Head of Technical Unit

TITLE:  Head of Technical Unit
Programme Development and Quality   LOCATION: Kabul, Afghanistan with field travel across Provinces (minimum 40% of the time)
Fixed term – 2 years (with extension)

Level 3:  the post holder will have contact with children and/or young people either frequently (e.g. once a week or more) or intensively (e.g., four days in one month or more or overnight) because they work country programs; or are visiting country programs; or because they are responsible for implementing the police checking/vetting process staff.

Under the general direction and guidance of the Deputy Country Director for Program Development and Quality, the Head of Technical Unit will ensure all SCI Afghanistan programmes are of excellent technical quality, attract significant donor funding and contribute to national and global learning, advocacy and programme development.

The post holder is expected to ensure technical advice and support are consolidated and provided to the programme staff to help achieve cross-sectoral integration and programme coherence. One key aspect of the role is ensuring capability building, mentoring and coaching of technical advisors and specialists in order to support programme quality in line with global standards and key performance indicators. As integral part of the role, the Head of Technical Unit must be able to support Technical Advisors and Specialists to rapidly identify and anticipate problems and issues, help formulate strategic and programming priorities, and write and create products that represent assessments of complex issues under tight deadlines.

This role demands dedication to demonstrating outcomes for children, experience in integrated child rights programming and a highly motivated leader. S/he has specific oversight for ensuring that programs demonstrate thematic excellence in contributing to Save the Children’s three Breakthroughs for children, especially for the most deprived and marginalized: no child dies from preventable causes before their fifth birthday; all children learn from a quality basic education; and violence against children is no longer tolerated.

The role will work closely with other functions of the PDQ team and wider Country office, building and maintaining strong relationships with REALM Unit, NBD Unit and Programme Implementation Teams. The post-holder will deputise and cover for the Deputy Country Director-PDQ during absences.


Program Quality and Technical Excellence 
•   Build and lead a team of program technical experts needed to successfully deliver against the CSP.
o   Ensure effective working relationships with SC global, Member and regional technical advisors, procuring technical support as needed to support program and advocacy efforts, including during emergencies.
o   Ensure that program technical experts engage in larger communities of practice within and external to Save the Children, to link with the most relevant and evidence-based approaches and conduct timely and useful review of project reports to support quality reporting for Members and donors
o   Ensure that the different technical sectors of the Country Office are coordinated, integrated and support each other to optimize programs and projects.
o   Ensure that child safeguarding and safe programming is embedded in program design and considered throughout implementation to ensure that we do all we can to ensure children in our programs are safe, in line with our child safeguarding policy.
•   Ensure the country program delivers high quality, multi-sectoral programming in both development and humanitarian contexts (as appropriate).  
o   Ensure technical experts proactively and regularly communicate planned requirements for program design, learning and implementation to relevant CO departments/functions
o   Monitor and advance technical and operational quality of programmes, including conducting regular field visits to provide feedback on quality benchmarks, soliciting inputs for design of new programs and collecting ideas for innovation.
•   Ensure implementation of all Common Approaches identified in the CSP including defining training targets for Bronze, Silver or Gold Certification as appropriate. 
•   Work closely with the Research, Evidence, Accountability, Learning and Monitoring (REALM) team to ensure quality MEAL systems and frameworks for each sector monitor the impact of projects and progress towards strategic programme and advocacy objectives 
•   Ensure accountability is considered throughout the design and implementation of the programmes especially in terms of child safeguarding as well as ensuring child participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of the programmes where possible.
•   Take the initiative in documenting lessons learnt, best practice and case studies to shape in-country strategies and programme approaches, and contribute to broader sector learning

Thematic Leadership & Strategic Planning
•   Facilitate the development and pursuit of thematic and cross-cutting strategic priorities in line with the CSP, including gender equality and Save the Children’s Common Approaches, to guide current and future SC programming and Humanitarian Strategies.
•   In coordination with the Technical Advisors (TAs), finalize country annual plans /TA plans for TE support including field visits and training for the OPs/IP team. 
•   Support ownership and commitment to the Country Office strategy by all staff and departments through clear communication, regular feedback on progress and engagement of all functions in updates.
•   Participate in global discussions and working groups to represent country office, and the voice of children, in strategy design and technical leadership.
•   Support change processes and roll-out new ways of working to improve achievement of the CSP
•   Keep abreast of national and global debates in policy and advocacy around key technical areas in order to apply to programming or advocacy.
•   Support DCD-PDQ to provide leadership and direction for the country office to become a Learning Organization.

