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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Position: Program Assistant, Ethiopia
Job Time: Full-Time
Job Type: Contract
Place of Work: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Posted date: 1 year ago
Application Deadline: Submition date is over


The Program Assistant in Ethiopia is an important member of the Africa team. The focus of the Africa team is to enable collective impact for the foundation in Africa by influencing policy and finance towards key development priorities, strengthening capacity and enabling systems for delivery, and innovating and leveraging cross-cutting enablers for impact at scale.

For Ethiopia, the foundation has an opportunity to build on our current work in the country and stimulate change through programmatic and advocacy efforts. We wish to engage more deeply with key partners and stakeholders including the Ethiopian government, donors, grantees, private sector, media, and others by listening and learning on the ground to get the most impact from our investments in health, agriculture, and development. Effective advocacy efforts in Ethiopia are critical to understanding and shaping important public policy debates around issues affecting our work, building public support for our major program and policy objectives, and building partnerships and alliances with influential thought-leaders who can advance shared objectives. Engagement with key partners at the local level allows for more effective communication, alignment, and sharing of strategic priorities.

The Program Assistant will provide a wide and varied range of organizational and administrative support to the leaders and staff in the Ethiopia office while assisting with project coordination and collaborating with a small team of additional program assistants to support the overall work and ensure the smooth operation of the Ethiopia Country Office in Addis Ababa.  

Core Responsibilities

  • Complete a broad variety of administrative tasks for multiple principals, including handling complex calendars of appointments across geographies; completing expense reports; composing and preparing correspondence; arranging complex and detailed travel plans, itineraries, providing a letter of invitations, obtaining business visas, agendas for international travel; and compiling documents for travel-related meetings.
  • Work closely and effectively with the principals to keep them well informed of upcoming internal and external commitments and responsibilities, following up appropriately. Oversee the key engagement strategy for the principals.
  • Successfully complete critical aspects of deliverables with a hands-on approach, including follow-up on principals’ contacts.
  • Prioritize conflicting needs; handle matters expeditiously and proactively, and follow through on projects to successful completion, often under deadline pressures.
  • Assist with the planning for events, leadership meetings, retreats, convenings, and presentations which may include coordinating arrangements for multiple participants, managing participant communication, handling logistics, preparing, and disseminating materials.
  • Create, update, and maintain organized files and records including a system for tracking, monitoring, and prioritizing tasks and projects. Compile and process expense reports and reimbursements.
  • Maintain high-quality interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees, partners, government officials, consultants, and internal staff.
  • Cultivate solid working relationships with staff and a broad range of senior contributors including community leaders, consultants, grantees, and public officials.
  • Support communications to ensure timely responses to inquiries including acting as a liaison for a team with internal partners, routing requests appropriately, drafting and editing correspondence, and taking and distributing meeting minutes.
  • Demonstrate keen ability to anticipate the needs of principals and proactively spot and resolve issues, especially when principals are traveling.
  • Develop methods and procedures on new assignments, may provide guidance to other support staff.
  • Assist the Seattle headquarters and regional office staff as needed


Leadership and Culture

We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.

Core Knowledge and Skills

  • Strong organizational skills reflecting the ability to perform and prioritize multiple tasks seamlessly with excellent attention to detail.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with internal staff, grantees, high-level officials, and other stakeholders.
  • Proactive approaches to problem-solving with strong decision-making capability.
  • Highly resourceful team-player, with the ability to also be effective independently.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle confidential information with discretion, be adaptable to opposing demands.
  • Clear capabilities in working across multiple time zones and cultures.
  • Knowledge of Ethiopia business environment and standards is required.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English and Amharic; Experience in an environment requiring diplomacy and good judgment in managing interactions inside and outside an organization, with individuals at all levels, including senior executives and other high-level officials.
  • Ability to effectively handle and work through ambiguity.
  • Experience in providing guidance to and supervising the work of others is desirable.
  • Experience establishing systems to improve efficiency and functioning in a changing environment.
  • Demonstrated proficiency using Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint is required. Experience in learning and mastering new software applications.

 Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree with at least 7 years of experience supporting senior staff in development space, preferably in a global and matrixed environment.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with a proven track record to lead multiple competing tasks and demands. 
  • Excellent communication skills to reach a variety of audiences.