Innovations For Poverty Action (IPA) – Country Director.

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IPA is a research and policy nonprofit organization 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. Since our 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.   Established in 2006, the IPA Kenya office employs nearly 500 staff members in the Nairobi headquarters, Busia, and Siaya field offices and manages approximately 30 long-and short-term complex research projects.  IPA Kenya is widely recognized for our strong local research presence and our evidence to impact partnerships with our governmental, International organizations, private, and NGO partners.

The Country Director position provides a unique opportunity to be closely involved in cutting-edge policy-relevant research and to ensure that research is applicable to and used by Kenyan policymakers and practitioners.  The Country Director will set and lead the strategic direction of the IPA Kenya team, working with external partners, funders, and researchers to improve lives with evidence throughout Kenya.  The role will work across IPA senior Global, Regional, and Program leadership set strategy and lead a high functioning team. The position requires an experienced external facing leader with a deep understanding of rigorous evidence and its use in policy and practice. Reporting to the Country Director is a strong operations and research management team. The ideal candidate will also have a strong leadership and management track record.


Country Office Planning and Management

  • Develop & lead IPA Kenya’s strategic plan, in collaboration with global leadership.
  • Work collaboratively across teams to ensure strategic project management, financial management, external relations, business development, fundraising, Human Resources, and operational aspects of research projects are well managed and executed.
  • Develop and execute project management plan to support strategic planning, resource allocation, and policy engagement.

Financial Management

  • Oversee an annual budget of at least $4M, and lead project budget management and reporting, financial risk control procedures, projections for multiple grants and contracts.
  • Ensure compliance to donor reporting, rules, regulations, and requirements (e.g., USAID and DFID).
  • Ensure financial compliance to Kenya Government and NGO board statutory requirements.
  • Oversee teams responsible for internal and external financial audits.

Policy & External Relations

  • Personally, lead IPA Kenya’s policy impact strategy, focusing on creating and managing high impact policy opportunities for using evidence in decision-making
  • Manage, maintain, and deepen relationships with core external academic researchers/ principal investigators (PIs) who work and partner with IPA in Kenya and expand this network of PIs, especially within Kenya.
  • Develop and maintain high-level relationships with the Government of Kenya, national and international NGO partners that lead to both funding and policy influence opportunities.
  • Identify and cultivate relationships with new partnerships in priority sectors, especially education, women’s empowerment, and consumer protection.
  • Represent IPA Kenya on a global, national, and local level.
  • Oversee initiatives that co-create evidence between researchers and policymakers or practitioners and equip partners in evidence-informed policymaking and use of rigorous impact evaluations.
  • Manage relationships with and provide services to external academic researchers.

Business Development and Fundraising

  • Identify fundraising opportunities and cultivate resources to achieve IPA’s mission in Kenya, ensuring sustainable resource raising to strategically grow the office.
  • Collaborate with Regional Director, and program teams project resources, financial management, human resources, and operations on proposal development for these opportunities.
  • Engage government partners to identify their data and evidence needs, developing potential research projects.
  • Identify and facilitate research project opportunities especially through proactive engagement with external academic researchers/ principal investigators and donors.

Human Resources and Operations

  • Manage Deputy Country Director, Senior Policy Manager, Finance Manager, Procurement Coordinator, and Human Resources Manager.
  • Oversee office operations, human resources, procurement, and information technology functions.
  • Ensure compliance to Kenyan labor and immigration laws.
  • Act as the primary point of contact for emergency and crisis management.
  • Ensure Nairobi and field office safety and security protocols are maintained.
  • Develop systems to strengthen staff capacity.


  • Master’s degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, or fieldwork related to global economic development with a minimum of 8-year relevant work experience; or
  • Bachelor’s degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, or fieldwork related to global economic development with a minimum of 10-year relevant work experience.

Desired Experience

  • An experienced external facing leader with a deep understanding of rigorous evidence and its use in policy and practice.
  • The ideal candidate will also have a strong leadership and management track record and a demonstrated track record of working with  policymakers and development partners in Kenya.
  • Project management experience, strongly desired
  • Report writing, strongly desired
  • Quantitative research skills/ experience and familiarity with randomized controlled trials strongly desired.
  • Engagement with multiple stakeholders, including international and local academic researchers, donors, national and local government officials, NGO partners, and study participants, strongly desired.
  • Working knowledge of standard human resource and operations processes, strongly desired
  • Working with multiple donors, including foundations, multi-, and bi-lateral.
  • Previous roles as Deputy Country Director or Country Director in a nonprofit strongly desired.
  • Experience leading a diverse team of 300+ in a dynamic work environment.
  • Experience building staff capacity.
  • Experience living and working in Kenya.

Desired Attributes

  • Leadership
  • Strategic Goal Setting
  • Innovation
  • Problem-solving
  • Relationship Building
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Analytical skills
  • Prioritizing
  • Navigating Ambiguity
How To Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Finance and Admin job category, then select “Country Director, Kenya”. Applications require a statement of purpose (cover letter) and CV.

Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.



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, or any other protected class. responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant.

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.




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