Program Manager I -System Strengthening Specialist

  • Contractor
  • Kenya
  • TBD USD / Year
  • Catholic Relief Services profile

  • Job applications may no longer being accepted for this opportunity.

Catholic Relief Services

Reports To: Systems Strengthening and Institutionalization Lead – Nawiri Program

Length of Contract: 2 years (End Date: 30-Sep-2024)

About CRS:

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need. CRS is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) supporting relief and development work in over 100 countries around the world. CRS programs assist persons on the basis of need, regardless of creed, ethnicity, or nationality. CRS works through local church and non-church partners to implement its programs.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) opened operations in Kenya in 1965. For over 50 years, we have worked throughout the country to implement programs in agriculture, health, mic rofinance, water, sanitation, emergency relief and peacebuilding. We have built deep relationships with the Government of Kenya and the Catholic Church through ongoing collaboration and support. CRS’ projects in Kenya currently include agriculture, health, multisectoral nutrition, microfinance, emergency response, HIV care and treatment, and services for orphans and vulnerable children. CRS Kenya implements its programs through partnerships with local organizations, including the Catholic Church, other faith-based organizations and community entities for maximum impact and sustainability.


CRS, representing a consortium of international non-governmental organizations, local implementing partners and research institutions is leading the USAID Nawiri Program, a USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) funded 5-year Development Food Security Activity (DFSA) in Kenya. The overarching goal of this multi-sectoral nutrition acti vity is to sustainably reduce persistent levels of acute malnutrition in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), focusing on Isiolo and Marsabit counties. The activity is being implemented in two phases:

  • Phase I (1.5-2 years) Research, test approaches and collaboratively design a context-sensitive, multi-sectoral activity that sustainably reduces acute malnutrition.
  • Phase II (3- 3.5 years): Multisectoral evidence-based activity implementation and adaptation and local system and institutional strengthening to sustain the nutrition outcomes.

Job Summary:

The System Strengthening and Institutionalization Specialist, will facilitate the Isiolo county government to strengthen the workforce that can deliver integrated and multisectoral nutrition services through strategic planning, capacity-building for priority multisectoral nutrition interventions and strengthening of governance, appropriate regulation and capacity strengthening capacities. S/he will be primarily responsible for building effective working relationships with county government ministries, county-level organizations/officials, and local institutions. S/he will provide technical leadership and management in the development and execution of systems strengthening and capacity development efforts at the county level. S/he will support efforts to build preparedness of county government and other local institutions to assume financial and technical responsibility for maintaining reductions in acute malnutrition after the Nawiri Prog ram implementation period is over.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Take the lead on multi-sectoral stakeholder engagement and coordination with relevant county and community-based government of Kenya (GOK) staff, key stakeholders, and other local institutions. Engage in technical working groups and other multi-sector platforms to enhance communication of goals and objectives, obtain buy-in, enhance awareness, and ensure collective engagement.
  • Ensure system strengthening is based on multi-sector engagement at all levels to develop a networked system able to holistically respond to the needs of vulnerable populations, in a sustainable and inclusive manner.
  • Guide the integration of systems strengthening efforts into other sectors, liaising with the key Nawiri technical leads and line sector ministries/departments (health, nutrition, education, and other relevant departments) and engaging both formal and informal systems in ensuring the integration. Put in place MoUs and other inter-agency collaborative methodologies.
  • Support county governments to effectively engage and advocate for resources from GOK and outside sources in support of county development priorities. Integrate public-private partnerships (PPP) as a central approach to system strengthening to result in a sustainable intervention, local resource mobilization being a critical pillar of PPP.
  • Ensure linkages and concurrence between Nawiri activities and GOK’s strategic plans at county levels (e.g., Kenya Ending Drought Emergencies Framework, County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs)). Lead Nawiri contributions to these GOK’s strategic plans. Incorporate strategies to address governance and systems-related drivers of acute malnutrition into Nawiri activity design and programming.
  • Along with the relevant county sector leads, build the capacity of the county government to use available nutrition and other relevant sector information for decision making, program planning, and performance and results monitoring. Incorporate lessons learned and best practices for capacity strengthening and institutionalization approaches into Nawiri activity design.
  • Develop/produce program donor deliverables (quarterly, annual reports, etc.) in conjunction with other program staff. Document and share best practices towards improving systems and structures and support in the scale up of best practices
  • Support production of tools and materials designed to effectively measure capacity improvements and engage all relevant stakeholders when designing materials to ensure ownership.
  • Along with the County M&E specialist and M&E Lead, identify and monitor key metrics to measure institutional strengthening, including demonstrated management capacity around policies, strategies, guidelines, standards, and protocols for malnutrition; demonstrated leadership around malnutrition; capacity to manage data and research; effective use of data and research outcomes.
  • Effectively manage talent and supervise the county-level systems strengthening team responsible for day-to-day guidance and oversight of program activities to achieve program targets at the county level. Manage team dynamics and staff well-being. Supervise and oversee the county level systems strengthening program team and ensure clear roles and responsibilities and lines of communication are maintained amongst the team members. Provide coaching, strategically tailor individual development plans, contribute to the recruitment process of program staff, and complete performance management for direct reports.
  • Coordinate the continued identification of capacity strengthening needs and strengthen the capacity of Nawiri relevant formal and informal stakeholders at all county levels to support quality program implementation, and a multisectoral approach at all levels to reducing acute malnutrition.
  • Engage and strengthen partnerships relevant to the Nawiri program in the county. Represent CRS in sectoral meetings with the government, private sector and other development agencies in the county and ensure that partners are informed and represented. Responsible for ensuring the organization is well represented in relevant forums and technical working groups within the county.

