Head of Programme – Readvertised

Who are we?

The Danish Refugee Council assists refugees and internally displaced persons across the globe: we provide emergency aid, fight for their rights, and strengthen their opportunity for a brighter future. We work in conflict-affected areas, along the displacement routes, and in the countries where refugees settle. In cooperation with local communities, we strive for responsible and sustainable solutions. We work toward successful integration and – whenever possible – for the fulfillment of the wish to return home.

The Danish Refugee Council was founded in Denmark in 1956, and has since grown to become an international humanitarian organization with more than 7,000 staff and 8,000 volunteers. Our vision is a dignified life for all displaced.

All of our efforts are based on our value compass: humanity, respect, independence and neutrality, participation, and honesty and transparency.

Danish Refugee Council, one of the world’s leading humanitarian NGOs, is currently looking for a highly qualified Head of Programme for Kabul, Afghanistan.


As a member of the Senior Management Team, the Head of Programme (HoP) drives the overall country strategy and coordinates the development of sector strategies, in line with DRC’s global and regional strategies as well as needs and contextual developments on the ground. In close coordination with the Head of Humanitarian Disarmament and Peacebuilding and the Deputy Country Director, the HoP leads on the conceptualization and development of programmes, leads fundraising and donor engagement, and is responsible for ensuring programmatic quality in addition to the effective management of grants. By overseeing the Technical Programme Unit as well as the Grants and MEAL teams in Kabul, the HoP is accountable for the development of standard operating procedures, technical tools, and programmatic assessments aimed at supporting the implementation of projects. This will be done by ensuring that programmatic quality standards are met across the board, including through robust MEAL processes, capitalization of learning and cross-cutting issues (protection and age, gender, and diversity mainstreaming). The HoP actively engages with partners, civil society, and the donor community to ensure DRC’s views and priorities are represented. She/he plays a key role in ensuring adherence to policies and systems.

Duties and Responsibilities

Programme Strategy & Development:

Under the leadership of the Country Director and in close coordination with the Head of Humanitarian Disarmament and Peacebuilding, the Deputy Country Director and the Technical Programme Unit, the HoP will play a key role in leading DRC’s strategic direction in Afghanistan and ensuring programme coherence with DRC’s global strategy. This includes:

  • Identify and keep abreast of key developments and trends in the country and position DRC to address these with quality and efficiency
  • Drive the conceptualization and development process of the country strategy and sector strategies collaboratively and with the participation and inputs from the overall country operations. This includes ensuring the strategy is evidence-based and includes internal/external accountability and that it is informed by DRC’s expertise and stakeholder consultations
  • Ensure that the key global and regional frameworks are contextualized and applied across programmes and ensure that staff are aware of and understand these
  • Foster synergies between sectors to promote programmatic integration and harmonization across Area Offices and ensure quality assurance for more holistic, accountable, and inclusive approaches to assistance
  • In close collaboration with the Access & Advocacy Coordinator, ensure advocacy is embedded in and informed by programmed, as well as used for external communications with government authorities, donors, and other humanitarian and development stakeholders

Programme Quality & Coordination

  • Provide oversight, guidance, and leadership on all aspects of programme design, development and quality assurance.
  • In close collaboration with the Technical Programme Unit, ensure there are systems and tools in place for designing and implementing gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) sensitive programming, including conflict sensitive and do-no harm approaches to programming
  • In close collaboration with the Programme Development & Quality Manager and the MEAL team, ensure the implementation of effective and participatory Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning strategies at all levels of the country programme, including through the systematic documentation and sharing of lessons learnt
  • Facilitate collaboration and the utilization of global and regional technical support in areas of new programmatic initiatives (localization, greening, innovation etc.)
  • Develop a close and productive working relationship with Area Offices (implementation teams) to ensure buy-in of quality standards and processes and that projects’ designs and course corrections are evidence-based and informed by learning from the field teams
  • In close collaboration with the Access & Advocacy Coordinator and Deputy Country Director, ensure programming is principled and in line with Core Humanitarian Standards, Sphere standards and other relevant legal frameworks

Fundraising & Grants Management

  • In close collaboration with the Programme Development & Quality Manager and the Grants Management Unit, ensure proposals are in line with the Strategic Plan and Sector Strategies, and that they are submitted in a timely manner and with quality
  • In close collaboration with the Deputy Country Director and the Finance Manager, ensure effective and transparent budgeting, planning and follow-up in compliance with DRC policies and priorities as well as donor rules and regulations.
  • Ensure grants opening, review, and closure meetings take place systematically
  • Ensure quality control of donor reports and authorize the submissions of these and proposals to HQ/donors

Representation, Coordination & Stakeholder management:

The Head of Programme will be responsible for liaison/representation with the local authorities and UN agencies at Kabul level in the areas of strategies, policies, and programming, under the guidance of the Country Director and in coordination with the Deputy Country Director and the Head of Humanitarian Disarmament and Peacebuilding. This includes:

  • Advocate about DRC’s programme in Afghanistan with government, donors, and humanitarian stakeholders, in cluster meetings, workshops, conferences and in other relevant fora.
  • Represent DRC Afghanistan programme with current and potential donors
  • Represent or delegate appropriate staff to represent DRC at relevant and senior forums/ meetings.
  • Ensure sector coordinators and other Country Office staff are adequately prepared to represent DRC and report back.
  • Maintain agreed profile of DRC at country level.
  • Conduct regular stakeholder analyses to ensure that DRC has good understanding of dynamics/ relationships.
  • Engage in, and where effective, leading coordination processes amongst key stakeholders.
  • In close collaboration with the Programme Development & Quality Manager and the Partnership Specialist, review and oversee implementation of the CSO partnership strategy and promote DRC’s localization agenda
  • Identify international and local NGOs/partners and develop partnerships with relevant and complementary partners.

Direct staff management:

  • Ensure that Coordinators, Specialists, and Managers under HoP line management have clear and realistic performance-based management goals.
  • Provide on-going support and coaching and ensure that line managed staff have necessary capacity to fulfil their responsibilities.
  • Plan, draft and/or review scopes of work to hire and manage technical consultants, including review for technical efficacy and contract budget.

Experience and technical competencies:

  • Minimum 7 years of progressively responsible experience in programme management, leadership, and design in countries of conflict or post-conflict
  • Minimum 4 years of experience working in managing humanitarian operations in complex settings
  • Strong leadership skills and proven result related to the position’s responsibilities, including project management and people management.
  • Strategic thinker that is able to handle high-pressure environment and manage conflict.
  • Proven ability to mentor and coach others. Staff management is important in this position.
  • Proven experience in managing large multi-sectorial and integrated programmes
  • Proven experience in proposal development and representation
  • Experience working with donors and external relations
  • Strong on liaison and networking with national stakeholders, both on a national and local level.
  • Politically and culturally sensitive with qualities of patience, tact and diplomacy.
  • Capacity and willingness to be flexible and accommodating in difficult and insecure circumstances.
  • Flexibility – in getting the job done.
  • Respect – in regard to your colleagues and their field of expertise and work day.
  • Openness and transparency – when working with national and local partners
  • A mindset of collaboration and coordination – in regard to working with related partners and institutions such as other NGOs and the UN.
  • Trust building, respectful and collaborative towards beneficiaries.


  • English (Fluent) writen & spoken
  • Dari/Pashto is an asset

In this position, you are expected to demonstrate DRC’s five core competencies:

  • Striving for excellence: You focus on reaching results while ensuring an efficient process.
  • Collaborating: You involve relevant parties and encourage feedback.
  • Taking the lead: You take ownership and initiative while aiming for innovation.
  • Communicating: You listen and speak effectively and honestly.
  • Demonstrating integrity: Upholding and promoting the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct in relation to DRC’s values and Code of Conduct, including safeguarding against sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.


  • Master degree in Social Sciences or équivalent discipline

We offer

Contract length: (24) Months

Position Band: This position will be placed at Management (E1) band

Preferable Start date: ASAP

Duty station: Kabul, Afghanistan

Designation of Duty Station: Unaccompanied

Salary and conditions will be in accordance with Danish Refugee Council’s Terms of Employment for Nationals or Expatriates. For questions regarding the vacancy please contact Younes.elazm@drc.ngo

How to apply

Application process

Interested to apply? All applicants must upload a cover letter and an updated CV (no longer than four pages) in English. Applications sent by email will not be considered.

Closing date for applications: December 31, 2023

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, DRC reserves the right of conducting tests and interviews before the closing date, and can close the advertisement earlier in case of finding a suitable candidate.

For further information about the Danish Refugee Council, please consult our website drc.ngo.

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