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PLACED Project Director



We are looking for a new Project Director. Someone very different! Someone who does not accept reasons why things cannot happen. Someone who finds solutions and delivers tangible results. Someone who wants to learn and to lead and to exceed all expectations.


We are building a team in the Ministry of Labor Social Affairs Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD), with funding from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund and technical assistance from the World Bank. This team is going to oversee two ground-breaking jobs programs under the PLACED Project. The programs will be contracted out with innovative ‘payment by results’. In the process, we are creating a new ‘centre of excellence’ in performance-based contracting and program management in MoLSAMD.

This is not about disbursing money and ticking boxes. It is about purchasing and driving services that deliver real, life-changing impact – through helping as many people as possible find jobs. We are starting with a grant of $5m, and want to build a project that invests over $100m in new jobs and new life chances for hundreds of thousands of citizens.

The new team will almost certainly have no experience of running contracts/services like this. The World Bank will be bringing in world-leading experts to provide a unique training program for the exceptional, high-potential team recruited. It is going take a very special Project Director to lead this team, work closely with the World Bank and deliver the stretching results we are aiming for.

You will not necessarily have experience of government or donor-funded work. However, you will like rolling your sleeves up to get things done, and enjoy being challenged. You will be a natural leader who leads by example. You will have both an eye for detail and a strategic outlook.

Please see the complete Terms of Reference below.

You must have excellent communication skills, including very high-level written and spoken English. The team will operate in English, managing international contractors and with most of the team’s training in English.


The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) in particular, is planning to prepare for project activities with a Project Preparation Grant (PPG) from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). The project is called PLACED. Under the PLACED PPG, three distinct activity components are defined: (i) opening a managed international labor migration corridor to GCC countries, (ii) enhancing the employability and employment outcomes for high school graduate jobseekers through supported job search and possibly private sector internships and, (iii) integrated capacity building at MoLSAMD for the management of the pilots under the PPG as a core for sustained capacity to manage employment programs. The pilots will target two discrete groups of unemployed Afghans, designed to meet the identified needs of these groups and their potential employers, thereby increasing the jobseekers’ employability. The implementation of the pilots will be integrated with extensive on-the-job capacity building at MoLSAMD on key aspects of contracting and managing high-performing labor market programs.

The PLACED pilots will service approximately 4,400 jobseekers. Learning from these pilots will be informed by rigorous monitoring and evaluation, leading to the scaling up and rollout of these interventions. Following a period of MoLSAMD team building, procurement, (c.6 months) and implementation (c.4 months), the pilots will run for up to 21 months, with interim evaluations (and emerging recommendations) prepared after the first, and second years. The components are expected to be structured as follows:

Component 1: PLACING LABOR ABROAD (PLA) Pilot: This component will target unskilled and low-skilled Afghan male jobseekers, with the objective of: (a) preparing them for identified job opportunities in GCC countries; (b) matching them with those vacancies; (c) facilitating their travel to the host country and settling in; (d) supporting the employer (and covering salary costs) for the first two weeks of on-the-job training, and; (e) establishing systems for payroll deductions and remittances to cover some program costs as well as transfers back to families. The objective is to enhance these jobseekers in the eyes of GCC employers and inform the development of efficient systems for managed labor migration to GCC countries. The project will also aim to include mechanisms to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the participants while working abroad. The proposed pilot will finance activities to help approximately 2,000 participants.
Component 2: CONNECTING WITH EMPLOYMENT DOMESTICALLY (CED) Pilot: The biggest challenge for young job applicants with a reasonable level of appropriate skills (notably literacy and numeracy), as identified by employers, is a lack of soft skills and workplace awareness, including knowledge of workplace culture and employer expectations. Often this is as a result of a lack of work experience, and it is exacerbated by a lack of any understanding of how to find and communicate with potential employers. This component will target beneficiaries between 18 and 29 years of age who have completed high school. The pilot aims: (a) to assist as many jobseekers as possible to secure good jobs through intensive supported job search, and (b) for those who cannot access employment given personalized job search support, provide private sector internships to enhance employability through supported work experience. The pilot will ensure parity of outcomes for women and men, providing additional support as required for any female jobseekers. The proposed pilot will finance activities to help approximately 2,400 youth (50% male and 50% female) during the two and a half years of implementation.
Component 3: Integrated capacity building: This component will aim at strengthening the capacity and performance of MoLSAMD in delivering the PLACED pilots, and eventually contracting and managing national employment programs, through an innovative program of technical assistance. In particular, a team recruited with support under this component within MoLSAMD will undertake procurement, implementation, and contract/performance management, including monitoring and evaluation activities. A capacity-building program will be launched, with each stage of the pilot programs preceded by technical assistance workshops equipping the MoLSAMD team with the required knowledge and skills. The personnel initially recruited under the PPG are expected to transition to civil service positions requiring similar competencies learned throughout the PPG implementation.
The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, implements this project under the overall supervision of the Deputy Minister for Labor Affairs (and in his/her absence the Minister). In close cooperation with the Director of Labor Market Studies, and under the guidance of the Steering Group, the project is led by the PLACED Project Director. The Project Director is responsible for the effective management of the project’s activities from project procurement through implementation to delivery, including establishing and leading the team, relationship management within the Ministry and beyond, and then gathering and using learning to inform the development of future organizational and system-wide strategy.

Job Summary

The role will flexibly undertake such tasks as are necessary to the success of the project. This will involve, as a minimum, the following activities:

Job Details

Date Posted: 04 Mar 2018 Reference: MoLSAMD-PLACED/IC-01
Closing Date: 27 Mar 2018 Work Type: Full Time
Number of Vacancies: 1 Gender: Any
Functional Area: Leadership Open Ended: NO
Nationality: Afghan Salary Range: As per NTA Salary Scale Policy10000.0
Contract Type: Consultant Years of Experience: 10 Year(s)
Contract Duration: 1 Year(s) & 0 Month(s) Extension Possibility: Yes
Probation Period: 3 Months

Duties and Responsibilities

• Playing a leadership role in the strategic planning and management of the PLACED project including the periodic review of the mission and vision statements for the project;
• Establishing close linkages and relationships with other key stakeholders, (donors, organizations, Government departments and implementing partners) to ensure that the work of the PLACED project is properly understood and appreciated, and resources are mobilized as required;
• Ensuring the two pilot programs are procured and implemented on time and within budget, and that they meet or exceed all operational targets;
• Leading the Contract Management Team, including recruitment, day-to-day management, performance management and development. The Project Director is the de factor head of human resources and the responsible for the wellbeing/growth of the team. The Director utilizes the capacity building component to grow a team with high capability, motivation and profile, as well as with a culture of performance, integrity and transparency;
• Leading the relationships with the contractors and chairing formal performance reviews with them;
• Leading strategic wider market engagement and development (with consideration of future requirements as the market grows);
• Oversight and final responsibility for the budget, ensuring delivery is resourced as required and delivered within budget;
• Assuring compliance with financial and procurement procedures, legal covenants and all social and environmental safeguards;
• Facilitation, logistic support, organization and reporting to the Steering Group;
• Maximizing learning from the pilots, feeding into future strategic planning;
• Keeping the pilots under close review, anticipating and identifying risks as they arise, and suggesting and leading changes as required to delivery, in consultation with the Steering Group. The Project Director will also monitor changes in the wider context, keeping the Steering Group up-to-date;
• Ensuring MoLSAMD cross-unit cooperation and coordination;
• Being the main point of contact for the World Bank in relation to the pilots and the capacity building program. He/she will maintain close communication and collaboration, facilitating World Bank technical assistance, ensuring compliance as necessary with World Bank procedures, and proactively sharing quantitative and qualitative data to inform the ongoing monitoring and evaluation;
• Assuring compliance with all financial and procurement procedures, legal covenants and all social and environmental safeguards as per the legal agreement of the World Bank;
• Managing conflict resolution in project related and staff related activities in a professional manner;
• Acting on regular M&E reports summarizing project progress against all key M&E data and indicators, and initiating prompt, corrective action when necessary.

Travels to Provinces

Require Travels to Provinces


a. A Doctorate degree with 3 years relevant experience, or Masters degree with 5 years relevant experience, or Bachelor degree with 10 years relevant experience;
b. A track record of delivering high performance, against stretching targets, in a commercial enterprise or project of some sort, including team leadership;
c. A willingness to roll up your sleeves and make things happen;
d. Exceptional intelligence;
e. The ability to think both creatively and analytically;
f. An eye for detail and desire to deliver beyond expectations;
g. The ability to define and communicate a compelling strategic vision;
h. Exceptional interpersonal skills, to inspire your team and navigate the very complex stakeholder network;
i. Comfort working within a target-driven environment, balancing commercial and social objectives;
j. Very high-level written and spoken English. The team will operate in English, be trained in English, and will be managing some international contractors in English. In particular, you will be working extremely closely with the English-speaking advisors from the World Bank.

The team will be selected in accordance with the procedures set out in the World Bank’s Guidelines: Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers

Salary will be as per the National Technical Assistance (NTA) Remuneration Policy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Job Location

Afghanistan - Kabul: PROVINCIAL CENTER (KABUL)
AF AF 12


Bachelors Degree,

Submission Guideline

The selection process for these unusual positions is going to be unusually rigorous. Only the best need apply! We expect at least half of our project team to be female (like at least half of our employment outcomes).

Interested candidates should submit their applications, in writing, to the National Skills Development Program (NSDP), Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled located in first Macroryan, Kabul, or e-mail their application (indicating in the subject line the VA number and the title of the post applied for or else will not be considered eligible) to: Mohammad Haroon Sherzai

In the first instance, please send the following THREE things (all in English):

• Your curriculum vitae (including full contact details);
• A covering letter of no more than two pages, telling us why you are interested and why/how you are qualified for the position;
• Two pages describing the project that you are proudest of, what were the secrets to its success, and what lessons you gained.

Please note that if you do not submit these three things as described, your application will NOT be considered.

The closing date for applications is midday on the 18th March 2018. Selection days will commence 25th March. Selection will be conducted in English and will include a written test, an interview and a presentation.

Submission Email must have in CC:

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