Director of Programs at Heartland Alliance International (HAI)

Heartland Alliance International (HAI) is the international wing of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, a family of organizations that has been leading anti-poverty and social justice work in Chicago for more than 125 years. HAI is comprised of numerous country offices implementing programs on a broad range of human rights issues globally, as well as the Chicago-based Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture, which serves individuals from more than 50 countries.

HAI’s technical areas include mental health and psychosocial support, gender equity, access to justice, and stigma-free HIV prevention, care, and treatment. Across all programs, HAI promotes progressive, innovative approaches to human rights protections and gender equity. Our mission is to secure the rights and well-being of marginalized people and communities.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:


Job Title: Director of Programs

Locations: Abuja, Nigeria and Cameroon (Lake Chad Region)
Project: Security and Human Rights Programs in Cameroon and Nigeria
Employment Type: Full-time


  • HAI addresses a variety of human trafficking issues in Sub-Saharan Africa, including supporting women and children who have been kidnapped and sexually exploited by armed groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria. Across the region, HAI works with local authorities to improve victim identification and provide comprehensive services to help survivors of trafficking heal from the trauma and access legal services. Building upon HAI’s experience in protection coordination in Northeast Nigeria, HAI plans to respond to the United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) call for proposals for Security and Human Rights Programs in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Nigeria.


  • Heartland Alliance International (HAI) seeks candidates for Director of Programs for an anticipated DRL-funded, 2-year project focused documenting and reporting gross human rights violations by security sector actors and prosecuting perpetrators of human rights abuses within security forces in the Lake Chad region
  • This project will also increase access to services for survivors of human rights violations, as well as provide education and capacity building for civil society organizations and government ministries in Cameroon and Nigeria to reduce impunity for human rights abuses
  • This is a full-time position and will report directly to the Director for International Programs in HAI’s Chicago HQ and indirectly to HAI’s Country Director for Nigeria.

Key Responsibilities

  • Maintain overall programmatic and financial management responsibility for the program and ensure that Heartland Alliance International abides by US Government financial and programmatic procedures, rules, and regulations
  • Oversee all programmatic implementation – focusing on protection services for survivors of human rights abuses and capacity building for civil society organizations in Cameroon and Nigeria
  • Monitor progress toward meeting objectives and make program design corrections as needed
  • Liaise with program partners, HAI’s Chicago HQ, DRL, and other NGOs to ensure coordination and to encourage knowledge sharing
  • Oversee the development of annual workplans, monitoring and evaluation plans and other required documents
  • Produce and deliver all required program reports to DRL, as well as HAI’s Chicago HQ, the Government of Cameroon, Government of Nigeria, and civil society partners, and keep all stakeholders informed on program progress and to share lessons learned
  • Engage in “responsible promotion” with government entities, non-governmental organizations, and civic associations to advocate for rights of survivors, while protecting their safety
  • Travel to project sites to provide technical assistance and troubleshoot with staff
  • Represent the program and deliver presentations on behalf of Heartland Alliance International in the region and at related conferences
  • Support HAI’s Program Development Team to design, draft, and edit proposals to expand the scope of the project, introduce new activities or services, or develop new projects to serve beneficiaries in the Lake Chad region
  • Liaise with the primary beneficiaries, participants, and stakeholders to ensure efficient implementation of selected project goals are met within time-frame and budget
  • Work with HAI’s Chicago HQ and Nigeria country leadership to recruit, manage, and supervise all project staff
  • Train and support staff to build capacity and to transfer skills in all aspects of program implementation, M&E, and financial management
  • Maintain high standards in meeting financial management accountability and ensure compliance with all programmatic and financial requirements, including the preparation and submission of timely donor reports
  • Coordinate all aspects of project implementation by supporting effective collaboration on finance, administration, and monitoring and evaluation, including liaising with staff, committees, and sub-awardees and providing guidance where necessary
  • Facilitate capacity-building activities, including in-person and remote workshops, trainings
  • Assist and respond to sub-awardees’ technical and/or management questions when appropriate
  • Maintain diligent communication with security officers in HAI’s Nigeria and Chicago HQ offices to monitor security concerns across the region and ensure safety, security, and wellbeing of project staff and participants at all times
  • Other duties, as assigned.


  • Must be authorized to work in Nigeria and/or Cameroon, and must have a valid passport with the ability to travel freely in Cameroon, Nigeria, and other countries in the region as needed
  • Extensive experience living and working in West Africa, particularly in Cameroon and/or Nigeria
  • Master Degree in International Relations, Security Studies, International Development, or related field preferred and/or combination of equivalent work experience and education
  • Demonstrated ability to train staff and implementing partners in human rights approaches
  • Demonstrated working alongside and developing the capacity of grassroots civil society organizations
  • Policy advocacy and community organizing experience preferred.
  • Strong negotiation skills and ability to remain composed and professional in difficult circumstances
  • Demonstrated commitment to gender equity and participant-driven programming, as well as sensitivity and understanding of needs of survivors and vulnerable communities
  • Willingness live, work, and travel in potentially complex and high-risk security environments.
  • 5+ years of progressive work experience in Development / Humanitarian programming, including experience developing and implementing access to justice and human rights programs
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including professional fluency in both English and French
  • Demonstrated history of professional experience with large-scale, US Government funded programming
  • Previous experience with DRL strongly preferred
  • Demonstrated history of professional experience managing other staff members



How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply


  • Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions, and operates all programs, services, and functions without regard to race, receipt of an order of protection, creed, colour, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, amnesty, physical or mental disability, protected veterans status, genetic information, sexual orientation, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, use of FMLA, VESSA, military, and family military rights, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the organization’s AIDS Policy Statement of September 1987.

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