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Grants and Stakeholder Engagement Manager

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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.
Spark is now active in 320+ villages in 6 countries,  benefiting over 230,000 lives. In the next three years, we seek to accelerate the growth of this approach, through i) establishing a global Community of Practice based on cutting edge facilitation and training design, and ii) establishing a national scale program in Rwanda - our flagship program - in partnership with the Government of Rwanda. Spark is seeking an ambitious and impact-driven team member in Rwanda to help scale the program to an additional 300+ villages and establish a national framework to be incorporated in Government policy and financing. 
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

The Government of Rwanda and Spark have an ambitious strategy to strengthen village-level governance and enhance rural livelihoods across the country. As a major step in this strategy, Spark is in the final steps of securing a $6 million World Bank and Comic Relief 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) and is implemented by a team of around 40 Spark staff and 500 community-based facilitators. 
The Grants & Stakeholder Engagement Manager will support the Rwanda Managing Director in bringing the FCAP to scale in Rwanda, coordinating national, multilateral, and global partnership work; and will work closely with Spark’s Rwanda team as well as functional support teams to coordinate our work in Rwanda. You will directly report to the Rwanda Managing Director, play a key role in strengthening government and funding partner relationships, as well as Spark’s policy advisory function to the Government of Rwanda aimed at developing a National Framework for Participatory Village Planning (NFPVP) by 2023.
We are looking for candidates with experience in coordinating and implementing bilateral or multilateral partnerships; who are energized about building a coalition across development partners and the government, and who demonstrate operational excellence. The right candidate will not want to do ‘development as usual’ but the question ‘how’ aid works and ensure that Spark’s program is ultimately accountable to the villages we serve.  

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES WILL INCLUDE:

Grant management & reporting 

  • Ensure grants are well administered and that program and support teams are fully informed of relevant donor compliance regulations and Spark procedures to support on-track, on-time, and on-budget implementation
  • Own all reporting timelines, requirements, and processes related to the ACE project, including collating, consolidating, and getting approval for  reports with content from different teams 
  • Ensure adherence with safeguarding requirements and other monitoring frameworks
  • Support coordination across teams to deliver on the grant, track progress, and flag any discrepancies between progress and the annual work plan and budget 
  • Support management and relationships of the key donors (World Bank and Comic Relief), including ensuring clear channels of communication and tracking donor correspondence

Policy coordination

  • Support the MD in building and strengthening relationships with the government of Rwanda and development partners, including engaging key ministries, organizing the project Steering Committee and national and local government dialogue and exchange
  • Support the development of the National Framework for Participatory Village Planning (NFPVP) by working with policy consultants and writing drafts for policy briefs 
  • Lead on planning, organizing, coordination, and documentation of all policy and government-related events and meetings
  • Ensure all key stakeholders are regularly updated with relevant project-related communication 

Program management support 

  • Coordinate learning and exchange forums across the project team
  • Help troubleshoot project teams with any challenges or delays
  • Lead cross-team initiatives to support quality programming (e.g. safeguards training, project launch workshops, team retreats)

WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR:  

  • You are driven by a world with a strong civil society where communities are in the driving seat of local change 
  • You have relevant development experience, ideally in either
  • community-driven development,  governance, citizen engagement, social accountability, or other related areas and/or 
  • policy-driven change, perhaps through policy advocacy or having worked directly with policymakers
  • You have an excellent track record of report writing for institutional,  multilateral, or bilateral donors, preferably for the World Bank, with strong writing, editing, and critical analysis skills
  • You have supported the coordination of large projects, including successfully tracking activities against a project timeline and budget and ensuring clean audits and compliance checks, preferably for a large donor such as the World Bank
  • You have a strong process orientation, have managed streamlined and effective compliance and reporting workstreams, and can show success coordinating teams to submit information and collate reports
  • You have supported or managed relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, including donors and government actors.
  • You have can point to the successful organization of stakeholder meetings, communication, and engagement, ideally including government and donors
  • You have excellent writing skills, preferably including experience writing policy briefs and program documents

You have the cultural fit to work with us here at Spark, if:

  • You are dynamic, self-driven, and proactively seek out feedback. 
  • You keep yourself organized, yet lift your head up to think strategically on the regular and relish the challenge of applying a range of approaches to answer complex questions.
  • You are a leader with a passion for transforming bold ideas into actionable strategies. You drive new initiatives, embrace and push for change, and aren’t afraid to try something new.
  • 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.

WHY WORK WITH US?

  • Spark has grown every year since its founding. You will join 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, NYTimes, 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 new world where every village and every neighborhood 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 innovative ideas, your vision for the future, and your critical questions.
  • You’ll never be bored - AND we also respect and value work-life balance and your need for downtime, vacation, and reflection. That’s why in addition to salary, we provide generous paid leave benefits.

OTHER INFORMATION

Location: Kigali, Rwanda 
Start Date: February/March 2021
We will agree on a six month probation period with learning and performance objectives. We are looking for someone who is committed to this role for at least 3 years.