Opportunity

SPO, Program Advocacy and Communications, Agricultural Development

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

About the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was established in 2000 by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.  It is the largest private foundation in the world with an endowment of US $42.3 billion as of 24th November 2014.  The foundation aims to improve the quality of life for billions of people worldwide, providing research and working with other organisations to tackle global problems and drive change. 

The goal of the Global Development program (GD) is to increase opportunities for people in the developing world to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty and to help deliver targeted healthcare solutions in these regions. Their strategies focus on Agriculture Development; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene; Financial Services for the Poor; and Family Health which includes Maternal, New-born and Child Health, Family Planning, and Nutrition. These strategies are supported by functional teams that focus on Vaccine Delivery and Integrated Delivery. GD also has Special Initiatives that focus on Urban Poverty, Emergency Relief, Global Libraries and Value for the Money.

Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. The foundation has offices in the United States, Europe, India, China and Africa.

Vission and Mission

Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation prides ourselves in being ‘impatient optimists’ whose purpose is to work to reduce inequity. Our vision is to ensure a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.  We have four missions to:

  • Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive;
  • Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives;
  • Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest; and
  • Inspire people to take action to change the world.

Key to enabling these missions is our commitment to science and innovation, collaboration and partnership, measurement and rigor, as well as optimism and risk taking.  Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.  We have offices in the United States, Europe, India, China and Africa.

Role Profile

The primary responsibility of the SPO, Program Advocacy and Communications, Agricultural Development, is to develop and execute an advocacy and communications strategy to help achieve the foundation’s programmatic and advocacy goals in Agricultural Development in Africa. This will be done in close collaboration with Ethiopia-based leadership and staff, partners in the Gates Foundation’s Africa Regional and Seattle offices, program teams, and other policy and advocacy colleagues. It will also involve collaboration with a range of external foundation grantees and partners, including government advisors at both federal and state level.

The SPO will report to the Director for Ethiopia, based in Addis Ababa, with a dotted-line reporting relationship to the Deputy Director of Program Advocacy and Communications for Agricultural Development, based in Seattle.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work in partnership with the African Union commission, AGRA, and key African governments to oversee and implement strategy to realize the African Agricultural Transformation Scorecard as a tool used by African heads of state to track progress towards Agricultural transformation goals endorsed by leaders at the 2014 Malabo summit.
  • Develop an advocacy and communications strategy for each of the Agricultural Development teams’ focus geographies (currently Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania) in support of program goals, including working closely with Senior Program Officers in country-focused Agricultural Development teams, managing leadership engagement, and developing and managing a portfolio of grantees in these markets to support our goals.
  • Oversee and implement a close partnership on advocacy and communications with AGRA, the Foundation’s primary delivery partner for Agriculture. This would include engaging in an advisory/strategy capacity in support of AGRA’s work in 8 additional countries where they are focused and around their regional level advocacy efforts including the annual African Green Revolution Forum.
  • Provide regular and overall political intelligence and tracking of key policy and political trends in the region and our focus countries as relevant to achieving the Foundation’s Agricultural Development goals.
  • Manage and develop a grant portfolio of advocacy and communications investments in Agricultural Development in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, including oversight of a grant budget and all related grant making processes (e.g., investment reviews, strategic alignment, grantee engagement, etc.) in partnership with Agricultural Development leads in Ethiopia and Nigeria, and the Deputy Director of Program Advocacy and Communications for Agricultural Development.
  • Build relationships with government officials, donors, and civil society organisations to inform the Foundation’s engagement at both national and state levels.  
  • Work closely with Global Policy and Advocacy (GPA) teams, Program Strategy teams and External Communications teams to coordinate and prioritize the foundation’s policy and advocacy priorities in Agricultural Development.
  • Represent the foundation to key program-related external constituencies, as well as manage a wide variety of internal relationships, including Agricultural Development programmatic leaders, Program Advocacy and Communications team, Africa in country teams and policy and data team. This includes both formal and informal presentations such as presenting strategies, making speeches, attending conferences, briefings and other meetings as necessary.
  • Drive strategic insights to ensure that communications strategies are aligned with the broader foundation and advocacy objectives.

Leadership and Culture

We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.

Required Experience and Qualifications

  • Exceptional knowledge, experience and expertise in strategic advocacy and communications in Africa - either directly involving global health and development issues, or in areas that have provided strong and meaningful experience that can be translated to agricultural development issues.
  • Experience and/or proven ability in engaging with government partners in Africa, preferably at both national and sub-national level. Experience communicating around policy and advocacy efforts, and in working with NGOs and the private sector (in addition to the media and government), preferred.
  • Experience in strategic portfolio development including setting of strategic direction for programs aligned with policy goals.
  • A commitment to using facts and sound rationale to convey benefits to goals, as well as a demonstrated commitment to creativity and innovation.
  • Experience working with international organizations (in an advocacy and communications role) and/or in multiple countries in Africa preferred.
  • Experience or high ability to work in a complex, matrixed environment – requiring cultural awareness, and a collaborative nature that knows the benefits of seeking consensus.
  • Ability to work with flexibility, entrepreneurship, and diplomacy both individually and as part of a complex team effort. A proven ability to effectively manage and adapt within a changing environment.
  • A deep commitment to agricultural development issues in Africa.
  • Ability to travel up to 25% domestically and internationally.
  • 7+ years of related experience, or equivalent experience.

Education 

  • Bachelor’s or other advanced degree.

Reports to: Director for Ethiopia, based in Addis Ababa, with a dotted-line reporting relationship to the Deputy Director of Program Advocacy and Communications for Agricultural Development, based in Seattle.

Important to note:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will collaborate with SRI Executive in the search for a stellar candidate to take up this exciting and challenging appointment.  Should you wish to apply for this position, we kindly ask you to submit your CV for consideration before Friday September 21st via [email protected]

For questions around this vacancy please contact Ms. Aveen Colgan, Senior Consultant – SRI Executive via [email protected] 

Applications received through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Careers site will not be reviewed.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

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