Country Director, Afghanistan in International Rescue Committee Kabul, Afghanistan

  • Anywhere

This job listing is about International Rescue Committee in Kabul, Afghanistan 2022 exclusively on

Requisition ID: req31939

Job Title: Country Director, Afghanistan

Sector: Program Administration

Employment Category: Fixed Term

Employment Type: Full-Time

Open to Expatriates: Yes

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

Job Description

The IRC opened the country program in Afghanistan in 1988. Our programs span the range from humanitarian relief to early recovery and development activities, focusing on emergency response, protection, education, economic wellbeing, and health. The IRC works in 11 provinces throughout Afghanistan, among which are some of the most volatile, and employs over 4000 staff. IRC Afghanistan operates an annual portfolio of over $60 million.

Afghanistan has suffered more than 40 years of conflict, natural disasters, chronic poverty, food insecurity, COVID-19 pandemic The events leading up to the regime change in Kabul in August 2021 intensified instability and violence in Afghanistan – causing even more human suffering and displacement.

We are seeking an experienced professional with a hands-on senior management record in humanitarian programming in a complex context. They must be able to motivate and lead a diverse and committed team and provide pro-active representation and advocacy within the humanitarian community, with funding partners, with authorities, and to international policymakers. They must also demonstrate sound financial and operational management skills and have solid experience of leading and managing in highly complex operating environments.

Scope Of Work

The Country Director is responsible for overall leadership and supervisory management of IRC staff, programming, operations, and relationships in Afghanistan, including program quality and accountability, acquisition and stewardship of resources, staff well-being, safety and security, performance management and external representation. The Country Director is IRC’s principal representative for the Afghanistan program to government authorities, donors, international organizations, civil society, other NGOs, and the media. The Country Director is expected to resource and manage a portfolio of responsive and effective humanitarian programs implemented both directly and with partner organizations. The Country Director will lead country program staff in pursuing the outcomes identified in IRC’s strategy for Afghanistan, bringing them together to deliver high-quality, cost-effective programming results with high levels of accountability.

Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary demonstrated 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. They will be directly responsible for the strategic direction and overall coordination of the country program: providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior managers; 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 support systems.

Major Responsibilities

Leadership and Representation

  • Develop a vision and carry out strategies that result in contextualized and high-quality programs that meet the identified needs of clients.
  • Participate and represent IRC in global forums and activities organized by various development partners at the country level and takes the lead in IRC-organized events in the country.
  • 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 happily and successfully.
  • Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial, and authentic partnerships with local organizations.
  • Ensure that IRC remains a partner of choice for major international (institutional and non-institutional) donors.
  • Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of IRC and its partners, as well as the lives and the needs of the people IRC seeks to serve.
  • Play a leadership role in efforts to improve humanitarian coordination in Afghanistan program.
  • Ensure IRC is appropriately represented and is an active and strong member of the relevant in-country humanitarian coordination forums and platforms.
  • Develop and sustain strong working relationship and support from the government authorities towards IRC’s operations, including timely renewal of registration and obtaining necessary permissions for uninterrupted delivery of programs, services, and operations.
  • Appropriately represent IRC to external local, regional, and global audience including media and press in consultation with the Regional Vice President (RVP).

Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth

  • Working closely with the RVP, and senior regional team, execute the strategic vision and direction of the program to develop the highest quality of programming and delivery that is adapted to the Afghanistan context and is completely aligned with IRC’s Strategy 100.
  • Grow the portfolio of the country program to reach increasing number of clients at scale with impactful programs.
  • Ensure high program quality is consistent throughout the country program.
  • Actively seek out and pursue opportunities to expand humanitarian programming in Afghanistan to reach under-served and hard-to-reach areas.
  • Ensure that systems are in compliance with IRC standards, and that they support program delivery and promote management coordination and efficiency throughout the country program.
  • Establish strong communication and working relationship with key internal stakeholders at regional and HQ level to support country program operations and delivery.
  • Actively pursue and promote IRC’s Gender Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (GEDI) agenda through innovative approaches and initiatives in line with global ambitions and commitments to foster an inclusive organizational culture and environment.

Fundraising, Donor & Partner Relations

  • Remain current on national, regional and international issues impacting the program and partners, and develop responsive strategies to ensure the IRC’s mission can be carried out appropriately in rapidly changing contexts.
  • Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of the IRC and its partners in Afghanistan, as well as the lives and needs of the people the IRC seeks to serve.
  • Ensure submission of appropriate, timely high-quality proposals and lead required donor negotiations.
  • Assure diversified funding.
  • Develop and maintain a high level of understanding of donor priorities, country plans and planned funding initiatives.
  • Maintain and expand participation with key donors, host government, local stakeholders and relevant policy and coordinating bodies.