Programme Development and donor engagement 
•   Work with Head of Business Development and PDQ Director to secure funding to maintain or expand the country office’s programmes as per the country strategic plan and the needs with a level of foresight and consideration of sustainability
•   Play a leading role in designing innovative and high impact programmes/projects and proposals, by supporting technical experts to ensure high quality, evidence-based designs that draw on needs assessments, learning from past programs and child safeguarding principles;
•   In coordination with the TAs map the resourcing needs for the PDQ unit, support the design of quality proposals and technical budgets, ensuring correct allocation in new proposals and budgets, overseeing the technical staff in coordination with New Business Development colleagues 
•   Ensuring all proposals meet SCI and sector standards and are in line with strategic goals and SCI approaches.
•   Incorporate Common Approaches in new proposals and budgets to align with set priorities in CSP/HRP. 
•   Oversee and coordinate technical advisors to ensure integrated approaches across themes including Health and Nutrition, FSL (incl. Cash), MHPSS, Child Protection, Education, Gender, and Disability Inclusion, etc.
Staff Management and Leadership
•   Ensure appropriate staffing of Technical Advisors and Specialists, and engagement of additional technical support when needed to deliver quality project design and delivery.
•   Ensure that all technical staff understand and are able to perform their role in delivering first-class, quality programs for children in both development and emergency contexts through effective onboarding and clear workplans.
•   Manage individual and team performance using principles of leadership agility, and Save the Children’s performance management system.
•   Ensure that staff proactively build and maintain technical, managerial and leadership skills, including competencies in child rights programming, child safeguarding and Common Approaches, providing coaching opportunities when needed.
•   Deputise for the DCD-PDQ during absences and Acting CD periods to ensure consistency of strategic direction and effective representation of PDQ at the SMT and external leadership engagements

BEHAVIOURS (Values in Practice)
•   holds self-accountable for making decisions, managing resources efficiently, achieving and role modelling Save the Children values
•   holds the team and partners accountable to deliver on their responsibilities - giving them the freedom to deliver in the best way they see fit, providing the necessary development to improve performance and applying appropriate consequences when results are not achieved.
•   sets ambitious and challenging goals for themselves and their team, takes responsibility for their own personal development and encourages their team to do the same
•   widely shares their personal vision for Save the Children, engages and motivates others
•   future orientated, thinks strategically and on a global scale.
•   builds and maintains effective relationships, with their team, colleagues, Members and external partners and supporters
•   values diversity, sees it as a source of competitive strength
•   approachable, good listener, easy to talk to.
•   develops and encourages new and innovative solutions
•   willing to take disciplined risks.
•   honest, encourages openness and transparency; demonstrates highest levels of integrity
•   Master's degree or Bachelor's Degree, and experience in relevant social science, human rights, development studies, NGO management or equivalent fields.
•   Experience in one or more of Save the Children's thematic sectors: education, child protection, health and nutrition, child poverty, etc.
•   Excellent listening, inter-personal, communication and networking skills; proven experience and effectiveness working across functional teams and in a matrixed structure; and an ability to work with diverse populations.
•   Experience in managing and overseeing/coordinating technical teams
•   Skills in training, capability building, coaching, mentorship, problem solving, and project cycle management.
•   Excellent research and analytical skills with ability to write clear and well-argued assessments, project reports, and proposals
•   Can work well in stressful situations; able to manage multiple competing tasks, prioritize deliverables and meet reasonable deadlines
•   The capacity and willingness to be extremely flexible and accommodating in difficult and sometimes insecure working circumstances.
•   Proven experience as a team player and leader in an international organisation.

•   Language skills in Dari / Pashto
•   Experience or knowledge of working and living in Afghanistan or a similar complex emergency setting 
•   Experience in promoting children’s participation in programme design, implementation and evaluation.

Additional job responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities as set out above are not exhaustive and the role holder may be required to carry out additional duties within reasonableness of their level of skills and experience.
Equal Opportunities 
The role holder is required to carry out the duties in accordance with the SCI Equal Opportunities and Diversity policies and procedures.
Child Safeguarding:
We need to keep children safe so our selection process, which includes rigorous background checks, reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse.
Safeguarding our Staff:
The post holder is required to carry out the duties in accordance with the SCI anti-harassment policy
Health and Safety
The role holder is required to carry out the duties in accordance with SCI Health and Safety policies and procedures

Job Description

Find out more about this role by downloading the job description

Job description

16 Nov 2023

24 Nov 2023 - 09:58 +0530


Programme Operations



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