Program Director, Rwanda – Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative


Career with BRAC International

BRAC is an award-winning international non-governmental development organization, with the vision of a world free from all forms of exploitation and discrimination, where everyone has the opportunity to realize their potential. BRAC is a leader in developing and implementing cost-effective, evidence-based programs to assist poor and disadvantaged communities in low-income countries, including in conflict-prone and post-disaster settings. It is an organization of and for the people of the Global South, pioneering new development and social enterprise approaches to equip communities to achieve prosperity. As well as being the world’s biggest NGO by the number of staff and people directly reached, BRAC has regularly been ranked the number one NGO in the world by the Geneva-based NGO Advisor, an independent organization committed to highlighting innovation, impact, and governance in the non-profit sector. BRAC retained the top spot in 2020 among the top 500 NGOs for the fifth consecutive year.

BRAC was founded in Bangladesh in 1972 by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. It started its first program outside of Bangladesh in Afghanistan in 2002 and has since reached more than 6.5 million people in 11 countries in Africa and Asia. BRAC has a holistic approach to development that uses a wide array of programs that include microfinance, education, health, agriculture, gender, and human rights. BRAC invests in communities’ own human and material resources, catalyzing lasting change and creating an ecosystem in which the poor have the chance to seize control of their own lives.

About the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative

The Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative (“UPGI”) is a global unit of BRAC that was founded in 2016 to build off the success of BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation program in Bangladesh. BRAC UPGI aims to position the Graduation approach as a key driver to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide. It does this by:

  • Advocating for uptake of the Graduation approach by policymakers, national governments, multilateral institutions, and non-governmental organizations; and
  • Effective adaptation and implementation of the Graduation approach in countries around the world, supported through technical assistance and capacity strengthening for external stakeholders.

In 2002, BRAC pioneered the Ultra-Poor Graduation (“Graduation”) approach in Bangladesh – a holistic intervention to help people lift themselves from extreme poverty – after recognizing that existing poverty alleviation programs were not reaching the poorest people. Through the provision of livelihood assets, cash transfers, and continued mentoring and training, the Graduation approach addresses participants’ multidimensional needs within the local context and ‘graduates’ people from extreme poverty into sustainable livelihoods.

Graduation is an evidence-based, scalable intervention proven to break the poverty trap for the long term. So far, BRAC’s flagship Graduation program has impacted over 2 million Bangladeshi households—totaling over 9 million people. To help eradicate extreme poverty, BRAC UPGI is working to scale globally by integrating Graduation into existing government programs and help 21 million more people lift themselves from extreme poverty by 2026.

But BRAC UPGI cannot do it alone. This is beyond the means and capacity of a single organization- no matter how ambitious or innovative. Sustainability and scale demands change at the systems level with active government engagement. BRAC UPGI is committed to creating effective solutions that leverage the available resources and existing programming to achieve the long-term benefits demonstrated by Graduation. The organization is partnering with governments, as well as multilateral institutions, NGOs, and civil society, in countries where BRAC UPGI thinks it can have maximum impact and drive greater uptake for Graduation.

About the Position

The BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative (UPGI) seeks to hire a Program Director to spearhead BRAC UPGI’s efforts to scale the Graduation approach in Rwanda. The Program Director will drive sustained impact on extreme poverty through engaging and influencing governments, local partners, and other key stakeholders to adopt, implement, and scale Graduation programs and policies.

Reporting to the Director of Country Portfolio, the Program Director for Rwanda will lead and implement BRAC UPGI’s country strategy for Rwanda, oversee technical assistance engagements to partner organizations including governments, multilateral and bilateral institutions, develop and maintain close working relationships with civil society organization and development actors engaged in programs or advocacy initiatives designed to assist people in extreme poverty; create and leverage opportunities for policy reforms that address extreme poverty; and work closely with BRAC UPGI’s global support units to embed the Graduation approach to extreme poverty alleviation into the Government of Rwanda’s social safety net programs.

The Program Director will also have a reporting line to BRAC International’s Rwanda Country Director and will work in close collaboration with the BI team. The Program Director plays a critical role in supporting strategy development, cultivating strategic partners, influencing policymakers, and strengthening the technical capacity of government personnel and other partners. This position will be based in Kigali, Rwanda, and will work closely with team members based in the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa.


