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Project Management Specialist

USAID (Kenya) Nairobi, Kenya


The USAID Strategic Planning and Analysis (SPA) Office is responsible for broad program support, coordination, and project management functions for the combined USAID platform in Nairobi which manages two operating units (OUs)-the bilateral Kenya and the East Africa Regional OUs. SPA provides leadership and serves as principal advisor to the Mission Director on: (a) social, economic, and cross-cutting developmental issues; (b) strategic planning and programming; (c) project and activity development; (d) monitoring and evaluation and learning of the platform’s portfolio; (e) management of current year budget obligation and out-year mission-wide budget planning; and (f) program implementation of activities that fall within the platform’s ongoing Development Objectives under the $2 billion Kenya Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) and $300 million East Africa Regional Cooperation Development Strategy (RDCS). In addition, this office keeps a pulse of major development trends in Kenya and the East Africa region to inform new programming needs.

The Specialist will be expected to demonstrate expertise in all aspects of co-creation processes with government counterparts at the East Africa regional, and Kenya national and county levels for strategies, project, and activity designs, that will serve to advance the Agency’s Journey to Self-Reliance goals. S/he is responsible for providing substantive advice and support to the Mission and government counterparts at the regional, national, and county level for the development and implementation of all programs/projects across sectors within the bilateral and regional portfolios managed by the Nairobi platform. The sectors include democracy and governance; health, population, and nutrition; education and youth; environment; and economic growth. S/he provides expert advice on all aspects of the development and implementation of projects and programs and performs the full range of consultative, information gathering, conceptualization, design, development, implementation, monitoring, evaluative, and learning services of broad scope and complexity. In addition, the incumbent is responsible for ensuring that all Kenya and East Africa Regional programs are designed and implemented in keeping with the Agency's rules, regulations, procedures, and best practices. The incumbent establishes effective working relationships with the highest levels of USAID, national and local Government of Kenya (GOK), East African regional intergovernmental organizations (RIGOs) in order to advance the Mission’s G2G efforts and must work closely with the U.S. Government interagency and other development partners. 

The Specialist leads the full range of SPA Office activities, with a concentration on strategic program planning and project and activity design and implementation. The Specialist provides leadership and plays an active role in defining, developing, and planning overall Mission programs, projects, and activities and related documents; and advises Mission management on all aspects of strategic, program, project, activity development and implementation.



a. Strategic, Project, and Activity Planning, Design, and Implementation Backstopping (60%) 

  • The Specialist serves as a backstop to one or more technical office(s) for both bilateral Kenya and the East Africa Regional OU programs; serves as the primary backstop to the mission’s regional intergovernmental organization (RIGO) portfolio; and serves as a key member of Development Objective Advisory Teams (DOATs) and Project Teams, providing strategic expertise and leadership on all aspects of the USAID program cycle across programs, projects, and activities. S/he is expected to become part of the extended technical office, attending staff and other meetings to maintain a pulse on all critical actions.  S/he provides up-to-date information on the technical office to the SPA Office and serves as the go-to person within the SPA Office for all key information for the technical office from a strategic, project, and activity planning and implementation lens. The incumbent advises and guides technical offices on program/project/activity development and implementation to ensure adherence to and compliance with Mission/Agency strategies, policies, and procedures. The Specialist prepares Assistance Agreements and amendments and other program agreements, coordinating with DOATs and technical offices.  
  • The Specialist will serve as the primary lead in bilateral CDCS and regional RDCS strategic development, implementation, and stock-taking processes, including leadership over strategic and performance Nairobi and field-based portfolio reviews and strategy mid-course stock takings. 
  • The incumbent provides guidance and leads the development of required program documentation for the technical office s/he backstops. S/he advises and assists in the conceptualization, research, development, writing and editing of documents, in the preparation of concept papers and designs for new programs, projects, and activities including the following:  (1) Initial project conceptual documentation such as background studies, sector surveys, analyses, data collection presented in form and substance to permit Mission review; (2) Preparation of project appraisal documents (PADs) for Mission review and approval; (3) Provision of information on host country, regional intergovernmental, and USAID development objectives, capabilities, and priorities as they affect the program, and ensures that project design takes into consideration such priorities for maximum host country support and cooperation; and (4) Preparation of procurement documentation to acquire the services of resources needed to execute program/project design work. 
  • In this capacity, the incumbent coordinates the review, approval, authorization, and obligation process for assigned technical and strategic portfolios, including: (1) Chairing Mission activity review committee meetings, recommending approaches consistent with current Agency policies and priorities; (2) As the final authority in the SPA Office on the preparation of project appraisal documentation prior to submission for clearance, ensuring that sufficient technical and financial analysis is done and feasibility of approved activities demonstrated; (3) Preparing issues papers as appropriate; (4) Ensuring that management controls and monitoring systems are built into each program/project; (5) Ensuring that all project appraisal documents are aligned to the Kenya CDCS and/or East Africa RDCS; and (6) Coordinating and assisting with mobilization of teams for design, feasibility, and evaluation purposes. 
  • The Specialist is responsible for monitoring and updating technical office obligation and procurement plans and pipeline reports, performing analyses as necessary to ensure that actions required are planned and executed in a timely fashion for obligation/sub-obligation. S/he ensures that all pre-obligation requirements have been met and provides support to the technical office s/he backstops during quarterly financial reviews. 
  • For the East Africa Regional portfolio, the Specialist is familiar with the strategies of the bilateral Missions to ensure that the specific programming meets those strategic priorities. The Specialist will be required to be informed on regional trends in East Africa and cross-border regional priorities to support the design of regional programs. The incumbent assists all USAID staff in assuring that programs/projects/activities are executed in a timely manner and in accordance with proper procedures as defined by USAID regulations. 
  • The Specialist will serve as the primary lead for one or more of the RIGOs the Mission’s regional programming supports under the East Africa Regional Development Objective Grant Agreements (RDOAG). S/he is expected to develop and maintain close relationships with RIGO staff at the Secretariat level with responsibilities related to the USAID partnership, and to facilitate communications and planning with RIGOs within the Mission by providing analysis and updates on RIGO internal management, events.  S/he will be responsible for the preparation of RDOAG activity designs in conjunction with the technical preparation of activity-level Program Descriptions; ensuring implementation and pipeline management; preparation of RDOAG amendments; and the implementation of the joint USAID-RIGO collaboration framework. S/he will travel frequently to RIGO headquarters and/or satellite offices. The Specialist will ensure that programs/projects/activities are executed in accordance with existing agreements between USAID and the GOK for bilateral programming at the national and county level and RIGOs for East Africa regional programming. 

b. Special Program and Representational Duties (20%) 

  • The Specialist will identify ways to further meet USG foreign policy, GOK, and East African RIGO development and policy objectives. S/he maintains up-to-date knowledge of Agency and USG initiatives, development issues and innovations, and political and economic trends in Washington, Kenya, and the East African region. S/he will liaise closely with relevant USAID/Washington bureaus and offices to identify opportunities to strengthen Mission strategic design and implementation processes. The Specialist actively participates in and/or leads relevant program cycle-related Mission and/or Agency Teams, including Mission DOAT and Project Teams, working groups, and communities of practice to promote and strengthen the adoption of best practices. Participation includes proactively drafting of pertinent project design documents, waivers, SOAR documentation, and memos to ensure high caliber support to technical offices.  
  • The Specialist maintains collaborative relationships with a wide range of contacts in the Mission and USAID/Washington and represents USAID and the USG with internal and external audiences as required. S/he will also serve as a Contracting/Agreement Officer Representative (COR/AOR) on program support cycle mechanisms and other mechanisms which support cross-cutting mission initiatives. 

c. Program Documentation and Reporting (20%) 

  • The Specialist leads the drafting and production of strategic planning documents, the annual Operational and Performance Plans and Reports, Congressional presentations, and other reports required to ensure that the Mission is able to accomplish its development objectives. The Specialist ensures completion and completes required project and activity documentation for all activities; drafts and prepares required project waiver documentation; and works with Technical Offices to participate in the development of indicators and targets to monitor the effectiveness and impact of program/project/activity implementation. The Specialist is responsible for ensuring that pre-obligation requirements are complete for technical teams that they support, including tracking requirements in the Implementation Management Plan database or other similar systems. 
  • The Specialist maintains a comprehensive project file with all data needed to maintain historical and current records of Kenya and regional programs, including initiatives. S/he identifies, collects, and compiles information for regular and ad hoc reports, interpreting information and briefing Mission management on trends and issues; maintains summary materials on results for use in presenting and explaining the program/project portfolio, and how overall planning, achieving, and results reporting works; and manages the preparation of documents for regular and ad hoc reports and presentations. 


a. Supervision Received: The Specialist works under the direct supervision of the Program & Implementation Letter (IL) Management Team Lead who makes assignments orally and in writing. Most assignments occur in the normal course of the work, but the Specialist is required to determine those that must be coordinated with the supervisor.  The supervisor provides a review of the assignment, the goals and objectives to be achieved, and the results expected. The         specialist seeks advice and assistance as required. Work is reviewed in terms of results achieved.

b. Supervision Exercised: The Specialist has no supervisory responsibilities.

c. Available Guidelines: Program and operation guidance includes USAID Mission Orders, bilateral and regional strategies, and other relevant reports; the Automated Directives System (ADS); and, USAID Mandatory and Standard Provisions, the FAR and AIDAR, and other  published and unpublished guidelines. Guidelines are often general in nature and not specific to the situation at hand, requiring considerable interpretation. 

d. Exercise of Judgment: The Specialist exercises initiative, resourcefulness, and well-considered and mature judgment, based on analysis of facts and variables, possible alternatives, and potential       political and development implications/impact. The Specialist routinely exercises sound judgment in establishing priorities, identifying problem solutions, and taking prompt action – often in critical situations. Mission staff rely heavily on the professionalism, accuracy, judgment, and  initiative of the Specialist. The Specialist exercises creative thinking and resourcefulness in dealing with problems or matters for which there is little or no precedent, while considering the impact of decisions and actions broadly on Mission programs/projects/activities. 

e. Authority to Make Commitments: The Specialist exercises the authority delegated by the Office Director and may make administrative arrangements consistent with ADS guidance and Mission. The Specialist takes action and establishes priorities based on available guidelines and professional judgment. Guidance is sought when needed, and the supervisor informed of activity and project status. The Specialist does not have the authority to commit the USG to the expenditure of funds, but within the scope of the authority delegated, they may indicate to other Mission staff, ranking counterpart, and implementing partner officials that they will make a recommendation to USAID on a specific activity issue or problem. The Specialist may negotiate ad referendum for the immediate supervisor.

f. Nature, Level, and Purpose of Contacts: The Specialist will have a full range of contacts within the Mission, at all levels, including senior Mission management and the Front Office. Within USAID/Washington contacts are primarily with the bilateral and East Africa Regional Desk    Officers, and program cycle technical experts within the Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning and the Africa Bureau, and Global Development Lab. Within the Embassy, contacts are with a variety of Office staff, and on occasion with the DCM and Ambassador, as needed.  External governmental contacts vary widely with the activity involved but will include direct engagement with Government of Kenya Ministry Principal Secretaries and their technical staff, county government officials, and Secretary General/Deputy Secretary General and Director General-level  officials within the East African regional intergovernmental organizations. The Specialist has frequent contact with other members of the international community, local NGOs, and other donors cooperating in the region. The level of contact may vary from high-ranking officials representing other governments, to Resident Representatives/Chiefs of Party, and implementing partners. The Specialist is expected to effectively advocate for USAID and USG positions on issues affecting USG assistance in the region. In addition, the Specialist ensures timely, efficient, and effective program/project/activity reporting and implementation.

g. Time Expected to Reach Full Performance Level: One year (12 Months).

Bachelor’s Degree

  1. Education: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university such as Economics, Law, International Relations, Sociology, Project Management, Business Management or a related field is required.
  2. Post Entry Training: Rapid familiarization with a wide range of Agency policies, procedures and regulations is expected, and training in USAID-specific procedures, regulations, and methods will be provided, subject to course offerings and availability of funds, specifically through the following courses: Introduction to the Program Cycle (IPC), Project Design (PD), PDT Essentials, Advanced Project Design, Better Development Planning through Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA), Contracting Officer/Agreement Officer Representative (COR/AOR).
  3. Language Proficiency: Level IV English and Kiswahili is required. Ability to prepare, provide and present reports in English to leadership and other key stakeholders is required for this position.

More Details on Experience

  1. Prior Work Experience: A minimum of five years of progressively responsible, professional-level experience in strategic development, program planning, financial and policy analysis, management, economics, and analysis or closely related work is required. This experience should have been in development-related work for an International Development Organization, Non-Governmental or Governmental Organizations, Donor Agencies, Embassies, or private-sector institutions which include planning and management, program/project/activity design, performance monitoring, and/or the analysis and interpretation of large amounts of data.
  2. Job Knowledge: The work requires substantial knowledge and understanding of development program/project/activity management principles, practices, and reporting, and a solid understanding or the potential to acquire knowledge of USAID programming and management policies and techniques that include co-creation of designs and strategies, CLA, and Government-to-Government programming.  The Specialist must have professional-level knowledge of modern development principles, concepts, and practices, especially as they relate to program management.  A thorough knowledge of both Kenyan and regional intergovernmental organizations, East Africa’s varied legal and regulatory environments, policy directions, objectives, and priorities relating to development; and a sound understanding of Kenyan and regional political, economic, social, and cultural characteristics and developments is required.  In addition, the Specialist must have, or be able to quickly gain, a good knowledge of USAID policies and regulations, procedures and methodologies, and documentation and reporting requirements, and a good understanding of the administrative procedures and operations of major donors and non-governmental organizations.

More Details on Skills

Skills and Abilities: Due to frequent interaction with external stakeholders in high stakes environments, the jobholder must be able to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions and communicate effectively to ensure positive working relationships are maintained. Outstanding organizational skills, including knowledge management, and the ability to multi-task, handle stressful situations, and meet firm deadlines, and the ability to convene and convince colleagues and counterparts to make specific actions and activities a priority. Excellent interpersonal, communication, and teamwork skills are required; and the ability to explain the wide array of applicable rules, regulations, and policies governing assigned activities, clearly and concisely verbally and in written form, to other USG staff, and key regional and bilateral governmental counterparts is necessary.  The ability to establish and maintain productive and professional relationships with relevant senior-level officials and institutions, key private-sector and development organizations, senior USAID, Embassy, USAID/Washington, and Department of State officials is critical, as is the ability to command respect and engender cooperation among peers, superiors, external counterparts, and subordinates.  The work requires outstanding written and spoken English, and the ability to communicate clearly through frequent verbal reports and presentations. The Specialist must be able to perform planning and analytical work; analyze records and determine the need for various types of actions; record and reconcile conflicting views; and, to relate the purpose and objectives of programs/projects/activities to their investments and requirements.

Terms And Conditions


Applicants must submit a resume/cv which describes how their relevant professional experience and education has prepared them to meet the specific challenges of the duties and responsibilities described above.  As part of the interview process, those applicants ranked highest may be required to submit a timed writing sample on a topic provided.  The selection committee may conduct reference checks at any time during the selection process. 

Applications that do not meet the required minimum qualifications will not be scored.  

  • Prior work experience (20 points)
  • Language (15 points)
  • Job Knowledge (50 points)
  • Skills and abilities (15 points) 

Total possible points:  100 

Candidates meeting the above required qualifications for the position will be evaluated based on information presented in the application and reference checks. References will be asked to assess the applicant’s technical knowledge, work performance, communication skills, and group dynamics, using the above criteria. USAID reserves the right to conduct interviews with the top ranked short-listed applicants. The interview will be one of the determining factors in the final selection.

How to Apply

Step 1:       Register in MyJobsInKenya at 

Step 2:       Qualified Current USG Employees: Attach an updated curriculum vitae/resume (no more than five pages), a copy of your most recent Performance Evaluation Report, and copies of all relevant certificates. Scan and attach all the documents as one attachment and upload to MyJobsInKenya. 


External Applicants/Not Current USG Employees: Attach an updated curriculum vitae/resume (no more than five pages) and copies of all relevant certificates. Scan and attach all the documents as one attachment and upload to MyJobsInKenya. 

Note to Applicants:

  1. Applications must be received by the closing date and time specified in Section I, item 3, and submitted through as stated in Section IV.
  2. Submissions will only be accepted through Late and Incomplete applications (those that do not contain the applicant’s most current and up to date detailed CV and relevant education certificates) will not be considered for the position. The closing date for receipt of applications is indicated above. 
  3. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Any form of canvassing will lead to automatic disqualification. 
  4. USAID provides equal opportunity and equitable treatment for employment of all people without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, marital status or sexual orientation.