Program Director

Crisis Response · Maiduguri, Borno State
Department Crisis Response
Employment Type Consultancy
Minimum Experience Mid-level

Program Director - Nigeria

The mission of Translators without Borders is to provide people with access to vital knowledge in their language.  We do this by building language technology, increasing language translation capacity at a local level, providing language and simplification services that are culturally appropriate, accessible and open source, and raising awareness globally of language barriers.

Contract length: one year, with the possibility of extension

Hours: Full-time 

Location: Maiduguri, Borno

Travel: Some travel within Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin - up to 20% of the time

Reporting to: Country Director

Deadline: 30 June 2019

Due to the urgency of the vacancy, shortlisting will be done on a rolling basis and if the ideal candidate is identified before the closing date, TWB reserves the right to close the recruitment before the application deadline.

About Translators without Borders

Translators without Borders (TWB) envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based non-profit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by connecting non-profit organizations with a community of language professionals, building local language translation capacity, and raising awareness of language barriers. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information every year.

We offer in addition to salary:

  • an innovative work environment within a diverse and passionate team

  • location-specific hardship allowance

  • accommodation

  • a 3-month R&R cycle, including additional leave payment

  • 20 days of annual leave and 10 days of floating holidays


In northeast Nigeria, humanitarian organizations are working to support some 1.9 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and the communities hosting them. But language is a challenge: in this linguistically diverse part of the world, people forced from their homes don’t always speak the same language as the people around them. International aid organizations may lack the skills to communicate with everyone in their own mother tongue. They often also lack information about the language and communication needs of affected people.

TWB has been providing language services in northeast Nigeria for just over a year, building humanitarian capacity for communication in the right language and format. A lot needs to be done. TWB in Nigeria is rapidly scaling up its teams and programs to support responders’ efforts to communicate more effectively, with funding from DFID and ECHO and partnerships with key humanitarian responders like the Norwegian Refugee Council, the International Organization for Migration and the International Rescue Committee

We do not want one third of internally displaced people to lack information in their language. We do not want widespread communication gaps to compromise data quality. We do not want the too common reliance on written communication to exclude vulnerable groups.

So we innovate, we research, we bring unique expertise and approaches to:

  • Provide evidence to inform communication strategies, as we have just done with our latest report on audio communication for example.

  • Promote accountability through two-way communication in the right languages. TWB helps tailor community feedback mechanisms to the language and communication needs of the most vulnerable.

  • Reduce confusion with multilingual terminology databases. TWB’s sectoral glossaries are available for free on a mobile web app with offline and audio capability.

  • Train interpreters and field workers. Training in the basics of interpreting limits information loss and aids confidential, ethical support services. Language training for data collectors and program staff promotes data quality and program impact.

  • Improve understanding with plain language, translation, and audio. Clear content in plain language using pictures and audio benefits the widest audience. We offer written and audio translations, and support pictorial messaging.

The Role

The Program Director (PD) is a member of the Country Management Team. S/he designs and oversees the implementation of program plans, ensuring program quality and coherence. The Program Director leads and performance manages the country program team to that effect. S/he will have overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining programmatic partnerships with aid organizations, donors and other relevant actors. S/he provides support and assistance to the Country Director in donor communication, liaison with government and external representation and covers for the Country Director as needed.


Team management

  • Recruit, lead, inspire, develop and performance-manage the program team members, including other managers.

  • Contribute to and encourage a positive, innovative and supportive work environment.

  • Maintain open and professional relationships with the internal TWB team, TWB volunteers, partner agencies and donors.

Design and implementation of program strategies and plans

  • Lead on designing the program strategy under the supervision of the Country Director and in close collaboration with the global Crisis Response Team, other country programs, the Gamayun Initiative team and the Language Services Team.

  • Coordinate the development of an evidence-based, innovative and scalable program plan for 2020-2021 in close cooperation with the Country Director, with a special focus on two-way communication, preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, education, and TWB’s Gamayun initiative to make language technology available in the marginalized languages of crisis-affected people.

  • Oversee the quality and timely delivery and monitoring of all programs and projects agreed with partners and donors.

  • Ensure that partnerships are strategically developed and managed throughout the country program.  

  • Lead on ensuring that TWB builds an evidence base on the importance and impact of taking language into account in humanitarian programing in northeast Nigeria, including through research.

  • Ensure that Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning plans are developed and implemented for the Nigeria program, ensuring flexibility and innovation are incorporated and embraced, and that the program learns and evolves as humanitarian needs do.

  • Prioritize demonstrating the impact of TWB’s work in addressing language gaps in the humanitarian response in northeast Nigeria.

