Location: Kigali, Rwanda (with regional travel expected)
Reports To: Central Africa Regional Director
Start date: November 2021
Position Type: Minimum 2-year full time contract (with possibility for renewal)
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct utilization of natural resources.
Central Africa & Gulf of Guinea Program Overview
The WCS Central Africa & Gulf of Guinea program encompasses the five countries of Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Nigeria. WCS has been present and active across these countries for over thirty years, implementing long-term site-based initiatives – including large and complex protected area operations – in some of the most intact ecosystems remaining in the region and in supporting governments partners, and local communities in biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. The regional program has recently established an office in Kigali, Rwanda and is in a phase of growth, currently employing more than 500 staff with an operational annual budget of over $25million.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Africa & Gulf of Guinea program is seeking a highly motivated Regional Operations Manager to support our national and field program offices to improve efficiencies in and ensure the smooth running of our extensive field operations. We are seeking an experienced field operations manager, with experience in the NGO/humanitarian sector, operational knowledge of Africa and ideally Central Africa, and specific expertise in the following operational areas : purchasing and logistics, human resources and personnel management, and project planning and implementation management. He/she must have excellent communication skills, have a highly solution-oriented and adaptable approach to a challenging working environment, and thrive in a large and multi-cultural team dedicated to saving wildlife and wild places.
Field program management support and troubleshooting
- Work with country offices and regional team to identify and implement efficiencies in the design, documentation and implementation of program processes and internal systems (including but not limited to: communications, partner engagement, IT, recruitment, procurement), whilst ensuring organizational policies and standards are upheld and legislative regulations are followed
- Work with country program teams to identify critical intractable bottlenecks and work with appropriate counterparts in WCS regional and global management to propose solutions
- Provide on-going problem-solving guidance for program staff regarding programmatic issues, planning issues, and difficulties encountered with local authorities, authorizations and permits, and partners
- Provide general ad-hoc support to large scale projects/programs where necessary acting as deployable program staff (ie. act as “fixer”).
- Ensure that security, health and safety strategies (including COVID-19 measures) are developed, regularly updated, implemented, communicated, available and adhered to by all staff, visitors and/or visiting consultants or partners to our field programs.
Personnel management and career development
- Work with the country management team and the Africa HR manager to ensure that competent and motivated staff are hired and retained
- For recruitment of international staff and consultants, work closely with the Africa HR manager, country management and hiring team to oversee the process from TOR development to contract
Project planning and implementation management
- Working closely with the regional and country offices, provide start-up support for new projects/funding programs including procurement plans, recruitment plans and implementation oversight and check-ins to ensure smooth running of programs
- Oversee facility and assets management, assist with branding and marking
Purchasing and Logistics
- Provide overall procurement oversight and vendor supply management, including liaison between country programs and NY Global Purchasing where needed, with particular focus on international purchasing.
- Support country programs in preparing bid documents, solicit and evaluate bids according to WCS policies and guidelines
- Ensures compliance with donor requirements; facilitates donor and other site visits as requested
- Review and approve purchase orders
- Follow up on backorders, expedite, track shipments and update appropriate stakeholders
- Liaise with third party shipping services to final international destinations
- Identify, analyze, negotiate preferred vendors
- Maintain a database for specialized conservation equipment
- Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s Degree or equivalent work experience preferred
- Minimum 6 years of prior work experience in leading large-program design, start-up, and implementation.
- Demonstrated knowledge of regional context and existing capital with local actors
- Results-driven and solution-oriented approach to work, proven personal initiative and an ability to respond proactively and positively to ambiguity
- Demonstrated track record of success in conservation, humanitarian or development response settings and a strong understanding of development programming
- Experience in an international NGO strongly preferred.
- Excellent leadership, coordination, capacity building, planning and analytical skills
- Strong program/technical and budget management skills, planning, reporting, monitoring and evaluation skills
- Familiarity with donor rules e.g. USAID, EU a distinct advantage
- Strong written and oral communication skills, effective in representation and liaison with external parties as well as in group and workshop facilitation
- Fluency in English and French required
- Willingness to travel to remote field sites
- An interest in wildlife conservation and commitment to the values and mission of the Wildlife Conservation Society