Country Director Nigeria
The mission of Translators without Borders is to provide people with access to vital knowledge in their language. We do this by building language technology, increasing language translation capacity at a local level, providing language and simplification services that are culturally appropriate, accessible and open source, and raising awareness globally of language barriers.
Contract length: 1 year
Location: Maiduguri, Borno
Travel: The position is office-based with very limited travel in northeast Nigeria
Reporting to: Crisis Response Program Manager
Application deadline: 19 January 2020
About Translators without Borders
Translators without Borders (TWB) envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based non-profit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by connecting non-profit organizations with a community of language professionals, building local language translation capacity, and raising awareness of language barriers. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information every year.
We offer in addition to salary:
- an innovative work environment with a diverse and passionate team
- location-specific hardship allowance
- a 3-month Rest & Recuperation cycle, including additional leave and travel
- 20 days of annual leave and 10 days of floating holidays
In northeast Nigeria, humanitarian organizations are working to support some 1.9 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and the communities hosting them. But language is a challenge: in this linguistically diverse part of the world, people forced from their homes don’t always speak the same language as the people around them. International aid organizations may lack the skills to communicate with everyone in their own mother tongue. They often also lack information about the language and communication needs of affected people.
TWB has been providing language services in northeast Nigeria for just over a year, building humanitarian capacity for communication in the right language and format. A lot needs to be done. TWB in Nigeria is rapidly scaling up its teams and programs to support responders’ efforts to communicate more effectively, with funding from DFID and ECHO and partnerships with key humanitarian responders like the Norwegian Refugee Council, the International Organization for Migration and the International Rescue Committee
We do not want one third of internally displaced people to lack information in their language. We do not want widespread communication gaps to compromise data quality. We do not want the too common reliance on written communication to exclude vulnerable groups.
So we innovate, we research, we bring unique expertise and approaches to:
- Provide evidence to inform communication strategies, as we have just done with our latest report on audio communication for example.
- Promote accountability through two-way communication in the right languages. TWB helps tailor community feedback mechanisms to the language and communication needs of the most vulnerable.
- Reduce confusion with multilingual terminology databases. TWB’s sectoral glossaries are available for free on a mobile web app with offline and audio capability.
- Train interpreters and field workers. Training in the basics of interpreting limits information loss and aids confidential, ethical support services. Language training for data collectors and program staff promotes data quality and program impact.
- Improve understanding with plain language, translation, and audio. Clear content in plain language using pictures and audio benefits the widest audience. We offer written and audio translations, and support pictorial messaging.
The Country Director leads TWB’s Nigeria program with support from the Country Management Team, which s/he empowers to perform collaboratively and efficiently. The Country Director is the primary champion of TWB’s organizational culture in Nigeria, s/he nurtures a positive work environment of quality, innovation and drive to achieve. The Country Director provides strategic leadership and oversight of innovative program strategies, s/he has overall responsibility for corporate representation and partnership building, efficient and transparent fundraising, financial management and compliance, security management, advocacy and external communication in Nigeria.
