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Senior Program Officer, FSP & WSH Advocacy Communications, Program Advocacy and Communications
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
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Posted 1 week ago
Job Description

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. The Foundation is founded on a simple premise: that people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. By building a global and cultural workplace that supports greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — together with our employees and partners, we can help all people improve their lives from poverty and health to education. As an organization we offer hybrid work arrangements, generous PTO, 15% contribution to your retirement fund, a diverse and inclusive workplace backed by 11 Employee Resource Groups and embed DEI in everything we do!

The Team

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 communications and advocacy strategies.
  • Developing and managing a grant portfolio dedicated to achieving communications and advocacy outcomes.
  • Directly advocating with sector leaders, influencers, media and government officials in order to achieve communications and advocacy outcomes.
  • Leading issue-specific communications in service of communications and advocacy goals.
  • Developing policy recommendations or proposals in partnership with programmatic and regional offices.

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


The SPO will work with two program teams: Financial Services for the Poor (FSP) and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WSH).

Team Summary: Financial Services for the Poor

Rigorous evidence demonstrates that low-cost formal financial products – including payments, savings, credit, and insurance - can help low-income households withstand shocks and capture opportunities to move out of poverty. The FSP team’s strategy is predicated on the belief that an inclusive, interoperable, and secure digital payment system is required to enable the private sector to deliver quality financial services to the poor at scale.  FSP focuses its effort on:

  • Developing and promoting the adoption of an enabling policy and regulatory environment for inclusive digital financial services;
  • Developing and advancing the implementation of open and inclusive digital payments and identification infrastructure;
  • Identifying mechanisms to increase the usage of digital financial services;
  • Promoting women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment

Team Summary: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

We envision widespread use of safely managed, sustainable sanitation services, contributing to positive health, economic, and gender equality outcomes for the world’s underserved populations. Unsafe sanitation is an enormous problem that has become more urgent as our global population increases and trends like water scarcity and urbanization intensify. About 4.2 billion people—more than half the world’s population—either practice open defecation or use unsafe sanitation facilities and services. Creating sanitation public services and infrastructure that work for everyone and keep human waste out of the environment is difficult—and it is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The toilets, sewers, and wastewater treatment systems that made sense in the past are not necessarily the best solutions for the future. We collaborate with government leaders, the private sector, and the tech sector to advance promising toilet and waste treatment technologies, service delivery models, and policies with the greatest potential to improve sanitation conditions. Grantmaking is focused in four areas: 1) developing and commercializing transformative sanitation technologies. 2) rethinking how cities provide sanitation as a reliable, inclusive, and sustainable public service; 3) national policy change, including advocacy and communications; 4) measurement, evidence, and dissemination for scale.


Your Role

The Senior Program Officer (SPO), FSP & WSH Advocacy Communications will lead issue communications efforts and champion building investments for the FSP and WSH teams.  The role will support the foundation’s global health and development objectives by identifying and cultivating opportunities to highlight and elevate the voice of the foundation and its partners. As a key advisor on strategy initiatives, the SPO will contribute to the continued development of the team’s advocacy and communications strategic vision and implementation plan. 

What You’ll Do

  • Design, develop, and lead the implementation of communications strategies to complement advocacy goals to generate the attention, resources, and policy changes vital to achieving the foundation’s programmatic objectives.
  • Oversee agency and consultant support to help implement communications and champion building objectives.
  • Contribute to the development of new partnerships and advocacy and communications practices by formulating recommendations based on monitoring, analyzing trends relevant to global health and development and formulating recommendations for strategy approaches and message development.
  • Manage the development of creative storytelling surfacing impact stories from grantees and partners, including long-form pieces, event videos, social media content and op-eds; work with communications colleagues across all foundation offices to pitch potential content opportunities and be responsible for the creative process from start to finish with support from vendors.
  • Build and maintain relationships with key communications leads of grantees, donors, and civil society organizations—in coordination with the foundation’s Communications division. Proactively identify potential platforms to elevate messages that address priority development issues.
  • Lead a portfolio of grants and contracts to advance the advocacy communications outcomes in support of program strategies, including reviewing letters of inquiry and grant proposals and providing clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding. Counsel advocacy and PST colleagues on potential inclusion of communications elements into grant proposals.
  • Collaborate with grantees and other partners to improve the impact of projects and ensure communications grants are meeting strategy goals. This may include: site visits, providing operational guidance and convening meetings of key partners.
  • Collaborate with external partners to identify opportunities where foundation grantees can engage and represent the foundation to key program-related external constituencies, as appropriate

Your Experience

We are looking for a team member who brings deep experience in developing policy, advocacy and communications strategies, with an emphasis on strategic communications. Experience working on Global Health and/or Development issues and communications in a developing country context is a plus.

Specifically, the effective candidate will have:

  • Extensive experience leading the conception, design and management of communications strategies, creative content management, excellent writing and editing skills, ability to strategically assess opportunities, and a proven capacity to translate sophisticated health and development issues into compelling, persuasive writing;
  • Knowledge of global health and development issues as well as a deep dedication to the sector;
  • Ability to learn new concepts quickly and communicate effectively with different audiences.
  • Experience developing and using communications tools and working with partners to achieve advocacy goals and policy change at the global and/or country level;
  • Expertise in health and development policy issues and advocacy efforts across donor and lower-middle-income countries, working with civil society organizations, coalitions, governments, influencers and the media;
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and influence others in a constructive manner and to build and sustain collaborative relationships;
  • Ability to present publicly in meetings, defend different strategies or approaches and keep various parties abreast of the work in play and the ultimate results/impact;
  • Ability to work with flexibility and entrepreneurship, individually and as part of a complex team effort;
  • High standards of personal integrity; and comfortable in a wide range of cultural, geographic and operational situations, demonstrating culturally-sensitive behavior with a diversity of people.

Other Attributes

  • Advanced degree required with 10yr+ experience or equivalent progressively senior experience.
  • Comprehensive experience working in the public, non-profit or private sectors, and linking communications with advocacy work, ideally in global health and development issues.
  • Willing to travel up to 20% of the time.

*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Depending upon your work location, we may require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses. All employees based in the United States are to provide proof of full vaccination upon hire and any recommended boosters, subject to applicable laws.


If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request to

Inclusion Statement

We are 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 our mission 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, and prior protected activity.

This job is no longer available.