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Kampala, Uganda



February 10, 2024 at 2:00:00 PM

About the Organisation

We are a global research and policy nonprofit committed to reducing global poverty with evidence. With a network of partners and researchers, we design and test innovative solutions, support our partners to generate and use data and evidence, and help bring proven approaches to scale across the globe.

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Job Title

Regional Director - East Africa and Asia job at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)

Job Description

The Regional Director, of East Africa and Asia is the overall lead of IPA’s programs in the East Africa and Asia Region and is responsible for directly supporting the programmatic, operational, and financial functions of Country Offices in the region. Currently, IPA has a presence in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, the Philippines, and Myanmar with projects in other locations in the region. In conjunction with the Chief Global Programs Officer, the Regional Director is responsible for setting the strategic agenda and direction of IPA’s programs, including identifying opportunities for expanding IPA’s presence in the region. The position holder will play an important role in growing IPA’s research portfolio, maintaining a strong business development pipeline, and strengthening and streamlining operational presence across IPA’s country offices to ensure that IPA’s work influences local and regional decision-makers.

The RD will directly supervise and mentor Country Directors for each Country Office and advise them on all strategic aspects of their roles. This includes working with Country Office management to establish business models and leading and supporting project development efforts to allow for IPA to have a long-term, in-country presence to deliver on IPA’s mission and vision; provide strategic, financial, and operational oversight and ensure long-term financial sustainability; establish and strengthen relationships with researchers and partners and grow these networks by identifying new research partners; identify high impact policy opportunities for evidence creation and policy engagement; develop locally relevant research and policy agendas that draw upon global bodies of evidence and leverage existing projects; and continue to generate high-quality research to contribute to iterative learning and evidence sharing about what works and doesn’t in development.

Duties and Responsibilities


Country Office Oversight - 35%

  • Providing strategic and inspiring leadership to the country offices in East Africa and Asia

  • Provide oversight to the overall financial and operational health and sustainability of country offices with a focus on award/ project financial management and high-quality program delivery.

  • Supervise and mentor a team of Country Directors and recruit country office leadership when required, with responsibility over the leadership of country offices during transition periods (both planned and unplanned).

  • Provide individualized support and mentorship to country leadership with an emphasis on staff retention and development and organizational structure innovation.

  • Guide and oversee Country Programs with annual planning and budgeting and oversee country teams throughout the year to ensure that plans are executed successfully and KPIs are met.

  • Collaborate with IPA’s functional teams to support and advise Country Programs on strategic, managerial, and operational issues, contribute to, roll out, and ensure compliance with operational manuals and policies to standardize operations across country offices.

  • Regularly review IPA’s presence in East Africa and Asia, conduct systematic assessments (risk, safety and security, sustainability, etc.) of existing country offices, and recommend and actively support expansion of IPA into new geographies.

  • Act as the main point of contact on safety and security and crisis management for the East Africa and Asia region.

Business/Project Development Guidance - 15%

  • Oversee the development of new research projects in East Africa and Asia ensuring that they align well with IPA’s mission and standards and that new projects are adequately planned and budgeted for; review all project budgets before submission for accuracy and precision.

  • Support strategic project development opportunities across the region to refine and develop IPA’s presence in East Africa and Asia, looking for opportunities to grow, including in new countries;

  • Encourage communication and collaboration between IPA Country Offices, the Policy team, the Right Fit Evidence team, and Sector Programs and help to facilitate matchmaking of potential implementing partners, researchers, and donors.

  • Help coordinate cross-country and cross-regional project development efforts and act as the main point of contact for donors, partners, and researchers.

Research and Policy Development and Quality - 15%

  • Work with Country Programs to refine their research focus and grow their sector approach with key stakeholders and to set a corresponding agenda for policy engagement and project development.

  • Collaborate closely with the Policy and Right Fit Evidence teams to support the training of managers and Country Directors and the roll-out of joint projects in West Africa.

  • Promote high-quality research and support the roll-out of innovations in research methods.

  • Stay abreast of IPA/J-PAL evidence and support linkages between global and local research agendas.

  • Present on evaluation and about IPA and IPA’s research and policy projects to internal and external audiences.

IPA Global Programs and Cross-functional Leadership - 20%

  • Contribute to and champion global priorities including IPA’s Strategic Ambition and ensure that global goals are part of country plans and priorities.

  • As a member of IPA’s senior leadership, lead cross-functional special projects across the organization that seek to address unexpected crises and/ or to solve long-standing organizational pain points.

  • In coordination with IPA’s Global Operations Director, play a focal point liaison role between the Global Programs team and IPA functional support teams to ensure strong coordination and integrated support across the organization and at the regional level. Strengthen regional support centers that provide administrative support services across country offices.

  • Coordinate with internal teams to achieve results for Country Programs and provide Country Programs’ perspective to functional team leads.

  • Promote IPA’s principles and values across Country Offices and oversee a strong culture for effective teamwork and performance.

External Representation and Partnerships -15%

  • Advise on the development and management of external relationships with donors, researchers, and partners in the region and closely coordinate activities, both in the development and implementation of country research and policy agendas and projects.

  • Create new and strengthen existing donor relationships and perform the role of steward for selected donors.

  • Provide advice and support to Country Office teams in developing and building the capacity of partners on the ground to undertake impact evaluations.

Qualifications and Competencies



  • At minimum, MPA, MPP and/or Masters in a relevant subject area such as economics, statistics, public policy, development, etc. as well as at least 6 years of senior leadership experience required.

  • Strong communication skills, a team-player attitude, and a creative approach to work are required.

  • Excellent management and organizational skills and strong ability to multi-task.

  • Ability to coordinate with cross-functional teams at a variety of levels.

  • Ability to deal with a wide variety of cultures and personalities gracefully.

  • Ability to present academic research in clear simple language and to engage policymakers and donors in discussion on using and scaling rigorous evidence.

  • Ability to deal with ambiguity, cope with change, and comfortably handle risk and uncertainty.

  • Experience advising others on how to approach complicated management, human resource, financial, and logistical challenges.

  • Experience in an IPA Country Program, or similar organization, is strongly preferred.

  • Experience working with donors, government agencies, policymakers, and researchers on evidence-based policymaking.

  • Passion for and experience with quantitative research.

  • Experience developing or managing research projects in multiple sectors, ideally randomized controlled trials, is strongly preferred.

  • Experience working in the East Africa region is strongly preferred.

  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently within the region.

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How to Apply

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