USAID’s Kenya Investment Mechanism
Position Description –Women’s Economic Empowerment Director
Position Level: Director Level II
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 FIs 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.
KIM is collaborating with WEE to tackle both the demand- and supply-side challenges impeding WMSMEs’ access to finance to mobilize $30 million in financing for W-MSMEs. The WEE Director will be primarily responsible for planning, implementation, and oversight of all projects within the WEE portfolio, plus building the capacity of staff to effectively integrate a gender lens into activities, sharing best practices for integrating gender into project implementation, monitoring and evaluation,, and stakeholder relations. Additionally, the WEE Director will be responsible for leading program development, including identifying new opportunities. The WEE Director will oversee the integration of a gender lens into the provision of business advisory services through KIM’s existing networks of BASPs, in addition to spearheading engagement with Kenyan FIs (namely commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions) to develop products and services tailored to the needs of W-MSMEs. The Women’s Economic Empowerment Director will report to the USAID’s KIM Deputy Chief of Party.
• Assume overall charge of the WEE component of KIM and provide overall strategic direction and technical oversight across all project results relating to gender
• Lead efforts to identify and overcome gender and social inclusion barriers in investment opportunities in the agricultural sector and be responsible for leading gender and social inclusion assessments, overseeing the development of a Gender Opportunity Facility Action Plan, and mainstreaming gender considerations in project activities.
• In close coordination with the Deputy Chief of Party, and the Finance and Operations Director, coordinate and monitor the responsibilities of all program services (administration, finance, and compliance) activities to ensure that project progress is achieving its goals, objectives and deliverables and is delivered with quality, on time and on budget.
• Lead the design and implementation of a Gender strategy
• Provide cross-cutting leadership across both project components in identifying gender issues within programs and developing strategies for strengthening the integration of gender lens across all activities
• Build staff capacity on the application of a gender lens though the duration of the project
• Develop innovative approaches to advancing gender equity, promoting inclusive development, and preventing and addressing gender gaps n.
• Lead and/or 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
• Lead oversight and management into the development and implementation of work plans (with budgets, staffing and timelines for the activities); strategically organizing the work of the project personnel; overseeing and managing deliverables conforming to donors’ requirements and deadlines, including technical reports, progress reports, and project final reports, and the achievements of other specified project technical requirements.
• Monitor project performance against work plan objectives with all project domain areas.
• Oversee regular documentation of the methodology and outcomes of the project for dissemination.
• 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.
• Lead role in developing and maintaining good working relationships with program donors and stakeholders.
• 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.
• Other duties as assigned
Required Experience and Qualifications
• Master’s degree in International Development, Gender Studies, Law, or a related field from an accredited university.
• At least ten (10) years of experience in MSME finance, gender lens investing, and women’s entrepreneurship programming.
• Proven expertise in gender and social inclusion, and gender-focused analysis.
• 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.
• Experience designing and implementing gender-related trainings and workshops related to finance and investment.
• Excellent writing and editing skills with an ability to tailor the tone, content and form of written output in line with a range of different audiences and to suit a variety of formats.
• Strong leadership, strategic planning, management and supervisory skills; achieving results and meeting deadlines.
• Proven success in dealing with complicated program partnerships and skills in prioritizing major strategies and critical relationships.
• Good knowledge of monitoring and evaluation methodology and analysis.
• Proficient computer skills with ability to utilize various software including MS project.
• Demonstrated problem solving and diplomatic skills.
• Proven sound judgment and decision-making skills.
• Demonstrated ability to work under pressure to meet tight deadlines.
• Demonstrated familiarity with the Kenyan financial sector.
• Fluency in written and spoken English.
Please note that this position is contingent on USAID approval.