Head of Humanitarian Operations

By Save the Children

Addis Ababa
  • Schedule
  • Job Type
  • Exp Level
    Senior Level
  • Experience Year
  • Salary Offer
  • Closing Date
    Jun 30, 2024

Job Description

JOB TITLE: Head of Humanitarian Operations

TEAM/PROGRAMME: Program Operations Team – Ops SLT

LOCATION:  Addis Ababa




Level 3:  the role holder will have contact with children and/or young people either frequently (e.g. once a week or more) or intensively (e.g. four days in one month or more or overnight) because they work in country programs; or are visiting country programs; or because they are responsible for implementing the police checking/vetting process staff.


As a member of the Program Operations Team, provide leadership and strategic direction to all programmatic aspects of Save the Children’s humanitarian and emergency response in Ethiopia.   The role holder will focus on advocacy, representation, policy, member and donor engagement, UN and cluster engagement, proposal and budget development for humanitarian response, categorization of emergencies and support the field teams in expediting the implementation of humanitarian response projects. The role holder will Directly work with the Director of Program Operations and work closely with Area Directors and collaborate with the PDQ directors, RO and SC members and other departments to ensure timely and efficient response that is integrated with pre-existing programming in the 4 Area Offices. 

The role holder will also ensure immediate and appropriate response to children's needs during humanitarian crises as well as cross sector collaboration among technical units. S/he will ensure funding proposals are produced and donor reporting requirements are adhered to, and are of the highest standard and that Save the Children's commitment to improving quality and accountability in humanitarian work is upheld, and complies with all relevant policies and procedures with respect to child protection, health, and safety etc.

In addition, the role holder will represent Save the Children at high-level donor meetings where emergency programming is concerned, ensuring an appropriate positioning of Save the Children within the humanitarian response in Ethiopia


Reports to: Director of Programme Operations

Dimensions:  Save the Children operates across all zones in Ethiopia and currently has four area offices and additional field offices. Programmatically Ethiopia is a large Country Office with more than $80million annual budget and staff over 800 staff.

Staff directly reporting to this post: 

One Addis based Humanitarian Manager will directly report to the Head of Humanitarian. 


As a member of the Operations SLT, contribute to:

  • Provide leadership to the humanitarian response of the Ethiopia Country Office
  • Lead on emergency response and advise DPO on strategic planning for emergency preparedness and response in Ethiopia. 
  • Liaise with humanitarian backstops to ensure contingency funding and backstop support.
  • Support the development of an organizational culture that reflects our dual mandate values, promotes accountability and high performance, encourages a team culture of learning, creativity and innovation, and frees up our people to deliver outstanding results for children and excellent customer service for our Members and donors
  • Ensure that all required support is provided promptly, at scale and in line with the rules and principles of the emergency humanitarian categorization framework. Help establish, maintain, and improve active and regular working relationships with  Government authorities (especially with EDRMC), partner agencies including humanitarian and development donors, and local and international NGOs including strategic interaction at the most senior levels of management in UN, INGO, National NGO and government agencies

Leadership of humanitarian programmes 

  • Generate useful information products and pathways through adequate humanitarian intelligence, including Anticipatory Action, to develop an agile humanitarian portfolio. 
  • Advise on overall management and implementation of the SC humanitarian response and program budget in Ethiopia, in close working with Area Directors.  
  • Support DPO to Expand the programming portfolio through capacity building of field staff, development of partnerships and networks, as well as development of new funding opportunities.
  • Coordinate regular management and technical support visits to implementation sites to ensure that programming meets/exceeds international and Save the Children standards and corresponds to work plans and budgets.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant policies and procedures of Save the Children, e.g. child rights and safeguarding, donors, and the Government.
  • Work closely with other thematic areas to harmonize humanitarian interventions and ensure quality delivery of emergency projects.

Humanitarian preparedness and response 

  • Ensure rapid response to the needs of children and their families in times of crisis.
  • Lead the development of the country programme’s Humanitarian Preparedness and Response Strategy and Contingency Plans and liaise closely with the Save the Children Humanitarian Team in the RO and the Centre
  • Make clear recommendations based on the Ethiopia’s Response Strategy re: proposed programme content, staffing, management and administration arrangements and budget with clear indications of funding and technical support resources
  • To ensure a funding strategy is in place to resource the delivery of the humanitarian response strategy
  • Ensure Save the Children programmes are included or referenced in the UN HRP and Flash appeals
  • Continually monitor the situation of the affected population and ensure revisions to humanitarian response strategy where necessary
  • Develop, ensure training and activate country Emergency Response Team as necessary – ERT is already active
  • Ensure rapid humanitarian multi-sectoral integrated assessments are undertaken as necessary to continue to inform the implementation of the humanitarian response strategy
  • Support the Security Focal Point to ensure that optimal safety and security management procedures and practices are in place for the humanitarian response programme 
  • Ensure that SLT and Regional Humanitarian Director are well informed on issues related to humanitarian response and humanitarian risk management pertaining to all areas of operations and that all humanitarian programming in Ethiopia is well integrated with the regional and global humanitarian response system of Save the Children.

