Program Assistant, East Africa Horn Vacancy in Ethiopia

Countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia
Organization: Smile Train
Closing date: 31 Jul 2021

Smile Train is changing the world one smile at a time. We’re always on the hunt for curious, passionate, and innovative thinkers to join our team, to help us do what we do better. If that’s you, please read on.

Smile Train is an international nonprofit headquartered in New York. Our mission is to transform the life of every person impacted by cleft lip and palate. We train and support doctors and medical professionals to provide free life-changing comprehensive cleft treatment to our beneficiaries. Our sustainable model has allowed us to reach 1.5 million children in 90+ countries to date and we’re just getting started. We are truly changing the world one smile at a time.

We are seeking a Program Assistant to support our work in East Africa Horn. This person should ideally be based in Ethiopia. They will devise, plan and implement local strategies to achieve the mission and goals of Smile Train in terms of high-quality and safe cleft lip and palate care through effective management of programs and partnerships in East Africa Horn. Be the 'face' of Smile Train in the region. Act when and where necessary to ensure the best interests of the organization and our programs. Prepare and monitor the budget. Be responsible for ensuring full compliance with Smile Train’s Safety & Quality Protocol and organizational Guidelines.

This is a full-time position, starting on or around September 1, 2021. Ideal candidates must be based in Ethiopia, with ability to travel across East Africa, specifically Ethiopia, Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti and Eritrea.


  • Assist to facilitate the implementation of Smile Train’s strategic plan as it applies in the East Africa Horn programs
  • Within the framework of the approved budget, draw up operational plans with measurable targets, specific checkpoints, and clear financial commitments for the region.
  • Assist the Program Manager to receive, review, and analyze all grant requests from local stakeholders, most typically local partner hospitals, and carry out ‘due diligence’ as required.
  • Plan and actualize trainings for medical professionals involved in cleft care in Ethiopia, Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  • Facilitate decision making processes such as: following up of audit reports with partners and ensuring recommendations are implemented by all Smile Train partners.
  • Assist in growing the East Africa Horn programs through planning community outreaches, hospital audits & implementations of protocols.
  • Influence & persuade partners to grow comprehensive cleft care programs in their respective hospitals.
  • Responding to corporate requests, facilitate partner engagement events and other cleft lip and palate related activities.
  • Represent Smile Train in East Africa Horn, through partner engagement and other stakeholders in the cleft care space: cleft communities, medical professionals, governments, and other non-governmental organizations.
  • Ensure all operations are legally and financially transparent and in compliance with all local laws and laws of the U.S. that apply to local business practices.
  • Be the local representative and spokesperson for Smile Train, and the ‘eyes and ears’ in the region. Speak up, when and where necessary, about the organization’s aims, values and practices; keep track of cleft-related issues and developments and share this feedback internally and with partners.
  • Lead efforts of producing & sharing Smile Train’s local & global messaging and help build the brand awareness of Smile Train programs in the region through social media, awareness creation activities and through conferences by seeking speaking slots and exhibition/booth space to showcase Smile Train’s work.
  • Capture and share stories, images, and videos on social media that help to tell Smile Train’s story and that could be used across the organization to further Smile Train’s mission.
  • Continually seek out new Smile Train partners that can contribute to the furtherance of the organization’s goals and elicit their support.
  • Regular communication with partners to disseminate new updates from Smile Train headquarter and local office and offer a help desk for partners to answer program queries.
  • Keep the line manager continually informed through periodic reports on major developments, key issues, and progress against agreed goals.


Our ideal candidate has/is

  • A BA or advanced degree in Medicine, Public Health, Social sciences, International Relations, Law or Accounting or any other relevant degree.
  • Thorough familiarity with the cultures of East Africa and must be bilingual, written and oral (English and Amharic) mandatory.
  • 3+ years related work experience in a coordination or management position in a multinational or national for-profit or not-for-profit organization with significant project management experience.
  • Computer Literacy: Microsoft Office (Outlook, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint) and ability to navigate databases and datasets.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. Public speaking and presentation ability
  • Interpersonal Skills: Ability to work with a global team, exhibiting cultural sensitivity, a commitment to Smile Train’s mission, strong time management skills, and capacity to work independently with minimal or no supervision.
  • Ability to travel, work evenings and weekends as needed
  • Detail oriented, adaptable, organized and able to successfully manage multiple projects and tasks
  • High levels of energy and commitment to excellence


Smile Train is an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. We strongly encourage candidates from all groups and communities to apply.

To apply, please complete the application through the link below. Include a copy of your resume and a cover letter that describes why you believe you would be a good fit for Smile Train and this role.

We encourage interested applicants to apply as soon as possible. The application deadline is 31 July, 2021.

How to apply:

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