Program Executive for Diakonia and Development, LWF

Position: Program Executive for Diakonia and Development
Place of Assignment: Geneva, Switzerland
Starting date: February 2022
Duration of contract: initial contract of 5 years
Closing date for applications: 9 December 2021
Extensive travel of more than 20 days per year 


The Department for Theology, Mission and Justice (DTMJ) is responsible for supporting the presence and witness of the Member Churches (MCs) of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). DTMJ also houses the advocacy unit of the LWF. 

DTMJ includes three programmatic units: 

1. Theology for Transformation focuses on theological reflection with and for member churches on issues that represent contemporary challenges to churches in the global communion. Themes include Lutheran identity, theological education and formation, gender, interreligious dialogue, the role of the Church in the public space, and eco-theology. 

2. Churches in Mission aims to equip churches for holistic mission with a focus on strengthening churches’ capacities in the areas of diakonia, leadership, inclusion of women and youth, good governance and project management. 

3. Action for Justice carries out LWF’s global advocacy work including engagement with the UN, other faith-based organizations and stakeholders. LWF’s advocacy work focuses on human rights, gender, climate, peace and interfaith. The unit is also responsible for strengthening member churches’ capacities for advocacy. 

The incumbent is part of the “Churches in Mission” unit and leads the Diakonia team of two staff within the unit. S/he is responsible for the overall coordination and implementation of the Diakonia program which aims to empower churches to affect positive change in people’s lives through relevant, effective, and visible diaconal engagement. Through the program, LWF supports member churches and related institutions towards increased sustainability and reinforced quality and impact of their diaconal, humanitarian and development work. 

Besides providing overall coordination and leadership of the Diakonia program, the incumbent is responsible for the following elements of the program: 

– the “Churches and Emergencies” initiative which aims to strengthen churches’ capacity for effective emergency preparedness and response work (currently implemented in Nepal, Myanmar and Colombia/Venezuela), in close coordination with the World Service Global Humanitarian Coordinator, as well as the implementing churches and World Service programs in the target countries (20%), 

– advising and supporting World Service country and emergency programs and member churches on how they can strengthen their relationship and collaboration globally and in countries where both are present, using the LWF Guidance Note Joint Engagement of World Service Programs and Member Churches” published in May 2021 (20%), 

– the “Symbols of Hope” initiative which aims to strengthen churches’ capacity for responding to irregular migration and human trafficking, currently implemented by member churches in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe (20%), 

– the “Waking the Giant” initiative which aims to strengthen churches’ capacities to effectively contribute to the SDGs and the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, in close coordination with the LWF Head of Global Advocacy (20%), 

– overviewing and line managing staff in the Diakonia team within the “Churches in Mission” unit who coordinate the LWF “Member Church Projects”, both long-term and short-term projects initiated, supported and implemented by member churches but coordinated by the LWF Communion Office (20%). 

Required qualifications: 

 University degree or equivalent in development studies, social studies, diakonia or other relevant field. 
 Excellent written and spoken English. Working knowledge of other LWF languages (Spanish, French and/or German) is desirable. 
 Endorsement by a member church required. 

Additional study and experience 

 At least 4 years of demonstrated international experience in positions involving strategic program planning, project management, reporting, management and administration in relation with diakonia and development. 
 Working knowledge and/or experience in a developing country. 
 First-hand knowledge of LWF member churches or other churches, mission societies and/or related agencies within the ecumenical movement. 
 Theological knowledge and understanding are an advantage. 
 Experience in political and/or diplomatic settings and in conflict resolution. 

LWF core skills 

• Initiative – Resource level 
• Achieving results – Advanced level 
• Working effectively with others – Resource level 
• Analytical thinking – Resource level 
• Leadership – Resource level 
• Accountability – Advanced level 

Required skills 

• Stakeholders’ management – Resource level 
• Facilitation / Negotiation – Resource level 
• Communication – Resource level 
• Networking / Promotion – Resource level 
• Project management – Advanced level 
• Innovation – Advanced level 
• Grant management – Advanced level
• People management – Advanced level 

Position environment and dimensions 

Internally, reports to the Departmental Director. Interacts with the Support Team and collaborates closely with program staff from DTMJ and World Service, as well as with the Regional Secretaries. Interacts with communication, PMER and resource mobilisation staff. 

Externally, works closely with LWF member churches, especially in target countries of the Diakonia program. Interacts with donors and related agencies, ecumenical organizations (in particular WCC and ACT Alliance), UN, NGOs, any other LWF stakeholders on diakonia and development. 

Main duties 

Leadership and Coordination 

 Provides overall leadership of the Diakonia program, including conceptual and methodological development and program management. Leads the planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting (PMER) processes of the program in close collaboration with the PMER Coordinator. 
 Ensures the Diakonia program remains relevant to member churches’ needs, is theologically rooted, advocacy oriented, and builds on relevant methodologies developed by LWF. Follows LWF selected methodologies. 
 Supports and supervises implementation of project activities in the target countries of “Churches and Emergencies” and “Symbols of Hope”, as well as in the context of the “Waking the Giant” initiative. 
 Identifies and addresses related capacity strengthening needs of member churches and their related diaconal and development institutions, and develops capacity strengthening activities accordingly. Connects implementing member churches with each other and facilitates cross-contextual experience exchanges and mutual learning. 
 Acts as focal point and liaison for collaboration between member churches and World Service programs in countries and sub-regions where both are present with a view to contributing to deepened relationships. 


 Collaborates closely, advises and provides subject expertise to LWF member churches, World Service country and emergency programs, and other LWF Communion Office departments. 
 Supports and advises on future strategic positioning and implementation of the Member Church projects coordinated by the Diakonia team. 
 Creates synergies with “Churches in Mission” colleagues involved in activities related to leadership and institutional development, good governance, capacity strengthening, as well as inclusion of women and youth. 
 Collaborates with the Theology for Transformation and the Action for Justice programs in DTMJ in order to increase synergies. 
 Performs strategic monitoring on capacity strengthening issues and resources. Actively contributes to identifying, documenting and sharing good practices for continuous learning and knowledge management purposes. 


 Ensures a continuous accessible and appropriate communication flow with all internal and external stakeholders and various audiences, particularly member churches, ecumenical organizations and global partners. 
 In cooperation with the LWF Office for Communication, provides content material for and promotes news stories relating to the portfolio. 

Project Management, Fundraising and PMER 

 Collaborates with PMER colleagues on systems implementation, performance measurement and monitoring, Quality Assurance and Accountability, risk management, and compliance with donor requirements. 
 Leads the budgeting process of the Diakonia program in collaboration with the Finance Coordinator, ensures monitoring and reporting of the finances of the program and authorizes all expenses of the program. 
 Leads the communication with funding partners regarding the Diakonia program and its different global initiatives, in collaboration with the Resource Mobilization Officer. 
 Coordinates further fundraising efforts for the program, in collaboration with the Support Team and Resource Mobilization partners. 

People Management 

Creates a conducive environment and manages efficiently the Diakonia team including one Program Executive and one Program Support Officer with proven people management good practices. 

Special duties: as may be assigned by the supervisor 

Major Challenges 

To profile the member churches and other faith-based organizations in contributing to justice and peace worldwide through increased capacity. 

To develop and shape further the support to diaconal outreach of member churches in the context of the Covid pandemic and subsequent recovery. 

To increase the cooperation with the World Service country and emergency programs and strengthen the link between member churches and World Service’s operations on humanitarian response. 

To apply, click on the following link: