Senior Program Officer, Climate Adaptation, Agricultural Development

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Seattle, WA, US

The Global Growth & Opportunity (GGO) division works to catalyze sustainable and transformative socio-economic change.  In the face of inequities and market failures, GGO seeks to realize the potential of untapped markets and ensure that economic and social benefits reach everyone. We focus on the areas of Agricultural Development; Financial Services for the Poor; and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene. We seek solutions that are sustainable, transformative, and inclusive with an eye toward applying technology innovations as well as data evidence to drive change in the world’s developing countries.

The Agricultural Development (AgDev) program aims to catalyze a country-led, inclusive, agricultural transformation (IAT) process by developing and scaling products, services, policies, and system-wide innovations that benefit small-scale producers, empower women and improve nutritional outcomes. We want farmers in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA) to be empowered with the knowledge, tools, and technologies to improve their livelihoods and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Leadership & Culture

Our culture shapes our choices about what we do and how we do it. We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment can do extraordinary things. We expect foundation employees to intentionally and consistently embody our four agreements; show respect, offer trust, be transparent, and create energy.

Position Summary

In this role, you will help lead the strategic evolution of our climate adaptation work across the AgDev team. This will include managing a portfolio of grants and contracts requiring skills in high-level grant management, monitoring, and evaluation. As a key advisor and technical specialist on climate change and adaptation on the team, you will partner with all portfolio teams to ensure the effective integration of climate adaptation work across all our strategies and in our priority countries.

Core Responsibilities

  • Partner with foundation colleagues and external partners to develop, implement, refine, and execute on our climate adaptation plans. Advance a forward-looking strategy for climate adaptation for the whole of AgDev that is grounded in an understanding of our role in the donor landscape, realities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and the data and evidence base.
  • Provide deep technical expertise in priority areas for innovation-related investments in climate adaptation in agriculture
  • Negotiate, execute, and manage a complex grant portfolio. Provide clear, concise, and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding.
  • In close partnership with Program Advocacy and Communications (PAC), contribute to the foundation’s presence on the global stage, specifically calling attention to the importance of agriculture and small-scale producers within climate adaptation.
  • In collaboration with the Deputy Director, support the management of the operational aspects of our climate efforts, including strategy setting, consistent tracking of progress against agreed-upon metrics, and year-by-year investment planning.
  • Consult with grantees and other partners to improve impact of projects and ensure grants are meeting strategic goals. This may include conducting site visits, providing operational guidance, and convening meetings of key stakeholders.
  • Develop, manage, resource, and implement a program that aligns with foundation strategy and is operationally coordinated with other foundation programs. Contribute to the design of new strategies, collaborations, and implementation plans to ensure long-term sustainability and impact.
  • Represent the foundation to key program-related external constituencies, as appropriate, on committees related to area of expertise and that are within the responsibilities of the position.

Core Knowledge & Skills

  • Recognized by the global professional community as a climate adaptation specialist, with a deep understanding of the technical elements of climate change, state-of-the-art evidence on risk and resilience, and relevant policy-related efforts in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • Technical expertise in at least two of the following areas: early warning, predictive analyses, natural resources, digital technologies, environmental economics, and/or climate data systems.
  • Experience working with a diverse set of partners to effectively integrate climate adaptation into investments and strategies.
  • Knowledge of the partner ecosystem (funders, implementers, public and private sector) in the climate adaptation field.
  • Demonstrates critical thinking and analytical skills that are multi-sectoral by nature.
  • Experience in grant and contract management, including proven ability to work effectively with grantee partners and co-funding partners, and, to analyze results frameworks to scrutinize outcomes and outputs from investments.
  • Capability to lead and influence others in a constructive manner and to build and sustain collaborative relationships.
  • Excellent problem solver with strategy development experience.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills; able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus.

Education & Experience

An advanced degree in climate adaptation or related field plus 10+ years of experience working in climate adaptation coupled with grant management experience.

*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.