Deputy Director - J-PAL Africa

South Africa
Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
Three years or more
Start Date 
March 01, 2019

The main purpose of this position is to support the J-PAL Africa Executive Director in ensuring the J-PAL Africa Program is delivered across Africa to the highest global standards. The role involves supporting vertical functions of Research, Policy & Training and Operations, fundraising for continued unit health, increasing the unit’s visibility amongst key stakeholders and building and maintaining relationships across the J-PAL network and partner organisations.


Support the Executive Director in leading and representing J-PAL Africa (20% of time)

  • Support the ED in her functions setting the vision and implementation plan for J-PAL Africa
  • Develop and expand the J-PAL Africa's external communications plan (marketing, media and public relations)
  • Represent J-PAL Africa to the public and key stakeholders through presenting J-PAL evidence and approach to evidence-informed policymaking at events, online and through other fora
  • Maintain expertise in J-PAL subject areas
  • Coordinate with J-PAL’s global network, SALDRU and UCT

Oversee the research, and/ or operations verticals with detailed know-how to support policy & training vertical, as well (40% of time)

Be the key support to the research, and/or operations verticals, depending on senior leadership make up and specific technical expertise of executive director and deputy director involving:

  • Providing leadership and direction for senior staff in the specific vertical(s), setting an effective agenda and ensuring performance goals are set and met 
  • Contributing technical know-how to project design. 

Examples for verticals include:

  • Operations: Financial management systems
  • Research: Randomised evaluation design thinking
  • Policy: Help scope policy context, map evidence to opportunities for project design. 

Engaging and building relationships with principal investigators, policymakers and donors as per project requirements

Troubleshoot challenges to project integrity and elevate to the necessary levels for resolution

Project Development, Fundraising and Donor relationships (20% of time)

  • Identify new project development opportunities and build plans to fundraise for and implement these
  • Cultivate relationships with existing and prospective funders
  • Develop fundraising proposals for core work

Human Resource Development, Placement, and Management (20% of time)

  • Responsible for identifying human resource requirements across the organization
  • Manage the hiring process of all new staff
  • Manage and performance manage senior team members in a key vertical (research, policy & training and/or operations)
  • Serves as a mentor/coach as part of J-PAL Africa team support

Minimum qualifications

A Masters in Public Policy or Economics or another similar social science including graduate level (masters or PHD) courses in econometrics/ statistics, microeconomics and development economics.

Minimum experience

  • At least 5 years relevant research management, operations and policy outreach experience
  • Proven leadership and management track record 
  • Demonstrated ability to understand and communicate findings from rigorous quantitative research. Experience supervising quantitative research or impact evaluations preferred.
  • Experience leading policy outreach including strategically identifying and mobilizing appropriate policymakers and developing and maintaining these relationships
  • Experience preparing policy outreach materials, including written memos and formal presentations
  • Experience presenting at training/ dissemination events
  • Experience writing and managing budgets
  • Experience managing grants and donor relationships
  • Proven ability to handle multiple diverse assignments at one time, successfully complete assigned tasks and meet deadlines while conducting high-quality work


  • Strong skills in Excel, Word and PowerPoint
  • Advanced writing and oral presentation skills in English, particularly the ability to communicate technical research to policymakers in a non-technical manner
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent program and people management skills
  • Strategic thinking through to quality program execution


  • Development economics 
  • Understanding of randomized evaluations of social policies/programs

Other requirements

  • Honesty to authorize payments
  • Willingness to travel extensively