Country Director, Afghanistan

Wildlife Conservation Society Kabul, Afghanistan
Pabon, Prysleen May Ms_Photo
Role managed by
Prysleen May Pabon Researcher

About the Wildlife Conservation Society

Founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. With a main office at the Bronx Zoo, NY, WCS works in over 60 countries around the world, with almost 2,000 staff overseas working to save wildlife in the wild.

With a commitment to conserve the world's largest wild places in 16 priority regions, which are home to more than 50% of the world's biodiversity, WCS addresses four of the biggest issues facing wildlife and wild places: climate change; natural resource exploitation; the connection between wildlife health and human health; and the sustainable development of human livelihoods.

In its 2020 strategy the Wildlife Conservation Society has identified three core strategies for their work:

1. Discover through Science: WCS will produce and disseminate the information and knowledge necessary to inform and improve conservation and management action in the wild places that they seek to conserve, and to measure the impact of their work.

2. Protect through Conservation Action: WCS will help to conserve ecologically intact wild places in 16 priority terrestrial and marine regions and their wildlife and reverse the decline of six priority groups of species across their range– elephants, apes, big cats, sharks & rays, whales & dolphins, and tortoises & freshwater turtles. They will also help maintain viable populations of critically endangered species in our zoos and aquarium.

3. Inspire through Engagement and Education: WCS will activate a conservation movement of a diverse, influential and enduring global audience that is invested and empowered to protect wild nature, using the powerful experiences at their zoos and aquarium; enduring impact of their education programs; and the great reach of digital tools.

To achieve these targets, WCS will support the establishment and management of protected areas, helping nations fulfil their commitment to the Aichi Targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity that protected area coverage be expanded to 17 percent of land and 10 percent of the ocean; work with governments and communities to effectively manage and conserve the landscapes and seascapes in which they work; seek to ensure that elephants, apes, big cats, sharks & rays, whales & dolphins, and tortoises and freshwater turtles achieve measurable progress toward recovery and long-term viability of populations in WCS landscapes and seascapes and across their range and highlight these efforts within their New York City parks; focus their zoo and aquarium collections on species that are at risk in nature, that have ties with Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) conservation programs.


WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth.


WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

For more information about WCS, please visit: www.wcs.org

WCS in Afghanistan

WCS began working in Afghanistan in 2004 and opened a full country program in 2006. With a staff of over 50 full-time national and international experts, the program has helped to draft many of Afghanistan’s environmental laws and regulations; trained thousands of Afghan community members, rangers, and government staff in natural resource management; built new community governance institutions; performed ground-breaking studies on a suite of wildlife including snow leopards and Marco Polo sheep; implemented cutting-edge disease, rangeland management, and conflict mitigation projects in their two key landscapes (Wakhan and Bamyan); and helped design and support management in Afghanistan’s first and second official protected areas, Band-e-Amir National Park (2009) and Wakhan National Park (2014). WCS is committed long-term to helping the people of Afghanistan build their capacity to protect their unique wildlife and wild landscapes.

Country Director

The Wildlife Conservation Society has retained SRI Executive Search (www.sri-executive.com ) to assist with their search for dynamic individual with significant experience with conservation country program management to oversee management of the WCS Afghanistan Country Program.

The WCS Afghanistan Country Director will be responsible for planning and supporting implementation of conservation projects and activities; managing and overseeing staff and program finances; fundraising and grant oversight; coordination with government and non-government partners; and providing vision and leadership for the WCS Program in Afghanistan.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The selected candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Ensure program adheres to and achieves outputs and outcomes that directly support overall organizational strategy (e.g. WCS 2020) and country program strategy toward conservation of wildlife and wild places.
  • Coordinate and support all program initiatives while ensuring proper collection, analysis and publication of field data.
  • Hire, train, and supervise program staff; promote teamwork and provide feedback to staff.
  • Oversee financial management of the program.
  • Produce reports and other required documents (e.g., work plans, implementation plans, quarterly and annual reports, budget reports) for WCS, government partners and donors on schedule.
  • Work with WCS New York to identify opportunities for further funding for conservation work in Afghanistan
  • Work with WCS colleagues, the Afghan government, and international agencies to promote biodiversity conservation and influence policy in Afghanistan through attendance at conservation events, written outputs, interviews, and general communication. Direct international attention to important sites and species for conservation, and influence policies promoting their conservation.
  • Ensure that reports and other materials are accessible to the international community through publications, web sites, etc.
  • Ensure program implementation and outcomes are monitored and regularly evaluated. Ensure training and technical assistance to project personnel in implementing the framework and in promoting an adaptive management approach at site and project level
  • Provide oversight on project security, logistics and operations. Monitor the status of all field teams and ensure the maintenance and effective allocation of resources and equipment.

Required Experience and Qualifications:


The ideal candidate will hold a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree and equivalent experience in a field related to the conservation of biological diversity, preferably in an Asian context.

Relevant Experience 
  • Minimum of ten years program management experience in conservation
  • Ability to foster teamwork within the program
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work in a range of cultural contexts
  • Significant and diverse fundraising experience
  • Commitment to WCS’s values of respect, accountability and transparency, innovation, diversity and inclusion, collaboration, and integrity.

Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time position with the successful candidate being contracted on a three-year basis.  Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Key Steps in the Selection Process

If you wish to be considered for this position, please forward a copy of your CV and a supporting letter in Microsoft Word format, along with any relevant documentation to Ms. Prysleen Pabon at [email protected] and please reference '7306' in the subject line. Please do not upload your resume into this system. Thank you for your interest and we will reply to you as soon as feasible when we have reviewed your application and it is found to be aligned with the Wildlife Conservation Society's requirements.

Application form