Essential duties and responsibilities, other duties may be assigned
- Recruit, lead, empower and manage the high-performing team needed for the successful implementation of the country strategy
- Promote, model and take proactive steps to ensure a positive, innovative and supportive work environment
- Maintain close contact with other Country Directors and with global teams to ensure the Nigeria country team learns from and shares with others in the organization
Representation and coordination
- Represent TWB and build the organization’s profile in Nigeria, ensuring professional and productive engagement with local, regional, and national authorities, donors, and humanitarian and development partners
- Engage with humanitarian coordination and strategy development to ensure that issues relating to language and communication are taken on board by key decision makers and included in strategic documents such as Humanitarian Response Plans, country strategies and any related funding appeals
Media and advocacy
- Lead on political and humanitarian context and trend analysis for Nigeria and the Lake Chad basin area
- Lead TWB’s advocacy and media efforts in the country in close cooperation with the global Senior Advocacy Officer and Communication Senior Officer to ensure that language issues are highlighted within the response in northeast Nigeria
- Act as spokesperson in Nigeria, as delegated by the Head of Fundraising and Communication/Executive Director and proactively and constructively engage with reputable journalists to promote coverage and understanding of language issues in the media
Resource mobilization and management
- Proactively seek and pursue opportunities to expand the depth and breadth of the program in response to need. This includes potential geographical expansion, including to neighboring countries
- Cultivate and strengthen relationships with existing and potential donors and act as their primary interlocutor
- Oversee the development and submission of funding proposals in order to ensure that country plans are sustainably resourced
Design and implementation of country strategies and plans
- Ensure that country strategies and plans are developed and aligned with global TWB priorities and initiatives
- Lead on ensuring that TWB programs build an evidence base on the importance and impact of taking language into account in humanitarian programing in northeast Nigeria
- Initiate and lead on TWB’s expansion into the Lake Chad basin
- Ensure that programs and projects meet their goals and targets on time and within budget
Legal, logistics, security, financial and human resource management
- Serve as the primary budget authority in Nigeria, responsible for ensuring all costs charged to projects are allowable, reasonable and correctly allocated; accept fiduciary responsibility for all funds advanced for all TWB projects
- Ensure that TWB has adequate security measures in place approved by the Executive Director and that security guidance is understood and adhered to by all team members, including visitors
- In collaboration with TWB’s global finance and HR team, and with support from the Nigeria Operations Manager, ensure financial, logistics and HR systems and procedures compliant with legal requirements are in place and adhered to
The role will evolve during the course of the initial deployment as teams and activities develop so flexibility and the willingness to adapt to constantly changing circumstances is important.
The Country Director should be an innovative leader with a strong sense of initiative, an understanding of the humanitarian sector and management credentials. S/he should be enthusiastic about the importance of improving the quality and accountability of humanitarian action through language. The right candidate is an energetic team player and leader eager to take on the challenge of managing an innovative program in a difficult environment. S/he agrees with TWB´s core values and can work effectively in a diverse team in country and virtually with team members based throughout the world.
- Relevant university degree required.
- 8+ years of program design and management experience, including institutional donor grants and budget management
- 5+ years of international humanitarian aid experience and demonstrated understanding of communication and community engagement work
- 3+ years of experience as a Country Director, Program Director, or Chief of Party with a strong reputation for developing collaborative working relationships with local counterparts and relevant state actors and agencies, international organizations, and donors
- Demonstrated experience in mobilizing, organizing resources and establishing priorities
- Proven ability to manage staff and build cohesive, productive teams
- Excellent writing and presentation skills in English
- Knowledge of Hausa or Kanuri a plus
- Language industry experience a plus
- Willingness to live and work in a volatile security context
- Strong diplomatic, negotiation, and leadership skills
- Active listening skills, and focus on solutions
- Strong ability to multitask, prioritize, and work independently with minimal supervision
- Attention to detail, thoroughness, accuracy, ability to meet deadlines under time pressure, and to work quickly and steadily in a focused manner
- Ability to deal with frequent changes, delays, interruptions, and unexpected events; flexibility and can-do attitude
- Demonstrated initiative, persistence, ability to problem solve, and enthusiasm for learning
- Good interpersonal skills; able to work well in a team-oriented, collaborative, cross-functional environment
- Ability to mediate, negotiate, and resolve conflicts constructively
- Ability to innovate to find creative solutions; willing to explore new technologies
- Resourcefulness, capacity to get more out of small budgets
Translators without Borders employees and volunteers are people who believe passionately in the value of this work and take personal responsibility for achieving the mission. Translators without Borders’ mission and organizational spirit embody the core values established in its strategic framework:
Excellence: As the leading voice for communicating humanitarian information in the right language, Translators without Borders is a leader in the translation industry and in the non-profit sector.
Integrity: Translators without Borders believes that every person, whether it is the people who we serve, our volunteers or our staff, has value, deserves respect and has inherent dignity.
Empowerment: Translators without Borders believes in using language to empower people around the world to control their own development and destiny.
Innovation: Translators without Borders recognizes and celebrates the power of innovation to address humanitarian and crisis issues around the world.
Sustainability: Translators without Borders recognizes that meeting our mission necessitates establishment and maintenance of a solid financial and organizational infrastructure.
Tolerance: Our staff and volunteers are highly knowledgeable and skilled; value each other, our partner and our recipients; create a supportive work environment; and, conduct themselves professionally at all times.
Translators without Borders is an equal-opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion, and encourages qualified candidates of all genders and from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.