Country Director

Multiple: We are hiring for multiple posts, including Kenya, Morocco, and Latin America Full-time

About GiveDirectly:

GiveDirectly (GD) aims to reshape international giving - and millions of lives - by providing cash grants directly to the world’s poorest. The Brookings Institution estimates that $70B of cash transfers would be required to eliminate the poverty gap; the aid sector currently spends $135B each year, much of it on evidence-free interventions. GiveDirectly wants to change that, establishing cash transfers as a benchmark for foreign aid - as the index fund is a benchmark for the financial industry - and in the process accelerating the end of extreme poverty.

GD has raised over $200m since launching in 2011, delivered cash to more than 125,000 families, and launched offices in 7 countries. We’ve also supported large-scale, experimental research that indicates strong recipient impact of our programs. As a result GD has been celebrated as one of the most innovative non-profit companies by Fast Company, while the growing cash transfer movement and GD’s leading role within it have been featured in the New York Times Magazine, This American Life, Foreign Affairs, and The Economist.

We’re looking for exceptional talent to grow our field team. Our culture is blunt, analytical, non-hierarchical, and fast-paced, We recruit candidates from top organizations across all industries - our team has hailed from consultancies, investment banks, start-ups, non-profits and government. We value ability and willingness to learn over years of experience. We offer competitive salary and benefits and performance-based bonuses.

 

Role Overview:

GiveDirectly’s field organization is growing fast: we recently doubled our country office footprint and are experimenting with a range of research and design questions from “How do you deliver cash in a country with 1 bank in a district of 400,000 people?” to “What’s the impact of providing a universal basic income to 10,000+ individuals?”

As we scale, we need exceptional emerging leaders to manage our projects in each country. As a country director at GiveDirectly, you will oversee all aspects of our operations in your country, including initial set-up (for new countries), project implementation (working closely with the field director, who you will manage), talent management, external relations (with government, the communities we serve, and donors like USAID) and overall risk management. You will also work with our global partnerships team to increase the funding for cash to the poor.

In this role, you will build on your proven leadership skills to manage and inspire your team. You will apply your critical thinking skills to a wide and varied range of challenges - on one day, hiring, on another budget setting, on another call center optimization. You will have significant autonomy to run (and improve) day-to-day operations, with support and mentorship from fellow leaders across the global org. You will represent GiveDirectly to senior stakeholders in-country, helping to make the case for one of the most exciting emerging trends in development. Your work will drive impact on a daily basis, with success measured as the amount of money you put into the hands of individuals in need.

 

Responsibilities:

Depending on the country office needs, you will focus on a combination of the following buckets:  

  • Setting up a new, high-performing country office
    • Building government relationships and obtaining all required permissions
    • Recruiting initial team in-country from top 10% of local talent pool
  • Scaling operations while maintaining high-quality of product for recipients
    • Designing ambitious work-plans and accompanying budgets, and ensuring country meets targets
    • Clearly defining metrics for managers and providing regular feedback on progress
    • Setting up systems to rapidly scale-up a high-quality team
  • Proactively de-risking vulnerabilities
    • Identifying fraud vulnerability and designing appropriate controls
    • Creating redundancy plans and buffers to mitigate unanticipated operational roadblocks
    • Building networks with local actors to identify and protect against macro risk
  • Building organizational culture and inspiring your team
    • Supporting org-wide initiatives that promote productivity, well-being, and morale
    • Building systems for monitoring and actioning feedback from the team
    • Designing and implementing initiatives to instill GD’s values into team practices
  • Serving as the country’s main contact for external stakeholders
    • Building strong, lasting relationships with key donors and government
    • Proactively seeking out funding opportunities in-country
    • Communicating GD’s model and values to external actors to make a compelling case for cash

 

Desired abilities/experience

  • 3+ years of work experience in a problem-solving heavy role (field management, consulting, analytics) at a high performing organization
  • People management experience (experience hiring and building a team preferred)
  • Strong alignment with GD values (see below)
  • Exceptional ability to logic through complex operational questions & run robust analyses to inform management and programming decisions
  • Exceptional written & verbal communication skills, including experience engaging with senior audiences
  • General passion for doing people and process management really well
  • Enthusiasm for fast-paced environments, which may lack pre-defined playbook for success and involve significant “learning by doing”

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Kenya:
Kenya is GiveDirectly’s oldest country operation, with more than 60,000 families (and 250,000 Kenyans) receiving cash grants over the past decade. GiveDirectly’s work in Kenya includes an ongoing lump sum cash transfer program currently operating in the Rift Valley and the Coast, ongoing follow-up for GiveDirectly’s 12 year universal basic income pilot program in Nyanza and the Coast, as well as other ongoing and potential special projects, including in Nairobi.

Morocco:
GiveDirectly is preparing to launch a new country operation in Morocco, in order to implement a youth-focused cash transfer program in partnership with a major institutional funder. Morocco will be GiveDirectly’s seventh country in Africa (and second French-speaking country).

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GD Values

  • Recipients first.

We prioritize recipient preferences over those of donors or ourselves.

We do not impose our preferences, or judgments, on the beneficiaries; instead we respect and empower them to make their own choices, elevating their voices in the global aid debate. This value is core to GiveDirectly’s identity as the first organization exclusively devoted to putting the poor in control of how aid money is spent. It comes at a potential cost, as it means that neither we nor donors get to set priorities (and we may even lose some “efficiency” in providing this option).

  • Team next.

We do what’s best for organizational - not individual - success.

This is a team sport, where we will succeed (or fail) together. The best players are not those with the best individual statistics, but those with biggest impact on our overall performance. We avoid territoriality, self-promotion, and I’m above this attitudes.

  • Be proactively candid.

We say what we believe, and are honest in sharing information.

Having confidence that other people are telling us what they truly believe, without gloss or omission, is critical to effective communication and to our ability to learn and grow from feedback. We owe it to each other - and our donors - to instill this confidence even though giving and receiving information candidly are unusual in both professional and social life, and can be very uncomfortable.

  • Create positive energy  

We strive to be a source - not drain - of energy for our colleagues.

Our work is hard, practically and emotionally, and we cannot overemphasize the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, enjoying the company of our colleagues, and not taking ourselves too seriously.  In doing so, we aspire to generate energy and excitement amongst our colleagues in pursuing our mission. This should not preclude candor, and we aspire to achieve both.

  • Think rigorously; act quickly.

We are intellectually rigorous with a drive towards action - not debate.

We reason from first principles, grounding our decisions in objective claims about the world, rather than hard-to-disprove assertions or hierarchy. We aim to brainstorm inclusively and respectfully, but critically self-vet ideas we put forward, so as to ensure productive and prudent decision making.

Demanding this level of rigor forces us to think harder about decisions and our assumptions than we otherwise might. This is a real cost. It can be taken too far: it is possible to overthink decisions, and we avoid debate for the sake of debate.  We are not here to philosophize or ensure consensus. We decide and act quickly, avoiding getting bogged down in debates.

  • Accept reality. Propose solutions.

We do not dwell on problems. We work actively to create solutions.

There will always be an endless list of things to improve. We focus on the things that can be changed; find the most important of those things, and propose actionable answers. We do not allow “problems” to weigh us down and be a source of negativity.  We are forward looking, which we believe not only leads to better team outcomes, but also creates a more enjoyable, energizing environment for all.

  • Be productively ambitious.

We take the risks to pursue industry-changing success, not incremental progress.

We seek step-change improvements at all levels, and are willing to make big-bets; we do not accept complacency nor do we simply optimize existing processes. In doing so, we allow ourselves to dream big with a belief that perceived constraints are merely opportunities for creativity.

Such ambition not only requires hard work (i.e., this is not a 9-5 job), but also a willingness to accept and learn from temporary setbacks and failures.  In accepting these failures, we’re conscious to not point fingers, nor obsess over “mistakes” made.

  • Know yourself and grow.

We recognize and accept our imperfections with a focus on growth.

We are an organization of exceptional people and trust in each other’s abilities, yet we recognize that none of us is perfect. We strive to maintain an accurate understanding of our individual and institutional strengths and weaknesses, in order to position ourselves to maximize our chances of success.

At the same time, we seek personal growth for ourselves and our teammates. Feedback is given with a spirit of helpfulness; and sought out with a desire to learn.