Regional Project Coordinator_PlayMatters

Background/IRC Summary:

PlayMatters reimagines childhood for refugees. It will bring play-based learning to 800,000 children across Ethiopia, Uganda and a to be confirmed third country. 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. 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 AND 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. Our consortium’s members have a record mobilizing others.

Reporting to the Project Director, the Project Coordinator will be a critical member of the regional project team, based in Kampala leading project management for PlayMatters. During inception period (through June 2020) the Project Coordinator will track and coordinate all workstreams and activities necessary for completing the inception phase deliverables. This will involve establishing regular communication and meeting routines within IRC as well as with partners and the LEGO Foundation, ensuring workstream leads develop and update their workplans; maintaining workstream timelines; identifying critical decisions and establishing regular checkpoints with decision-makers. Thereafter, the Project Coordinator will continue to ensure seamless communication and coordination across cross-functional IRC Play Matters teams based in each of the three countries of implementation, regional headquarters in Kampala, and global headquarters. Both the inception period and long-term scope of major responsibilities for the Program Coordinator are presented below.

Job Overview/Summary:

The Program Coordinator is responsible for leading coordination across all consortium partners; establishing regular communication and meeting routines within IRC and with consortium partners and the LEGO Foundation; ensuring technical and operational workstream implementation plans and deliverables remain on track; escalating potential risks to regional project team leadership; providing program and support teams with advice on compliance with donor and IRC regulations; and leading and managing the regional project team’s oversight of award performance.

Inception Period — Major Responsibilities Include:

Coordination & Communication

• Establish and maintain communication cadence and structure: regular meetings, email updates and newsletter for internal IRC workstream groups, consortium partner groups, and with the LEGO Foundation

• Manage inception period coordination meetings: set agendas and schedule meetings with relevant participants; collate inputs from workstream leads; prepare simple and clear materials.;

• Respond to information requests and identify correct people within project to respond or provide information

• Support Project Director and Senior Technical Advisor to develop presentation decks and other materials for relevant internal and external meetings.

Tracking progress and reporting

• Support Project Director and STA to identify reporting timeline and goals

• Establish, maintain, and communicate user-friendly timelines with clear milestones and deliverables

• Identify any potential risks to achieving workplan milestones and escalate to Project Director and Senior Technical Advisor (as needed)

• With support from M&E coordinator, collate data and other information from partners for internal and donor reports; collate narrative descriptions of progress; support writing narratives as needed

• Support collation and review of financial information (budget, budget narrative)

Long-term – Major Responsibilities Include:

Coordination & Communication

• Establish structured, regular communication mechanisms to coordinate information flow and updates across consortium partners.

• Lead and manage program coordination meetings with consortium partners to facilitate consolidated implementation workplan reviews.

• Support agenda creation, materials preparation, and logistics for Play Matters leadership and governance meetings at global and regional levels, including project technical and other working group meetings.

• Support Project Director to liaise with IRC HQ-based functions, including Communications, Finance, Fundraising and Award Management.

• Support execution of project external relations and communications by engaging in the development of compelling communication materials (e.g. fact sheets, client stories, etc) geared to stakeholders and thought leaders in the fields of early childhood development and education

Award Management and Reporting:

• Help to ensure that the award is well-administered and implemented in compliance with relevant donor regulations and IRC procedures.

• Lead internal and external reporting with programs and finance teams, ensuring high-quality, well-written and timely reports meeting donor and IRC requirements.

• Develop / input to narrative, implementation plan and financial templates to optimize for individual organizational inputs and consolidated award overviews.

• Manage reporting timelines and 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.

• Maintain close collaboration with all relevant departments and country program offices in preparation and submission of timely and accurate narrative and financial reports.

• Lead and manage all aspects of internal and consortium-wide project cycle meetings to enable regular, structured reviews of award performance.


• Maintain a broad and deep understanding of donor policies, regulations, and procedures and build this knowledge among appropriate consortium team members.

• Proactively identify risks throughout the portfolio and raise to the attention of programs, operations, finance and senior management on necessary actions.

• Support and maintain project institutional knowledge with relevant staff members.

• Oversee sub-grant management in close collaboration with the Finance Department.

• Keep grant files up to date physically and electronically.

• Assist with program monitoring and evaluation by providing support to compiling achievements and lessons learned.

• Write or review donor communications such as responding to requests for information and assist with donor visits.

• Assist with preparations for audits.

• Determine most effective and feasible project management/communication tools for adoption and consistent use consortium members.

• Conduct trainings for field staff as needed on grants management and compliance, reporting, filing, communication and visibility.

• Perform other duties as required by the Project Director.

Key Working Relationships:

• Position Reports to: Regional Project Director, PlayMatters

• Position supervises: TBD

• Indirect Reporting: Deputy Director, Senior Technical Advisor

Other Internal and/or external contacts:

• Internal: Country team staff; Regional project staff; Education Technical Unit; Fundraising teams; Communications team; Senior Leadership; Finance team.

• External: Consortium partners, Donor (LEGO Foundation)


• At least 3-5 years of experience in program administration, grants management, communications and/or project management at an international NGO or similar organization

• Exceptional organizational skills; experience with project management software and tools

• Demonstrated ability to successfully work in a fast-paced environment, within and across departments/functions and develop positive relationships with locally and remote based staff

• Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills

• Experience with external representation and senior leadership or Board-level engagement

• Self-directed, able to independently set priorities and solve problems with minimal guidance; comfortable working with team that is remotely located

• Flexibility and adaptability to adjust plans for the realities of working across multiple time zones and cultural contexts

• Experience working in conflict and crisis settings and knowledge of humanitarian programming is preferred

• Knowledge of the East Africa regional context, with experience working in the region preferred

• Experience in the field of early childhood development or education is a plus

Working Environment:

• Standard office work environment

• Travel required 15%

• Position is based in the IRC Play Matters office in Kampala, Uganda

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

IRC et les employés de IRC doivent adhérer aux valeurs et principes contenus dans le IRC WAY (normes de conduite professionnelle). Ce sont l’Intégrité, le Service, et la Responsabilité. En conformité avec ces valeurs, IRC opère et fait respecter les politiques sur la protection des bénéficiaires contre l’exploitation et les abus, la protection de l’enfant, le harcèlement sur les lieux de travail, l’intégrité financière, et les représailles.

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