Program Assistant (Benin / Francophone West Africa)

from Smile Train
Closing date: 31 Oct 2019

Smile Train is a 501(c)(3) organization based in New York City with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Founded in 1999, Smile Train focuses on providing free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals. We have assisted more than 1,500,000 children to date. Check out our website at to learn more.

We are seeking a Program Assistant to support our work in Francophone West Africa. This person should ideally be based in Benin. 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 Francophone West Africa. 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 as soon as possible. Ideal candidates must be based in Cotonou, with ability to travel across Francophone West Africa, specifically Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso.


The incoming Program Assistant will:

  • Assist the Program Manager in developing and implementing an annual budget and long-term and short-term action plans to reach as many cleft-affected children as possible with cleft treatment, as quickly as possible, in the most cost-effective manner, whilst maintaining high standards of safety and quality. Submit the budget for regional review and, once finalized, implement the same in the best possible manner.
  • Within the framework of the approved budget, draw up operational plans with measurable targets, specific checkpoints, and clear financial commitments.
  • 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’ to either reject or approve those that fall within the agreed financial authority and plans, sharing with appropriate line supervisors when additional approvals are required.
  • Manage and support existing partners and grant recipients for their administrative needs to ensure that programs are aligned with the overall goals, mission, priorities and policies of the organization.
  • Build and nurture strategic linkages with suitable external partners, e.g. local Corporates, medical and educational institutions etc. that can function as ‘force multipliers’ to bolster our program plans.
  • 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’ within the assigned area. 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 to share Smile Train’s global messaging locally and help to build the brand and awareness of Smile Train programs in West Africa. To this end, develop and maintain effective communications with all key external constituencies, e.g. medical professionals, social and voluntary organizations, government functionaries, the media and patients/guardians.
  • Capture and share stories, images, and videos that help to tell Smile Train’s story and that could be used across the organization to further Smile Train’s mission.
  • Assist the Program manager in serving as a point of contact for operations within assigned area and communicate regularly with the appropriate line supervisors to keep the Management informed about all significant developments and key plans.
  • Additional projects or activities as needed.


Ideal candidates have/are:

  • 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 West Africa and must be bilingual, written and oral (English and French) 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
How to apply:

To learn more and apply visit: