GSC Leadership Team.


Tasks & Responsibilities 


Strategy and policy content leadership

  • Lead and shape the development and implementation of long-term global programme development priorities, strategies and policies.
  • Lead appropriate external engagement to ensure that the program development is informed by sound analytical understanding of the operating context and the role of different state and non-state actors including other Child Rights civil society organizations
  • Develop and support the implementation of programme quality standards within the federation, including the necessary tools, capacity-building measures, monitoring and compliance measures.
  • Promote Coordination and build a shared vision towards use of evidence, learning and experience among the global programme development network (including regions) and other programme expert groups across the organization.
  • Encourage the GSC regions to liaise with other regions to ensure best practice is shared;
  • Support the management and use of strategic programme monitoring and impact information for leadership decision making.


Linking & learning, knowledge management

  • Tap into evidence and learning inside and outside the organization. Place emphasis on coordinating and promoting the exchange of programme experience, evidence and learning focused on quality, growth, positive change and digitalization. This includes show casing outstanding programme examples and best practices across the organization. 
  • Provide programme development expert content advice to Senior Leadership such as the Executive Board, the President and the International Senate.

Programme Management Processes and Systems Oversight

  • Ensure that effective results-based management (RBM) processes and systems are implemented and improved across the federation. This includes programme planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning.
  • Build and ensure leadership of cross-functional networks that ensure the continuous improvement of programme management processes and systems.

Programme development team and network leadership 

  • Manage, strengthen and lead a team of Programme Development leaders in the International Office (IO) based in different locations and virtually connected. This includes overseeing Career Development activities and HR Administration.  
  • Provide visionary leadership to the GSC-wide programme development function by boosting cooperation between International Office and International Office Regions, especially by engaging and leveraging the Global Programme Development Network consisting of the direct IO team and Programme Development Directors in the regional offices.
  • Ensure that the team delivers agreed objectives through a collaborative and innovative teamwork environment that fosters diversity and complementarity of skills and capacities.






  • Strong leadership & team management skills and the ability to build, lead and get the best out of a team
  • At least 10 years of progressive programme development/innovation experience including at managerial level and in an international organization, including in an international children’s rights, human rights, development or humanitarian NGO or network
  • Previous work experience in programme delivery preferably in relation to child rights and/or family strengthening and alternative care. This can be with national and/or local organizations with a focus on delivering programme change and innovation on the ground and with participation. 
  • Experience with/understanding of humanitarian programs is beneficial.
  • Strong leadership, strategic management and communication skills
  • Strong skills in programme development and innovation 
  • Sound knowledge of international trends, policies and programmes regarding children without parental care or at risk of losing it, child rights. protection and development issues 
  • Solid understanding of safeguarding with the ability to incorporate and live safeguarding in his/her daily work 
  • Experience in steering large stakeholders' engagement to develop joint priorities, activities and projects and plans
  • Strong communication, negotiation, representation and diplomatic skills, including the use of social media for communication and networking 
  • Results based management or similar experience with logical and results-based approach  


  • Direct work experience with children and young people without adequate parental care, or from other vulnerable backgrounds and hard-to-reach communities is a strong asset
  • Proven ability to manage a dynamic virtual team spread around the world as well as diverse federation stakeholders at differing levels of the organization
  • Excellent spoken and written English, good knowledge of at least a second language is a strong asset


We offer


  • A diverse range of interesting tasks in a leading INGO multicultural working environment
  • As a responsible employer we provide a range of training schemes and encourage educational enhancement
  • A salary that will be commensurate with experience and qualifications


What We Stand For

SOS Children’s Villages is committed to creating and maintaining a caring and protective environment, which promotes its core values, and prevents and addresses Child Abuse and exploitation. We strongly condemn all forms of child abuse and exploitation, be it within or outside of our organization, and always respond to any case of proven, alleged or attempted abuse within our sphere of influence according to its nature. Efforts ensure that mechanisms are in place to raise awareness, aid prevention, encourage reporting and ease response. They range from Human Resource development actions such as training and counselling to measures such as suspension, dismissal, and legal action.

SOS Children’s Villages is committed to creating and maintaining a safe working environment for our staff, the children and young people and the communities that we work for. The organization prohibits harassment, exploitation and abuses by or of any employee, supervisor, manager, child, young people, community, contractor, applicant, or other individual with whom SOS Children’s Villages employees come into contact by virtue of their work. All employees are expected to carry out their duties in accordance with our prevention and protection against Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse policy.

In addition, SOS Children’s Villages apply a zero tolerance concerning any fraud situation. The organization does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

Successful candidates will have to submit a criminal record certificate, current within the last three years. In accordance with the organisation’s Child Protection policy, these positions will be subject to criminal record checks.

If you are interested in this position, please submit your detailed application in English by the 31st of May, 2023 at


Due to the high level of responses, SOS Children Villages can only respond to shortlisted candidates.

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