Senior Program Officer, Iraq
at Heartland Alliance

Date Posted: 6/13/2020

Job Description

Transform the lives of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities and be at the forefront of social change.

About YOU:  You have a personal commitment and interest in human rights work, relevant professional background, an ability to communicate effectively including very strong writing skills, enthusiasm and a strong work ethic, an ability to collaborate and form a supportive working environment with a diverse team, and are adaptable and flexible with regards to a changing work environment.

About Heartland Alliance International: Heartland Alliance International’s (HAI) mission is to secure the rights and well-being of marginalized people and communities. HAI envisions a world in which those whose rights have been violated are safe and empowered to actively engage in their communities and be at the forefront of social change.  In Iraq, HAI provides holistic services focusing on psychosocial support, legal aid, violence prevention, livelihoods strengthening, and social cohesion to diverse vulnerable populations.

Summary: The Heartland Alliance International (HAI) Senior Program Officer - Iraq will lead program development efforts in Iraq through proposal design, writing, coordination and representation in line with HAI, Middle East and North Africa, and Iraq strategic plans. He/she will also be responsible for liaising with the HQ office in Chicago, supporting project management, implementation, report writing, and other backstopping support to Iraq Project Managers. He/she will be expected to frequently travel around the Kurdistan region and potentially other areas in the MENA region.  

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

This is not an exhaustive list of duties. The need for flexibility is required as staff are expected to carry out any other related duties that are within their skills and capabilities whenever reasonably instructed.

Program Development and Representation:

  • Research and analyze funding opportunities for Iraq to identify and prioritize program development opportunities, including staying current on funding trends;
  • Represent HAl externally at meetings, conferences and workshops;
  • Proactively research and identify partnership opportunities in the MENA region;
  • Serve as lead writer for Iraq proposals,
  • Coordinate and lead the proposal process in Iraq, including ensuring compliance with the request for proposals, compiling all necessary documentation, developing timelines, and complying with deadlines;
  • Review and provide significant input in proposal writing and budget development for new proposals, including coordination with the Director of Finance, HQ, and Project Managers to develop accurate budgets;
  • Support proposal development including technical research, best-practices research, content analysis and interpretation, technical writing, editing and proposal submission;
  • Support development and implementation of program development plans and resource mobilization efforts;
  • Coordinate with HQ to collect and submit communications content for donor newsletter, HAI website and social media accounts.
  • Coordinate with project management to create promotional and informational content for HAI programming.

Grant and Program Management and Donors’ Relations:

  • Coordinate and liaise between HQ M&E staff and country staff to design M&E plans for new projects;
  • Visit  program sites to understand and communicate project impacts;
  • Serve as liaison between the Iraq office and Chicago office, as needed;
  • Coordinate with relevant departments to provide accurate information and communication with the Chicago Office and to ensure adherence to financial and administrative policies and procedures;
  • Meet with potential partner organizations, including international and local organizations, donor agencies, and HAI staff and participants, to support organizational learning and project design.
  • Take the lead on donor requests to modify projects or proposals;
  • Support the process for writing, editing and/or reviewing monthly/quarterly progress reports to donors;
  • Provide reports and critical analysis of reports to the Deputy Country Director and other senior Iraq staff;
  • Ensure compliance with donor reporting guidelines and deadlines, especially as related to donor calls for proposals and project management guidelines;
  • Provide ongoing support to Regional Director and Country directors to respond to donors’ requests;
  • Provide support to program management in local partner capacity development and donor compliance, including negotiation and creation of subaward agreements.
  • Identify and manage partnerships with local organizations to ensure successful project startup.  Other duties, as assigned.

Qualifications: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree with international concentration; Master’s degree preferred (MPH, MBA, MS, MSc, or equivalent degree) and at least three (3) years of work experience in international development.
  • At least one (1) year of prior field experience working / living in the MENA.

Language Skills:  Must have written and spoken fluency in English; Arabic and Kurdish are a plus; must be able to effectively communicate with non-native English speakers, and with remote team members via a variety of technologies such as Skype.

Other Skills and Qualifications (required):

  • Program development/proposal development experience, including proposal writing, coordination, design and review;
  • Experience in humanitarian relief, poverty alleviation and/or international human rights experience;
  • Knowledge of and interest in HAI thematic priorities (Access to Justice and Trauma Informed Mental Health care ) for key affected populations, gender and sexuality, and global LGBTI rights;
  • Expertise in Mental Health strongly preferred;
  • Knowledge of and interest in grassroots community mobilization, capacity building and training;
  • Experience developing, reviewing and tracking budgets using Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks, and other financial management software;
  • Experience with USAID, CDC, UN, and/or US State Department funding;

Computer Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.

Strongly Preferred:

  • Experience managing large scale grants over (1 Million USD) and/or contracts;
  • Experience undertaking program design field assessments;
  • Experience with European donors and other non-US funding mechanisms

Competencies required for the job:

Communication skills:

  • Demonstrates cross-cultural communication skills including, gestures and other non-verbal communication that tend to vary from culture to culture, to effectively work with staff and donors from the US, MENA region, and Third Country Nationals. Effectively communicates with remote supervisor and team;
  • Effectively communicate utilizing a variety of technologies such as phone or video phone (i.e. Skype); Effectively communicate with non-native English speakers; Represents the organization externally in conferences, events or donor meetings; Demonstrated competency in public speaking;
  • Writes clearly and informatively; Edits work for spelling and grammar; Appropriately adjusts communication style for the audience

Planning and Organization:

  • Follows policies and procedures; Prioritizes and plans work activities; Able to plan for and meet competing deadlines; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time;
  • Supports organization's goals and values;

Problem Solving:

  • Works well in group problem solving situations; approach problems with a sense that people want to help solve them; Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner;


  • Strong interpersonal skills; Approaches others in a tactful manner; Treats others with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position;
  • Reacts well under pressure; able to remain composed and professional in difficult circumstances;
  • Accepts responsibility for own actions; and Follows through on commitments, completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.

Cultural Humility:

  • Respects the cultural environments in which the incumbent is working; Understands cultures evolve, and demonstrates a curiosity and openness to learning about those cultures; and Recognizes personal biases in favor of one’s own culture and welcomes opportunities to learn from other cultures. .

Initiative taking and independence:

  • Seeks increased responsibilities; Takes independent actions and calculated risks;
  • Looks for and takes advantage of opportunities; Asks for and offers help when needed;
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision.


  • Contributes effectively to team’s goals and objectives and building a positive team spirit, exhibits objectivity and openness to others' views; gives and welcomes feedback; supports everyone's efforts to succeed; and
  • Demonstrates leadership by building and maintaining trust with colleagues in order to meet deadlines and objectives without having positional authority;

Excellence and Quality:

  • Monitors own work to ensure quality, looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Must be able and willing to live in Iraq (Sulaymaniah or Erbil) with regular travel around the Kurdistan Region and possible travel to other countries in the MENA region;
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit; use hands to handle or feel and reach with hands and arms.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; climb or balance and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.

Work Environment: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Must be able to work full-time (8 hours a day, ending as late  as 7 pm to overlap with working hours in Chicago) as well as extended hours when needed (nights, weekends);
  • Must be able to travel independently to carry out field assessments, to identify potential partner organizations, to determine beneficiary needs and to develop program proposals and budgets for funding;

To Apply: Please send cover letter (1 page maximum) explaining your interest and how your experience meets the qualifications required and a CV, to [Click Here To Join]. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. If you do not hear back from us within 4 weeks, please consider your application unsuccessful

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, color, 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.

Job Snapshot

  • Employee Type: Full-Time
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Job Type: Other
  • Experience: Not Specified
  • Date Posted: 6/13/2020

About Us

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Heartland Alliance—the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest— believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. Our multicultural staff are passionate about our mission and make Heartland Alliance a dynamic and exciting place to develop your career.

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