Program Officer

Location: Washington, DC /Hybrid

The Institute for State Effectiveness, a Think (and Do) Tank that provides proven tools to help states deliver services to citizens through more accountable and effective governance, is looking for a program officer to join our team and help scale our impact. The Program Officer contributes to coordination and support across ISE country programs portfolio. The Program Officer will work with ISE Management Team and program leads to provide support on the following:

Roles & Responsibilities 

  • Support Management of Country Programs Portfolio (50%) – Supporting engagement of country program opportunities in collaboration with ISE senior management and government stakeholders. This includes:
    • Conduct desk research and consultations to identify potential funding sources for ISE projects, support engagement and relationship building with government counterparts for potential engagement opportunities, create proposals (including program planning, budgeting etc.) to explore opportunities outside of ISE`s existing portfolio of country programs and developing and writing concept notes.
    • Provide and coordinate technical support to and advise counterparts on community development, inclusion, local governance, program institutionalization, scaling up, etc., remotely and in country, including by facilitating workshops and meetings, preparing briefs, reports, presentations, reviews, and other materials with inputs from broader team.
    • Liaise with relevant ISE colleagues to ensure smooth collaboration and relevant inputs/advice from other practice/program areas, particularly in the peace and justice, civic engagement and development strategy sectors.
    • Identify gaps in advisory scope and work with Country Programs and Innovation Director to find solutions.
  • Conduct Research and Analysis (30%) – Conduct research and draft memoranda on regional and country case-studies covering a wide-range of topics in development, international affairs, and democratic governance. This process includes gathering and organizing information and analyzing resulting research data and interviewing personnel and conducting onsite observations to determine the methods needed to develop solutions or alternative practices.
    • Develop research and analysis in support of country programs, including country stocktakings, memos, development notes and specific research products.
    • Stay apprised of ongoing and upcoming trends and conversations in international development, governance and reconstruction.
    • Make recommendations to various entities within the global community through written reports and client-facing advisory engagements.
  • Bolster Learning across Operational Teams and the Broader Field (10%)
    • Drawing upon the results of the Institute’s insights and analysis, support knowledge sharing, knowledge management and public engagements.
    • Identify new partners and professional communities to engage in and build ISE’s profile, amongst the academic community, think tanks, international institutions, etc.
    • Develop ideas for events, panels, workshops and collaborations.
    • Represent ISE in other communities of practice, panels, workshops, etc.
  • Program Operational Management and Administration (10%)
    • Oversee relevant staff, consultants, interns and donor relations.
    • Support grants officer in fulfilling donor requirements and internal M&E processes.
    • Work with Country Programs and Innovation Director to organize country visits, and travel and in-person support for country visits when needed.


  • Masters degree, or equivalent required; advanced degree desired
  • Fluency in English required. Fluency in French or other language preferred
  • Experience in the following fields: International Relations, Political Science, Economics, Data Science and International Development
  • Experience managing country programs or in policy formulation and implementation preferred
  • Strong preference for candidates with experience in Africa and Eastern Europe
  • Strong proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, with a general understanding of data analysis techniques
  • Ability to work with a multi-disciplinary team as well as working individually as appropriate
  • Excellent research skills with an attention to details, accuracy and organization
  • Strong analytical and quantitative abilities with excellent written and verbal communications
  • Academic and/or work experience related to the field of research
  • Highly motivated self-starter, with ability to work successfully in a virtual team environment.
  • Passion for international development issues
  • Willingness/ enthusiasm for travel.

To Apply:

Submit your resume, cover letter and writing sample (either combine in Word or PDF) in BambooHR here.

No phone calls, please. Interviews are ongoing. We will accept applications until we fill the position.

ISE is an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics.