Portfolio Senior Manager – Kenya

Background Information – Job-specific

Kenya Multi Country Office (KEMC) manages a growing portfolio of engagements covering up to 15 Countries in East and Southern Africa, including associated strategic and operational risks. The KEMC sub-region currently consists of an established Operation Centre in Nairobi/Kenya which manages a portfolio of projects and programmes in multiple countries in East and South Africa.

Within its structure, KEMC’s Transactional Unit (TU) serves as an agile operational platform to deliver transactional work across various service lines specifically in human resources, procurement, logistics and grant service lines. Based in Nairobi; yet serving all 15 Countries in East and Southern Africa, the TU handles a diverse and growing portfolio across multiple partners.

In line with UNOPS business model, the Transactional Unit is managed on a full cost recovery basis through resource-sharing arrangements. The nature of the TU structure requires close engagement with the Head of Support Services, Finance, HR and Procurement Units to manage the resources flows and support for delivering its projects. At the same time, it is at its core a project delivery unit. Thus it requires the deployment of the full suite of project and programme management techniques to meet both partner satisfaction criteria as well as operational excellence.

Functional Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of the Head of Programme, the Portfolio Senior Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the project(s) within the Transactional Unit and provides services to the different donors, partners and beneficiaries. The Portfolio Senior Manager acts on behalf of the Project Board to manage the project on an ongoing basis during the Implementation Stage. The main responsibility of the Portfolio Senior Manager is to ensure that the project outputs are delivered within the specified project tolerances of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits. The successful candidate is expected to both lead the growth and diversification of the Transactional Portfolio, meet the partners’ expectations and the organization’s performance and delivery goals.

The Portfolio Senior Manager has the authority to assign, as per the Project Plan, work packages to Team Managers and approve deliverables produced by them. S/he is responsible for creating Implementation Plans, using the Project Initiation Document (PID), Legal Agreement and having a thorough understanding of the terms, conditions, and the respective roles and responsibilities of the partners/stakeholders, to ensure the project(s) outputs are capable of meeting the business cases for both UNOPS and the partner(s).

This list is not representative of all the duties required but indicates typical duties and responsibilities:

  1. Portfolio Management, Continuity, Growth and Diversification
  • Develops and leads the implementation of the Business Continuity and Growth Strategy for the Transactional Unit;
  • Develops and implements a partner outreach and engagement plan aligned with the Business Continuity and Growth Strategy;
  • Develops, maintains and reports on quality and performance metrics for the Transactional Unit;
  • Plans and propose; to the Head of Programme, the required resources for the Transactional Unit (human and financial).
  • Advises the Head of Programme and KEMC Senior Management Team in mainstreaming lessons learnt and best practices into new Engagement Acquisition;
  • Outreaches and promotes UNOPS services by building a network of key business partners and clients keeping abreast of market (and social, economic, political) trends in the area. Demonstrates application of innovation to engagement acquisition;
  • Identifies potential clients (i.e., governments, country offices, and international funding institutions) and partners to pursue new opportunities in line with the Business Continuity and Growth Strategy;
  • Advises on project formulation working with internal counterparts as appropriate;
  • Leads the preparation of proposals for new engagements for the Transactional Unit in line with Strategic Direction of the Multi-Country Office and Region;
  • Participates in negotiating cost-effective and mutually beneficial terms for UNOPS services with prospective clients and partners;

2. Partnerships and Stakeholder engagement

  • Leads stakeholder engagement and communication, ensuring effective timing and interdependency management of communications.
  • Establish robust stakeholder engagement strategies founded on tailored stakeholder profiles, interests and priorities.
  • Lead the formulation of project communications plans, coordinate internal project communications and monitor the effectiveness of project communications
  • Ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions and are in a position to accept handover outputs
  • Establish solid working relationships with the Project Board (Executive, Senior Users and Senior Suppliers), clients and key stakeholders

3. Project Delivery and Performance

  • Ensures the Transactional Unit portfolio meets the metrics established for the unit and it’s partners;
  • Coordinate the development and update implementation plan(s) as needed
  • Lead the implementation of approved plan(s) (including the establishment of milestones) within tolerances set by the Project Board.
  • Embed sustainability dimensions including social and gender inclusion, environmental and economic aspects into project life span.
  • Manage the production of the required outputs, taking responsibility for overall progress and use of resources and initiating corrective action, where necessary.
  • Ensure that quality of work packages and deliverables complies with the quality requirements defined in the Implementation Plan.
  • Liaise with any external suppliers or account managers
  • Manage acceptance and delivery of work packages
  • Monitor the progress of projects within the portfolio ensuring that work packages and products are being executed properly
  • Control changes to project and work packages within the portfolio
  • Ensure goods, services are delivered by suppliers undergo quality review and acceptance procedures
  • Lead contract management duties including supplier performance evaluation.
  • Identify, and anticipate in a timely manner, potential risks and issues and advises mitigating measures to senior management/ Project Board so that maximum benefit to partner(s) and other stakeholders is achieved
  • Provide quality control for management outputs (project documents, reports, etc.)

