Senior Project Officer – Community Liaison – Catholic Relief Services – Zambia Country Program

1 week ago

Job Description

About CRS

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and commitment to serving those in need. Since 2000 CRS Zambia has been implementing several programmes to support vulnerable Zambians. Its recent programming areas include Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH), Nutrition, Agriculture, Food Security, HIV/AIDS, WASH, Financial Inclusion, and Early Child Development.


CRS is implementing the 3-year Mayi & Mwana II Project in target districts to improve antenatal and postnatal health services in health facilities, improve health-seeking practices by women, and improve coordination among district and provincial teams within the MoH, thereby reducing the incidence of maternal and newborn mortality in target districts. Mayi & Mwana II has continued addressing barriers to positive health outcomes for mothers and newborns in Petauke, Lusangazi, Sinda, Chipangali, and Katete districts in Eastern Province utilizing a district health system strengthening approach to improve timely access to high-quality care for pregnant women and newborns. CRS has tailored the program to specific community needs and is addressing supply and demand barriers to women’s access to quality emergency obstetric and newborn care.

Job Summary

The Senior Project Officer – Community Services will provide technical leadership for Mayi na Mwana II community activities. The project is designed with a focus on scaling up MNCH health-seeking practices by the community through community-led interventions. The Senior Project Officer – Community Liaison will oversee community-level interventions including community volunteers, community leader engagement, improving community referral systems, working closely with the M&E team to effectively collect community data, as well as documenting all community strategies successes.  The Senior Project Officer – Community Liaison will oversee community level programming providing technical assistance to community health workers and community volunteers. She/He will coordinate with district teams to ensure that community strategy and approaches are effectively implemented to achieve desired results. She/he will contribute to project reporting, project planning, capacity strengthening for community-level technical teams as well as project monitoring and evaluation.

Roles and Key Responsibilities:

  • Provide technical backstopping, oversight, and direction ensuring that community teams remain focused on implementing Mayi na Mwana II activities in line with its goals, objectives, and targets.
  • Technically contribute to work plans and development of community-based interventions for Mayi na Mwana II.
  • Participate in donor, stakeholder, and MoH technical forums and contribute to national dialogue on MNCH programming.
  • Contribute to building capacity in community-based volunteers and health care workers in community MNCH activities.
  • Conducts mentorship, technical supportive supervision, and review performance for community-based volunteers to improve community awareness and uptake of MNCH services.
  • Coordinates community support groups and community-based structures to create a strong linkage between the community volunteers and health facilities.
  • Coordinate trainings for community volunteers such as SMAGs, Care Groups, SILC, and Cooperative formation.
  • Continuously identify appropriate community-based strategies at facility and district health management level to address MNCH service delivery systems bottlenecks that act as an impediment to effective service delivery.
  • Review and refine evidence-based training materials, job aids, curricula, supervisory systems, and other training materials needed for the implementation of Mayi na Mwana II using the community approach.
  • Support and work closely with the Mayi na Mwana team and Health Center staff in the implementation of MNCH programming, to improve MNCH services outcomes.
  • Identify training needs and contribute to designing and implementing measures to address the needs together with health facility and community-level teams.
  • Together with health facility staff, provide mentoring and capacity building to health facilities and district health management teams in the community approach.
  • Ensure timely implementation of all community-level project inputs, including planning and implementing assessments, site system strengthening, follow-up and supervision, coordination of community health worker groups, advocacy, demand creation, policy support, capacity-building, and M&E across project sites, in close coordination and line Ministries.
  • Support Project staff in the formulation of approaches for scale-up of community-level MNCH programming.
  • Actively participate in all Technical Advisory Group Meetings and multi-stakeholder forums for the community based MNCH program approach and represent the project in professional forums by participating and presenting in key meetings, conferences, and technical working groups.
  • Provide guidance to project teams, professional associations, and stakeholders in the revision/development of evidenced-based standards for competency in MNCH programming…
  • Regularly report to Mayi na Mwana staff on successes, challenges and lessons learned in implementation related to community health systems and other areas of technical expertise.
  • With the Mai and Mwana II team, monitor the performance of the community MNCH program targets to facilitate the implementation of appropriate interventions.
  • Contribute to project reports – Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual program reports.
  • Work with Strategic Information teams to develop M&E frameworks and effectively track community implementation data/results.
  • Work with the Gender, Youth and Wellness Advisor in supporting the developing gender learning agenda of the project in alignment with Donor’s requirements.
  • Support in preparation of reports, issues-papers and case studies on gender inclusion and the dissemination of related project learning.
  • Any other duties as assigned by the supervisor.

Basic Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in Nursing, Public Health, Community Development, Community Health or equivalent.
  • 5 years experience implementing community MNCH programs, preferably supporting rural health facilities in Zambia.
  • Experience with INGO is considered an advantage.
  • Experience working closely with national MNCH programs and regional/district health authorities.
  • Experience training volunteers on aspects related to MNCH program approaches.
  • A good understanding of the Zambian socio-political context and developments in the health sector
  • Ability to work in a complex environment with multiple tasks, short deadlines, and intense pressure to perform.
  • Experience working with stakeholders at the community level and strengthening community partnerships.
  • Experience analyzing data and contributing to evaluation reports.
  • Experience using MS Windows and MS Office packages (Excel, Word, PowerPoint).

Required Languages – English. Knowledge of Chewa and Nsenga is an added advantage.

Travel – Must be willing and able to travel up to 70 %.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills with ability to make sound judgment.
  • Strong relationship management skills and the ability to work effectively with local stakeholders.
  • Ability to contribute to written reports.
  • Proactive, results-oriented, and service-oriented
  • Attention to details, accuracy, and timeliness in executing assigned responsibilities.

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff)

These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.

  • Integrity
  • Continuous Improvement & Innovation
  • Builds Relationships
  • Develops Talent
  • Strategic Mindset
  • Accountability & Stewardship

Supervisory Responsibilities


Key Working Relationships:

Internal: Project Director, MNCH TA, MEAL Manager, Senior District Project Officers

External: Relevant government staff at district and community level, community leaders who may be linked to the project activities and partners.

Disclaimer Clause:

This job description is not an exhaustive list of skills, effort, duties and responsibilities associated with the position. CRS’ recruitment and selection procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.

Important Note: By applying to this job, I understand and acknowledge that CRS requires its staff to treat all people with dignity and respect and to actively prevent harassment, abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. Further, I understand that if I am a successful candidate, I will be subject to a comprehensive background check, and my personal/professional references will be asked to evaluate my behaviors related to the above safeguarding-related topics.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Applicant Instructions: Please email a cover letter, and curriculum vitae which should include three references to: Please include the position you are applying for in the subject line.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 21st June 2024. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.