IPA is looking for a Country Director to oversee the offices and research projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia. This position will be based in either Freetown, Sierra Leone, or Monrovia, Liberia, with periodic travel to the other country. The IPA Country Director oversees impact evaluations in these two countries. Current research projects draw on behavioral economics, political science, public health, psychology, and agricultural economics in their designs, and include research on education, governance, post-conflict, intimate partner violence, and youth development.

The Country Director will also manage a team of local and international staff, liaise with leading academic researchers, and create new partnerships in both countries. We are currently expanding our projects in IPA Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a significant opportunity for research with a large policy impact. This position provides a unique opportunity to have important management responsibilities by overseeing the project staff as well as the human resources, finance, administration, strategic planning, project development, and all country office operations functions of the offices.

The Country Director for Sierra Leone & Liberia will also play a key role in disseminating our results to local practitioners and policymakers, as well as in building local research capacity. The position therefore requires close interaction with academic research, key players in development organizations, donors, local development agencies, other NGOs, and governments.


The Country Director manages the research activities of the IPA Sierra Leone and Liberia offices in the following ways:

Oversee and initiate high-quality research

  • Initiate and manage the development of new research proposals including both the technical design as well as identifying and applying for funding support;
  • Oversee project design and budgeting during the proposal stage to ensure evaluations meet IPA standards and costing structure;
  • Ensure that IPA research is implemented according to IPA’s quality standards and Principal Investigators direction;
  • Oversee data collection and data entry operations for all studies and ensure projects meet IPA’s research protocols and data quality standards;
  • Expand the capacity of the country office to program and conduct electronic surveys;
  • Build systems and structures to build staff capacity and ensure overall data quality; and
  • Work to incorporate best practices and lessons learned in research and operations by other IPA offices and research affiliates.

Ensure sound operations of IPA Offices

  • Oversee & manage a team of local and international Research Associates and Field Managers whose responsibilities include project design & implementation, data collection, management and analysis & reports;
  • Collaborate regularly with the Research Manager in Liberia/Sierra Leone to jointly lead office operations, development, and research quality
  • Coordinate office and country-wide meetings and trainings;
  • 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 basic administrative tasks related to the management of the Sierra Leone and Liberia offices, create and manage project budgets, participate in grant reporting, and other financial management tasks; and
  • Ensure proper compliance with financial procedures, approve expenditures, make accurate projections and ensure overall compliance.

Develop and implement IPA’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; and
  • Ensure that country office structures can be supported by incoming revenue.

Lead Country Program development and manage external relations

  • Build IPA’s presence and portfolio of research studies in Sierra Leone and Liberia
  • Work with IPA Global, researchers and partners to initiate and manage the development of new research proposals including both the technical design as well as identifying and applying for funding support.
  • Identify priority research questions and key concerns for policymakers in Sierra Leone and Liberia
  • Build and manage relationships with current and potential IPA partner organizations in the implementation of interventions whose effect we are researching
  • Develop new relationships with researchers, government agencies, local organizations, and others to explore opportunities for collaboration
  • Represent IPA in national and local government agencies and partner organizations;
  • Oversee capacity building of local development partners in evidence-based policy making and rigorous impact evaluations;
  • Oversee targeted dissemination of results, encourage scale up of successful projects;
  • Manage relationships with internationally-based and local Principal Investigators;
  • Ensure compliance with The Government of Sierra Leone and Liberia’s legal and regulatory requirements.

Mitigate and manage risks

  • Set security standards and parameters for work and ensure that IPA 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; and
  • Oversee procurement, safety, billing and security and ensure organizational legal compliance.

Policy Impact

  • Responsible for leading IPA’s policy impact efforts in Sierra Leone and Liberia;
  • Ensure that policy impact plans of Sierra Leone and Liberia are in strategic alignment with IPA’s overall policy strategy of impact.


  • Graduate degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, business, or field related to international economic development
  • Entrepreneurial, self-starter with a passion for connecting rigorous research to policy makers and practitioners and communicating what works and what does not work in development
  • Experience in economics or social science research. Field experience very highly valued.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations
  • Experience with budgeting and project planning
  • Excellent management and organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • Demonstrated ability to work successfully with diverse constituencies
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and team player 
  • Passion for rigorous research, evidence based policy making, and communicating what works and what does not work in development;
  • Fluency in English is required. Strong oral and written communications skills
  • Willingness to travel within Sierra Leone and Liberia;
  • Ability to lead a complex country program across two countries and oversee rigorous impact evaluations;


  • Experience with randomized controlled trials.
  • Experience living and working in West Africa
  • Experience with data management.
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, Sierra Leone & Liberia”. 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 non-profit 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 400 leading academics to conduct over 600 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 jobs@poverty-action.org 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 jobs@poverty-action.org.

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