Country Director

Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Industry Sector:
Type of contract:

Country Director

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Main Duties & Responsibilities:


Provide leadership in the overall effective planning and direction of Concern’s Programme in Afghanistan.

Build a strong and committed team of national and international staff adhering to Concern’s policies and procedures and applying key principles of transparency, accountability and equality.

Provide direction and leadership to the Country Management Team; leading a participative Country Team.

Mentor and advise the CMT on all aspects of the management of the country programme

Maintain a clear line of communication with the Overseas Dept, Emergency, HR, SAL, Finance and Logistics in HQ.

Security Management

The Country Director has overall responsibility for the security management of all Concern staff, programmes

Review and revise the Security Management Plan (SMP) Contingency Plans and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on an annual basis/ or as required (depending on the security dynamic)

Programme Development & Management

Oversee and lead the strategic development of programmes in line with Concern’s organizational Strategic Plan (2016-20) and Concern Afghanistan Country Strategic Plan (2017-21)

Ensure that all programmes are implemented to optimal quality including maintenance of programme documents.


Represent Concern Afghanistan at all levels, external and internally, other NGOs, ACBAR, ANSO, UN agencies, Donors etc.

Represent Concern at relevant UN Clusters and Afghanistan Humanitarian Forum (AHF)

Engage on key Afghanistan Advocacy issues


In line with the organizational timeframes; ensure Country Commitments and Implementation Plan is on track and annual reports are submitted.

Financial Management

Ensure that the financial management of the Afghanistan Country programme is on track

Overall responsibility for the timely submission of financial reports, FRPs, Budget Revisions to HQ and reports to donors

Human Resources

Line manage key staff and also have the overall responsibility for staff management and development of all national and international staff

Ensure that regular staff Performance and Development Review (PDR) is established and PDRs are undertaken for all staff.


Take a lead role in fund raising with close support from the field team and the RD.



Education, Qualifications & Experience Required:   Degree in political science, development studies, social science or related field.

  • Experience in both Humanitarian and Development contexts within a complex security and political environment
  • Proven ability in report writing, research and documentation and experience in proposal writing
  • Experience with strategy, policy and advocacy
  • Excellent communication skills in English – written and verbal
  • Must be computer literate MS, Excel and Outlook
  • Demonstrative leadership experience


Education, Qualifications & Experience Required:  Masters Degree in political science, development studies, social science or related field

Special Skills, Aptitude or Personality Requirements:

  • Empathy with organizational goals
  • Leadership and teambuilding skills
  • Analytical and problem solving skills
  • Flexible, adaptable and creative
  • Ability to work under pressure and under strict deadlines
  • Methodological and thorough
  • Capacity building and training skills
  • Cross cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Patience and resilience


All applications should be submitted through our website at by closing date. CV’s should be no more than 4 pages in length.

All candidates who are short-listed for a first round interview will be notified via email after the application deadline.

Concern Worldwide is an Irish-based non-governmental, international, humanitarian organisation dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries.

Concern has a Staff Code of Conduct and a Programme Participant Protection Policy which have been developed to ensure the maximum protection of programme participants from exploitation and to clarify the responsibilities of Concern staff, consultants, visitors to the programme and partner organization, and the standards of behavior expected of them.  In this context staff have a responsibility to the organization to strive for, and maintain, the highest standards in the day-to-day conduct in their workplace in accordance with Concern’s core values and mission. Any candidate offered a job with Concern Worldwide will be expected to sign the Programme Participant Protection Policy and the Concern Staff Code of Conduct as an appendix to their contract of employment.   By signing the Programme Participant Protection Policy and the Concern Staff Code of Conduct candidates acknowledge that they have understood the contents of both the Concern Staff Code of Conduct and the Programme Participant Protection Policy and agree to conduct themselves in accordance with the provisions of these two documents.

Concern receives a substantial amount of funding from external donors each year.  Increasingly donors are introducing requirements whereby future funding is conditional on Concern ensuring that the names of any new employee or volunteer do not appear on terrorism lists generated by the European Union (List of person, groups and entities to which Regulation (EC No. 2580/2001 applies), the US Government (Office of Foreign Assets Control list of specially designated Nationals and Blocked Persons) and the United Nations (Consolidated List).  Any offer of employment (either paid or voluntary) with Concern Worldwide will not be made pending a clearance check being conducted on the applicant.  For additional information please consult our web site or contact the Human Resource Division in our Head Office.

Concern Worldwide is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.




Brief outline of country programme:

Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world both in terms of per capita incomes and social indicators. 42% of the Afghan population lives below the poverty and an additional 20% of the population are living just above the poverty line and are therefore highly vulnerable to shocks to their livelihoods. The dire situation of Afghan women living under the Taliban regime has been well documented. While improvements have occurred since 2001, Afghan women’s rights are still routinely violated and Afghan women’s hopes for equality remain largely unfulfilled. The percentage of illiterate women in Afghanistan – 82% – is higher than any other country in the world. Afghanistan is the only country in South Asia where female mortality is higher than male mortality; and Afghan women are far more likely to be poor than Afghan men.

The difficult challenge of poverty reduction in Afghanistan is compounded by the deteriorating security situation, weak rule of law, characterized by a culture of impunity, and the decimation of communities by the narcotics industry.

Concern’s work in Afghanistan began in 1998, focusing on infrastructure repair and emergency relief which was in response to a major earthquake in the north-east.  Since then Concern

At present Concern operates various programmes in 7 districts of Takhar and Badakshan provinces and is in the process of starting work in one more district in Badakshan Province.

Concern Afghanistan’s 2017-21 Country Strategic Plan  includes the following priorities.

The country programme will focus on Livelihood Security, WASH and Education as core sectors of its work for the next five years.  A significant decision made as part of a drive for greater focus was to leave out Health (primary health care and MNCH). In addition, the country programme will integrate resilience building into all sectoral interventions. Finally, a women’s empowerment programme will be piloted in one distict designed to build community support for equality objectives and initiatives.  The lessons learned from this pilot will inform the scaling up of such initiatives across the country programme within the duration of the CSP.

In order to enhance sustainability, there will be a strong emphasis on working with and building the capacity of local institutions; Community Based Organisations, local NGO partners and authorities.

The programme will deepen the area-based integrated approach it adopted in 2014.  Concern will continue to work in Takhar and Badakshan Provinces, which are amongst the most poor and vulnerable provinces in the country. Within these provinces, the programme will focus on poorer districts and communities. It was also decided that work will mainly focus on 8 districts in the two provinces (four each).  In each of these districts Concern will strive to improve targeting of poor and vulnerable communities, and within these communities, the extreme poor and vulnerable households/ families.

The programme will move towards “minimum package” programming which is based on the principle that extreme poor men and women in target communities should be supported with a combination of supports; Education, Livelihood, Natural Resource Management, Resilience Strengthening, WASH, addressing Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction.


Brief outline of political situation:

The crisis in Afghanistan has been ongoing for over three decades and is very much a function of various civil conflicts and international geo-political disputes in which world powers and neighbouring countries have played a large part.  Afghanistan is a factious and deeply divided country.  Ethnic, political and religious rivalries play an important role in determining allegiances, patronage and loyalties. Such rivalries have been compounded by atrocities and war crimes committed by all sides during decades of conflict.  After being directly responsible for the security of Afghanistan following the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001, the International Security Assistance Forces phased out at the end of 2014 leaving behind a nominal force of about 13,000 to provide training and capacity building support to the 350,000 strong Afghan national armed forces and police. The security situation has considerably deteriorated since 2015 and in mid 2016 and this has forced the international community, the US in particular, to reconsider its earlier decision to effect a complete pull out of its forces before the current Presidential term ends and has now agreed to keep the minimum force presence longer.  Thus the approximately 13,000 troops from US and allies from NATO would continue to provide training support beyond 2017.  In July, the NATO made a pledge to provide an annual assistance of around USD 1 bn over three years between 2017 and 2020.  The US will provide another USD3.5bn and the Afghan Government will provide 0.5billion – making an annual outlay of USD 5bn, which is what is needed to maintain the 350,000 strong armed forces of Afghanistan.  This pledge will go a long way in enhancing greater stability and peace in the country.

