The Regional Director, Africa will grow and strengthen IPA’s research portfolio and operational presence across a portfolio of country offices to ensure that IPA’s work influences local and regional decision makers. The Regional Director is responsible for aligning priorities between IPA Global and Country Programs, coordinating and communicating these activities with IPA stakeholders and for ensuring that Country Programs portfolios are sustainable and well positioned to achieve IPA’s vision.
The Regional Director will oversee a portfolio of three (3) to five (5) of IPA’s Country Offices in Africa and support Country Directors for each Country Office under their supervision on all strategic aspects of their roles. This includes working with Country Program management to establish business models and leading and supporting in project development efforts to allow for IPA to have long-term, in-country presence; provide financial and operational oversight and ensure long-term financial sustainability, establish and strengthen relationships with researchers and partners; identify high impact policy opportunities; develop research and policy agendas that draw upon global bodies of evidence and leverage existing projects; and continue to generate high quality research on innovative solutions to poverty problems.
Building off a solid base of evidence and strong partnerships in Africa, the Regional Director will be in a position to leverage existing evidence and help guide the development of the next wave of research. To do this well, the Regional Director will need to be a strong communicator and translator between academics, researchers and private and public partners. S/he should also be intellectually curious and open to new ideas and ways of doing things. A successful Regional Director will provide a clear vision that allows Country Directors to lead, while supporting and providing strategic support and guidance when necessary.
The Regional Director also plays an important role in representing the IPA globally, both internally and externally; and ensures that countries are aligned and connected to each other and the global office. The Regional Director reports directly to the Chief Global Program Officer, coordinates closely with other IPA Regional Directors, provides leadership to the Global Programs team, and works closely with IPA’s functional support teams and the Senior Management Team. S/he oversees all Country Directors within their country portfolio, and may oversee a Regional Programs Manager or Associate.
- Guide and oversee Country Programs with annual planning, and oversee country teams throughout the year to ensure that these plans are executed successfully
- Provide oversight to the overall financial and operational health and sustainability of country programs
- Advise and support Country Offices on management issues and on their management staffing and structure
- Oversee the development of new research projects in Country Programs and across the region, ensuring that they align well with IPA’s mission and standards and that new projects are adequately planned and budgeted for. Support strategic project development opportunities and helping to facilitate match-making of potential implementing partners, researchers and donors.
- Oversee and advise on the development of external relationships with donors, researchers and partners in the region. This includes, providing advice and support to Country Program teams in developing and building the capacity of partners on the ground to do impact evaluations
- Work with Country Programs to refine their focus and grow their sector approach with key stakeholders and to set a corresponding agenda for outreach and project development. Continue to refine IPA’s presence in Africa, encouraging communication and collaboration between countries, supporting in the coordination of regional resources and support, ensuring that country program management is receiving appropriate professional development, working with country directors to ensure the overall financial and legal health of the portfolio
- Work with IPA’s Business Development team to fundraise for Country Programs in Africa, recommend new funding opportunities in terms of their alignment to IPA’s strategy and mission
- Stay abreast of IPA/JPAL evidence and support linkages between global and local research agendas
- Work closely and coordinate activities with IPA’s partners in Africa, The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (South Africa), donors and researchers both in the development and implementation of country research and policy agenda and activities
- Contribute to and champion global program and organizational efforts, ensure that global goals are part of country plans and priorities
- Play the role of a focal point between the Global Programs team and one or two HQ functional support teams to ensure adequate coordination
- Present on evaluation and about IPA and IPA research and policy projects to internal and external audiences
- At minimum, MPA, MPP and/or Masters in a relevant subject area such as economics, statistics, public policy, development, etc. as well as at least 5 years of leadership and direct management experience
- Strong communication skills, ability to multi-task and a creative approach to work is required
- Ability to coordinate with members of other teams at a variety of levels.
- Experience advising others on how to approach complicated management, human resource, and logistical problems.
- Experience in an IPA Country Program, or similar organization, strongly preferred
- Experience working with donors, government agencies, policymakers, and researchers on evidence based policy making
- Ability to deal with a wide variety of cultures and personalities gracefully.
- Ability to present academic research in clear simple language and to engage policymakers and donors in discussion on using and scaling rigorous evidence
- Passion for and experience with research and evidence based policy-making
- Experience developing or managing research projects in multiple sectors, ideally randomized controlled trials, is strongly preferred.
- Experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa is strongly preferred.
- Willingness and ability to travel frequently within the region.
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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.
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