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Senior Manager, Program Strategy, Development and Innovation (PSDI)

Date of Publication
Application Deadline
Cuso International
Brief Description

Location: Canada
Reports to: Director, Program Strategy and Innovation (PSI)
Position type: Full-time
Salary range: $88,000–$95,000 CAD
Classification: Management
Language requirements: English with French and/or Spanish desirable

Cuso International is an international cooperation and development organization that works to create economic and social opportunities for marginalized groups. Together with our partners, we are focused on efforts to advance gender equality and social inclusion, improve economic resilience, and deliver progress on climate action. We believe that by sharing skills, we can build better futures. Founded in 1961, Cuso International works in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Canada.

After 60 years, Cuso International has embarked on a process of renewal.  In an era of rapidly changing contexts for international cooperation, we are looking for a Senior Manager, PSDI who will champion Cuso International’s long-term program strategy and partnerships in line with Cuso’s Strategic Plan 2023-2027 priorities. The Senior Manager, PSI will lead a team of 2-4 thematic experts and program advisors, to grow Cuso International’s thematic expertise and establish a culture of program innovation and entrepreneurship which will position Cuso International at the leading edge of best-practice, thought leadership and program impact.  They play a leadership role in coordinating internal teams developing programs which align with Cuso’s new strategic plan.   

We are looking for an organizational leader driven by passion and principle to advance human progress in all its forms, and with a focus on social justice, human rights, gender equality, environmental sustainability and economic development. The ideal candidate has experience with the complexities of international cooperation and a professional track record of entrepreneurship in a career that has shown success in roles of progressively greater responsibilities.  They love a challenge, are highly self-aware and derive their energy from effective teamwork.  The Senior Manager, Program Strategy, Development and Innovation must have specific expertise one or more of Cuso’s strategic priority areas – (1) Gender equality and social inclusion, (2) livelihoods and economic resilience, and (3) Climate action – and experience leveraging that expertise by working in coalitions with partner organizations and influencing policy. They must have extensive experience in the development of proposals to institutional donors – such as Global Affairs Canada – as well as with policy advocacy and government relations. As a superior communicator in multiple languages, they are a natural collaborator and partnership broker who will be able to work well with Cuso’s partners and country teams. 

If you are interested in this position, you wish to give full flight to your feminist principles and apply your professional ambition to an organization that is re-inventing itself to have a greater impact in the world.  You’re known to have principled opinions; you bring people together and you want a workplace that will allow you to make a world of positive difference.  

Program Strategy and Innovation

  • Work closely with internal and external stakeholders to champion the evolution of Cuso’s programs in line with Cuso’s Strategic Plan.
  • Consult with colleagues across the organization to build and consolidate a shared vision for Cuso’s programs, including the exploration of new ways of working, or new program opportunities.
  • Identify and research opportunities for the future evolution of Cuso International’s programs.


  • Maintain and develop a strong portfolio of partners in Canada, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, fostering collaboration on development interventions in line with Cuso International’s strategic and operational plans.
  • Build and maintain relationships through local, regional and international networks, alliances, forums and/or events and promote Cuso International’s programs with donors, partners, government officials, private sector and/or other relevant agencies in Canada and globally.
  • Coordinate with the Program Quality and Impact (PQI) Team on the design of mechanisms to evaluate impact of partnerships.

Program Development

  • In coordination with the PSDI Team, Heads of Programs, Country Program Teams, Finance Team and Human Resource Team, coordinate the design and development of new projects in line with Cuso International priorities and needs of partners.
  • Secure funding from national, regional and international donors to scale-up and maximize Cuso International’s impact in Canada and globally in line with the Strategic Plan 2023-2027, building relationships and identifying opportunities.
  • Oversee the development of proposals and concept notes for submission to donors, ensuring high quality control for documents shared externally.
  • Coordinate with PSDI Team to motivate, train and support Country Program Teams to expand Cuso International’s programming by creating innovative ideas and partnerships that are based on needs of partners and communities.
  • In coordination with Country Program Teams, oversee development of Project Implementation Plans for new projects when required.
  • Coordinate closely with the Resource Development Team to support Cuso International’s fundraising goals and approaches, including sharing results and impacts from programming for fundraising efforts.

