Senior Program Officer for Gender Equality

  • Executive-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 26 March 2018

Job Description

Position Summary & Responsibilities

The SPO, Gender Equality Africa is a critical technical role in the foundation’s evolving gender work. This role will appeal to a creative and energetic problem-solver with a vision and capability to identify promising people, work and investments. Given the newness of the Gender strategy, you need to have comfort with ambiguity and working in a start-up mode to deepen our internal and our external programming work on gender equality.

This is a role for someone who can inspire and bring along partners, government decision-makers, and colleagues towards a concrete vision for change on gender equality. You will be expected to develop partnerships and initiatives that align the mix of foundation GE levers (above) with policy windows and in-country needs and opportunities, as well as to lead the build out of a portfolio that is data and evidence driven with a focus on group based platforms (savings groups, economic groups, girls’ groups) and possibly some of our gender data / gender evaluation work in Africa.

As a collaborator and energizer, you will also be expected to:

  • Develop and manage a portfolio of complex investments on women’s empowerment / group based platforms to strengthen gender data, evidence and measurement to determine how best to leverage community-based platforms to achieve health, economic, empowerment and other relevant outcomes.
  • Shape new investments that capture and build evidence on and for community mobilization / women’s empowerment platforms (both face-to-face, virtual, or a mix of the two) that: generate economic gains and/or deepen gains in other forms of empowerment current models in cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable ways.
  • Partner with governments, donors, and other critical stakeholders to analyze and bring insights to bear on how to scale platforms and programs.
  • Build out a global field of evidence by working closely with the foundation’s India Country Office to transfer implementation and evidence insights, creatively capture and share lessons learned, and generate global goods that benefit the foundation’s and other partners’ self-help groups investments.
  • Support and help coordinate the implementation of the overall foundation Gender Equality strategy in ways that avoids duplications and ensures alignment with priorities and needs of women and girls in focal countries on the continent.
  • Partner with other foundation teams working on Gender Equality (e.g. Agricultural Development, Financial Services for the Poor, Family Planning, Global Policy and Advocacy, etc.) to ensure the work we do represents (a) anchored coordination in-country; (b) co-investments and work through women’s groups, and (c) support to gender integration (mainstreaming) led by the GE team.

Areas of focus to include:

Representation, coordination, mainstreaming, and learning (20%): The SPO will serve as Sub-Saharan Africa point of contact on gender equality for key stakeholders; including internal foundation stakeholders as well as grantees, other donors, universities, think tanks, government agencies, etc.

You will provide technical guidance and strategic counsel on gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, women’s collective platforms, and gender data to Africa Country Office leadership, staff, and partners. You will also support the Director of Gender Equality on high level leadership visits or other critical advocacy / voice initiatives requiring in-country inputs and engagement.

Strategy (15%): In partnership with the Deputy Director, Gender Equality, the SPO will support the development and implementation of the Gender Equality execution strategy in Eastern Africa with a specific focus on: group based platforms and women’s economic empowerment research and evidence; ensuring that the strategy builds on deep insights from, and relevance to, country needs and priorities, sets out clear objectives and implementation is cutting-edge, evidence-based, and results-focused.

Grant development and management (65%): The SPO will develop, shape, lead / co-lead several key Gender Equality investments in Africa and provide inputs to global investments. This may include a portfolio structured to: (1) deepen understanding of the potential of empowerment and savings and girls group and, (2) research initiatives to deepen understanding of what works on women’s economic empowerment. You will also support and partner on investments with other teams, most likely in the areas of social protection, market based approaches to women’s economic empowerment, and financial inclusion. With the eye to strengthening overall momentum on gender equality and to represent the foundation’s perspective on gender equality, you will be expected to cultivate high quality interactions and build and deepen networks among government ministries, donors, researchers, implementers, evaluators on gender equality including with national and sub-national officials, ministries and bilateral, multilateral institutions.

This work will require the SPO to identify and evaluate potential partners and grantees to co-develop and evolve ideas and initiatives, develop calls / RFPs and review letters of inquiry and grant proposals, provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding including drafting and editing proposal summaries and progress reports for existing grants for review by foundation leadership. It will also require the management of internal processes to ensure that the portfolio of work on gender data progresses with appropriate documentation, grant budgeting and reporting. You will focus on getting evidence off the shelf by making it widely accessible, and applicable to local contexts, helping key stakeholders adapt and adopt findings, and exploring local barriers to scale-up of successful programs.

Leadership & Culture

We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.

Core Knowledge & Skills:

We are looking for people who enjoy the opportunity of working on complex problems and collectively creating solutions that have the potential for transformative change in the lives of people around the world. The SPO Gender Equality Africa must be a visionary, passionate leader who is recognized as a global gender expert (e.g. in any of the following areas such as women’s empowerment, gender and collectives, women’s financial inclusion, gender data, economic empowerment). You must be prepared to work across a diverse set of disciplines, bridging a wide range of expertise all the while being a team player, with a demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency and diplomacy in an exciting, challenging environment.

The responsibilities of this role require that you should have an unquestioned commitment to gender equality and technical expertise and in-country experience in gender equality programming. Specific experience in women’s’/girls’ groups and group based platforms and economic empowerment desired. Additionally, you should have:

  • Master’s degree or higher in related field (e.g., gender studies, social and behavioral sciences and research).
  • 10+ years of proven expertise in designing, implementing, monitoring, and/or evaluating women’s empowerment / community-based platforms.
  • Relationship building is key for this role – a strong partnership network of women’s economic empowerment organizations and professionals in social and behavioral sciences and related research, community mobilization in focal countries in East Africa, and with country governments and donors.
  • Ability to multi-task and set priorities in an efficient and self-managed, self-motivated manner.
  • Technical expertise in gender analysis specifically, and the use of data, measurement and evaluation including qualitative and quantitative research methods, research and evaluation design.
  • Expertise in social protection, government service delivery, inclusive market based approaches to women’s economic empowerment and reproductive empowerment are assets.
  • Experience in grant-making, portfolio design, delivering on grant or other investment approaches whether from philanthropy or international funding environment.
  • Excellent listening skills and empathy (e.g. can match foundation needs to country/women’s capabilities and technologies).
  • Excellent written, facilitation and oral communications skills effective with a broad and diverse audience.
  • Proven ability to work in a complex and at times uncertain environment to develop and successfully design, develop and deliver a portfolio or work and execute a work plan to achieve established goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to make effective decisions and bring consensus and/or alignment across a broad and diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Able and willing to question and challenge colleagues, including managers and partners in constructive, respectful, and open manner.
  • Ability and comfort working in a highly matrixed environment.
  • Ability to travel up to 35% across East Africa and internationally. Do anticipate this role to spend a significant amount of time in Seattle initially.
  • A sense of humor.
  • Commitment to the foundation’s core values, mission and programs with an approach that is consistent with the foundation’s guiding principles while holding oneself to the highest ethical standards.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to:

* Race

* Color

* Age

* Religion

* Pregnancy

* Sex

* Sexual Orientation

* Disability

* Gender Identity

* Gender Expression

* National Origin

* Genetic Information

* Veteran Status

* Marital Status

* Prior Protected Activity

Note: Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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