Breakthrough ACTION recruits a Senior Program Officer

General Summary/Purpose

Breakthrough ACTION is a five-year cooperative agreement funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to lead their social behavior change (SBC) programming around the world. Breakthrough ACTION is a partnership led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) in collaboration with Save the Children, ThinkAction, ideas42, Camber Collective, International Center for Research on Women, and Viamo.  The project works in partnership with governments, civil society and communities to implement creative and sustainable SBC programming, nurture SBC champions, mainstream new techniques and technologies and advocate for strategic and sustained investment in SBC.

The Senior Program Officer will provide technical, programmatic, and management support to Breakthrough ACTION core and field programs, initially the core-funded Population and Reproductive Health (PRH) program and the Democratic Republic of the Congo field program. The core PRH program develops and tests new tools for SBC in family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH), provides technical assistance to national, regional and global partners, and leads work around global and regional level advocacy for SBC in FP. The Senior Program Officer will oversee core activities in francophone West Africa, as well as provide support to other areas of the program.

The position will also support field programs, including the DRC field program, which is an integrated project focusing on all health areas, as well as education and democracy and governance. The DRC program also includes a Global Health Security Agenda portfolio which focuses on risk communication for priority zoonotic diseases. The DRC program is setting the SBC agenda for the country, developing, testing, and monitoring interventions which are then scaled up by partner projects. The Senior Program Officer will monitor the over-arching technical content for SBC outputs for this program including capacity-building/strengthening of the in-country team to develop high quality SBC content, assisting them to better understand the partner methodologies, and helping them connect with other teams across Breakthrough ACTION where cross-learning will facilitate the advancement of their programming.

Specific Duties & Responsibilities

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

Program Management

  • Manage program oversight of a set of activities for the PRH core technical team and the DRC field team:
    • Envision, design and initiate new SBC program activities
    • Produce and edit documents, work plans, reports, and presentations
    • Monitor budgets and make strategic decisions to reallocate funding according to strategic priorities
    • Work closely with finance and administrative staff to ensure timely and compliant spending
    • Maintain frequent, open, ongoing communication with program team members in all locations (offsite, in headquarters, and internationally)
    • Liaise with Breakthrough ACTION partners, Breakthrough RESEARCH and other external partners
    • Identify and address STTA needs independently
    • Document successes and lessons learned through blogs, donor reporting and other channels
    • Work closely with the monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) team to routinely review program performance data and initiate adaptations to program management and implementation

Technical Work

  • The Senior Program Officer will initially lead several activities in the core FP portfolio focused on francophone West Africa. These include supporting a regional advisor to deliver technical assistance on SBC in FP to governments, donors and partners, build capacity in SBC skills, advocate for increased investment in SBC in regional and country planning processes, advance coordination and collaboration of SBC actors through advancement of a shared agenda, and promote adoption of evidence-based tools and initiatives. The Senior Program Officer will also advance understanding and application of social change and gender transformative approaches in the region, and globally, as well as take on leadership of other technical areas in the core FP portfolio.
    • Lead and manage technical work independently, including strategies, training curricula, toolkits, communication materials, needs assessments, etc.
    • Generate and envision new activities, ideas, frameworks, and strategies that further high-level goals
    • Use tools, processes, best-practices and colleague review to ensure all products and documents are of the highest quality possible
    • In collaboration with research and evaluation division, contribute to design and implementation of research plans and activities
    • Lead in-country STTA, including trainings, workshops, and program support, independently
    • Supervise/oversee STTA of junior staff with support
    • Demonstrate technical expertise in relevant technical areas (i.e. SBC, knowledge management, health areas, etc.)
    • Demonstrate high level technical communication, including writing reports, creating and giving presentations, and facilitating trainings or group discussions
  • The Senior Program Officer will bring their technical expertise in SBC and research, monitoring and evaluation to provide technical oversight to the DRC portfolio of activities. These will initially include:
    • Work closely with the HQ and DRC MERL teams to ensure coherence and relevance with project monitoring and evaluation vis-à-vis the project’s technical and programmatic interventions.
    • Support the development and implementation of MERL activities such as Social Norms Exploration and others.
    • Serve as focal point for the team and support the development and implementation of FP/RH/gender interventions as well as promote in-country thought leadership.

People Management

  • Oversee and ensure the quality of work produced by staff or team, providing constructive feedback to team members on quality of deliverables.
  • Supervise staff with support, including orienting and training new staff members, and providing coaching and mentoring to promote continued growth
  • Manage group work and effective team functioning independently; includes identifying and filling staffing gaps and independent contractor identification and hiring.

Professional and Organizational Growth

  • Initiate and lead center-wide initiatives, independently (such as brown bags, communities of practice, etc.)
  • Lead proposal development (technical, budget, coordination) and contribute to strategic partnership development with support
  • Represent JHU and CCP at relevant external meetings and events (may include delivering technical presentations, networking, relationship building, and initiate and follow through with opportunities for collaboration)
  • Stay abreast of technical updates
  • Professionally engage and collaborate with other programs across the Center
  • Recognize and address factors that might strategically impact a program or the Center, and propose solutions to appropriate staff members
  • Proactively seek opportunities to expand leadership and management skills
  • Identify opportunities for bringing new skills into the Center, including attending JHU courses and seminars, conferences, other external trainings etc.

Minimum Qualifications (Required)

  • Master’s degree (M.A., MHS, MPH) required.
  • At least five years’ experience in international social and behavior change, including family planning/reproductive health.
  • Additional relevant experience and/or training may substitute for some education.

Preferred Qualifications

  • At least eight years’ experience in international social and behavior change, including family planning/reproductive health.
  • Experience with USAID-funded programs.
  • Experience working in francophone West Africa.
  • Expertise in social and gender norms.
  • Experience in SBC capacity strengthening.

Special Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • French language fluency/working proficiency required.
  • Leadership and management expertise.
  • Experience in managing budgets and budget-driven strategic decision-making.
  • Excellent writing skills in English are essential.
  • Strong interpersonal and presentation skills
  • Apx 20% travel internationally

Classified Title: Sr. Program Officer
Working Title: Sr. Program Officer  ​​​​​
Role/Level/Range: ACRP/04/MF
Starting Salary Range: $70,805 – $97,435/ Commensurate with experience
Employee group: Full Time
Schedule: Monday – Friday, 8:30a – 5:00p / 37.5 hours per week
Exempt Status: Exempt
Location: 01-DC:District of Columbia
Department name: 10001159-Ctr for Communication Programs CCP
Personnel area: School of Public Health

The successful candidate(s) for this position will be subject to a pre-employment background check.

If you are interested in applying for employment with The Johns Hopkins University and require special assistance or accommodation during any part of the pre-employment process, please contact the HR Business Services Office at For TTY users, call via Maryland Relay or dial 711.

The following additional provisions may apply depending on which campus you will work.  Your recruiter will advise accordingly.

During the Influenza (« the flu ») season, as a condition of employment, The Johns Hopkins Institutions require all employees who provide ongoing services to patients or work in patient care or clinical care areas to have an annual influenza vaccination or possess an approved medical or religious exception. Failure to meet this requirement may result in termination of employment.

The pre-employment physical for positions in clinical areas, laboratories, working with research subjects, or involving community contact requires documentation of immune status against Rubella (German measles), Rubeola (Measles), Mumps, Varicella (chickenpox), Hepatitis B and documentation of having received the Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccination. This may include documentation of having two (2) MMR vaccines; two (2) Varicella vaccines; or antibody status to these diseases from laboratory testing. Blood tests for immunities to these diseases are ordinarily included in the pre-employment physical exam except for those employees who provide results of blood tests or immunization documentation from their own health care providers. Any vaccinations required for these diseases will be given at no cost in our Occupational Health office.

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