International Rescue Committee

Program Manager- Early Childhood Development (ECD) – Erbil

Job Overview

Requisition ID: req17357

Job Title: Program Manager- Early Childhood Development (ECD) – Erbil

Sector: Child Protection

Employment Category: Regular

Employment Type: Full-Time

Open to Expatriates: No

Location: Erbil, Iraq

Job Description


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in more than 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, the IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted by conflict or disaster. The IRC leads the way from harm to home.

The IRC Iraq program was established in 2003 and is currently providing humanitarian assistance in the sectors of child protection, women’s protection and empowerment, protection and rule of law, early childhood development, cash, livelihoods and governance. The IRC Iraq’s main office is based in Erbil, with field offices in Baghdad, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Kirkuk and Anbar.

In Iraq, high-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs have the potential to provide the foundation for children future academic success, health, prosperity, and wellbeing. A large body of scientific evidence emphasizes the need for increased investment in early childhood, particularly for children experiencing conflict, crisis and displacement; these children are extremely vulnerable to the long-lasting effects that prolonged stress has on the developing brain.


In December 2017, Sesame Workshop and the IRC were awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change grant to make real progress toward solving a critical problem of our time. With the extraordinary investment of $100 million, our partnership will transform the language, early reading, math, and social-emotional skills of a generation of children ages 0-8 affected by the Syrian war. Focusing on children in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria over the next five years, the plan combines the depth of in-person services, reaching 1.5 million children, with the breadth of mass media, reaching 9.4 million children. For more information, please visit:


Job Overview/Summary:


Based in Erbil with occasional travel to Ninawa, Anbar, Najaf and Baghdad, the ECD Manager will work in the IRC ECD department, reporting to the ECD Coordinator. The ECD Manager will oversee program implementation at the field level, managing and overseeing activities associated with supporting, adapting and expanding the provision of the Ahlan Simsim Project in Iraq. This includes:


  • Ensuring timely and quality implementation of ECD activities;
  • Providing management and technical support to field teams;
  • Liaising with sub-national governmental and non-governmental partners and stakeholders;
  • Supporting the identification of programmatic opportunities and expanding strategic priorities such as partnerships, where possible;


The ECD Manager is responsible for overall management of ECD field staff, providing all support necessary to ensure successful implementation of ECD programming. The position plays a key role in ensuring programmatic strategies and best practices are shared across field teams, building the capacity of key national staff. The ECD Manager will also support the ECD Coordinator in internal and external representation activities, communication and knowledge management initiatives, as well as donor reporting and program development opportunities as required.


Major Responsibilities:

Program Implementation

  • Supervise field-based ECD teams and partners, ensuring accountability to IRC policies and donor rules and regulations
  • Support the preparation of workplans with clear objectives and achievement benchmarks, long-term and short-term priorities, in line with programmatic vision and strategies
  • Work with the ECD Coordinator to ensure the vision and direction of the ECD programming corresponds to field realities and needs
  • Provide direct support to management of grants at the field level – including financial planning and tracking, procurement planning, and reporting
  • Oversee implementation of ECD activities, services, and research components across governorates, in collaboration with relevant team members. Oversee and harmonize work approaches and best practices across governorates and teams, ensuring that program initiatives address needs adequately and cost-effectively
  • Act as focal point for ECD program, logistics and operational ECD needs in the field and coordinate with the Mosul, Anbar, Baghdad and Erbil field office to ensure all ECD operational and logistics needs in are met in a timely manner.
  • Monitor direct reports workload to ensure it remains manageable, provide support when required and report challenges to the ECD manager.
  • With the support of ECD Deputy manager create weekly and monthly work plan based on project time frame.
  • Ensure that weekly meetings are held with the ECD officers and share the minutes with the ECD manager.
  • Conduct regular field visits to ensure successful program implementation.
  • Write regular field reports including progress against targets, all implementation details and challenges;



Grants Management, Operation and Finance

  •  Prepare procurement, spending plans and cash forecast with the support of the ECD Manager on monthly basis.
  •  Collaborate with Admin officer to assess needs and raise purchase request in a timely manner.
  •  Act as focal point for procurement and logistical needs and requirements for the ECD activities.
  • Work closely with the ECD Coordinator to achieve overall grant activities, deliverables, and budget compliance within donor guidelines.
  • Work with the ECD Coordinator in identify gaps in existing ECD programming and work with the team to develop innovative approaches and mechanisms to address them.
  • Work closely with the ECD Coordinator in the design and development of new and potential funding opportunities for ECD programming in line with IRC Iraq’s Country Strategy.
  • Support the ECD Coordinator in producing high quality donor reports and other materials as required.
  • Ensure accurate spending plans, procurement plan and monthly forecast are submitted to the relevant departments on time.

Technical Quality:

  • Identify technical assistance needs of field implementing staff and arrange for the provision of needed assistance by working with quality assurance and capacity building manager.
  • Work closely with the ECD Deputy Manager and ECD officers to provide clear technical support, supervision, training and mentoring to the ECD team, including training needed to build specialized skills;
  • Ensure that ECD staff and services adhere to best practice, professional standards and principles;
  • Facilitate/co- facilitate capacity building trainings and events for the ECD officers and facilitators.
  • Analyze technical gaps and project impact at the community level for project activities;
  • Act as key focal point for data quality and data screening with ECD Management and M&E team;
  • Supervise and provide technical support to implementing partners and the ECD teams ensuring ECD interventions are implemented in a high quality, timely and professional matter.
  • Identify training gaps and needs to strengthen the capacity of ECD teams aiming to ensure a high quality ECD interventions.
  • Identify training gaps and needs to strengthen the capacity of partners, ECD officers and facilitators aiming to ensure a high quality ECD interventions.
  • Provide technical guidance and assistance to local NGO partners.


