Chief Program Officer

Relief International

Position: Chief Program Officer

Location: Washington DC preferred location (Other RI Location could be considered)

frequent travel to RI countries of Operations estimated at 20- 30% of time (dependent on developments with COVID-19)

Reports to: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Direct Reports: Program Development, Program Surge Support Staff, Technical Assistance Department and Humanitarian/Emergency Response Leads

Budget responsibility: Oversee a portfolio of programs with global spending equivalent of $130 Million

* This role is classified as requiring advanced pre-employment checks

About Relief International

Relief International (RI) is a leading non-profit organization working in 16 countries globally to relieve poverty, ensure well-being and advance dignity. We specialize in fragile settings, responding to natural disasters, humanitarian crises, and chronic poverty.

RI combines humanitarian and development approaches to provide immediate services while laying the groundwork for long-term impact and resilience. We focus on health/nutrition, education, economic opportunity, and water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH) programming while integrating protection, environment/climate change, and conflict mitigation in partnership with the communities we serve. We empower communities to find, design and implement the solutions that work best for them.

RI includes the three corporate members of the RI Alliance: RI-US, RI-UK, and MRCA/RI-France. Under our alliance agreement, we operate as a single, shared management structure.

About our Programs

RI is active in 16 countries around the world, including some of the most fragile: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen. Often, RI is the only organization providing assistance to highly vulnerable communities.

RI employs about 5,000 staff and auxiliary workers

97% of staff are local nationals and there are about 90 international (expat) staff.

2021 programs budget is about $125M

RI receives funding from a broad range of institutional donors – US,UK, Europe, and the UN, to delivery life-saving and resilience building programming with communities and local and international partners. RI supports solutions that reinforce and improve upon existing in-country systems. Where such systems do not exist or are chronically underperforming, RI’s crisis response lays the foundation for long-term, sustainable change.

About the role.

Working closely and reporting to the CEO, the Chief Program Officer serves as the leader of the Programs Development, Quality, and Surge Support (PDQS) Department, focused on setting the standards and metrics for global program excellence in the project management cycle This is a relatively new role within RI and the CPO will be leading a seasoned, professional team and working with the team and the Senior Management Team (SMT) to rollout RI’s updated strategy. This position is part of the SMT.

The department includes the following teams: program development and design; technical excellence in RI’s core sectors; MEAL, and surge support including humanitarian/emergency response. The department is also responsible for internal and external learning and representation leadership in cross cutting themes and strategic areas – core humanitarian standards, climate change/environment, conflict, communities at the center, nexus work, gender, protection mainstreaming, and cash programming.

Key Responsibilities and Duties.

Strategic Leadership and Program Development

  • Lead RI’s overall strategy and engagement with bilateral and multilateral government donors.
  • Contribute to strategic planning in the relevant areas of the project life cycle.
  • Work with Regional Directors and departments to develop and maintain strategies for the development of country programs that re-inforce RI’s global strategy.
  • Make RI Emergency Response Ready to work with the Humanitarian Emergency Response Team if sudden onset emergency occurs.
  • Represent RI in Washington DC at coordination meetings, conferences, and other external for a .
  • In the event of a possible RI response to an emergency situation, support the Global Humanitarian Director in analyzing/planning/coordinating an RI strategy for intervention.
  • Ensure that concept papers, project proposals and responses to RFA/Ps are effectively coordinated with the appropriate technical and MEAL support at the design stage.

Quality Program Delivery

  • Ensure high quality program design and technical quality standards by overseeing and coordinating technical assistance, program development, and humanitarian teams.
  • Ensure with the team, requirements across humanitarian and development standards are upheld as well as research and promote areas of innovation. Take the lead on promoting industry best practices and commitments (e.g. Community Led Development, Core Humanitarian Standards, Cash transfer mechanisms, Grand Bargain, Climate Compact across RI’s global portfolio). Assign reporting and representation requirements for these key initiatives and ensure RI complies with its commitments.
  • Coordinate with other departments, as required, to integrate and use data from various indicators which the PDSQ Department develops and/or collates from across the organization to present global views of RI’s program portfolio output/outcome/impact data. This data is to be used for both internal management, learning and external thought leadership.

People Management and leadership

  • Develop and nurture an effective and high performing team that work well together
  • Directly manage and provide guidance and leadership to the PDQS staff and oversee day to day functioning of the department.
  • Actively manage and evaluate staff performance, building a positive working environment and supporting staff wellbeing as per RI’S staff care policy.
  • Work with the team and SMT to continue to refine the objectives of the PDQS Department to gain organizational efficiencies and highest quality of standards and indicators to track progress and impact with RI’s communities.

Ethics and Compliance

  • Work collaboratively with relevant GSO departments and Regional Directors and Country Directors to ensure efficient and effective compliance measures and prompt and successful resolution of audits and investigations of alleged noncompliance and/or ethical issues.
  • Ensure implementation of effective compliance communication and training programs for regional team and country teams as well as other efforts to promote an enterprise culture of integrity and compliance, both for new and existing employees.

Incident Reporting and Management

  • In coordination with the GSO Incident and Crisis Management Teams assist as requested when incidents need reported to the appropriate donors and regulatory authorities.
  • In coordination with GSO ensure key learning from incident reporting is shared with the PDQS team and implemented in future program design


  • Uphold and promote RI’s commitment to ensuring the safeguarding and safety of the vulnerable communities we serve.
  • Consistent with RI’s safeguarding and protection policies, contribute to ensuring that all those who come into contact with Relief International staff and the communities we serve can be trusted to work safely with them
  • Support and develop systems that create and maintain an environment that prevents sexual exploitation and abuse and promotes the implementation of the Code of Conduct and safeguarding policies.
  • Work collaboratively with the Global Safeguarding Manager to advocate for the inclusion of safeguarding activities and resources within program
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge of donor requirements of safeguarding standards and protection from exploitation and abuse

Culture and leadership

  • Ensure a positive and productive work environment which is free from harassment and bullying.
  • Ability to demonstrate sensitivity and understanding of diversity and cultural differences, gender issues and the commitment to equal opportunities
  • Ability to demonstrate and uphold RI’s values and ethics

Other duties as agreed upon between CPO and CEO.

Role requirements.

You will bring the following experience and skills


  • Progressive senior management and leadership experience, preferably at an executive level with humanitarian and development experience
  • Solid educational background including an undergraduate degree and a master’s in international development/studies, MBA or similar advanced degree or equivalent experience
  • Track record of achievement developing winning bid packages for large scale projects; strong network skills with donors and networks which positions RI to support programmatic objectives
  • Exceptional program and project conceptualization and design skills.
  • Demonstrated understanding and experience with US, EC, UN and other public and private donors, government grant and financial management requirements
  • Proven partnership development track record
  • Strong understanding and experience of implementing humanitarian and development technical standards and impact indicators
  • Experience of leading and managing high performing teams to problem solve, craft solutions with stakeholder engagement (internal and external),

by generating high quality outputs and outcomes with accuracy, in compliance, and communicated clearly.

  • Non-profit/NGO experience required; with field experience in fragile setting and at least three of RI’s countries of operation


  • Ability to act independently to identify and analyze problems and recommend effective solutions with the program support teams
  • Excellent organizational skills with the ability to prioritize and manage multiple responsibilities, meeting deadlines
  • Strong oral and written communication skills; must be comfortable as a spokesperson for RI and representing RI with donors, partners, and key networks
  • Strong computer skills and experience with Microsoft Office applications, particularly Word, Excel and Outlook
  • Fluency in English is required

RI Values.

Guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence, as well as “Do No Harm,” Relief International Values:

We value:

  • Integrity
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusivity
  • Sustainability

How to apply

To apply click on the link below:

Closing date: 11/23/2022