Country Director, Zambia, Innovations for Poverty Action

Closing date: 31 Aug 2017

IPA seeks a Country Director in Zambia to lead a rapidly growing country program working closely with the Zambian government. This position provides a unique opportunity to be closely involved in cutting-edge policy-relevant research and to work with top academics in the field of experimental economics research. Country Directors work with IPA Global and key stakeholders to set the strategic direction of the office and oversee multiple simultaneous impact evaluations in a range of sectors, including education, agriculture, finance, health, entrepreneurship, governance and others. The Zambia Country Director will also manage a team of more than 20 local and international staff, oversee all country office operations, lead strategic planning and project development for the country office, oversee capacity building of local staff and partners, and lead the dissemination of results to local practitioners and policy makers. The position provides the opportunity to guide the research agenda in the country program, spend significant time in the field, direct in-country operations and manage relationships with key players in development organizations, donors, academia, and government. The Zambia Country Director will also contribute to IPA’s continued expansion by initiating new partnerships and projects in the country.

The position requires close interaction with academic researchers, donors, local government agencies, and other NGOs. The Zambia Country Director will also provide ongoing oversight of all project and office operations, including finance and human resource systems, data collection, in-house data entry, and a short-term staff payroll of up to 80 individuals at any given time.


Oversee and initiate high-quality research

  • Oversee project design and budgeting during the proposal stage to ensure evaluations meet IPA standards and costing structure
  • Manage relationships with and provide services to Principal Investigators (academic researchers)
  • Ensure that IPA research is implemented according to IPA’s quality standards and Principal Investigators direction
  • Provide research management for multiple Research Associates and project teams
  • Oversee data collection and data entry operations for all studies and ensure projects meet IPA’s research protocols and data quality standards
  • Manage project budgets and donor reporting, in coordinating with IPA’s global Grants team on all ongoing research grants and studies
  • Expand the capacity of the country office to program and conduct electronic surveys
  • Build systems and structures to build staff capacity and ensure overall data quality; including spearheading skills training for staff
  • Work to incorporate best practices and lessons learned in research and operations by other IPA offices and research affiliates

Policy Impact

  • Responsible for leading IPA’s policy impact in Zambia; including evidence dialogue and dissemination as well as research collaborations for policy
  • Develop and maintain high-level relationships with partners in the Government of Zambia, including Ministries of Health, Education, Agriculture, and the Office of the President
  • Cultivate relationships, studies, and new partnerships especially in the health sector, a priority area for IPA Zambia’s policy engagement
  • Engage government partners to identify research questions of interest and priority to key leadership and cultivate potential research projects in those areas
  • Continue dialogue with the University of Zambia on policy events and capacity building
  • Maintain close relationship with the International Growth Centre office in Zambia for policy events and engagement

Develop and implement IPA Zambia’s strategic plan, in line with IPA’s global plan and mission.

  • Identify priority research questions and key concerns for policy makers and initiate and manage the development of corresponding new research proposals
  • Develop new relationships in order for the country office to maximize its impact
  • Lead and initiate project development with researchers, funders and partner organizations
  • Ensure that country office structures can be supported by incoming revenue

Ensure sound operations of IPA Zambia

  • Oversee and manage a team of (Senior) Research Associates and Field Managers, whose responsibilities include project design and implementation, data collection, data management and analysis, and reports
  • Oversee and manage human resources, IT, operations, and finance; manage the Finance Manager and Office Manager
  • Coordinate office and country-wide meetings and trainings, in coordination with the Research Manager
  • Develop and oversee office administration, including human resources, information technology, project budgets and accounting; and hiring of long-term IPA staff in the country program

Oversee finances for IPA Zambia

  • Ensure proper compliance with financial procedures, approve expenditures, make accurate projections and ensure overall compliance
  • Strengthen finance systems to ensure the systems are robust for country program growth and compliant with strict donor requirements (e.g., USAID, DFID)

Mitigate and manage risks

  • Set security standards and parameters for work and ensure that IPA Zambia staff follow security measures
  • Monitor security concerns for IPA operations and act as primary contact in crisis management
  • Take steps to mitigate risk and to safeguard the organization’s reputation
  • Oversee procurement, safety, billing and security and ensure organizational legal compliance
  • Manage annual NGO legal registration process
  • Manage work permit applications and renewals for international staff

Manage external relations

  • Represent IPA Zambia in national and local government agencies and partner organizations, including presentations on IPA’s work in Zambia and globally
  • Strengthen local presence of IPA in Zambia
  • Manage relationships with current and potential IPA partner organizations.
  • Oversee capacity building of local development partners in evidence-based policy making and rigorous impact evaluations
  • Work closely with IPA Zambia’s regional partner, J-PAL Africa, on research, policy and capacity building.
  • Oversee targeted dissemination, encourage scale up of successful projects


  • Strong oral and written communication skills in English is required.
  • Master’s degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, or field related to international economic development
  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience
  • Previous J-PAL/IPA work experience or experience developing new RCTs or working with researchers on RCTs highly desired.
  • Experience living and working in Africa /Zambia is desired
  • Knowledge of human resource and financial management
  • Experience with budgeting and project planning
  • Passion for connecting rigorous research to policy makers and practitioners and communicating what works and what does not work in development
  • Ability to lead a large and complex country program and oversee rigorous impact evaluations
  • Commitment to leading a diverse team and building staff capacity
  • Ability to communicate effectively across cultures with multiple stakeholders including international and local academic researchers, government officials, NGO partners, enumeration teams, and study participants
  • Excellent management and organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player
  • Strong quantitative skills and familiarity with randomized controlled trials
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