Monitoring and reporting

  • Work with the MEAL team and the programme teams to ensure that humanitarian programme objectives and activities are agreed upon within the context of Save the Children values, aims and objectives
  • Ensure production and timely dissemination of high quality, analytical reports, supply of regular situation reports, and collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant information and data relevant to the response
  • Evaluate, monitor and review to ensure strict compliance of programme activities with Save the Children national and global policies and procedures and with relevant donor regulations and agreements, SPHERE guidelines and the NGO code of conduct.

Representation, communication & relationship building

  • Represent Save the Children on national forums, workshops and meetings regarding humanitarian issues
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships with key INGOs and other stakeholders with humanitarian capacity, including government and UN colleagues
  • Ensure effective representation of Save the Children’s humanitarian response to local authorities, donors, working groups, clusters, task forces, and other members of the humanitarian community
  • Support establishment and maintenance of strong working relationships with local communities, community-based organizations and government authorities at both federal and regional state levels as appropriate.

Staff Management, Mentorship, and Development – Humanitarian

  • Ensure that all staff understand and are able to perform their role in an humanitarian response
  • Manage the Humanitarian team; define expectations, provide leadership and technical support as needed, and evaluate direct reports regularly
  • Support/train the country Emergency Response Team in coordination with the EARO and the SCI Humanitarian Team
  • Ensure the recruitment, training, and ensure availability of appropriate humanitarian professional development opportunities for staff
  • Incorporate staff development strategies and Performance Management Systems into team building process.  Establish result based system and follow up
  • Manage the performance of all staff in the Humanitarian work area through: 
    • Effective use of the Performance Management System including the establishment of clear, measurable objectives, regular and timely feedback, periodic reviews and fair evaluations;
    • Coaching, mentoring and other developmental opportunities;
    • Recognition and rewards for outstanding performance;
    • Documentation of performance that is less than satisfactory, with appropriate performance improvements plans and provide appropriate plan

SKILLS AND BEHAVIOURS (our Values in Practice)

Delivering Results

  • Translates complex contextual information into planning and achieving results effectively
  • Ability to take a range of potentially complex and conflicting information and make decisions
  • Designs and reviews large and complex operations to ensure maximum impact
  • Ensures measures and metrics are in place to track performance in large and complex programmes
  • Establishes clear and compelling objectives with teamsand individuals and monitors progress and performance
  • Holds others accountable for achieving results and challenges underperformance

Working effectively with others

  • Puts mechanisms in place to ensure effective collaborative working across boundaries
  • Enablespeople from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives to contribute to positive outcomes
  • Breaks down silo working and challenges behaviours that are not collaborative
  • Knows when to follow and lend leadership to strengthen other leaders

Problem Solving and decision making

  • Identifies and addresses root causes of long-term problems facing the country programme
  • Brings in external perspective to ensure strategic decision making remains relevant and future focused
  • Provides a strategic framework to support decision making
  • Explores and analyses external trends and their potential impact on strategic choices
  • Takes calculated risks and has the courage to stand by decisions despite resistance

Leadership and Developing Others

  • Delivers needs-based results in complex and fast-changing contexts
  • Evaluates the opportunities and risks of each idea and solution to make informed strategic decisions
  • Demonstrates managerial courage by willingness to confront difficult situations and take potentially unpopular decisions
  • Actively encourages a team environment where team members feel able to contribute, champion or challenge decisions
  • Conveys complex strategic issues with clarity, brevity and confidence
  • Develops and implements processes to ensure that the workplace is inclusive and the talents of individuals are harnessed to achieve individual and organizational success.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field required, Master’s degree preferred
  • Recommended minimum of 8 years’ experience in humanitarian programme management, preparedness and response in several fragile or complex contexts
  • Significant experience of managing logistics, security and operations
  • Understanding of international humanitarian aid systems and agencies
  • Knowledge of some of the Save the Children’s thematic areas such as Child Survival, Education (EiE), H&N, WASH, CP (CPiE), CRG etc. is required 
  • Experience of working in insecure environments and willingness to work and travel in insecure environments
  • Ample knowledge of humanitarian response and transitional program concepts, policies, frameworks, strategies and components, as well as development concepts and frameworks
  • Extensive on the ground experience in multi-sectoral humanitarian response, including food aid programs 
  • Solid budgeting skills and knowledge of key donor regulations
  • Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills including influencing and negotiation  
  • Highly developed cultural awareness and ability to work well in an international environment with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures
  • Commitment to Save the Children's practices and procedures and ways of working with children
  • Fluency in English, both verbal and written. 
  • Competency in Amharic and other regional language is preferred but not a requirement
  • Commitment to Save the Children values

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