Country Director South Africa

Organizational Context

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is a ministry of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), 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 58 countries. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support and guidance of an international office (IO) in Rome. JRS service is humane and spiritual, working in situations of greatest need, seeking the long-term well-being of refugees and displaced people while not neglecting their immediate or urgent needs.

The main services provided are in the field of education, emergency assistance, psychosocial support, pastoral care, advocacy and livelihood activities. Currently, more than 724,000 individuals are direct beneficiaries of JRS projects.


JRS has zero tolerance towards all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse and takes seriously all concerns and complaints about sexual exploitation and abuse against children and vulnerable people by JRS personnel. JRS is committed to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and has policies which outline the expected behavior, code of conduct and responsibility of all persons acting on behalf of JRS (Staff, consultants, volunteers, interns, pastoral team and other representatives). JRS personnel are expected to abide by these policies and guidelines.

Operational Context/Role

The Country Director (CD)’s primary responsibility is to provide management of operations, staff and project initiatives that align with the JRS’ goals and objectives in South Africa. The CD will coordinate and support the initiation and implementation of all aspects of programming within the country with the guidance and strategic oversight of the Regional Office(RO). He/she will be responsible for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the JRS projects within South Africa, under the direction of the Regional Director, supported by Regional Office staff. The CD will also be responsible for fundraising for the projects, and management of grants. Lastly, the CD will work in close collaboration with the Regional Office in defining all aspects of the project cycle as well as develop positive and effective relationships with key partners and stakeholders in the interest of promoting JRS’s objectives.

Key Responsibilities

1. Coordination of JRS projects in South Africa

  • In consultation with the Regional Director and relevant stakeholders, analyze regularly the unmet needs of refugees and asylum seekers, and other populations of concern, and to suggest new initiatives;
  • Through a consultative process within the country and field visits, assist in the development of strategies, methodologies, contingency plans that respond to current, new and emerging challenges for the country office;
  • Lead and manage the process of developing the country operations plan, aligned with the global strategic framework and priorities, and regional strategic priorities as well as with any annual programming/planning instructions from the Directors;
  • Attend meetings of relevant Cluster Working Groups with government departments and other stakeholders at national and provincial levels; and network and collaborate with organizations and government institutions working with our people of concern.
  • Coordinate JRS activities in Johannesburg, Pretoria and other areas accordingly.

2. Project related activities

  • Responsible for the overall planning, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of JRS projects within the country;
  • Ensure timely and effective planning and implementation of annual needs assessments for each project site, according to JRS standards and guidelines;
  • Set methodologies, timeframes and resources for project evaluations;
  • Develop project proposals and reports according to JRS standards and donor requirements in collaboration with the Regional Office.
  • Conduct regular project visits to monitor and evaluate the project activities to ensure timely and quality implementation as well as suggesting improvements of planning, programming and implementation of current processes according to the JRS vision and mission, standards and guidelines, and donor specific requirements, and provide feedback to the RO and to donors.
  • Conduct regular field visits to train and update Project Coordinators and other key field staff in project writing, management, compliance, monitoring and evaluation according to JRS’ standards and guidelines.
  • Ensure project learning is generated and documented, and shared within the JRS network.
  • Liaise with country, regional, and international technical support officers as needed to ensure relevancy and quality and effectiveness of project activities.
  • Ensure strict accountability and good quality of reports.

3. Support and Communication

  • When requested, represents JRS in the country and in any relevant meetings;
  • Communicating regularly with the Regional Director and IO Desk Officers in the Programmes and Innovation Department informing them on all major issues and developments in programming within the country.
  • Support the country office team in South Africa to ensure its well-being and effective and efficient implementation of all operations and project activities according to local laws of South Africa and the guiding policies and procedures of JRS.

4. Relations with partner and donor agencies

  • Maintain close working relations and attend meetings with JRS’s partner agencies, as well as with other international humanitarian/development organizations including UNHCR, government departments, funding agencies and Church bodies;
  • Support the organizational fundraising actions by maintaining regular contact, including meetings with donor representatives and by submitting project funding proposals and managing donor reporting;
  • In close collaboration with the Regional Director, negotiates funding or partnership agreements with current and new funding partners;
  • Attend Cluster Working Group, collaborate with Church organizations and other organizations working in the same thematic areas, and attend other relevant coordination meetings;
  • Build strong rapport with the major partners/donors as well as with government institutions and structures;
  • Explore and help create possibilities for new partnerships/donors;
  • Develop relevant communication tools to keep team members, partners and donors regularly informed of country office projects and operations;
  • Represent the organization in meetings, giving talks and presentations.

5. Work with the Country Team

  • Leads and coordinates the JRS-South Africa country office team;
  • Works closely with other members of the team to fulfil its function of shared leadership through the coordination of all project efforts in the country;
  • Attend regular team meetings, planning meetings and workshops;
  • Promotes and creates trust and mutual support and care among the CO team members.

6. Budgeting and Financial Management

  • Oversee the drafting of the annual budget for the CO; and budgets for specific projects;
  • Regularly monitor project income and expenditure in conjunction with the Country Finance Officer and the Regional Finance Officer;
  • With support from RO, ensure that projects have enough funding for their implementation; and that project budgets expenditures adhere to approved budgets, especially including the ratio of project activities costs versus administration costs.
  • Submit the annual budget for the projects in conjunction with the project Finance Officer.
  • Ensure that audits are adequately prepared for and are done in time;
  • Ensure the submission of financial reports in time and of good quality.

7. Care for personnel

  • Ensures adequate supervision, professional development, training, coaching and mentoring of all country staff.
  • In collaboration with the Country Human Resources Officer, ensure that JRS Human Resources policies and procedures are implemented at country level and where necessary, adapted to local statutory requirements – respecting the local laws of South Africa.
  • Discerns and advises Regional Director on overall staffing needs in the project proposal process and in the operations of the CO.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Advanced University degree, preferably in Project Management, Business Administration, or equivalent;
  • At least four (4) years of project management experience working with NGOs, which include project proposal and reports writing, project evaluation and monitoring;
  • Professional experience in a similar capacity with international, non-profit organizations;
  • Knowledge of and experience with strategic framework, log frames, etc.
  • Good knowledge and understanding of the socio-economic, political and legal context of South Africa. (Being a South African, living in South Africa in the recent past five years will be an added advantage).


  • Excellent proficiency in written and verbal English;
  • Professional working knowledge of French and some main local South African languages spoken in the country is desirable.

Required Skills and competencies.

  • Some experience of working with or knowledge of migration and the situation of refugees and asylum seekers in Africa.
  • Excellent project management skills with experience in managing and supervising projects;
  • Excellent knowledge of the project cycle and logical framework approach; Demonstrated knowledge and experience with Results-based Management Framework
  • Possess good knowledge of planning and strategizing financial and budgeting issues;
  • Experience with basic financial management skills including developing and monitoring budgets and financial reporting;
  • Ability to prioritize work, meet deadlines and produce quality results on time with attention to detail;
  • Proficient in using computers with related knowledge of software programs and Internet.
  • Self-direction, creativity, and follow up skills to ensure work is accurate and deadlines are met;
  • Ability to prioritize and manage several tasks in a fast-paced environment;
  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment and promote effective teamwork;
  • Strong ability to work under pressure;
  • Strong management, analytical and interpersonal skills;
  • Good organizational skills and high attention to detail;
  • Ability to work with and maintain good relationships with multiple stakeholders;
  • Demonstrated experience in working in developing countries is highly desirable;
  • Willingness to work and travel to refugee settings in challenging environment
  • Ability to perform in cross-functional team approach and job responsibilities;
  • Good understanding of the organization’s overall business and its objectives;
  • Excellent interpersonal and presentation skills

Required Core values.

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


The position requires regular travel to JRS locations.


Contract is for 3 years renewable (depending on funding and performance) with an initial probation of 3 months.

JRS remuneration policy is in keeping with JRS ethos to offer effective and professional service and at the same time express solidarity with the people served. The salary scale is calculated with the use of a Post Adjustment Multiplier and takes into account years of relevant experience and degree of responsibility of the role.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

The position is only open to candidates who possess South African citizenship or other legal authorization to work in South Africa.

Note: JRS has a Child Safeguarding (CS) Policy, PSEAH and Gender policies in place and expects all staff to read, sign and adhere to them.

JRS is committed to the fair and inclusive treatment of our colleagues and potential new colleagues, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, responsibilities for dependants, age, physical/mental disability, or background. As part of our candidate application and recruitment process, we collect, process and store personal information about you. We are committed to doing the right thing when it comes to how we collect, use and protect your personal data; and we explain how we handle your personal data in full within our Privacy Policy.

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