Project Director, Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 25 November 2020

Job Description

Program summary:

The Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator (Accelerator) is a five-year program funded by USAID (with a $200M ceiling) with a small amount of complementary funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that provides catalytic support to countries as they tackle vexing health systems challenges and accelerate innovation and self-reliance. The Accelerator focuses on strengthening countries’ capacity to drive health systems change in a sustainable and institutionalized manner, while helping them tackle specific systems issues that hinder progress toward improved health outcomes. In addition to R4D, the Accelerator consortium includes the Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation (HSDF), ICF and a growing number of local and regional organizations.

The Accelerator is partnering with a growing number of countries to provide integrated Health Systems Strengthening support toward improved health outcomes. The Accelerator works with USAID Missions, country leaders, communities, and other development partners to prioritize systems-level barriers hindering sustainable improvements in health outcomes, understand entry points for change, and apply integrated systems improvement approaches.

The Accelerator is one of R4D’s largest programs and is an important vehicle for implementation of the recently adopted R4D organizational strategy. This strategy responds to current needs in the world, including the need to address the COVID-19 pandemic and related disruptions in delivery of essential health services, a growing focus on strengthening systems to achieve more sustainable, large-scale improvements in health, and the need to re-imagine more effective technical assistance approaches that address political and social barriers to reform and that build strong local and regional ecosystems for support.

More information about the Accelerator can be found at:


R4D is seeking a Project Director, with responsibility for technical and managerial leadership of the Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator, to further shape the vision of the Accelerator and further develop a global platform that will address persistent health systems problems at the local, regional and global levels. The individual selected for this role will hold the post level of Senior Program Director at R4D.

This position is based out of R4D’s Washington DC office, with some flexibility possible on the day-to-day work location of the selected individual.


  • Lead the overall implementation and evolution of the Accelerator – an ambitious, complex, and multifaceted global initiative.
  • Maintain a strong relationship with USAID, including the AOR team, a variety of USAID Missions and other relevant USAID bureaus.
  • Secure additional buy-ins from missions and other USAID Offices to continue to expand impact and move the program toward its financial ceiling.
  • Ensure a strong technical approach across all Accelerator activities that integrates world-class health systems expertise with R4D’s strategy build more effective and self-reliant in-country institutions and stronger regional ecosystems.
  • Be accountable for delivery and coordination among all Accelerator activities and workstreams, their intersections, and the operations that support them, including the effective and compliant use of and reporting on USAID and other donor funding of the Accelerator.
  • Effectively manage intersections among related R4D programs, such as the African Collaborative for Health Financing Solutions (ACS), the Joint Learning Network (JLN) for Universal Health Coverage, the Strategic Purchasing Africa resource Center (SPARC), the Learning Network for Countries in Transition (LNCT) and various bilateral country programs.
  • Recruit, develop, and provide supervision, leadership and collaborative facilitation for a team of high-performing technical and functional senior leaders who manage key functions and technical engagements of the Accelerator. Leverage global, regional and country experts and resources in health systems strengthening, governance, innovation experts and specific thematic areas of focus for Accelerator activities.
  • Develop and oversee institutional partnerships with a wide network of global, regional and local technical partners including potential Accelerator donors (e.g., BMGF, Rockefeller Foundation, Global Financing Facility, Gavi) and key multilaterals (WHO, World Bank, UNICEF). Lead the development of new, nontraditional revenue streams for various components of the Accelerator with the goal of creating sustainable platforms beyond the 5-year first phase of the program.
  • Participate in public forums and effectively engage local and international audiences to ensure strong communication about the Accelerator globally and in partner countries.
  • Promote a highly engaged organizational culture of excellence and continuous improvement that values learning and innovation, entrepreneurship, and commitment to organizational diversity, equity, inclusion and professional growth.
  • As a member of the R4D Management Team, contribute to organizational strategy, policies and operations and design platforms through the Accelerator that could be replicated and/or utilized for other programs in health, education and nutrition.


