16 Nov 2021

Partner Portfolio Manager at Blood Water

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Job Description

About Blood:Water

Blood:Water partners with African grassroots organizations to address the HIV/AIDS and water crises. We believe that communities are the experts and the rightful custodians of their development priorities and processes. We recognize that highly impactful development solutions are already present in local communities and we position them as experts and see our partnership as catalytic to leverage existing resources and expertise for expanded reach and impact.

This belief shaped our model where we identify and come along-side the vision of African-led, community-owned civil society organizations that use integrated models of WASH and HIV programming to get to the root underlying drivers of cycles of vulnerability, poverty and health disparities in their unique context and communities.

Our partnership model is designed for relational depth; acknowledging that organizational growth and health progressions take time. Blood:Water’s grant portfolio is designed for focused support of up to 10 partners annually and for up to 8 years. This small portfolio size is intentional to allow highly collaborative community building that has impact both in communities and the organizations themselves.

To leverage our partners’ impact and expanded reach over time, we provide organizational, financial and programmatic support:

  • Flexible Funding: Allows partners to position flexible and sizable funding in communities that supplement more restricted funds and concurrent bilateral investments in the formal health sector. Flexible means, we do not restrict what solutions our partners implement. Communities select the solutions and tailor them. We care about impact, innovation and community-borne solutions. Our grants range in size from 50,000 USD to 100,000 USD annually.
  • Organizational Strengthening: We believe that strengthened CSOs with improved institutional health provide communities with higher impact interventions and are better positioned to do so with longevity, beyond any single funding relationship. We want to see our partners drive the trajectory of their health and growth across all aspects of their operations. We support this by regularly facilitating a participatory, consensus-driven process identifying organizational strengthening priorities and providing funding for investments in people, policies, processes and practices.
  • Community of Practice: Our partners learn from and with each other, virtually and in-person through learning visits, convenings and peer support.

Currently, Blood:Water supports six grant partners in four countries. We’re a passionate, people-centered and fun team of nine who care about excellence. We’re split between the US and Kenya, with two working in the Africa Partnerships department.

You are joining Blood:Water at an exciting time: We are growing the Africa team to six and our portfolio from 6 to 10 by 2023. We are also opening our community of practice to the larger HIV and WASH community and plan to grow it to convene, cultivate, and amplify African leadership driving health, development and social change.

About the role

The Africa Partner Portfolio Manager is a newly created role in the Africa Partnerships (AP) team and will lead our grant-making program to our growing portfolio of grantees across Eastern and Southern Africa. You will be the primary steward of the relationships between Blood:Water and all Africa grant partners and drive all grant related processes including a collaborative proposal development process (for every 2 year cycle), backstopping programmatic excellence and compliance and handling new partner onboarding, monitoring visits and grant disbursement schedules.  The role ensures Blood:Water grants management policies and systems are robust and applied appropriately, internally and across partners.

Success in your role will mean strong mutually thriving relationships with our partners and that they grow programmatically year on year, deepening their impact while growing their ability to manage projects and grants. You will report to the Africa Partnerships Director and collaborate closely with other AP department members (who are in charge of Organizational Strengthening, the Community of Practice, Impact & Learning and Strategy & Influence).

Your responsibilities will include the following:

Managing Blood:Water’s grant programming for African partner organizations (70%)

  • Oversee and lead all processes, workflows, systems and timelines related to our partner grants management.
  • Build strong mutually thriving relationships with all grantees: Understand their work and capacity deeply, set expectations clearly, coordinate well in the AP team, work towards the health and growth of our relationship, staying mindful of typical power dynamics of grantmaking.
  • Provide generalized backstopping on program design applying best practices in community development, WASH and HIV/AIDS. Lead partner learning and adoption of these best practices into project proposals and implementation strategies.
  • Ensure timely execution of new and renewing grants (after every two years). Collaborate with each partner in an intensive proposal editing process, leveraging learnings and feedback from previous grant cycles, and guide the development of 2-year grant agreements that are sound, evidence based and measurable (incl. clear and relevant program goals, plans and matching budget). This requires coordinating team members for collaborative participation while working towards specific deadlines. Finally, prepare contractual documents for signing.
  • Ensure all partners are onboarded effectively, incl. setting expectations, providing training and developing materials that equip partners for successful management of their grants and relationship with us.
  • Be attentive to partners’ capacity to deliver on grant management, and support them as needed throughout the partnership lifecycle, providing assistance, training and troubleshooting on granting systems and general project management as needed.
  • Support the Impact & Learning Manager who leads the quarterly grant reporting and feedback process with each grantee by ensuring that narrative and financial reports are complete, content is of quality, and that any queries are resolved and reconciled.
  • Conduct monitoring visits to provide in-person relationship building, spot-checks, program audits, verification of work and/or other grants management supervision as needed.
  • Internal documentation (reports after field visits, updates on partner relationships, etc.)
  • Responsible for administrative filing and oversight on partners and grants workflow documentation. Ensure all partner files are appropriately stored, complete and up to date.
  • Manage the grant disbursement schedule, liaising with Finance internally.
  • Oversee ongoing monitoring on partner administrative compliance and grant performance to inform Africa Partnerships’ decision making on partner risk, and feasibility of relationships over time. Be attentive to and flag performance and compliance breeches.
  • Participate in selection of new partners in line with our criteria and procedures by contributing to shortlisting, vetting, site visits and the decision making.
  • Lead a responsible grant close-out process.
  • Ensure Blood:Water grants management policies and systems are robust by regularly reviewing and improving them. Raise observations and strategic questions for discussion in the larger team.

