Title: Managing Director
ABOUT SPARK MICROGRANTS
Spark Microgrants believes in a world where everyone lives with dignity and determines their own positive future. Decades of prescriptive aid have sidelined the poor from the very programs meant to uplift them. For nearly a decade, Spark Microgrants has been pioneering a new approach to international aid. We believe in local solutions and catalyzing rural villages facing poverty into action. After years of refining a community organizing and seed funding model for rural village action we are garnering demand from emerging nations and leading civil society organizations to train and support them to adapt and deploy the approach at scale.
At the heart of Spark’s model, the Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP), are ‘town-hall’ style weekly meetings, in which women and men, young and old, plan together for their community’s future. Each village democratically elects a leadership committee, establishes a village savings account, and launches a project of their choice. Members receive training on financial management and transparency, leadership, village planning, and advocacy. Each village then receives US$8,000 in seed funds to turn project ideas into reality and receives additional management support.
In our first decade we reached 320+ villages where each launches their own local impact projects, benefiting over 230,000 lives. In the next three years, we seek to accelerate the growth of this approach, through establishing a national program to reach 14,000 villages in Rwanda, lead cutting edge research on the benefits of facilitation, and curate a global community of practice for organizations across the continent and beyond actively using the FCAP.
As a team, we share a set of common values that shape ‘how’ we work. These are:
1) Facilitators. We don’t impose; we enable others to generate impact.
2) Community-driven. We are motivated by what is best for the community.
3) Process-centered. The how of what we do is just as important as the what.
4) Authentic. Our vision and values live in everything we do.
5) Dynamic. We seek opportunities and are willing to take risks to serve our community Partners better.
ABOUT THE ROLE
Spark is seeking a Managing Director to scale our work from 190 to 14,000 villages across Rwanda through coalition building, national policy development, and strong program delivery. The Government of Rwanda and Spark have an ambitious strategy to strengthen village level governance and enhance rural livelihoods across the country.
To finance this initiative, Spark is in the final steps of securing a $6 million World Bank grant through the Japanese Social Development Fund, for the Advancing Citizen Engagement (ACE) Project. The project is anticipated to kick off in early 2021. The project will improve the livelihoods of 85,000 people across 245 villages in Rwanda, and enhance Local and Central Government capacity for participatory village planning, utilizing Spark’s tried and tested model for village development, the Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP). Your strategic leadership will guarantee successful replication of the FCAP through our World Bank and Government partnership and ensure we are set on the path to national scale in Rwanda.
The Managing Director will act as the key leader in bringing the FCAP to scale in Rwanda, coordinating national, multilateral, and global partnership work; and will work closely with the executive team and interact with the Board of Directors to direct our work in Rwanda. You will be responsible for a team of 30+ program staff, directly manage the Rwanda Country Director, own government and funding partner relationships, and lead Spark’s policy advisory function to the Government of Rwanda.
We are looking for candidates with success in building bilateral and multilateral partnerships; are energized about building a coalition across funding agencies and implementation groups; and demonstrate operational excellence and a passion for culture and people development. The right candidate will not want to do ‘development as usual’ but question ‘how’ aid works and ensure that Spark’s program is ultimately accountable to the villages we serve.
YOUR OBJECTIVES AND KEY RESULTS WILL INCLUDE;
- Management and Leadership: Provision of strategic leadership to the Rwanda program to set and achieve goals driving enhanced program quality, scope and efficiency;
- Effective management of a team of 30+ country program staff, driving excellence and promoting and embodying values in the team.
- Advance the goal of national coverage in Rwanda through policy-driven scaling of the FCAP approach, including through strategic management of an initial World Bank and philanthropically funded Project.
- Lead coordination and oversight of Rwanda-based Programs, Operations, and Finance and RELM teams towards quality program implementation, ensuring that the Rwanda program meets and exceeds donor and government expectations.
- Year 1 focus: Establish and oversee the Rwanda program with a focus on the ACE Project team, including supporting recruitment of additional project staff, implementing strong performance incentives, and streamlining coordination and workflows to deliver on the ACE Project Work Plan.
- Coalition Building: Support the Government of Rwanda to prepare and adopt a National Framework for Participatory Village Planning;
- Ensure quality design, financing and adoption of a national program for participatory village development.
- Drive national-level dialogue, policy reform, and program design by leveraging evidence from programming implementation.
- Build a coalition of development partners and Government in support of a National Framework for Participatory Village Planning.
- Year 1 focus: Establish inter-ministerial technical working relationships to drive design of the National Framework, and cultivate relationships with non-governmental development partners.
- Grant Management: Quality execution of the World-Bank funded Advancing Citizen Engagement (ACE) Project to improve rural livelihoods and enhance Government capacity for citizen engagement;
- Support compliance with donor requirements through ownership of all Grant-specific processes, budgets, and legal agreements, and leadership and coordination across program, finance, and operational teams.
- Lead management of donor and Government relationships and ensure timely and quality submission of project reports.
- Ensure effective and timely program implementation in line with project work plan and safeguarding instruments.
- Year 1 focus: Oversight of ACE Project launch and roll-out of timely program operations to 245 villages, establishment of operational and programmatic systems for reporting and data management.
WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR;
- Passion for rural communities owning their future
- You are driven by a world with strong civil society where communities are in the driving seat of local change.
- You are passionate about improving aid delivery and governance
- Commitment to Policy-driven change.
- You have experience working within or supporting Government-led initiatives, and can demonstrate your experience supporting Government-led reforms.
- You have an understanding of the machinery of public policy, and feel comfortable engaging with key stakeholders on policy reform at both a technical and a high-level.
- Relationship builder
- You have established and strengthened relationships with governments and/or donors and can show how these helped scale and grow programs under your supervision.
- You are comfortable representing Spark to a wide audience, networking on the international stage, and building regional coalitions.
- Strong Manager
- You have a strong record of keeping projects on track, consistently meeting implementation timelines with quality.
- You have managed grant-funded projects and can point to examples of excellent program delivery, donor relationship management, and reporting.
- You have a solid management record of at least 5 years in diverse and multicultural contexts and workplaces, where you lead, nurtured, and retained Passion for rural communities owning their future.
You have the cultural fit to work with us here at Spark if;
- You are dynamic, self-driven, and proactively seek out feedback.
- You are self-organized and goal oriented.
- You think strategically and are highly process oriented, relishing the challenge of applying a range of approaches to answer complex questions.
- You are a facilitator; you listen intently, integrate feedback and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak up and develop ideas together.
- You drive thoughtful processes to make strategic decisions and problem solve. You collaborate and prioritize an inclusive process that can be replicated in the future.
- You are authentic. You speak your mind and you live your values.
- You respect all people irrespective of race, gender, age, religion, nationality, economic status, sexual orientation, or ability, in all of your approaches to your work.
- Master’s degree in a related field.
- Extensive experience as a Managing Director or in a similar role.
- At least 6 years of experience and extensive experience in a similar position
- Experience in developing and implementing strategic and new business plans.
- Commitment to Policy-driven change.
- Relationship builder.
- A facilitator; you listen intently, integrate feedback and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak up and develop ideas together.
WHY WORK WITH US;
- Spark has grown every year since founding, you will enter the organization as part of senior leadership with immense opportunity to shape the future of the organization and grow as a leader.
- Spark has been recognized by the Government of Rwanda, NY Times, Obama Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan, Forbes and beyond as a leader in community-driven change.
- You will be joining a team that hails from ten countries around the world and is committed to a world where every village has the power to drive local change.
- You will have the freedom and autonomy to make your role your own. We want to hear your crazy ideas, your vision for the future and your critical questions.
Currently our field operations are adapting to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Our teams are supporting our communities virtually and we expect that when things open up demand for development solutions will be high in the communities we serve. We are working on refining our growth and virtual support models at this time.
Location: Kigali, Rwanda (with ~30% travel), but we are open to virtual work in the next 6 months while we monitor the COVID situation and assess risks.
We are looking for someone who is committed to this role for at least 3-4 years.