Job Vacancy Available at Lively Minds

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Chief Operating Officer

Our mission is to get preschool children in rural Africa school-ready. At present over 250 million children worldwide fail to receive the education and care they need in their early years which means they are less likely to do well in school, find gainful employment, and are at greater risk of early marriage, early parenthood and even criminality.

Current approaches to solving this crisis are not proving effective or scalable in lower middle income countries.

That is where Lively Minds comes in. We have developed an award-winning Early Childhood Development programme that has been proven to get preschoolers in hard-to-reach communities school-ready, so they have a greater chance of succeeding in school and in life.

The programme provides marginalized Mothers with a parenting course that empowers them to run educational Play Schemes for preschoolers and to provide better home-based care, using cheap local resources.

The programme is delivered through government partners, is cheap and highly scalable. It genuinely has the potential to play a transformative role in ending the global ECD crisis.

We are a lively ambitious organization, determined to have a major positive impact on the world. We work hard, at a fast pace, in a challenging environment.

We expect everyone to give their best to achieve the best possible results.

Our work is demanding but provides plenty of opportunity for innovation, responsibility, growth, collaboration, creativity and fun. We want all staff to be happy, fulfilled and to feel appreciated and valued in their work.

Over the past few years the Lively Minds programme has been delivered in over 350 communities in rural Ghana and Uganda reaching over 50,000 children.

During COVID we launched a radio programme for parents and this is now reaching over 2million households each week.

We are extremely proud that the Government of Ghana have now adopted the programme and we have a ground-breaking partnership with them to support them to institutionalize it and to scale it to over 4000 communities reaching over 1million children.

We see this partnership as the test case that will provide the blueprint to take the programme to scale in Uganda and elsewhere within the next 5 years.

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There is a lot of work to be done as we go through this step-change. We have recently grown our team from 45 to nearly 100 FTEs.

We are developing new systems and processes to ensure that our government partners are able to deliver to quality standards at scale, and our staff are enabled to provide them with high-quality technical support.

We encourage interested parties to learn more about the work that we proudly do by visiting our website: www.livelyminds.org

Chief Operating Officer Overview:

As COO at Lively Minds, you will be at the forefront of leading our charity through our next exciting phase of growth. At present we are very much in build the plane as we fly it mode.

Our next phase is to solidify these foundations whilst focusing on delivering operational excellence through our people, processes and technology as we scale-up and move into an efficient execution rhythm.

We need you to lead the team through this scale-up and to be the figurehead for our programme development, roll-out and delivery.

We are looking for a COO who is comfortable operating in a fast-paced environment and with challenging partners.

  • You’ll be improvement minded – observing, engaging and using monitoring data to identify gaps and then find ways to do things better.
  • You will be willing to get stuck in to the details to ensure that the programme delivery and operational systems are fit for purpose and future proofed.
  • You must be excellent at getting the best out of others as you will oversee an operations team of 90 and will line manage the Ghana and Uganda Country Directors, the Head of Monitoring & Evaluation, the Head of HR; a project manager and IT manager.

Chief Operating Officer Responsibilities

Ensure the Lively Minds programme is delivered to quality standard at scale:

The programme is mainly delivered by government partners, with Lively Minds staff performing as master trainers and providing technical support to government (capacity-building training and coaching). The COO is responsible for ensuring that delivery by both LM staff and government staff is to quality

  • Maintain & further develop the nascent Lively Minds programme playbook ensuring that all activities are documented and systemized
  • Optimize end to end programme implementation processes, materials and tools, automating and leveraging IT where appropriate, to ensure that they are fit for scale and for adoption by government partners
  • Optimize quality assurance & monitoring and evaluation system and feedback loop process to manage quality and compliance, so challenges are flagged and actioned early, and effective feedback loops established to incorporate lessons learnt
  • Ensure that there is a smooth process between the product team and the implementation team
  • Oversee the implementation of the programme in both countries, ensuring quality and fidelity
  • Build the capacity of Country Directors and implementation teams to follow processes and deliver the programme to quality standards
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Optimize (internal) operations for scale:

  • Ensure back office processes and systems are developed and fit for scale
  • Optimize internal project management systems and tools
  • Optimize and automate workforce scheduling systems and tools
  • Support the Head of HR to optimize the performance management system

Lead organizational and scale strategy and leads operations functions:

  • Works closely with CEO to develop the organizational and scale strategy
  • Takes the lead on turning strategy in to reality, optimizing the workforce, operations, systems and processes within budgetary constraints
  • Leads all teams and functions within operations (Country Directors jointly with the CEO, the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation, Project Manager, IT Manager and Head of HR) , holding leaders to account in creating high performing teams who deliver to quality standards.
  • You may be assigned any other responsibility to contribute to the work of the wider team.

Candidate Selection

Essential Technical Abilities:

  • Minimum of 10 years working in a senior operational role (in any sector) leading teams and programmes of work focus on day to day delivery as well as strategic planning.
  • Played a key role in a scaling organization as it moves from 40-200 staff
  • Proven experience of agile project management and performance management
  • Experienced manager and able to lead teams through change
  • Excellent communication (English), both oral and written
  • Experience working with IT and logistics teams
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Desirable Technical Abilities:

  • Experience working in the global South

To succeed in this role, you:

  • Thrive when faced with a challenge and love to innovate to get the best possible results
  • Are able to deliver high-quality thoughtful work in a fast-pace environment and within tight budgetary and resource constraints.
  • Are process-minded and take delight it developing neat tools and execution rhythms.
  • Have excellent leadership and communication skills and are able to motivate and inspire high performance in others.
  • Value and prioritize inclusivity, and create a positive work environment where everyone feels able to participate, learn, improve and contribute

How to Apply

Morgan Philips Specialist Recruitment are partnering Lively Minds on this mandate to hire. If you are interested to apply please reach out to Harry Shepherd for a confidential discussion: Email: harry.shepherd@morganphilips.com

CLOSING DATE : October 25, 2021

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