Stewardship and Operational Management

  • Lead with commitment, integrity, and accountability to the “IRC Way” – Global Standards for Professional Conduct.
  • Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.
  • Oversee the operation and utilization of IRC’s Global policies including 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.

Budget Management

  • Provide timely and effective oversight of the financial position of the country program including identification and implementation of required changes to match funding levels.
  • Monitor and identify appropriate sources for match fund requirements and coverage of funding gaps.
  • Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds.

People & Culture: Human Resource Management, Staff Well-being, Development & Retention

  • Develop a positive work environment for all staff supported by a professional level human resource management function.
  • Support and hold management staff accountable for providing staff development opportunities and planning.
  • Work with regional/HQ HR staff to identify and implement talent, retention and succession strategies.
  • Provide leadership support for the successful implementation of and adherence to People & Culture practices.
  • As part of succession and talent identification process, identify, train and develop capability and capacity of staff to successfully transition to senior roles within the country and create opportunities for more senior roles in the organization.
  • Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices.
  • 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.

Safety, Security and Access Management

  • Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.
  • Maintain a culture of safety and security throughout the country program.
  • Keep security, evacuation and contingency plans current and accessible to country program staff.
  • Maintain close coordination and communication with the Regional Safety and Security Director on safety, security and access concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.
  • Ensure access to vulnerable clients and geographies for timely and quality service delivery.


  • Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Afghanistan country program.
  • Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations. Giving and receiving constructive feedback is part of the team’s role model behavior.
  • Maintain open communication with regional management staff and technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.


  • Actively contribute to global, regional and national advocacy efforts to highlight and promote sustainable solutions for the clients we serve.
  • Identify potential advocacy opportunities and initiate contextualized efforts to protect the rights of the clients and promote their needs for high quality and impactful services and support.
  • Ensure IRC has a strong voice and contribution in national, regional and global policy and advocacy efforts aimed at improving the lives and livelihoods of the clients IRC serves in Afghanistan.

Key Working Relationships

Position Reports to: Regional Vice President – Asia

Position directly Supervises: A senior management team responsible for Programs, Operations, Finance, HR, and Security

Key Internal Contacts

Country Program: All staff

Region: Asia Regional Team

HQ: Crisis Response and Recovery Department (CRRD), Ethics & Compliance, Safeguarding, GEDI, External Relations, Policy and Advocacy, Operations and Strategy, Finance, Global Philanthropy & Partnerships, Technical Excellence and General Counsel

Key External Contacts

Partner organizations

Host country government officials

Public and private donor agencies

International and national NGOs

UN agencies

Foreign governments


  • Significant international work experience covering emergency, post-conflict and development programming.
  • Extensive program/business development and fundraising experience with an entrepreneurial ability to spot and seize strategic opportunities.
  • Proven experience with U.S., European, U.N., multi-lateral, corporate and other international donors.
  • A strategic risk-taker who will explore innovative and compelling responses to difficult developmental and humanitarian issues.
  • A passion for humanitarian aid and development work and the ability to motivate others to similar levels of enthusiasm.
  • Skilled at building and managing 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 Afghanistan.
  • Ability to work, live and thrive in a complex environment.
  • Proven aptitude to inspire creative growth, innovation and learning.
  • Experience in vigorously advocating to stakeholders for resources, responses and recognition of complex humanitarian and development problems.
  • Strong people management skills including capacity building and mentoring.
  • Experience supervising and managing a multi-disciplinary team in a cross-cultural setting.
  • Previous budget and fiscal oversight responsibilities.
  • Work experience from Asia is preferred.
  • Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with a multi-disciplinary team in cross-cultural settings, including active mentoring and coaching.
  • Demonstrated experience of creating diverse and inclusive team climates.
  • Effective in developing high-potential staff to achieve career growth and maximum contribution.
  • Proven experience in managing high quality programming that meet the needs of clients.
  • Proven experience delivering appropriate levels of oversight of a portfolio consisting of a variety of complex, high-value donor-funded projects.
  • Experience building personal networks at a senior level, resulting in securing new opportunities for the organization.
  • Opportunity-awareness. A successful innovative approach to unpredictable programming, operational, and funding contexts.
  • Ability to objectively represent program context, constraints, and successes to media, government, and other senior audiences.

Languages Required/Preferred

  • Professional fluency in written and spoken English.
  • Dari Persian, Pashto language skills an advantage.

Computer/Other Tech Requirements

  • Proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
  • Working knowledge of file sharing protocols such as Dropbox, SharePoint, etc., an advantage.

Ability To Travel

approximately 25% within and outside the region for workshops, meetings, representation, and conferences.

Gender Equality: IRC 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 parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits and allowances.

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – 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.

Company: International Rescue Committee

Vacancy Type: Full Time 

Job Location:  Kabul, Afghanistan

Application Deadline: N/A

Apply Here