Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is seeking qualified applicants for Uganda/Rwanda Country Director position. In the last two years, IPA Uganda and Rwanda merged into one unit on the operations and management side, but the two maintained some autonomy. IPA Uganda has a long-term established body of evidence in health, governance, and financial inclusion. On the other hand, IPA Rwanda has close working relations with the government working on policy-relevant projects in Education, health, agriculture, and financial inclusion. 

The Country Director will work with IPA Global and key stakeholders to set the strategic direction of the office and oversee multiple simultaneous impact evaluations in a range of sectors. The position requires close interaction with academic researchers, donors, local government agencies, and other NGOs. The Country Director, assisted by the IPA Uganda/Rwanda Senior Management Team, will provide overarching oversight of all project and office operations, including finance, human resources, operations, and research. The position requires experience in research, partner management, grants, and contracts management.


Oversee And Initiate High-Quality Research

  • Oversee project design and budgeting during the proposal stage to ensure evaluations meet IPA standards and costing structure
  • Manage relationships with and provide services to Principal Investigators (academic researchers)
  • Ensure that IPA research, including data collection, is implemented according to IPA’s research protocols and data quality standards and the Principal Investigator’s direction
  • Provide research management for IPA project teams
  • Oversee the management of project budgets and donor reporting with the support of the Finance Manager, in coordinating with IPA’s global Grants team on all ongoing research grants and studies
  • Build systems and structures to build staff capacity and ensure overall data quality, including spearheading skills training for staff
  • Work to incorporate best practices and lessons learned in research and operations by other IPA offices and research affiliates
  • Ensure project audits are systematically carried out while ensuring remedial action is taken as required/proposed

Policy Impact

  • Responsible for leading IPA’s policy impact in Uganda and Rwanda, including evidence dialogue and dissemination and research collaborations for policy and oversight of the development of a policy engagement plan.
  • Develop and maintain high-level relationships with partners in the Governments of Rwanda and Uganda, including the Ministries of Health, Education, Agriculture, and the Rwanda development Authority.
  • Cultivate relationships, studies, and new partnerships in sectors prioritized by IPA Uganda/Rwanda’s policy engagement
  • Engage government partners to identify research questions of interest and priority to key leadership and cultivate potential research projects in those areas

Develop and implement IPA Uganda/Rwanda’s strategic plan, in line with IPA’s global plan and mission.

  • Identify priority research questions and key concerns for policymakers and initiate and manage the development of corresponding new research proposals
  • Develop new relationships in order for the country office to maximize its impact
  • Lead and initiate project development with researchers, funders, and partner organizations
  • Ensure balanced country office structures that can be supported by incoming revenues

Ensure sound operations of IPA Uganda/Rwanda

  • Oversee and manage a team of Research Managers (Senior) and Associate Research Managers whose responsibilities include project design and implementation, data collection, data management, analysis, and reports
  • Oversee and manage Finance Manager, Human Resources Manager, and Deputy Country Director
  • Coordinate office and country-wide meetings and training in coordination with the Research Managers
  • Develop and oversee office administration, including human resources, information technology, project budgets, and accounting; hire long-term IPA staff in the country program

Oversee finances for IPA Uganda/Rwanda

  • Ensure proper compliance with financial procedures, approve expenditures, make accurate projections and ensure overall compliance
  • Strengthen finance systems to ensure the systems are robust for country program growth and compliant with strict donor requirements (e.g., USAID, DFID)
  • Ensure IPA Uganda/Rwanda complies with the Uganda/Rwanda Government and NGO board Statutory requirements.

Mitigate and Manage Risks

  • Set security standards and parameters for work and ensure that IPA Uganda/Rwanda staff follow security measures
  • Monitor security concerns for IPA operations and act as the primary contact in crisis management
  • Take steps to mitigate risk and safeguard the organization’s reputation
  • Oversee safety and security and ensure organizationally, legal compliance
  • Manage work permit applications and renewals for international staff

Manage external relations

  • Represent IPA Uganda/Rwanda in national and local government agencies and partner organizations, including presentations on IPA’s work in Uganda/Rwanda and globally
  • Strengthen the local presence of IPA in Uganda/Rwanda
  • Manage relationships with current and potential IPA partner organizations.
  • Oversee capacity building of local development partners in evidence-based policy making and rigorous impact evaluations
  • Work closely with IPA Uganda/Rwanda’s regional partner, J-PAL Africa, on research, policy, and capacity building.
  • Oversee targeted dissemination, and encourage scale-up of successful projects
  • Master’s degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, or field related to international economic development
  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant work experience
  • Strong oral and written communication skills in English are required.
  • Previous J-PAL/IPA work experience or experience developing new RCTs or working with researchers on RCTs is highly desired.
  • Successful experience leading teams of similar size (300 full-time staff)
  • Experience living and working in Africa /Uganda/Rwanda is desired
  • Knowledge of human resources and financial management
  • Experience with budgeting and project planning
  • Passion for connecting rigorous research to policymakers and practitioners and communicating what works and what does not work in development
  • Ability to lead a large and complex country program and oversee rigorous impact evaluations
  • Commitment to leading a diverse team and building staff capacity
  • Ability to communicate effectively across cultures with multiple stakeholders, including international and local academic researchers, government officials, NGO partners, enumeration teams, and study participants
  • Excellent management and organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • Flexible, self-motivating, managing multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player
  • Quantitative research skills/ experience and familiarity with randomized controlled trials are preferred
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Finance & Administration job category, then select “Country Director, Uganda & Rwanda”. Applications require you to include 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 600 leading academics to conduct over 900 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

IPA's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) 

As an organization, IPA is dedicated to improving the lives of the world's most vulnerable populations through evidence and policy. We also recognize how important it is for our staff to reflect the diversity of the places where we work and the communities we work with. As such, IPA is committed to hiring from a diverse pool of candidates, from a range of backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. We know that this makes our work stronger and more responsive to the challenges faced by those we work with and for and we encourage people from historically underrepresented groups to apply. Click here to learn more about IPA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Innovations for Poverty Action is an affirmative action equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected class. IPA will endeavor to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business. If you believe you require such assistance to complete this form or to participate in an interview, please contact us at or via phone at 1-202-386-6200. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the specified position. The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.