Senior Program Officer, Nutrition at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people- especially those with the fewest resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Senior Program Officer, Nutrition

Location: Abuja
Employment Type: Full-time

The Role

  • The Foundation invests in nutrition to reduce preventable deaths and improve maternal and child health, with a particular focus on the 1,000-day window of opportunity from the onset of pregnancy to the child’s second birthday.
  • Nutrition is the key to ensuring that individuals not only survive but that they can truly thrive with optimal physical growth and cognitive development.
  • Key program areas include large-scale food fortification (LSFF); nutritious food systems (NFS); maternal, newborn, and child nutrition (MNCH Nutrition); and upstream research and innovation to identify new approaches and game-changing interventions.
  • Across our areas of focus, we work closely with Governments, the United Nations, bilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.
  • Nigeria is a priority country for our nutrition work, with other countries in the region as part of our replication strategy. Despite a conducive policy environment, deep-reaching delivery platforms, and richness in data for decision-making, malnutrition remains the underlying cause of more than half of childhood deaths in Nigeria. Our goal is to support the implementation of the government’s multi-sectoral National Nutrition Plan while accelerating the scale of evidence-based nutrition interventions within the region. This role will craft and help implement, primarily, our work in Nigeria and initially investigate the region including but not limited to:
  • Deliver, scale, and sustain proven, on-strategy, and impactful interventions, building on existing foundation investments in nutrition.
  • Support the introduction and scale of high-priority nutrition innovations, in line with Government recommendations.
  • Support the Nigeria National Policy on Food and Nutrition, National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (Ministry of Health), and Food Security and Nutrition Strategy (FSNA) (Ministry of Agriculture).
  • Invest and guide targeted primary and innovative data generation geared towards a digitized nutrition data system providing trusted and cost-effective evidence guiding policy and program decision-making.
  • The Senior Program Officer (SPO), Nutrition will be based at the Foundation’s Nigeria Country Office (NCO) in Abuja.
  • This position reports to the Deputy Director of Health, and Nutrition in the NCO, with a close working relationship with Deputy Directors for LSFF and MNCH Nutrition based in Seattle.

What You’ll Do
The selected candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Lead the coordination and execution of nutrition work in Nigeria, supporting the NCO, and in close liaison with the LSFF, MNCNH, and NFS teams in Seattle.
  • Support a limited number of non-nutrition in-country responsibilities in line with NCO Health and Nutrition strategies.
  • In collaboration with the Measurement, Learning, and Evaluation (MLE) SPO in-country and in Seattle, define and implement appropriate measures to track investment performance.
  • Serve as a partner and resource to grantees and Foundation program teams to facilitate the accomplishment of strategic objectives.
  • Synthesize and document results and lessons learned from grants and contracts including preparing briefings and portfolio reviews to leadership.
  • Contribute to writing background documents, briefs, and presentations, including carrying out relevant literature reviews, landscape analyses, and data analysis.
  • Plan and coordinate partner consultations and meetings to advance understanding of key issues for the strategy.
  • Over time, incorporate regional nutrition responsibilities across West Africa.
  • Scope, propose, and craft investments (grants and/or contracts) to implement activities to support the nutrition strategy as well as some non-nutrition programmatic goals.
  • Manage a portfolio of complex grants and contracts requiring high-level grant management skills, including applying and evaluating milestone-based performance objectives.
  • Participate as the Nutrition SPO with other program teams within the Foundation as assigned (e.g., the Agricultural Development team as it relates to the food systems initiative and the teams working in the health sector in Nigeria).
  • Establish and nurture on-strategy partnerships that will contribute to the success of our investments in the country and within the region. Work as part of the country office staff for coordinated relationship management with Federal and State government officials, other donors, grantees, and other partners.
  • Lead efforts to promote appropriate policies and plans for health and nutrition in Nigeria and investigate regional replication opportunities.
  • Undertake and lead special projects, as requested.


  • Advanced Degree in Nutrition or Public Health.
  • Minimum of eight years of experience in nutrition-related field, preferably gained within Nigeria and/or other relevant country experience.
  • Ability to organize and prioritize work and meet deadlines within a fast-paced environment with multiple and competing demands.
  • Ability to work with diverse teams including scientists, business analysts, program implementers, and other partners.
  • Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills with the ability to solve problems with energy.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Fluency in English is required. French is an asset.
  • Experience in multi-sectoral program design and implementation related to nutrition, large-scale food-fortification, food security or science, and/or public health; preferably gained within multiple sectors, including global health/development organizations.
  • Demonstrated experience in partnership building and management in Nigeria and/or other relevant countries.
  • Experience working with food and health systems coupled with a deep understanding of public-private program implementation.
  • Demonstrated experience with conducting analyses.
  • Demonstrated curiosity and comfort in areas beyond current areas of expertise with a validated ability to rapidly acquire knowledge and implement good judgment in a variety of scientific areas.

Other Attributes:

  • Sense of humor and positive attitude required.
  • Ability to travel within Nigeria and internationally, up to one-third of the time (35%).

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply

Closing date: Not specified


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