Head of Programs, Abuja


Company: Oxfam

Location: Abuja

Position: Head of Programs

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations (affiliates) committed to creating a just world without poverty. In Nigeria Oxfam works in the areas of Economic Justice/Sustainable Livelihoods, Humanitarian Programming to save lives, Advancing Gender Justice and Good Governance, adopting a right based approach.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Position: Head of Programs
Ref Id: 5083
Job Location: Abuja
Internal Job Grade: B2 – Global
Contract type: 2 Years Fixed Term
Reporting to: Country Director
Annual Budget: The Country Office has a budget of over €15 million

Job Purpose

  • A key member of the Country Management Team, the Head of Programs primary responsibility includes the strategic development and management of the country program.
  • S/he supports Oxfam’s impact locally, regionally, and globally through ensuring program alignment to the key strategic objectives and program standards.
  • S/he provides oversight for all program budgets and expenditure – over EUR 15m a year.
  • The HOP collaborates with the Head of Influencing and Public engagement on policy and campaign issues.

Staff reporting to this post:

  • LINE Project Manager, PROACT Project Manager, FUWOBA Project Manager, PROSELL Project Manager, VOICE Project Coordinator, Gender Coordinator, VSL/Market Systems Coordinator and Programme Quality & Development Manager, Business Development Officer.

Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities
Strategic Management and thought leadership:

  • Coordinate programme strategy development; provide strategic and technical leadership in the design, development, planning budgeting, and implementation and monitoring of the Oxfam Country Strategies (OCS)
  • Lead the implementation of Oxfam’s ONE Program approach in Nigeria ensuring it delivers on the OCS vision and objectives and championing the new ways of working embodied in the OCS
  • Provide high level technical advice and support on all policy issues and facilitate the development and delivery of high quality programmes with strong gender justice and MEAL components across all programmes
  • Stay abreast of and adjust to changing circumstances and understandings regarding international interventions and practices and anticipate, analyze and manage highly complex and diverse public policy issues and programme strategy, ensuring that Oxfam in Nigeria ideas and approaches include the latest thinking
  • Ensure adequate resourcing allocated within budgets to scale up influencing at national level and support initiatives for resource mobilization
  • Reduce exposure to risk, minimize opportunity for fraud and institutionalise logs, finance and programme quality systems and procedures into country management
  • Provide direct and close leadership ensuring that women rights and women leadership are at the core of Oxfam’s work in Nigeria
  • Working closely with the Business Development Officer, identify opportunities for funding to ensure the financial sustainability of country programme of Oxfam in Nigeria

Programme Development, Management, Delivery and Quality:

  • Lead intensive programme development that espouses the Oxfam’s one program approach, is conflict and gender sensitive while taking initiative to respond to the unexpected and generating alternative ways to achieve program results bearing in mind the implication of actions. Oversee the development of program and project improvement plans, to ensure effective and timely implementation of the projects and program
  • Ensure the delivery of a country program with demonstrable impact and value for money, and is accountable for overall program quality and learning.
  • Ensure that programmes implemented in a consultative, participative and gender sensitive way and meets Oxfam’s quality standards.
  • Ensure technical / sectoral integration of programmes, in an OI context, where appropriate.
  • Provide leadership to programme teams in the assessment, planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects in line with Oxfam’s values, policies and procedures.
  • Ensure that programmes comply with donor contractual obligations and that all reporting is of good quality and is done in a timely manner.
  • Provide oversight to partner portfolio, ensuring the identification of both implementing and strategic partners, and ensuring the building and maintaining of these relationships
  • In coordination with programme teams, ensure technical programmatic support across the programme, ensuring programme quality elements are incorporated in budgets and identifying separate funding opportunities (internal or external) for programme quality.
  • Provide program quality assurance and develop, implement and embed, a knowledge management system and social accountability, that will ensure the sharing of knowledge across the program, other country programs, and the broader confederation in line with CAMSA requirements
  • Ensure that robust planning, design, monitoring, evaluation, learning and social accountability systems are in place, adhered to and used as a decision-making tool, encouraging consistency and best practice across programs;
  • Provide ongoing training and guidance to staff on MEALSA best practices.
  • Build strong synergy between development and humanitarian programming and policy advocacy/campaign ensuring that resilient thinking, humanitarian planning and as necessary response meet Oxfam standards.
  • Ensure value for money for program delivery is guaranteed and program effectiveness is the order of the day
  • In coordination with the Country Director, Project Managers, Head of Influencing and other relevant staff, lead the identification of new funding and programming initiatives and opportunities that respond to identified needs and the OCS
  • Lead the development of solicited and unsolicited proposals and concept notes.

Representation, advocacy/policy and communication:

  • Promote a culture shift in how advocacy, humanitarian and long term development staff bring their skills together to achieve change at national level.
  • Manage external relations and public perception in addition to supporting wide dissemination of Oxfam’s policy positions, facilitating networking and ensuring that the organization has the necessary information to engage in influencing activities,
  • Support the programme to develop effective networks and partnerships with multiple stakeholders for the effective delivery of campaign goals ensuring linkages at regional and global level.
  • Represent Oxfam externally to Federal and State Government Officials in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, UN agencies, donors and (I)NGO forums.
  • Developing good networks and relationships for Oxfam with these agencies to create formal and informal alliances towards joint objectives
  • Advocate on key issues at programme level and feed into external advocacy initiatives, suggest focus areas for advocacy work.
  • Lead and/or participate in effective communications about programme impact with all relevant stakeholders (donors, UN, NGOs, beneficiaries, media).
  • Keep informed of relevant programme issues and initiate and contribute to wider programme learning – also by initiating and facilitating programme learning events and evaluations.


  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security and safety management priorities.
  • Promote conflict sensitivity programming across all projects and initiatives within the country program
  • Contribute to disaster preparedness, mitigation and management including humanitarian response activities for Category 2 / 3 emergencies.

People Development and Management:

  • As a key member of the SMT, support the Country Director steer organisational learning for effective delivery taking into account Oxfam’s new ways of working.
  • Take initiatives to improve learning and sharing of programme experience (within the programme and beyond), including cross-programme learning.
  • Ensures the delivery of a country program with demonstrable impact and is accountable for overall program quality and learning.
  • Manage the program team to deliver on the OCS, providing leadership, Inspiration and guidance and ensuring that the management of the team is in line with Oxfam’s HR policies and procedures.
  • Provide operational and people line management, including performance management of program staff and budget management
  • Motivate and develops staff by empowering and inspiring them to want to do things, providing appropriate coaching and mentoring supports, acting as a role model for behavior
  • Provide challenging and stretching tasks or assignments and provide coaching to support staff in meeting those challenges
  • Responsible for Talent management and development of Oxfam staff.

Person's Specification

  • Advanced Master degree in International Relations/ Development Studies, Public Administration, Economics, Project Management, Humanitarian Aid or other related topics


  • At least 10 years of proven program management experience, with minimum of 5 years senior management experience
  • Comprehensive knowledge and experience of development programs (agriculture, WASH, Gender), Advocacy/campaigning and Humanitarian programs.
  • Demonstrable experience in managing multidisciplinary projects and programmes with significant budgets, from different donors, medium-large scale projects including multi-year, transformative economic and social projects in a conflict context.
  • Experience in representing an organization with partners, government agencies, private sector organizations, legal advisors and donors at senior level: locally, regionally and globally ideally in the West Africa region
  • Experience of managing complex change processes and relationships involving a wide range of both internal and external multi-cultural stakeholders; bring in and draw on a wide INGO and NGO network in Nigeria and/or the West Africa region
  • Experience of developing and managing complex budgets associated with donor and partner budgets
  • Leadership experience of (possibly) remote teams operating within an INGO context; has knowledge and experience of using coaching and team working to deliver
  • Understanding of managing security, health and safety and risk within and INGO

Skills & Abilities:

  • Strong, strategic, analytical and conceptual thinking skills; able to understand complex issues and translate them into simple, workable actions and plans
  • Strong people management skills to co-ordinate the Nigeria program team to deliver on the OCS objectives.
  • Ability to coach on the building of strong, credible relationships with international and local NGOs, government associations, business leaders and communities
  • Politically astute, with a good understanding of key external organisations, how they operate and make decisions, and the country development context
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, in written and verbal English, with high impact influencing and persuasive skills. Able to use different approaches to achieve followership.
  • Knowledge of capacity building, learning and development activities and how to create a learning and sharing environment with different stakeholders
  • Commitment to and knowledge of creating a partner-led operational environment, with an ability to create an internal Oxfam approach that is focussed on developing and supporting partner organisations to achieve direct impact and results relating to Oxfam’s objectives
  • Proven track record of making sound judgment in uncertain and pressurized situations.
  • Ability to anticipate and manage risks that could threaten the organizations reputation, operational viability and security.
  • Ability to encourage forward thinking, new ideas and learning from experience beyond the country program context while acting within a global framework
  • Commitment to Oxfam’s overall aims and policies and experience of promoting women’s rights and those of marginalised people in all aspects of Oxfam’s work in Nigeria.

Organisational Values:

  • Accountability – Our purpose-driven, results-focused approach means we take responsibility for our actions and hold ourselves accountable. We believe that others should also be held accountable for their actions.
  • Empowerment – Our approach means that everyone involved with Oxfam, from our staff and supporters to people living in poverty, should feel they can make change happen.
  • Inclusiveness – We are open to everyone and embrace diversity. We believe everyone has a contribution to make, regardless of visible and invisible differences.

Key Behavioral Competencies:

  • Decisiveness: We are comfortable to make transparent decisions and to adapt decision making modes to the context and needs.
  • Influencing: We have the ability to engage with diverse stakeholders in a way that leads to increased impact for the organization We spot opportunities to influence effectively and where there are no opportunities, we have the ability to create them in a respectful and impactful manner.
  • Humility: We put ‘we’ before ‘me’ and place an emphasis on the power of the collective, nurture the team and play to the strengths of each individual. We are not concerned with hierarchical power, and we engage with, trust and value the knowledge and expertise of others across all levels of the organization.
  • Relationship Building: We understand the importance of building relationship, within and outside the organization. We have the ability to engage with traditional and non-traditional stakeholders in ways that lead to increased impact for the organization.
  • Listening: We are good listeners who can see where deeper levels of thoughts and tacit assumptions differ. Our messages to others are clear and consider different preferences.
  • Mutual Accountability: We can explain our decisions and how we have taken them based on our organizational values. We are ready to be held to account for what we do and how we behave, as we are also holding others to account in a consistent manner.
  • Agility, Complexity, and Ambiguity: We scan the environment, anticipate changes, are comfortable with lack of clarity and deal with a large number of elements interacting in diverse and unpredictable ways.
  • Systems Thinking: We view problems as parts of an overall system and in their relation to the whole system, rather than reacting to a specific part, outcome or event in isolation. We focus on cyclical rather than linear cause and effect. By consistently practicing systems thinking we are aware of and manage well unintended consequences of organizational decisions and actions.
  • Strategic Thinking and Judgment: We use judgment, weighing risk against the imperative to act. We make decisions consistent with organizational strategies and values.
  • Vision Setting: We have the ability to identify and lead visionary initiatives that are beneficial for our organization and we set high-level direction through a visioning process that engages the organization and diverse external stakeholders.
  • Self-Awareness: We are able to develop a high degree of self-awareness around our own strengths and weaknesses and our impact on others. Our self-awareness enables us to moderate and self-regulate our behaviors to control and channel our impulses for good purposes.
  • Enabling: We all work to effectively empower and enable others to deliver the organizations goals through creating conditions of success. We passionately invest in others by developing their careers, not only their skills for the job. We provide freedom; demonstrate belief and trust provide appropriate support.


  • We are committed to ensuring diversity and gender equality within our organization. Therefore, people of all gender identities, sexes, sexual orientations, races, colors, religions, cultures, abilities, etc. are eligible for this position.
  • Oxfam aims to attract great talent that not only fits the job but also Oxfam’s high standard of values and principles, who shares and demonstrates Oxfam’s commitment to prevent and eradicate any type of misconduct including sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, any other type of misuse of power or lack of integrity and financial misconduct. We are committed to promoting the welfare of children, young people, and adults. We place a high priority on ensuring that only those who share and demonstrate our values are recruited to work for us.
  • All offers of employment will be subject to satisfactory references and may be subject to appropriate screening checks, which can include criminal records and terrorism finance checks, or integrity screenings/references relating to misconduct and disciplinary actions in prior employment.
  • Qualified females are strongly encouraged to apply.



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