Director, Policy and Partnerships, New Opportunities
Director, Policy and Partnerships, New Opportunities
Location - Nairobi, Kenya preferred; Lagos, Nigeria possible. This role involves significant travel - expect up to 75%, minimum 40%.
Who We Are
Bridge partners with governments, donors, and parents to ensure that every child has access to an education that develops her full potential and creates the foundation for prosperity for the country. We are dedicated to supporting teachers, empowering school leaders, and ensuring every child has the learning support needed to master the national syllabus and have the confidence to succeed in a competitive world. Each of our project or country teams are supported through expertise and programming from additional offices around the world, combining world-leading expertise in core design areas with locally resident leadership and execution. We leverage experts, data, and technology in order to support and scale every aspect of quality education delivery. Bridge managed and supported schools are technology enabled and data-driven to ensure accountability in the classroom for both teachers’ performance and children’s learning.
The Bridge model delivers significant learning outcomes at large scale by combining technology and customized learning materials. At Bridge, we believe innovation and technology can transform learning. Our model – which uses technology to deliver thoroughly researched and carefully designed daily lesson guides to teachers in our academies – is proven to increase learning outcomes for children. We are a solutions-driven, implementation-focused organization, using design principles to work in varied and often highly constrained contexts to ensure learning outcomes and positive development for children. Working in regional and national scales is important to us, as empowering entire generations of children with the core knowledge, skills, and confidence is what builds the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future for us all.
Our mission is to provide our pupils with life-changing education and we believe that every child should have a right to a world-class education regardless of her family’s income. Core to our approach is the conviction that every child can learn, as long as the school she attends is committed to her development and puts her needs to learn at the forefront of all decisions. We have seen teachers and children transform and excel in both government and private schools that we support and manage.
We invite you to join this incredible endeavour that is having a world-changing impact across multiple continents. You will join a team of dedicated change-makers committed to ensuring that each decision we make keeps a child’s experience of learning as its guiding principle.
New Opportunities brings the majority of our extensive breadth of technical expertise to ensure large scale transformation of education systems into one team. This team kick-starts new programs in new countries. Each member of the team is responsible for a core area of expertise, and then setting up all work and functions related to that expertise in the new program/new country. This includes putting all relevant policies, practices, systems and technology in place, and leading the hiring of the leader who will take charge of this work as the permanent lead for this body of work. This is Bridge’s SWAT team, with specialists brought together to solve the critical and urgent problem of launching a state or nation-wide new program. This team must work collaboratively, thrive in creating order out of chaos, and understand that proactive problem solving is a daily task. All members of this team should expect extensive travel to remote and underserved areas, and to be resident in 2 other locations per year, setting up new programs. When not deployed on starting a specific program, each team member will do work with the core technical team which he or she represents, to support special projects, deepen technical knowledge, and otherwise advance in the field. This team is critical to Bridge delivering on our shared vision of transforming the lives of 10,000,000+ children, and in so doing seeing peace and prosperity where we work.
The Strategy Group at Bridge is responsible for our overall direction in education service, designing our verbal and visual brand, communicating our work internally and externally, providing insight into the ecosystems within which we work, measuring the impact of our programs, engaging our government partners in programming, ensuring regulatory compliance, and expanding the reach of our services into new geographies. Creative, Communications, Insights, Measurement & Evaluation, Quality Assurance, Policy & Partnerships, and New Opportunities are all departments within the Strategy Group. Collaboration between and coordination of each of these department’s functions is critical to ensure that every child has access to an education that develops her full potential and creates the foundation for prosperity for the country.
Policy and Partnerships (Programme Management)
The Policy & Partnerships team (P&P) engages with visionary political and Government leadership to help shape policy, strengthen delivery and impact complex education systems through comprehensive technical support. We work to ensure policies support children’s access, opportunity and advancement, and that there is an enabling environment for governments to work with technical assistance partners to enact large-scale system transformation. We ensure close collaboration, communication, and engagement with our government partners whom we serve in existing programs and the rest of the Bridge delivery teams to ensure we deliver on the promise of our program, and that the government sees solutions coming to the fore, and is participating in the work and recognizes the impact taking place. In support of the government program, may also engage with other dynamic influencers (NGOs, think-tanks, academicians, and bi- and multilateral agencies) to unlock additional support for our government programming and children in underserved communities. It is our responsibility to ensure that the program we deliver is understood by our government partner, and to negotiate any changes or updates or new needs in the program as it evolves, and to seek its expansion and renewal, based on successful track-record and measured improved learning and positive impact.
About the Role
You ensure the successful launch of a new, large-scale, government-led, Bridge-delivered system-wide education transformation program. You will take over existing relationships from the P&P Programme Development team and other Executives, and make these your own to ensure close collaboration and on-time execution of the launch of the program. This entails significant relationship management, as well as project management in ensuring data and approvals needed to pass between the government and Bridge do so in a timely way for program deadlines. You will ensure that the government partners understand the program, and support its implementation. This will require coordination of stakeholder sessions, government workshops, and government public events and celebrations. During government workshops, there will be need for careful engagement and collaboration on programme details -- to be successful in this role, you must learn about all aspects of our programming, and what can be negotiated and what cannot to ensure we deliver on what the government requires of us -- improved learning outcomes. You will need to be diplomatic and have discretion; know when to speak and when to listen. You will also be responsible for hiring the permanent P&P Director for the new programme, on-boarding this person, and transitioning the relationships and programme work to this new leader. Consequently, hiring the new P&P Director is a priority from the start of your assignment to a specific New Opportunity.
What You Will Do
● Report to the VP New Opportunities and functionally to our President, you’ll be our Policy and Partnerships authority for new launches to help build partnerships, relationships and execute strategies to sustain Bridge’s goals.
● Be responsible for transitioning and supporting government relationships and kick-off of programming upon contract signing. To do this, you’ll lead government engagement, training and stakeholder meetings.
● Ensure creation of governance committees according to core programming guidelines, and establish a regular meeting schedule.
● Ensure thorough weekly and monthly reporting to government begins and is continued under permanent programme leadership.
● Hire and on-board the new program’s Policy and Partnerships Director and ensure a thorough onboarding and transition, setting them up for success in managing our partnership in that new program.
● Manage the diverse strategic stakeholder management across multiple Government departments and levels within those departments; with prominent education ecosystem stakeholders, including but not limited to the local and national teacher labour unions; and important 'influencers’ to ensure the successful and popular launch of the government’s new programme.
● Map all key government officials, and create a plan for management of each.
● Utilize lead management techniques and maintain a detailed and dynamic database of these key influencer communities while tracking progress of programme launch.
● Bachelor's degree with superior academic performance.
● Over 5 years’ experience in government program delivery or working in account management or as an engagement manager.
● In depth experience building and systematically managing key complex relationships and accounts to ensure program delivery in a complex, multi-stakeholder program or project;
● Previous experience working with a Ministry of Education or State Education Board on program delivery, preferred; If not within education, experience with another government delivery program or project, such as in Health or ICT.
● Confidence, authority, and level-headed decision making needed as Bridge's leadership voice for the program.
● Ability to balance commercial interests and social benefits - a blend across business and political acumen, but also high emotional intelligence and relationship-building skills.
● Experience acting as an on-the-record spokesperson.
● Highly capable and thoughtful problem-solving skills; able to act as an intermediary and a solutions driven lead, to ensure effective collaboration and communication between the Government client and our organization.
● Prior experience within a fast-paced, high-growth, metric-driven operational organization will be an advantage.
● A detailed doer – You have a track record of getting things done. You’re organized and responsive. You take ownership of every idea you touch and execute it to a fine level of detail, setting targets, engaging others, and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. You can multi-task dozens of such projects at once and never lose sight of the details. Likely, you have some experience in a start-up or other rapid-growth company.
● A creative problem-solver – Growing any business from scratch comes with massive and constant challenges. On top of that, Bridge works in often fragile, sometimes volatile low-resource communities and with complex government systems. You need to be flexible and ready to get everything done effectively, quickly, and affordably with the materials at hand.
● A relentless advocate – The children we serve and teachers we empower never leave your mind. You know them, get them, have shared a meal with them (or would be happy to in the future). You would never shrink back from shaking a parent’s hand or picking up a crying child, no matter what the person was wearing or looked like. Every decision you make considers their benefit, experience, and value.
● A malleable learner – You believe you can always do better. You welcome constructive criticism and provide it freely to others. You know you only get better tomorrow when others point out where you’ve missed things or failed today.
● A data-driven decision-maker – When making decisions, you don’t rely on your intuition alone. You collect data, you analyze it and make decisions with clear justifications.
● A curious investigator – You ask why a lot. You don’t just take what you see and accept it. You wonder why it is that way, and are aware that the world we see is created by human choices and actions – and it could be different. You wonder, and see the world as wonderful even when you want to change a part of it that is unjust