Drugs For Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) – Regional Operations Leader.

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The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is an international, not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization that develops and delivers new treatments for neglected diseases that affect millions of the world’s poorest people.

Together with more than 200 public research and industry allies worldwide, we use the power of partnership, innovation, open science, and advocacy to find solutions to a great injustice: the lack of medicines for life-threatening diseases that disproportionately impact poor and marginalized people. Driven by collaboration, not competition, and by patients’ needs, not profits, we promote equitable access, foster inclusive and sustainable solutions, and advocate for a more effective global biomedical R&D system that meets the needs of neglected patients.

Since our inception, DNDi has delivered nine new treatments for people with sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, paediatric HIV, hepatitis C, and malaria that have saved millions of lives. We now aim to deliver an additional 15-18 new treatments by 2028 – addressing R&D gaps for neglected tropical diseases and viral infections, including pandemic-prone and climate-sensitive diseases.

With 250 employees of 37 nationalities located in nine offices on four continents, DNDi is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential parts of our culture and key drivers of our success. We encourage candidates of diverse profiles and backgrounds to apply.

DNDi Africa was established in 2003, and is based at Tetezi Towers, 3rd Floor, George Padmore Road, Kilimani area in Nairobi. This DNDi regional office conducts R&D projects in the region, including clinical activities and data management for clinical trials for treatments for leishmaniasis, paediatric HIV, mycetoma, and others. It also leads capacity building projects through multi-country research platforms.

Purpose of the position

The Regional Operations Leader is part of the management team of the Regional Office and, as such, is expected to be participative in the development of the Africa Regional Office’s plans and strategies as well as supportive to R&D’s activities in the region.

The Regional Operations Leader provides operational and strategic support that guarantees the development and sustainability of DNDi’s activities in the region through coherent processes that are aligned with Geneva and known by all global functions.

  • The Regional Operations Leader contributes to shaping DNDi model through engineering of innovative partnering schemes. The incumbent ensures consistency in the management of key partners & suppliers across disease areas while engaging partners together with other senior leaders of the organization to create “value for patients”
  • Provides vision, strategic drive, operational coherence and effectiveness to support the development of the organization and the implementation of the activities for Africa Regional Office
  • The position therefore overseeing all the operations functions, i.e., Finance, Administration, HR, Information Systems and Technology (IST), Business Development (BD), Legal, Compliance and Monitoring & Evaluation functions within the region

Specific job responsibilities

Strategy & planning

  • In coordination with the Director of Africa Regional Office Nairobi, provide leadership in the development of an integrated annual work plan and budget for projects’ operations and development and monitor its adequate implementation in compliance with overall strategic priorities and Regional Road Map (RRP) as approved by the Board
  • Performance management – Ensure that an adequate structure is are in place to support effective achievement of projects goals and operations, including the implementation of the M&E framework for the regional activities and office
  • Ensure that the action plan and budget development process for the regional office occurs timely in line with DNDi’s strategic and operational planning schedule.

Partnership management

  • In collaboration with the project manager, draw and ensure signing of agreements with partners periodically and oversee transversal partnership arrangements in collaboration with the various team leads
  • Support the finance team for internal alignment and orientation to lead the negotiation of third parties’ budget preparation process and ensure the same are aligned to budgets as approved by the DNDi Board
  • Provides guidance and support to the Finance team in aligning with the partners supporting on-going projects with regards to good financial practices, training, and activity or administrative monitoring

Financial management

Support the development of the finance regional function on:

  • Ensuring adequate resources are allocated to the finance function and support change management in the finance department to achieve the development of the finance hub in Nairobi
  • Provides guidance and support to the Finance team with respect to:
    • Flow of financial information and efficient reporting system to support decision making process in the Africa Regional Office
    • Development of donors’ management competencies, financial control functions, and budgetary planning

HR, administrative & legal functions

  • Oversees the HR function for Nairobi Office and accountable for adequate staffing, work assignment and quality of HR services provided
  • Contributes to HR Global team, to the People strategy, to HR global projects, and ensures application of global HR policies and HR tools (HRIS) in the Nairobi office
  • Propose improvements to the HR function in the Nairobi office to support the strengthening of regional leadership and the creation of global leadership positions
  • Accountable for HR compliance with national law, with DNDi HR global policies and guidelines, and ensures application of DNDi Code of Conduct
  • Ensure a sound regional governance model that provide an operational framework (e.g. legal entity structure) for the Africa Regional Office DNDi entities that is aligned to the global strategy. Also, what Ops connection with the “new” LEAP set-up and connection with support services in the NBO office?
  • Ensure appropriate insurance contracts are in place
  • Oversee all taxation and tax returns in collaboration with the Finance and Legal teams

Quality management and compliance

  • Responsible to implement the overall DNDi Compliance framework for the Africa Regional Office office and lead efforts geared towards improving the effectiveness and efficiency of operations in accordance with DNDi’s policies and procedures (incl. with Africa Regional Office’s Quality Manual)
  • Lead the risk assessment and mitigation strategy implementation for Africa Regional Office

Global operations projects

  • Represent Africa Regional Office and participate as an active member of the Global Operations Team
  • Provide expertise and supports and where possible, lead global operations projects or initiatives

The above list of responsibilities is not exhaustive, and you may be required to undertake other responsibilities appropriate to your grade. This job description may be subject to review.

Reporting line

  • The Regional Operations Leader reports to the Director, Africa Regional Office with dotted line to Strategy and Operations Director
  • Directly supervises all Operations functions leaders in Africa Regional Office, e.g. potentially Finance, HR, Legal, Compliance, IST, BD
  • Secondary supervisor to the Senior M&E Programme Manager


  • To work closely with all Heads of departments at DNDi Africa Regional Office
  • Top work closely with all Global Operations functions Leaders
  • To work closely with the Project Managers who are the overall in-charge of the programme
  • To promote programmes and maintain productive relationships by projecting the image of a credible partner and ensures commitment of partners

Job requirements

Skills and attributes

  • Very strong negotiation, and influencing skills, with experience in managing and collaborating with external partners
  • Proactive and energizing leader with demonstrated leadership and management experience
  • Strategic thinker with capability to translate into and deliver on operational plans
  • Strong ability to use initiative, prioritize, and work well under pressure to meet deadlines
  • Well organized and structured with very clear and systematic thinking demonstrating analytical skills and problem-solving competencies
  • Strong communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments
  • Demonstrated experience in working effectively as part of a multicultural team
  • Large project management and leadership track records
  • Very strong experience in organizational effectiveness and compliance improvement including risk management


  • Minimum 10 to 12 years’ experience with at least 3 to 5 years in a Senior leadership/Management position in a similar role or in one or several areas in scope of the position
  • Experience of Management or Leadership Committee membership with dedicated scope and responsibilities
  • Management experience of large and/or multi-disciplinary or multi-functional teams
  • Experience of working in public and private sector is highly desirable
  • International background or experience would be an added advantage


  • Master’s degree in Law, Finance, Business, Management, or any relevant discipline, ideally completed by a degree in Public Health

Other requirements

  • Languages: fluent in English. French would be a major advantage, proficiency in regional languages desirable
  • Very good knowledge of Microsoft Suite

To apply

  • Please submit your application using the online form
  • Deadline for application: Accepting applications until 12 January 2022
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted
  • Application submission for this position may close early if we have enough suitable applicants





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