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Senior Program Manager - Early Childhood Program

Open Society Foundation - London
Location: London
Last Date: September 15, 2011


Job Description Senior Program Manager – Early Childhood Program 

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

Investor and philanthropist George Soros established the Open Society Foundations, starting in 1984, to help countries make the transition from communism. Our activities have grown to encompass the United States and more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Each foundation relies on the expertise of boards composed of eminent citizens who determine individual agendas based on local priorities.

The Open Society Foundations Early Childhood Program (ECP) is seeking a Senior Program Manager to be based at the Open Society Foundation in London (OSF).   

The Early Childhood Program (ECP) promotes healthy development and wellbeing of young children, through initiatives that emphasize parent and community engagement, professional development and government accountability. Its rights-based approach and social justice framework give particular attention to minorities; children with developmental delays, malnutrition and disabilities; and children living in poverty.  The ECP is most active in Central Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Asia and Africa, but also supports projects in specific countries in Latin America and the Middle East/North Africa.    

The ECP seeks to increase the quality, access and comprehensiveness of early childhood services, prioritizing disadvantaged populations, with the aim of improving equity and capability.  To achieve these objectives in target countries, the ECP develops initiatives aimed at improving public policies and programs, builds capacity of professionals and civil society, promotes equity through targeting of early childhood programs, and monitors accountability of investments and service provision that impact young children and their families.  The aim is to build effective systems in which government, professionals, civil society, communities and monitoring mechanisms effectively fulfill their respective roles to guarantee the right of each child to develop to his or her full potential.  

The Senior Program Manager will develop and monitor the Open Society Foundations early childhood work in designated countries and regions and along specific thematic areas in collaboration with the ECP Director, Regional and Program Directors and staff in the Open Society Foundations network of foundations. Responsibilities may be added or shifted as new initiatives and engagements arise and in response to the ECP team workloads.  S/he will report to the Director of the Early Childhood Program and work closely with a professional team, based in London.  For this position the ECP is seeking a seasoned professional with substantial expertise and relevant experience in early childhood development in international contexts. 


  • Partner with and influence key Open Society Foundation programs, foundations and associated entities to promote early childhood development as a key component in network strategies
  • Contribute to the ECP’s planning, through preparation of project strategies and workplans and participation in team and Advisory Board meetings
  • Manage and monitor single country, multi-country and thematic early childhood initiatives, through local implementing partners, managing stakeholder relationships to achieve targeted results.  This will entail, as indicated by local context:
    • Coordinating situation analyses, policy reviews, policy development as well as rights-based monitoring of early childhood systems
    • Supporting systemic reform initiatives and innovative pilots;
    • Coordinating appropriate international and national expertise;
    • Managing evaluations and documentation of initiatives in order to disseminate lessons learned and generate evidence for change.
  • Contribute to advocacy efforts within existing projects and actively seek new opportunities to engage in advocacy to improve the situation of young children.
  • Build partnerships with donor agencies, research institutions and advocacy organisations.
  • Produce briefings, policy papers, reports, presentations and informational materials for internal and external audiences.
  • Represent the program at trainings and events as required

Experience & Skills: 

  • Commitment to addressing the needs of young children and their families.
  • Advanced degree in early childhood development, education, psychology, sociology, public health, international development or a relevant field.
  • Extensive knowledge of early childhood development and the international early education and development field, including familiarity with the activities of the main donor organizations, experts and networks and current trends in programming, evaluation and research.
  • Knowledge of internal and external monitoring systems and formative and summative evaluation processes that are used to generate evidence of impact.
  • Demonstrated experience providing technical assistance to governments on early childhood issues, as well as strategic and organizational support to grantees in transitional and developing countries.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and managing multi-country, multi-agency early childhood-focused initiatives, including management of consultants and the ability to mentor and monitor field teams through long-distance support.
  • Experience negotiating projects, project budgets, grants and contracts with diverse organisations.
  • Ability to listen and communicate clearly and effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Willingness to travel extensively to transitional and developing countries
  • High level of organisation and self-motivation.
  • Ability to work effectively and efficiently as part of a small team
  • Excellent spoken and written English and presentation skills

Preference will be given to candidates who have additional specific expertise in the following areas:

·         Foreign language skills, particularly Russian and other languages used in Eastern Europe, Arabic, Portuguese, French, Swahili, Farsi or Urdu;

·         Experience working in Central Eastern Europe/Eurasia, Asia, Latin America, Africa, and/or the Middle East/North Africa;

·         Expertise in non-formal programming (community-based and parenting); health, nutrition and social protection of young children; and/or quality and diversity in early childhood education and development.  

To apply:

Please send a covering letter, CV and writing sample (with ref: ECPMGR in the subject line) to: by the 15st September 2011 

Start Date:  ASAP 

Salary Range: Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package. 

Please note:

Due to the large volume of applicants expected – only those candidates selected for interview will receive notification.  

No phone calls, please. The Open Society Foundations is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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