Associate Director, Implementation, No Lean Season Program

Evidence Action
Washington, DC
Job Type
Contact Information

Evidence Action aims to be a world leader in scaling evidence-based and cost-effective programs to reduce the burden of poverty for hundreds of millions of people in the poorest places. Our two flagship at-scale programs, Deworm and Dispensers for Safe Water, reached over 200 million people this year. Three of our programs – Deworm the World, No Lean Season, and Dispensers for Safe Water – have been named “Top” or “Standout” charities by GiveWell in 2017, with Deworm the World being named a Top Charity for the 5th year in a row.

Evidence Action has a presence across 10 countries, with major offices in Nairobi, Kenya; Delhi, India; and Washington, D.C.

What We’re Looking For
Evidence Action seeks a highly motivated Associate Director, Implementation to drive delivery strategy and excellence of an evidence-based seasonal migration program known as No Lean Season, and to leverage this programmatic experience to inform the organization’s overall approach to the “science of scaling.”

No Lean Season is a late-stage program being incubated within the organization’s Beta function. The program was recently recognized by GiveWell as a “Top Charity” for its exceptional cost-effectiveness relative to other interventions in global development. The groundbreaking research behind No Lean Season has pointed towards an incredible opportunity to positively and substantially improve the lives of millions of poor, rural families, making this program one of the most promising interventions to emerge from the field of randomized evaluations in the development sector in recent years. No Lean Season provides a small travel subsidy to poor, rural households so they can send a family member to a nearby city or town to find a temporary job during the period between planting and harvesting, known as the “lean season.” This is the time in many rural areas when jobs are scarce, food is expensive, and people are likely to miss meals. In studies, the induced migration resulted in significant improvements in household welfare (including consumption and nutrition) during the lean season. Evidence Action Beta, the organization’s incubator in which No Lean Season is in the late stages, is now investigating several critical questions — local price effects, impacts on household well-being, and impacts on non-participating households — to pressure-test the hypothesis that this is a cost-effective means of providing seasonal income support in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

A rigorous evidence base is a critical foundation for Evidence Action programs. However, it’s not sufficient — without a viable strategy for scaled, cost-effective service delivery for programs, we cannot achieve Evidence Action’s mission.  This Associate Director will bring hands-on sensibilities about the realities of last-mile delivery in operationally complex environments to the theory of change underpinning the program.   This represents the place where the opportunity for evidence-based impact meets reality.  Reporting to the Director of the No Lean Season Program and supported by the overall Beta leader, the Chief Innovation Officer, the Associate Director will be responsible for the ultimate delivery of the program in the field, managing all the “off the page” and into the “real world” challenges.

The ideal candidate will:
•       Be excited about being in an environment focused on the twin goals of “Evidence” and “Action,” contributing his/her relative strengths in “Action” to furthering the objective of testing and scaling evidence-based interventions;
•       Have a voracious appetite for implementation excellence and continuous improvement, able to iteratively adapt programs and pivot them based on data and evidence;
•       Have outstanding management capabilities, analytical abilities, attention to detail, and ability to connect the 30,000-foot strategic questions to the most minute of operational details in-country;
•       Be hypothesis-driven in an ambiguous environment, creative in developing and testing solutions to complex operational challenges, and adept at identifying and weighing trade-offs relating to time, funding, and other scarce resources;
•       Be comfortable and effective at engaging with colleagues in the field and external partners who are on the front lines of program execution every day; and
•       Thrive in a collaborative, cross-functional team in which expertise in implementation, monitoring, and research merges to enable a highly cost-effective program to continue to be improved and adapted as we learn from research and ongoing monitoring about what is (and is not) working and why.

What You’d Do
The Associate Director will have three primary responsibilities.

1. Lead innovation and execution of No Lean Season delivery with and through partners in-country
•       Use evidence and data to rapidly and continuously develop, prototype, and pilot innovations in program implementation aimed at further optimizing impact and cost-effectiveness
•       Ensure  timely and high-quality mobile-based administrative data collection and use of dashboards for dynamic decision making; design and deploy dynamic key performance indicators (and targets against them)
•       Collaborate with other program staff to ensure data collection surveys and monitoring systems meet program implementation needs
•       Collaborate closely with the Director in managing existing and building new implementation partnerships, including leading the development of arrangements and agreements that effectively structure our implementation partnerships
•       Recruit, manage, and coach in-country implementation staff to ensure continued delivery excellence and staff growth and development
•       Support early-stage exploration and piloting in new countries, with the Director, other program staff, and research partners, including leading implementation feasibility assessment process

2. Drive program design improvements, knowledge management, and lessons-sharing
•       Lead the development and design of the No Lean Season program toolbox, in collaboration with the Director and other program staff
•       Conduct analyses using financial and program data to inform program design or expansion improvements to drive more cost-effective program delivery
•       Contribute to the organization’s thought leadership on the “science of scaling,” including ensuring that program tools, processes, and learnings are well-documented and available internally as a resource for the program and the organization and highlighting key lessons, with illustrative examples, that may be particularly relevant organization- and sector-wide
•       Adapt implementation strategy and program toolbox and protocols to new geographies, where piloting takes place
•       Develop content for program updates for external and internal communication including newsletters, presentations, blogs and write-ups for various audiences, with the objective of sharing lessons about program design improvements to drive greater cost-effectiveness

3. Manage the overall program work plan, budgets, reporting, and contracting
•       Facilitate and manage overall program work plan, with input from program staff, with focus on staying on target and schedule with sufficient flexibility and adaptability to ensure program seizes opportunities and pivots when needed
•       Manage overall program budget and financial management, including coordinating with other program staff on inputs and liaising with Beta and Evidence Action finance staff to ensure budget and financial management information meets program needs
•       Work with Beta operations, finance, and administration staff to ensure that all No Lean Season partnership agreements (implementation, data systems, research etc) have relevant contracting structures, timely execution of contracts, and invoice payments
•       Ensure timely reporting and communication with donors, including report writing and financial reporting, in consultation with Beta’s operations staff and organization’s grants management team
•       Support the Director in proposal development as needed
•       Since this is a new role in a new program in an organization that continues to grow and evolve, we expect a high degree of self-motivation in shaping the role and a sense of responsibility for contributing to other areas of program leadership when needed.

What Qualifications We’re Expecting in Candidates
Evidence Action places strong value on relevant personal qualities: entrepreneurialism, responsibility, tenacity, independence, energy, and work ethic. We seek a highly committed and adaptable individual with a track record of delivering quality results in quickly changing circumstances. S/he should be able to work independently and effectively in a high-pressure, unstructured environment and handle multiple tasks simultaneously whilst mentoring a team to perform consistently. The ideal candidate will also possess cultural sensitivity skills and demonstrate high emotional intelligence, as they will be working closely with partners.

Minimum Requirements
•       Master’s degree (in business, public policy, international development, economics, or related field)
•       At least 5 years of relevant professional experience, including at least 2 years managing a complex operation in a developing country
•       Excellent work planning, project, budget, and team management skills
•       Ability to collaborate across teams within and outside Evidence Action and experience with managing people from multiple cultures
•       Strong track record and experience with scaling new solutions within and across contexts
•       Good understanding of research, data collection and analytics and ability to interpret research for program design and implementation
•       Detail-oriented with demonstrated ability to multitask and meet short deadlines
•       Ability to handle ambiguity and work in a fast-paced environment
•       Excellent written and verbal communication skills
•       High level of proficiency in Microsoft Office, particularly Excel, PowerPoint, and Word and equivalent Google Apps Suite
•       Experience living or working in developing countries
•       Availability for up to 50% travel (depending on location)
•       Willingness to maintain flexible work hours to engage with colleagues (including supervisor and direct reports) in different time zones
•       Demonstrated ability to work effectively in, and lead, remote teams, including leveraging tools like Slack for frequent team communication and creative approaches to coaching in remote relationships
Preferred Requirements:
•       Experience as a management consultant or other comparable private sector project management experience
•       Experience leveraging and overseeing the use of mobile technology to improve service delivery (preferably in a international development setting)
•       Experience in human-centered design methods to strengthen program design (preferably in a international development setting)

For consideration please apply online via

Evidence Action is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a commitment to diversity. All individuals, regardless of personal characteristics, are encouraged to apply.

Additional Information

For consideration please submit apply online via