Personal Skills

  • Strong relationship management abilities. Ability to relate to people at all levels internally and externally. Strategic in how you approach each relationship.
  • Excellent negotiation skills.
  • Strong communications and presentation skills.
  • Proactive, resourceful, solutions-oriented and results-oriented.
  • Capable of working in a dynamic, results oriented environment; ability to multi-task across various work streams/priorities.
  • Team player with a positive attitude who can work independently while also being highly collaborative and open. Capable of building relationships and influencing the opinions of others.
  • Demonstrated commitment to respect, equity, diversity and inclusion including gender equality.

Required/Desired Foreign Language: English

Travel Required 50% of the time to the sub counties

Key Working Relationships:

Supervisory: Multisectoral Nutrition Governance officer and NRM Governance officer

Internal: Head of office Marsabit**,** County Research Coordinator Marsabit, County M&E Specialist, other Nawiri Program team members, Nairobi based program staff.

External: Nawiri consortium members, County government of Marsabit staff especially Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, other related government bodies and authorities, Local Implementing partners and private sector service providers

Typical Background, Experience & Requirements:

Education and Experience

  • A Master’s degree in policy, communications, economics, nutrition, public health, agricultural/development economics, applied sociology, anthropology, or another relevant subject. Additional experience may substitute for some education.
  • Minimum five years’ relevant work experience preferably in a development setting with an international non-governmental organization
  • Demonstrated experience of successful provision of technical assistance to government ministries and/or decentralized government structures
  • Demonstrated experience in implementing systems strengthening approaches, with technical expertise in one or more of the following areas: policy reform, service coverage, supply chain management, information systems, workforce alignment and capacity building, stakeholder coordination, and/or related areas of system strengthening.
  • Track record of managing many relationships internally and externally with partners, Government departments and community institutions. Demonstrated experience working in multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Demonstrated experience in driving proactive and innovative strategies to achieve results.
  • Staff management experience

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff):

These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.

  • Integrity
  • Accountability & Stewardship
  • Builds Relationships
  • Develops Talent
  • Continuous Improvement & Innovation
  • Strategic Mindset

Leadership and Management Competencies

  • Communicates strategically under pressure
  • Manages stress and complexity
  • Actively promotes safety and security
  • Manages and implements high-quality program activities

Disclaimer: This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.

What we offer:

CRS offers a comprehensive benefits package and the opportunity to work in a collaborative, mission-driven culture that is committed to improving the lives of the poor throughout the world.

Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. We welcome as a part of our staff people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need. CRS’ processes and policies reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.

CRS provides equal employm ent opportunity to all qualified employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin, sex, age, marital status, physical or mental disability or handicap, medical condition and any other status protected by law. As an equal opportunity employer, CRS will recruit, hire, train and promote persons solely on their qualifications and abilities. CRS Kenya strives to be a place where a diverse mix of talented people want to come and work, stay, and do their best.

CRS’ emphasis on family values supports benefits, including maternity and paternity leave, policies that promote exclusive breastfeeding, the availability of a baby room at the office, and flexible working hours where possible. Women are highly encouraged to apply

By applying to this job, I understand and acknowledge that CRS requires its staff to treat all people with dignity and respect and to actively p revent harassment, abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. Further, I understand that if I am a successful candidate, I will be subject to a comprehensive background check, and my personal/professional references will be asked to evaluate my behaviors related to the above safeguarding-related topics.

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.

How to apply

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