We are hiring a Rwanda Policy Director
_ABOUT SPARK MICROGRANTS_
Spark MicroGrants believes in a world where everyone lives with dignity and determines their own positive future. Decades of prescriptive aid have sidelined the poor from the very programs meant to uplift them. For nearly a decade, Spark MicroGrants has been pioneering a new approach to international aid. We believe in local solutions and catalyzing rural villages facing poverty into action. After years of refining a community organizing and seed funding model for rural village action, we are garnering demand from emerging nations and leading civil society organizations to train and support them to adapt and deploy the approach at scale.
At the heart of Spark’s model, the Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP), are ‘town-hall-style weekly meetings, in which women, men, young, old, plan together for their community’s future. Each village elects a leadership committee, establishes a village savings account, and launches a project of their choice. Members receive training on financial management, transparency, leadership, village planning, and advocacy. Each village then receives US$8,000 in seed funds to turn project ideas into reality and additional management support.
Spark is now active in 320+ villages in 6 countries, benefiting over 230,000 lives. In the next three years, we seek to accelerate the growth of this approach, through i) establishing a global Community of Practice based on cutting edge facilitation and training design, and ii) establishing a national scale program in Rwanda – our flagship program – in partnership with the Government of Rwanda. Spark is seeking an ambitious and impact-driven leader in Rwanda to scale the program and establish a national framework to be incorporated in Government policy and financing.
As a team, we share a set of common values that shape ‘how’ we work. These are:
- Facilitators. We don’t impose; we enable others to generate impact.
- Community-driven. We are motivated by what is best for the community.
- Process-centered. The how of what we do is just as important as the what.
- Our vision and values live in everything we do.
- We seek opportunities and are willing to take risks to serve our community partners better.
_ABOUT THE ROLE_
Spark is seeking a Policy Director to lead its government engagement, coalition building, national policy development, and strong program delivery to ultimately scale our work in Rwanda from 190 to ultimately 14000 villages. The Government of Rwanda and Spark have an ambitious strategy to strengthen village-level governance and enhance rural livelihoods across the country.
As the first step in this strategy, Spark has secured a $6 million World Bank grant through the Japanese Social Development Fund, for the Advancing Citizen Engagement (ACE) Project. The project is anticipated to kick off in June 2021. The project will improve the livelihoods of 85,000 people across 245 villages in Rwanda, and enhance Local and Central Government capacity for participatory village planning, utilising Spark’s tried and tested model for village development, the Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP). Your strategic leadership will guarantee successful replication of the FCAP through our World Bank and Government partnership and ensure we are set on the path to national scale in Rwanda.
The Policy Director will act as the key leader in bringing the FCAP to scale in Rwanda, coordinating national, multilateral, and global partnership work; and will work closely with the executive team and interact with the Board of Directors to direct our work in Rwanda. You will work with a team of 30+ program staff, a strong Rwanda Country Director (who oversees all programmatic activities), own government and funding partner relationships, and lead Spark’s policy advisory function to the Government of Rwanda.
We are looking for candidates with success in building bilateral and multilateral partnerships; are energized about building a coalition across funding agencies and implementation groups; and demonstrate operational excellence and a passion for culture and people development. The right candidate will not want to do ‘development as usual’ but question ‘how’ aid works and ensure that Spark’s program is ultimately accountable to the villages we serve.
_YOUR OBJECTIVES AND KEY RESULTS WILL INCLUDE:_
- Coalition building: Support the Government of Rwanda to prepare and adopt a National Framework for Participatory Village Planning.
- Ensure quality design, financing, and adoption of a national program for participatory village development.
- Drive national-level dialogue, policy reform, and program design by leveraging evidence from programming implementation.
- Build a coalition of development partners and Government in support of a National Framework for Participatory Village Planning.
- Year 1 focus: Establish inter-ministerial technical working relationships to drive the design of the National Framework and cultivate relationships with non-governmental development partners.
- Management & Leadership: Provision of strategic leadership to the Rwanda program to set and achieve goals driving enhanced program quality, scope, and efficiency.
- Advance the goal of national coverage in Rwanda through policy-driven scaling of the FCAP approach, including through strategic management of an initial World Bank and philanthropically funded Project.
- Drive towards a culture of excellence and promote and embody Spark values in the team.
- Lead coordination of Rwanda-based Programs, Operations, Finance, and RELM teams towards quality program implementation, ensuring that the Rwanda program meets and exceeds donor and government expectations.
- Grant Management: Quality execution of the World-Bank funded Advancing Citizen Engagement (ACE) Project to improve rural livelihoods and enhance Government capacity for citizen engagement.
- Support compliance with donor requirements through ownership of all Grant-specific processes, budgets, and legal agreements, and leadership and coordination across program, finance, and operational teams.
- Lead management of donor and Government relationships and ensure timely and quality submission of project reports.
- Ensure effective and timely program implementation in line with project work plans and safeguarding instruments.
- Year 1 focus: Oversight of ACE Project launch, creation, and running of the project steering committee, build relationships with government and wider stakeholders and initiate the process of policy integration.
_WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR:_
- Passion for rural communities owning their future
- You are driven by a world with a strong civil society where communities are in the driving seat of local change.
- You are passionate about improving aid delivery and governance.
- Commitment to Policy-driven change
- You have experience working within or supporting Government-led initiatives and can demonstrate your experience leading enduring policy change on a national scale supporting Government-led reforms.
- You have experience in taking projects from a conceptual stage, developing policy integration plans, and successfully integrate the project in government policies, demonstrating strategic as well as operational expertise.
- You have an understanding of the machinery of public policy and feel comfortable engaging with key stakeholders on policy reform at both a technical and a high level.
- Experience working with policymakers in Rwanda is an advantage
- Relationship builder
- You have established and strengthened relationships with governments and donors and can show how these helped scale and grow programs under your supervision.
- You are comfortable representing Spark to a wide audience, networking on the international stage, and building regional coalitions.
- Additional attributes: Strong people and project management skills, the experience of working with institutional funders, being a leader, and a sense of humour!
You have the cultural fit to work with us here at Spark if;
- You are dynamic, self-driven, and proactively seek out feedback.
- You are self-organized and goal-oriented.
- You think strategically and are highly process-oriented, relishing the challenge of applying a range of approaches to answer complex questions.
- You are a facilitator; you listen intently, integrate feedback, and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak up and develop ideas together.
- You drive thoughtful processes to make strategic decisions and problem solve. You collaborate and prioritize an inclusive process that can be replicated in the future.
- You are authentic. You speak your mind, and you live your values.
- You respect all people irrespective of race, gender, age, religion, nationality, economic status, sexual orientation, or ability, in all your approaches to your work.
_WHY WORK WITH US ?_
- Spark has grown every year since its founding, you will enter the organization as part of senior leadership with immense opportunity to shape the future of the organization and grow as a leader.
- Spark has been recognized by the Government of Rwanda, NYTimes, Obama Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan, Forbes, and beyond as a leader in community-driven change.
- You will be joining a team that hails from ten countries around the world and is committed to a world where every village has the power to drive local change.
- You will have the freedom and autonomy to make your role your own. We want to hear your crazy ideas, your vision for the future, and your critical questions.
- You’ll never be bored – but we also respect and value work-life balance and your need for downtime, vacation, and reflection.
Location: Kigali, Rwanda (with ~30% travel).
Start Date: August/September 2021, conditional upon securing the JSDF grant. We will agree on a six-month probation period with learning and performance objectives. We are looking for someone who is committed to this role for at least 3-4 years.