This job has expired

Senior Program Officer, Program Advocacy and Communications, Global Education

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
20005, Washington D.C.
Commensurate with Experience
Posted Date
Feb 1, 2023

View more

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: that people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. By building a global and cultural workplace that supports greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — together with our employees and partners, we can help all people improve their lives from poverty and health to education. As an organization we offer full healthcare premiums coverage, generous paid time off, contribution to your retirement fund, several employee communities, and a commitment to embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into everything we do.


The Team

The Program Advocacy and Communications (PAC) team works in partnership with program teams and teams in GPA to achieve their policy and finance goals by:
• Developing and coordinating the execution of advocacy and communications strategies.
• Developing, when required, resource mobilization strategies in collaboration with relevant teams.
• Leveraging leadership and foundation voice to implement advocacy strategies.
• Developing and managing a grant portfolio dedicated to achieving advocacy outcomes.
• Directly advocating with sector leaders, influencers, media and government officials in order to achieve advocacy outcomes.
• Leading issue-specific communications in service of advocacy goals.
• Developing policy recommendations or proposals in partnership with programmatic and regional offices.



The Division

The mission of the Global Policy & Advocacy (GPA) division is to understand and shape the public policy debates affecting the foundation's work, build support for its major program and policy objectives, and develop partnerships and alliances that can advance the foundation's objectives nationally and globally. Because the foundation's resources alone are not enough to solve the challenges ahead, GPA also supports advocacy efforts to engage diverse stakeholders and promote innovative solutions that advance our program goals.  We work in close partnership with grantees, our colleagues in Global Health, Global Development, Global Growth & Opportunity, U.S. and Gender Equality programs and Foundation Communications to build the environment in which all people have the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives.


Your Role

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will serve as the global PAC strategy lead for Global Education. You will be responsible for leading efforts with teams across the foundation to refresh, implement and evaluate advocacy and communications strategies that advance the goals of the foundation’s Global Education strategy .


The Global Education strategy seeks to improve reading and math outcomes—also referred to as foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN)—for primary school aged children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The strategy focuses on identifying, advocating for, and funding evidence-driven, cost-effective, and scalable interventions that improve learning outcomes at scale within government systems. The advocacy strategy for Global Education supports these outcomes by raising the political salience and prioritization of foundational literacy and numeracy among key global institutions and leveraging foundation, grantee, and champion voices and evidence to promote FLN in the global discourse on education The strategy also aims to support and strengthen national and regional networks, champions, and mechanisms to inform and build accountability for improved data and evidence-based investments and policies in India and priority countries in Sub Saharan Africa.


*We are open to having this position be located in our offices in Washington, DC, London, UK, or Seattle , WA for candidates who possess full work authorization in one of these locations.


What You’ll Do

  • Partner with the Global Education team, programmatic teams, country and regional offices, and the GPA and Communications divisions to update, implement, and evaluate Global Education PAC strategies that include market-specific approaches and assessments of political economies, ensure long-term sustainability and impact, and are synergistic to other foundation strategies.

  • Work individually and with other program officers to develop, negotiate, and manage a portfolio of investments, including conducting research and analysis to strengthen investment recommendations, oversight of portfolio budget and all related grant making processes (e.g., investment reviews, strategic alignment, grantee engagement, etc.)

  • Serve as overall communications lead for Global Education, working closely with the Communications Division to provide strategic communications support, develop and leading the Global Education communications strategy, including media engagement, and development of key messages.

  • Conceptualize and lead high impact and complex partnerships, grants, coalitions, and advocacy campaigns.

  • Serve as a point of contact on advocacy and communications strategy for internal audiences, including advising leadership on use of voice and strategy.

  • Engage external partners and form partnerships with people and organizations, including leading the Global Education team’s engagement with key global donors, international organizations, national governments in South Asia and Africa, and institutional partners.

  • Represent the foundation and our strategies to external constituencies. This could include formal and informal presentations such as making speeches, attending conferences, committee representation and other meetings. May serve on boards and working groups.

  • Support efforts to disseminate key evidence and policy guidance to the broader education sector and key policymakers and influencers.

  • Write and produce clear, concise, and insightful briefings, messaging, reports, email updates, and other materials on key Global Education and other relevant issues for foundation leadership.

  • Participate in and learn from the program strategy team, and GPA and PAC Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) efforts to ensure that we are continuing to make progress towards realizing our commitments.

  • Participate in cross-PAC efforts to enhance our integration, accelerate impact, and maintain a cohesive and dynamic culture.


This position reports to the Deputy Director, Agriculture, Nutrition, & Global Education, Program Advocacy & Communications.


Your Experience

  • Master’s degree in public policy, international relations, education, development, or a related field with 7+ years progressive senior level experience leading advocacy initiatives in global education or development issues. 

  • Understand the role of advocacy and communications efforts to increase awareness of global development issues and shape political and financial support for these issues with governmental and non-state organizations.

  • Experience working on global education policy and financing and understanding of the global education policy and advocacy landscape.

  • Experience working on advocacy globally and living in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asian countries including interaction with senior level policy makers, civil society organizations, coalitions, and governments.

  • Understand bilateral and multilateral financial institutions and mechanisms including how they make policy and fund development programs at national and regional level.

  • Proven ability to provide vision and influence others in a constructive, optimistic manner, while building and sustaining collaborative relationships.

  • Outstanding project and team leadership skills including ability to lead strategy development through execution, develop shared goals and execution plans, prioritize, facilitate meetings, manage budgets, developing consensus, and work both autonomously and collaboratively.

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus, ideal.

  • Experience managing a grants portfolio either as a grantee, receiving and reporting on a grant or as a grant manager, with direct responsibility for grant making and management.

  • Experience developing and managing complex projects and/or grants in support of policy initiatives, advocacy programs and events at the global, regional, and national level.

  • Experience working in an environment with ambiguity while helping teams adapt to change.

  • Ability to work with flexibility and a high level of rigor, collaboration, and diplomacy, both individually and as part of a complex team effort.

  • High standards of personal integrity.

  • Willingness to travel up to 30% of the time when health and safety protocols allow.


*Applicants for this role will only be considered if they are able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.







Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.


Depending upon your work location, we may require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses. All employees based in the United States are to provide proof of full vaccination upon hire and any recommended boosters, subject to applicable laws.


Candidate Accommodations

If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request here.


Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.


All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert