Africa Partnerships & Special Initiatives Lead Career Opportunity in Kenya

Practical Action

Position Title: Africa Partnerships & Special Initiatives Lead

Reporting to: Africa Director

Directorate: Africa

Financial Scope: N/A

Location: Africa (in one of the Practical Action Africa entities) – Rwanda, Sudan, Senegal)

Duration: Fixed Term – Contract Duration will be aligned with conditions of where the role is based.

Grade: TBA according to specific country

Travel: Frequent

About Us

We are an international development organization putting ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world.

We help people find solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems.

Challenges made worse by catastrophic climate change and persistent gender inequality.

We work with communities to develop ingenious, lasting and locally owned solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy. And we share what works with others, so answers that start small can grow big.

We’re a global change-making group.

The group consists of a UK registered charity with community projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, an independent development publishing company and a technical consulting service. We combine these specialisms to multiply our impact and help shape a world that works better for everyone.

Our Vision: Practical Action’s vision is of a world that works better for everyone.

Our Aims

We help people find solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems, made worse by catastrophic climate change and persistent gender inequality.

Our aims are to:

  • Make agriculture work better for smallholder farmers, many of them women, so they can adapt to climate change and achieve a good standard of living
  • Help more people harness the transformational effects of clean affordable energy and reduce avoidable deaths caused by smoke from indoor stoves and fires.
  • Make cities in poorer countries cleaner, healthier places to live and work.
  • Build disaster resilience into the lives of people threatened by hazards – reducing the risk of hazards and minimizing their impact on lives and livelihoods.

How We Work

We work on holistic solutions that change systems and have a framework to help us achieve the aims:

  • Analyze the root causes of a poverty and vulnerability
  • Define the change at scale we need to make
  • Develop activities along three complementary paths: Demonstrate, Learn and Inspire.
    • Demonstrate that our solutions are sustainable in the real world
    • Learn by capturing evidence and adapting our approach
    • Inspire wider support to multiply our impact.

Our Organisation

Practical Action is an unconventional, multi-disciplinary change-making organization

  • A highly innovative community development charity operating in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Practical Action community projects use ingenious ideas to design, test, refine and prove new ways to overcome poverty and disadvantage and then ‘open-source’ knowledge of what works so that it can be implemented at a greater scale by others.
  • A world-class consulting operation that helps socially responsible business, government policy makers and other development organizations. This draws on learnings from our own development work as well as the combined brainpower of a roster of over 2,000 expert consultants. Practical Action Consulting helps to extend the reach of our influence by providing the best advice to others, whose work can make a bigger difference.
  • A well-respected specialist development publisher. Practical Action Publishing brings together development practitioners, researchers and thought leaders to create publications that stimulate discussion, strengthen peoples’ capabilities and inspire sustainable change.

About The Role

The role works with and supports the Africa Director in making sure the Africa strategy is on track, the Africa agenda on climate is taken forward and business development is kept live and vibrant.

It supports the African countries in scanning business environments, funding intelligence and business communications to ensure that our work is effectively and widely communicated internally and externally.

The role requires an all-rounded dependable, energetic, and highly skilled team member with research Business Development and Communication background who is ready to take on the following responsibilities:

  • Coordinating the design, implementation, and evaluation of multi country programming in the region and share knowledge of climate change, professional experience and networks to enhance programmes and activities.
  • Coordinate engagements between Country and Global offices on mainstreaming climate and gender transformation in program design and implementation.
  • Take a lead in climate change advocacy either directly or through strategic partnerships with a focus on enhancing vulnerable communities to be resilient to climate hazards.
  • The role supports MEL teams and coordinates engagement on learning following the Africa Director’s initiatives to make sure that there is learning at regional level.
  • Support Africa Director in pursuing business opportunities and lead in all relevant influencing spaces to enhance our visibility and positioning.
  • Deliver effective communications, presentations, writing winning proposals and take donors forward.
  • Develop powerful concept notes and leading our business development network to build skills, capabilities and improve our overall fundraising performance.
  • Tracking, identifying, and pursuing strategic opportunities and building/strengthening our relationships with key donors.
  • Work with multilateral and bilateral organizations such as UN, World Bank, IFAD, UNFCCC, AU, IGAD, AFBD etc. and identify events and spaces where Practical Action would participate.


Strategic Alignment

  • Understand Practical Action’s change ambitions including the Climate Resilience, Agriculture and Energy in each country and region and support in the development of plans for effective and quality delivery of work.
  • Have capacity to analyze and integrate the cultural, political and economic factors for the RCO – using a systems thinking approach.
  • Ensure firm integration of a transformative gender approach in our work.
  • Oversees the growth of funding, ensuring our fundraising strategy and approaches are aligned to the Strategic Business Plan, coaching RCO teams to develop ambitious, strategically aligned and realistic funding plans relevant to their local market conditions.
  • Being accountable for measuring and monitoring progress and performance and adjusting course where required.
  • Coordinate the translation of evidence and impact into winning proposals.

