Head of Project Management Unit (G-22-134)

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Category: Research and Development

Location: Nairobi Nairobi Kenya

The International Potato Center (CIP) is seeking a dynamic Head of Project Management Unit to provide management and oversight to the International Potato Center Project Management Unit charged with working with Principal Investigators and Project Management Officers to ensure the successful implementation and delivery of CIP Research for Development project portfolio.
About CIP
CIP, a member of the One CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. One CGIAR science is dedicated to transforming food, land and water systems in a climate crisis, and it is carried out by 13 CGIAR Centers/Alliances in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector.
CIP works with partners in over 20 countries to improve diets and incomes of poor people in Africa, Asia and Latin America through scientific research, innovation, and capacity strengthening.  Focusing on potato and sweetpotato as food systems entry point, CIP’s programs seek to strengthen broader agri-food systems to generate economic, social and nutritional benefits for farmers, enterprises and consumers emphasizing the priorities of women and youth in particular. CIP emphasizes the synergies between social and bio-physical sciences as a core strategy for making breakthroughs in our understanding of complex development challenges in food and agriculture and for our ability to overcome these. Within this pluralistic strategy, qualitative social science has a central, and increasing place for explaining human and institutional behavior and assessing benefits and risks for human development.
About the Unit: The Project Management Unit monitors project performance at the portfolio and project level, in accordance with CIP and CGIAR standards, to provide management with actionable information in support of program and financial decision making.  The Head of the Unit will provide direction, project advice and recommendations to continuously improve, and builds project management capacities across center staff and project partners.  The head of the Unit will steer the team to design and implement project coordination standards, in alignment with the One CGIAR, for project and portfolio delivery, monitoring, and reporting, integrating a coherent and consistent framework of cross-cutting processes and procedures around the project lifecycle.
The position: The position will report to the Director General for Research and Development at CIP and will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.
The position combines skills and experience in project and financial management, donor compliance and monitoring and evaluation of results to ensure effective project management is applied to all CIP projects worldwide at all stages of the project lifecycle from planning, start-up, implementation, monitoring and reporting, evaluation and learning and close out. The position collaborates with Regional Directors, Program Leaders, Country Managers, Project Managers, and Science Leaders to deliver successful, on-time and on-budget, completion of agreed-upon project deliverables for donors and beneficiaries but does not directly lead or deliver projects.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Leadership of Unit
  • Develop the multi-year PMU strategy and associated implementation plan to execute a sustainable platform for project management which fosters collaboration, and communications across CIP system.
  • Ensure processes, methodologies systems and performance metrics are in place to ensure effective project and portfolio management and implementation across the organization.
  • Direct the activities of the Project Management Unit and determine how team resources should be allocated across projects.
  • Provide strong and effective support to country, regional, and program management teams.
  • Create training and capacity building process and training modules to promote project management best practices.
  • Communicate with Senior Management on portfolio successes, issues and lessons learned from implementation and share these across CIP’s organization.
  • Build a Community of Practice for Good Project Management across the organization involving Project Managers and operations and finance staff. 
Project Management Implementation and Compliance
  • Serve as primary Project Management support assisting Project Managers deliver successful project implementation and results.
  • Work with Project Managers to ensure that sound project implementation plans and results frameworks are established, and activities and financial budgets are aligned.
  • Guide efficient and effective project start-up and close-out mechanisms
  • Quarterly tracking of individual projects and aggregated portfolio progress against planned results, budgets and forecasts while working with leadership and Project Managers to analyze variance and propose and take steps for programmatic course corrections as necessary
  • Review Monthly Project Reports to ensure continuous financial oversight.
  • Travel to project sites in the field as necessary to assist in project management.
  • Develop and maintain professional working relationships with Donors and project partners 
Partner Management
  • Monitor pre award due diligence process and risk determination for partners
  • Monitor the approval process for partner deliverables and invoices
  • Establish a process to review quarterly Estimates to Complete with partners 
Reporting and Monitoring
  • Design and establish tools and systems to track project implementation progress against results planned
  • Coordinate with Project Managers for the completion and submission of all required donor results/reports/deliverables.
  • Coordinate with Project Managers to respond to donor requested updates and communications.
  • Coordinate with Project Managers for timely reporting of project deliverables to Senior Management.
Resource Mobilization
  • Contribute to CIP’s resource mobilization process in conjunction with Regional Directors, Program Managers, Country Managers, Project Managers and Proposal Development Teams.
Knowledge Management
  • Coordinate with Communications on project success stories, website postings, Past Performance Reports, flyers and corporate capability statements.
  • Coordinate with Project and Program Leaders to communicate relevant project information throughout the organization and with donors/partners
Staff Management, Professional Development and Team Building
  • Promote accountability, growth and development of staff by conducting staff annual performance reviews with direct supervisees and ensuring that all staff members are effectively using the performance planning and management system.
  • Contribute to integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
  • Ensure the effective management and coordination of the Project Management team, which includes advising, guiding, mentoring, motivating and developing staff


Who are we looking for?
  • At least 8 years of relevant work experience in an international organization/ NGOs and having been exposed to various cultures.
  • Strong Project Management Experience
  • Strong Monitoring and Evaluation Experience
  • Proven experience implementing and monitoring strategies and establishing long term partnerships
  • Must be able to research information and analyze data to arrive at valid conclusions, make recommendations effectively, and execute plans of action within a team dynamic
  • Detailed knowledge of current best practice according to the working unit
  • Prior experience working in a multi-donor organization specifically with USAID, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (desirable)
  • Experience living internationally (desirable)
  • Fluent written and oral communication skills in English
  • Advanced knowledge of Spanish, French or other languages is desirable
  • Strong and effective proven leadership
  • Building and maintaining partnerships and relationships.
  • Selecting, coaching and appraising staff.
  • Influencing and resolving differences across boundaries
  • Planning and managing staff and assets to achieve outstanding qualitative results.
  • Creating and environment for leading & knowledge sharing and continuous improvement
  • Able to thrive in ambiguous, fast evolving landscape.
Personal characteristics
  • A passionate, energetic, and results-oriented Head of project Management Unit.
  • Commitment to working in a multi-partner and multi-cultural environments
Education level
  • Master’s degree in an associated field (Project Management, Monitoring and evaluation, International Development, Political Science, MBA or Business)


What are we offering?
  • Exciting career growth opportunity in an international organization.
  • Internationally competitive salary, paid in US dollars, and commensurate with experience.
  • Comprehensive international insurance coverage.
  • Attractive retirement plan.
  • Three-year term contract with the possibility of renewal.
  • Work in an equal and diverse workplace.
How to apply?
Please visit the following link: https://cipotato.org/open-vacancies/  and submit your cover letter and a full C.V. with your references (preferable recent supervisors). Screening of applications will begin on December 21st and will continue until the post is filled. All applications will be acknowledged; however only short-listed candidates will be contacted.
This position will NOT work or have contact with children and/or vulnerable adults
Learn more about CIP by accessing our web site at http://www.cipotato.org
CIP is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified women and professionals from developing countries are particularly encouraged to apply.

Details Apply Now

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