Social Solutions

  • Policy Advisor

    Job Locations US-VA-Crystal City
    Posted Date 2 months ago(5/15/2018 1:00 PM)
    # of Openings
    Public Health
  • Overview

    Social Solutions International, Inc. is a woman and minority-owned company. Social Solutions emphasizes quality research and evaluation, training and technical assistance, and institutional support services. We are a mission-driven organization that believes that superior science can improve the world. Social Solutions is dedicated to the creation of social and health solutions to improve the welfare of underserved populations worldwide. 


    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contracted through Social Solutions International to recruit and hire qualified individuals for the following position:



    Policy Advisor

    United States Agency for International Development/Bureau for Global Health/Office of Maternal and Child Health & Nutrition/Research & Policy Division (USAID/GH/MCHN/RP)


    Application Deadline:   Open Until Filled



    The Bureau for Global Health (GH) provides technical expertise, leadership and donor coordination for health, including programming and international policy development related to HIV/AIDS, malaria, other infectious diseases, maternal and child health, family planning, reproductive health, nutrition, and health systems strengthening.


    Within GH, the Office of Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) is USAID’s technical and policy lead on maternal and newborn health, child survival, immunization, environmental health, and nutrition, with a focus on preventing child and maternal deaths.


    Within MCHN, the Research and Policy (RP) Division provides technical leadership, guidance, and coordination to advance the integrated use of policy, data, research and development to accelerate the uptake, scaling up, and sustained and effective use of maternal, newborn, child, and environmental health and nutrition programming. RP supports the work of MCHN through the work of a multidisciplinary approach to implementation research, technology development, policy, and monitoring and evaluation.


    The Policy Advisor (the Advisor) serves as a technical expert to advance the health and development objectives of USAID/GH/MCHN and to support USAID/USG policy engagement and programmatic investments with host governments, UN specialized agencies, bilateral donors, and other stakeholders working in health and related areas.  Plans and conducts analyses, evaluations and investigations, conducts policy analyses, develops options papers, and makes presentations on program areas of critical importance to MCHN.  Assists in developing GH policies and strategies and serves on working groups related to multilateral and bilateral engagement and other policy groups in support of MCHN and related fields.  Works closely with the MCHN Senior Policy Advisor, GH technical experts and management to advance USG policy positions and maximize efficiencies and impact of USG policy engagement with host governments and multilateral health agencies on important Agency and USG initiatives.  Supports the management of the USAID/GH PIO agreement with UNICEF, working in close coordination with MCHN and other operating units in GH and the field.  Develops options to address challenging policy and program management issues regarding UNICEF and other multilateral organizations and institutions working in global health.  Initiates drafts USG/MCHN-related position papers and other related documents in advance of governance meetings, including the World Health Assembly, UNICEF and WHO Executive Board meetings, requiring development and coordination of Agency positions in the inter-agency space; this is vital, given the growing agenda in global health and its multiplicity of actors.  The Senior Policy Advisor/Team Lead will be the USAID point of contact, who will provide day-to-day guidance to the Advisor. 

    Policy (40%)

    Advances MCHN priorities, through policy analysis and other policy-related activities, liaising with teams across the Office/ Bureau and Agency, other USG agencies and external partners, including multilateral/bilateral agencies, NGOs/PVOs, philanthropic organizations, and other private sector organizations and companies.  This includes:


    • Developing policy-related presentations and documents (e.g., policy briefs, talking points) to support MCHN, GH and Agency leadership’s engagement in high-level bilateral meetings and various MCHN policy-related global coalitions and initiatives;
    • Supporting effective USAID representation on the boards/governance processes of key multilateral partners and partnership platforms (e.g., UNICEF Executive Board, WHO Executive Board/World Health Assembly, and PMNCH), including by: leading the drafting, review, and coordination of inputs from teams across MCHN and GH, crafting policy position statements and responses to various board documents, and leading follow-up on meeting outcomes; as appropriate;
    • Organizing and/or participating as a technical expert in various Bureau/Agency-wide or inter-agency/multi-stakeholder meetings, working groups, and collaborative initiatives, as required, to effectively support and communicate USAID MCHN objectives and priorities to diverse partners and major global policy/advocacy-related coalitions and multi-stakeholder platforms;
    • Facilitating policy coordination across MCHN and other operating units, including fostering linkages between maternal, newborn and child health strategies and related global partnership platforms with those focused on nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs, as well as other cross-cutting areas;
    • Attending, and as appropriate presenting at, meetings and major international policy-related fora and conferences, liaising closely with MCHN and Bureau communications teams in the production of presentations and communication materials for advancing cross-cutting MCHN technical and policy priorities.


    Activity Management Support (40%)

    Supports the management of a PIO agreement with UNICEF, working under the overall guidance of the Agreement Officer’s Representative (AOR), and more generally serves to advance project management of USAID’s MCHN-related agreements with major multilateral agencies and partnerships.  This includes:


    • Serving as an activity manager for the USAID PIO agreement with UNICEF, including tracking compliance, program progress and financial reporting and reconciliation processes;
    • Monitoring and strengthening the overall policy/technical coherence of the portfolio of activities supported by the UNICEF PIO grant mechanism, in line with MCHN and GH strategic and policy priorities;
    • Organizing the timely technical review, collation, clearance and efficient processing of project description/proposals submitted for support through the mechanism, liaising with MCHN technical teams to verify budget allocations and ensure technical alignment with MCHN/GH priorities, as appropriate;
    • Ensuring compliance with the UNICEF agreement requirements and standard provisions, liaising closely with the Office’s/Bureau’s gender advisor, financial and environment officers and other experts, as appropriate;
    • Overseeing the periodic update of project description and reporting templates, in line with Agency requirements and guidance;
    • Managing internal and external inquiries about the mechanism, clarifying related standard provisions, eligibility and compliance requirements, as appropriate; identifying constraints to project development and implementation and making recommendations for resolving them;
    • Organizing and/or participating in regular coordination meetings/calls with the implementing PIO’s management team and organizing/participating in periodic joint field visits to monitor program implementation progress, as appropriate;
    • Developing effective communication tools (e.g., e-newsletters, presentations/webinars to the field, etc.) to enhance understanding and strategic use of the mechanism by Mission Health Teams and other teams cross the Agency, as appropriate.


    Research and Research/Evidence Utilization (20%)

    The Advisor will also contribute to advancing the objective of MCHN/RP to advance the integrated use of policy, data, research and development to accelerate the uptake, scaling up, and sustained and effective use of maternal, newborn, child, community and environmental health and nutrition programming by:


    • Initiating and/or providing input on cross-cutting activities aimed at synthesizing and promoting effective application of evidence-based best practices for advancing MCHN outcomes;
    • Undertaking policy analyses and contributing to the design of implementation research activities focused on addressing key policy-related questions;
    • Translating research and evaluation results for policy statements and/or guidance notes for different internal and external audiences at global and country levels, as appropriate;  
    • Conducting literature reviews and analyzing program evaluation reports to synthesize information on key MCHN policy-related topics, in close collaboration with teams across MCHN to produce policy commentaries and articles for publication;
    • Strengthening linkages between GH’s major global policy engagements/initiatives and their alignment with USAID Missions’ programs/investments to advance efforts to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths and accelerate MCHN outcomes;
    • Contributing to the Division’s/Office’s design and review of cross-cutting MCHN activities, including input on concept notes/scopes of work and evaluation summaries;
    • Contributing to strategy development processes at the Division, Office, Bureau/Mission and Agency or inter-agency levels, as required;
    • Serving on a country support team;
    • Co-authoring academic publications, blogs, and other publications;
    • Performing additional tasks or responsibilities that may be assigned based on organizational and programming needs and/or the incumbent’s specific areas of expertise/professional interest.


    Fulfilling the above responsibilities effectively will require the Advisor to: (a) keep abreast of USAID/USG policies and strategies pertaining to MCHN programming, as well as broader policy-related developments in the global RMNCAH partnership landscape; and (b) build and maintain effective working relationships with diverse teams across the RP Division, MCHN Office, GH Bureau and other USAID bureaus as well as external partners.  The specific knowledge, skills and experience required for this position are outlined below.


    • Master’s degree in public health, policy, or a related field;
    • Minimum of 5 years’ relevant experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
    • Knowledge of maternal and child health and nutrition-related activities focused on developing country or resource-limited settings;
    • Understanding of the evolving global health partnership and policy landscape related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and the capacity to promote alignment and linkages between USAID’s engagements in these processes;   
    • Knowledge of best practices/high-impact interventions and programmatic approaches for accelerating MCHN outcomes;
    • Experience in strategy development, project/program design and the monitoring and evaluation of global health programs;
    • Demonstrated ability in program design, strategic planning, program coordination and implementation, especially within a developing country context;
    • Familiarity with USAID policy priorities/programs in a range of global health areas, including RMNCAH, nutrition, WASH, malaria/infectious disease control, etc.; 
    • Familiarity with USAID procurement, programming, budgeting, evaluation functions and related administrative procedures desirable;
    • Excellent analytical, written, and oral communications skills in English; proficiency in additional languages desirable;
    • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively in culturally diverse team settings and with multiple stakeholders, including representatives of other USG agencies, bilateral and multilateral partners, NGOs/CSOs, private foundations/companies;  
    • Skill at handling politically sensitive issues;
    • Ability to prioritize work responsibilities and to handle multiple tasks at once;
    • A high degree of judgment and capacity to interpret strategy, analyze, develop, present on, oversee and evaluate implementation of programs;
    • Flexibility and openness in responding to changing work priorities and environment;
    • Ability to travel internationally up to 20%;
    • US citizenship or Permanent Residency required;
    • Ability to obtain and maintain, at a minimum, a facility access clearance.

    Social Solutions International offer competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits. Please submit your resume online at


    Social Solutions is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic protected by law.


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