Country Director – Sudan – IRC


Job Description

OrganizationThe International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Requisition IDreq12187
Job TitleCountry Director – Sudan
SectorProgram Administration
Employment CategoryFixed Term
Employment TypeFull-Time
Open to ExpatriatesYes
LocationKhartoum, Sudan

The IRC restarted operations in Sudan in November 2019 operating from 1982 till 2009, successfully obtaining re-registration in Khartoum with the transitional government, and launching initial programs to support displaced populations in urban settings around Khartoum.  

Sudan is experiencing multiple challenges generating including macroeconomic crisis, armed conflicts and displacement, protracted refugee situations and natural disasters, as well as Covid-19. The result of these crisis is large-scale humanitarian need across the country leaving an estimated 9.3 million people in need. On top of this, In November 2020, fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia led to the flight of around 60,000 refugees to eastern Sudan, with planning figures estimating up to 100,000 refugees by June 2021.In response to growing needs in recent months, the IRC has scaled up capacity through the emergency response team, and expanded humanitarian activites in the east of the country in response to the Tigrayan refugee crisis. The IRC currently has one field base in Gadaref in addition to the head office in Khartoum, and is looking to expand in programme scale, scope and geographic support over the coming months.


The Country Director for Sudan is responsible for overall leadership and management of IRC operations in the country, including stewardship of resources, staff safety and security, program quality and accountability, and performance management. The Country Director is IRC’s principal representative to the Sudanese government, donors, international organizations, other NGOs and the media. The Country Director is expected to respond effectively to a constantly changing environment with effective humanitarian and eventual development programs, implemented directly and with Sudanese partner organizations. The Country Director will lead country program staff in pursuing the outcomes identified in Emergency Response Strategy, bringing them together to deliver high-quality, cost-effective programming results, and supporting the development of a Strategic Action Plan, establishing the long-term approach for the country program.Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary leadership abilities who deploys strong communications and interpersonal skills effectively, both internally and externally. The successful candidate will enjoy developing networks to build partnerships and diversify program resources. Given the operating environment, the Country Director is expected to be attentive to risk management. S/he will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the country program; providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior staff; leading country program teams to identify, design and deliver responsive, high-quality programs; ensuring efficient management of public grants and private funds for results, compliance and focused, timely reporting; and oversight of financial management and compliance systems. A candidate with prior experience with program and systems start-up, who has proven skills leading strategy and business development, will be regarded favourably. Based in Khartoum, the Country Director oversees all IRC operations in Sudan. Reporting to the Director for Delivery in Emergencies, this position receives support from regional and headquarters staff in the areas of program quality, new business development, safety and security management, finance, operations management, and external affairs. The Country Director is additionally expected to actively participate in defining the IRC’s public advocacy positions. The overall security situation in Sudan is dynamic, and varies from one IRC operating area to another. Security is volatile in IRC areas of operation, and this role requires someone with strong context analysis and security and access experience.


Leadership and Representation
• Lead the country program by maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit and providing guidance, oversight and resources to enable staff to perform successfully.
• Develop and carry out strategies that result in strong representation with: Sudanese Government authorities at various levels; donors (including instituational, non-institutional and private), European Union; UN and other international organizations; international and local NGOs; and networks such as INGO coordination mechanisms and appropriate working groups.
• Ensure that the IRC becomes a partner of choice for major international donors.
• Develop and maintain a high level of understanding of donor priorities and planned funding.
• Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial and authentic partnerships with Sudanese organizations.
• Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of the IRC and its partners in Sudan, as well as the lives and the needs of the people the IRC seeks to serve.

Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth
• Set the strategic vision and direction of the country program to serve more people with the most responsive and highest quality programming possible, and secure the resources necessary to do so.
• Ensure the strategic vision and direction of the country program is aligned with IRC’s Strategy 100.
• Align programming to the country program strategy, sectoral expertise and technical standards.
• Ensure program quality through consistent use throughout the country program of: rigorous assessment, design, and proposal development and review processes; comprehensive monitoring and evaluation, accountability and learning systems; staff development investments; and partner organization capacity strengthening.
• Remain current on national and regional issues impacting the country program and partners, and develop responsive strategies to ensure the IRC mission can be carried out appropriately in case of contextual changes.
• Ensure country program alignment with and involvement in meeting regional objectives.
• Identify opportunities for appropriate expansion and growth of programs, supported by the acquisition and investment of human resources.
• Ensure timely submission of competitive, responsive and high-quality proposals, and lead negotiations with donors and build links with Sudanese Ministries.

Safety and Security Management
• Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program.
• Oversee the management of all security issues, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.
• Create and maintain a culture of safety and security throughout the country program, including trainings and briefings that prepare all country program staff for security incident prevention and response.
• Keep security, evacuation and contingency plans current and accessible to country program staff.
• Maintain close coordination and communication with the Regional Safety and Security Advisor on safety and security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.

Staff Performance Management and Development
• Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.
• Provide constructive feedback and counsel on appropriate career paths and professional development for IRC staff.
• Oversee the management, coaching and development of national and international staff to build a cadre of skilled, committed and motivated personnel.
• Pursue nationalization of senior management positions, especially as the country programme moves to stabilisation.
• Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of both national and international staff.
• Offer leadership support for successful adherence by all staff to IRC’s Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.
• Work with regional HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies.
• Undertake regular reviews of labor and salary markets in Sudan for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of the IRC’s overall compensation package for national staff.

Stewardship and Operational Management
• Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.
• Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements.
• Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, especially in the areas of HR, finance and supply chain.
• Provide timely and effective oversight of the Sudan country program’s financial position.
• Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds.
• Seek opportunities to introduce efficiencies and eliminate redundancies in existing business processes.

• Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Sudan country program.
• Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations.
• Maintain open communications with regional management staff, regional technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.

Supervisory Responsibilities: Direct reports include the Deputy Director for Programs, Deputy Director for Finance, the Deputy Director for Operations, and other support leadership positions.
Key Working Relationships:
Internal: Director for Delivery in Emergencies/Horn and East Africa (EA) Regional Vice President; Deputy Regional Director; EA regional team; other EA Country Directors; HQ departmental staff, as appropriate.
External: Partner organizations, host country government officials, public and private donor agencies, international and national NGOs, UN agencies, foreign governments.

Professional Standards
The IRC and IRC staff must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Equality and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti-Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.


At least ten years of progressively responsible international work experience, including at least three years in a leadership role at the Country Director level of multi-site, multi-sectoral operations in a complex operating environment
• Experience working on programme and country office start up strongly preferred
• Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with a multi-disciplinary team in a cross-cultural setting, including active mentoring and coaching
• Proven experience delivering appropriate levels oversight of a portfolio consisting of a variety of complex, high-value donor-funded projects
• Extensive program/ business development and fundraising experience with an entrepreneurial ability to spot and seize strategic opportunities, including prior experience with European, US and international development donors
• Experience of managing security in a fluid environment;
• Ability to work, live and thrive in a complex environment;
• Skilled at building trusting effective relationships with government officials, donor representatives, staff, NGO partners, community leaders and clients;
• A keen understanding of the political, social, religious, ethnic and economic complexities of Sudan;
• Strong budget and fiscal oversight capacities
• Established capacity to deal with ambiguity in stressful situations
• Ability to respond to multiple priorities in a timely manner, producing high-quality outcomes
• Previous experience working in Sudan/EA region and/or with IRC preferred
• Fluency in English required
• Fluency in Arabic (Desirable)

This position is based in Khartoum and will be unaccompanied during the initial start-up/stabilization phases, with the possibility of review within the first year based on security levels and funding availability. Housing will initially be in shared, IRC accommodation during the start-up phases. The Country Director will be expected to travel up to 30% out side of Khartoum-in the region and/or to other areas of Sudan, based on security and needs.
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation

Narrowing the Gender Gap: The International Rescue Committee is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including a flexible hour (when possible), maternity leave, transportation support, and gender-sensitive security protocols.

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