RTI International is an independent nonprofit research institute and leading development organization headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA. Since 1958, RTI has worked in over 150 countries and designed and implemented cutting-edge solutions in the sectors of economic growth, governance, education, and health. A cornerstone of RTI’s work is strengthening the capacities of local partners and systems in order to increase local ownership and ensure that host country individuals and organizations have the skills and resources to achieve their missions and sustain their services in the long term.
RTI International is currently accepting applications for a Chief of Party (COP) for an anticipated USAID-funded Regional Intergovernmental Organizational (RIGO) Strengthening System project. The goal of the project is to strengthen the capacity of key RIGOs in East Africa so that they can improve leadership and better fulfill their mandates to lead the development agenda within the region. Target RIGOs under this project include the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Areas of capacity strengthening include institutional governance, strategic planning, data for decision-making, and the ability to meet the needs of their member states. To strengthen local capacity, we will utilize USAID’s Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD) approach that emphasizes continuous performance improvement through customized solutions, monitoring, learning, and adaptation.
The COP will be responsible for the overall management of the project and ensure that activities and deliverables are superbly executed. The COP will provide technical and strategic direction as well as provide substantial contributions to the organizational development (OD) activities and content design. In addition, she/he will coordinate with USAID, project partners, the RIGOs, and other donors that are contributing to similar initiatives. The COP will be responsible for completing all deliverables and activities on time, within budget, and according to USAID and RTI guidelines. The COP will have exceptional communication skills, experience in strengthening institutional capacity, and managing large and complex projects. She/he will have some exposure to working with RIGOs and, ideally, in helping them to develop their capacity.
The COP will be based out of Nairobi, Kenya, and will be expected to travel to other target countries where key RIGOs are located (Djibouti, Tanzania, and Zambia), as necessary, to oversee project staff and continuously connect with and support RIGOs. The project is expected to be five years in duration and approximately $10-25 million USD in value. This position is contingent upon receipt of donor funding. Nationals of East Africa are strongly encouraged to apply.
The responsibilities of the COP for RIGO project will be diverse and will require an individual who is adept at multi-tasking, working under pressure, and managing complex relationship dynamics. The responsibilities of the COP are as follows:
- Provide overall strategic direction and management oversight of the project in order to ensure that staff and project partners are well-coordinated and that activities are executed at the highest levels of quality, on time, and within the project budget.
- Prepare major deliverables required by USAID, including the project work plan, monitoring and evaluation plan, quarterly and annual progress reports, and other required reports or products.
- Provide substantial technical input into the design and delivery of capacity strengthening interventions which may cover the areas of strategic planning, internal and external collaboration, communication, M&E, leadership, institutional governance, and project management, to name a few areas.
- Develop creative approaches to strengthening the institutional capacity of key RIGOs that align with the HICD approach so that solutions are customized to the unique needs of the respective institutions. This will involve approaches that consult and engage relevant RIGO staff so that they have ownership and buy-in to selected interventions. Approaches should be learner-focused and include those that are peer-to-peer, coaching/mentoring, and adaptive.
- Supervise and mentor staff to ensure that they are empowered to perform their duties, collaborate as a team, and are accountable for results. Some staff will be managed remotely and will be embedded within the RIGOs.
- Oversee the creation and functioning of RIGO Working Groups that will streamline support and help to instil local ownership.
- Serve as the project point of contact / liaison to USAID and develop an effective and collaborative relationship so that USAID is regularly updated and consulted at appropriate levels.
- Liaise regularly with RTI’s home office in order to share updates, collaborate on deliverables, and consult on approaches. The COP must ensure that all activities are performed according to both USAID and RTI policies and procedures.
- Oversee and assume overall responsibility for managing the project budget to ensure that resources are utilized efficiently and judiciously.
- Continuously monitor the results of project activities, evaluating progress against project targets and identifying course-corrections that may be needed in order to improve impact.
Required Skills and Qualifications
The successful applicant will have extensive experience in managing complex, multi-dimensional, and multi-year programs that involve strengthening institutional capacity. In particular, the ideal candidate will possess significant experience in working with and/or strengthening the institutional capacity of RIGOs, ideally in the East Africa region. She/he will also ideally have experience with USAID and be familiar with USAID’s Human Institutional Capacity Development (HICD) model. She/he will be results-driven, able to absorb and respond to information in a timely manner, and possess strong team-building and negotiating skills to bring diverse stakeholders together.
Excellent management, organizational, and interpersonal skills and an ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff, partners, and the donor are essential to the role. Understanding the receptiveness of local stakeholders to capacity strengthening approaches and the impact of project interventions will require constant evaluation and reflection and potential adaptation of activities and methods in order to enhance results.
Applicants should possess:
- A minimum of a Master’s degree in international development, public administration, public policy, finance management, economic policy, or related field.
- A minimum of 14 years of experience in increasingly responsible positions implementing and managing international development projects.
- A minimum of 5 years of experience in a senior management role within a development project of equivalent size.
- Successful experience in non-traditional approaches to capacity development, such as peer-to-peer learning and mentoring and coaching.
- A track record in managing a multi-country presence, implementing simultaneous tasks across multiple countries, environments, and cultures.
- Strong experience collaborating with and connecting with stakeholders in the private and government sectors.
- An ability to manage and track budget expenditures to achieve outcomes with limited resources.
- Effective cross-cultural and communication skills so that she/he is able to create a shared vision on project objectives and activities among diverse stakeholders.
- An ability to resolve sensitive and complicated work issues with senior high-level country counterparts, donor representatives and senior-level staff.
- Fluency in English.
- Experience in East Africa strongly desired, along with experience in working with RIGOs.
- Experience in managing a USAID-funded projects is strongly preferred.
- CPT or HPI certification is a plus.