Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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 partners 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 an environment in which all people have the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives.
The Program Advocacy and Communications (PAC) team works in partnership with program teams, the Africa team, and other teams in GPA to achieve their policy and finance goals by:
- Developing and coordinating the execution of advocacy and communications strategies.
- Developing, when required, resource mobilization strategies in collaboration with relevant teams.
- Bringing to bear leadership and foundation voice to implement advocacy strategies.
- Developing and handling 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.
The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will help lead the foundation’s work on agricultural development and climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa. You will be responsible for refreshing, implementing, and regularly updating advocacy and communications strategies to advance the goals of the foundation’s Agricultural development strategy and climate adaptation work.
The Agricultural Development (AgDev) program aims to catalyze a country-led, inclusive, agricultural transformation (IAT) process by developing and scaling products, services, policies, and system-wide innovations that benefit small-scale producers, empower women, and improve nutritional outcomes. We want farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA) to be empowered with the knowledge, tools, and technologies to improve their livelihoods and lift themselves and their families out of poverty. The team has a strong focus on adaptation to climate change which is critical for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on agriculture to support their families, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Recognizing that to achieve IAT and adapt to climate change, countries need strong political will, high-quality national agricultural investment plans and adaptation plans and projects, and an enabling environment that enables innovation, the foundation has developed an advocacy and communications strategy on agriculture and climate adaptation.
This strategy seeks to align donor support for agriculture and the global agriculture architecture; develop country-level data for accountability; strengthen country policies; enhance the enabling environment for innovation; and to support countries to access climate finance for agricultural adaptation needs.
What You’ll Do
- The SPO, Africa Agriculture and Climate Adaptation Advocacy, will work in partnership with the Africa, AgDev, and PAC teams:
- Refresh, implement, and regularly update the foundation’s pan-Africa agricultural and climate adaptation advocacy strategies and country-level agriculture advocacy strategies in select focus countries.
- Work individually and with other program officers to develop, negotiate, and lead a portfolio of investments of agriculture and climate adaptation advocacy partners in Africa, including oversight of portfolio budget and all related grant-making processes (e.g., investment reviews, strategic alignment, grantee engagement, etc.).
- Lead high-impact and complex partnerships, coalitions, and advocacy campaigns including optimally coordinating networks of grantees.
- Provide in-depth advocacy and communications counsel and support to key grantees and partners.
- In partnership with African team colleagues, develop and expand relationships with focus country governments and regional bodies on agriculture and climate issues.
- Represent the foundation and our strategies to external constituencies. This could include formal and informal presentations such as making speeches, attending conferences, committee representation, and other meetings. May serve on boards and working groups.
- Write and produce clear, concise, and insightful briefings, messaging, reports, email updates, and other materials on key African agriculture and climate topics and other relevant issues for foundation leadership.
- Participate in and learn from the foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts to ensure that we are continuing to make progress toward realizing our commitments.
- Participate in cross-Africa/PAC team efforts to enhance our integration, accelerate impact, and maintain a cohesive and dynamic culture.
- This position will report to the Deputy Director, Program Advocacy and Communications, Africa Team, with a dotted-line reporting relationship to the Deputy Director, Program Advocacy and Communications, Agriculture/Nutrition, based in Seattle.
- Bachelor’s degree in public policy, international relations, agricultural development, climate science, development, or a related field with 7+ years of progressive senior-level experience leading advocacy initiatives in agriculture and climate change or development issues.
- Deep understanding of the role of advocacy and communications efforts to increase awareness of global development issues and shape political and financial support for these issues with governmental and non-state organizations.
- Experience working on agricultural development and climate policy and financing and understanding of the agriculture and climate policy and advocacy landscape in Africa.
- Experience working on advocacy in sub-Saharan Africa including interaction with senior-level policy makers, civil society organizations, coalitions, and governments.
- Understanding of key regional and multilateral financial institutions and mechanisms including how they make policy and fund development programs at national and regional level.
- Proven track record of providing vision and influencing others in a constructive, optimistic manner, while building and sustaining collaborative relationships.
- Outstanding project and leadership skills including the ability to lead strategy development through execution, develop shared goals and execution plans, prioritize, facilitate meetings, run budgets, develop consensus, and work both autonomously and collaboratively.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus, ideal.
- French language, in addition to English, is preferred but not required.
- Experience handling a grant’s portfolio either as a grantee, receiving and reporting on a grant, or as a grant manager, with direct responsibility for grant-making and management.
- Experience developing and handling complex projects and/or grants in support of policy initiatives, advocacy programs, and events at the global, regional, and national levels.
- Experience working in an environment with ambiguity while helping teams adapt to change.
- Ability to work with flexibility and a high level of rigor, collaboration, and diplomacy, both individually and as part of a complex team effort.
- High standards of personal integrity.
- Willingness to travel up to 30% of the time when health and safety protocols allow.
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