Job Summary

The Gender Specialist will lead all efforts to identify and overcome gender inclusion barriers in financial investment opportunities and programming in Kenya, and be responsible for leading gender opportunity assessments, overseeing the development of the gender opportunity facility action plan, and mainstreaming gender considerations in project activities.

  • Minimum Qualification: Masters
  • Experience Level: Senior level
  • Experience Length: 7 years

Job Description/Requirements

USAID’s Kenya Investment Mechanism
Position Description – Gender Specialist
Position Level: Specialist Level III

Project Overview

USAID’s Kenya Investment Mechanism (KIM)

KIM is a USAID funded project that is designed to unlock $400 million in investment for key sectors of Kenya’s economy, including agriculture; horticulture, dairy, and livestock (supported by Feed the Future), energy (supported by Power Africa), regional trade and investment opportunities (supported by the Prosper Africa initiative), women-owned businesses as well as in the WASH, health, and infrastructure sectors. KIM addresses constraints on both the supply and demand sides of investment transactions and is building a market system that will mobilize substantial capital from the public and private sectors. By building local partnerships among stakeholders in the financial system, KIM is stimulating the power of the private sector to accelerate Kenya’s journey to self-reliance.

KIM addresses two principal market failures that have discouraged investors from financing important segments of the targeted sectors: (i) insufficient quality consulting services (financial, transaction advisory, strategy, and business performance); and (ii) limited scalability of financial products tailored to selected key sectors of the economy in the region. KIM provides capacity building support to both business advisory service providers (BASPs) and Financial Institutions (FIs). KIM uses smart incentives to mobilize finance for development in the targeted sectors. These incentives are designed to create a sustainable ecosystem for businesses to access finance and investments needed to expand and grow. Business transactions are further supported by a diverse range of sustainable partnerships--with and among strategic businesses, institutions, government counterparts (county and national) and other development partners. These partnerships will lead to scaling and replicating creative approaches to unlock finance and investments, reduce risks of extending credit to the agriculture and energy sectors, and offer testing of innovative business models that can be scaled.
Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Initiative at USAID
Globally, women continue to confront disproportionate barriers to full economic participation, despite the potential of the female economy to unlock significant growth. Women entrepreneurs in Kenya, for example, face a $2.7 billion credit gap. The Women's Economic Empowerment (WEE) Initiative recognizes the potential for women to drive economic growth. Launched in 2019, the whole-of-government effort aims to advance women’s economic empowerment with a focus on three key pillars: (i) women prospering in the workforce; (ii) women succeeding as entrepreneurs; and (iii) women enabled in the economy.  
The challenges limiting access to finance for Kenyan women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises (W-MSMEs) are multifaceted. On the demand-side, Kenyan W-MSMEs often have a poor understanding of the requirements to access financial products on the market, in addition to minimal capacity to comply with them. On the supply-side, the Kenyan financial sector continues to lack products and processes enabling it to identify, attract, and serve W-MSMEs.

The Palladium Group
Palladium is the implementing organization behind KIM. As a global leader in the design, development, and delivery of Positive Impact, Palladium creates enduring social and economic value. We work with foundations, investors, governments, corporations, communities and civil society to formulate strategies and implement solutions that generate lasting social, environmental and financial benefits.

For the past 50 years, we have been making Positive Impact possible. With a team of more than 2,500 employees operating in 90 plus countries and a global network of more than 35,000 technical experts, Palladium has improved - and is committed to continuing to improve - economies, societies and most importantly, people's lives.

The Role
KIM is collaborating with WEE to tackle both the demand- and supply-side challenges impeding W-MSMEs’ access to finance to mobilize $30 million in financing for W-MSMEs. The Gender Specialist will lead all efforts to identify and overcome gender inclusion barriers in financial investment opportunities and programming in Kenya, and be responsible for leading gender opportunity assessments, overseeing the development of the gender opportunity facility action plan, and mainstreaming gender considerations in project activities. The Gender Specialist will report to the Women’s Economic Empowerment Director.

Responsibilities
•    Conduct analysis to support the formulation of strategies, implementation of the gender strategy, and briefings to senior leadership.
•    Provide cross-cutting leadership in identifying gender inequities within programs and developing strategies for strengthening the integration of a gender lensacross all activities
•    Build staff capacity on the application of a gender lens across USAID’s KIM initiatives.
•    Facilitate knowledge-building on gender integration in FIs and BASPs and advise on appropriate approaches and strategies
•    Participate in and contribute to external technical working groups on issues related to gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, and gender-inclusive development
•    Develop innovative approaches to advancing gender equity, promote inclusive development, and prevent and address gender gaps
•    Support gender opportunity assessment processes, including study design, execution with the benchmarking tool, strategy workshops, data collection and data analysis.
•    Provide ongoing technical support for the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs with gender-focused outcomes.
•    Produce and launch reports on gender activities.
•    Work closely with Monitoring and Evaluations Manager and Communications Director to ensure project communications and results reflect inclusive development priorities, particularly with a focus on gender and diversity.
•    Collaborate with the USAID’s KIM technical team and stakeholders (FIs, BASPs and enterprises), and facilitate organized forums designed to foster gender, diversity, and social inclusion.
•    Management of events and publications on gender issues.
•    Other duties as assigned

Required Experience and Qualifications
•    Master’s degree in International Development, Gender Studies, or other relevant subject area.
•    Proven expertise in gender and social inclusion, gender lens investing, gender-focused analysis, MSME finance, and MSME development.
•    At least seven (7) years of experience in MSME finance, gender finance, and banking.
•    Proven track record engaging with commercial banks to design and roll out products and services targeting women. Experience developing products and services for W-SMEs preferred.
•    Knowledge of the intersection between SME growth, business development services, and gender.
•    Experience designing and implementing gender-related trainings and workshops related to finance and investment.
•    Extensive experience in research and policy-level analysis.
•    Substantial experience in design, monitoring and evaluation projects and the collection of gender disaggregated data.
•    Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
•    Statistical and analytical acumen and the ability to interpret and analyse data for trends, performance gaps, and other relevant information.
•    Demonstrated ability to think strategically, creatively and to find innovative ways to respond to emerging organizational and project needs.
•    Detail-oriented and deadline-driven with strong organizational skills, and ability to work in a dynamic and agile environment with changing requirements and priorities.
•    Excellent people management skills.
•    Demonstrated familiarity with the Kenyan financial sector.
•    Fluency in written and spoken English.

Please note that this position is contingent on USAID approval.

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