Program Lead - Nairobi, Kenya/ Busara Center for Behavioral Economics

  • Kenya
  • Master's
  • Other advanced degree
Start Date (Earliest):
Length of Commitment:
Two years

Who we are:

We are an advisory and research organization focused on advancing and applying behavioral science in the Global South, in pursuit of poverty alleviation. We work with organizations to build behaviorally-informed solutions to help scale their products, programs, and policies. Our rigorous approach to experimentation has generated impact in a broad range of fields from financial inclusion to health and early childhood development.THE ROLEWe are looking for a Program Lead at Busara to provide strategic direction, guidance and support to our partners working on data and evidence related to Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) based in Kenya and East Africa as part of the Initiative for What Works (IWW) by the Gates Foundation. This role will be based at Busara and work closely with Busara’s Research and Innovation team and the Foundation’s Program Officer. This role will also report to the Research and Innovation Director at Busara, who is responsible for the overall delivery and strategic management of the project.The key responsibilities are to:

  1. Provide strategic direction on building research and organizational capacity and partnerships to Kenya research partners in collaboration with the Gates Foundation Program Officers. This support will ideally be hands-on and involve building relationships and spending time with grantees both in-person and virtually.
  2. Support and build capacity for new partners on sharing relevant information, and synthesizing important learning, and developing effective, rapid communication materials (e.g. research updates, decks).The position will be full-time, running for a period of 18 months, and is based in Busara’s Nairobi office in Kenya.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life

About the Women’s Economic Empowerment - Kenya Project 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has established an ‘Initiative for What Works’ (IWW) network of research and evidence hub aimed at strengthening the generation and use of evidence to advance women’s economic empowerment (WEE) and gender equality in Kenya. The program will produce high-quality, rigorous evidence through evaluation of programs and policies with high potential for impact. Busara is working closely with the Foundation and the Foundation’s Program Officer to ensure the hub has the right contextual, research, and operational expertise and to provide support for knowledge management and partnership development.


Strategic Direction

  • Build organizational effectiveness, research capacity and strategy for key new grantees to the WEE research and evidence portfolio in Kenya. 
  • Support senior management of the research partners on refining their priorities, plans and outputs for research, policy and communication.Analyze areas to focus on with key grantees, and provide direct technical support and guidance to build and oversee a growing, effective research initiative. 
  • Support the documentation and adoption of best practices and learning from the experiences of other research and academic entities.
  • Recommend ways to build grantee capacity, partnerships and know-how which may fall outside of their remit.

Capacity Building

  • Coordinate and work with new partners to synthesize and communicate information on their research and progress more effectively and build their capacity for substantive, detailed reporting and sharing. This includes providing templates and coordinating knowledge sharing activities. 
  • Support the grantees in meetings with high-level government officials, business executives, NGO leaders, and other key stakeholders on the global stage. 
  • Support knowledge sharing with key stakeholders in the sector, as needed.
  • Perform related work as needed such as supporting the team in other activities including rapid research support, consultations and interviews with experts, and other coordination or event management activities.

Organizational and Divisional Responsibilities

  • Contribute to the knowledge base on women’s economic empowerment at Busara by supporting the research agenda and portfolio development focused on gender differences
  • Design learning documents highlighting meta findings and sharing these amongst relevant internal stakeholders
  • Disseminate results, prepare project reports, and present results at our Lunch and Learn sessions.
  • Support business development activities, as needed



  • A Master’s degree in Economics, Gender Studies, Public Policy, Social Sciences, or related fields.Strong knowledge of the experimental social science literature (economics, political science, psychology)
  • 3+ years previous work experience in a related field, including experience in managing or leading large-scale evaluative research and data collection 
  • Strong analytical, communication and writing skillsFlexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently and a team player.Interest and experience working in a fast-paced working environment.
  • Excellent communication and writing skills, with fluency in English.

And preferably:

  • Previous experience conducting research in developing countries with preferred focus or interest in gender equality and/or labor and education
  • Experience working in the development of ‘systems’ within research organizations.Experience in setting up or managing research organizations and partnerships.Experience designing methodological or research tool-based research.
  • A PhD in Economics, Public Policy, Social Sciences, or related fields.Strong skills in econometrics and programming (STATA, Python, R, Matlab)
  • Experience managing or mentoring staff