Director for Policy, Training, and Communications - J-PAL South Asia
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) SA, is hiring a full-time Director for Policy, Training and Communications to contribute to its mission of reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.
In 2019, J-PAL founders were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” J-PAL South Asia, based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (now KREA University) in India, leads J-PAL’s work in the South Asia region. J-PAL SA conducts randomised evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programmes, and has a growing number of partnerships in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In 2011, J-PAL SA was selected to host the South Asia Center for CLEAR, a global initiative coordinated by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group. Under this initiative, J-PAL SA hosts a knowledge sharing roundtable series and equip practitioners with the expertise to carry out rigorous evaluations through training courses, advisory services, and joint research projects.
The Director –Policy, Training and Communications (PTC) is a key Leadership position at J-PAL South Asia. The ideal candidate is a public policy leader, passionate about evidence-informed and data-driven decisionmaking. They will drive a transformative evidence to policy agenda to catalyse J-PAL’s mission in the region which is to ensure that policy is driven by evidence, effective programs are scaled up and the core stakeholder capacity in use of evidence for decision-making is strengthened.
Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director – PTC will lead pan-India teams, averaging 20-30 members, provide strategic and technical guidance and support, liaise with high-level government stakeholders, donors, and sector experts, serve as a thought-leader at the national and global level be the face of J-PAL South Asia’s evidence to policy pillar. The incumbent will also provide direct oversight to the CLEAR SA regional centre hosted by J-PAL and work closely with the CLEAR SA Director (and AD Training). They will also partner closely with the global and regional J-PAL network offices to advance J-PAL’s work and mission.
This is an excellent and unique opportunity to be at the forefront of a fast evolving, meaningful, and high-impact organization that is at the leading edge of the transformation in the dynamics of policy making and is impacting the lives of millions of people. The Director will join a creative, energetic and high performing team, working closely with staff across J-PAL SA’s program areas to elevate our evidence to policy efforts. They will also work closely with the South Asia Associate Directors of Policy, Training, and J-PAL’s Global Director of Policy, as well with J-PAL’s network of affiliated researchers, ecosystem partners and government policymakers in the region.
This position will require frequent travel across India and abroad.
Strategy and Execution: Create, execute and drive the evidence to policy strategy for J-PAL SA across 3 core portfolios in collaboration with the Executive Director, a core team of Associate Directors and the rest of the senior leadership team at SA: Policy, Training, and Communication.
- Policy Portfolio: Lead a team of 20+ associate, managers, senior managers and associate directors, to design and drive a transformative Policy agenda that continues to establish J-PAL SA as a leader in the field of evidence driven policy making in South Asia. Liaise with J-PAL SA’s partners across civil society organisations, government partners, donors and multilaterals and oversee J-PAL SA’s ongoing scale-ups, in India. Guide and advise on process evaluation within J-PAL SA’s scale up work, and documentation and project management where necessary, along with expansion of scale-ups of proven programs on an opportunity basis. Monitoring and analysing performance of key sectoral initiatives and projects, issues/challenges and recommend improvements after discussion with key stakeholders.
- Training Portfolio: Plan and Oversee the evaluation capacity building work at J-PAL SA and the CLEAR SA Centre in close collaboration with the AD Training and CLEAR SA Director. Guide AD-Training in the expansion of strategic partnerships with organizations and individuals to help J-PAL SA and CLEAR expand its reach across South Asian countries. Improve the results based management system for the J-PAL SA’s training team’s operations. Contribute to the global evaluation knowledge products in coordination with J-PAL regional and global offices, IPA, and CLEAR centres.
- Communications Portfolio: In collaboration with AD P&C, design and lead the communication strategy for brand building and enhancing J-PAL SA’s brand and value via media and communication channels, both internally and externally. This includes producing materials and management of stakeholders through internal and external communication channels and forums. Facilitate support for org-wide Initiatives from the Communication & branding lens.
Fundraising and Donor Management: Collaborate with SA Scientific Directors and Executive Director to design and deploy a comprehensive fundraising strategy for the short and long term and in identifying opportunities and collaborations. Facilitate expansion of the operations by securing grants via partnerships with foundations, international development organizations, impact investors and HNIs, and build and lead the fundraising team.