Collaborating across the department for joint goals (30%)

  • Actively participate in larger strategic discussions in the team around our work, and help shape and implement emerging strategic growth initiatives.
  • Engage the Organization Strengthening Lead for initiation and management of the Institutional Development Framework (IDF) process that is paired with the grant cycle as well as other targeted organizational strengthening assistance needs that emerge throughout the partnership.
  • Engage the Learning & Impact Lead on partners’ capacity strengthening needs relating to monitoring, evaluation and reporting capacity that emerge throughout grant development and partner touchpoints.
  • Engage the entire department to coordinate collaborative partner performance reviews and feedback calls.
  • Act as the main liaison with partners for any field visits, by coordinating needs and requests and ensuring clear expectations for all parties. Safeguard the partner and their communities during visits. This includes co-leading donor trips.

Who we are looking for:

  • You share our passion for asset-based, participatory, and community-driven development and are excited to drive grantmaking that truly partners with civil society organizations in a way that puts and keeps communities and local grassroot leaders in the seat of strategizing and driving solutions on the ground. You understand the realities of community-driven programming at the grassroot, you engage communities with care and curiosity to learn from them.
  • You have vast experience in public health programming: You deeply understand community needs related to HIV/AIDS, the trends, gaps in programming and funding, and integrated models and interventions that work at the grassroot to ensure the continuum of care and support at community level. You have at least 5-8 years of relevant experience, in some of which you took a birds-eye view on the sector, for example in a technical advisor, health systems strengthening, sub-granting or grant making role.  Experience and knowledge in WASH is an added advantage.
  • You have successfully built capacity in individuals and organizations to design, manage, document and report on grants and projects/programs – based on your own track record and strong abilities in the project/program management cycle
  • You are a strong relationship builder with vast experience managing individual and institutional relationships. You consciously focus on building healthy relationships, examining underlying power dynamics and intentionally enter each conversation with the aim of building true partnership and understanding.
  • You are extremely organized and have a keen eye for details. You have a track record of meeting priorities and timelines in a role with many parallel projects, lots of time-bound activities and don’t lose your head when handling tons of email and document versions.
  • You are excited to dig into the collaborative and participatory building of program models, proposals and budgets with small civil society organizations and know how to encourage critical and analytical thinking while avoiding to impose your ideas. You have past results strengthening programs over time, based on evidence and learnings and through systems.
  • You are highly self-driven and very productive in a remote team and low-supervision role.
  • You are a fast learner and pride yourself in your ability to absorb and synthesize a broad range of new information.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with an advanced ability to relay information clearly and effectively to a wide range of audience. You are sensitive to power and cultural dynamics in your communication.
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (International Development, Public Health, Public Administration, Community Development, etc)

You have the cultural fit to work with the team at Blood:Water if

  • You are adaptable and excited to roll with the punches in a fast-changing environment. You are willing to be flexible and tolerant with the growth pains of a small organization.
  • You are teachable, know when and how to seek help, admit mistakes and are not ego-driven.
  • You have high initiative and self-drive. You confidently bring ideas into the team, ask questions where you need and speak up for yourself.
  • Your life and work is driven by Christian faith and values. At Blood:Water we come together because Christ motivates us to do this work.
  • You are deeply mission-driven and put community-driven development above competing dynamics and interests.

Why work with us

  • You get to practice philanthropy that is authentically partner-driven and that is designed for impact! Work with focus and depth, offering funding that does not dictate results.  You will amplify and elevate the voices of communities as the experts of the work they do and resource models and organizations that will deliver public health impacts in a sustainable way.
  • Join an extremely passionate and values-driven diverse team. People matter to us and we have an informal and very relational team culture!
  • Opportunity to help shape our growth and scale in the Africa Partnerships work and our Africa office, team and culture.
  • Blood:Water is a place where you can live your Christian values and faith not just in your work but also the team. If you have a faith-based personal practice and are interested to bring this into your work and team, you will feel at home here. We integrate spiritual practices in our team meetings, such as devotions and prayer requests. We are agnostic across all denominations and not evangelistic.

Other information

Anticipated start date is January 2022. The location for this position is Nairobi. Travel throughout Africa and the US will be up to 30% of the time. Candidates should be ready for rural travel with basic amenities. There will be a six-month probationary period and we will agree on performance and learning objectives. We are looking for candidates who are ready to make a long-term commitment. Initial contract of 2 years will be extended based on performance. This position is ideal for Kenyan nationals and equally open to Africans who have pre-existing work authorization for any employer and residence in Kenya.

Method of Application

  • Read this guide with tips on our selection process: http://bit.ly/CandidatesGuide
  • If you are interested in the role and have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected]
  • Apply by filling out the application survey under this link: https://bit.ly/JoinBWGrants
  • You will be asked to upload your CV as part of the application form. Make sure it is tailored towards the role, no longer than 3 pages and in PDF format.
  • The recruitment is carried out in collaboration with edge. All communication regarding this role will come only from email addresses in the domains @edgeperformance.co.ke and @bloodwatermission.com

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