Senior Program Officer, Financial Services for the Poor

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, New Delhi, India

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme ManagementResearch and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
Above 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
19th January, 2015

Job Description

Group Summary    

  • The mission of the Global Policy & Advocacy (GPA) program is to understand and shape the public policy debates affecting the foundation's work, build support for its major program and policy objectives, and develop partnerships and alliances that can advance the foundation's policy objectives nationally and globally. Because the foundation's resources alone are not enough to solve the challenges ahead, GPA also supports advocacy efforts to engage diverse stakeholders and promote innovative solutions that advance our program goals. GPA is composed of our Regional Offices in India, China and Africa; our Donor Government Relations (DGR) teams, one for Europe and the Middle East, based in London, and another for the United States, Canada and Asia-Pacific region, based in Washington, DC; a Program Advocacy & Communications team; a Development Policy & Finance team; and our Philanthropic Partnerships team. We work in close partnership with grantees, our colleagues in the Global Health and Global Development Programs, the Executive office, and foundation Communications to build the environment in which all people have the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives.


  • The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will strategically develop and manage a portfolio of complex grants and related interventions in order to expand the reach of digital financial services among excluded populations. These efforts will be focused primarily on India, and more generally on South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • Acting as a “philanthropic venture capitalist”, the SPO will be deeply involved in the region's banking, technology, governmental, and regulatory networks in order to identify and support trends and partners that promise to expand the reach of digital financial systems among excluded populations. The areas of deep involvement will be:
  1. Conducting regulatory and policy analysis to shape the development of an enabling environment that expands the poor's access to digital financial services, while preserving the safety and soundness of the financial system.
  2. Fostering the deployment of safe, affordable, and reliable digital payment platforms focused on poor people's needs and suitable for government-to-person, person-to-person, person-to-merchant, and other payment flows.
  3. Identifying and supporting digital financial innovations that augment the delivery of health, agriculture, sanitation, and energy services to poor households.
  4. Fostering a competitive and open financial services ecosystem (savings, loans, insurance, micro and small enterprise management) in service of the poor.
  5. Identifying interventions that expand the poor's access to digital payment, savings, credit, and insurance services in India and across South and Southeast Asia.
  6. Identifying innovations to catalyze the digitization of government and donor payment flows to poor households.
  7. Writing and producing analyses which advance the world's understanding of how to design and regulate inclusive digital financial systems.
  8. Representing the foundation among key partners, including governments, regulators, grantees, donor organizations, universities, think tanks, international standard setting bodies, and commercial organizations.
  9. Developing and managing the monitoring and evaluation systems for grants.
  10. Consulting with grantees and other partners to maximize impact of projects in order to ensure optimal learning. This may include: site visits, providing operational guidance, and convening meetings of key stakeholders.
  11. Prepare for and host visits from foundation leadership.
  12. Prepare internal briefs summarizing the foundation's interventions in the region.
  13. Provide ongoing input into the development of FSP's global, regional, and country strategies.

Qualifications : We are looking for people who enjoy solving complex problems using a hypothesis and data-driven approaches as well as have experience delivering innovative solutions in challenging environments. The qualified candidate should have the following experience:

  • Ten to fifteen years relevant work experience. Outstanding record of achievement required.
  • Background in financial services, telecoms, mobile financial services, government payment systems, and/or ICT project management strongly preferred.
  • Undergraduate degree in business, finance, international development, or technical discipline. Advanced degree strongly preferred.
  • Innovative, out-of-the box thinker who is hands-on and willing to go as deep or broad as necessary to achieve outcomes.
  • Fluent in English with excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Exceptional results orientation combined with strong relationship management skills.
  • Comfortable in a wide range of cultural, geographic, and operational situations, demonstrating culturally sensitive behavior with a diverse range of people.
  • Experience leading and working with a range of clients, colleagues, consultants, and other partners with a broad exposure to private and public stakeholders.
  • Solid team player who can operate independently, with a demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, and diplomacy in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to question and challenge colleagues, including managers, in a constructive manner.
  • Ability to travel up to 30-35% of time as needs dictate.
  • As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.


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