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Deputy Country Director – Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin) Job in Kenya

Merlin International Profile
Merlin is the only specialist UK charity which responds worldwide with vital health care and medical relief for vulnerable people caught up in natural disasters, conflict, disease and health system collapse. Each year, Merlin helps more than 15 million people in up to 20 countries.
Context and Background
Merlin has been working in Kenya since 1998 and Somalia since 2004. Managed from an office in Nairobi, Merlin works in two project areas in Kenya and three in Somalia. Each project area has a Project Coordinator who is directly responsible for delivering the project with support from the coordination team.
In Kenya, Merlin work in Nyanza and Turkana. The Nyanza project is managed from an office in Kisii and deals mainly with prevention and treatment of malaria and HIV/AIDs. The Turkana project is run from an office in Lodwar and works on nutrition and primary health care projects with the vulnerable pastoralist communities of the region.

In Somalia, Merlin runs projects in Somaliland, Puntland and South Central. The Somaliland project office is based in Hargeisa and focused on the far eastern Awdal province where we work directly with the MoH to strengthen health care delivery and nutrition. The Puntland project is based on primary health care with a strong HIV/AIDs and TB component whilst South-Central is concerned with primary healthcare and nutrition. For security reasons, their Project Coordinators are based in the Nairobi office, managing their teams remotely although this location may change.
In all cases, and in line with organizational strategy, the Kenya and Somalia programmes focus on the following broad strategic objectives:
  • Support and strengthen the institutional capacity of the healthcare system
  • Improve access to and quality of healthcare services, particularly for vulnerable and under-served populations
  • Strengthen the capacity of Merlin and key partners in Kenya and Somalia to respond to humanitarian emergencies
  • Advocate for the implementation of improvements in health policy
Closing date: 28 Sep 2010
Location: Kenya – Nairobi
Position: Deputy Country Director
Responsible To: Country Director
Working With: Country Management Team; Project Teams (Project Coordinators); Regional Programmes Manager-London;
Location: Nairobi, Kenya with frequent trips to the field sites in Kenya and flexible travel to accessible Somali field sites
Start Date: ASAP
Duration: 24 months
Main purpose of the role
The Deputy Country Director position is an international staff position within the Merlin Somalia and Kenya structure and is a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT). The overall objective of the position is to assist and support the Country Director in the management and coordination of Merlin projects, strengthening the quality and level of operational support provided to all field project sites and ensuring that Merlin organizational and country specific strategies, plans, policies, and procedures are developed and/or effectively implemented in all locations in collaboration with the relevant department in a timely manner.
Overall Objectives (scope)
  • To support the CD, where delegated, in security management of teams with the LogCo
  • To contribute to country strategy & annual planning with the CD and teams
  • To ensure that Merlin is able to deliver quality health programmes, supporting Merlin field teams in this, through coordination, advice, information sharing & analysis
  • To assist the CD and the Country Health Coordinator (CHC) in the development, review, implementation and monitoring of a remote management and support strategy for the Somalia programme
  • To directly line manage and support the PCs and ensure that financial, logistics and HR systems and procedures are in place and followed, liaising with relevant SMT members
  • To maintain regular communications with PCs and report back to the CMT the points of discussion and follow-up
  • To support timely and appropriate linkage between Merlin, the MoH, communities and community groups as well as other INGOs in project areas in coordination with the PCs, MedCos, CHDs and CD
  • To act as CD in the CD’s absence
Operational Management
  • To work as part of the SMT for Somalia/Kenya to ensure that the programmes are being developed and delivered to clear strategic priorities
  • Line-manage the Kenya and Somali Project Coordinators to ensure that project design, quality and outreach is consistent with the needs and objectives of Merlin to respond to these and with the Country Strategies and Annual Plans
  • Line manage the Kenya and Somali PCs to ensure that appropriate Merlin management, administration, personnel, logistics, finance, and communication systems are in place and being followed
  • Maintain a strong working relationship with the Country Director, Health Director, Country Health Coordinators, Logistics Coordinator and Finance, Human Resources and Administration Managers in order to achieve the above in both project implementation, preparation, review and reporting.
  • Ensure regular communications are maintained between the field sites and Merlin Nairobi
  • Responsible for effective and efficient management of the field projects consistent with the project management cycle and the delivery of quality outputs.
  • Ensure monitoring systems are in place and that project reviews/audits/evaluations are carried out periodically in conjunction with the team, CD and CHC, local stakeholders and project partners
  • Ensure adherence to timelines for all relevant proposals and reports, ensuring their quality as well as timely production and submission to the CD in accordance with Merlin and donor contractual agreements
  • Regular travel to all project sites, according to accessibility / security.
  • Assist the CD in organizing and facilitating monthly Senior Management Team (SMT) meetings as well as quarterly Country Management Team (CMT) meetings and follow-up and report on the implementation and achievements of agreed action points.
  • Participate as a member of the Country Management Team
  • Ensure that PCs develop and update project security plans on a regular basis (or according to change in trend), in collaboration with the Country Director and the LogCo
  • Monitor the political, ecomomic, military and security situation in the project areas and make recommendations for response / adaptation accordingly to the CD and LogCo.
  • Ensure that security incidents are reported in a timely and concise manner from the field and that this information is shared with Merlin HO in collaboration with the CD and LogCo
  • Facilitate the evacuation of field-based teams if necessary in coordination with the LogCo (HD is responsible for medivacs).
  • Attend security meetings organized at the local level and maintain regular contact with other NGO/UN security focal points in coordination with the LogCo and CD.
Programme Development
  • Ensure all relevant authorities and communities are included in the planning and implementation of projects as appropriate
  • Proactively contribute to programme development and strategy with the CD, HD and CHC, as well as annual plans and their implementation, looking towards innovative approaches and tools for health-system strengthening and emergency response as relevant to population outreach
