Head of Project/Office At Search for Common Ground

Search will be implementing an ambitious, 24 month environmental peacebuilding project, entitled “Msitu wetu, umilele wetu (Our Forest, Our Future): Building Peaceful Ties and Shared Ownership in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve”. The project aims to build community resilience and strengthen social cohesion, by strengthening capacities of local citizens to transform conflict and build constructive relationships with local ICCN management structures, provincial authorities and other stakeholder, around issues relevant to the Okapi Nature Reserve.

To lead this effort Search seeks an experienced and dynamic Head of Project with strong coordination, communication, peacebuilding, and project and budget management skills to oversee and guide the effective and high quality implementation of the project’s programmatic vision. The Head of Project will have solid partner management skills and solid technical knowledge in the areas of natural resource management, peacebuilding and conflict transformation, particularly in the context of wildlife and nature conservation. S/he moreover should have proven experience in managing USAID grants. S/he will be responsible for the Bunia office, and the sub-office in Epulu, as the primary locations for the project team.

Based in Bunia with frequent travel to Epulu and project intervention sites (Ituri Province), the Head of Project will assume, as needed, the double headed role of head of project and head of Office (Bunia). Hereto he will oversee the project team and the Bunia-based support team. The Head of Project reports to the Country Director, and works closely with the Program Director, Finance Director, Operations Director, the relevant technical departments, including M&E, finance and operations teams, and the Regional Team as well as partners and stakeholders, to ensure the effective implementation of project activities. S/he will moreover collaborate and coordinate with other project leads operating in the same area of intervention.

The Head of Project is responsible for the effective management, coordination and monitoring of all stages of the project and ensuring program quality. S/he will be the Head of Office for the Bunia office and Epulu sub-office from which the project will be implemented.

Main Responsibilities

Project management & quality assurance:

  • Ensure the effective use, updating and analyses of key program management tools (work-, spending, procurement, Monitoring and Evaluation and recruitment plans) to guide decision making including by ensuring close collaboration and consultation with all relevant departments of the organization
  • Ensure that the project is implemented on schedule, according to the work plan, and with high technical quality
  • Determine and develop strategic and programmatic approaches, taking into account the contextual dynamics in the areas of action and transmit programmatic orientations to the teams and partners, in collaboration with the technical staff and the Country Director
  • Collaborate closely with the Monitoring and Evaluation, Learning and Research department in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the quality and impact of activities, ensuring that lessons and analysis are integrated into decision-making and strategic direction
  • Organize weekly/monthly project progress review with relevant staff, allowing updates of the BVA, expenditure plan and activity plan based on a joint analysis of progress taking into account internal and external factors and M&E data, to ensure that budget projections and activity planning are realistic
  • Ensure that the implementation of activities is consistent with Search’s vision, including contributing to the implementation of the Common Ground Approach
  • Coordinate the necessary support and guidance as required within the project with the various departments involved.

Budget tracking and compliance

  • Ensure daily budget monitoring and compliance with budget planning, and coordinate with the different departments of Search, as well as with partners to introduce any necessary corrections
  • Ensure that the funds allocated to the project are used in accordance with the forecasts and that their accounting allocation is in line with the budget
  • Ensure the follow-up and review of all purchase requisitions (status of need) before validation or submission to the hierarchy for approval
  • Ensure that all expenditures are made in compliance with and in accordance with Search and the donor’s administrative, financial and operational procedures, including approval of expenditures and documentation
  • Ensure that funds are made available to the project and its partners in a timely manner and in accordance with internal procedures.

