Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is seeking qualified applicants for the position of Kenya Country Director. Established in 2006, the IPA Kenya office employs nearly 500 staff members and manages a large number of complex research projects.  IPA Kenya is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with offices in Busia and Siaya.  IPA Kenya has an established strong presence in the local research environment with governmental, International Organizations, Private and NGO partners. This position provides a unique opportunity to be closely involved in cutting-edge policy-relevant research and work with top academics in the field of experimental economics, education, health, water and sanitation and agricultural research.

The Country Director will work with IPA Global and key stakeholders to set the strategic direction of the office and oversee multiple simultaneous impact evaluations in a range of sectors. The position requires close interaction with academic researchers, donors, local government agencies, and other NGOs. The Country Director, assisted by the IPA Kenya Senior Management Team, will provide overarching oversight of all project and office operations, including finance, human resources, operations and research. The position requires experience in research, partner management, grants and contracts management.


Oversee and initiate high-quality research

  • Oversee project design and budgeting during the proposal stage to ensure evaluations meet IPA standards and costing structure
  • Manage relationships with and provide services to Principal Investigators (academic researchers)
  • Ensure that IPA research, including data collection is implemented according to IPA’s research protocols and data quality standards and Principal Investigator’s direction
  • Provide research management for IPA project teams
  • Oversee the management of project budgets and donor reporting with support of the Finance Manager, in coordinating with IPA’s global Grants team on all ongoing research grants and studies
  • Build systems and structures to build staff capacity and ensure overall data quality; including spearheading skills training for staff
  • Work to incorporate best practices and lessons learned in research and operations by other IPA offices and research affiliates
  • Ensure project audits are systematically carried out while ensuring remedial action is taken as required/proposed

Policy Impact

  • Responsible for leading IPA’s policy impact in Kenya; including evidence dialogue and dissemination as well as research collaborations for policy and oversight of the development of a policy engagement plan.
  • Develop and maintain high-level relationships with partners in the Government of Kenya, including Ministries of Health, Education, Agriculture, and the Office of the President
  • Cultivate relationships, studies, and new partnerships in sectors that are prioritized by IPA Kenya’s policy engagement
  • Engage government partners to identify research questions of interest and priority to key leadership and cultivate potential research projects in those areas

Develop and implement IPA Kenya’s strategic plan, in line with IPA’s global plan and mission.

  • Identify priority research questions and key concerns for policy makers and initiate and manage the development of corresponding new research proposals
  • Develop new relationships in order for the country office to maximize its impact
  • Lead and initiate project development with researchers, funders and partner organizations
  • Ensure a balanced country office structures that can be supported by incoming revenues

Ensure sound operations of IPA Kenya

  • Oversee and manage a team of Research Managers, (Senior) Research Associates and Field Managers, whose responsibilities include project design and implementation, data collection, data management and analysis, and reports
  • Oversee and manage Finance Manager, Human Resources Manager and Deputy Country Director
  • Coordinate office and country-wide meetings and trainings, in coordination with the Research Managers
  • Develop and oversee office administration, including human resources, information technology, project budgets and accounting; and hiring of long-term IPA staff in the country program

Oversee finances for IPA Kenya

  • Ensure proper compliance with financial procedures, approve expenditures, make accurate projections and ensure overall compliance
  • Strengthen finance systems to ensure the systems are robust for country program growth and compliant with strict donor requirements (e.g., USAID, DFID)
  • Ensure IPA Kenya complies with the Kenya Government and NGO board Statutory requirements.

Mitigate and manage risks

  • Set security standards and parameters for work and ensure that IPA Kenya staff follow security measures
  • Monitor security concerns for IPA operations and act as primary contact in crisis management
  • Take steps to mitigate risk and to safeguard the organization’s reputation
  • Oversee safety and security and ensure organizational legal compliance
  • Manage work permit applications and renewals for international staff

Manage external relations

  • Represent IPA Kenya in national and local government agencies and partner organizations, including presentations on IPA’s work in Kenya and globally
  • Strengthen local presence of IPA in Kenya
  • Manage relationships with current and potential IPA partner organizations.
  • Oversee capacity building of local development partners in evidence-based policy making and rigorous impact evaluations
  • Work closely with IPA Kenya’s regional partner, J-PAL Africa, on research, policy and capacity building.
  • Oversee targeted dissemination, encourage scale up of successful projects
  • Strong oral and written communication skills in English is required.
  • Master’s degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, or field related to international economic development
  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant work experience
  • Previous J-PAL/IPA work experience or experience developing new RCTs or working with researchers on RCTs highly desired.
  • Successful experience leading teams of similar size (300 full time staff)
  • Experience living and working in Africa /Kenya is desired
  • 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
  • Excellent management and organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player
  • Quantitative research skills/ experience and a familiarity with randomized controlled trials is preferred
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Finance and Admin job category, then select “Country Director, Kenya”. Applications require a statement of purpose (cover letter) and CV.

Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview

About IPA 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 


Innovations for Poverty Action is an EO Employer-MF/Veteran/Disability. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected class. IPA will endeavor 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 or via phone at 1-203-772-2216. Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the specified position. 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

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.