In 2019, the LEGO Foundation made a bold investment and awarded a $100 million grant to a consortium of partners led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to bring LtP 800,000 pre-primary and primary school aged children impacted by humanitarian crises and living in Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania through the “PlayMatters: Sparking Lifelong Learning” project. PlayMatters reimagines childhood for refugees. It will bring play-based learning to 800,000 children across the region. It will redefine education and cultivate a generation of lifelong builders. PlayMatters is inspired by LEGO Foundation’s call to challenge the status quo, to offer children the quality education they dream of. Children are not gaining the skills they need; teachers are under supported and parents are overwhelmed. The systems built to serve them are failing them. PlayMatters proudly offers something different. It will be delivered by a coalition with a track record of thinking and delivering differently. We bring three distinct characteristics:
1.Outcomes-oriented | Everything we do is fueled by the social, emotional, cognitive, physical, creative and resilience outcomes we seek. We know learning happens when children are at the center and teachers, parents and the system surrounding them embrace children’s agency and have not only skills and resources, but the motivation to drive change.
2.Research & Learning | Effective delivery requires both rigor and a big heart. With LEGO Foundation, PlayMatters will generate scientific evidence that can transform our understanding of play and learning for refugees in East Africa and around the world.
3.Thought Leadership | The LEGO Foundation Humanitarian Initiative offers an opportunity to deliver and comes with the responsibility to lead.
Reporting to the Regional Project Coordinator- PlayMatters (RPC-PM), the Regional Project & Grants Manager- PlayMatters will be an important member of the regional project team, based in Kampala supporting the project, grants, and partnership management for PlayMatters across the three countries of implementation (i.e. Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania).
The Regional Project & Grants Manager- PlayMatters will closely support the RPC-PM in leading coordination across all consortium partners; establishing regular communication and meeting routines; ensuring technical and operational workstream implementation plans and deliverables remain on track; providing program and support teams with advice on compliance with donor and IRC regulations; and managing the regional project team’s oversight of award performance. The Regional Project & Grants Manager will be responsible for ensuring timely and accurate reporting for all partner and donor reports in addition to overall knowledge management, while escalating any potential risks or issues to the RPC-PM, as appropriate.
The major responsibilities for the Regional Project & Grants Manager- PlayMatters are presented below.
Award Management & Reporting:
•Support RPC-PM to ensure that the award is well-administered and implemented in compliance with relevant donor regulations and IRC procedures. Includes ensuring adherence to the Partnership Excellence for Equality and Results System (PEERS) and providing hands-on compliance guidance to IRC country program and consortium partner staff (escalating questions to the RPC-PM as appropriate).
•Lead internal and external reporting with programs and finance teams, ensuring high-quality, well-written and timely reports meeting donor and IRC requirements.
•Manage reporting timelines and processes for consortium includes developing and communicating timelines, providing reporting support/follow-up when needed, and coordinating internal reviews.
•Support RPC-PM to lead workplan processes across consortium partners and leadership team members to streamline individual organizational data inputs and consolidation processes to optimize technical and operational review, oversight, and quality.
•Support RPC-PM to manage all aspects of internal and consortium-wide project cycle meetings to enable regular, structured reviews of award performance.
•Support the RPC-PM to track and coordinate all partner monitoring visits. May support the RPC-PM to conduct monitoring visits if needed.
Coordination & Communication
•Support the RPC-PM to coordinate information flow and updates across consortium partners.
•Provide critical set-up and record keeping support for important project meetings.
•Support material preparation and logistics for PlayMatters leadership and governance meetings at global and regional levels, including project technical and other working group meetings.
•Develop and oversee the consortium regional project calendar, among other key organizational tools.
•Support RPC-PM to liaise with IRC HQ-based functions, including Communications, Finance, Fundraising and Award Management.
•Support the regional team to execute key external relations and communications materials (e.g. fact sheets, client stories, etc.) geared to stakeholders and thought leaders in the fields of early childhood development and education.
•Maintain a broad and deep understanding of donor policies, regulations, and procedures and build this knowledge among appropriate IRC and consortium team members.
•Proactively identify risks and challenges throughout the portfolio and raise to the attention of the RPC-PM.
•Support and maintain project institutional knowledge with relevant staff members.
•Lead knowledge management of project, including keep grant files up to date physically and electronically (both internal and external drives).
•Assist with program monitoring and evaluation by providing supporting the compilation of achievements and lessons learned.
•Write or review donor communications such as responding to requests for information and assist with coordinating donor visits.
•Assist with preparations for audits.
•Research and be informed about programmatic issues, security and political developments in the region.
•Assist in providing coverage when RPC-PM is absent.
•Perform other duties as required by the RPC-PM.
•At least 2-5 years of experience in program administration, grants management, communications and/or project management at an international NGO or similar organization.
•Positive, team-oriented attitude, and willingness to learn new skills is essential.
•Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail; experience with project management software and tools.
•Demonstrated ability to successfully work in a fast-paced environment and develop positive relationships with locally and remote-based staff across many departments.
•Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills.
•Demonstrated ability to communicate complex topics and processes, related to donor compliance, finance, grants management, and organizational operating procedures to a wide and varied audience (e.g. across cultures and staffing levels).
•Self-directed, able to independently set priorities and solve problems with minimal guidance; comfortable working under-pressure and working with teams that are remotely located.
•Flexibility and adaptability to adjust plans for the realities of working across multiple time zones and cultural contexts.
•Excellent computer skills: MS Word, Excel, file sharing and database software.
•Ability and willingness to travel is required.
•Ability to accurately develop and review budgets is highly preferred.
•Knowledge of the East Africa regional context; experience working in the region is highly preferred.
•Experience working in conflict and crisis settings and knowledge of humanitarian programming is preferred.
•Experience or interest in graphic design and/or early childhood development/education is a plus.
•Standard office work environment
•Travel required, up to 25%
•Position is based in the IRC PlayMatters office in Kampala, Uganda
- Job City Uganda