Humanitarian liaison, coordination and advocacy

  • Engage with humanitarian coordination and strategy development, using existing evidence to ensure that issues relating to language are taken on board by key decision makers and included in strategic documents such as Humanitarian Response Plans, country strategies and any related funding appeals.

  • Represent TWB as and when delegated by the Country Director to build the organization’s profile in Nigeria, ensuring professional and productive engagement with local, regional, and national authorities, donors, and humanitarian and development partners.

  • Liaise with organizations to ensure that language is factored into their programming with TWB’s support.

  • Actively participate in humanitarian coordination forums.

  • Develop and contribute to TWB’s advocacy efforts.

Fundraising and financial management

  • Proactively seek and pursue opportunities to expand the depth and breadth of the program in response to need. This includes potential geographical expansion, including to neighbouring countries.

  • Coordinate the developing, revising and adapting of all project proposals.

  • Develop mutually beneficial partnerships/projects with humanitarian agencies to provide them with language services and advice.

  • Monitor and manage budgets in compliance with TWB and donor requirements.

Reporting and communication

  • Ensure TWB complies with donor reporting requirements, including writing narrative reports and working with the finance team to prepare financial reports.

  • Input into TWB’s overall crisis response reporting as needed.

  • Coordinate the drafting and circulating of regular situation reports for TWB’s internal audience.

  • Contribute to TWB’s external communication efforts to promote programmatic achievements and coverage and understanding of language issues in the media.

Any other duties relevant to the job description as needed

The role will evolve during the course of the initial deployment as projects and activities develop so flexibility and the willingness to adapt to constantly changing circumstances is important.


The right candidate is an energetic team player and leader eager to take on the challenge of managing an innovative program in a difficult environment. S/he should be a creative self-starter with a strong sense of initiative, experienced in humanitarian programming and enthusiastic about the importance of increasing access to knowledge through language. S/he agrees with TWB´s core values and can work effectively in a diverse team in country and virtually with team members based throughout the world.


  • Relevant university degree

  • 8+ years of project design and management experience, with 3+ years in representative functions

  • At least 5 years experience in the humanitarian sector, a background in managing CWC/AAP programs a significant plus

  • Demonstrated experience in program evaluation, accountability, and learning and research

  • Demonstrated experience of leading and managing medium-sized (15+) high performing program teams

  • Demonstrated experience in financial management of institutional grant budgets over USD 1,000,000

  • Successful track record of effective fundraising, proposal development and reporting for major donors

  • Demonstrated experience of working and managing teams in volatile security contexts

  • Demonstrated listening and advising skills

  • Excellent communication and social skills

  • Excellent writing and presentation skills in English


  • Experience in the translation, interpreting, linguisting or academic sector

  • Knowledge of one or more of the languages of northeast Nigeria

  • Skills and experience in training design and delivery

Essential Aptitude

  • Willingness to live and work in a volatile security context

  • Strong ability to multitask, prioritize, and work independently with minimal supervision

  • Detail-oriented, thorough, accurate, able to meet deadlines under time pressure, and able to work quickly and steadily in a focused manner

  • Able to deal with frequent changes, delays, interruptions, and unexpected events; flexibility and can-do attitude

  • Demonstrates initiative, persistence, ability to problem solve, and enthusiasm for learning

  • Good interpersonal skills; able to work well in a team-oriented, collaborative, cross-functional environment

  • Ability to mediate, negotiate, and resolve conflicts constructively

  • Able to innovate to find creative solutions; willing to explore new technologies

  • Resourceful, able to get more out of small budgets

Core Values

Translators without Borders employees and volunteers believe passionately in the value of this work and take personal responsibility for achieving the mission. Translators without Borders’ mission and organizational spirit embody the core values established in its strategic framework:

Excellence: As the leading voice for communicating humanitarian information in the right language, Translators without Borders is a leader in the translation industry and in the non-profit sector.

Integrity: Translators without Borders believes that every person, whether it is the people who we serve, our volunteers or our staff, has value, deserves respect and has inherent dignity.

Empowerment: Translators without Borders believes in using language to empower people around the world to control their own development and destiny.

Innovation: Translators without Borders recognizes and celebrates the power of innovation to address humanitarian and crisis issues around the world.

Sustainability: Translators without Borders recognizes that meeting our mission necessitates establishment and maintenance of a solid financial and organizational infrastructure.

Tolerance: Our staff and volunteers are highly knowledgeable and skilled; value each other, our partner and our recipients; create a supportive work environment; and, conduct themselves professionally at all times.



Translators without Borders is an equal-opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion, and encourages qualified candidates of all genders and from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.

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  • Location
    Maiduguri, Borno State
  • Department
    Crisis Response
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience