Practical Action – Country Director – Kenya.

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Salary: TBC
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Employment status: 5 years with potential for renewal


About Us

We are an international development organisation putting ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world. We help people find solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. Challenges made worse by catastrophic climate change and persistent gender inequality. We work with communities to develop ingenious, lasting and locally owned solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy. And we share what works with others, so answers that start small can grow big.

We’re a global change-making group, working with communities who are vulnerable to poverty and climate change to support them to change their world. Together we develop innovative, community powered and locally owned solutions that achieve transformative change in lives and livelihoods. And we work with a range of partners, including governments, business and international organisations to ensure improvements are sustained and scaled and to change the systems that keep people poor and vulnerable.

We were founded in 1969 by radical economist EF Schumacher who challenged the development thinking of the time. He believed in solutions suited to context, equipping people with the skills and knowledge to change their situation, economic systems that work for all and living within the planets means. This ethos continues to fuel all our work. Schumacher was the author of ‘Small is Beautiful: A study of economics as if people mattered’. In our work we start ‘small’, ensuring we understand what is already working but we aim big focussing on what will deliver the systems change required.

We have over 50 years of experience working across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our group consists of a UK registered charity with experienced country teams, an expert consulting service and an independent development publishing company. We combine these specialisms to multiply our impact and help shape a world that works better for everyone.

The Role

Practical Action is registered as an International Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Kenya, and affiliated to Practical Action, the international development charity, registered in the UK. In Kenya, we work to build resilience to climate change, make cities safer, make farming work for smallholder farmers and use energy to transform lives. We do this through a range of programmes, consultancy services and policy/advocacy work with communities, local authorities and the private sector, national government, academic institutions, other NGOs and donors. Development of strategic partnerships with key stakeholders will be a key responsibility for the incoming Kenya Country Director.

The post holder has overall responsibility for shaping and delivering on our ambitious strategy in Kenya and will lead a high performing team to identify and build the approaches, programmes, partnerships and funding relationships that will enable Practical Action to deliver the highest impact against our mission. This will include developing and testing ingenious approaches to address systemic challenges, demonstrating and learning what works, and inspiring others to adopt successful approaches at scale. The post-holder will be a dynamic, exemplary leader with the drive and experience to manage change and achieve impact. Entrepreneurship and new ways of thinking and working will be essential in this role as will good knowledge of the country context. Externally oriented with a proven track record of successful fundraising, building and nurturing strategic relationships with partners, development donors, commercial clients and government, the Country Director will strengthen our profile and grow our portfolio to achieve impact.

Internally, the Country Director will ensure sound, high quality management of all programmes, consultancies and operations to meet our standards and those of the donor or client. The postholder will drive a focus on quality, results-centred delivery and accountability. This will include sound financial management and controls that mitigate risk and ensure that our business model is viable. The postholder will have demonstrated experience of managing and mentoring high performing teams and promoting a culture of excellence and professionalism in all we do.

The Country Director is also a member of Practical Action’s extended leadership team, contributing to shaping the group’s overall strategic direction and leading on specific global pieces of work. We expect all our teams, and especially our leaders to have a strong commitment to Practical Action’s vision, mission and values and ensure the protection of children and vulnerable adults with whom we work.


  • Strategic Leadership
  • Generating Income and Nurturing Relationships
  • People, Capabilities and Leadership
  • Delivering Performance
  • Strengthen Organisational Profile

To be successful in the role, the ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate:

Experience & Knowledge

  • Significant experience in the development field and/or consultancy sector, including at a senior management level.
  • Experience of developing and leading ambitious, viable strategies.
  • Excellent knowledge of the Kenya context, ideally related to energy, agriculture, WASH and/or climate resilience.


  • Proven track record of leading portfolio growth.
  • Experience of managing a high performing team to achieve results and ability to drive change processes, bringing people along on the
  • Proven track record of managing multi-million-pound portfolios, ensuring business viability, compliance, delivery and controls.
  • High calibre representation and leadership in partnership building.
  • Skills to work with a Board and report to them as a CEO, in Kenya.
  • Cultural sensitivity and ability to effectively lead a diverse team.
  • Ability to manage multiple responsibilities and to set priorities.
  • Proven ability to make sound and courageous decisions. Ability to work collaboratively and play a global leadership role.
  • Excellent written & verbal communications skills: English and Swahili.
  • A sound understanding of and commitment to gender equality.
  • Commitment to Practical Action’s vision, mission, and values.


  • Ability to travel up to 8 weeks per year.


All correspondence, at this stage, should be via Oxford HR. To apply for this post, click on the “Apply” button on the job advert page, complete our online application form, and submit your CV and cover letter in two different documents. The cover letter should be no more than two pages long and explain why you are interested in this post and how your skills and experience make you a good fit. The document should be saved in MS Word in the following format: Your First Name-Your Last Name-Document Name-Date (mmyyyy) e.g., Malika Cook-CV-112021Practical-Action.

Date of expiry: 3rd January 2022





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