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Head of Programmes

Head of Programmes

Head of Programmes

About RVI

The Rift Valley Institute is an independent, non-profit organisation working in eastern and central Africa since 2001. A UK-registered charity, RVI has offices in Nairobi, Juba, Hargeysa, Addis Ababa and London.

RVI is a leader in practical social research, policy analysis, training and public information. Our field-based research emerges from and seeks to respond to ideas generated by the communities and institutions with which we work. RVI research projects, which involve collaborations between African and non-African researchers, include training and mentoring of early career researchers to develop their skills and experience. RVI supports the right to information and the exchange of knowledge by publishing its research and disseminating it through public fora.

Our Vision, Mission and Values

Our Vision

Making local knowledge work for the benefit of the people of Eastern and Central Africa. 

Our Mission 

The Rift Valley Institute is an independent research and educational organisation with a social mission: to create a better future for the peoples and communities of Eastern and Central Africa by advancing relevant knowledge of the region through collaborative research, education and training, public information and dialogues, and promoting culture and heritage. The Institute bridges development practice and policy, elevating local voices, knowledge and action. 

Our Values 

The following values guide and underpin our work:

Respect: We demonstrate respect for local knowledge and the partners and the communities we work with and those who work with us. 

Independence: We are independent in our thought and action and produce research and deliver programmes free from external interests. 

Integrity: We work with transparency and honesty to ensure accurate and open access to information, and we are accountable for our work and to those we work with. 

Collaboration: We believe respectful partnerships are the basis for successful development and we are committed to long term, mutually beneficial collaboration between indigenous institutions, local researchers and international specialists. 

Excellence: We strive to produce original work and to sustain our strong reputation for research, public information and training.

Head of Programmes: Overview

The Head of Programmes is a newly created position that is intended to support the expansion of the Institute in Africa, enhance the quality of the Institute’s work, and ensure that its programmes are meaningful and professionally run to the benefit of communities in the countries where RVI operates. Working collaboratively with colleagues, the Head of Programmes will ensure the Institute is working to a common purpose across multiple countries, that its staff are supported to realize their professional potentials, and relationships are cultivated with RVI Fellows and like-minded research institutes.

The Role

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Development: Play a leading role in the development of long-term organisational strategic plans that deliver the vision and mission of the Institute in a sustainable way, that have a meaningful and measurable positive impact, and advance the development of RVI as an African-based institute.

Programme Delivery: Lead, innovate and support the design and development of meaningful programmes that benefit the people of eastern and central Africa, support the achievement of RVI goals in local knowledge generation and application, and ensure strategic synergies, collaboration, coherence and adequate resources between country programmes. Oversee the development of systems for monitoring impact and learning.

Resource mobilisation: Oversee the expansion and diversification of RVI’s funding sources, by leading funding bids that fall within the goals of the Institute.

Publications and Communications: Provide quality control of RVI’s publications in collaboration with the Publications and Communications Manager.

Team leadership: Cultivate an enabling and empowering workplace environment and ensure RVI’s programme of work is delivered in a safe and secure manner.

Knowledge Management: Monitor political, social, humanitarian and security developments in East Africa and the Horn of Africa and ensure RVI has systems in place for documenting and archiving RVI’s projects, publications, and organisational history.

The Person

We seek applications from candidates with the following values, qualifications, experience and skills.


Demonstrate a commitment to RVI’s values and ways of working, and that an understanding of local knowledge and local concerns enables equitable development and peaceful and open societies.

Knowledge & Qualifications

  • Hold a Master’s degree or PhD in a relevant social science discipline.
  • A strategic thinker with proven ability to develop and implement long-term institutional plans.
  • A track-record in research in countries of the Rift Valley region where RVI works and demonstrable experience of the operational challenges of working in fragile and insecure contexts.
  • An understanding of climate change as a key risk to development, peace and security for communities in countries where RVI operates.
  • A commitment to development that promotes social equity and inclusion.


  • Extensive, progressive experience in senior, director level, leadership roles working with or within the international development sector.
  • A track record in programme design and managing effective partnerships.
  • A track record in social science research or education.
  • A track record in the management and stewardship of human resources and creating an enabling environment for professional development.
  • Experience in spearheading and developing organisational strategies and workplans.
  • A track record in proposal writing and fundraising.
  • Widely travelled with experience of working in eastern or central Africa.
  • Proven commitment to a culture of learning and innovation.
  • Experience in promoting public engagement in research, education and policy and building capacity and collaborative networks of researchers and research institutions.

Skills & Abilities

  • Ability to lead strategic and operation planning processes and the implementation of long-term organisational plans.
  • Ability to prioritise and manage a high workload and multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines.
  • Ability to manage resources, both human and financial, sensitively and effectively.
  • Good communications skills with ability to explain RVI’s work and strategy in public.
  • Strong collaboration skills to work with staff and partners.
  • Proficiency in a regional language highly desirable.
  • A track record in resource mobilisation and an ability to nurture donor relations.


Job Title: Head of Programmes

Location: Kenya, with a minimum expectation of 30% travel.

Employment type: Full-time

Salary: This is a senior position with a salary commensurate with skills and experience.

Benefits:   Annual paid leave, health insurance and pension.

How to apply: Please refer to the full Job Description here and apply online here.  Applications must include the following:

  • A full CV (no more than three pages)
  • A cover letter supporting your application outlining your motivation to apply and your suitability for the position (no more than two pages)
  • The names and email addresses of three professional referees, one must be your most recent line manager.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Application closing date: 22nd September 2023

Expected interview dates:  Week of 09th October 2023