Director of Programmes and Innovation

Position Title: Director of Programmes and Innovation
Department: Programmes and Innovation
Location: Rome
Reports to: Executive Office
Duration: 12 months (Renewable)
Starting date: January 2019

Organisational Context

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is a work of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit order), incorporated as an international non-governmental organisation with a mission to accompany, serve, and advocate for the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. The organisation was founded in November 1980 and now has a presence in over 50 countries. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support and guidance of an international office (IO) in Rome. JRS works in situations of greatest need, seeking the long-term well-being of refugees and displaced people while not neglecting their immediate or urgent needs.

Why JRS?

JRS is committed to working for the wellbeing and hope of refugees. JRS believes that our journeying with refugees is the most important way for us to express our solidarity with them and our concern for their wellbeing. In a world where refugees are more than ever in need of welcome and protection, and yet increasingly rejected and demonized, JRS offers accompaniment to refugees as a sign of hope and a way towards healing. In even the most desperate of situations, we remain with refugees to assure them that the world has not forgotten them, and that they are not alone.

Why this job matters

The unprecedented number of refugees in the world is causing immense pressure on hosting countries, creating barriers in education of refugees, inhibiting livelihood opportunities, and diminishing psychosocial wellbeing and social cohesion.
JRS employs over 3500 people directly. They are how we achieve our mission through our vision. As an organisation committed to the best service we can provide to refugees, and accountability to all partners, we seek to enhance the way we measure the impact of our programmes and our capacity to learn and innovate.

JRS has developed and approved a strategic framework for 2019-2023. The Director of Programmes and Innovation will play a key role in its implementation, leading JRS’ development and execution of innovation from inside and outside the organisation, particularly in programme areas of Psychosocial Support, Reconciliation and Social Cohesion, Education, Livelihoods and Monitoring and Evaluation.

What will be required?

  • Drive the innovation capability and mindset across JRS, leading to rapid acceleration and adoption of new strategies and concepts.
  • Lead Regional Directors, Country Directors, and their respective staffs by providing strategic direction to deliver comprehensive programmes in each sector and ensuring innovation is adopted and implemented.
  • Act as a thought leader in various organisational and process improvement strategies.
  • Own, develop and champion the use of various approaches, tools and techniques for programme management and innovation as appropriate.  Build a shared understanding of logical and creative options available to solve programmatic issues.
  • Support best practices from the International Office and the field offices. Standardise research methodology for new ideas and insights and promote open innovation. Drive and facilitate creative thinking.
  • Search and identify new programmatic areas in response to the needs of those we serve.

Leadership accountabilities

  • Organizational leader:  the Director of Programmes and Innovation will be a member of the IO Management Team and report to the International Director.
  • Manager:  Directors of Education, Reconciliation, and Monitoring and Evaluation will be direct reports.  Programmes staff in the JRS USA office will have a collaborative relationship with the Director and staff.
  • Programme and project leader: design, launch and deliver activities to enhance JRS’s efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Connections builder: engage Regional and Country Directors to prioritise and frame programmes activities with an understanding of how they will implement the key objectives of the strategic framework and impact our beneficiaries.
  • Change agent: Identify, create and lead programmes changes smoothly, adapt quickly and perform effectively, despite ambiguity.
  • Collaborative partner: understand others’ agenda and needs alongside the needs of JRS as a whole. Engage, learn and constructively contribute.

Required Education and Experience

  • A Master’s Degree in a relevant field, with evidence of continued learning/certification.
  • A minimum of 8 years of growing responsibility in organizational leadership, including demonstrable success in personnel supervision, programme administration, change management and innovation development.
  • Strong experience in humanitarian programmes management in the field; work in the area of refugees and internally displaced people is highly desirable.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of at least one of the key JRS programmatic areas: Education, Livelihoods, Psychosocial support, Monitoring and Evaluation, and/or Reconciliation and Social Cohesion.
  • Strong team player and an inspirational leader, possessing technical credibility and presence, with the ability to quickly gain the confidence of team, peers and executive management.
  • Experience of driving continuous improvement processes, tools and methods, preferably in the humanitarian sector.
  • Demonstrated capacity to build effective internal and external networks.

What skills are needed?

  • Demonstrated solid knowledge in programmes and project management/ administration, including logical frameworks, programme design and budgeting, strategic assessment and reporting.  Strong skills in building the case for change, drawing on data and analytical techniques where appropriate, and building a shared understanding of the options available to solve programmatic issues.
  • Knowledge of organisational strategy and drivers of optimal performance, including supervision skills and financial literacy (e.g. KPIs).
  • Capacity to recognize innovation on the ground and ability to apply a replicable and scalable strategy where it appropriate.
  • Excellent communication skills and stakeholder engagement.
  • Ability to build and develop new relationships.
  • Strong presenting, negotiating and influencing skills.
  • Pro-active decision-making skills with a confident yet diplomatic operating style – dealing easily with cultural diversity.
  • Microsoft office skills.  JRS is moving to the Navision financial accounting system; experience with this or similar financial systems is an advantage.

Core values and ethics

  • Good understanding of and alignment with the values of JRS.
  • Demonstrated experience and commitment to working with marginalised communities.
  • Commitment to JRS mission, vision and values, and the ability to convey with enthusiasm JRS’s role in accompanying and serving forcibly displaced people and in advocating for their right to protection and a life with dignity.
  • High integrity, honesty and confidentiality; ability to deal tactfully and discreetly with situations, people and information.
  • Acceptance of diversity and inclusion as a core value.


The contract is for one-year renewable. The JRS remuneration policy is aligned with the JRS ethos to offer effective and professional services and at the same time express solidarity with the people served. The salary is calculated with the use of a post-adjustment multiplier and considers years of relevant experience and the degree of responsibility of the role. Details will be discussed with short-listed candidates.

All applicants are requested to submit the following documents through email to:

Deadline for application: 5 December 2018.

1) Curriculum Vitae (CV) in English including three (3) professional references with their contact information, phone and email address.

2) A cover letter describing the candidate’s desire and motivation to work for JRS and how her/his qualifications and experience are a good fit for this position.

The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled. Consideration of candidates and interviews will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Thank you for your interest in joining JRS.