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Islamic Relief Worldwide

West Africa Microfinance Programme Advisor


West Africa Microfinance Programme Advisor


West Africa Desk/Global Islamic Microfinance Business Unit


Grade xyz


Niamey/Bamako (Dakar?) with occasional international travel


Head of Region in matrix with Global Microfinance Operations Manager

Contract Duration

Fixed term


Through capacity building and through technical and programme support, the International Programme Division keeps the organisation focused on the socio-economic and humanitarian needs of vulnerable people.

The division reinforces IR’s implementing structure to enable these people and their communities to develop themselves sustainably, and ensures that the organisation is prepared to respond promptly and effectively to humanitarian crises.

The division increases the organisation’s ability to tackle poverty by developing and fostering partnerships and institutional relationships effectively and proactively, and by ensuring transparent and timely reporting to the organisation’s donors.


The West Africa Regional Desk …

The Islamic Microfinance Business Unit (I-MF BU) brings to the fore a sustainable, high social impact and Shariah-compliant livelihoods intervention within IR’s poverty reduction strategy through Sharia compliant financial inclusion programmes.


To coordinate the management of the IR’s Islamic microfinance programmes in West Africa. 

IRW organisational structure

Structure of Department within the International Programmes Division


  • Matrix-managing and providing technical advice to IR I-MF operational staff in-country
  • Liaising at the HQ with Desk, Finance, HR and ICT Departments and managers and technical advisors within the international programmes division and in-country with Country Directors and Heads of Programmes
  • Co-ordinating and liaising with IR fundraising partners and external funders on portfolio performance and social investment opportunities
  • Managing consultants, external auditors, representatives from regulatory bodies, interns and volunteers


Reporting to the Head of Region (in matrix with the Global Microfinance Operations Manager), the West Africa Microfinance Programme Advisor will be leading, co-ordinating, guiding and advising IR microfinance finance programmes in delivering high quality and impact focus financial inclusion services for poor people. The West Africa Microfinance Programme Advisor plays a critical function in managing IR’s microfinance programme in the region, which operates in the highly regulated financial services sector that is increasingly central bank supervised and licensed.

As the West Africa Microfinance Programme Advisor you will be responsible for and managing the smooth overall functioning of the field office and partner microfinance operations. You will oversee all Islamic microfinance processes and independently and with minimum supervision. In addition you will also take leadership for short to medium-term assignments in the area of regulatory compliance, Sharia-compliance, operations management, performance analysis and financial technology. You will use best practice to conceptualise, coordinate and support the development and delivery of microfinancial services, applying theoretical knowledge and skills within a practical and complex work environment through the following responsibilities:

  1. Performance management of Islamic microfinance programmes
  2. Monitor social and financial performance of microfinance programmes in field offices/implementing partners via the I-MF Global Dashboard and effectively communicate your findings and recommendations to the Directors, Programme managers and boards
  3. Analyse social and financial performance data (including from the Global Dashboard and external and internal audit and/or evaluation reports) and produce monthly, quarterly and annual management reports for the Head of Unit, IPD senior management, BoD and BoT
  4. Ensure the submission of operational and financial performance data by field offices/implementation partners and liaise with internal and external service providers to ensure performance system functionality (MFIS, Global Dashboard, P2P platform, GRC system)
  5. Identify and record learning and innovation in relation to IR microfinance programmes via the I-MF Knowledge Base and other internal and external resources
  6. Lead on and oversee implementation of remedial actions through matrix / technical management of in-country staff
  1. Funding for Islamic Relief microfinance programmes
  2. Co-ordinate regional and in-country strategic business planning through assisting in the development of portfolio forecasts, budgets and annual operational plans
  3. Identify potential funding opportunities in relation to IR microfinance programmes from IR partners and external bodies.
  4. Critically appraise project proposals submitted by field offices to ensure that they have a clear sense of purpose and direction and are in line with the Global, Regional and Microfinance Unit strategy.
  5. Lead on the development of funding proposals together with in-country teams and manage the submission to donors/funders
  6. Develop and maintain the unit’s own funding (including consultancy) map, decide on most appropriate opportunities, develop high quality proposals and manage the submission process
  7. Lead on grant management and co-ordinate and follow up with Country Offices to ensure that donor and partner reports are submitted on time and in the correct format. Once received review reports submitted by Country Offices to ensure they are of high quality.
  8. Collate and compile reports and draft materials and correspondence for a range of IR partners, institutional and other international NGOs related to issues concerning respective countries and regarding the implementation of projects.
  9. Deploy IR I-MF impact assessment tools for gauging impact of the I-MF program in the region along with development of impact case studies
  10. Support the development and design of marketing collateral
  11. Operational management support
  12. Maintain and manage the regional I-MFBU technical helpdesk, identify and decide on the relevant internal and external resources co-ordinate their allocation to assigned tasks and manage effective problem solving
  13. Co-ordinate, guide and supervise programme implementation and management in selected countries through technical advice and back-stopping
  14. Undertake field visits to support and facilitate programme effectiveness by identifying and deciding upon priority areas.
  15. Co-ordinate portfolio management by leading on the analysis of financial and social performance as per country/global standards and advise on areas of improvement
  16. Ensure that operations follow SOPs set out in the Global/Country Microfinance Manual and lead on the implementation of any remedial actions
  17. Liaise with I-MFBU and in-country management on areas of capacity building requirements, organise and facilitate training workshops, manage external training programmes (e.g. Frankfurt School of Finance & Management) and manage the regional staff training register
  18. Assist in implementation of data capturing tools (MFIS etc.) and ensure data collection in accordance to I-MF guidelines and consolidated reporting of region’s progress to I-MFBU
  1. Governance and compliance
  2. Co-ordinate in close liaison with the I-MFBU Compliance Manager the diverse programme and institutional governance requirements of IR microfinance operations by keeping all relevant information – in conjunction with in-country compliance liaison focus points - on the Governance, Risk & Compliance System (GRC) up-to-date
  3. Carry out compliance audits and report findings and recommendations to boards, audit committees and the Head of Region
  4. Co-ordinate governance related activities by assisting in-country management in ensuring that regulatory requirements are met
  5. Lead on the development of remedial action plans following supervisory inspections, Sharia, internal and external audits and compliance conformance assessments, monitor the progress and oversee implementation
  1. Sharia Compliance
  2. Co-ordinate – in conjunction with the I-MFBU Compliance Manager - all in-country product reviews, Sharia audits and Sharia-governance related matters to ensure Sharia compliance of all I-MFBU mandated activities.
  3. Co-ordinate with in-country programmes to ensure all processes and procedures are adhering to AAOIFI standards.
  4. Manage the review and develop of new products, including product documentation and market feasibility
  5. Carry out regular internal Shariah reviews, provide a secretariat function to internal/external Shariah supervisory/advisory boards and commission external Shariah audits in line with AAOIFI standards where relevant
  6. Act as a first point of call for in-country I-MF operations in Shariah matters and liaise with Shariah advisors on their behalf.

  1. Other responsibilities
    1. To undertake any other reasonable duties that are consistent with the job and at its level of responsibility as and when required by the line manager.
    2. To support line manager and colleagues in providing reports & presentations to senior management.


It is essential that the post holder shows a good understanding and empathy with the Islamic values and principles as well as commitment to IRW’s vision and mission.

Knowledge, Skills and Qualifications

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Knowledge of best practice standards in microfinance and MSE lending.
  • Strong microfinancial analysis and proven ability to work with large amounts of data in Excel spreadsheets, in addition to database/MFIS
  • Knowledge of Islamic finance and microfinance
  • Ability to produce flawless, accurate, and timely reports with attention to detail
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills with a proven ability to highlight and explain complex data.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, demonstrated ability to work independently, and as part of a team in cross-cultural environments.
  • Experience of working in a developing-economy context
  • Proven experience and knowledge of effective budgetary control and grant management.
  • Experience of distance management
  • Good written and spoken French and English


  • University degree in Finance, Economics, Business Administration, Accounting or equivalent

Essential experience:

  • Administrative experience in an international context
  • Proposal writing
  • Project management
  • Extensive (5 years) experience in Islamic microfinance, finance or banking industries
  • Understanding of microfinance reporting standards


  • Familiarity with AAIOFI Sharia governance and product standards
  • Holding a reputable qualification in Islamic microfinance (e.g. Frankfurt School “Certified Expert in Islamic Microfinance”)
  • Experience of working with international financial partners
  • Familiarity with microfinance software or business modelling tools
  • Basic knowledge of Arabic (written and spoken)


  • Application packages including:
  • A CV.
  • A covering letter.
  • Certified copies of diplomas and relevant certificates.
  • Names and addresses of two references.
  • Criminal record (if the candidate is selected)

Applications must be sent by email to the following address [email protected] with the mention "Recruitment of IFM Coodinator" no later than September 13, 2021 at 16:00 Pm .

Applications from women and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged.

Only shortlisted candidates will be called for interviews.

Applications will not be returned.

Incomplete applications will be eliminated.

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