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Project Director, Humanitarian Programs – Bangladesh

International Social Impact | New York, NY | Full Time

Job Description

Sesame Workshop is seeking a Project Director, Humanitarian Programs – BangladeshThe Project Director will focus on Sesame Workshop’s humanitarian initiatives reaching children and caregivers from the Rohingya and host community populations in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. In consultation with the Sesame Workshop New York office, the Project Director will be responsible for overseeing the in-country coordination and management of a large multi-year early childhood development project that delivers high-quality programs through multimedia and direct service delivery platforms in close collaboration with project partners.


The Project Director – Bangladesh, Humanitarian Programs will be part of a dynamic and evolving collaboration across four highly specialized organizations and will need to be a collaborative, innovative, strategic yet hands-on team-player. The position will be involved in translating the vision for the initiative into practical program design and action, planning and execution of detailed project work plans and activities, and will work closely with experienced colleagues in Sesame Workshop and our partners from a diverse range of professional and technical disciplines. The right candidate should be a passionate and collaborative individual who will work effectively with staff and other senior managers and leaders on the program and across the partnership.


The position requires a combination of technical knowledge and experience working in the education and humanitarian and development sectors. The role would develop and deepen relationships with key stakeholders involved in the sectors related to our program’s areas of work such as:


  • Humanitarian and development actors and organizations such as relevant UN agencies, INGOs and NGOs
  • Early childhood development actors (relevant ministries, research institutions and other stakeholders related to ECD)
  • International humanitarian and development donors


The individual will represent Sesame Workshop and the Play to Learn partnership in Bangladesh, establishing and maintaining strong relationships with partners and key stakeholders and attending key meetings and events to further program goals and in order to identify additional opportunities to collaborate and scale ECD activities more generally. This position would also be closely engaged in supporting and strengthening our research and advocacy efforts to support government and other stakeholders to prioritize ECD activities in the humanitarian response and host communities.


The position will collaborate closely with and support or get support from other teams such as Education, Research, Production and Communications teams.


Other duties: The position would have some basic legal and fiduciary functions, such as signatory duties.


Please note: This position will be based in Dhaka with frequent travel to Cox’s Bazar. This position reports to the Managing Director, Humanitarian Programs, who is based in New York.


Responsibilities Include:

Project Leadership and Management

  • Serve as a focal point for the Play to Learn Project in Bangladesh, overseeing project operations and day-to-day leadership of Sesame Workshop’s Bangladesh-based project tasks, including providing management guidance and operational assistance to matrix-managed staff, in line with the project vision and plan
  • Ensure effective budget and work plan development, oversight, management, and reporting for in-country project activities, including partner budget and work plan review as appropriate
  • Provide guidance as part of the project planning process to ensure that proposed activities reflect on-the-ground realities and considerations; advise on adjustments, as needed
  • Monitor and lead regular reviews of progress against the project’s implementation plan, including participatory reviews with partners
  • Support monitoring activities in order to track on-the-ground progress against project deliverables and targets, working in coordination with project team members, implementation partners, research partners, the primary funder, and other key stakeholders
  • Identify and manage risks related to in-country implementation; propose and implement course corrections as needed, with guidance from the Managing Director
  • Identify opportunities to improve project delivery and reach through innovative service models and distribution platforms, including through local and global partnerships
  • Act as key point-of-contact for Bangladesh-based partners, including the Sesame Workshop Bangladesh team (which is based in Dhaka), BRAC, and IRC Bangladesh, and with our research partner NYU.
  • Provide frequent activity updates to Managing Director and New York-based project team through regular – often daily – communication


External Engagement

  • Develop and strengthen strategic partnerships with relevant actors from the government, humanitarian, development and private sectors to support the achievement of project objectives
  • Represent Sesame Workshop’s Humanitarian Programs team in Bangladesh at strategic meetings and events
  • Lead coordination with Bangladesh-based members of the project’s Partner Consortium and Technical Advisory
  • Advise on, and build and maintain relationships with relevant stakeholders in the project’s multi-tiered advocacy strategy, working closely with Sesame Workshop’s Senior Director of Advocacy




  • 10+ years of professional experience designing, managing and overseeing Education and Early Childhood Development programs (preferably some knowledge of context in Bangladesh
  • Bachelor's degree in relevant field or equivalent experience
  • Strong ability to build effective partnerships, collaborate and manage relationships across multiple project partners.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a highly matrixed project team with a sense of urgency
  • Working knowledge of the humanitarian and development system and actors, including early childhood development and education actors
  • Strong working knowledge of relevant education networks, (including Bangladeshi Government counterparts) and sound understanding of how to use research to advocate for changes in policy and practice
  • Ability to organize effectively, delegate, solve problems quickly and communicate clearly
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills in English (persuasive, credible, and polished communicator with excellent interpersonal skills)
  • Excellent computer skills, including MS Office, file transfer and sharing technology, and web-based communication and call tools
  • Proactive and innovative leadership style focused on achieving results and creating positive change
  • Coalition-building skills to balance, negotiate, and work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders
  • Willingness to travel, as needed, and work across multiple time zones
  • Ability to work effectively in multi-cultural settings



  • Master’s degree in Management, International Development, Education, or related field
  • Knowledge of Bangla, Chittagongian, or Rohingya language
  • Some knowledge of another relevant ECD sector such as child protection or health and nutrition.
  • Experience working in the Rohingya response region
  • Experience in broadcasting and/or media-based programming
  • Experience participating in advocacy efforts
  • Bangladeshi nationals with relevant international experience will be highly preferred



  • Competitive salary
  • Discretionary Performance Bonus
  • Insurance coverage including spouse and children
  • Retirement savings/benefits
  • Professional development opportunities


Project Information

Sesame Workshop has been awarded a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation to support a new early childhood development initiative for millions of children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises. The 5-year program will leverage the power of learning through play, providing communities affected by refugee crises access to vital early learning opportunities. Together with BRAC and the IRC, and supported by our research partner NYU, we will reach displaced and host community children and their caregivers in Bangladesh and the Syrian response region through direct services and mass media programming. The program will also include robust and ambitious research and advocacy components aimed at identifying best practices for play-based learning in humanitarian response and encouraging prioritization and sustainable investment in early childhood development at national and international levels.


Department Information

Sesame Workshop’s International Social Impact department, a division of Social Impact and Philanthropy, develops and implements Sesame’s powerful initiatives to serve children and families around the world, builds strong partnerships and coalitions to maximize reach and impact. Building upon the familiarity and appeal of the trusted, beloved Sesame Street characters – and their global counterparts – we create and disseminate unique educational resources and tools for families most in need. Sesame’s research-driven initiatives reach many children who would otherwise have little or no access to early childhood education and support all aspects of children’s development – including healthy habits, cognitive development in areas such as early literacy and math, and social-emotional well-being and resilience. We reach and engage children and the important adults in their families and communities using multiple media platforms and innovative strategies – from television and radio to digital media, mobile technologies, books, E-books, magazines, classroom materials, teacher/provider training, social media, and more.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Veterans/Disabled