4. Procedures

  • Leads the coordination with internal stakeholders to ensure projects comply with audit requirements
  • Comply with all organizational policy and specifically the Project Management Manual
  • Prepare/adapt all relevant plans for approval by the Project Board.
  • Manage the reporting obligations defined in the Legal Agreement(s) and in the Implementation Plan
  • Oversees the requirements definitions for procurement processes. Approving requisitions and requests for non-purchase order payments; Evaluating submissions received, if appointed to the evaluation team.
  • Ensures the with procurement/purchasing staff to ensure effective interface with suppliers’ quality systems
  • Coordinate quality reviews of project documents and deliverables
  • Ensure maintenance of the project files and lessons learned are recorded
  • Ensure the development and implementation of project financial management guidelines and control mechanisms, in conformity with UNOPS rules and regulations.
  • Manage budgets, cash flow and obligations to ensure that deliverables are met and payments to contractors and personnel are received on time.
  • Understand and manage UNOPS overheads, allocable charges, and related corporate charges as they apply to the project
  • Understand the unique structures of the UN and budget appropriately for personnel
  • Manage expenditures against the budget (based on accurate financial reports)
  • Where the Project Manager has no delegation as a committing officer, s/he retains these responsibilities and will monitor and instruct/request others to carry out the relevant commitments and disbursements.
  • For project closure purposes, provide a formal handover of the project to the closure manager
  • Support project audit activities, including planning, preparation and coordination during the audits and follow up on audit observations/recommendations

5. Monitoring and reporting

  • Ensures compliance with narrative and/or financial reporting obligations for all projects in the business unit in accordance with Partner and UNOPS requirements
  • Regularly review Portfolio status, evaluating performance criteria (scope, cost, schedule and quality)
  • Carry out routine oversight and analysis of delivery data though dashboards
  • Ensure all project team members track and regularly update milestones and targets for the duration of projects’ life span

6. Technical Knowledge and Innovation

  • Keep abreast of and incorporate the latest best practices, approaches and technology, participating in the relevant Communities of Practice to enhance the portfolio delivery and results.
  • Instill best practices and lessons learned into corporate development planning and proposals.
  • Provide technical knowledge and innovation in the development of new business, ensuring the highest standards of UNOPS core competencies and operations.
  • Contribute proactively to corporate knowledge development and exchange initiatives in line with the UNOPS corporate knowledge management strategy.
  • Encourage routine and effective capacity building activities are conducted in order to build the long-term and sustainable capacity of staff.
  • Actively interact with the wider PM community to share case studies, lessons learned and best practices

7. Team Leadership

  • Lead and motivate the Transactional Unit team
  • Ensure that behavioral expectations of team members are established
  • Ensure that performance reviews are conducted fairly, accurately and timely
  • Select, recruit and train the team as required and take into account gender parity and diversity objectives.
  • Ensure safety and security for all project personnel and comply with UNDSS standards
  • Create, foster and role model a culture of respect and zero tolerance for discrimination, abuse of authority, harassment, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation and abuse. Ensure accountability for actions and perform duties in accordance with protection mechanisms and action plans, as expected by UNOPS policies, standards and commitments.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Advanced University Degree (Master’s or equivalent) in Project Management, Business Administration, International Relations, Political/Security/Development Studies, or other relevant discipline is required.
  • First level University Degree (bachelor’s or equivalent) in Project Management, Business Administration, International Relations, Political/Security/Development Studies, or other relevant discipline in combination with 2 additional years of relevant professional experience, may be accepted in lieu of the advance university degree.
  • A relevant combination of academic credentials and/or industry certifications and qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the university education.


  • At least seven (7) years of progressive experience in project development and management and coordination in either public or private sector organizations is required.
  • At least two (2) years Leading a Team is required
  • At least two (2) years managing a multi-project portfolio deploying monitoring, reporting systems
  • At least two (2) years experience implementing multiple donor funded agreements is required
  • Past experience with UN System policies and procedures is highly desirable
  • Familiarity with multiple donor policy and reporting requirements is desirable

Language Requirements

  • Fluency in English is required.
  • Working knowledge of another UN Language is desirable

How to apply


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