PlayMatters reimagines childhood for refugees. It will bring play-based learning to 800,000 children across Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania. 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 of mobilizing others.
The PlayMatters Senior Technical Advisor (STA) for Content Development and Management will lead the content development team for the PlayMatters consortium across Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda. The STA will work closely with the PlayMatters Technical Director, the Regional Curriculum Technical Advisor and other technical staff from IRC and partners, as well as the leadership of PlayMatters in each country. PlayMatters is developing learning through play content for use by educators, caregivers, and communities who interact with refugee and host community children ages 3-12+ with the objective of improving holistic learning and wellbeing outcomes. The development of content is using human centered design strategies within a build-test-learn process to develop localized, contextually appropriate content. The STA will establish actionable plan(s) and lead the broader team through this process, collaborating with the MEL and Research teams to maximize learning at multiple stages. The STA will also collaborate with the Policy and Advocacy team to support PlayMatters’ partnership with system actors and external partners in each country. Coordinating across partners and stakeholders to develop a shared vision will be central to success.
The PlayMatters STA for Content Development and Management is responsible for four key objectives:
- Oversee the development and implementation of outstanding resources and materials for three countries (Uganda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania) that support primary educators, pre-primary educators, caregivers, and communities to integrate LtP practices into their interactions with children.
- Provide technical guidance and oversight for LtP program design and field implementation within the region, ensuring that programs are evidence-based, cost-effective and scalable.
- Represent IRC and the PlayMatters consortium as the regional LtP technical lead at strategic meetings and events.
- Establish and strengthen productive and beneficial relationships with LtP-focused organizations and networks, technical experts, government agencies and donors within the region, in coordination with the Technical Director and the Project Director.
1. Content Development and implementation
• Oversee the development of new content and, where possible, the curation and adaptation of existing content, to ensure it aligns with the project’s technical framework for supporting the use of LtP in primary and pre-primary schools, in homes, and in communities.
• Plan and manage the process of LtP content development to ensure that materials are culturally and linguistically relevant and that they are designed to enhance children’s learning outcomes in ways that are cost-effective and scalable
• Manage the content development team to ensure that roles and accountabilities are clear and that the team is working well both as individuals and as a team.
• Work in close collaboration with the technical advisors and specialists who work most closely with the content writers in each country throughout the content testing and development process
• Work with the Research and MEAL teams to revise content based on gathered evidence of best practices, user feedback and indicator results.
• Work with the Policy and Advocacy team and the country teams to ensure content and program models are aligned with local or national standards for early childhood development and pre-primary education
• Guide the development of a ToT guides and other resources for teacher educators for project scale up
• Collaborate with the multimedia workstream and support development and testing of digital solutions in line with the content development and identified needs, including distance learning solutions for educators and system actors.
2. Technical Guidance
• Establish programmatic standards for LtP program implementation, in-line with the results from evidence reviews, contextual analyses, and field testing
• Work with relevant internal and external technical staff to ensure appropriate guidance is provided for LtP programming
• Establish guidance for gender equity standards and disability inclusion across LtP program models, with input from internal and external technical experts
• Provide training and LtP technical support for relevant country and regional staff
• Analyze data from country implementation to inform decisions and report, at a strategic level, different metrics of success in LtP
• Ensure that the PlayMatters senior management from the IRC and partners are aware of successes and challenges, and provide regular updates
• Review and use existing curricula and materials to identify areas for integrating LtP within teaching and learning resources such as existing plans, frameworks, guides, and manuals
• Collaborate with the P&A team to work with SA to ensure LtP is well understood and integrated into policies and strategies as we generate evidence and learning.
3. External and internal representation
• Raise understanding and the profile of the PlayMatters Project within the region, both internally and externally
• Identify and participate in strategic forums in education that offer high value and returns for resources invested
• Stay abreast of the regional policy environment and identify critical entry points for IRC to influence polices to be able to achieve our goals and outcomes
4. Partnerships and Growth
• In coordination with the Project Director and the Technical Director, establish purposeful regional partnerships – to improve the quality and reach of our programs and to reform policies in the sector
• Assist in the writing and development of reports and other documents, for the donor and for internal and/or external audiences
• Maintain strong relationships with internal units focused on partnership and business development
• Develop strong and productive working relationships with consortium partners, both their content team representatives and their broader teams
Key Working Relationships:
• Position Reports to: Technical Director, PlayMatters
Position directly supervises: Regional Curriculum Technical Advisor
• Other Internal and/or external contacts: Members of the Education Technical Unit at the IRC, partner technical leadership, the PlayMatters technical team, country program leadership
• Master’s degree or PhD in Education or related field
• At least 15 years working in education
• At least 5 years of experience developing content and/or overseeing program design for large-scale programs focused on education or a related field
• Primary or Pre-primary school teaching experience
• Proven ability to provide high-quality technical assistance, guidance and coaching to staff and partners
• Excellent knowledge of pedagogies related to learning through play
• Experience working in conflict and crisis settings, and knowledge of humanitarian programming
• Self-directed, able to independently set priorities and solve problems with minimal guidance
• Excellent interpersonal and oral and written communication skills
• 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.
• Experience working in East Africa in education
• Fluent in written and oral English; knowledge of other regional language preferred
• Standard office work environment
• Travel required 25-40%
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Equality 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 is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status or disability.