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INTERSOS – Country Director – Afghanistan

INTERSOS sta selezionando un/a Country Director da inserire nella sua operatività in Afghanistan. Durata 24 mesi. Tipo contratto: Tempo det. Scadenza candidature 03/11/2023

INTERSOS is an independent humanitarian organization that assists the victims of natural disasters, armed conflicts and exclusion. Its activities are based on the principles of solidarity, justice, human dignity, equality of rights and opportunities, respect for diversity and coexistence, paying special attention to the most vulnerable people.

Terms of reference

Job Title: Country Director-Afghanistan

Code: SR-28-9119

Duty station: Kabul with frequent field visits to locations of operation

Starting date: 01/01/2024

Contract duration: 24 months

Reporting to: Regional director ROE

Supervision of: Mission’s team

Functional Supervisor: Deputy regional director ROE

Type of duty station: Non-family duty station

General context of the project

Over 40 years of conflicts and political turmoil have taken a massive cumulative toll on the people of Afghanistan. A total of 18.4 million people, almost half of the total population, have been estimated by the UN to need humanitarian assistance prior to recent events. Severe droughts are recurring in Afghanistan, currently resulting in nearly 14 million people in acute food insecurity, with over 3 million children facing severe malnourishment. The recent displacement of 550,000 people is adding to an estimated 2.9 million people who remain internally displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance, while winter months are around the corner.

INTERSOS has been working in Afghanistan since 2001, with a country office in Kabul, and field bases in Kandahar and Zabul provinces. In recent years INTERSOS has been focusing its assistance based on an integrated community-based approach that includes primary health care (including sexual and reproductive health care), nutrition and protection programmes serving conflict-affected populations, particularly in hard-to-reach areas, with a special focus on socially excluded individuals, including women, children and persons living with disabilities.

With its operational approach and active engagement with the communities, INTERSOS has been enjoying strong community acceptance and operational access. All INTERSOS activities continue to be implemented in Afghanistan at the present time, with no operational restrictions and with full inclusion of female staff.

It is widely anticipated that Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation may deteriorate further, given that the international support to key essential and social services – food aid, health, education, and other essential services, is currently frozen. Although humanitarian aid can not replace this gap, the international assistance that prioritises urgent humanitarian needs will be essential.

At the same time, unless the operational environment with all its impediments (including in relation to banking/cash transfers and counter-terrorism measures) does not improve, the response will continue to be a challenge.

Recognizing that the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan will require a more intensified international humanitarian assistance, INTERSOS remains in Afghanistan to deliver its ongoing activities, and potentially scale up its response.

General purpose of the position

The Head of Mission represents INTERSOS in Afghanistan, and acts on behalf of the Director General, in initiating and leading the response, including strategy, planning, management, and implementation of the INTERSOS Afghanistan programme.

Main responsibilities and tasks

Strategy and Vision

  • Review INTERSOS intervention strategy and programming, as well as assess and analyse the current and mid-term needs in Afghanistan, based on context and security analysis, direct contact with communities, de facto authorities, donors, UN, civil society and NGOs. 
  • Based on the review and assessment, and in collaboration with the HQ Task Force, propose and develop a strategy for INTERSOS programme in Afghanistan in line with INTERSOS values and principles
  • Lead on developing additional operational activities, if feasible and in line with review and assessment results
  • In view of context analysis, security assessment and taking into account present structure of the Mission, in collaboration with HQ TF work on the adjusted structure of the Mission including in Kabul and provinces
  • Lead the detailed annual country strategy planning process
  • Lead on prioritising of actions and resources to achieve programme objectives
  • Explore and present funding opportunities that integrate initiatives and leverage impact for the communities; support and direct fund-raising activities with institutional and private donors

Representation and influencing

  • Represents the organization in the country and manage relations with the de facto authorities, including with relevant government departments, with extreme care and tact in order to safeguard our impartiality and independence and the ethical standing of the organization, and to ensure smooth and timely implementation of planned interventions
  • Proactively represent INTERSOS with donors, partners, local and international stakeholders, and the communities we serve and develop strategic partnerships overall
  • Follow up, guarantee and monitor government recognition procedures for the organization in compliance with the host country formalities
  • Maintain strong communications with donors and ensure that the assessed needs are communicated to help shape donor priorities
  • Represent the Mission in all coordination fora (NGO, de-facto authorities, UN, and others), as per established coordination structure in-country
  • Represent INTERSOS programmes with national and international media and participate in community activities as appropriate, being responsible for the development and promotion of communication and advocacy materials highlighting the beneficiaries’ needs and the role of the organization in addressing them

Human Resource management

  • Manage the Senior Management Team (SMT) in country, ensuring that all key issues pertaining to programme implementation, as well as administrative, context and security developments are regularly discussed
  • In coordination with SMT, coordinate, guide and supervise the mission staff, and evaluate their performance
  • Ensure the Mission staff are working in line with organizational values, Code of Ethics and Organization Management and Control Model
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity and ensure that the Mission staff adhere with staff compliance with INTERSOS procedures
  • Ensures the correct flow of operational information within the mission and with the region and headquarter.


  • Overall manage security and safety of INTERSOS staff in-country and proactively follow context analysis, security assessment
  • Validate all the mission security plans (at the capital level and at field levels
  • Regularly interact with HQ on security issues
  • To hold final responsibility for any decision concerning security

Monitoring and Reporting

  • Continuously assess, analyse and evaluate the impact of the country operations, also through periodic visits to the areas of intervention
  • Oversee programme quality and impact, in line with established programme goals and related indicators.
  • Oversee the good functioning of the support services.


  • Coordinate and define the mission financial plan, striving towards financial sustainability, and assume responsibility for the mission funds management, including bank accounts.

Required profile and experience


Postgraduate degree (MA or LLM) in International Humanitarian Action, International Relations, or similar relevant field.

Professional Experience 

At least 7 years of professional experience as Head of Mission, Country Director for International NGO or at least 10 years in roles of increasing level of responsibility.

Professional Requirements

  • Leadership in managing complex humanitarian programmes in challenging and insecure contexts (7 years of experience in similar positions)
  • Proven experience in managing and bringing together an ethnically diverse / multi-cultural team with team members
  • Proven representation, negotiation, communication and organisation skills
  • Experience in securing funding for country programs from diverse donors
  • Demonstrated experience in working with external stakeholders, including host governments, the private sector, the UN, NGO partners and other stakeholders in complex environments
  • Sound knowledge of international donors in humanitarian and development contexts
  • Previous experience in managing complex security environments, and in ensuring quality supervision also in remote
  • Proven experience in strategic planning and negotiation of humanitarian access
  • Proven experience in financial and grants management
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required
  • Knowledge of Dari/Farsi is highly desirable
  • Previous experience in the country/area of operation is an asset


Fluency in English with excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Personal requirements 

  • Demonstrate flexibility, resilience and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure
  • Exhibit awareness of his/her own strengths and development needs
  • Manage conflicts in a constructive way
  • Confidently able to deal with authorities and donors
  • Proactive and collaborative approach to work
  • Able to work independently as well as being a strong team player
  • Contributes to the development of tools and methods that might be useful in the field of work
  • Ability to integrate and work well within multi-ethnic and multicultural teams


Interested candidates are invited to apply following the link below: 

Please note that our application process is made of 3 quick steps: register (including your name, email, password and citizenship), sign-up and apply by attaching your CV in PDF format. Through the platform, candidates will be able to track their applications’ history with INTERSOS. 

Please also mention the name, position and contact details of at least three references: two line managers and one HR referent. Family members are to be excluded.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for the first interview.


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