Strategy Development

  • Develop a detailed strategy and work plan for BRAC UPGI’s engagement in Rwanda, building on the UPGI’s initial country entry strategy.
  • Conduct needs assessments in coordination with national/local civil society groups and government actors.
  • Conduct strategic stakeholder meetings and workshops and share learnings and evidence with partners to drive influence.
  • Cultivate and manage partnerships with the government (at multiple levels), multi/bi-laterals, donors, and private sector actors.
  • Create stakeholder engagement strategies in coordination with the overarching country strategy with technical, communication, and advocacy colleagues.
  • According to UPGI’s Diversity Equity Inclusion & Belonging principles, build and manage an effective country engagement team to implement the strategy and work plan.

Country Engagement

  • Actively engage in government consultations and working groups, multi- and bi-lateral working groups, and civil society working groups related to poverty reduction, economic inclusion, and social protection.
  • Identify policy asks for governments and develop policy briefs to support national scale-up of Graduation, including where and how the Graduation can be integrated into new or existing government policies/programs.
  • Identify, explore, and pursue partnership opportunities and entry points for scaling the Graduation approach within Rwanda more broadly with many potential stakeholders, including government, CSOs, media, peer agencies, think tanks, and other research organizations.
  • Drive strategy and action plan for civil society engagement and strengthening by conducting ongoing monitoring of the civil society landscape, including developing partnerships agreements with strong actors.
  • Develop training for local government service providers on crucial Graduation topics to address skills and capacity gaps (monitoring, evaluation, livelihood development, and beneficiary targeting, for example). Plan and lead immersion visits for key government partners to Bangladesh or other countries to experience the impact of the Graduation program firsthand.
  • Support country engagement team members liaising with and advising national and local government and multilateral institution partners such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, and various UN agencies on the design, delivery, evaluation, and promotion of impactful Graduation and other economic inclusion approaches integrated into social protection systems nationally.
  • Design, plan and oversee government Graduation programming and implementation with the support of UPGI.
  • Conduct assessments to inform program design and policy.
  • Identify implementing partners for engagement, develop operational plans, tools, and processes for execution of Graduation programming and
  • Review program progress with in-country and global colleagues, including developing Rwanda-specific KPIs to measure progress, chairing quarterly strategy review sessions with global team members, and adjusting strategy in response to new developments/opportunities and challenges.

Other (Safeguarding Responsibilities)

  • Establish a safeguarding culture across all level of the programme by implementing the safeguarding policy. Act as a key source of support, guidance and expertise on safeguarding for establishing a safe working environment.
  • Responsible to ensure team members are appropriately trained, supported and have access to resources regarding issues that are identified and actioned in accordance with the safeguarding policy and procedure.
  • Follow the safeguarding reporting procedure in case any reportable incident takes place, encourage others to do so.


  • A proven track record in developing strong relationships with partners, governments, civil society actors, multilateral institutions, or peer agencies
  • Master’s degree in social sciences, international development, or other related fields required
  • 7 – 10 years of experience in international development, government service, NGOs, or civil society organizations required
  • Sector expertise in livelihoods and economic inclusion, social protection, gender, or financial inclusion; Graduation, cash-plus, or similar experience preferred.
  • Proactive leader with the ability to prioritize and effectively manage competing work streams
  • Diplomatic, with strong interpersonal skills and a high degree of political sensitivity
  • Strong English skills and fluency in Kinyarwanda are required. French language skills are a plus.
  • Exceptional communication and representational skills

How to apply

This is an outstanding opportunity to support a highly effective, collaborative, and innovative non-profit. BRAC International offers a competitive salary and benefits package. If you feel you are the right match for the position mentioned above, please follow the application instructions accordingly:

External candidates: Please submit your resume, detailed cover letter, and salary requirements to this following link:

Internal candidates: Please submit your resume, including all job assignments in detail, and cover letter with BRAC PIN to [email protected]

Please mention the name of the position and AD# BI 55/22 in the subject bar.

Only complete applications will be accepted, and short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Application deadline: June 10, 2022

BRAC is committed to safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults, and expects all employees and volunteers to share the same commitment. We believe every stakeholder and every member of the communities we work with has the right to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect, harassment, and exploitation – regardless of age, race, religion, and gender, status as an individual with a disability or ethnic origin. Therefore, our recruitment process includes extensive reference and background checks, self-disclosure of prior issues regarding sexual or other misconduct and criminal records and our values are a part of our Performance Management System.

BRAC is an equal opportunities employer.