Partnership management

  • Develop/update partner strategy in support of projects
  • Initiate an in-depth analysis of partner skills and capacity building needs, as the basis of the work plan for the Search team and partners
  • Lead the contractualization and management of partners according to Search procedures
  • Ensure regular assessment and planning meetings with partners
  • Accompany and follow up directly with partners in the implementation of activities and reporting
  • Ensure the development of a conflict-sensitive communication strategy with project partners
  • Ensure compliance with Search’s values, rules and procedures, in relation to the management of partnerships and relationships in the field

External Coordination

  • Ensure the presentation of the project to stakeholders in all provinces of intervention
  • Accompany the project team to ensure close collaboration with the political-administrative and security authorities of the area for the definition, adaptation and implementation of the activities planned by the project
  • Participate in and proactively contribute to existing coordination mechanisms (clusters, working groups, etc.) on natural resource management, conflict transformation, and wildlife conservation, to ensure complementarity of approaches and activities carried out by the project
  • Ensure the technical liaison of the project with the donor


  • Anticipate donor reporting needs by coordinating and collecting inputs from field teams in a timely manner and ensure the quality, compilation, finalization and validation of internal and external reports of all types (including financial and narrative) in conjunction with national and regional leadership as required
  • Accompany and coach the teams to ensure the quality expected in the reports
  • Ensure the quality of the inputs received from the team, and as needed, provide technical support to the teams in order to ensure the expected quality with the support of colleagues from the technical coordination or the region

Staff and office management and compliance

  • Participate in the recruitment of personnel assigned to the project
  • Supervise and support the performance development of the people under his/her supervision (setting and reviewing performance objectives, coaching, training and evaluation) in order to optimize project results
  • Create an atmosphere and work space for the whole team leading to the expression of ideas, the willingness to learn and to engage in self-critical and constructive reflections, with the objective of achieving the best results for the benefit of our beneficiaries
  • Ensure that staff members adhere to Search’s standards and codes of conduct.
  • Ensure staff understand and apply the various policies and procedures of Search (Security, Finance, Administration, IT, Logistics)
  • Supervise monthly financial reports according to Search procedures
  • Control spending and operational costs in line with available budget, through regular monitoring of operational budget in consultation with the Finance Director and office finance
  • Participate in the Senior Management Team meetings, and contribute actively to management decision-making and roll out
  • Apply any SMT decisions within the Ituri programmes
  • Ensure close monitoring of the political and security environment and adapting the security plan accordingly.

Diploma and Experience required

  • Experience implementing conflict resolution, mitigation, management, and reconciliation programming utilizing people-to-people peacebuilding approaches.
  • At least 10 years of experience in relevant management, supervisory, and technical experience with progressive responsibility working with activities that are of similar scope and scale to this activity.
  • A Master’s degree in political science, international relations, international development, public/business administration, conflict studies, other social sciences, natural resources management, or fields closely related to the work required. A Master’s degree may be substituted by a Bachelor’s degree and at least 15 years of experience in strategic planning and implementation of related activities in similar conflict-affected areas.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in complex, politically charged, unstable environments, work across different cultures, and manage diverse teams to deliver impact within agreed timelines.
  • Proven experience in managing complex projects across dispersed areas in consultation with local implementation partners.
  • Excellent capacity for adaptive project management as well as a strong ability to coordinate with internal and external stakeholders to arrive at consistent, timely, and fair decisions that could mitigate risks and maximize project results.
  • Solid knowledge of financial and operational procedures
  • Strong communications and interpersonal skills
  • Initiative and problem-solving spirit, attentive to priorities, time management, deadlines and achieving results by coordinating his work with the different technical departments of Search.
  • Flexibility and ability to travel at least 50% between Epulu, Bunia, Goma, and Kinshasa.
  • Fluent in French, English, and Swahili.

This position is contingent upon confirmation of funding.

How to apply

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.


Search promotes ZERO TOLERANCE against fraud and sexual harassment. Anyone who is a victim or a witness to such practice from a staff member or affiliate during this recruitment process must inform Search management http://www.sfcg.ethicspoint.com/

As job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, the position holder may be required to undertake other duties that are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

Please apply via this link: https://jobs.lever.co/sfcg/1480bca6-206e-4c80-98b1-6964449f8df5?lever-origin=applied&lever-source%5B%5D=ReliefWeb

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