Regional Director, Programs – Asia Pacific

HKI - Helen Keller International

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Scope of the Position

The primary responsibility of the Regional Director, Programs (RD-P) is to lead programmatic initiatives and ensure high quality programmatic support to country offices and regional projects. Supervising the regional technical staff (including the Regional Advisor for Monitoring and Evaluation), the RD-Programs will ensure the technical quality of program and proposal development; develop new projects and operations research protocols; and provide guidance, input and oversight to ensure that country office programs are implemented and reported on at the highest standards. Field travel includes visits to country offices and project sites as well as international meetings, as needed.

Functional Relationships

Reporting to the Vice President (VP) for Asia Pacific, the RD-P is a member of the Regional Management Team (RMT) along with the VP-APR and the Regional Director, Operations (RDO). The RD-P works closely with the RD-O to ensure adequate oversight of country directors and country programs. The RD-P also collaborates closely with HKI’s technical VPs and other key staff at headquarters and in the Africa region. The RD-P is a member of HKI’s global Senior Management Team (SMT) and serves on selected technical working groups.

HKI has a matrixed reporting structure that respects both the line management and authority within country office and regional hierarchies; and the accountability and oversight duties of subject matter experts and multi-country program managers at the regional and headquarters level. Strong communication skills and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally, are essential to thrive within this structure.

The RD-P also plays a key role in nurturing and overseeing relationships and cooperation with governments, partner NGOs, universities, industries, donors and UN agencies, and representing HKI-APRO to donors and the international community.

Key Responsibilities

  • Program Development and Promotion/Fundraising: In collaboration with colleagues, spearhead the identification and pursuit of new program initiatives that are consistent with the HKI mission and strategic plan. Lead and contribute heavily to the development of concept papers and proposals for submission to various donors. Identify and implement strategies to meet longer term country and regional office funding needs including identifying and pursuing funding opportunities with donors based in the region.
  • Strategic Planning and Vision: Provide direction and guidance to the long term, medium, and short term planning processes in countries and for regional initiatives in accordance with the overall agency strategic plan and program strategy, including providing support and assistance to creating country and regional annual workplans.
  • Facilitation and Oversight: Serve as the gatekeeper and advocate for country programs within HKI, including regional office, headquarters and HKI-Europe. Ensure compliance with HKI and country office programmatic performance and reporting requirements. Identify issues and ensure prompt corrective action. Facilitate access by country offices to required programmatic support. Represent and advocate country program needs and perspectives within the Regional Management Team.
  • Program Quality Assurance and Reporting: Collaborate closely with the technical advisors (particularly the Regional Advisor for M & E) and HKI leadership to support programs in countries and ensure that the quality, impact, scale and cost-effectiveness of these programs, including the cross-cutting areas, meet HKI’s minimum program standards as well as global standards through supporting the implementation of appropriate design, planning, costing and monitoring and evaluation. Serve on HKI global technical working groups to advance standards and knowledge for improved implementation and measurement. Assure the accurate and timely reporting of program results to donors; as well as supporting country directors on their annual reporting on HKI’s strategic metrics related to programs. Assist country teams to document and publish program and research findings, particularly in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Partnerships and Representation: Work with colleagues to define partnership possibilities and to identify and prioritize the use of local regional, and/or centrally based technical resources to ensure the development of programs of the highest quality, and to ensure HKI representation at key regional meetings. Build-on and expand partnerships with regional institutions, country government officials, international and local donors, international and local NGOs, universities and other resource institutions and other colleagues that support HKI programs.
  • Internal Capacity Development: Collaborate with relevant colleagues to establish staff training, orientation, and development plans for country team members within the context of available resources. Assist in the recruitment process for all expatriate and senior field positions in designated countries (and regional program coordinators/managers, as assigned). Approve recruitment of senior program positions in region, proactively seeking out advice of members of the technical team as required. Manage and support intern program.
  • Supervisory Responsibilities: Work closely with the RD-O, who has direct line supervision of Country Directors, to ensure adequate support and oversight are provided to all APR countries. Specifically, when in country (and as needed in consultation with the RD-O), provide overall guidance and supervision and provide input to annual performance evaluations. Carry out supervisory responsibilities for regional technical staff in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Assist in interviewing, hiring, and training/orienting country directors; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining supervisees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.


  • At least a Master’s Degree in Public Health (or related field), with eye health or nutrition or related field training or experience plus at least ten years international public health work experience, ideally including at least five years managing complex country programs, or equivalent combination of skills and experience. Work experience as a Country Director for a non-governmental organization preferable.
  • Demonstrated ability in managing complex international operations, including designing, planning and evaluating projects and developing operational budgets. Implementation/operational research experience, with experience on randomized control trials preferable.
  • Strong background, experience and demonstrated success with fundraising, both with an ability to support country programs and regional staff in proposal development and to directly lead proposal development.
  • Strong technical skills in one or more of HKI’s program areas including a history of publications and presentation at international conferences. Passionate about ongoing learning in HKI’s technical areas. Ability to forge strong working relationship with technical leadership internal and external to HKI.
  • Excellent capacity building, team building/management, and coordination skills. An ability to delegate responsibilities effectively and coach and mentor staff.
  • Ability and willingness to undertake extensive field travel (approx. 35%-50%).
  • Communication and language skills:
    • Strong interpersonal skills in dealing with external contacts, as well as internal colleagues.
    • Excellent oral and written English skills. Ability to review and edit documents for both grammar and technical content. Ability to read, analyze and interpret the most
  • complex documents, and to write speeches and articles using original or innovative techniques or style. Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to top management and public groups.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the application of information technologies to HKI program areas. Knowledge of various software to be able to prepare presentations and other work documents.
  • An ability to work in challenging and changing environments, and to see through challenges to find solutions. An ability to maintain balance when under stress.
  • Demonstrable respect for all persons regardless of religion, ethnicity, class or gender, with a high comfort level working in a diverse environment with a demonstrated commitment to high professional ethical standards.
  • Residence in or willingness to relocate to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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