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Project Management Specialist (Democracy & Elections)

USAID (Kenya) Nairobi


The Project Management Specialist (Democracy and Elections) serves as key member of the Democracy, Governance, Peace and Security (DGPS) Office at USAID Kenya and East Africa (KEA). The incumbent possesses advanced knowledge in the fields of democracy and elections, along with practical knowledge of good governance, human rights, rule of law, devolution, civil society, and media in Kenya. The position demands practical experience in program design, activity management, monitoring, evaluation, reporting and learning. Due to frequent interaction with external stakeholders in high stakes environments, the job holder must be able to perceive, use, understand, manage, handle emotions and communicate effectively to ensure positive working relationships are maintained with Mission colleagues, along with interlocutors at the U.S. Embassy, other donors, the private sector, non-governmental and civil society organizations, and other not-for-profit organizations in Kenya. The position also entails effective and continuous communication with local and national government representatives, ensuring that USAID/KEA is fully aware of, and engaged in the democracy and election development issues in Kenya. The position functions under the supervision of the DGPS Project Management Specialist (Democracy & Governance) or his/her designated representative.



a. Program Design and Management (50%) 

  • The Specialist plays the lead role in designing and managing the Mission’s democracy and election activities (contracts, cooperative agreements, grants to public international organizations, and government-to-government mechanisms).  This is a continuous process that involves a high degree of responsibility across the entirety of USAID’s program design cycle, from conceptualizing and formulating programs, through procurement, implementation, and evaluation. USAID/KEA’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) requires integration and coordination among technical offices that will require the Specialist to coordinate closely with other technical offices to ensure strategic coordination and unity of effort. 
  • The Specialist is the technical lead for designing and managing DGPS programs and activities focusing on democracy and election activities in Kenya’s governance processes while supporting civic engagement to advance and bolster these efforts. S/he serves as the Contracting/Agreement Officers’ Representative (C/AOR) of relevant programs, and as such, is expected to not only be responsible for overall management of programs, but to coordinate activities with other USAID technical offices, as well as other U.S. Government (USG) agencies at Post.  
  • As a C/AOR, s/he is accountable for the program implementation tasks that include:
    • Co-creation with various stakeholders and providing technical direction and guidance to implementing partners to improve program impact.
    • Providing review and approvals on both programmatic and financial aspects of program implementation.
    • Ensuring all required USAID documentation is prepared including specialized opinions and reports that inform USAID’s regular portfolio reviews and annual reporting.
    • Conducting periodic reviews and evaluations pertaining to these activities, identifying emerging problems and determining applicable course(s) of action.  
  • In designing, procuring, and managing democracy and election activities, the Specialist is expected to be a leader in pioneering the use of innovative approaches to maximize development impact. This requires a deep understanding of the field; having trusted relationships with non-state actors, including civil society organizations (CSO), media, faith-based organizations, private sector among others; having good working relationships with relevant government institutions and agencies; having proactive engagement with other democracy, human rights, and election experts (both within and outside USAID), and keeping abreast of the latest developments, studies, and academic research in the fields of democracy and election matters in Kenya. 
  • As an experienced professional in the democracy and governance (DG) field, the incumbent will be expected to actively explore and identify new partnerships, particularly ones that empower citizens as change agents. This entails expanding outreach to and engagement with various Kenyan institutions and organizations at the national and county levels. The incumbent actively explores, identifies, and brings to the attention of the Office and Mission leadership local partners, and where applicable, works with these partners to build their capacity to implement and manage USAID development activities.
  • As the technical lead on democracy and elections, the incumbent is responsible for identifying and synthesizing best international and regional practices and lessons learned and to use this information to improve knowledge management and learning within USAID/KEA.  

b. Strategic Advice / Portfolio Guidance (30%) 

  • The Specialist is responsible for tracking legal, policy, political trends, as they relate to democracy and elections and provide strategic advice on the same. In interacting with USAID and USG decision-makers, s/he distills information and shapes it into succinct policy and/or programmatic recommendations. 
  • Given the cross-cutting nature of DG work, the incumbent seeks ways to promote program integration with USAID other development sectors (health, education, environment, etc.). Part of the Specialist’s role involves active outreach and coordination with other technical offices and the U.S. Embassy to ensure unity of effort around democracy and election programs. 
  • During annual portfolio reviews, briefings for high-level visitors, and other performance reporting processes, the Specialist plays a role in presenting and explaining DGPS programs. In fulfilling this role, s/he must be able to convey the strategic rationale behind democracy and election programs, as well as detailed information about specific programmatic interventions, their successes, and shortfalls. 
  • The incumbent contributes to the development of strategic documents including annual operational plans, annual performance reports, congressional budget justifications and other ad hoc reports as required.   
  • The Specialist develops and designs new program activities, reviews and advises on proposals from potential partners/contractors, and documents recommendations for issuance of grants, contracts, and host government agreements. 
  • The incumbent engages with cross-mission teams on the assessment and design of government-to-government programs, including advising on governance related risks, and mitigation measures related to those risks. 

c. External Representation (20%) 

  • On a wide variety of topics related to DG issues, the Specialist represents USAID to external audiences, to contribute thought leadership and ensure that USAID equities are represented in multi-lateral fora and partner working groups. 
  • The incumbent maintains direct and substantive contacts to advise and represent USG policy interests with host government officials at the national and county levels to enhance learning and ensure coordination of programmatic activities. 
  • The Specialist establishes and maintains effective working relations and coordination with other donors, civil society, private sector, media, and academic/research bodies on matters related to DG initiatives, especially elections.  S/he will also be able to explain the role of USAID and its work to members of the public, who may have little or no knowledge of USAID. 
  • S/he will add value to existing partnerships, and exercise initiative in establishing new ones, with international, regional, and local partners in support democracy and election interventions.  
  • The Specialist will collaborate with USAID/Washington's DRG Center, bilateral missions and other Agency affiliates in democracy and election programming and learning. 


a. Supervision Received: The Specialist is supervised by the DGPS’s Project Management Specialist (Democracy and Elections) or his/her designee. The incumbent’s work is governed by an annual work plan, jointly developed with his/her supervisor.

b. Supervision Exercised: The incumbent exercises no direct supervisory responsibility.

c. Available Guidelines: As a key member of the DGPS Office, the incumbent is expected to be knowledgeable of applicable regulations and guidance, including the USAID Automated Directive Systems (ADS) (Series 200, Programming; Series 300, Acquisition and Assistance Planning; 540, USAID Development Experience Information; Series 600, Budget and Finance), Mission Orders, and guidance from USAID/Washington, especially as regards to project design and management, and USAID reporting requirements. The incumbent is expected to correctly interpret the underlying intent of such guidelines that require updating.

d. Exercise of Judgment: Within applicable regulations and guidance provided by his/her supervisor, the Specialist exercises sound judgement and demonstrates initiative in monitoring office operations, and in proposing improvements to standard operating procedures, team structures, or other protocols.

e. Authority to Make Commitments: The incumbent exercises the authority given to C/AORs and may make administrative arrangements consistent with ADS guidance and Mission and Office policies. S/he takes action and establishes priorities based on available guidelines and her/his professional judgment. Guidance is sought from his/her supervisor as needed. The incumbent cannot make financial commitments on behalf of the U.S. Government. The incumbent's recommendations, however, will form the basis for making commitments, as applicable.

f. Nature, Level, and Purpose of Contacts: The Specialist is in daily contact with the Project Management Specialist (Democracy & Governance) and is frequently in contact with the DGPS Office Director, and USG officials, including USAID/KEA Mission management, and visiting officials from Washington. S/he also initiates and maintains contacts with mid-level leaders and representatives in the Kenyan government, as well as among civil society members and development partners.

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

Bachelor’s Degree

  1. Education: Bachelor’s degree in the social sciences, or in a development-related field (law, economics, public policy/administration, international relations, government, political science, area studies, etc.) is required.
  2. Post Entry Training: Mandatory training includes the Introduction to Program Cycle, Project Development, Collaborating, Leaning and Adapting, and Contracting/Agreement Officers’ Representative (A/COR). S/he will require training in the use of other Agency, Embassy, and Mission systems including but not be limited to, the Global Acquisition and Assistance System (GLAAS), Agency Secure Image and Tracking System (ASIST), Personal Tracker Locator (PTL), and the Performance Monitoring Information Systems.
  3. Language Proficiency: Fluency (Level IV, speaking, reading and writing) in both English and Kiswahili is required. The demonstrated ability to write and edit complex technical documents in English, and to translate similar documents from Kiswahili into English, and vice versa, is required.

More Details on Experience

  1. Prior Work Experience: A minimum five years of progressively responsible work experience in fields related to Kenya’s democratic development (governance, elections, devolution, political parties, human rights, rule of law, civil society, etc.), public administration, or management is required. Experience must include working for a Government Institution, International Development Agency, Non-Governmental-Organization or Embassy in democracy and election efforts, along with one or more of the areas noted previously. Experience leading ad hoc and standing teams, for short- or long-term periods, is required.
  2. Job Knowledge: Demonstrated technical expertise is required on issues pertaining to two or more subjects in the DG field (for example: elections and human rights, civil society strengthening, devolution, public outreach and behavior change, political party engagement, media, and rule of law, etc.). Advanced knowledge of Kenya’s democracy and election trends, comparative examples in other countries, relevant civil society organizations, influential religious and GOK stakeholders, is required.

More Details on Skills

Skills and Abilities:  Demonstration of adept organizational skills required, including, but not limited to: organizing a team to achieve results; time management; quality control; knowledge management (sharing and instituting best practices); and tracking progress toward achieving shared goals. Negotiation skills in both English and Kiswahili are required. Required abilities include gathering and processing input and data from many sources, and then to compiling, analyzing, and synthesizing data as appropriate. Critical thinking and active listening are required abilities for the position. The demonstrated ability to work collegially and effectively in an integrated, team environment for specific tasks is required.

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 (30 points)
  • Language (Pass/Fail points)
  • Job Knowledge (40 points)
  • Skills and abilities (30 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.