Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) – Deputy Regional Director (DRD), Nairobi.

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Reports to: Country Director

Deadline to apply: Rolling Basis

Desired start date: November 2, 2020

The Deputy Regional Director (DRD), East Africa will have significant management and international experience, a passion for research, development and policy work, relevant language skills, and be capable of thoroughly understanding and successfully overseeing program design and delivery in Kenya, Tanzania Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Malawi. The DRD, will work directly with IPAs Regional Director (RD) for East Africa to grow and strengthen IPA’s research portfolio and operational presence across the region to ensure that IPA’s work influences local and regional decision-makers. The DRD will be responsible for assisting the smaller IPA Country Offices in the region to prepare for and implement new projects, alignment of Country Offices priorities to the IPA Global Strategic Goals and help with leadership transition management in the country offices.  The DRD will ensure the quality of IPA’s programs, develop new program opportunities, and drive performance and results in the region.  

Under the direction of the RD, the DRD will support IPA’s portfolio of Country Offices in East Africa. This support includes, but is not limited to: working with Country Program management on project development efforts to sustain long-term growth, in-country presence to deliver on IPAs mission and vision; providing financial and operational oversight to ongoing award/ project management; establishing and strengthening relationships with researchers and partners and to further expand existing networks; identifying high impact policy opportunities for evidence creation and policy engagement; developing locally relevant research and policy agendas that draw upon global bodies of evidence and leverage existing research projects; and overseeing the generation of high-quality research to contribute to iterative learning and evidence sharing about what works and doesn’t in development. The DRD will also provide in person and or remote support to country offices during management transitions. 

The DRD will focus on improving operating systems and financial sustainability of country programs across the region with special focus on assigned countries. As such, the DRD must have a strong management and operational background combined with an excellent understanding of rigorous research. 

The DRD will also play an important role in representing IPA globally, both internally and externally, and ensures that Country Offices are aligned and connected and the global office. The DRD will report directly to the Regional Director for East Africa, coordinates closely with the IPA Business Development Team, other IPA Regional Directors as well as the Global Operations Director, and provide leadership as part of the Global Programs team. The DRD will line manage Country Directors or Country Managers for assigned countries.


The specific responsibilities of the DRD include:

Country Office Support and Oversight

  • Provide oversight to the overall financial and operational health and sustainability of assigned country offices and across the region with a focus on risk management, financial management and delivery. The DRD will support across the region in the absence of the RD or while on vacation/travel.  
  • Advice and assist Country Offices on management issues, as required.
  • 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, and coordinate necessary internal staff to achieve results for Country Programs as needed.  
  • Line manage the Country Directors/ Country Managers of assigned countries and work with them to improve operational systems and financial sustainability
  • Support across the region to improve operational systems and financial sustainability of country programs
  • Where applicable, support the establishment of new country offices in the region
  • Provide in person and or remote support to country offices during management transitions

Project Development Support

  • Identify and support potential research/ impact evaluation project opportunities with new partners and academic researchers to determine feasibility, assist in research design, and contribute to stronger cost-effective budgeting based on productivity assumptions in assigned countries.
  • Oversee the development of new research projects in assigned Country Offices, ensuring that they align well with IPA’s mission and standards and that new projects are adequately planned and budgeted for; review project budgets before submission for accuracy and precision.
  • Work with IPA’s Business Development team to fundraise for assigned Country Programs, targeting new funding sources opportunities, partnerships, and consortiums.

Research and Policy Development and Quality

  • Work with assigned 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 in assigned countries
  • Stay abreast of IPA/J-PAL evidence and support linkages between global and local research agendas
  • Lead and oversee the implementation of IPAs Management Philosophy across assigned IPAs Country Offices
  • At a minimum, MPA, MPP, and 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
  • Ability to coordinate with members of other teams at a variety of levels.
  • 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 a 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
  • Experience working with donors, government agencies, policymakers, and researchers on evidence-based policymaking
  • Passion for and experience with quantitative research and evidence-based policymaking
  • 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.
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Deputy Regional Director (DRD), East Africa”.  

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 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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