Regional Head of Programme, P5

WFP, Dakar, Senegal
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Job Summary

Job Description

Why should you join WFP?

  • WFP assists more than 86 million people in around 83 countries. Your work will have a positive impact on the lives of the people most affected by food insecurity and with the least capacity to respond to shocks through own resources and coping mechanisms
  • The way WFP serves hungry and vulnerable people – including groups that are especially at risk from being excluded from opportunities for self-reliance, is truly important for strengthening their safety and dignity
  • You will join a diverse team of professionals and will have a chance to exchange your experience and expertise with your colleagues
  • WFP invests in the training and development of its employees through a range of training, accreditation, mentorship, and other programs as well as through internal mobility opportunities
  • Our team is growing internationally and the timing to join us cannot be better!
  • We offer attractive compensation package (please refer to Terms and Conditions section)


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. The mission of WFP is to help the world achieve Zero Hunger in our lifetimes. With more than 18,000 colleagues worldwide, WFP works to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry.


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian agency, fighting hunger worldwide. WFP is well known for its ability to deliver food assistance rapidly to people in need. In recent years, WFP has experienced a paradigm shift in response to an evolving operating environment that requires the UN agency’s technical expertise not only in the delivery of food assistance, but also in the development of sustainable hunger-smart and nutrition-sensitive solutions that will support progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Two: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”.

We are seeking to fill the position of Senior Programme Policy Officer (Regional Head of Programme) at the P5 level, based in our Regional Bureau in Dakar (RBD), Senegal. This individual will lead the development and implementation of programmes that effectively meet food assistance needs in complex contexts in West and Central Africa and provide technical advice and oversight on the development and implementation of complex policies, strategies, and operations.


The WFP Regional Bureau for West and Central Africa region is based in Dakar, Senegal. It supports 19 country offices (CO) in their programme delivery and advocate for the integration of WFP corporate priorities (People at the center, Organizational effectiveness, Triple Nexus and Digital transformation) into national policies and programmes.

The Regional Bureau core functions are to provide strategic guidance, technical support and operational oversight. By providing guidance and policy support to COs, the Regional Bureau ensures clear communication at management level between HQ, RB and COs, in line with the realignment of HQ-RB responsibilities, including advisory support to improve the quality of programme implementation, positioning and fundraising efforts. Significant work of the Regional Bureau is around technical support provided to COs, notably to ensure the quality of project design, to facilitate the sharing of technical resources and enhance CO’s staff capacity. WFP Regional Bureau also advocates for assessing and recommending appropriate actions to strengthen the capacities of Governments and National actors involved in achieving SDG2, foster the linkages between national academics, research entities and WFP operations. The Regional Bureau works to strengthen emergency preparedness and response capacities across the region to strategically position WFP as the leading organization responding to emergencies.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic which is affecting food security, local economies and markets in West and Central Africa, the Regional Bureau is focusing on sustaining, expanding and complementing national responses and systems, through holistic, participative, adaptive and coordinated approaches, around three complementary and mutually reinforcing systems that are central to effective response and where WFP has demonstrated value as a partner of choice for national governments: social protection systems; basic services (nutrition and school-based programmes); and food system.

KEY ACCOUNTABILITIES (not all-inclusive)

Under the overall direction and guidance of the Deputy Regional Director (Operations), the Senior Programme Policy Officer (Regional Head of Programme) will have the following main responsibilities:

  • Responsible for taking the lead in defining the WFP's strategic thinking and positioning in West and Central Africa, providing policy and operational guidance to programmes in the region throughout the phases of the programming cycle from design to evaluation, coordinating WFP programming with partners in the region.
  • Translate WFP-wide programme policy into Regional/Country level practices and implementation modalities and operations, to ensure alignment between HQ and field operations enabling effective delivering of food assistance.
  • Provide advice and support to 19 country offices in the region, operating in a variety of contexts, to clarify ambiguities and ensure that policy and programme operations are consistent with WFP policies, Executive Board decisions, and other relevant guidance.
  • Provide solid technical and managerial leadership on a broad range of strategically important and complex policy and programme issues (including assessment and analysis, the choice of objectives, activities, transfer modalities and appropriate food products, the deployment and testing of innovative approaches and the development of strategies) to support government efforts to reduce hunger and malnutrition.
  • Coordinate with thematic technical regional experts, the development and implementation of a regional capacity building strategy for COs and governments, to strengthen the quality of WFP programmes in the region.
  • Assist COs in identifying where food assistance can be usefully employed and provide support and technical expertise for the planning, formulation and implementation of Country Strategic Plans (CSPs) to strengthen government and effectiveness of food security and nutrition programmes at global, national and sub-national levels.
  • Identify, develop and nurture strategic and operational partnerships at both Country Offices and global level with key partners, such as UNICEF and other agencies on a number of regional programmatic priorities (nutrition, social protection, school feeding, resilience building, evidence generation) to identify opportunities for collaborative approaches and initiatives that improve assistance packages and support advocacy work.
  • Engage and collaborate effectively with other Regional Bureaus’ technical and operational units and ensure synergies and effective coordination, to enable the Bureau to deliver on its strategic objective and targets.

  • Enhance WFP’s leadership status in different forums on subjects related to food security, nutrition, livelihoods, resilience, engagement in humanitarian, transition and development contexts and other related issues, through direct participation and/or through briefings, information products and other materials.

  • Monitor and oversee operational research and evidence building on issues relevant to food assistance for WFP advocacy and to strengthen policy and programme formulation.

  • Monitor and oversee preparation and dissemination of timely analytical and critical reports, publications, and a variety of information products or proposals for internal or external use to present a consistent picture to internal and external stakeholders and enable informed decision- making.

  • Advocate for resources for a broad portfolio of WFP projects, including clearly articulating the need for food assistance and related programme opportunities, and follow up on the resource situation of projects including commodity and cash availability.

  • Advice and support the development of functional training in areas of expertise to enhance the capacity of WFP staff and partner to design and deliver effective food assistance programmes.
  • Lead, motivate and develop a large and complex team of professionals in charge of specific regional thematic areas (gender, project cycle, school feeding, support to smallholder farmers, social protection, monitoring, cash-based transfers, etc.) to enable high performance and provide mentoring and support to programme staff both at the regional and country offices levels based on needs and gaps identified.
  • Ensure the best use of assigned financial resources for achievement of set objectives.
  • Take responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives in all areas of work, to ensure equal participation of women and men.
  • Contribute to CO Emergency Preparedness i.e. early warning, risk analysis, and contingency planning to respond to humanitarian crises and needs.
  • This role will require frequent travel, at times to remote locations in our Country Offices.
  • Other tasks as required and assigned by the senior management.


  • Advanced University degree (or equivalent experience) in International Affairs, Economics, Nutrition/Health, Agriculture, Environmental Science, Social Sciences, or other field relevant to international development assistance, or First University Degree with additional years of related work experience and/or trainings/courses.
  • At least 11 years of professional with gradually increasing responsibilities in programme policy design, analysis and implementation in low- and middle-income countries, with international agencies or non-governmental organisations.
  • Fluency in both written and spoken French and English (Level C in both).
  • Strong experience in shaping and managing country-level operational strategies and partnerships, including responsibility for liaising with different line ministries at national and decentralized levels.
  • A sound understanding of policy making processes and the ability to distil operationally relevant recommendations/lessons for governments and other partners.
  • Proven ability and experience in the development of interagency networks, partnerships, strategies and communications initiatives.
  • Good leadership and successful record of accomplishment in supervising multinational and multidisciplinary teams in complex operational environments.

  • Expertise in planning, prioritizing, and managing resources (assets, budget etc.) efficiently.

  • UN or donor experience, especially with WFP and/or UNICEF, DFID or World Bank is an asset.

  • Experience in West and Central Africa is an asset.


Mobility is, and continues to be, a core contractual requirement in WFP. The selected candidate will be employed on a Fixed-Term contract with a probationary period of one year.

WFP offers an attractive compensation and benefits package including basic salary, post adjustment, relocation entitlement, travel and shipment allowances, 30 days’ annual leave, home leave, an education grant for dependent children, pension plan and medical insurance. For more details, please visit


1 October 2020