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Job Summary

Spark is seeking an ambitious and impact-driven leader to champion our work in sector-leading community-driven program design, product design, and program quality enhancement. This is a dynamic and innovative role sitting across our global portfolio. Key responsibilities are design of new programs and products, leading sector learning and standard setting, and embedding learning into quality enhancement of programming.

  • Minimum Qualification:Masters
  • Experience Level:Senior level
  • Experience Length:8 years

Job Description/Requirements

We are hiring a Program Impact & Design Director

ABOUT SPARK MICROGRANTS

Spark MicroGrants believes in a world where everyone lives with dignity and determines their own positive future. Spark has pioneered a community-driven development model in East Africa, and works with NGO and Government partners to scale adoption and impacts for rural communities - on their own terms. Our model combines facilitated community meetings with a small, discretionary grant to catalyse local action and institution building. Read more about our Approach, Impact and Values on our website.

Spark is seeking an ambitious and impact-driven leader to champion our work in sector-leading community-driven program design, product design, and program quality enhancement. This is a dynamic and innovative role sitting across our global portfolio. Key responsibilities are design of new programs and products, leading sector learning and standard setting, and embedding learning into quality enhancement of programming.

This role requires collaboration across the organization, with a particular focus on research, developing and maintaining strong evidence-program-policy linkages, and supporting technical and technological innovations in program design and implementation.

We are looking for a senior strategic leader who will bring international technical expertise, champion a collaborative working approach and demonstrate excellence in management, mentoring, and leadership.

OUR WORK
The foundation of our approach is the Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP) where communities are led through regular facilitated meetings to organize, conceptualize and implement local development projects, supported by a microgrant to fund it. Our currency is quality, which is evidenced in our impacts. Spark supports implementation of the FCAP in rural communities to improve local livelihoods, enhance social cohesion, and improve citizen engagement. Our community-based development model aims to catalyse social and economic transitions in the context of development opportunities present in each country we work in.

Spark is now active in 500+ villages in 6 countries, benefiting over 230,000 lives. In the next three years, we seek to accelerate the growth of this approach, through i) establishing a global Community of Practice with partners based on cutting edge facilitation and training design, ii) establishing a national scale program in Rwanda - our flagship program - in partnership with the Government of Rwanda, and iii) expanding programs in Malawi, Uganda, and Ghana.

Spark currently operates in seven countries in partnership with governments and nonprofits. We aim to reach national scale in five countries over the next five years. Towards this goal Spark has secured a USD Six million World Bank-Comic Relief grant through the Japanese Social Development Fund, for the Advancing Citizen Engagement (ACE) Project in Rwanda. Started in June 2021, the project will improve the livelihoods of 85,000 people across 249 villages in Rwanda, and enhance Local and Central Government capacity for participatory village planning, utilising Spark’s tried and tested model for village development, the Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP). The project includes an external evaluation of the project. Your strategic leadership will guarantee strong evaluation of the program and continuous data-driven decision making contributing to setting on the path to national scale in Rwanda.

Along with our work in Rwanda, Spark is partnering with the Government of Malawi to roll-out the FCAP (modified to context in Malawi) and subsequent expansion to large scale. We are strategically focussing on technology-led delivery of FCAP in Malawi to explore ways to improve impact and reduce cost of delivery. As part of the pilot in Malawi, we are aiming to do a variety of testing on programmatic input areas including grant sizes, length and duration of training and role of technology. Based on the learnings above, we are aiming to run a RCT starting mid-2023. We are preparing for similar testing through our partners in Uganda and Ghana leveraging our government and civil society partnerships. We are also exploring opportunities to deepen impacts by leveraging the up front costs of the FCAP to support a broader set of development programs through a community-driven approach.

WHO YOU ARE
You are a seasoned professional with significant expertise in community-driven development, program management, and product design. You are excited to join us at a crucial juncture in our growth when we are investing heavily in high quality research, growing our program and product design teams, and focused on maintaining sector-leading quality as we scale. You will lead our team in incorporating technology into our program delivery, developing and maintaining quality approaches to facilitation and training design and implementation, and take a user-centred approach to embedding quality programming into efficient and practical projects and partnerships.

Our experience is that quality of implementation requires both strong program designs (suited to context), and strong implementation management and structures. You will bring experience in both, and play a key role in setting up industry-leading programs with the potential for scale. In addition to technical skills we also want the person in this leadership role to have a passion for a culture of excellence. The right candidate will not want to do ‘development as usual’ but question ‘how’ aid works and ensure that Spark’s program is ultimately accountable to the villages we serve. The Program Impact & Design Director will continue our excellent work in establishing a culture of excellence and collaboration within Spark and our partners.

RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Strategic Leadership & Department Management

● Championing a culture of feedback, learning and iteration to ensure Spark’s Impact and Design systems continue to adapt, improve, and lead program quality and innovation.
● Drive departmental strategy including setting and achieving departmental and organizational goals.Manage, develop and retain the team setting clear responsibility domains, deliverables, growth opportunities, and support to achieve their goals.
● Lead to day to day running of a variety of strategically important projects, ensuring that all projects are delivered on-time, within scope and within budget (see details below).
● Establish and sustain critical productive relationships with donors, partners, and industry stakeholders (e.g. researchers, academics) to advance Spark’s ability to draw on and influence a wide range of advisers and industry partners in our work.

2. Design: Develop and lead Spark’s program and product design functions
The Design team is responsible for quality design of programmatic tools for partners, based on the FCAP approach. The FCAP is a guiding framework based on 6 core principles, while Spark’s specific programs are designed based on the country and partnership context. The Design team lead the process of user-centred adaptation of the ‘core’ FCAP modules and principles to meet the development needs and opportunities facing communities, and the skills and capacities of our partners in implementation. This requires expertise in community-driven development fundamentals. Responsibilities include:
● Developing and leading co-design processes with partners. We work with partners through an approach incorporating human-centred design methodologies to co-create programs.
● Develop technical and technological tools for program implementation and management, based on partners needs. These include remote training tools, remote assessment and feedback systems, facilitation guides, and microgrant tracking tools (financial and technical).
● Providing technical expertise to inform the design of internal and external program evaluations and other research.

Key Design projects in 2022-23 include:
● Rolling out a facilitation and training curriculum to 500 learners in Malawi.
● Leading co-design of programs to serve 100 communities each in Uganda and Ghana
● Designing and managing tech teams to deliver a mobile app for remote delivery of FCAP. Deployment of the first module is expected in Malawi by end of the year and iterative improvements envisioned over the next 2-3 years.

3. Industry leading learning and quality support: Embed best practices and global evidence into our work, facilitate cross-program learning platforms, and develop and popularize quality standards
Spark’s Design team are the ‘handshake’ between global best practices and evidence, and program-generated learning, skills, and knowledge. Our work is the foundation for our contribution to broader development discourse, while we seek to embed industry-leading evidence from practitioner and academic worlds into our programming. Responsibilities include:
● Maintaining and enhancing learning platforms across our global portfolio, identifying shared lessons
and trends, and helping partners to re-embed learning into programming.
● Staying abreast of industry evidence and learning, and translate lessons into practical progam design and management tools.
● Developing and disseminating ‘FCAP Standards’ - our markers for quality programming, based on experience from across the global portfolio.
● Support program implementation teams to undertake iterative problem solving and adaptation processes based on results.

REQUIREMENTS:

Qualifications, experience & skills:

● 8-10 years of relevant experience, such as in Program design, delivering high quality research and technology tools, community-driven development, and human-centered design;
● Masters Degree in the field of Economics, International Development,, Product Design, or related fields;
● Excellent track record in designing and managing rural development programs and partnerships, and research projects and partnerships;
● Proven track record of developing and deploying program design tools, such as training guides, workplans, and partnership agreements;
● Demonstrated experience in management
● Ability to operate independently and strong in working as part of a larger team;
● Strong project management skills and attention to detail are required;
● Experience in strategy development is desirable;
● Excellent English written and oral communication;
● Remains calm and positive under pressure and in difficult situations;

Safeguarding
Our safeguarding follows a do no harm principle. All Spark staff are expected to respect and uphold the safeguarding procedures and principles to minimise harm to stakeholders, program participants, and the environment, in compliance with the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework and Rwandan Legislation.

OTHER INFORMATION
Job Location: Flexible in locations in East Africa, preferred in Kigali, Rwanda
Estimated start date: As soon as possible
Application closing Date: On a rolling basis, we reserve the right to close this recruitment process at any time.
How to Apply: Follow this link to apply http://sparkmicrogrants.bamboohr.com/jobs or click the "Apply Now Button".


Please note that we are able to sponsor visa applications for this position.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Spark Microgrants provides equal employment and advancement opportunities to all individuals. Employment decisions at Spark are based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. Spark does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by the law. Spark will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in undue hardship to daily operations.

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