Innovations for Poverty Action seeks a Policy Associate who will work closely with global and local teams to assist in implementing IPA Uganda’s evidence-to-impact agenda. The role will primarily be responsible for supporting IPA Uganda and our partners in liaising with policymakers and practitioners for the PlayMatters initiative. A partnership with the International Rescue Committee, War Child, Plan International, Ubongo, the Behavioural Insights Team, and IPA, the PlayMatters initiative will deliver and promote play-based, early learning solutions for pre-primary and primary school aged children impacted by the humanitarian crises in East Africa and living in Ethiopia and Uganda.

Based in IPA’s office in Uganda, the Policy Associate will help build the foundation of a partnership to find out what works to deliver play-based learning in humanitarian settings and develop the initiative’s long-term research and impact strategy. Major responsibilities include: supporting on-the-ground scoping in humanitarian settings in Uganda, development of pilots and impact evaluations, policy and stakeholder engagement, event planning, and coordination among initiative partners.

The Policy Associate will also support IPA Uganda’s policy impact strategy, focusing on coordinating high impact opportunities for policymakers to use evidence in decision-making. The Policy Associate will report to IPA Uganda’s Senior Education Research and Policy Manager with dotted line oversight from the global policy and communications team and substantial collaboration with Uganda research teams as well as the PlayMatters initiative leadership team comprised of representatives from IRC, War Child, Plan International, Ubongo, BIT, and IPA.


Support IPA Policy Outreach with Government and other Policy Stakeholders

  • Support the development of IPA Uganda’s policy outreach strategy in support of the PlayMatters initiative
  • Map influential NGO, government, and development partner stakeholders who influence play-based learning programs impacting refugees and host communities in Uganda
  • Work together with the global policy and communications team to participate in strategic events for policy purposes, including but not limited to summits, conferences, workshops, technical working groups, and round tables. Support researchers and country management to participate.
  • Support research management staff in executing the “Policy Impact Minimum Must Dos” and in identifying and stewarding high potential partner relationships on individual projects
  • Participate in policy and stakeholder engagements with initiative partners as necessary (such as building the relationships required to engage decision-makers around large-scale evaluations of promising play-based learning programs)
  • Support the development of project communication materials for various in-country and global stakeholders
  • Support the creation of materials and logistics for in-country workshops and events with relevant stakeholders

Cultivate and Support High Impact Opportunities/Relationships

  • Support the development of Memoranda of Understanding and protocols that guide relationships with key players in the policy space
  • Support exploratory conversations with IRC Uganda Country Office and technical unit staff who work in the area of education, child protection, health, and other cross cutting sectors related to play-based learning, and with other play-based learning experts
  • Perform desk research to identify existing evidence, gaps in the literature, and innovative interventions in other humanitarian contexts related to play-based learning, in partnership with the initiative’s global teams
  • Continuously scan the policy environment for opportunities for research-policy linkages
  • Support IPA Uganda in continuously prioritizing high impact policy opportunities for evidence-based policy making in the PlayMatters context
  • Continuously network and build relationships with implementing organizations with the aim of identifying potential new partners
  • Support the launch of high impact policy opportunities, including scale-up technical assistance
  • Identify and help launch opportunities for policy relevant right-fit monitoring and evaluation opportunities in Uganda
  • Bachelor's degree in economics, development, international relations, public administration, public policy or a closely related field.
  • 1-4 years of relevant experience, including at least 1 year of experience working closely with large NGOs and/or national government officials.
  • Knowledge of and demonstrated interest in the use of rigorous evidence for international development policy required.
  • Expertise in education and/or one other priority sector (financial inclusion, peace & recovery, health, agriculture) strongly preferred.
  • Attention to detail and advanced presentation skills for communicating policy lessons from academic papers in ways that policymakers understand. This requires clear, precise, non-technical writing, and confident, effective spoken communication and presentation style.
  • Proven ability to multitask and successfully complete projects on tight deadlines with little supervision.
  • Willingness to work hard, be self-motivated, and learn will be essential for doing well in this position.
  • Ability to supervise staff and manage projects independently.
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Policy job category, then select “Policy Associate, Uganda”. Most applications require at minimum a statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts.

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.