Coordination, Representation and Advocacy

  • Act as a focal point with IRC partners, donors, and other stakeholders, ensuring clear, professional communication and support in in service delivery of ECD activities in across Iraq.
  • Assess ECD needs and gaps in Ninawa and identify opportunities for expansion in the area.
  • Identify integration opportunities for Ahlan Simsim program into schools in Ninawa.
  • Support the ECD Manager in identifying potential partners for implementation of Ahlan Simsim programs in Ninawa.
  • Support the ECD Officers in referrals of extremely vulnerable children both internally and externally.
  • Collaborate with relevant IRC Ninawa field program teams to optimize the ECD program implementation, and work with field teams in other regions to share lessons learned and harmonize work approaches and best practices across governorates and teams;
  • Design and develop an adaptable methodology to support community level outreach and work;
  • Organize and attend regular meetings with relevant stakeholders to ensure a coordinated and streamlined approach across target areas;
  • Collaborate with the Directorate of Education and Directorate of Labor and Social Affairs  to advocate for integration of Ahlan Simsim programs into schools and kindergartens.
  • Actively develop and maintain effective working relationships with key stakeholders, including donors, government actors, UN agencies, international and local NGOs, and other relevant actors;
  • Develop strategic partnerships with local organizations, wherever possible;
  • Maintain productive working relationship with ECD coordination structures;
  • Ensure key field concerns are brought to relevant stakeholders;

Monitoring and Evaluation

  •  Review data collection of the ECD program and support the M&E team in monitoring and evaluating program outcomes.
  •  Support, monitor and follow up on the implementation of Ahlan Simsim programs through local partners.
  •  Monitor the quality of the ECD program, with the ECD Manager, against benchmarks and program targets and indicators determined by the management and RMEAL teams;
  •  Act as key focal point for data quality and data screening with ECD Management and M&E team;
  •  Timely identification and discussion of project issues with ECD Manager


Human Resources and Staff Management and Development

  • Coach, train, and mentor staff with the aim of strengthening their technical capacity, exchanging knowledge within the team and providing professional development guidance
  • Supervise and mentor direct report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and providing documented semi-annual performance reviews.
  • Provide constructive feedback and counsel on appropriate career paths and professional development.
  • Promote and monitor staff care and well-being; approve and manage all leave requests to ensure adequate coverage.
  • Offer leadership support for successful adherence by staff to IRC’s Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.
  • In collaboration with the HR, support recruitment of program staff as needed;
  • Maintain open and professional relations with team members, promoting a strong team spirit and providing oversight and guidance to enable staff to successfully perform in their positions;
  • Adhere to and act in accordance with the IRC Global HR Policies and Procedures;


Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to: ECD Coordinator
Position directly supervises: Deputy ECD Manager and Senior Partnership Officer


Other Internal and/or external contacts:

Internal: Ahlan Simsim Regional team, other IRC programs and support departments

External: Partner NGOs and relevant Ministries



      Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, international development, or other relevant related field;

  • Minimum 4 years of professional experience in implementation of ECD or ECD-related programming in Humanitarian or Development contexts;
  • Minimum 2 year in a managerial level.
  • Strong program technical and management skills;
  • Solid demonstrated experience with planning, reporting, monitoring and evaluation;
  • Thorough understanding of gender-based violence response protocols and service provision;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills;
  • Strong representation and liaison with external parties;
  • Must be capable of applying skills and knowledge in a range of capacities, including direct implementation, training, and transfer of technical knowledge and management skills to others;
  • Demonstrated track record in working with teams, showing high performance in a multi-cultural environment, demonstrating flexibility, and ability to handle pressure;
  • Excellent Computer skills: MS Word, Excel;
  • Fluency in Arabic and English written and spoken.



  • Master Degree in early childhood development, education, or social sciences;
  • Prior Iraq experience working in emergency and development settings or insecure environments


Working Environment:

The position will be based in Erbil, Iraq with frequent travel to field sites.


Standards of Professional Conduct: 

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct.  These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability.  In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.


Gender Equality

IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including maternity leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits and allowances. Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.


Attention Returning National Candidates:

IRC strives to attract, motivate, and retain qualified national staff in our programs. We strongly encourage national or returning national candidates to apply for this position. If you are a national of the country in which this position is based and are currently located outside of your home country and possess over two years of international work experience, IRC has introduced an attractive remuneration package. The package includes competitive compensation, return flight to post, shipping allowance, temporary housing, and a relocation allowance. Certain restrictions may apply.



Notice to all Job Seekers

IRC implements an equal employment opportunity policy and our recruitment process is based on merit.

Applicants and/or successful interview candidates (both internal and external) are not required to pay any fees at any stage of the recruitment process.

If anyone asks you for any financial or non-financial favors to help you secure a job at IRC, kindly report to [email protected].


ملاحظة لكل الباحثين عن وظيفة

تعتمد لجنة الانقاذ الدولية سياسة فرص عمل متساوية  وان عملية التوظيف لدينا تعتمد على الجدارة  .

لايتوجب على المتقدمين لاي وظيفة او المؤهلين للمقابلات (سواء كانوا موظفيين حالين او متقدمين من خارج المنظمة) دفع اي مبلغ مالي خلال اي مرحلة من مراحل التوظيف.

اذا قام اي شخص بطلب اي خدمة مالية او غير مالية لقاء مساعدتكم في تأمين فرصة عمل داخل المنظمة ،يرجى الابلاغ عن ذلك الى [email protected]

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