Please Note :  This position is for the Recruitment Drive and not a current opening.

IPA seeks a Country Director for one of it’s 14 Country Offices to lead and grow a country program that has established a strong presence in the local research environment with governmental, IO, private and NGO partners. This position provides a unique opportunity to be closely involved in cutting-edge policy-relevant research and work with top academics in the field of experimental economics, political science, education and agricultural research.

Country Directors work with IPA Global and key stakeholders to set the strategic direction of the office and oversee multiple simultaneous impact evaluations in a range of sectors, including education, agriculture, financial inclusion, SME, social protection, peace and recovery, health, governance and others. An IPA Country Director will also manage a team of more than 30 local and international staff, oversee country office operations, lead strategic planning and project development for the country office, inspire capacity building of local staff and partners, and lead the dissemination of results to local practitioners and policy makers. An IPA Country Director will also contribute to IPA’s continued expansion by initiating new partnerships and projects in the country, and by focusing on strategic organizational development within the country program.

The position requires close interaction with academic researchers, donors, local government agencies, and other NGOs. The Country Director, assisted by the IPA Country Office Management Team, will also provide overarching oversight of all project and office operations, including finance and human resource systems, data collection, in-house data entry, and a short-term staff payroll of between 100 to 500 short- and full-time staff at any given time. The position requires experience in grants and contracts management, preferably in a research setting, and familiarity with grants compliance is a strong asset.

Responsibilities :

Oversee and initiate high-quality research :

  • Oversee project design and budgeting during the proposal stage to ensure evaluations meet IPA standards and costing structure ;
  • Manage relationships with and provide services to Principal Investigators (academic researchers) ;
  • Ensure that IPA research, including data collection and data entry is implemented according to IPA’s research protocols and data quality standards and Principal Investigator’s direction ;
  • Provide research management for IPA project teams ;
  • Oversee the management of project budgets and donor reporting with support of the Finance Manager, in coordinating with IPA’s global Grants team on all ongoing research grants and studies ;
  • Build systems and structures to build staff capacity and ensure overall data quality; including spearheading skills training for staff ;
  • Work to incorporate best practices and lessons learned in research and operations by other IPA offices and research affiliates.

Policy Impact :

  • Responsible for leading IPA’s policy impact in the Country Office; including evidence dialogue and dissemination as well as research collaborations for policy and oversight of the development of a policy engagement plan ;
  • Develop and maintain high-level relationships with partners in the host Government, including Ministries of Health, Education, Finance, Agriculture, Local Development, the Office of the President, etc ;
  • Cultivate relationships, studies, and new partnerships in sectors that are prioritized by the IPA Country Office’s policy engagement research agenda ;
  • Engage government partners to identify research questions of interest and priority to key leadership and cultivate potential research projects in those areas ;
  • Maintain close relationship with the International Growth Centre office, if existing, or other policy partners for policy events and engagement.

Develop and implement the IPA Country Office strategic plan, in line with IPA’s global plan and mission :

  • Identify priority research questions and key concerns for policy makers and initiate and manage the development of corresponding new research proposals ;
  • Develop new relationships in order for the country office to maximize its impact ;
  • Lead and initiate project development with researchers, funders and partner organizations ;
  • Ensure that country office structures can be supported by incoming revenue.

Ensure sound operations of the IPA Country Office :

  • Oversee and manage a team of Research Managers, (Senior) Research Associates and Field Managers, whose responsibilities include project design and implementation, data collection, data management and analysis, and reports ;
  • Oversee and manage human resources, IT, operations, and finance; manage the Finance Manager and other management/ administrative staff ;
  • Coordinate office and country-wide meetings and trainings, in coordination with the Research Manager(s) ;
  • Develop and oversee office administration, including human resources, information technology, project budgets and accounting; and hiring of long-term IPA staff in the country program.

Oversee Country Office finances and internal controls :

  • Ensure proper compliance with financial procedures, approve expenditures, make accurate projections and ensure overall compliance ;
  • Strengthen finance systems to ensure the systems are robust for country program growth and compliant with strict donor requirements (e.g., USAID, DFID).

Mitigate and manage risks :

  • Set security standards and parameters for work and ensure that IPA Country Office staff follow security measures ;
  • Monitor security concerns for IPA operations and act as primary contact in crisis management ;
  • Take steps to mitigate risk and to safeguard the organization’s reputation ;
  • Oversee procurement, safety, billing and security and ensure organizational legal compliance ;
  • Manage annual NGO legal registration process ;
  • Manage work permit applications and renewals for international staff.

Manage external relations :

  • Represent IPA in national and local government agencies and partner organizations, including presentations on IPA’s work in the Country, regionally and globally ;
  • Strengthen local presence of IPA in the country ;
  • Manage relationships with current and potential IPA partner organizations ;
  • Oversee capacity building of local development partners in evidence-based policy making and rigorous impact evaluations ;
  • Work closely with IPA’s regional partner, J-PAL Africa, on research, policy and capacity building ;
  • Oversee targeted dissemination, encourage scale up of successful projects.

Qualifications :

  • Strong oral and written communication skills in English is required ;
  • Master’s degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, or field related to international economic development ;
  • A minimum of 4-7 years of relevant work experience ;
  • Previous J-PAL/IPA work experience or experience developing new RCTs or working with researchers on RCTs highly desired ;
  • Successful experience leading teams ;
  • Experience living and working in sub-Saharan Africa is desired ;
  • Knowledge of human resource and financial management ;
  • Experience with budgeting and project planning ;
  • Passion for connecting rigorous research to policy makers and practitioners and communicating what works and what does not work in development ;
  • Ability to lead a large and complex country program and oversee rigorous impact evaluations ;
  • Commitment to leading a diverse team and building staff capacity ;
  • Ability to communicate effectively across cultures with multiple stakeholders including international and local academic researchers, government officials, NGO partners, enumeration teams, and study participants ;
  • Excellent management and organizational skills and ability to work independently ;
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player ;
  • Quantitative research skills/ experience and a familiarity with randomized controlled trials is preferred.

Application Instructions

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Finance and Admin job category, then select “Country Director, Global”. 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.

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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