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Senior Program Officer, Family Planning / Maternal Newborn and Child Health / Primary Health Care
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
Grade: Unspecified
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Added 4 months ago
Job Description

Division Summary

The mission of the Global Policy & Advocacy (GPA) division is to understand and shape the public policy debates affecting the foundation's work, build support for its major program and policy objectives, and develop partnerships and alliances that can advance the foundation's objectives nationally and globally. Because the foundation's resources alone are not enough to solve the challenges ahead, GPA also supports advocacy efforts to engage diverse stakeholders and promote innovative solutions that advance our program goals. We work in close partnership with grantees, our colleagues in the Global Health, Global Development, Global Growth & Opportunity, U.S. and Gender Equality programs and Foundation Communications to build the environment in which all people have the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives.

Group Summary

The Program Advocacy and Communications (PAC) team works in partnership with program teams and other teams in Global Policy and Advocacy (GPA) to achieve their policy and finance goals by:

  • Developing and coordinating the execution of advocacy and communications strategies.

  • Leveraging leadership and foundation voice to implement advocacy strategies.

  • Developing and managing a grant portfolio dedicated to achieving advocacy outcomes.

  • Directly advocating with sector leaders, influencers, media and government officials in order to achieve advocacy outcomes.

  • Leading issue-specific communications in service of advocacy goals.

  • Developing policy recommendations or proposals in partnership with programmatic and regional offices.

Leadership & Culture

Our culture shapes our choices about what we do and how we do it. We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment can do extraordinary things. We expect foundation employees to intentionally and consistently embody our four agreements; show respect, offer trust, be transparent, and create energy.

Position Summary

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will craft and lead advocacy efforts across family planning (FP), maternal, newborn and child (MNCH), and Primary Health Care (PHC) health priorities to help generate awareness, resources, partnerships and policy changes vital to achieve better health outcomes. The SPO will develop and execute an advocacy and communications strategies to help achieve the foundation’s FP/MNCH/PHC programmatic and advocacy goals in Africa, focused on the Africa region broadly, and West Africa and Kenya specifically.

This will be done in close collaboration with the Africa Regional and Seattle offices, the country offices in Ethiopia and Nigeria, as well as the Seattle-based program teams. It will also involve collaboration with a range of external foundation grantees and partners, including government representatives at both federal and subnational levels.


The SPO will develop and lead a portfolio of grants and contracts requiring high-level grant leadership skills, monitoring and evaluation. The SPO will also provide foundation-wide leadership in advocacy localization, partnership development and shifting ownership and capacity to in-country entities.

The SPO will report to the Director, Program Advocacy and Communications, Africa Team, based in Johannesburg, with a dotted-line reporting relationship to the Deputy Director, Program Advocacy and Communications, FP/MNCH/PHC, based in Seattle.

Core Responsibilities

  • In partnership with country and regional offices, develop an advocacy and communications strategy for Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia and more broadly for the East and West Africa regions in support of program goals, including working closely with Senior Program Officers on country-focused FP/MNCH/PHC and advocacy teams, manage leadership engagement, and develop a portfolio of grantees in these markets to support our goals.

  • Facilitate increase to local ownership, leadership and engagement in FP/MNCH/PHC advocacy efforts in the foundation’s focus geographies and in the region, in partnership with broader Foundation efforts.

  • Partner with the FP/MNCH/PHC PAC and program teams and leadership, and the GPA division to update and implement advocacy and communications strategies that ensure long-term sustainability and impact and are synergistic to other strategies in the foundation.

  • Build relationships with government officials, donors, and civil society organizations to inform the foundation’s engagement at both national and subnational levels.

  • Form key partnerships with people and organizations – in both the public and private sector – and at the national and regional levels to improve implementation of advocacy strategies and tactics. Conceptualize and lead high impact and complex partnerships, grants, coalitions, and advocacy campaigns.

  • 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 FP/MNCH/PHC goals.

  • Manage and develop a grant portfolio of FP/MNCH/PHC advocacy and communications investments in Africa, including oversight of a grant budget and all related grant making processes (e.g., investment reviews, strategic alignment, grantee engagement, etc.) in partnership with FP/MNCH/PHC and advocacy leads in Ethiopia and Nigeria, and the Deputy Director of PAC for FP/MNCH/PHC. Provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding.

  • Advise grantees and other partners to improve impact of projects and ensure grants are meeting strategy goals. This may include: site visits, providing operational guidance and convening meetings of key partners.

  • Represent the foundation to external constituencies. This could include formal and informal presentations such as making speeches, attending conferences, committee representation and other meetings.

  • Write and produce insightful briefings, reports, email updates, and other materials on key FP/MNCH/PHC and other relevant issues for foundation leadership and internal documentation.

  • Collaborate with PAC FP/MNCH/PHC team and other program teams to lead and present portfolio progress and grant budget information.

  • Support PAC work in Africa that contributes to an enabling environment for achievement of PAC FP/MNCH/PHC goals.

Core Knowledge and Skills

  • Outstanding 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 proven experience that can be translated to FP/MNCH/PHC issues.

  • Experience and/or shown ability in engaging with government partners in Africa, preferably at both national and sub-national levels. Experience communicating around policy and advocacy efforts, and in working with NGOs, the private sector (in addition to the media and government), preferred. Hands-on experience including personal interaction with senior level policy makers, coalitions, and governments.

  • Ideally, candidate will have experience managing a grants portfolio; either as a grantee - receiving and reporting on a grant or as a grant manager - with direct responsibility for grant making and management.

  • Desirable to have connections and networks within global and local FP, MNCH and PHC communities.

  • Understanding of the key issues concerning women’s health care, specifically concerning FP, MNCH of PHC (ideal), or broader health and development areas.

  • Experience in strategic portfolio development including setting of strategic direction for programs aligned with policy goals.

  • A dedication to using facts and sound rationale to convey benefits to goals, as well as a demonstrated dedication 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 track record to effectively lead and adapt within a changing environment.

  • A deep dedication to FP/MNCH/PHC issues in Africa.

  • Ability to travel up to 25% internationally.

Education and Experience

  • Advanced degree in public policy, international relations, public health, development or a related field.

  • 7+ years of related experience, or equivalent experience.

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

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to:

* Race

* Color

* Age

* Religion

* Pregnancy

* Sex

* Sexual Orientation

* Disability

* Gender Identity

* Gender Expression

* National Origin

* Genetic Information

* Veteran Status

* Marital Status

* Prior Protected Activity

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