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We are Hiring: Regional Programme Director, Africa

Posted 15 September 2023 in EMpower News, Careers   |   Share

About EMpower:

EMpower, a global philanthropic organisation, is dedicated to improving the lives and horizons of marginalised young people ages 10-24 in 15 emerging market countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Turkey. Through grants and other support (learning exchanges, technical assistance, thought partnering, etc.), EMpower partners with ~125 local organisations working to strengthen the education and livelihoods of young people, and to build their resilience, self-confidence, and well-being. EMpower has offices in Hong Kong, Delhi, Singapore, London, and New York, as well as programme staff in Nigeria, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, and South Africa. EMpower is at an exciting time in our evolution and organisational strengthening. In the past few years, we have grown in staff size and global footprint, with a deliberate focus on fostering a workplace that ensures diverse perspectives, opportunities for contribution, and belonging.

Our Vision: We are building a world where all young people at the margins, especially girls, have the skills, opportunities, and power to live their full potential.

Our Mission: We partner with local organisations in emerging market countries, and other change-makers, to enable marginalised young people to transform their lives and communities.

Our Values:

• We experience and build a trusting connection with each other.

• Our commitment is sustained by our integrity.

• Together we drive flexible innovation.

Note : Although the position is advertised with South Africa as the location, this position can also be based in Ghana or Nigeria. This is a full time position hired via our Employer or Record partner.

Position Summary

The Regional Programme Director, Africa will serve as the lead for all our programmatic work within Africa. They will be responsible for:

  • Leading and overseeing the Africa country strategies (South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria); grant making portfolios; institutional and cross-sector strengthening programmes, programme learning and impact; ensuring alignment and constructive collaboration with the global programme team.
  • Overseeing the Africa team planning, learning, and reflection; grantmaking operations, budgets, and systems; quarterly and annual workflow for the region.
  • Serving as strategic thought partner to Development Manager(s) on EMpower’s programmatic offering to individual donors, institutions, trusts, foundations, and corporates.
  • Leading, coaching, inspiring, and team building the Africa regional programme team and serving as a strong ‘culture carrier’ for EMpower in the region.

Role Requirements

Extensive professional experience relevant to strategic thinking; inclusive and participatory leadership and management; planning and budgetary responsibility, overseeing programmatic strategy and execution in a not-for-profit environment. Success in this role requires you to be a strategic thinker and strong planner, inclusive supervision, and team management skills; proven effectiveness at leading efficient and effective processes, well-organised, and proactive.

They will report to the Vice President, Programmes–based in London. They will directly manage at least 2 programme officers based in the region and technical (external) regional consultants.

Primary Responsibilities

The duties that follow represent the primary responsibilities for this role. All employees are responsible for performing other duties as they arise.

Programme Strategy, Planning, and Learning

  • Ensure that all programming in the region is aligned with EMpower organisational values, Theory of Change, girls and gender strategy; and youth engagement and participation guidelines.
  • Responsible for developing, managing, and executing workplans and budgets with the regional programme team.
  • Responsible for oversight of regional planning, learning, and reflection; grantmaking operations and systems; annual and quarterly workflow.
  • Responsible for all country strategy development or refresh in the region to guide grantmaking and programmatic decisions.
  • Builds partnerships with external experts and institutions to nurture and strengthen our inclusive organisational culture of learning and impact; and contribute to the advancement of the sector at large.


  • Responsible for directly managing a portfolio of grants; direct grants management being equal to or less than 40% of their overall function.
  • Recommend new grantee partners, conducting due diligence.
  • Responsible for reviewing and providing feedback on all grants in their region.
  • Review and negotiate proposals and budgets with prospective and current grantee partners.
  • Plan and undertake visits to existing and prospective grantee partners.

Leadership and Management

  • Direct line management of senior programme officers/programme officers based in the region, oversight of the regional team, trust building and team building; managing regional and individual workplans; creating opportunities for professional development and coaching for the regional team to grow, learn, and thrive.
  • Provide coverage for the programme team as needed.
  • In line with EMpower values, recruit new team members, as necessary, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Visibility, Representation, and Partnerships

  • Actively partner with EMpower’s Development and Communications team to lead on strategic partnerships, opportunities, including institutional fundraising.
  • Actively look for development opportunities and lead on some proposals, representation, donor/Board visits etc.
  • Represent EMpower at various events/convenings including donor meetings as well as broader philanthropy sector events.
  • Network with other international or regional funders/organisations regarding potential partnerships and/or collaborations.

Capacity Strengthening/Cross-Sector Strengthening

  • Oversee and/or guide capacity strengthening initiatives within and across grantee partner organisations.
  • Plan and support strategic learning opportunities within and across grantee partners.

Knowledge, Skills, Values, and Education

The Regional Programme Director, Africa oversees efforts to improve the lives and horizons of marginalised young people, ages 10-24 in South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria. The knowledge, skills, values, and abilities for this position are as follows:

  • Seasoned professional with organisational and management experience: 10-15 years’ experience preferred in the philanthropic and/or nonprofit sector, of which at least 5 preferred in a direct line management role.
  • Strong creative, strategic, and analytical thinking skills.
  • History of effective oversight of grantmaking portfolios.
  • History of effective stakeholder management, including institutional and individual donors.
  • Experience in developing and close oversight of budgets.
  • Strong management skills with a demonstrated commitment to collaborative leadership and trust-based approaches to philanthropy.
  • Experience with adolescent mental health and/or participatory programming desired.
  • Strong collaboration and interpersonal skills, an ongoing learner with cultural awareness.
  • Ability to remain calm and productive under pressure, prioritise amongst competing demands, and deliver on time-sensitive requests.
  • Ability to deal with ambiguity, imperfect information, complexity.
  • Ability to work closely with cross-functional teams to ensure collective success.
  • Written and oral fluency in English; proficiency in one or more regional languages desired.
  • Highly organised; proven ability to work independently, anticipate, prioritise, complete multiple projects, and meet deadlines, with consistent attention to detail.
  • Ability to work independently with high degree of judgment and professionalism, as well as with a global team across multiple time zones.
  • Strong interpersonal communications skills with culturally diverse audiences; from marginalised, underserved youth to high-profile finance professionals.
  • A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; alignment with EMpower values.
  • Ability to work and reside in South Africa or Ghana and travel regionally/internationally, as needed (up to 25-30%).

Application Deadline: 6th October, 2023.

Compensation and Benefits 

EMpower offers competitive wages, benefits, and growth opportunities consistent with industry standards. Flexible benefits packages include health insurance and other insurance; pension plan with employer contribution/match; time off; and work/life benefits.

Work Environment and Physical Requirements 

This individual operates in a professional office environment. The physical demands described in this section are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, printers, filing cabinets, and fax machines. This role routinely uses the English language to engage with internal and external stakeholders by phone, email, and in person. Employee is expected to be able to accurately exchange information with these stakeholders.

Equal Opportunity Employer Statement 

EMpower is a public foundation that makes grants globally to benefit marginalised youth, including adolescent girls. We encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds, recognising that diversity enriches all staff and our work globally. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or faith, or physical ability. EMpower makes hiring decisions based solely on qualifications, merit, and business needs at the time.


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