We seek an experienced professional to serve as a Senior Program Officer for East Africa. This role will be responsible for working with internal foundation teams and leveraging an ecosystem of partners at the country, regional and global levels at the direction of the East Africa regional representative to support the continent-wide spread and scale of the foundation’s programmatic priorities, with a focus on the East Africa region. The focus of the Africa team is to enable collective impact for the foundation in Africa by influencing policy and finance towards key development priorities, strengthening capacity and enabling systems for delivery, and innovating and leveraging cross-cutting enablers for impact at scale. The Senior Program Officer, East Africa will support the East Africa regional representative when working with foundation teams in the management of their investment portfolio in East Africa, and work with external partners to drive progress. As part of this responsibility, this role will help to drive relationships with country officials, grantees, contractors and key partners to achieve the foundation’s desired impact, provide project briefings and updates to foundation leadership. The Senior Program Officer will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa and will report to the Regional Representative, East Africa.
Support the Regional Representative, East Africa to advocate for priority strategies of the foundation in the East Africa region, which consists of the following countries: Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Eritrea, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
At the guidance of the Regional Representative, East Africa, establish and strengthen critical relationships with national and regional governments in the East Africa region, and other key foundation partners, including funders, media, NGOs, multilateral organizations, and the private sector to boost political will and help bring in new resources.
Create and maintain high quality, productive, collaborative and coordinated interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners in the region.
Attend meetings to represent the foundation and advocate / help shape global, regional and country agendas in line with foundation priorities.
External stakeholder management
Gather and provide colleagues with information at the country and regional level about priority issues and strategies that are important to the foundation, such as new policies, local investments, financial regulation, biotechnology, gender and other key health and development priorities.
Support foundation leadership trips, learning, engagement opportunities, and other appropriate activities to foundation staff visiting East Africa.
Support the coordination of programmatic work in the region, in close partnership with the foundation’s Program Strategy and Functional Teams.
Provide internal review of program and or functional team grants/investments, contributing expert knowledge of local context in shaping said grants/investments. Source, develop, and manage one’s own portfolio of grants/investments.
Internal stakeholder management
We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.
Leadership and Culture
Knowledge and awareness of development issues, strategies and institutions across relevant foundation program areas and geographies, particularly as it relates to East Africa.
Proven experience developing collaborative relationships and effectively engaging with a wide array of stakeholders at the country and regional levels including but not limited to government, regional entities, influencers, donors and partners/grantees on a wide range of issues. Strong experience in at least one foundation program priority is required.
Proven ability to shape, develop, manage and scale strong partnerships, alliances and ventures both inside and outside organizations. Ability to adapt and learn from local contexts and serve as a trusted advisor to stakeholders.
Ability to convene, lead and influence others to align to shared strategy goals, in a constructive manner. Proven experience managing conflicts and building consensus.
Outstanding interpersonal skills and humility – ability to listen and absorb perspectives from stakeholders and synthesize into thoughtful and well-designed comprehensive grants.
Some experience with strategy implementation, measurement, and course-correction is preferable.
Good knowledge of complex program design that involves working with multiple stakeholders including technical experts, government and partners, to 1) conceive and co-develop grant ideas/concepts that offer effective and implementable solutions to complex development problems, and 2) provide on-the-ground oversight of grant development and implementation activities.
Ability to prioritize among competing priorities.
Ability to focus and achieve results.
Excellent oral, facilitation and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus.
Ability to be self-guided and work effectively and comfortably with sensitivity across barriers such as language, culture and distance.
Demonstrated ability to function successfully in a politically demanding environment. Experience working in a matrix environment is strongly preferred.
Excellent organizational skills and proven experience managing coordination mechanisms designed to lead teams through a complex and ambiguous task.
Ability to travel up to 30% domestically and internationally.
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 and holding self to the highest ethical standards.
Core Knowledge and Skills
Advanced degree with a minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience.
Senior candidate with deep understanding of the fundamentals of African Development.
Candidate must be creative and willing to experiment and innovate.
Must have an understanding of Health, Agriculture, Gender, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene and Policy, Advocacy and Communications experience.
Must be able to drive and execute strategies.
Demonstrated ability to collaborate across global teams and work across time zones.
Experience working in international development organizations OR playing a role that has a development focus in the private sector for example driving Public Private Partnerships, government relations, social impact, community investment.
Education and Experience
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
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.
Prior Protected Activity
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: