Deputy Country Director for Program Development and Quality - Tenders Global

Deputy Country Director for Program Development and Quality

Save the Children


The DCD PDQ shares the overall responsibility for the direction and management of the Country Office program. As a Senior Management Team (SMT) member in Afghanistan, the DCD PDQ is responsible for driving cross-functional engagement in developing and delivering Country Strategy Plans (CSPs), developing annual plans and reporting on results. S/he is accountable for ensuring the development and delivery of high-quality, evidence-based, innovative programs for children, in all contexts, that contribute to Save the Children’s global Breakthroughs: Learn, Survive, Be Protected. The DCD for PDQ ensures that robust research, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning systems are in place. S/he ensures that the country office engages in the collection and use of evidence, that this is shared across the global organisation, and that reliable data is used for decision-making. As a senior leader in the country office, s/he plays a representational role with the government, donors, partners, peer agencies, SC Members and others. The DCD for PDQ supports strategic positioning with donors and partners and leads on project design to ensure that the country office strategy can be delivered in line with child rights programming principles. As a Deputy Country Director, will also cover for CD absences as needed.


As a member of the SMT:

  • Provides leadership in the Afghanistan Country Office.
  • Support the development of an organisational culture that reflects our 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 and excellent customer service for our members and donors
  • Help design and implement a coherent organisational structure that is consistent with agency practices and appropriate to programme needs
  • Help establish, maintain, and improve active and regular working relationships with government authorities, partner agencies, humanitarian and development donors, and local and international NGOs
  • Ensure the SMT constantly reviews and takes action on the Management Implementation Plan.
  • Ensure that all required support is provided promptly, at scale and in line with the rules and principles during emergencies, working closely with the Regional Office
  • Lead the SMT to develop/update and drive forward the Country Strategy Plan (CSP) that aligns with the global strategy, Ambition 2030, with child rights at the core of all programming and advocacy work.
  • Support CD to provide leadership and direction for the country office to become a Learning Organization.

Strategy, Planning and Reporting

  • Provide strategic vision and direction to the Country Office.
  • Provide leadership on the development of the Country Annual Plan, monitoring progress against the plan, and completion of accurate, on-time Country Annual Report of outcomes and impact for children, aligned with the Global Results Framework.
  • Facilitate the development of programs which include priorities in line with the CSP,
  • Support ownership and commitment to the Country Office strategy by all staff and departments through clear communication, regular feedback on progress and engagement of all functions in updates.
  • Participate in global discussions and working groups to represent the country office, and the voice of children, in strategy design and technical leadership.
  • Support change processes and roll out new ways of working to improve the achievement of the CSP.
  • Drive strategic thinking that is underpinned by thought leadership & innovation.

Program Design & Development

  • Lead strategic resource mobilisation
  • Based on the tracking provided by the Awards Management team, review and position for opportunities that will drive the CSP.
  • In consultation with the Country Director and Members, ensure technical engagement with donors to pre-position and prepare for opportunities, and engage in strategic positioning work directly as appropriate.
  • Play a leading role in designing innovative and high-impact programmes/projects and proposals, including:
    • Engaging with technical experts as needed to ensure high quality, evidence-based designs that draw on needs assessments, learning from past programs and child safeguarding principles;
    • Ensuring partners are identified and appropriately engaged in program design, linking with Operations and Awards teams as need be for assessments, especially to strengthen gender sensitivity at the design stage;
    • Ensuring proposal designs and their budgets include robust REALM plans that are aligned with the Global Results Framework (and therefore advance towards our Breakthroughs), incorporate Common Approaches as relevant, and build in critical learning questions.
    • Ensuring the project budget will enable the project to be delivered as designed.
    • Incorporating child and community participation into the design, as relevant.

Program Quality and Program Technical Excellence

  • Ensure the country program delivers high-quality, multi-sectoral, integrated programming in both development and humanitarian contexts (as appropriate).
    • Monitor and advance technical and operational quality of programmes, including conducting regular field visits to provide feedback on quality benchmarks, soliciting inputs to design new programs and collecting ideas for innovation.
    • Monitor program Key Performance Indicators and, in partnership with other functions, take steps to improve the quality programming platform to meet agreed-upon standards.
    • Work closely with the DCD Operations to ensure Quality Framework standards are met and procedures are followed throughout the project cycle and across the portfolio.
    • Ensure technical experts proactively and regularly communicate planned requirements for program design, learning and implementation to relevant CO departments/functions.
  • Support the Head of Technical Unit to lead a team of program technical experts who ensure the CO successfully delivers on the Country Strategic Plan. Ensure effective working relationships with SC global, Member and regional technical advisors, procuring technical support as needed to support program and advocacy efforts, including during Emergencies.
    • Ensure that program technical experts engage in larger communities of practice within and external to Save the Children, to link with the most relevant and evidence-based approaches.
    • Ensure that the technical sectors of the Country Office are well-coordinated, and integrated and support each other to optimise programs and projects.
  • Ensure that child safeguarding and safe programming is embedded in program design and considered throughout implementation so that children in our programs are safe, in line with our child safeguarding policy.

Research, Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, Learning – and Knowledge Management

  • Oversee a monitoring system that provides timely and accurate project results by embedding REALM across program implementation. This requires ensuring effective collaboration across REALM staff, Technical Specialists, Technical Advisors and program implementation teams to develop logframes, indicators, implementation plans, quality benchmarks, monitoring and evaluation frameworks and related tools.
  • Lead programme quality improvements by monitoring and improving Programme KPI performance, including resourcing and conducting high-quality evaluations to demonstrate outcomes and impact and ensuring that accountability mechanisms are in place for all projects so that identified actions are resolved, with critical issues escalated to senior management.
  • Ensure the research, evaluation and policy work of the Country Office contributes to the generation of evidence for the development and improvement of Common Approaches, sound decision making and policy influencing internally and externally.
  • Establish effective program learning and knowledge management systems to support adaptive programming and innovation that improves outcomes for children.


  • Play a leading role in identifying, nurturing and strengthening strategic partnerships with local and international civil society organisations, NGOs, governments etc., in advancing the country and global strategy to inspire our three breakthroughs for the most deprived and marginalised children.
  • As appropriate to the country context, provide technical support and capability building to implementing and strategic partners.

Staff Management, Mentorship, and Development

  • Ensure appropriate staffing of the Program Development and Quality team and engagement of additional technical support when needed to deliver quality project design and delivery.
  • Ensure that all PDQ staff understand and can perform their role in delivering first-class, quality programs for children in both development and emergency contexts through effective onboarding and clear work plans.
  • Manage individual and team performance using principles of leadership agility, and Save the Children’s performance management system.
  • Ensure that staff proactively build and maintain technical, managerial and leadership skills, including competencies in child rights programming, child safeguarding and Common Approaches, providing coaching opportunities when needed.

Risk Management at Organizational and Project Level

  • Proactively participate in the identification of risks for the organisation, its beneficiaries and its staff including reputational, physical and monetary risks with a specific focus on the area of Program Development and Quality
  • Identify, implement and follow up specific mitigation measures for the risks identified under the Program Development and Quality area
  • Proactively engage and discuss with the staff and provincial teams to raise awareness of risks related to Program Development and Quality areas and what mitigations can be done
  • Bi-monthly update of the Risk Management Plan for areas under the supervision of Program Development and Quality
  • 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 as appropriate.


  • Master’s or Bachelor’s degrees, and experience in relevant social science (especially in Child Development or Community Development), human rights, development studies, NGO management or equivalent fields.
  • A minimum of ten years of progressive senior management and/ or development experience, including experience designing and implementing programs for children.
  • Experience in one or more of Save the Children’s thematic sectors: education, child protection, child rights governance, health and nutrition, child poverty, and emergencies.
  • Proven experience providing leadership in complex contexts where staff security is a key concern for the SMT
  • Understanding of advocacy, policy, and government systems in Afghanistan, and particular experience with child rights programming, including UNCRC.
  • Strong skills and proven experience in leading strategic planning, change management and program management processes; also from the knowledge and learning perspective.
  • Strong skills and proven experience in new program development, project design and proposal writing with corporate, foundations and/or institutional donors.
  • Credibility to lobby, influence and represent Save the Children at all levels.
  • Experience in developing and managing research, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning systems.
  • Excellent listening, interpersonal, communication and networking skills; proven experience and effectiveness working across functional teams and in a matrixed structure; and an ability to work with diverse populations.
  • Skills in training, capability building, coaching, mentorship, problem-solving, and project cycle management.
  • High level of self-awareness and willingness to take feedback for growth and self-development.
  • Proven experience as a team player and leader in an international organisation.

Application Information

Please apply using a cover letter and up-to-date CV as a single document. Please also include details of your current remuneration and salary expectations. A copy of the full role profile can be found at

We need to keep children safe so our selection process, which includes rigorous background checks, reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse. All employees are expected to carry out their duties in accordance with our global anti-harassment policy.

How to apply

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