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Innovations for Poverty Action Country Director Job in Nairobi, Kenya

Category: General Jobs in Kenya
Posted: Dec 18, 2013

Job Title: Country Director, Kenya
Reports to: Director, Country Programs
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Commitment: Three years
Start date: As soon as possible
Application Deadline: Jan 10th, applications reviewed on a rolling basis

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), is an international non-profit research organization based in New Haven, CT and with country programs in 15 countries.

IPA works with development partners and academic researchers to create and evaluate approaches to solving development problems, to communicate “what works” in development and to scale up successful projects in a variety of fields, including health, education, microfinance, governance and agriculture.

Position Summary:

IPA-Kenya (IPAK) is IPA’s oldest country program, and the site of many of its most influential projects, including seminal studies on de-worming, clean water promotion, bed-net usage and fertilizer subsidies. IPAK employs more than 500 contracted staff working on 20 different projects across multiple offices.
The Kenya Country Director (CD) position provides a unique opportunity to oversee and direct cutting-edge research and ensure that the research has lasting, real-world policy impact, working with academics from top universities, including Harvard, UC-Berkeley, Stanford, Yale and MIT.
The Kenya CD will oversee a country program that has more than 20 impact evaluations that use a randomized controlled trial (RCT) approach across a range of sectors, including agriculture, rural finance and savings, health, education and others.
As part of a global, strategic consolidation of IPA’s core business of research and policy work, IPAs “scale-up” projects – a national deworming and a safe water project – will be spun off into a new organization within 2015.
This organization, called Evidence Action, will remain a close partner of IPA in bringing evidence-based policy-making to scale. The CD will help ensure this transition is smooth and successful.
The CD will oversee a management team, including a Deputy Country Director, Sr, Finance and Admin Director and Research Managers, providing overall leadership over the running of all administrative and project-related activities in the Kenya country program.
They will also lead the continued strategic growth of the country program and assisting to disseminate results to local practitioners and policy makers.
The Country Director will also be responsible for leading the continued, focused growth of IPA’s research agenda, by initiating new partnerships and projects in Kenya.
Development of Country Program in line with IPA Global and Kenya strategic plan
  • Ensure the constant development of new research proposals, working with the research management team to oversee technical design contributions as well as identifying and applying for funding support
  • Identify priority research questions and key concerns for policy makers
  • Work with researchers to initiate, manage and contribute towards the development of new research proposals with particular emphasis on tailoring research to the local context and ensure compliance to research design
  • Oversee the work of the research management team in creating and refining project budgets
  • Lead annual review of IPA Kenya’s strategic plan and the creation and successful execution of annual action plans
  • Ensure that the spin-off of Evidence Action is successfully concluded, and that the Country Program is “right sized/shaped” after the transition
Manage external relations
  • Represent IPA Kenya in national and local government agencies and partner organizations.
  • Develop new relationships in order for the country office to maximize its impact and manage existing relationships with current and potential partner organizations
  • Oversee capacity building of local development partners in evidence-based policy making and rigorous impact evaluations
  • Develop and launch a Policy Manager role to help  ensure projects link to strategic research agendas, that focus sectors are mapped, and project policy plans are effectively implemented
  • Oversee targeted dissemination, encourage scale up of successful projects; and
  • Disseminate results via local and international presentations, reports, and publications and encourage/lead scale up activities of successful projects
  • Liaise as needed with US-based and local Principal Investigators, IPA global and other country programs
Oversee and initiate high-quality research
  • Lead the senior research management team, including Research Managers and a Deputy Country Director, to ensure that projects meet all of IPA research and administrative protocols as well as the quality standards of the independent researchers (Principal Investigators)
  • Oversee project design and budgeting during the proposal stage to ensure evaluations meet IPA standards
  • Working through the research management team, ensure data collection and data entry operations for all studies and overall project management  meets IPA’s research protocols
  • Build systems and structures to build staff capacity and ensure overall data quality, expand the capacity of the country office to program and conduct electronic surveys, and work to incorporate best practices and lessons learned in research and operations by other IPA offices and research affiliates
Oversee finances and ensure sound operations of the IPA Kenya
  • Working through the research management team, oversee and manage a team of Project Managers, Associates and Coordinators, whose responsibilities include project design and implementation, data collection, data management and analysis, and reports;
  • Oversee and manage human resources, IT, finance and other support staff with Senior Management within IPA  country program;
  • Coordinate office and country-wide meetings and trainings;
  • Oversee office administration, including human resources, information technology, project budgets and accounting; and oversee hiring of long-term IPA staff in the country program.
  • Ensure proper compliance with financial procedures, approve expenditures, make accurate projections and ensure overall compliance.
  • Supervise the Director of Financial and Administrative Restructuring to ensure the efficient execution of administrative functions, and the overall organizational and legal compliance of IPA Kenya
Mitigate and manage risks
  • Take steps to mitigate risk and to safeguard the organization’s reputation; and
  • Oversee procurement, billing, staff safety and security and ensure organizational legal compliance.
Qualifications and Experience:
  • Graduate degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, or field related to international economic development;
  • A minimum of 5 years of management experience;
  • Experience developing new projects and knowledge of human resource and financial management;
  • Experience with budgeting and project planning;
  • Passion for connecting rigorous research to policy makers and practitioners and communicating what works and what does not work in development;
  • Ability to lead a large and complex country program and oversee rigorous impact evaluations;
  • Commitment to leading a diverse team and building staff capacity;
  • Ability to communicate effectively across cultures with multiple stakeholders including international and local academic researchers, government officials, NGO partners, enumeration teams, and study participants;
  • Significant working experience in Africa is required – experience in Kenya and knowledge of Swahili preferred.
  • Experience managing funds from multiple donors required; specific experience with USAID Cooperative Agreements preferred;
  • Excellent management and organizational skills and ability to work independently;
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player;
  • Strong quantitative skills and familiarity with randomized controlled trials; and
  • High proficiency in English; strong oral and written communication skills.
Application Instructions:
Please follow the application instructions below.  Any applications or CVs submitted outside this process will not be considered.
Note, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.
Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Send an email to [email protected], following these instructions exactly:
  • In the subject line: Copy exactly the following position line:101082IPAKenya, Country Director
  • In the email body: Put your full name, first (given) name followed by last (family) name
  • Attachments: Please attach ONLY your cover letter and resume
Please do not include any text besides your name in the body of the e-mail. Adding extra text will interfere with the processing of your application.
IPA is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer
All persons shall have the opportunity to be considered for employment without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, alienage or citizenship status, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.
IPA will endeavour to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business. If you believe you require such assistance to complete this form or to participate in an interview, please contact us at [email protected]
DIisclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the Country Director.  The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to [email protected]
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