Senior Program Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Job Offer Summary

  • Job Title: Senior Program Officer – Africa, Adolescents & Social Norms
  • Ref No: B018770
  • Location: Abuja, Nigeria
  • Employment Type: Full time

About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we believe that every life has equal value. Our mission is to help all people lead healthy and productive lives. We focus on improving people’s health and giving them the opportunity to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, we strive to ensure that everyone, especially those with the fewest resources, has access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Our foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann, co-chair William H. Gates Sr., and is directed by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

Role Summary

We are seeking a Senior Program Officer (SPO) who is passionate about developing, cultivating, and maintaining a portfolio of investments within a broader team to increase cultural salience of gender equality. As the SPO for Adolescents & Social Norms, you will primarily focus on accelerating progress towards a healthy and productive life for adolescent girls through mass media partnerships, improving data on social norms, and developing champions of gender equality. You will strategically lead grants and contracts, as well as serve as a key advisor on strategy.

As the point person for the team in sub-Saharan Africa, you will build partnerships internally and externally that advance positive social norms on gender equality and serve as a platform for advancing other normative program areas for the foundation. Your role will require building partners and relationships in the creative and entertainment communities in Nigeria and Kenya, where our work is initially focused, and will require significant time in both places.

The successful candidate will be solutions-minded, agile in ambiguous environments, a natural relationship and partnership builder, with a willingness to learn, acknowledge failure, and shift strategies as the portfolio and knowledge base grows.


  • Cultivate and handle a portfolio of investments in Nigeria and Kenya focused on mass media, marketing, program, and community organizing to improve social norms on gender equality and reduce barriers to adolescents’ pathway to a productive and healthy life.
  • Develop strategies and partnerships with mass media companies, community groups, and champions in Nigeria and Kenya to improve social norms and dismantle barriers to progress on gender equality.
  • Contribute to the development of a multi-national measurement and evaluation framework for assessing political salience, attitudes and behaviors, norms, and outcomes on gender equality based on findings from grantees and partners within the portfolio of investments.
  • Participate in a community of practice to engage leaders across the foundation interested in influencing social norms and behavior in their program areas.
  • Assemble and share evidence and findings to contribute to the team and our foundation’s learning agenda and journey.
  • Collaborate efficiently with different partners, including internally at the foundation and diverse external partners (community leaders, governments, multilaterals, private sector, etc.). Serve as a key link between the sector and foundation.
  • Represent the foundation to key external constituencies, including building new relationships and connections in the mass media space and community and with research and evaluation partners.
  • Support cross-team data and information sharing.

Qualifications and Experience

  • An advanced degree is preferred with 10+ years of experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Expertise in the social norms, marketing, entertainment media, or behavior science spaces.
  • Knowledge of adolescent and youth development approaches.
  • Familiarity with Nigeria and Kenya media landscape, knowledge of mass media frameworks, and some historical knowledge of media and communication approaches to social normative issues.
  • Experience forming partnerships in the entertainment and media industries.
  • Knowledge of and desire to engage in the data and measurement that evaluate and inform behavior science and social norms.

Qualifications and Skills:

To be considered for the position of Senior Program Officer (SPO), Adolescents & Social Norms, you should possess:

  • An advanced degree in a relevant field, such as social science, marketing, public health, communication, or a related discipline. Alternatively, an equivalent combination of education and experience will be considered.
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in relevant fields, including social norms, marketing, entertainment media, or behavior science spaces, with experience in developing countries, particularly in Africa.
  • Knowledge of adolescent and youth development approaches and familiarity with the media landscape, mass media frameworks, and communication approaches to social normative issues in Nigeria and Kenya.
  • Experience in forming partnerships in the entertainment and media industries, as well as a deep understanding of gender equality and social norms in developing countries.
  • An understanding of the data and measurement that evaluate and inform behavior science and social norms, as well as experience with communications, including creative storytelling and media communications/networks in priority geographies.
  • Excellent collaboration and relationship-building skills, as well as the ability to work effectively with a wide range of internal and external cultural, geographic, and operational situations.
  • Strong listening, verbal, and written communication skills, as well as the ability to calibrate input and synthesize information to connect with diverse audiences.
  • A self-starter who is motivated to “roll up sleeves” to implement and deliver on commitments.

What We Offer:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, committed to hiring a diverse workforce. We offer a dynamic and innovative working environment, competitive salary, comprehensive benefits package, and professional development opportunities. The successful candidate will be based in Abuja, Nigeria, and will be required to travel within the country and to other African countries as necessary.

Application Process:

To apply for the position of Senior Program Officer (SPO), Adolescents & Social Norms, please click on the link provided and complete the online application form.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for further assessment.

Application Link 

Join us and help make a difference in the lives of people around the world.


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