Head of Programme Unit

Build your career while building hope.

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Build your career while building hope.

Watch our short uplifting film which highlights what unites us.

This role is based in the Dublin office for 2-3 days per week with an option to work the remainder at home.  

About us

Christian Aid exists to create a world where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. We are a global movement of people, churches and local organisations who passionately champion dignity, equality and justice worldwide. We are the changemakers, the peacemakers, the mighty of heart.

Learn about our vision, mission and values

About the role

Reporting to the CEO, the role is responsible for leading the direction, coordination and oversight of Christian Aid Ireland’s international programme portfolio, working in close collaboration with the Global Head of Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention. You will manage the Programme Unit (10 staff) and support and oversee the delivery of the International Programme Strategy, working closely with colleagues from country teams and across the organisation.  As a member of Christian Aid Ireland’s senior management Leadership Team, you will also contribute to the strategic direction of the organisation, including developing corporate objectives, setting annual plans and targets, and inputting into decisions on the management and governance of Christian Aid Ireland.

About you

The following attributes are essential:

  • Proven management experience, preferably in an NGO environment, and ability to lead, motivate and develop others.
  • Strong understanding of programme cycle management, ideally based on significant field operations experience managing programmes in relevant areas of work (governance and human rights, peacebuilding and conflict prevention, gender justice, climate adaptation, humanitarian response and resilience).
  • Experience of strategy development and implementation, including demonstrated ability to analyse information, evaluate options and to think and plan strategically.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of one or more of Christian Aid Ireland’s thematic programme areas: governance and human rights, peacebuilding and conflict prevention, gender justice, climate adaptation, humanitarian response and resilience.
  • Track record of engaging with and securing funds from institutional donors, and preferably significant experience and knowledge of working with Irish Aid, ECHO and the EC.
  • Substantial understanding of and experience with effective financial and budgetary control.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with demonstrated ability to deliver high quality written deliverables such as programme reports, strategic documents.
  • Demonstrated experience of building and maintaining senior level relationships, preferably including with institutional donors.
  • Experience of working through partnership and strengthening the role of community-based/ led approaches.
  • A deep understanding of the context of countries in the Global South and the need for a strategic focus on poverty, and the role of INGOs in supporting poverty eradication programmes.
  • Demonstrable ability to build effective working relationships in a global organisation.

The following attributes are desirable:

  •  Experience at senior management level contributing to the management and strategic direction of an organisation.
  •  Experience of adaptive management in programme work.
  •  Basic fluency in Spanish, French, Arabic or a language used in Christian Aid Ireland programme countries.
  •  Strong facilitation skills.

Competency questions 

As part of your application please demonstrate your suitability by giving answers to the following questions:

Steward resources

Give us an example of how your skills in managing the available resources and people’s time led to the delivery of quality outcomes on time

  • What was the context or situation?
  • What was expected of you?
  • How did you set about the task?  What action(s) did you take?
  • What were the results?  How did you know you had been successful?

Deliver results

Please tell us about a time when you took a decision or made recommendations when the situation was difficult or ambiguous?

  • What was the context?  What made the situation either difficult or ambiguous?
  • What was your task or responsibility?
  • What actions did you take to clarify the difficulty/ambiguity?  Why did you decide what you decided?
  • What were the results?  Was the outcome successful?  How did you know?

Strive for improvement

Please tell us about a time when you had to seek and evaluate a range of options, both internal and external, to improve organisational effectiveness

  • What was the context?  Which ways of working were being challenged?
  • What was your responsibility?
  • What action(s) did you take to ensure a wide range of perspectives were considered?  How did you evaluate them?
  • What was the outcome?  Were ways of working improved?  How did you know?

Further information

At Christian Aid we strive to be an inclusive and diverse employer and recognise the value that this brings in helping to build strong, creative and high performing teams.

We are actively encouraging racialised minorities, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, returning parents or carers who are re-entering work after a career break, people with caring responsibilities, people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, women, and older workers to apply. This is because these groups are under-represented within our teams, especially at senior level, and we recognise and value the contributions members of these groups make to strong, creative and high performing teams. To discuss this role in greater detail, please contact  jdonaldson@christian-aid.org.

We have a strong Christian ethos and we encourage applications from all faiths and none (with the exception of Director positions where there is a genuine occupational requirement to be a practicing Christian - Exempted under the Equality Act 2010).

All successful candidates will require a DBS/police check appropriate to the role and location and a Counter Terrorism Sanction check as part of your clearance for commencing your role with us. We also participate in the Inter Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme.  In line with this Scheme, we will request information as part of the referencing process from job applicants’ previous employers about any findings of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and/or sexual harassment during employment, or incidents under investigation when the applicant left employment. By submitting an application, the job applicant confirms their understanding of these recruitment procedures.

This role requires applicants to have the right to live and work in the country where this position is based and undertake the role that you have been offered. If you are successful and we make you an offer for the role, we will be required to conduct a right to work check on your immigration status in the UK. We will contact you regarding the documentation you will need to provide to evidence this.

You can expect a wide range of rewards and benefits, including a generous holiday allowance, a season ticket loan, and flexibility that will ensure you enjoy a good work/life balance.


Quick check

  • Salary (full time):
  • Type of contract:
  • Contracted hours:
  • Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
  • Closing date:
    31 May 2024
  • Interview date:
    20 June 2024
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As a volunteer, you will receive:
  • Support and supervision from a named contact within Christian Aid
  • Appropriate induction and training for your volunteering role.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses as agreed.
  • Our regular volunteers e-newsletter
  • Access to our Volunteers’ Hub for all our latest news, events and resources
Christian Aid is a Living Wage Employer

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