Program Director, No Lean Season

Evidence Action
Various Locations
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Deadline for Applications
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About the position

Evidence Action is seeking a seasoned professional to join its team as Program Director to lead No Lean Season, a late-stage program being incubated within the organization’s Beta function. No Lean Season was recently recognized by GiveWell as a “Top Charity” for its exceptional cost-effectiveness relative to other interventions in global development. The Program Director will lead the continued incubation and testing, and potential transition to flagship status, of this program.

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. 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. If successful, No Lean Season has the potential to improve the lives of millions of the world’s poorest rural families.
The Program Director will develop and execute the global strategy of the No Lean Season program and its multifaceted partnerships; coordinate technical inputs and quality controls; ensure effectively managed and quality service delivery of the program itself; oversee external engagement, including fundraising, advocacy, and communication efforts; and lead the expansion of the No Lean Season program, should it continue to show promise and evidence of impact. The Program Director will be an exceptional performer who is inspired by Evidence Action’s mission to bring proven interventions to scale and drive outstanding levels of program performance at scale. S/he will have enormous opportunity to contribute to improving the lives of millions of people around the world.

The Program Director will report to the Chief Innovation Officer, a member of Evidence Action’s Senior Leadership Team who oversees the organization’s Beta and Evidence functions. Direct reports will include at least one Project Manager to start.

The Program Director will be based in Dhaka, Bangladesh or Nairobi, Kenya. Consideration may also be given to exceptional candidates seeking to be based in the Washington, D.C. office.

Duties and responsibilities

Lead overall global program strategy development and execution
Lead overall strategic direction of the program with the input and engagement of Evidence Action leadership and program partners
Develop and deliver on ambitious program expansion goals in alignment with overall organizational goals and consistent with the outcomes of additional testing of the program that is currently underway
Develop, operationalize, and have overall accountability for work plans, budgets, and financial management of multi-million dollar program

Ensure technical quality and evidence-based approach in program management and expansion
Maintain and update program Theory of Change, key performance indicators, and monitoring processes, in coordination with program partners and monitoring team
Coordinate program’s learning agenda, including evidence generation, assessment, and interpretation
Design and iteratively improve on the program delivery toolkit and implementation protocols for multiple contexts
Ensure quality and cost-effective data collection and process and performance monitoring for timely decision making for the program
Coordinate cost-effectiveness calculations, benchmarking, and comparisons

Lead external engagement for the program, including partnership development, fundraising, communications, and advocacy
Develop, maintain, and oversee effective partnerships with implementing organizations, evaluation partners, academic collaborators, subject-matter experts, policy-makers, and other stakeholders, including managing such partnerships through thoughtfully-crafted memoranda of understanding and sub-contracts
Serve as primary program liaison and maintain strong relationships with existing program donors, including communicating program updates and pivots, negotiating any changes needed in existing funding arrangements, and ensuring program compliance with all reporting requirements
Develop and execute on program fundraising strategy in alignment with overall organizational fundraising objectives and program expansion goals
Design and execute on program communications strategy in alignment with overall organizational communications objectives, including ensuring clarity of top-line messages and coordinating across partner organizations
Engage effectively with academics, think tanks, global institutions, institutional donors, philanthropists, implementing partners, and governments
Manage program reporting to any stakeholder as needed, including preparation and presentation of program updates

Ensure a high-performing team environment, a strong professional development culture, and effective collaboration within the organization
Attract, retain, manage, and coordinate multi-cultural program team talent working across the world
Provide coaching, motivation, and inspiration to direct reports and overall program team across geographies
Maintain and develop a culture of excellent people management and performance to drive high quality decision-making and demonstrate Evidence Action values
Ensure program team engages effectively in the organization’s matrixed structure, maximizing engagement with and leveraging expertise from within the organization, including other programs being incubated within Beta, the flagship program teams, and the Finance & Administration and Human Resources teams

As Evidence Action is a dynamic organization, perform other duties as assigned.

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 government and external partners.

Master’s degree in public policy, international development, economics, business, or related field, preferably with at least some training in development economics;
At least 8 years of relevant professional experience in demanding and results-driven environments, including preferably experience managing complex international development programs and/or research initiatives and/or management consulting, comprised of multiple work streams, upward and downward management, and multicultural teams with diverse backgrounds and skills;
Experience living and working in a developing country context;
Experience developing and executing on growth strategy for scaling an organization and/or programs and working in and across multiple countries;
A strong demonstrated commitment to evidence-based practice and policy in the development field;
Significant experience applying data and quantitative analysis to drive decision making and information systems to improve service delivery;
Experience in effectively presenting to, communicating and negotiating with, and managing relationships with a variety of stakeholders in multicultural settings, including specifically researchers, implementing partners, major donors, and senior government stakeholders;
Adaptable, self-motivated, inquisitive, and a team player who is interested in being part of a fast-paced, growing, and diverse team with a start-up atmosphere;
A sense of humor and excitement to be part of an engaged and intellectually stimulating work environment;
Availability for 40% regional and international travel, including extended, multi-week trips as needed;
Knowledge of the effects of seasonality and migration preferred but not necessary

To Apply, please use the link below.

Additional 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 the World 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.

In addition to running these scaled programs, Evidence Action also leverages its Beta function to explore what interventions with initial evidence of impact might be suitable for massive scale up to become our next flagship programs. Similar to beta testing for software, we pressure-test interventions to ensure that they deliver cost-effective impact at scale without unintended consequences. To effectively scale interventions that pass our pressure-testing, Beta seeks to understand the mechanisms at work behind compelling results, runs fit-for-purpose experiments to find appropriate models for scaling, and builds service delivery and financing models suitable for the contexts where there is demand.

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