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Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Activity Lead, CATALYZE

United States, D.C., Washington
August 10, 2023

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Activity Lead, CATALYZE

About Palladium:

Palladium is a global company working to design,
develop and deliver positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of people
around the globe; broaden access to health, water, power, and infrastructure;
build enduring, sustainable, and transformative institutions and market systems
to address global challenges; and conserve the natural world. We operate in
over 90 countries and have a workforce of 4,000 talented, motivated, and
diverse staff of all religions, races, languages, and gender identities.

This Opportunity:

CATALYZE is a $250 million 8-year program, designed to mobilize $2
billion in private capital, especially to underfinanced social sectors (such as
education) and higher risk countries (especially low-income and post-conflict
countries) around the globe, complemented by a cross-cutting inclusion of
gender-lens investing. CATALYZE serves as a "platform of platforms" that
provides services to many missions and bureaus that "buy in" to tap the
CATALYZE investment and pay-for-results project management expertise. Our aim is for investors to explore and find
commercially viable opportunities and approaches to creating jobs, developing
sustainable social services, tightening, and rationalizing supply chains, and
advancing inclusive growth - ultimately, reducing the need for development
institutions to provide donor funding.

Global CATALYZE teams and USAID missions have spent the last two
years co-designing and implementing a series of activities to significantly
mobilize private capital for development that make up the CATALYZE portfolio,
including the following Activities (also known as Buy-Ins):

  • Asia Social Protection: Improving access to financial and social protection for vulnerable women in Asia. Focus countries: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines. Partners: TBD.
  • CATALYZE Peru: Catalyzing investment and access to finance for SMEs in the Peruvian Amazon. Focus country: Peru. Partners: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Business Advisory Service Providers (BASPs), Financial Intermediaries, Private Sector Anchor Firms.
  • EduFinance: Mobilizing capital for non-state education, early child care development, training and workforce development, and improving and sustaining learning outcomes for children and youth, particularly those who are the most marginalized and vulnerable. Focus countries: Sub-Saharan Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya), Latin America and the Caribbean (El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay). Partners: Kaizenvest, UBS Optimus Foundation, PEAS, EPG, Opportunity International.
  • Ethiopia Market Systems for Growth (MS4G): Fostering private enterprise growth primarily in agricultural markets to boost food security, make improvements to water, hygiene and sanitation and support COVID relief. Focus country: Ethiopia. Partners: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Business Advisory Service Providers (BASPs), Transaction Advisory Service Providers (TASPs), Consultants, Associations.
  • Sahel Finance for Resilience (F4R): Increasing financing to support capital investment in the agricultural sector and in youth-led enterprises. Focus countries: Burkina Faso, Niger. Partners: ICDE (Burkina Faso) and SINERGI SA (Niger). Financial Facilitators/Business Advisory Service Providers (BASPs), Financial Intermediaries, USAID Implementing Partners Yalwa, Yidgiri, Bridge Youth Connect, Sahel Collaboration and Communication Activity.
  • Sri Lanka Private Sector Development (PSD): Promoting economic diversification and employment opportunities for SMEs, principally women. Focus country: Sri Lanka. Partners: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Business Advisory Service Providers (BASPs), Financial Intermediaries, Consultants, Business Associations.
  • Western Balkans Engine of Growth: Increasing SME access to private capital and using finance to drive enterprise growth. Focus countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia. Partners: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Business Advisory Service Providers (BASPs), Financial Intermediaries.
  • Women's Economic Empowerment: Mobilizing private capital to create economic opportunities for women. Global focus. Partners: U.S. Development Finance Corporation, BAC El Salvador, Banco LAFISE Dominican Republic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted the
issue of care of children into the global spotlight.Care of children can span
a wide range of models, ranging from home-based care to center-based care
(including community-based care, faith-based care, privately provided care or
publicly supported care), to informal or family arrangements.USAID's CATALYZE
EduFinance activity is investing in early childhood care and education (ECCE)
to increase the quality of and access to early childhood care, resulting in
improved learning and development outcomes for children, increased women's
economic opportunity and employment, increased workforce development
opportunities and increased business productivity. As USAID increasingly moves
into this area, there is extensive need for overseeing, managing, and providing
technical assistance to ECCE programs sponsored by USAID, as well as developing
new programs and contributing to thought leadership in the sector. This
includes working in the care economy, early childhood development (ECD),
transition from early childhood care to pre-primary, and pre-primary education.
As part of this process, there need to coordinate and collaborate with
stakeholders across the ECCE system, including donors and multinational
institutions already working in the ECCE space.

The ECCE Activity Lead will be a core member of the CATALYZE EduFinance
technical team responsible for unlocking commercial capital for investments in
the ECCE sector in developing countries served by USAID. The Activity Lead, ECCE will work closely across the CATALYZE EduFinance Team to design and
oversee interventions (including co-investment, research, and technical
assistance) in the ECCE sector that improve the risk-return profile of
education businesses to develop and execute a pipeline of investor-grade deals
in early childhood care, and that achieve other critical development objectives
(e.g., improving access to quality and affordable child care; strengthening
women's economic empowerment; skills development in the care economy; and job
creation). Target CATALYZE EduFinance investments must achieve measurable
improvements for students from low- and low-middle-income households. The ECCE Activity Lead will also serve as a technical backstop to the
Deputy Education Finance Specialist and the EduFinance Activity Lead when


The position is based in Palladium's
Washington D.C. office.

You and Your Career:

If you are passionate about early childhood
development, women's economic empowerment, creating and leading innovative and
high-value public-private partnerships, and blended finance, and if you have
expertise in international education, learning, and early childhood
development, the care economy, project management, and social impact, then we
are interested in hearing from you.

We are a learning organization and provide growth
opportunities from the start. We pride ourselves on giving you the
freedom, resources, and guidance to chart a fulfilling career!

Reporting and Supervision:

  • The role reports to the EduFinance Activity Lead, CATALYZE
  • The role may have direct reports, including an Associate and/or field staff
  • The role will be required to liaise closely with members of the home office Project Management Unit, field staff, implementing partners, and clients
  • The ECCE Activity Lead is a member of the Economic Growth Practice, Americas Business Partnership, Palladium International LLC

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide technical assistance and guidance to the EduFinance team and its partners throughout the development of ECCE project co-creation and development processes
  • Design and develop new task orders and buy-ins for EduFinance particularly in the ECCE sector (this includes developing the Performance Work Statements and other necessary components of new task orders and buy-ins)
  • Manage and oversee ECCE programs in USAID priority countries that increase women's economic empowerment and private sector investment in ECCE, and that strengthen education, learning, and early childhood development outcomes. As part of this responsibility, oversee and manage subcontractors, grant recipients and consultants to ensure that their performance meets or exceeds technical requirements
  • Manage and oversee a team of technical and program specialists in the ECCE sector, in countries where Palladium / EduFinance is implementing the ECCE projects. These specialists may be Palladium employees or consultants
  • Serve as a liaison to key donors and stakeholders in the ECCE space, efficiently linking the EduFinance team with key contacts
  • Serve as a resource for technical guidance to the EduFinance team and its partners in the ECCE sector
  • Engage with investors, education entrepreneurs, governments, financial intermediaries, USAID, and other donors in target countries to foster interest and identify investable opportunities in education
  • Develop and maintain relationships with the EduFinance Community of Practice and potential investors in education, as well as consultants and partners who can provide technical expertise
  • Contribute to project work planning and budgeting, project management, and monitoring evaluation and learning in the ECCE and blended finance space (MEL)
  • Contribute to research, analysis, and publication of technical studies, case studies, policy, and program briefs to demonstrate thought leadership
  • Utilize an adaptive management approach to advice project senior management to quickly adopt and scale cost-effective strategies and activities
  • Ensure agile program implementation in line with MEL findings through leadership of a collaborate, learn, and adapt (CLA) approach
  • Work closely with the CATALYZE EduFinance Team to manage project activities, provide technical leadership and coordinate with key stakeholders
  • Other duties as required

Key Competencies Required:

  • Demonstrated experience and expertise in childcare, care economy, early childhood education, innovative financing, and women's economic empowerment, as well as experience in blended finance
  • In-depth knowledge of the existing ECCE body of research and best technical practices
  • Established relationships with key donors and stakeholders in the ECCE space
  • Demonstrated experience convening diverse stakeholders and driving innovative partnerships
  • Strong experience in monitoring, evaluation, and learning
  • Evidence of strong communication skills, both interpersonal and written, to fulfil the diverse technical and managerial requirements of the project
  • Knowledge of USAID programming in the education sector and key policies including the Private Sector Engagement Policy, Education Policy and USAID terminology, processes, and tools
  • Ability to communicate effectively and professionally in English, and strong proficiency in a language that's predominant where CATALYZE EduFinance implements activities (Spanish, French)
  • Willingness and ability to travel and work in developing countries (and elsewhere) a minimum of 6-13 weeks per year, when travel and health conditions allow
  • Travel requirements expected to be
    around 20-25% in the countries where the ECCE projects are being implemented,
    as well as in potentially new countries / anticipated new buy-ins

Professional Expertise/Competencies Preferred:

  • Background in education, business administration, finance, or another relevant field.
  • Relevant work experience, ideally in education, finance, and development.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion - Palladium is committed to embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion into
everything we do. We welcome applications from all sections of society and
actively encourage diversity to drive innovation, creativity, success and good
practice. We positively welcome and seek to ensure we achieve diversity in our workforce;
and that all job applicants and employees receive equal and fair treatment
regardless of their background or personal characteristics. These include: (but
are not limited to) socio-economic background, age, race, gender identity and
expression, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, nationality,
veteran, marital or Indigenous status.

Should you require any adjustments or accommodations to be made
due to a disability or you are a neurodivergent individual or for any other
circumstance, please email our team at accessibility@thepalladiumgroup.com and we will be in touch to discuss.

Safeguarding - We define Safeguarding as "the preventative
action taken by Palladium to protect our people, clients and the communities we
work with from harm". We are committed to ensuring that all children and adults
who come into contact with Palladium are treated with respect and are free from
abuse. All successful candidates will be
subject to an enhanced selection process including safeguarding-focused
interviews and a rigorous due diligence process.