Thought Leadership and Influence

  • Represent Cuso International in public fora as required, including participation in sector coalitions.
  • Coordinate with various teams within Cuso International to develop its approach to thought leadership, identifying organizational thematic program expertise and activities for thought leadership and advocacy.
  • In coordination with PSDI Team, identify opportunities (presentations, events, coalition/network engagement) to ensure visibility, profile and influence of Cuso International’s programs and expertise with key strategic stakeholders (donors, sector leaders and partners).
  • Coordinate with PQI Team to support knowledge mobilization for internal capacity building and effective liaison with external thought leadership efforts.
  • Coordinate with the CEO’s office and Communications Team to organize and publicize thought leadership and advocacy activities in Canada and globally. This may include policy briefs, speeches, media releases, or events.


  • Foster a positive, respectful, fair and participatory work environment for staff free from harassment, motivating staff to actively participate towards achieving Cuso International’s goals.
  • Ensure that Cuso International’s performance management culture and inclusive values are understood and respected within the PSDI team and that each staff receives adequate feedback and support to promote successful performance and high levels of employee engagement.


  • Fulfill other responsibilities, as required from time to time.
  • Work with the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEAL) Team to inform the development of adapted measurements and data sets supporting program strategy and development.
  • Travel within Canada and internationally when required.


  • Solid educational background, preferably a Master’s in international development/studies, or equivalent experience
  • Demonstrated thematic expertise in one of Cuso International’s three strategic priority areas: (1) Gender equality and social inclusion, (2) livelihoods and economic resilience, and (3) Climate action


  • Extensive experience working with multi-disciplinary teams to design international development programs/projects
  • Experience managing others and coaching, mentoring and motivating teams
  • Track record of achievement in partnership development and securing institutional funding for international cooperation and development programs ($5M+)
  • Experience with thought leadership or advocacy work, participation in thematic coalitions and engaging with governments.
  • Demonstrated understanding and experience with Canadian, US, EU, UN and other institutional donors and funding modalities, including co-financing mechanisms and innovative financial models
  • Non-profit/NGO experience, specifically working in developing countries, in areas such as gender equality, inclusive livelihoods, social justice, sexual and reproductive and health and rights, climate and environmental action
  • Ability to leverage existing networks of donors and partners to strengthen Cuso International networks both in Canada and globally
  • Community level program experience

Knowledge and Skills

  • Strong understanding of evolving sector norms for integrated, feminist and localized approaches
  • Significant knowledge and skills of project design, results-based management and MEAL system
  • Gender-based analysis (GBA+)
  • Excellent organizational skills, ability to translate complex program and thematic information into compelling narratives, whether to influence public policy, general communications or proposal development
  • Ability to prioritize and manage multiple responsibilities
  • Strong oral and written communication skills; must be comfortable as a spokesperson for Cuso International and representing Cuso International with donors, partners, and key networks
  • Strong computer skills and experience with Microsoft Office applications in a virtual office setting
  • Professional fluency in English is required, and in at least one of Spanish or French
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, feminist principles, equality and human rights, climate action and environmental sustainability
  • Ability to make decisions and take initiative, as part of managing a complex and varied workload
  • Ability to work irregular hours and overtime when needed to meet critical deadlines

Cuso International is committed to creating and fostering an inclusive culture. We strive to actively celebrate diversity, advance our equitable practices, and drive greater inclusion. We offer a comprehensive employee benefits package and insurance, generous days of paid time off, including vacation and sick days, and more.

Cuso International is committed to the integrity of our volunteers, interns, staff, managers, board members and subcontractors in preventing sexual violence in the way we operate. This is done through a defined framework, code of conduct, values and guiding principles, as well as Cooperation Canada’s Leaders’ Pledge.

Please visit our careers page at for full details and to submit your application.

Cuso International is an equal opportunity employer and encourage applications from all qualified applicants. Accommodations will be provided at any stages of the hiring process upon request. Thank you for your interest in Cuso International.