Strategic Partnerships & alliances: Cultivate strategic engagements with Government partners. Initiate new relationships, manage high level relationships with senior Government officials (e.g. Chief Secretary and Department Secretaries) and guide the ADs in the coordination of ongoing work. A key part of this role in particular is to maintain a personal and continuous rapport with the key bureaucrats’ / government officials (e.g. Chief Secretary, Department Secretaries, Principal Secretary) to proactively engage them on various aspects of the partnerships. Forge and oversee alliances with external partners (e.g. NGOs) on need basis, to further SA’s Policy agenda.
High level representation of J-PAL SA: Represent J-PAL South Asia’s Executive Director in high level meetings with partners, donors and other stakeholders as well as participate in key conferences as a keynote speaker. Represent and act on behalf of the ED in key stakeholder meetings, including taking decisions across key org wide and strategic portfolios on behalf of the organisation.
Financial Management: Manage the finances and budgets for all 3 portfolios in collaboration with Director - Finance. Collaborate with Director - Finance and Executive Director on quarterly financial forecasts for all portfolios and activities thereof. Create annual plans, goals and budgets across all verticals and portfolios, lead the successful execution of these plans through careful monitoring, robust reporting and facilitate increasing the accountability and continuous improvement of systems for effective management.
- Mentor, guide and coach the team of Associate Directors across the three portfolios. Guide portfolio heads and support their teams for effective performance in meeting organizations’ strategic and tactical objectives.
- Foster a healthy work culture within teams across the portfolios, aligned to J-PAL SA’s values and mission.
- Periodically review and restructure roles and responsibilities and expected results of vertical heads. Strategically plan for future resources and allocation of the same.
- Innovate new systems and practices that aid continuous improvement in our work in the field; and enable their easy adoption across portfolios.
- Establish a collaborative relationship with all other verticals within the organization; Support the Global PTC teams on specific initiatives, when required.
- Join J-PAL SA’s leadership team as a champion and strategic thought partner. Provide strategic inputs, contribute to decision-making and enable execution of decisions at an organizational level as a key member of the Leadership Team at J-PAL SA.
- Proactively identify and execute additional activities to advance the organization's success and sustainability.
- Collaborate and drive key leadership initiatives, as required, as a key member of the Senior Management Team at J-PAL Global.
- Master’s degree in Public Health, Economics, Social Sciences, Development Studies, Education, Public Policy, Public Administration, and business studies and related disciplines.
Minimum Professional Experience:
- Fifteen plus (15+) years of progressively responsible in relevant fields and sectors.
- Keen understanding of government and institutional processes in India, as well as the ecosystems surrounding research, policy, impact, data and philanthropy;
- Experience with engaging policy makers and influencing outcomes at the sector level;
- Proven previous experience in research, monitoring and evaluation - ideally within the social impact sector; Sound knowledge and understanding of randomized evaluations
- Experience with digital transformation strategies to support data analysis and visualization
- Strong technical competence in monitoring, learning and impact evaluation field. Strategic thinking; ability to develop and implement transformational initiatives;
- Exceptional Communication skills – written and oral;
- Excellent proposal/ report writing skills & technical documentation;
- Entrepreneurial, creative outlook, perspective and ability to work under minimal supervision
- Strong management ability: a clear focus on results, sets goals, plans and prioritizes effectively, monitors quality and progress of work against plans; Proven ability to design and produce high-quality complex technical reports and proposals;
- Strong people management skills; Ability to inspire teams to go over & beyond the minimum requirements;
- Part of senior leadership in previous organisation(s);
- Ability and flexibility for frequent travel across India and abroad. Compensation: J-PAL South Asia offers a competitive salary with excellent benefits. Location(s): This position will be based in New Delhi but will require frequent travel to all areas where J-PAL South Asia operates.
To be successful at J-PAL South Asia, you must also have:
- Passion for our mission and a strong desire to impact a dynamic social-impact organization
- Be a proactive and innovative thinker who achieves results and creates positive change
- A very high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness
- Embrace diversity and a commitment to collaboration
- Ability to thrive in a fast-paced and fun environment
- Ability to work in complex, dynamic and fast evolving scenarios with multiple competing priorities
- Ability to work with a highly diversified set of stakeholders’ demographics, socio-economic backgrounds and geographies.
J-PAL South Asia is committed to identifying and developing the skills and leadership of people from diverse backgrounds.
How to Apply
Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the [Policy] job category, then select "[Director for Policy-Training-Communications - J-PAL South Asia]” and include resume, cover letter, transcripts, and two recommendation letters. Note that applications with incomplete submissions will not be considered.
You are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application. Given the volume of applications received, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.