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Programmes Director Job Mawazo Institute

About Our Organisation

The Mawazo Institute is a non-profit research institute based in Nairobi, Kenya. In Kiswahili, “mawazo” means “ideas”. Our mission is to support the next generation of female scholars and thought leaders in East Africa, and to get policymakers and the general public engaged with their work. We envision a world in which the ideas and voices of African women are amplified to shape the future of the continent.

Our programmes equip young African women to conduct high quality research on issues affecting the continent’s development, prepare them to launch successful careers in their field, and position them to be thought leaders with influence both within and outside academia. The Mawazo PhD Scholars programme provides research funding and professional development training to young women pursuing doctoral research in STEM and the social sciences in East Africa. The Policy programme connects our grantees to policymakers, encouraging evidence-informed decision making and inserting the voices of young African women into pressing policy discussions. The Public Engagement programme creates accessible and interesting ways for the public to learn about research produced by our fellows and other local experts, enhancing public understanding of complex issues and increasing the visibility of female experts in society. The Mawazo Learning Exchange is our open online platform that provides e-learning materials and other free digital resources targeted at early-career African researchers.

We are an African and woman-led organization, with unique insights into the challenges that we seek to address. We are a small, but tight-knit team, made up of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, who hold ourselves accountable to our beneficiaries and each other. Our core values are: respect, collaboration, independence, purpose, excellence, and integrity.

The Position

Mawazo Institute seeks a Director of Programmes to oversee its diverse programme portfolio focused on supporting the professional development of African researchers and practitioners, and encouraging policy and public engagement with local research. The Director of Programmes will lead in the development, management, strategy, and growth of Mawazo’s core programmes (The PhD Scholars, Mawazo Learning Exchange, Policy, and Public Engagement Programmes), helping to meet strategic goals and contributing to the institution’s long-term sustainability.

The Director of Programmes will also be responsible for cultivating strategic partnerships with academic institutions, research organisations, regional and national bodies, and other actors and stakeholders in Africa’s higher education sector. They will work collaboratively with Mawazo staff to deliver innovative programming for young, African women in research and academia, and report directly to the CEO.

The ideal candidate will have deep expertise in programme development, execution and administration in the non-profit and/or higher education sector. The ideal candidate will be able to use their prior academic and/or research experiences to provide substantial intellectual contributions to Mawazo’s programme development and implementation activities. Our ideal candidate will also be a policy and science engagement champion who believes that science is made more useful by being in the public sphere—and who considers, bridging the gender gap in the sciences as an urgent task in Africa’s development. We look forward to recruiting a Director of Programmes who can add their talents and expertise to our purpose-driven and growing organisation.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Oversee the continued development of Mawazo’s programmes, and its institutional presence within Africa, and beyond.
  • Provide leadership, direction, and technical support to programme managers.
  • Help identify future training and recruiting needs for a high performing team.
  • Develop programme budgets in liaison with the various programme leads and oversee the monitoring of account expenditures.
  • Cultivate productive partnerships, and build support for Mawazo’s programmes amongst key stakeholders including; academic institutions, research organisations, regional and national bodies, think tanks, civic organisations, government decision makers, and funders.
  • Provide formal and informal mentorship to Mawazo beneficiaries who are young, African women in research and academia
  • Develop management reports and share programme updates with the relevant internal and external stakeholders.
  • Work closely with Communications teams to translate data, evidence and learning from Mawazo programmes into compelling narratives and action points that are shared with key stakeholders and the public.
  • Work closely with the M&E team to review and analyse implementation and progress of the various programmes to ensure that Mawazo’s standards of excellence are maintained as well as to enable continued adaptive management.
  • Work with the CEO and Fundraising Working Group to support fundraising and other resource mobilisation activities. **
  • Represent Mawazo at conferences and meetings with other NGOs, funders, experts, and consultants; ensure follow-up, as needed. This may include international or domestic travel.


  • Advanced degree in science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) and/or the social sciences (MA required, PhD preferred).
  • At least five years of experience working in a substantively similar role in a relevant professional context such as a non-profit/NGO, research institution, development agency, consultancy, or think tank.
  • Experience working in African research or academic settings, including universities, research institutes, think tanks, consulting, international organisations, etc.
  • Demonstrated competence in programme management, budgeting and financial management, and people management
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills in English and proven ability in science communication, across a variety of audiences.
  • Attention to detail and strong organisational, analytical, and critical thinking skills
  • Curious individual with ability to work both independently and collaboratively, and to seek assistance with projects as required
  • An interest in continual learning and professional growth
  • The ability to thrive in a role with a great deal of autonomy in an environment that is highly collaborative, communicative, and team-oriented.
  • Commitment to the Mawazo Institute’s mission and values.

Terms of Offer

Compensation and benefits for the Director of Programmes position include:

• Competitive salary

• 21 days of paid holiday leave

• 10 days of paid sick / family leave

• 3 months paid parental leave, in the event of the birth or adoption of a child by the employee or employee’s partner

• Health insurance and pension

The Director of Programmes position is offered for an initial period of one year, with a three-month probationary period, and the option to automatically renew the contract subject to approval of the CEO.

The Mawazo Institute is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or other protected status. We do wish to promote a gender-sensitive work environment, and highly encourage applications from women.

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