External Engagement & Influencing

  • Supports Africa Director to Promote our change ambitions with donors and in external fora, seeking to engage institutional donors both as funders and as shapers of policy and development priorities.
  • Developing of resources for inspiring institutional donors with our story.
  • Engage with partners, technical institutions, private sector and civil society organization on the development agenda

Communications and Business Development

  • Puts in place and ensures the effective operation of a streamlined intelligence gathering system that allows for opportunity identification and screening.
  • Takes a lead role in scanning the market for new funding mechanisms and works with the Africa Director to determine how and when to test and pursue such opportunities.
  • Develops strong and effective communication flows with RCOs on institutional donor opportunities, liaising closely with the International Operations Managers.
  • Builds and maintains critical knowledge about institutional donor requirements, approaches, strategies and makes these easily available to RCOs.
  • Present funding ideas and concepts to appropriate stakeholders and donors.
  • Review assessments and baseline studies to gather and prepare background information and data to support donor engagement and fundraising at regional level.
  • Using collaboration and influencing skills to work effectively with colleagues across Practical Action to lead, plan, prepare and write major strategic bids for funding. This will involve working proactively with people from a range of cultures, backgrounds, disciplines and across time zones.
  • Coordinate relationships with potential donors during the proposal writing process developing a keen understanding of their requirements and ensuring this is understood by those developing proposals.
  • Develop good understanding and a pipeline of prospects by liaising with colleagues in country offices to understand potential opportunities and carrying out detailed donor mapping, engagement as well as partnership management.

Additional Requirements for the job: The role occasionally requires very intense periods of working – either where you are based or in the country where specific support is required. The ability to flex a working schedule and to travel is a requirement of this role.

Person Specification:

  • Mature, open-minded, and willing team member who is ready to engage with Africa Director to make the African regional portfolio successful.
  • Undergraduate and/or post-graduate qualification in relevant subject is desirable (Climate Change, Agriculture, Development Studies, Economics, and related fields).
  • A minimum to 5 years’ experience working with an NGO or UN agency or equivalent, is preferred.
  • Experience in programming of MEL systems explaining background and evidence in impact.
  • Knowledge of gender and social inclusion for climate change and a strong track record of work in international development.
  • Professional experience in the field of international development, preferably with a good portion of that gained in overseas contexts.
  • Strong understanding and experience of new business development, opportunity identification, quality proposal development, partnership management, donor mapping and engagement.
  • Empathy with Practical Action’s vision, mission, and values.
  • Ability to travel 14-16 weeks per year.
  • Good experience in business development or project design and reporting.
  • Expertise in representation and negotiation with governments and donors.
  • Demonstrated experience on development and humanitarian aid experience, preferably in the context of Climate change, resilience, and gender transformation.
  • Must be able to relate and represent Practical Action to major program partners, in a highly professional manner and communicate clearly and sensitively with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Gender awareness and cultural sensitivity a must.
  • Good level management and problem-solving skills.
  • Strong understanding of print, radio, television and online media.
  • Computer knowledge including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.

Skills, Abilities and Competencies:

  • Outstanding documentation and packaging of influential knowledge products, case studies
    and most significant change stories.
  • Good communicator who is willing to engage RCOs in sharing knowledge and learning to
    inspire and influence.
  • Good participation in and contribute to national and global discourses on climate resilience
    and project management systems and processes.
  • Ability to work in differing cultural contexts, using the most appropriate methodologies for
    adoption of change in each context.
  • Proven ability to implement a profile-raising strategy that builds Practical Action’s profile in
    RCOs, to make us the go-to agency of choice for all actors seeking technical advice relating to
    our work.
  • Generate knowledge and communication products for relationship building with donors/clients, potential donors/clients, partners and key government bodies.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills in English, with a second language (French, Spanish, Arabic) desirable.
  • Commitment to Practical Action overall aims, policies and experience of promoting gender equity, diversity and the interests of marginalized people in all aspects of the work.
  • Excellent facilitation skills with the ability to listen, lead and build teams.
  • Ability to work collaboratively across teams, influence and enable where direct line management does not exist, and to contribute strategically.

Application Information

Location: This role is being advertised to attract suitable candidates from across Africa and beyond. The successful candidate could be based in any of the countries with a Practical Action presence – Rwanda, Sudan, Senegal, Kenya & Zimbabwe therefore the Right to Work for therespective country is essential.

Remote working / home working is possible with this role.

Salary: The salary and benefits will be applied according to the salary scale in the country where the candidate is appointed.

Practical Action is an equal opportunities employer, and we encourage applications from under-represented groups.

We stay committed to cultivating an inclusive and diverse working environment and believe that people from different backgrounds or cultures give us different perspectives, and the more perspectives we have, the more successful we will be. By building a culture where everyone feels heard, respected and valued we give everyone working with us the  opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Practical Action is committed to safeguarding and protecting children and vulnerable adults and as such candidates will be subject to pre-employment checks including criminal checks and terrorist financing. Please note that should we recruit a suitable candidate before the closing date, we will close applications earlier than the specified date.

How to Apply:

Submit your CV and a supporting statement outlining your suitability for the role to

Closing date for applications: Tuesday 14th February 2023.

Tentative Date for 1st Interview: Tuesday 21st February 2023

Tentative Date for 2nd Interview: Friday 24th February 2023