International Finance Facility for Education

The scale of the global education crisis is staggering. Even before COVID-19, over half of the world’s children and youth were either out of school or in school but not learning the skills needed to thrive. COVID-19 has deepened and intensified this crisis. Unless we act now, learning losses will translate into significant long-term challenges with grave economic, development, and social ramifications.


More than half of the world’s children and youth – over 700 million – live in 50 lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), including India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan. While the more affluent countries are able to provide quality education using their own resources and the world’s poorest countries receive the highest proportion of bilateral grant aid and financing from existing global funds for education, LMICs fall into a “missing middle.” They are too poor to mobilize resources domestically and have become “too rich” to access the low-cost financing necessary for education.  


Globally, 80% of the annual financing gap in education is expected to be in LMICs by 2030. Targeted action is needed urgently to support these countries to unlock investments in much-needed education and skilling, train the future’s entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors, artists, and activists, and build a better, more resilient world.  


IFFEd is a new and powerful financing engine for global education that multiplies donor resources so governments can invest urgently in quality education and skills in lower-middle income countries.


At its most basic, IFFEd is a public-philanthropic partnership to transform education and close the chronic financing gap in lower-middle-income countries. At its core is a bold and innovative education financing mechanism that multiplies scarce donor resources and aims to unlock at least $10 billion of new funding in the next 5 years.


IFFEd will:

  • Bring together and expand the education ecosystem by engaging with government, non-government, and philanthropic players, enabling, and leveraging the distinct strengths of each stakeholder.  
  • Identify breakthrough solutions in education by working with innovators to curate new ideas in a post-COVID-19 world, working with public and philanthropic partners to design, test, and evaluate approaches in different contexts.  
  • Supercharge education financing by working with public and philanthropic donors who contribute equity guarantees and grants to IFFEd, which are used to leverage multiples of additional affordable financing through the multilateral development banks (MDBs).  


Following several years of design, development, and negotiation with donors and MDBs, IFFEd is being registered in Geneva and will launch at the Transforming Education Summit in September 2022, as called for by the UN Secretary-General and other global leaders. The development process to date has been led by the Education Commission, building on its landmark Learning Generation report which highlighted the critical gap in education financing in LMICs.  


IFFED will become fully operational as an independent entity in 2023 and is currently seeking an Founding CEO to drive forward the full operationalization and implementation of IFFEd from September 2022 onwards. The Founding CEO will be located in the IFFEd offices in Geneva, with the possibility of working remotely during the initial months of the assignment.


Initially, the Founding CEO will work closely with a small transition team at the Education Commission led by the Executive Director, which will phase out as IFFEd’s core team is established.  


This is a hugely exciting, unique, and challenging opportunity to work with global leaders, donors, governments, and multilateral banks to shape the mission and establishment of an entirely new innovative finance facility that can transform education for 700 million children and youth around the world.


You can learn more about IFFEd on their website: https://iff-education.org/.


Role purpose

The Founding CEO will be responsible for establishing IFFEd and its team, raising its voice and visibility, and leading the organization to its first full replenishment in the third year of its operations at the end of 2024. In year 3, a permanent CEO would be selected for a 5-year term, renewable for two periods.

The specific duties of the Founding CEO will include:

  • Developing and implementing IFFEd’s business plan for its first 3 years.
  • Establishing IFFEd’s institutional foundations, including:
  • Recruiting, inspiring and leading IFFEd’s core team.
  • Concluding arrangements with IFFEd’s Trustee and all legal agreements required for IFFEd’s full operationalization.
  • Seeking a formal credit rating for IFFEd (IFFEd has already received a strong evaluation).
  • Leading the transition of IFFEd’s interim governance structure into its long-term governance arrangement, as agreed with IFFEd partners.
  • Overseeing IFFEd’s application to be recognized as an International Organization.
  • Establishing IFFED’s business systems and procuring service providers as required.   
  • Raising IFFEd’s voice, influence, and visibility so it is globally recognized, connecting beyond the education sector, and engaging at various international fora.
  • Leading the mobilization of resources for IFFEd in the run up to IFFEd’s first replenishment, with a target of at least $5 billion, as well as ensuring IFFEd has sufficient operational capital to cover its operational costs (before it becomes fully self-sustaining in year 4).
  • Managing relationships with IFFEd’s current and partners at the senior level, including sovereign and philanthropic donors, MDBs, and partner countries.
  • Being IFFEd’s lead innovator, seeking and building unusual partnerships, including with the private sector and philanthropy, as well as MDBs, to push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of the scale and delivery of education financing.
  • Managing the regular operations of IFFEd, including:
  • Preparing for and organizing the required meetings of IFFEd partners, including donors and MDBs, as per the agreed governance structure.
  • Preparing for and convening IFFEd Board meetings and ensuring the IFFEd Board Chair and members have the information and support needed to govern effectively.


The Founding CEO will be selected by a committee comprising representatives of IFFEd’s current donor partners. The Founding CEO will report to the Board of Directors of IFFEd.


The Founding CEO will coordinate with the Education Commission’s Executive Director and transition team. The transition team will be phased out as IFFEd’s core team is recruited.  


Education, Qualifications & Experience

The Founding CEO must be/have:

  • A post-graduate degree in social or political sciences, finance, economics, development studies, international relations, or related areas.
  • Minimum 20 years of relevant experience in increasingly challenging leadership functions in development-related initiatives.
  • Strong understanding of innovative finance vehicles and solutions.
  • Demonstrated experience interacting and influencing at high-level political platforms and successfully building partnerships.
  • Demonstrated results in resource mobilization.
  • Proven ability to direct the start up of initiatives and operations.
  • Ability to create and manage a start-up board.
  • Inspirational leadership with solid talent management ability and demonstrated experience managing multicultural teams.
  • Outstanding people skills and ability to resolve differences across organizational boundaries.
  • Excellent communication and written skills in English; other languages are a plus.


As IFFEd is currently undergoing establishment, it will not be able to support Swiss immigration applications at this point. Applicants for this position must have the right to work in Switzerland and/or the EU.


Role Location: Geneva, Switzerland


Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time position with an initial 3-year appointment with the possibility of two 5-year renewal terms during the selection on the last year in the position.


How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 30 September 2022. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of your most recent English version of your CV.


All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.


If you have an initial query rather than an application, kindly email us at [email protected].


SRI Executive is exclusively retained by IFFEd to undertake this assignment.

Application form

Personal Details
Work Experience
Attach Resume
Required Field
Any Additional Documentation (Optional)