Skip to main content

Job: Chief Operating Officer - COO (Starting Volunteer)

Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Location: Kenya/Kakuma Refugee Camp
Organization: Action for Refugee Life (AReL)
Position: Part Time (6-8 hours/week)


About Us:

Action for Refugee Life (AReL) is a refugee-led social impact organization striving to build a path to a sustainable and self-reliant future for the refugee community in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Our mission is to empower refugees by creating a viable, profitable, sustainable, and fair living that will position them as contributors to developing more equitable and healthier pathways for refugees in the camp. 


Position Overview:

AReL seeks a dynamic and experienced Chief Operating Officer (COO) to oversee our organization's operations and procedures. The COO will report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as a vital senior management team member. This position will significantly affect the organization's overall strategic planning and direction. The COO will ensure that AReL's operations are efficient, effective, and aligned with our mission, vision, and values. Core responsibilities include implementing business strategies, plans, and procedures, setting performance goals, establishing operating routines and governance, and overseeing daily operations.

The ideal candidate is either...

  1. Someone capable of building out our department from the ground up with an option to exit (or stay on in an Advisory role) once a highly functioning operation and team is installed.
  2. Someone capable of building out our department from the ground up and willing to start with limited allocation and transition into a full-time role.

Commitment and Compensation:

This role starts as a volunteer position with a time commitment between 6-8 hours a week, with plans for transitioning into a full-time role with a competitive salary and compensation package within 12-18 months (ideally sooner). The role can be remote, providing flexibility to accommodate the volunteer's schedule.


Core Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the organization's day-to-day operations, including program delivery, fundraising, human resources, etc.
    Develop operations plans and procedures while implementing processes and systems to ensure operational efficiency and efficacy.
    Work closely with the management team and the Board to create and implement business plans and strategies.
    Identify and address operational bottlenecks, guaranteeing high internal communication and collaboration.
    Monitor and manage operational costs, seeking ways to reduce costs without affecting productivity or service quality.
    Set performance goals for the organization.
    Establish operating routines and governance.


Additional Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement effective infrastructure strategies for delivering essential resources such as power and water to classrooms consistently and reliably in collaboration with local partners and service providers.
    Spearheaded the procurement process, ensuring that all required resources, such as laptops and software tools, are adequately provided. This includes helping establish relationships with SaaS companies for potential donations or partnerships in line with their CSR or social impact initiatives.
    Design and enforce protocols for instructors to document and report any operational challenges encountered during classes, such as power outages, to the leadership team for effective resolution and preventive measures.
    Oversee strategies and implementation of technological systems to improve connectivity and reach throughout the large refugee camp, thus ensuring effective communication and delivery of services across the entire community.
    Directly supervise the Operations Assistant, delegating tasks and projects as necessary while providing guidance and performance feedback.
    Foster professional development and growth of the Operations Assistant, ensuring proper training and opportunities for skill improvement.
    Act as a mentor to the Operations Assistant, offering insights, advice, and feedback to support their ongoing learning and professional development.
    Work alongside the CEO to develop operational plans incorporating goals and objectives contributing to AReL's strategic direction.
    Coordinate the efforts of different teams to implement strategic plans and improve processes.
    Work closely with the leadership team to enhance and develop staff skills through training and development opportunities.
    Establish and maintain relationships with partners, stakeholders, and community leaders.
    Oversee operational reporting, providing detailed and comprehensive reports to the CEO and Board.
    Ensure compliance with local and national laws and regulations.
    Lead efforts to mitigate risk, ensure operational and financial security, and maintain AReL's reputation and integrity.
    Promote a high-performance culture, continuous improvement, and a commitment to quality amongst staff.


Preferred Skills:

  • Strong problem-solving skills and the ability to think quickly and adeptly about solutions to logistical challenges.
    Proven experience in procurement and developing resource distribution strategies.
    Comfortable working in challenging conditions, such as areas with limited infrastructure or regional instability, and ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
    Familiarity with SaaS platforms and a working knowledge of leveraging technology to enhance organizational efficiency.
    Proficiency with productivity and reporting tools like Excel/Sheets, BI systems, and other analytics and reporting tools.
    A strong track record of developing and implementing operational systems and strategies.
    Multi-language proficiency (including English) is a plus, as we serve a diverse refugee population.



  • Bachelor's degree in business administration or related field; Master's degree preferred. Demonstrable and proven work experience (without a degree) is also well received.
    Proven experience as Chief Operating Officer or relevant role.
    Strong understanding of business functions such as HR, Finance, marketing, etc.
    Demonstrable competency in strategic planning and business development.
    Working knowledge of data analysis and performance/operation metrics.
    Experience in fundraising will be a plus.
    Proven negotiation skills.
    Ability to effectively communicate with staff, volunteers, and stakeholders.


Apply Now