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Country Director (Expiration 30/06/2019)

IPA is a research and policy nonprofit organization that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. Since our founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

IPA’s Nigeria office is the newest country program and will be a key location in an area of strategic importance, with the potential to heavily impact evidence-based policy nationally and in the region. The office will open in early 2019. The Nigeria Country Director will establish research, policy, and administrative operations in the country, with a focus on establishing strong relationships with key stakeholders including national and state governments, major national and international donors, and key implementing partners in the country. The Country Director position provides a unique opportunity to be closely involved in cutting-edge policy-relevant research and work with top academics.  The Country Director will work with IPA senior Global, Regional, and Program leadership, as well as key stakeholders to set the strategic direction and oversee multiple simultaneous impact projects. The Country Director will provide oversight of all project and office operations.


The position will be based in Abuja, Nigeria with extensive travel to project sites around the country. The ideal Country Director candidate will be able to commit to the position for a minimum of three to five years IPA is looking for ambitious candidates that want to shape a new country program that will champion evidence creation through rigorous research and use of evidence-based policies in Nigeria for years to come.

The Country Director (CD)  will be responsible for the overall strategic direction and management and of the country office, which is anticipated to grow to more than 10 projects in the coming three years, and will include wide scale surveys across a diverse set of Nigerian states in a variety of sectors.


Country Office Planning and Management

  • Collaborate with Chief Global Programs Officer and Regional Director to develop IPA Nigeria’s strategic plan;
  • Collaborate with Regional Director to develop sub-initiative priorities, strategies and application plans;
  • Lead strategic project management, financial management, external relations, business development, fundraising, Human Resources, and operational aspects of research projects;
  • Develop and execute project management plan to support strategic planning, resource allocation, and policy engagement;
  • Develop and lead project strategy metrics, goal and target setting, data collection, data management, data analysis, and reporting;
    • Lead a diverse team of Nigerian and international staff, with an emphasis on mentorship in addition to hiring and day-to-day management.
    • Lead IPA’s policy impact in Nigeria including evidence dialogue, dissemination, and research collaborations;
    • Ensure data collection is compliant with IPA’s research protocols and data quality standards;
    • Oversee internal and external project audits.

Financial Management

  • Oversee project budgets management and reporting, financial risk control procedures, projections for multiple grants, and contracts;
  • Ensure compliance to donor reporting, rules, regulations, and requirements (e.g. USAID and DFID);
  • Ensure financial compliance to Nigeria Government and NGO board statutory requirements;
  • Oversee internal and external financial audits.

External Relations

  • Manage, maintain and deepen relationships with core external academic researchers/ principal investigators (PIs) who work and partner with IPA in Nigeria and expand this network of PIs;
  • Develop and maintain high-level relationships with Government of Nigeria, national and international NGO partners;
  • Work with IPA’s Policy team to prioritize sectors for IPA Nigeria’s policy engagement, and identify and cultivate relationships with new partnerships those sectors;
  • Represent IPA Nigeria with global, national, and local level partners;
  • Oversee capacity building of local development partners in evidence-based policy making and impact evaluations;
  • Manage relationships with and provide services to external academic researchers.

Business Development and Fundraising

  • Collaborate with Regional Director and program teams on project resources, financial management, human resources, and operations for proposal development;
  • Engage government partners to identify potential research projects;
  • Identify and cultivate fundraising opportunities;
  • Identify and cultivate research project opportunities, particularly through proactive reach out to external academic researchers/ principle investigators.

Human Resources and Operations

  • Manage Deputy Country Director / Research Manager, Finance Manager, and Human Resources Manager;
  • Oversee Research Managers, Senior Research Associates and Field Managers;
  • Oversee office operations, human resources, and information technology functions;
  • Ensure compliance to Nigerian labor and immigration laws;
  • Act as primary point of contract for emergency and crisis management;
  • Ensure Abuja and field offices safety and security protocols are maintained;
  • Develop systems to strengthen staff capacity.
  • Advanced degree (Master’s level or above)in development economics, public policy, global health, international education or a related field;
  • At least 8 to 10 years of combined research and management experience with increasing responsibility;
  • Expertise in designing and overseeing randomized control trials (RCTs), survey design and implementation;
  • Cultural sensitivity and demonstrated ability to work successfully with diverse constituencies;
  • In-depth knowledge of the Nigerian policy context, and extensive experience interacting with partners, government officials and other key stakeholders in a developing country context (specific Nigeria experience strongly preferred);
  • Understanding of quantitative and qualitative data collection, measurement, and instrument development;
  • Strong attention to detail, with a quality-focused mindset;
  • Ability to work independently and problem-solve, as well as enlist the support of other teams within the organization;
  • Strong quantitative, budgeting and financial management skills;
  • Demonstrated experience in grant writing, preferably for international field research;
  • Experience with presenting research findings at public forums, including to non-research focused audiences;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills and complete fluency in English is required.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset, adept interpersonal skills, and a good sense of humor during adversity are essential.

Additional Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience working in Nigeria or the West African context strongly preferred;
  • Knowledge of another of the official languages of Nigeria beyond English is strongly preferred;
  • Knowledge of qualitative data collection methods is desired;
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Finance and Admin job category, then select “Country Director, Nigeria”. Applications require a statement of purpose (cover letter) and CV.

Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

About IPA 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide.


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