Helen Keller International Job Vacancy: Country Director, Yangon - Myanmar

Helen Keller International


Country Director, Myanmar

(Yangon, Myanmar)

Helen Keller Intl is a global health organization dedicated to eliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition and diseases of poverty. Cofounded by Helen Keller – and guided by her fierce optimism and belief in human potential – the organization delivers life-changing health solutions to vulnerable families where the need is great but access to care is limited. In the U.S., Africa, and Asia, Helen Keller’s proven, science-based programs empower people to create opportunities in their own lives and build lasting change.

Country Program Overview

Helen Keller has been working in Myanmar since 2001 when it launched a program to reinforce the existing cataract surgery infrastructure and to monitor trachoma, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health. More recently, Helen Keller has expanded its portfolio beyond eye health to include Enhanced Homestead Food Production. The King Essentials Nutrition, Food Security, and Rural Livelihoods Initiative, which began in 2017, enables households to make sustained improvements in nutrition through a comprehensive approach, including improvements in food production, income, environment, and household practices. This flagship program came to a halt as all other programming with the Military coup the 1st of February 2021.

In the area of eye health, through a three-year grant awarded in 2019, Helen Keller assists the Government’s Prevention of Blindness Program to increase access to diabetic retinopathy services in rural areas of the country. We also work with other key stakeholders, including diverse government agencies, local and international non-governmental organizations, and communities. Helen Keller has been working in several areas of the country with approximately 35 staff and an annual operating budget of $1.78 million. Our program in Myanmar is funded by various donors, including the Alcon Foundation, Allergan, King Philanthropies, and the World Diabetes Foundation.

We are currently seeking a dynamic Country Director (CD) for Myanmar. The CD will be the official representative of Helen Keller in Myanmar. S/he will lead the country in time of growing Humanitarian needs and increased complexity. The CD is expected to develop and expand Helen Keller's programs, increase our funding levels, and lead the Country Office and its programs in a manner that reflects our mission and ensures technical excellence in the delivery of all activities.

Functional Relationships
  • The CD reports directly to the Regional Director, Asia Pacific, 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’s programs require close relations with the UN family, partner universities and NGOs, private industry, donors, and UN agencies. The CD will represent Helen Keller as needed towards national authorities, at central and township level and at relevant external meetings.
  • Helen Keller has a matrixed reporting structure that respects both the line management and authority within country office and global management hierarchies; and the accountability and oversight duties of the many subject matter experts that support our country offices. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally, are essential to make this structure thrive.
Scope of the Position:

The Country Director provides strategic leadership and develops action plans that further the mission of Helen Keller and meet the evolving conditions in Myanmar. S/he has 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 representing Helen Keller to disseminate findings and secure and expand funding for project activities in the country. This position is based in Yangon with regular travel to project sites and the capital city of Nay Pyi Tawrequired, although this has recently been curtailed by the advent of Covid-19.

Specific 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 the implementation of country programs and the management of the office.
  • Represent Helen Keller in formal and informal meetings with national authorities, international donor agencies, UN family, coordination bodies and national technical advisory groups pertinent to our 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.
  • Lead and prepare concept papers and proposals and provide other information as needed for submission to donors and others for fundraising and marketing purposes.
  • 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 project activities.
  • 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.
  • Disseminate findings from Helen Keller projects that are of importance to decisionmakers in a position to fund or implement projects in Myanmar and internationally.
  • Keep the national partners and others engaged and informed about progress of the projects, plans for the development of new programs/projects/activities and donor involvement in the overall program.
Financial and Administrative
  • Be an excellent team player with good human resource skills to assure our teams wellbeing and growth.
  • 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 regional office and headquarters to manage the development and implementation of annual country budgets.
  • 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 Helen Keller policies.
  • Hire and manage personnel in country.
  • Minimum seven years of field experience in international public health, nutrition or Neglected Tropical Disease programs including demonstrated experience in program development, implementation, and evaluation, plus a minimum master’s degree in public health, nutrition, development or related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience in designing and implementing workshops, seminars, surveys, monitoring systems, and evaluations. Experience in research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  • Experience of Humanitarian response work in Asia
  • Technical knowledge in an area related to Helen Keller’s mission and programs.
  • Demonstrated ability to undertake high-level representation and advocacy.
  • Experience working in Myanmar and/or elsewhere in Asia, with Ministries, international and national NGOs, and donors based locally, is a substantial asset.
  • Demonstrated experience and skills in leadership, staff management, program development and management, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation and public speaking.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and create budgets and monitor financial status.
  • Demonstrated capacity to mobilize program funding including donor cultivation and grants writing.
  • Knowledge and experience managing compliance to diverse donors; such as USAID, FCDO (formerly referred to as DFID) GAC, EU, and other foundations.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to effectively lead a team, communicate a vision, make timely and transparent decisions, and manage conflict.
  • 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; experience in data analysis and interpretation is highly desirable
  • Experience with staff security and safety issues is desirable.
  • Ability and willingness to travel at least 35% within Myanmar and, periodically, internationally. The initial employment agreement is for two years with possibility of renewal.
To Apply

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to HKI.Recruitment@hki.org noting the job title in the subject line.

Closing Date: 12 Sept 2021