  • Monitor the evolving humanitarian situation in the project region and consider strategic and immediate responses together with the CD, HD and CHC, leading on and/or assisting with assessments where necessary
  • Draw up plans, proposals and budgets for new projects/extensions of projects in conjunction with the relevant team, medical, financial and logistical staff
Programme Management
  • Ensure that projects remain within the remit of their initial design, budget and proposal with the CHC and Financial Director
  • Together with the CHC and LogCo, ensure the establishment of appropriate Emergency Preparedness and Response systems and plans in project sites to deal with emergencies and provide leadership for staff and volunteers in prioritized emergencies
  • Together with the CHC, ensure the establishment of systems and standards for assessment and monitoring/evaluation of programmes against their strategic aims
  • Ensure there is a regular, documented forum / meeting for all key staff including PCs and MedCos to discuss and plan programme objectives and plans
  • Carry out representation with other NGOs, UN agencies, local and national government bodies, donors and other relevant parties when relevant and in coordination with the CD and HD, ensuring that all parties are kept informed of Merlin activities as appropriate
  • Together with the relevant SMT members, ensure appropriate administrative, financial and logistical Merlin systems/procedures are in place, maintained and adhered to so that all support functions and project implementation are carried out effectively and efficiently and meet donor compliance requirements
  • Together with the Financial Director and PCs, monitor project expenditure through the monthly BvAs and other appropriate mechanisms, ensuring analyses and recommendations are shared with the teams and that projects are implemented within their budgets, assisting teams to forecast and plan when and where necessary
  • Together with the Financial Director and PCs, over see budget preparation, setting the parameters and the process, ensuring compliance to Merlin, donor and national requirements
Human Resource Management
  • Line manage the PCs effectively, including appropriate and regular delegation
  • Carry out timely objective-setting and appraisals of PCs as per Merlin standard requirements and procedures and ensure cascading down of objective-setting and appraisals system to all staff within each project
  • Lead recruitment of PCs as and when necessary with support from other SMT members according to need
  • Assist the PCs in optimizing, in conjunction with other team members, the use of human, logistical and financial potential within the project teams.
  • In liaison with the CD, ensure all new team members are adequately briefed on arrival in the field, and departing team members are debriefed
  • Work with the CD to maintain up-to-date job descriptions for international staff and prepare and maintain job descriptions for any regional and national staff in conjunction with the PCs
  • Maintain good inter and intra-team communications, supporting good team dynamics, and suitable action when problems occur.
  • Together with the HR Manager, ensure that Merlin’s staff policies and procedures are understood and correctly followed by the PCs
  • In collaboration with the HRM and PCs, ensure appropriate staff coverage at all times and that holiday is being taken regularly.
  • Support team members professionally and monitor and support stress management, including regular documented team meetings for planning and reporting purposes.
  • Ensure all new team members are adequately briefed on arrival in the field, and departing team members are debriefed
  • Together with the SMT ensure capacity development and training of all national personnel, supporting international personnel where relevant
  • Support PCs in national staff selection, recruitment, disciplinary actions, dismissal procedures and systems, together with HRM.
  • Ensure regular, minuted project team meetings
  • To undertake any other tasks and duties assigned by the CD.
Person Specification
Qualifications, experience and competences
  • Proven experience of security management in conflict zones and willing to work in an insecure environment.
  • Extensive experience of overall project management experience in developing countries, preferably in the health sector including;
  • Project needs assessment
  • Project proposal development, logical framework, and report and proposal writing
  • Personnel management
  • Strong experience in a position with responsibility for preparing procurement plans and organizing procurement systems for works, goods, and services.
  • Proven ability to organize supply and distribution systems and find innovative solutions to complex problems under difficult conditions.
  • Experience in budget management
  • Experience of donor reporting requirements.
  • Good training/capacity building and management skills.
  • Supportive personnel management style
  • Team builder with an ability to train and coach staff
  • Diplomatic and an effective communicator at all levels
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Strong communication skills, with excellent written and spoken English
  • Confident and proficient in the use of MS Office
  • Experience of establishing strong working relationships with colleagues from different functions and cultures
  • Experience of a flexible approach to managing and prioritising a high workload and multiple tasks in a fast paced environment with tight deadlines
  • Experience of proactively identifying and addressing issues
  • An understanding of and commitment to Merlin’s mission and values
  • An understanding of logistics.
  • Previous experience of working in East Africa.
Data Protection
Please note, on submitting your application, you are agreeing to Merlin holding and using the information that you have given for the purposes of recruitment and employment – should an offer be made.
Where required by donors funding requirements, some job offers are conditional on our ensuring that potential employees’ names do not appear on counter terrorism lists generated by the United Nations, European Union or the United States.
On submitting your application, you are agreeing to Merlin using the information that you have given for checking that your name does not appear on these lists.
How to apply
To apply for this position
Please download an application form from our website Completed applications should be emailed to stating in the subject field the job title, country and reference number (if any)
Salary: £28,920 – £29,670 per annum (dependant on relevant experience), inclusive of annual Cost of Living Allowance.
Benefits: Insurance cover, accommodation, R&R, additional return flights, and annual leave entitlement of 24 days per annum rising to 30 days at the completion of 12 months of continuous employment with Merlin.
Only short-listed applicants will be contacted. Due to the urgency of recruitment for this position, applications will be short listed on a regular basis and we may offer this post before the closing date.

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