The Regional Director, West Africa will grow and strengthen IPA’s research portfolio and operational presence across IPA’s West Africa country offices to ensure that IPA’s work influences local and regional decision makers. The Regional Director is responsible for supporting new research project opportunities in West Africa, assisting the development of IPA Country Office capacity in successfully delivery new projects, aligning priorities between IPA Global and Country Offices, coordinating and communicating these activities with IPA stakeholders and for ensuring that Country Office portfolios are sustainable and well positioned to achieve IPA’s vision.
The Regional Director will oversee IPA’s portfolio of Country Offices in West Africa. This includes Francophone West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali and Ivory Coast), Ghana, and Sierra Leone/Liberia. IPA has also begun the process of registering a new Country Office in Nigeria, which will fall under the RD for West Africa. The RD will support Country Directors for each Country Office under their supervision on all strategic aspects of their roles. This includes working with Country Office management to establish business models and leading and supporting in project development efforts to allow for IPA to have long-term, in-country presence to deliver on IPA’s mission and vision; provide financial and operational oversight and ensure long-term financial sustainability; establish and strengthen relationships with researchers and partners and grow these networks by identifying new research partners; identify high impact policy opportunities for evidence creation and policy engagement; develop locally relevant research and policy agendas that draw upon global bodies of evidence and leverage existing projects; and continue to generate high quality research to contribute to iterative learning and evidence sharing about what works and doesn’t in development.
Building off a solid base of evidence and strong partnerships in the region, the RD will be in a position to leverage existing evidence and help guide the development of the next wave of research in IPA Country Offices in West Africa. To do this well, the RD 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 RD will provide a clear vision that allows Country Directors to lead, while supporting and providing strategic support and guidance when necessary.
The RD also plays an important role in representing 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 and the Global Operations Director, 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.
Country Office Support
- Provide oversight to the overall financial and operational health and sustainability of country offices with a focus on award/ project financial management and delivery.
- Advise and assist Country Offices on management issues centering on strengthening systems to shift country management focus from day-to-day to long-term strategic ambitions.
- Provide individualized support to country leadership with an emphasis on staff retention and development and organizational structure innovation.
- Guide and oversee Country Programs with annual planning and oversee country teams throughout the year to ensure that plans are executed successfully.
- Collaborate with IPA’s functional teams and Global Operations Director to support and advise Country Programs on operational issues, roll-out and troubleshoot operational manuals and policies, coordinate necessary internal staff to achieve results for Country Programs, and provide Country Programs perspective to functional team leads.
Project Development Support
- Oversee the development of new research projects in Country Offices ensuring that they align well with IPA’s mission and standards and that new projects are adequately planned and budgeted for; review all project budgets before submission for accuracy and precision.
- Support strategic project development opportunities across the region to refine and develop IPA’s presence in West Africa, encouraging communication and collaboration between IPA Country Offices and Sector Programs and help to facilitate match-making of potential implementing partners, researchers and donors.
- Work with IPA’s Business Development team to fundraise for Country Programs in West Africa, recommend new funding opportunities in terms of their alignment to IPA’s strategy and mission
Research and Policy Development and Quality
- Work with Country Programs to refine their focus and grow their sector approach with key stakeholders and to set a corresponding agenda for policy engagement and project development.
- Promote high quality research and support the roll-out of innovations in research methods
- Stay abreast of IPA/J-PAL evidence and support linkages between global and local research agendas
- Present on evaluation and about IPA and IPA research and policy projects to internal and external audiences
IPA Global Programs Leadership
- Contribute to and champion global priorities including IPAs new Strategic Ambition and ensure that global goals are part of country plans and priorities.
- In coordination with IPAs Global Operations Director, play a focal point liaison role between the Global Programs team and IPA HQ functional support teams to ensure strong coordination and integrated support across the organization.
- Lead and oversee the implementation of IPAs Management Philosophy across IPAs Country Offices
External Representation and Partnerships
- Advise on the development and management of external relationships with donors, researchers and partners in the region.
- Provide advice and support to Country Office teams in developing and building the capacity of partners on the ground to undertake impact evaluations.
- Work closely and coordinate activities with IPA’s partners in Africa, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), in South Africa and in Europe for Francophone West Africa; donors, and researchers; both in the development and implementation of country research and policy agenda and activities.
- 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 non-profit management experience
- Strong communication skills, ability to multi-task and a creative approach to work is required
- Experience working with donors, government agencies, policymakers, and researchers on evidence based policy making
- Ability to coordinate with members of other teams at a variety of levels and deal with a wide variety of cultures and personalities gracefully.
- Experience developing or managing research projects in multiple sectors, ideally randomized controlled trials, is strongly preferred.
- Ability to present academic research in clear simple language and to engage policymakers and donors in discussion on using and scaling rigorous evidence
- Ability to deal with ambiguity, cope with change, and comfortably handle risk and uncertainty
- 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
- Passion for and experience with quantitative research and evidence-based policy-making
- Experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa is strongly preferred.
- Willingness and ability to travel frequently within the region.
- Professional speaking, writing, and reading ability in French advantageous.
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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.
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