The Government of Afghanistan (GoA) successfully co-hosted a Conference on Afghanistan in Brussels with the European Union on 4-5 October. Representatives from 75 countries and 26 International Organisations participated. Participants endorsed the Afghan government’s ambitious reform agenda and undertook continued international political and financial support for Afghanistan for the next four years.  The international community committed US$15.2 billion. Of this, the EU and its member states committed to US$5.6 billion. This exceptional level of funding ensures that Afghanistan remains on a firm path to political and economic stability, state-building and development.

On 25 September 2016, the GoA and the World Bank signed an agreement for a US$1 billion grant for the Afghan Government’s Citizens Charter Programme.  The Citizens Charter is an inter-ministerial, multi-sectorial programme, where Ministries will collaborate on a single programme using a programmatic approach. The Citizens’ Charter build on it’s predecessor, the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) and link the Community Development Councils (CDCs) to sub-national government to improve communication and coordination from the community to the district, provincial and national levels, which will increase Government visibility and accountability. The Citizens’ Charter is an important foundation for the Government’s reform agenda, contributing to: Ensuring Citizens’ Development Rights; Building Better Governance; Reforming Development Planning & Management and Developiing Partnerships.


Description and location of accommodation: Comfortable one bed roomed house five minute’s walk/drive from the office in Quala Fatullah.  There is a sitting room, kitchen, dining room, bedroom and bathroom (hot running water) it is in a comfortable and secure residential area.

Description and location of workplace: Quala Fatullah, Kabul, Afghanistan.

General comments:

Off duty transport available: Yes, night/weekend driver in Kabul, Taloqan and Faizabad

Required documentation for visa/work permit: Passport details, third level Diploma/ degree/ Masters certificate attested by the embassy of Afghanistan, health fitness certificate, CV and contract

Anticipated wait for visa/permit (weeks): A visa registration number will be sent from the MoFA (Afghanistan) to the embassy or consulate closest to the recruited candidate. This process follows the approval process in the MoE (INGOs are registered with the Ministry of Economy) and submission of education documents and passport details. The process usually takes 4 weeks. A one month visa issued before arrival will be upgraded to a six month multiple re-entry visa in country. A work permit will also be obtained in-country

Why expatriate necessary: The political situation in Afghanistan is not conducive for a national staff member to be a Country Director

National counterpart to be trained: No

Any health, safety & security risks associated with this post:



  • Afghanistan is high risk in relation to security, the security situation remains very precarious throughout Afghanistan
  • No special health risks, but here is little by way of health services therefore candidates should not require regular specialist medical treatment.
  • Due to the lack of road infrastructure, travel in country is very difficult; therefore candidates with recurrent or historical back complaint should be advised of the rough road conditions.
  • Ideally should be given security training prior to departure.
  • Stress management training would be of benefit from both a personal and professional aspect.
  • If new to Concern the post holder must have training on Concern Security, and Programmes in HQ
  • Mine awareness training is available in country, however if possible candidates should have prior training/awareness.


Resulting preparation/training required: Security and Equality, Gender, DRR; if the candidate recruited does not have previous Concern overseas experience it is essential that s/he receives comprehensive training/introduction to Concern programmes from HQ.

Project funding confirmed: Yes

From whom: Co funders and Concern General Donations

For what period: Ongoing

Government approval: Yes

If not, when anticipated:

Recommended pre-departure training:  Security and Equality, Gender, DRR; if the candidate recruited does not have previous Concern overseas experience it is essential that s/he receives comprehensive training/introduction to Concern programmes from HQ.

Recommended pre-departure research:  Background reading on Afghanistan, Concern Afghanistan’s SMP, Concern Policies, Concern Afghanistan Country Strategic Plan + Accountability, Annual Report 2012 and other relevant core programme documents

Languages(s) required: English (and Dari is an advantage but not essential)

Pre-departure language training required: Not necessary

Any other relevant information: Once recruited a general Induction manual will be forwarded to the person appointed which will outline in detail the living conditions, climate, etc.


Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide works with the world’s poorest people to tackle hunger and transform lives. Hunger affects everything for the world’s poorest people. Concern Worldwide are working for a world where no one dies for want of safe, nutritious food. Their approach focuses on practical, intelligent solutions that save lives and build livelihoods.

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