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Job Title

INTERNAL ADVERTISEMENT - Project Management Specialist (Basic Education Leader)




Advert Details

Recruiter: USAID Kenya Updated on: 2017-07-25 02:10:02
Contract Permanent
Location: Nairobi Available: Immediately
Category: Education / Training Offer: N/A



The United States Agency for International Development Mission to Kenya and East Africa (USAID/Kenya and East Africa) seeks a qualified Kenyan for the position of Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) in the Office of Education and Youth (EDY).

Minimum Requirements

Who May Apply: Current Cooperating Country National Personal Service Contractors (CCNPSCs) of the USG Mission to Kenya. Employees currently on probation are ineligible to apply. 

*People with disabilities are encouraged to apply*

Any application that does not meet the minimum requirements stated below will not be evaluated. Only short listed applicants will be contacted. If you have not been contacted within one month from the closing date of this advertisement, please consider your application unsuccessful.

  1. Education: Master’s degree in education, international development, or related fields is required.
  2. Prior Work Experience:  Minimum requirement of at least eight (8) years of progressively responsible experience in education, international development, program management, or a related field. Experience working with the GOK and donor institutional structures in education or a related sector is required. Prior certification to work as an Assistance/Contracts Officer’s Representative (A/COR), and qualification to administer obligated funds under USAID contracting instruments, such as grants and contracts is strongly preferred.
  3. Post Entry Training:  The incumbent will be expected to possess the necessary technical training and skills required to perform the duties/responsibilities required for this position. Post-entry training will be focused primarily on the Agency’s established policies, procedures, and regulations that govern: (1) USAID-specific AOR/COR responsibilities/duties; (2) USAID-specific activity management and procurement systems; and (3) USAID-sponsored training in project design and activity management. Organized/formal training (both internal and external) may be provided from time-to-time depending on the availability of program funds and when determined to be in direct support of EDY activities. Participation in job-related seminars, workshops and development studies programs organized by USAID, e.g., AOR/COR courses, education modules, USAID’s e-Learning Institute’s Courses, etc.  Supervisory, ethics, cybersecurity, and other courses as required by the Agency.
  4. Language Proficiency: Excellent (Level IV) English writing and editing skills, as well as an excellent ability to process information from a wide variety of sources into cohesive, polished.  Fluent oral English and Kiswahili (Level IV) required.
  5. Job Knowledge:  A comprehensive knowledge of the theories and practices around access and quality of education is required.  Knowledge of best practices for early grade reading, challenges related to educating in-school and out-of-school children and youth, formal and non-formal/alternative approaches to education, education as a tool of development assistance, and human and institutional capacity building is preferred.
  6. Skills and Abilities:  Proven ability to adapt in the face of change, synthesize new information, and then provide sound advice to Mission management and others.  Ability to assess problems and develop sound solutions such as planning for and administering funds, personnel and equipment to best serve education program oversight objectives; ability to work with minimal supervision and work in a fast paced environment; and strong organizational skills.  Demonstrated ability in developing and maintaining counterpart contacts and relationships at senior levels is strongly preferred.  The position also requires strong communications, mentoring, interpersonal, teamwork, and leadership skills, as well as the ability to prepare reports and technical and policy briefs sometimes with short deadlines.   Advanced competency in MS Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is required.                                                                                                


Job Specification

The United States Agency for International Development Mission to Kenya and East Africa (USAID/Kenya and East Africa) seeks a qualified Kenyan for the position of Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) in the Office of Education and Youth (EDY).  This position requires senior-level technical expertise in the field of basic education and practical knowledge of program and project design, management, and monitoring and evaluation.  The incumbent provides leadership and management to the USAID/Kenya and East Africa basic education portfolio, and the candidate chosen for this position will be expected to participate actively and fully in organizational management of the Office. S/he is required to possess a high degree of competence and maturity, and will manage productive relationships with the Embassy, other donors, the private sector, non-governmental and civil society organizations, and private voluntary organizations (PVOs) from the local, regional, and international arenas.  The position entails effective and continuous communication with Government of Kenya (GOK) officials on all levels, ensuring that USAID/Kenya and East Africa is fully engaged in the education sector reform agenda.  The position functions under the supervision of the EDY Office Chief.

Kenya boasts the largest, most diversified economy in East Africa, and the country’s role as a transport hub amplifies its importance for much of sub-Saharan Africa. Decades of inequitable and often corrupt governance have dampened economic progress and exacerbated ethnic divisions. Kenya’s 2010 Constitution and devolved government provide an opportunity to change this scenario.

Education is a centerpiece of the GOK’s Vision 2030—its ambitious plan to transform Kenya into a middle-income country by 2030. Free Primary Education and Free Day Secondary Education are part of this vision, and have produced a dramatic response.  Since 2003, primary school enrollment has increased by nearly 3 million pupils (a 46% increase), while the number of schools grew by 7,000 (a 38% increase).  USAID and the GOK have been working together closely to ensure that educational quality is similarly increased in the area of early grade reading.

In line with USAID’s global education strategy, USAID/Kenya and East Africa’s basic education portfolio focuses on improving the early grade reading skills of Kenya’s nine million primary school children.  In 2013, target schools using USAID’s early grade reading pilot program increased the percent reading with proficiency to 20 percent in just one year, a 535 percent increase.  Since 2015, the program has been expanded to scale in every public primary school in Kenya and 1,000 low-cost private schools selected by the GOK.  A primary responsibility for the Education Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) position through 2019 will be managing the national scale-up of methodologies and materials that are proven to improve reading outcomes, in addition to other basic education projects. Beyond 2019, new programs will be designed and managed by the Education Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) based on USAID strategies and GOK priorities. 

With PEPFAR funds, USAID supports public-private partnerships that provide scholarships, mentoring and career guidance to orphans and vulnerable young people, and implements programs that use peer education and community engagement to promote healthy behavior and HIV prevention.

USAID/Kenya and East Africa also works to empower Kenyan youth to promote their own development and prosperity, become responsible citizens, and advocate for peace and better governance. Over 2.5 million youth (aged 18-35) are unemployed and, over the last six years, the Kenyan economy has generated only 150,000 formal-sector jobs in total -- leaving millions of youth without opportunities for formal employment.  USAID programs have worked with and continue to support some one million youth in 23,000 villages nationwide to improve youth voice and increase livelihood opportunities. The Education Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) will be expected to remain current on youth programming in order to maximize opportunities for synergy to advance Basic Education objectives.


This position as the Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) provides wide latitude for planning, organizing, and executing assigned responsibilities for self and team members.  The incumbent supervises the accomplishment of or personally performs the most difficult and complex work involved in the education program.  S/he must understand and apply a highly technical body of knowledge, as well as applicable laws and agency regulations and instructions.  Guidance received from the EDY Office Chief is almost wholly related to policy, program objectives, and priorities.  Within such guidelines, the holder of this position plans and undertakes important projects and carries them to completion without significant supervision.  Demands are heavy on initiative, resourcefulness, and sound judgment.  S/he will work independently, while informing and consulting within EDY, USAID/Kenya and East Africa, and the US Embassy, as necessary. 

The Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) will provide support to EDY in the following ways:

Program Management and Related Duties (50%)

The incumbent plans, designs, develops, and manages new and existing education programs and activities as a team member in EDY.  These duties include making decisions on activity implementation matters, identifying and resolving program issues, assuring that all activities are carried out in a technically sound and cost-effective manner, and in accordance with all applicable Mission and Agency directives and requirements.  S/he will serve as the Contracting/ Agreement Officer’s Representative or activity manager for programs and activities that include policy reform, local capacity development, and other areas relevant to the education and youth objectives of USAID/Kenya and East Africa and the Agency writ large. Specifically, it is anticipated that the Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) will manage the existing activity in early grade reading, in addition to supporting management of other activities as needed.  Adaptability and flexibility will be required as the Education Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader)’s primary responsibilities may change over time as new USAID strategies and GOK priorities emerge. S/he will be responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of implementing partners and other education sector activities, for obtaining and reporting on results and possible setbacks, and for initiating programmatic adjustments, when necessary.  In addition to other activities, the Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) will provide inputs into annual plans, budgets, schedules for allocation, obligation, and expenditure, portfolio reviews, evaluation planning and implementation, audits, development and outreach communications, and other EDY, Mission, and USG efforts to ensure effective, cost-effective, and responsible programming and reporting in compliance with USG and USAID regulations and ethics standards, and, ultimately, help USAID achieve its education objectives in Kenya.

Technical Specialist and Representational Duties (25%)

The incumbent will serve as a senior technical advisor to EDY, USAID/Kenya and East Africa,, and the US Mission to Kenya on basic education and other sector reforms, particularly as related to basic education.  The Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) will keep abreast of and analyze economic, political, and other trends affecting education development, and will keep the Mission informed of these trends.  S/he will be considered an expert resource on education quality and improving learning outcomes (particularly with regards to early grade reading) and other areas related to basic education, and will be expected to participate actively in internal and external strategy discussions, including active engagement across sectors at the Mission.  The Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) will identify ways to further meet both USG foreign policy and GOK education sector policy objectives in Kenya.  S/he will be required to maintain relationships with a wide range of contacts in government and semi-autonomous government agencies, private sector and civil society organizations, donor agencies, implementing partners, and other stakeholders as related to the education sector, and to represent USAID and the USG with internal and external audiences as required. S/he will work to best facilitate the exchange of technical information and ideas, to collaborate on cross-cutting issues, to provide effective collaboration among actors in the education sector, and to promote program/project synergies. 

Supervisory Duties (25%)

The Program Management Specialist (Basic Education Team Leader) will participate as assigned in the supervision of the Office of Education and Youth’s Foreign Service National (FSN) staff, specifically those assigned to the Basic Education team. Currently assigned are three FSN staff, one Program Management Specialist (Grade 11), one Program Management Specialist (Grade 10) and one Program Management Assistant (Grade 9).  In total, the EDY Team consists of one U.S. Direct Hire (USDH) EDY Office Chief, one USDH Education Officer who serves as Deputy Office Chief, one U.S. Personal Service Contractor who leads the Youth team, one FSN who serves as the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Coordinator, six FSN professional staff focused on Kenyan bilateral programming, and one FSN administrative staff. The incumbent will be required to assist in creating a supportive work environment that values diversity and elicits the highest possible level of performance from the entire Development Objective Team; set clear individual and EDY Team work objectives; and help ensure that the staff carries out those assignments.


  1. Supervision Received:   The incumbent will report to the Office Director of EDY, and perform independently in the day-to-day performance of assigned duties.  S/he will handle work assignments according to established policies, previous training, and accepted practices.  S/he will be expected to develop her/his own work schedule and procedures for accomplishing tasks, and to independently resolve problems that may arise during execution of objectives. 
  2. Supervision Exercised:  The incumbent will serve as Team Leader for Basic Education programming providing overall policy guidance and coordinating the work of the team, currently consisting of two Project Management Specialists and one Project Management Assistant.  The incumbent also plans, organizes and oversees the work of implementing partners’ projects and program activities; provides guidance and technical expertise; reviews the work produced, and evaluates the accomplishments of such contractors or grantees.
  3. Available Guidelines:  USAID and State department regulations (ADS, AIDAR, FAM, Standardized Regulations), and where appropriate, USAID/Kenya and East Africa Mission Orders, and relevant USAID directives, policies, and strategies.
  4. Exercise of Judgment:  The incumbent will exercise professional judgment to make decisions and recommendations on the USAID education portfolio. S/he will apply appropriate Agency and Federal regulations and policies to a broad spectrum of technical and program support matters and in communications with Embassy and Mission employees, GOK counterparts, Kenya private sector individuals, and counterparts at other donor organizations. The Mission may make policy based on her/his recommendations. 
  5. Authority to Make Commitments: The incumbent will speak with authority on USAID project implementation requirements and regulations acting as both a specialist and an information resource to contacts in both public and private sectors. S/he is expected to represent USAID/Kenya and East Africa with high level government and other counterparts; however, s/he cannot commit USG funds. 
  6. Nature, Level, and Purpose of Contacts: The incumbent will interact regularly with senior government officials at the national (e.g., the Permanent Secretary, Departmental Directors, and other staff in the Ministry of Education) and county (e.g., County Education Directors) levels, high level officials in donor agencies (including other USG agencies), and senior staff of local and international private sector and civil society organizations.  S/he may be the principal liaison with on issues related to program implementation and USG policy.  Most contacts will be in the education sector, related to policy, planning and budgeting, program implementation, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation. 
  7. Time Expected to Reach Full Performance Level: 12 months. 


  1. Register in MyJobsInKenya at                                                                            
  2. Complete the job application questionnaire at The applicant must           answer all the questions in the Questionnaire.                                                                         
  3. Internal Applicants/Current USG Employees: Attach a cover letter  explaining your qualifications for the    position, updated curriculum vitae/resume (no more than five pages), a copy of your most recent               Performance Evaluation Report and copies of all relevant certificates. Scan and attach all the                 documents as one attachment and upload to MyJobsInKenya.

Note to Applicants:

  1. Applications must be received by the closing date and time specified and submitted through as stated in Section IV.
  2. To ensure consideration of applications for the intended position, applicants must prominently reference the Solicitation number in their cover letter submission.
  3. Submissions will only be accepted through Late and Incomplete applications (those that do not contain a cover letter, the applicant’s most current and up to date detailed CV with contact information of three (3) to five (5) references) will not be considered for the position. The closing date for receipt of applications is indicated above.
Please note this advert has expired and you can not apply for it any longer.


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