R4D is seeking a visionary leader with deep experience and passion for building strong health systems around the world and broad consensus-building experience across diverse constituents and contexts. S/he will have significant leadership experience on USAID-funded projects and direct experience with in-country implementation. S/he will be excited about R4D’s organizational strategy and the design of the Accelerator and motivated to work with key stakeholders to create effective, feasible operational approaches. The successful candidate will be a health systems expert and an energetic, mission-driven and collaborative senior leader with a track record of building diverse, high-performing teams and multi-stakeholder partnerships with strong communication and decision-making processes. The Project Director will be enthusiastic about supporting her/his team to solve complex challenges of execution, while also staying focused on strategic goals. S/he will have a familiarity with traditional development assistance approaches and their advantages and disadvantages, with a strong interest in being part of a movement to continuously improve those approaches and develop new more effective models. S/he will be experienced in engaging in peer relationships with senior government officials from low and middle-income countries and senior officials at major development partner institutions.

Specific competencies and skills required for the position include the following:

Setting Strategy

  • An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing an inspiring vision for the Accelerator, including new, innovative ideas that will improve upon traditional models of development assistance, create new approaches and develop nontraditional sustainability models.
  • The inclination to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the Accelerator’s, as well as R4D’s, overall strategy.
  • The ability to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful.

Executing for Results

  • The ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the Accelerator to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.
  • A leader who is viewed by others as having a high degree of integrity and forethought in his/her approach to making decisions; the ability to act in a transparent and consistent manner.
  • A track record of cultivating programmatic growth and generating business development opportunities.

Leading Teams

  • The ability to attract and recruit top talent, motivate the team, delegate effectively, celebrate diversity within the team, and manage performance.
  • The ability to persevere in the face of challenges, and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which commands respect from followers.
  • A leader who is self-reflective and aware of his/her own limitations; leads by example and drives the organization’s performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.

Influence and Communications

  • Naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • An ability to inspire trust and followership in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion in his/her beliefs, and active drive.
  • Equally comfortable taking center stage and encouraging others to share the spotlight; visibly celebrates and supports the success of the team.
  • Exceptional communicator experienced in presenting to, facilitating, writing for, and engaging interpersonally with international audiences.

Additional qualifications include:

  • Master’s (or PhD) in relevant field (business, economics, international affairs, public health, public/social policy, public administration or similar) or equivalent experience, with recognized expertise in health systems.
  • At least 15 years of experience with increasing leadership responsibility in global development nonprofits, foundations, donors, multilateral institutions, international health systems, or consulting firms.
  • Significant experience working with government leaders in multiple countries to design and implement health systems reforms.
  • Strong analytical and research skills, including implementation research, political economy analysis and program evaluation.
  • Experience leading complex organizations or initiatives with multiple partners, interrelated workstreams, and operations around the world.
  • Experience in leadership roles with USAID-funded programs required; experience in leadership roles with additional donor-funded programs preferred
  • Experience living and/or working in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Proficiency in French (verbal and written) preferred.

About the Organization

Results for Development (R4D) is a leading non-profit global development partner. We collaborate with change agents around the world — government officials, civil society leaders and social innovators — to create strong systems that support healthy, educated people. We help our partners move from knowing their goal to knowing how to reach it. We combine global expertise in health, education and nutrition with analytic rigor, practical support for decision-making and implementation and access to peer problem-solving networks. Together with our partners, we build self-sustaining systems that serve everyone and deliver lasting results. Then we share what we learn so others can achieve results for development, too.

We have a unique and vibrant culture at R4D. Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of our work environment and help advance our mission. Diversity—of ideas, identities, perspectives and backgrounds—is vital to who we are and what we do. We seek people who embrace these values and will help reinforce them. Our work culture is collaborative, creative and entrepreneurial. We operate based on trust and respect. Teams across the organization frequently collaborate on programmatic work and support each other in continuously building a better R4D.

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