IPAK seeks a Policy Manager, based in Kenya to support the Kenya country program. This position provides a unique opportunity to gain high-level management experience in a large country program and be closely involved in policy-relevant research, working with top academics, donors, government, and other practitioners to foster evidence-based policymaking. As a member of the IPA Kenya management team, the Policy Manager works closely with the Country Director to strategically strengthen the interphase between research evidence and policy making processes. S/he will work with policy makers and partners to identify opportunities for collaboration in conceiving, designing and resourcing  high quality policy relevant research studies and disseminating results to practitioners and policy makers.


Lead IPA Policy Outreach with Government and other Policy Stakeholders – 30%

  • Contribute to the development of IPA-K policy outreach strategy
  • Build expertise on the global and local evidence base in 1-2 sectors and cultivate relationships with key local stakeholders in those sectors.
  • Work together with the global policy and communications team to lead and/or 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.
  • In collaboration with researchers and in support of the country director, represent IPA locally in policy conversations and at events.
  • Support research management staff in executing the “Policy Impact Minimum Must Dos” in identifying and stewarding high potential partner relationships on individual projects, particularly with senior levels within government or large organizations.
  • Provide leadership and oversight to a small team of staff within the policy department in accordance with the organization's policies and procedures.
  • Support researchers to understand government policy processes, spaces and opportunities for co-creating evidence.

Cultivate and Manage high Impact Opportunities/Relationships - 30%

  • Identify, grow and sustain critical relationships of policy relevance
  • Lead the development of Memoranda of Understanding and protocols that guide relationships with key players in the policy space.
  • Proactively identify and communicate relevant risks in the policy environment for decision making.
  • Continuously scan the policy environment for opportunities for research-policy linkages
  • Lead Kenya in continuously prioritizing high impact policy opportunities for evidence-based policy making.
  • Cultivate relationships with key local decision-makers in education and other sectors of interest to IPA (financial inclusion, peace & recovery, health, agriculture), particularly those with decision-making authority over particular evidence-to-impact opportunities.
  • Continuously network and build relationship with implementing organizations with the aim of identifying potential new partners
  • Launch high impact policy opportunities, including scale-up technical assistance, and either manage small-scale engagements personally with global support, or collaborate with global teams to raise funds for additional staff to realize these opportunities.
  • Identify and help launch opportunities for policy relevant right-fit monitoring and evaluation opportunities in Kenya, and either manage small engagements personally with global support, or collaborate with global teams to raise funds for additional staff.   
  • Together with the country director, act as lead steward to key partner relationships and support key research partner conversations.
  • Identify opportunities and cultivate relationships that lead to developing large-scale policy evaluations with key decision-makers. Support research teams and researchers in development and execution.

Communication, Documentation and Learning – 30%

  • Communicate our work to relevant audiences (using social media etc).
  • Initiate and populate a resource center with relevant government documents, laws, strategic plans, assessment reports relevant to promote research-policy linkages.
  • Identify research conducted in various jurisdictions, but are relevant to the Kenyan context, and make them available to constituencies of interest internally and externally.
  • Supervise the production of the IPA-K monthly internal learning tool ‘mukhtasari’.
  • Manage IPA-K social media outlets, including twitter and facebook.

Coordination internally and externally - 10%

  • Coordinate county research approval processes so that approval processes are streamlined as much as possible.
  • Support project teams to disseminate IPA work and share relevant study updates with specific counties.
  • Work with projects to identify their needs on approvals and dissemination and proactively support project teams plan and see these approvals through.
  • Map out all IPA-K projects per sector and county for ease of communication
  • Map relevant policy contacts of interest at regional, national and county levels.
  • Master's degree in economics, development, international relations, public administration, public policy or a closely related field strongly preferred. Will accept additional experience in place of master's.
  • 5 or more years of relevant experience, including at least 1 year of experience working closely with large NGOs and/or national government officials.

Required Skills and traits

  • 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 Manager, Kenya”. Most applications require at minimum a statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts.

Note that you are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application. 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 600 leading academics to conduct over 830 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

Innovations for Poverty Action is an affirmative action equal opportunity employer. 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 1-202-386-6200. 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.