United Nations Foundation

  • Director, Procurement Strategy, DIAL

    Job Location Other-See job description
    Regular Full-Time
  • Overview

    About the Digital Impact Alliance 


    The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) is a global alliance to enable the digital ecosystem to deliver greater scale, efficiency, and social impact as it creates more inclusive digital economies in emerging markets.  Working with partners, DIAL generates evidence of what works through a series of demonstration projects, distils insights and tools to promote scale-up and replication, and provides mechanisms to encourage knowledge sharing, collaboration, and co-investment throughout the ecosystem. 


    DIAL is funded through a collaboration among the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and hosted within the UN Foundation in Washington, D.C.  


    Project Background

    NGOs operating in key African and Asian markets face persistent time and cost barriers when provisioning their services on mobile network operators’ (MNOs’) voice, SMS, USSD and mobile internet channels. The presence of multiple MNOs in a given market, means that NGOs needing to provide services nationally require multiple negotiations and technical integrations with MNO partners who tend to place low priority on the relatively low-revenue segments NGOs tend to serve. The many, relatively small, uncoordinated requests from individual NGO deployments also makes it difficult to arrange volume pricing from providers. 


    DIAL hypothesizes that there is significant opportunity in addressing the above challenges through the support of efforts to pool NGO demand of network channels, and in doing so negotiate service rates and other elements of service provision across organizations, within countries (or, where relevant, across countries). Pooled procurement, combined with innovative risk financing, has been shown to result in improved economics and scaled adoption of other development goods and services, particularly in the global health sector.  Applying similar principles and economies of scale to the digital services market could lead to lower costs and faster service provisioning, and greater reach for the NGO sector, while benefiting the mobile sector with a new pipeline of untapped commercial demand.


    To this end, DIAL is pursuing two related initiatives – 1) Demand Forecasting : to develop a sophisticated demand forecasting tool that is able to size the overall mobile demand arising from the NGO sector by country, use case and sector, and 2) Digital Procurement Strategy: to research, develop and test collective procurement and financing strategies that will allow the NGO sector to leverage the size of the aggregate demand to negotiate with the mobile sector in a coordinated fashion, and in doing so realize improvements in cost and service provision.


    About the Role

    DIAL is seeking a Director (Procurement Strategy) to design, drive and manage an exciting program of work that will test strategies and convene actors to work on new models to aggregate demand and pool procurement for digital tools used to deliver the SDGs.  The project will focus in FY19 on mobile network asset procurement on behalf of the international development sector, but will expand to software and other digital assets in the future. S/He will have extensive understanding of innovative procurement practices, ideally with experience of technology procurement within the international development sector.  S/He will have extensive background working in the commercial technology sector and/or in international development.  S/he will have a strong quantitative background and will either have participated in developing pricing / packaging strategies or technology procurement strategies.  S/he will be a strong collaborator with a track record of bringing together diverse stakeholders to achieve a common outcome.


    The Director will have the following key areas of responsibility:

    1. Procurement / Financing Strategy – design, develop and test procurement and financing models for digital assets in the development sector
    2. Industry Engagement / Convening – engage the market (potential purchasers e.g. donors / NGOs as well as potential vendors e.g. MNOs / aggregators) to test out innovative collaborative procurement models
    3. Project Supervision –  end-to-end ownership of select DIAL research investments, from conceptualization and design, execution, to dissemination and impact

    Procurement / Financing Strategy

    • Design, develop and test different procurement and financing models which will expand access of digital products in low- and middle-income markets.  This investigation will focus first on mobile channels in 2019-2020, but may expand in later phases to cover other digital assets.
    • Research, synthesize and present best practices in procurement and financing, either in the development sector, but for other products (vaccines, bednets, etc), and/or in other sectors that are facing analogous issues (e.g. software procurement)
    • Identify and assess different options for procurement and financing, leveraging on quantitative data from DIAL’s Demand Forecasting Model

    Industry Engagement / Collaboration

    • Engage potential purchasers (NGOs, donors, governments) and ideally also sellers (MNOs, aggregators) to test commitment to collaborative procurement and financing strategies
    • Developing and scoping a suitable market test for procurement and financing within one or more countries

    Project Supervision

    • Supervise and drive the delivery of specific research investments and projects from conceptualization phase through to completion to support the above
    • Develop and refine the strategy and approach for knowledge sharing including target audiences, analysis framework, partners, impact and dissemination channels

    Selection Criteria

    • Minimum ten to fifteen years’ professional experience, with direct experience in strategic role within sourcing and procurement or product pricing
    • Deep technical understanding of procurement / supply chain practices such as vendor consolidation, product standardization, compliance communication, group purchasing organizations, incentive management, contract alignment, ideally within the international development context (e.g. for large NGOs or donors)
    • Excellent negotiation skills in multiple areas listed above
    • Experience in pricing / packaging strategies for telecommunication or other digital assets, as part of a role in consulting or in commercial technology
    • Ability to bring together different stakeholders and facilitate common purpose
    • Understanding of market dynamics in low- and middle-income countries and the local entrepreneurial environment around digital products
    • Strategic thinking skills and clear ability to structure / communicate opportunities and tradeoffs
    • Excellent writing skills along with a passion for writing short format and long format pieces; interest in innovation for new ways to communicate technically complex materials
    • Master’s degree or higher in relevant field such as international relations, international development, business, economics, finance or related subject 
    • Ability to travel internationally up to 20% of the time
    • Ascribe to DIAL’s values of Commitment, Collaboration, Empowerment, Courage and Thoughtful Action
    • Ability to meet regular attendance/tardiness policy
      Ability to work under pressure and handle stress

    Benefits & Compensation

    For full-time, benefit eligible employees, UNF offers an excellent range of benefits, including:

    • A choice of two health plans through CareFirst (PPO or HDHP with HSA),
    • dental insurance,
    • Vision discounts,
    • flexible spending accounts,
    • 403b retirement savings plan with a generous matching contribution,
    • group term and supplemental life insurance,
    • short-term disability,
    • long-term disability,
    • health club discounts,
    • commuter benefits, and
    • employee assistance program.

    Additionally, all benefit eligible employees have 12 paid holidays, 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, 3 personal days, and 8 weeks of parental leave.


    Other Information

    Role can be based globally from any place with access to an international airport. Some preference for candidates based near technology centers or Washington, DC. Expectation of 20% travel including both domestic and international.


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