Country Director, Nigeria at Helen Keller International (HKI)

Guided by the remarkable legacy of its co-founder, Helen Keller, Helen Keller Intl partners with communities that are striving to overcome longstanding cycles of poverty. By delivering the essential building blocks of good health, sound nutrition, and clear vision, we help millions of people create lasting change in their own lives. Working in 20 countries – across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States – and together with a global community of supporters, we ensure every person has the opportunity – as Helen did – to reach their true potential.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Country Director, Nigeria

Location: Abuja (FCT)


  • We are currently seeking a Country Director (CD) in Nigeria to represent Helen Keller, develop new programs, expand our programming and scale, and lead the country office and its programs in a manner that reflects our mission and values and ensures technical excellence in the delivery of all activities.
  • The CD provides strategic leadership and develops action plans that further the mission of Helen Keller and are locally appropriate in the Nigeria context. They have overall responsibility for ensuring technical and operational excellence in the delivery of all activities to achieve the objectives established in grants and strategic plans, and actively working to expand funding for activities in line with Helen Keller’s mission and local needs. This position is based in Abuja with regular travel to project sites, security conditions permitting.

Country Program Overview

  • Helen Keller commenced operations in Nigeria in 1999. Nigeria has been a flagship program in vitamin A supplementation, significantly reducing vitamin A deficiency and child mortality. Helen Keller is working nationwide with a program focused on 12 states, about 100 staff, and an annual operating budget of approximately $15 million. Helen Keller supports the Federal Government of Nigeria and state governments in improving health and nutrition status and control and prevention of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). We work with other key stakeholders, including government regulatory agencies, local and international non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and communities. Our program in Nigeria is funded by various public and private donors, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, GiveWell, Sightsavers, EndFund, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Functional Relationships

  • The CD reports directly to the Regional Director for Eastern, Southern & Central Africa and leads the Country Management Team (CMT). The position directly supervises a team of professional-level staff, works closely with colleagues at all levels of Helen Keller’s global management structure and may be called upon to participate in global working groups or steering committees.
  • Helen Keller has a matrixed reporting structure. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally are essential to make this structure thrive.
  • Helen Keller’s programs require close relations with governments, partner universities and NGOs, civil society organizations, private industry, donors, and UN agencies. The CD will represent Helen Keller at relevant external meetings.

Key Responsibilities
Overall Management and Leadership:

  • Provide strategic vision and direction for overall program design, implementation, and proposal development; work closely with the country team to accomplish the strategic goals.
  • Lead and oversee all aspects of the implementation of country programs and the management of the country office.
  • Represent Helen Keller in formal and informal meetings with government officials, international donor agencies, and national technical advisory groups pertinent to Helen Keller project activities.
  • Identify opportunities and generate funding from international and bilateral agencies, and donor agencies.
  • Develop and nurture in-country donor relationships and identify potential partners to participate in joint proposals.
  • Build a highly effective Country Management Team, recruiting, supervising, mentoring, and evaluating staff, and engaging in frequent performance conversations with team members.
  • Delegate authority, consult with, and guide staff to achieve goals and contribute to an atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development.
  • Ensure accountability to beneficiaries, partners, colleagues, and donors by providing ongoing feedback in a context of mutual respect.
  • Lead and prepare concept papers and proposals and provide other information as needed for submission to donors and others for fundraising and marketing purposes.
  • Model collaboration for your matrixed team: effectively consult and inform colleagues to maximize efficiency and knowledge sharing and integrate guidance and direction from subject matter experts in your office and elsewhere in the global organization to maximize performance.
  • As a senior leader in the organization, participate in global working groups, the recruitment process of global colleagues and other activities, as requested.


  • Oversee and coordinate the program portfolio to ensure the highest level of project quality and accountability, while fostering continuity through building local capacity.
  • Provide technical input to the government, international donors, and technical advisory groups pertinent to Helen Keller project activities.
  • Disseminate findings from Helen Keller projects that are of importance to decision-makers in a position to fund or implement projects in country and internationally.
  • Keep the national partners and others informed about progress of the projects, plans for the development of new programs/projects/activities and donor involvement in the overall program.
  • Ensure safeguarding measures are integrated into program design and implementation at all levels.
  • Ensure implementation of strong program monitoring, evaluation and learning functions.
  • Oversee research design, methodology and dissemination of information needed to monitor and evaluate project activities and/or advance programmatic and policy changes.

Operations and Finance:

  • Supervise all aspects of people management in the country office; including hiring and managing human resources, leading initiatives to develop staff capacity, and promoting team morale and retention.
  • Supervise the safety and security function, ensuring that Helen Keller meets its Duty of Care responsibilities to staff, clients and other stakeholders in the context of Nigeria’s challenging security situation.
  • Authorize expenditures for grant or contract allocations and ensure compliance with procedures required by grant or contract agreements.
  • Ensure the preparation and accuracy and timely submission of financial and narrative reports that comply with grant or contract agreements and ensure compliance with all aspects of donor funding and HKI policies.
  • Provide oversight to finance and administrative services including procurement, property management, human resources management, vehicle and facilities management, and staff safety and security.
  • Work with global management colleagues to manage the development and implementation of annual country budgets.

Required Qualifications and Competencies

  • Minimum ten years of field experience in international public health, nutrition and/or Neglected Tropical Disease programs including demonstrated experience in program management, including design, implementation, and evaluation, plus a minimum Master’s Degree in Public Health, Nutrition, Development or related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Technical knowledge in an area related to Helen Keller’s mission and programs.
  • Experience managing all aspects of program and operations management in a large country office in a challenging context including demonstrated experience and ability to:
    • Supervise safety and security in a challenging operating environment;
    • Integrate safeguarding measures;
    • Manage compliance with diverse donor requirements (private foundations, GAC, USAID, etc.);
    • Supervise key administrative, procurement, and logistics functions;
    • Supervise financial management, develop and create budgets monitor financial status, and hold budget owners accountable;
    • Lead and manage people; and
    • Lead program development and management and strategic planning.
  • Demonstrated ability to:
    • Undertake high-level representation and advocacy.
    • Mobilize program funding including donor cultivation and proposal writing.
  • Experience working in Nigeria and/or elsewhere in Africa, with Ministries, international and local NGOs.
  • Very good oral and written English language skills, including the ability to quickly synthesize complex technical and programmatic issues into concise communications.
  • Well-established and practiced organizational and planning skills;
  • Computer literate in use of word processing, spreadsheet, and statistical software.
  • Collaborative, flexible and solution-oriented. An ability to maintain balance when under stress.
  • Experience in designing and implementing workshops, seminars, surveys, monitoring systems, and evaluations. Experience in research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  • Familiarity with and experience promoting health systems strengthening in developing contexts is strongly desired.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to effectively lead a team, communicate a vision, make timely and transparent decisions, and manage conflict.
  • Ability and willingness to:
    • flex work hours to accommodate multiple time zones, as needed.
    • travel within Nigeria and, periodically, internationally.
    • NOTE: All staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to travel internationally.
  • Personal commitment to Helen Keller’s mission and goals and the values embodied by our namesake and co-founder: courage, integrity, rigor, and compassion.
  • The initial employment period is for two years with the possibility of renewal.


How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should forward their CV to: using the position as the subject of the email.

Note: In the spirit of our founder and namesake, Helen Keller is dedicated to building an inclusive workforce where diversity in all its forms is fully valued

Application Deadline  7th March, 2024.