For years, Afghanistan has struggled with a declining economy and dwindling security. Violent conflict continues to disrupt the lives of millions who increasingly must fend for themselves, while the COVID-19 pandemic, and drought and other climate-related disasters, also exacerbate needs for Afghans. Even before the latest escalation in violence, half the population required humanitarian assistance. Forty years of war, chronic poverty, climate change-driven natural disasters, and now COVID-19 are a deadly combination for people in Afghanistan. Fifty percent of those in need in Afghanistan are women and girls. Currently, the IRC implements education, economic recovery and development, child protection programs, Environmental Health, community health, Cash programming, Protection Rule of Law and works to respond to and prevent gender-based violence (GBV) in Pakitya, Logar, Helmand, Nangarhar, Laghman, Khost, Badghis, Herat and Kabul.
The Senior Health and Nutrition Coordinator is responsible for the strategic direction, leadership, and quality assurance of all health and nutrition programs in Afghanistan. This position will oversee the startup, program design and development, monitor and assure technical quality, and coach and mentor program staff. Specific technical areas under the portfolio include primary health, sexual and reproductive health, community-based and inpatient treatment for acute malnutrition, mental health, and community health services across a wide range of geographic locations.
This is a senior leadership position with significant management responsibility. The role is based in Kabul with frequent travel to program sites across the country, including to remote and insecure locations.
1. Program Development and Management
• Guide Afghanistan’s health and nutrition departments to implement timely, effective, and relevant activities in line with identified needs, strategic objectives, and donor requirements.
• Lead the technical aspects of the project design and proposal development process for new or adapted health and nutrition programming, including the development of proposal narratives, logframes, budgets, and other supporting documents. Ensure compliance with IRC technical standards through engagement with technical advisors.
• Coordinate closely with the Deputy Director for Programs and grants department to ensure timely and effective grant management and compliance with donor requirements. Develop actionable plans to ensure that stated project objectives are regularly evaluated and achieved.
• Guide teams to ensure that the health and nutrition departments produce and utilize functional project management tools, including work plans, procurement plans, and accurate financial forecasts.
• Coordinate closely with the Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) department to develop effective monitoring and measurement tools and collect relevant data. Maintain a strong information management system and use findings to inform and improve program delivery. Carry out regular data review exercises.
• Ensure that all internal and external reports are submitted on time and to a high standard.
2. Team Leadership & Management
• Coach, mentor, and lead the health and nutrition teams to implement programs to a high standard of quality.
• Oversee the timely recruitment, comprehensive onboarding, and the sustained professional growth and wellbeing of team members.
• Ensure all team members are well-versed in job expectations and have clear performance objectives and professional development goals. Conduct regular management meetings with all direct reports and ensure the same is done throughout the team management structure.
• Identify training needs and develop capacity building plans for health and nutrition staff to improve management capacity.
• Promote and monitor staff care and wellbeing.
3. Technical Quality
• Ensure all health and nutrition projects are implemented in accordance with the IRC’s technical guidelines and global best practices.
• Liaise with health and nutrition technical advisors on a regular basis; maintain knowledge of new developments in the IRC Health Technical Unit and global coordination structures.
• Provide ongoing technical coaching, guidance, and supportive supervision to IRC and partner staff.
• Promote effective integration of health and nutrition services at the point of care. Ensure service delivery modalities are responsive to patient needs and location-specific constraints.
• Regularly monitor and report on unmet needs and service delivery gaps across Afghanistan; make informed recommendations to senior management on the capacity of the IRC to address identified needs.
• Regularly review MEAL data and apply indicator findings to improve program quality. Ensure all programs are data-driven.
• Develop and maintain a health and nutrition strategy for the IRC in Afghanistan, ensuring that program growth is aligned with the country’s overall Strategic Action Plan (SAP). Ensure the interventions of all health-related sub-sectors are complimentary and mutually reinforcing.
• Ensure consistent IRC representation in relevant clusters, technical working group meetings, and other coordination structures
• Oversee regular communication, negotiations and engagement with partners and government entities, including the Ministries of Public Health
• Work closely with field managers and the humanitarian access & security team to ensure concerns and challenges at the service delivery level are addressed appropriately.
• Proactively collaborate with other IRC sector technical leads to promote program integration and ensure effective internal referrals.
• Other relevant duties as assigned by supervisor to further IRC programs.
• Medical or public health professional with strong technical expertise in the delivery of healthcare services in volatile low-resource settings.
• General knowledge of all and advanced knowledge of at least two of the following sub-sectors required: primary health, acute malnutrition (both CMAM and TFC), reproductive health, mental health, community promotion
• Minimum of seven years of experience managing the implementation of complex humanitarian health and nutrition programs, including substantial experience in a leadership position for a large and diverse program.
• Significant experience in the management of a multi-donor grant portfolio required. Skilled in program design and proposal development, creation and timely execution of workplans, and high-quality donor reporting.
• Excellent writing skills and able to draft and edit complex technical documents for donor submission with minimal oversight.
• Strong financial management skills, including budget development, financial forecasting, and management of spending plans.
• Knowledge of health data management standards and quality assurance is essential. Ability to oversee both routine consultation data and complex indicator measurement, and to analyze and apply findings to inform program implementation and priorities. Training in epidemiology and statistics strongly preferred.
• Experience in complex emergencies and conflict-affected settings required.
• Excellent written and spoken English.
• Advanced leadership skills and a commitment to staff development.
• Strong cross-cultural communication skills and comfortable working as part of a diverse team. Sensitive to interpersonal differences and a range of viewpoints.
• Demonstrated advance planning and organizational skills. Able to effectively prioritize and follow multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously.
• Analytical, strategic, and able to proactively develop solutions to complex challenges.
• Flexible and innovative. Able to adapt programs and pivot approaches in response to changes in context.
• Proactive, reliable, and able to work independently in a fast-paced environment.
• Highly resilient and comfortable working in an insecure setting with restricted personal freedoms.
Work Environment: There is active conflict in parts of the country and a possibility of the conflict expanding into other locations. The situation in Kabul is currently quiet but remains unpredictable. Security will be thoroughly discussed during the interview process.
Housing: Lodging is in shared IRC guesthouses. All IRC sites have electricity and internet.
Standards of Professional Conduct: The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the IRC Way – Code of 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, Harassment-Free Workplace, Fiscal Integrity, Anti-Retaliation, Combating Trafficking in Persons and several others.
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.
IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability