Project Director, Nature-based Solutions In The Guinean Forests Of West Africa


Position title: Project Director, Nature-based solutions in the Guinean Forests of West Africa

Position location: Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire or Accra, Ghana

Reports to: Senior Manager for FSS and Francophone Africa Programs

Contract term: Anticipatory Hire – Anticipated start date April 1, 2023

Application deadline: February 27, 2023

Languages: Fluency in both English and French necessary

World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a leading Canadian international development organization focusing on three programmatic areas: Economic Opportunities, Education, and Empowerment. Our vision is a better world for all young people. It is a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world in which all young people, especially women and refugees, are empowered to secure a good quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities.

WUSC currently works in over 25 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, with an annual budget of approximately CAD $45 million. Globally, we partner with a network of higher education institutions, civil society organizations, private sector partners, professionals, students, volunteers, faculty and community leaders that work with us to achieve our mission.

The overall focus of the Nature-based Solutions (NBS) in the Guinean Forests of West Africa (NBS West Africa) project will be on engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to develop local and regional capacity to use evidence and engage with women and marginalized groups to prioritize locally relevant NBS to climate change adaptation. It will take a systems approach to supporting climate adaptation through interventions that plan for, pilot and scale nature based-solutions (NBS) to climate adaptation that contribute to enhanced biodiversity and gender equality. An overall assumption is that restoration and reforestation of degraded forests, both on and off farm, will be critical to supporting women and their communities to adapt to climate change challenges and will be central to protecting and restoring biodiversity in this critical global hotspot.

The project will work in close collaboration with consortium member CECI, and with the IUCN, CIFOR-ICRAF and the University of Guelph. Key local stakeholders include local and national government bodies, regional institutions, private sector, women’s groups, and environmental organizations.

This initiative builds on WUSC’s and CECI’s decades of experience supporting vulnerable populations and leverages the experience of a variety of local and international partners who bring a strong climate NbS lens, are fully immersed in their respective ecosystems and whose work can be accelerated by this project. This project is a timely intervention to ensure Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinée continue to effectively address climate adaptation while incorporating Nature based Solutions and strong gender lenses.

Nature and Scope:

Based in a regional project office, the Project Director oversees the strategic and operational implementation of the NBS West Africa Project in all three countries of intervention.. The Project Director manages relationships with key stakeholders, including with national and local Governments, project partners, local partners, the private sector and the funder. The Director will establish a regional project office based in either Abidjan or Accra, and will support smaller project teams in the two other countries of implementation.

Reporting to the Project Steering Committee and the Director, Field Support Services and Francophone West Africa, with a strong line of communication with WUSC and/or CECI Country Directors in Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana and Guinée, the Project Director will be responsible for the following:

Partner Relations and Communications

  • Develop and manage a sound working relationship between the two project consortium members, WUSC and CECI, through the project Steering Committee and relevant technical committees.
  • Develop scopes of work for key project partners (WUSC, CECI) IUCN, ICRAF-CIFOR and establish appropriate contracts to ensure that project objectives are met.
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships between key project partners, including those based in West Africa and overseas;
  • Develop robust relationships with project stakeholders, including relevant local and national governments, regional bodies, private sector companies, universities, investors, consultants and environmental organizations;
  • Ensure effective and inclusive communication between project partners and stakeholders to support planning and problem solving;
  • Represent WUSC among stakeholders, ensuring that the project can provide value to local actors and make a positive impact within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Technical Direction & Project Management

  • Provide technical and managerial direction and guidance to the initiative, in line with the project’s expected outcomes;
  • Develop key project planning deliverables (i.e. Initiative Inception Plan, Annual Workplan) using results based management approaches and tools;
  • Develop specific strategies for cross-cutting themes (capacity building, gender equality, private sector engagement, environmental sustainability) for the initiative;
  • Maintain open and effective communication amongst strategic partners and project team members in Canada and West Africa;
  • Oversee day-to-day coordination and delivery of project activities in conjunction with staff, technical advisors, volunteers and partners;

Monitoring & Evaluation

  • Establish and oversee a results monitoring system for the project;
  • Stay apprised of developments in key markets of interest to the project and develop systems for monitoring changes and adaptations in these markets over time;
  • Regularly monitor progress towards results, ensuring appropriate course correction and iterative management;
  • Work with team members to produce regular reports to key stakeholders, including the donor agency;
  • Maintain regular communication with WUSC colleagues in Canada and with key partners;

Human Resources Management

  • Manage the project team in Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana and Guinea;
  • Supervise, guide and evaluate the work of project staff and consultants;
  • Oversee human resources management issues such as employment policies and practices, in line with local law;
  • Work with colleagues and partners to ensure the effective mobilization, orientation and coaching of volunteers and technical advisors;

Financial & Office Management

  • Establish and oversee a financial management system for the project;
  • Ensure that the project complies with relevant local taxation, banking controls, and labour laws;
  • In conjunction with the finance team, develop and monitor the project budget and ensure regular reporting to the donor;
  • Recruit, maintain and direct the required administrative and project infrastructure of staff, field offices and equipment as well as making decisions on administrative policy, planning and procedural matters;

Risk Management & Security Preparedness

  • Actively assess the risk profile of the initiative; identify specific risks and appropriate mitigation strategies;
  • Ensure the application and relevancy of WUSC security policies, procedures and preparedness to the operational context of the project;

Donor Liaison & Coordination

  • Establish a strong working relationship with the Donor, including planning, capacity building and information sharing;
  • Convene Project Steering and Advisory Committees at regular intervals;
  • Coordinate regularly with other development actors to ensure harmonization and synergy with similar initiatives;
  • Represent the Project in official communication and fora.



  • A graduate degree in international development, forestry, business administration, gender or other relevant area.
  • Specialized training in Nature-based solutions (NBS) or gender equality would be an advantage.

Experience and Competencies

  • A minimum of fifteen years of progressively more responsible assignments related to management of development initiatives;
  • Proven knowledge of and commitment to Gender Equality;
  • Knowledge and experience in climate adaptation, forestry and/or nature based solutions.
  • Proven experience engaging the private sector in development programming;
  • Demonstrated capacity to work in cross-sectoral collaboration;
  • Experience managing technical advisors considered an asset;
  • Experience working with international development donor agencies;
  • Knowledge of Results Based Management (RBM) and environmental and gender policies and reporting requirements;
  • Proven technical, financial, administrative and organizational skills;
  • Knowledge of donor financial and narrative reporting procedures and requirements;
  • Proven experience managing a large, multi-disciplinary and international team of staff;
  • Diplomatic skills and the knowledge of cross-cultural, inter-personal communication;
  • Proven experience of adaptability to a challenging and constantly changing environment requiring iterative planning on a regular basis;
  • Experience in capacity building with local partner organizations and a commitment to a participatory partnership approach to development.


  • Complete fluency, oral and written, in French and English


WUSC is a leading Canadian international development organization that works with and through its southern partners to promote sustainable development. Founded in 1957 and currently working in 22 countries worldwide with an annual budget of approximately $45 million dollars, WUSC’s mission is to foster human development and global understanding through education and training. Our internationally recognized programs support youth, women and other marginalized populations, focusing on three thematic areas of education, employment and empowerment. Globally, WUSC works with a network of higher education institutions, civil society organizations, private sector partners, professionals, students, volunteers, faculty and community leaders that can be leveraged to support our work.


WUSC offers a dynamic international work environment with a diverse intercultural workforce. We offer employees exciting opportunities to apply their skills and gain experience all while making a difference for youth around the world. We believe youth have the potential to provide for their families, build strong communities, and create positive social change for future generations. Employees at WUSC work hard to create lasting change in education, employment and empowerment.

WUSC is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No telephone calls please.

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