East Africa Fellows Program Manager – Acumen Fund

East Africa Fellows Program Manager
Job Description


Acumen is looking for an exceptional individual to run our East Africa Fellows Program. This program, which is entering its third year, is finding and developing the next generation of East African social change leaders.
Acumen started as an idea. Twelve years later we have a proven model that combines the best of charity and investing to change the way the world tackles poverty.  Acumen is a non-profit venture fund with a vision to help build a world beyond poverty through investing in companies that deliver critical goods and services in water, health, housing, energy, agriculture, and education to the poor; leaders who are paving the way for new approaches to fighting poverty; and the spread of ideas that will give the world the knowledge and the understanding to change how the world tackles poverty.

Passion, entrepreneurial spirit, and rejecting the status quo are just a few of the things that Acumen team members have in common. What we aim to accomplish with our work is not easy, and we need dedicated, high-caliber people to reach our goals.

About Our Fellows Programs:

Acumen believes that the future depends on a new breed of leader who is able to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems in new ways.  Our Fellows Programs aim to identify, train, and connect these leaders – across geographies, across sectors, and across lines of difference – to become the next generation of architects for the social impact sector.  Our programs aim to cultivate the capacity and flexibility to bring together financial skills, operational expertise and what we call moral imagination – the humility to see the world for what it is, and the audacity to imagine the world for what it could be – to address the problems of poverty.

Our Fellows Programs provide emerging leaders the opportunity to connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals, participate in world-class training seminars, and develop new skills to accelerate their own growth and the trajectory of their work and the work of their organizations.  The program brings together the best of global and local trainers, who, together with our Fellows Managers, guide and support Fellows through the fellowship year.  The East Africa Fellows Program is one of three Regional Fellows Programs offered by Acumen.  These programs, together with our Global Fellows Program and +acumen online courses, represent Acumen’s global suite of leadership development offerings. 

Position Description:

The East Africa Fellows Manager’s primary responsibility will be to run the East Africa Fellows Program, managing a cohort of 20 Fellows per year, specifically serving in four critical roles for the Fellows:

  • Select – Supervise a rigorous recruitment process and ultimately select 20 Fellows
  • Train – Lead and facilitate training sessions
  • Coach – Guide and mentor Fellows along their leadership journeys
  • Build – A robust community of alumni of the Fellows Programs

The East Africa Fellows Program Manager position is a full-time role, based out of the Nairobi Office. S/he must be eligible to work in Kenya, and must have a long-term commitment to the development of the East African region. S/he will have ownership over all aspects of the East Africa Fellows Program, and will be supported by the East Africa Fellows Program Associate to execute against the program goals. The East Africa Fellows Program Manager will work in close collaboration with the India and Pakistan Fellows Program Managers. S/he will report to the Acumen East Africa Country Director, in close coordination with the global leadership team in New York.  Specific responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:


  • Oversee the development of a recruitment strategy – In conjunction with the East Africa Fellows Program Associate and the Regional Fellows Senior Associate, support in the design and execution of a recruitment strategy, including outreach to Alumni, peer organizations, social media, and the press and revision of all recruitment materials
  • Build pipeline – Support the cultivating and managing of external recruitment relationships and build candidate pipeline for the program
  • Evaluate candidates – Conduct application reviews, phone interviews, and manage a 1-day in-person group interview event called a ‘Selection Conference’


  • Facilitate training sessions – Own the overall program curriculum for the fellowship year, including the development – and in some cases delivery – of training sessions, collaborating with external trainers/speakers
  • Improve curriculum – Improve curriculum on an ongoing basis, consulting external resources as necessary
  • Reinforce content – Guide Fellows to develop mastery of curriculum content, spending additional time outside of training sessions to help all Fellows understand difficult concepts
  • Monitor completion of assignments – Ensure that all Fellows are completing their assigned course work correctly and on time in between program seminars
  • Manage training seminars – Oversee all logistics associated with execution of training seminars


  • Give feedback – Continuously provide verbal feedback, periodically conduct 1-on-1’s with Fellows, and provide written evaluations over the course of the year
  • Be a connector – Develop a robust and active Fellows community, and connect Fellows to new individuals, networks, or opportunities that contribute to their leadership development and/or their social impact work

Program Administration

  • Manage program operations – Working closely with the East Africa Fellows Program Associate, supervise the day-to-day operations and logistics of running the program, including monitoring the program budget and all executing seminar/event logistics
  • Enforce program policies – Monitor Fellows closely to ensure they are complying with policies around attendance and participation, enforcing these policies accordingly

Business Development & Communications

  • Sustain current partnerships – Serve as the primary point of contact for a small number of local existing funding partners for the East Africa Fellows Program
  • Support new partnerships – Assist the Business Development team to identify/engage new funders
  • Supervise report/proposal writing – Provide oversight for writing proposals and reports to funders
  • Raise awareness – Build the brand of the Fellows program locally, working with Acumen’s Communications team to promote the program


  • Support the Global Fellows Program locally – Provide in-country support to Global Fellows who are placed in East Africa, and support with annual recruitment and selection activities
  • Support +acumen locally – Provide in-country support  to promote/develop +acumen online courses


Candidates interested in the East Africa Fellows Program Manager position should have a deep motivation to Acumen’s mission of solving the toughest problems of poverty, and a passion for leadership development.
Your background probably looks something like this:

  • At least 7-10 years’ work experience in a related field (preferably in education, training, fellowships and/or leadership development)
  • graduate/master’s degree in a related field (for example: education, psychology, leadership, etc.)
  • Significant experience in group facilitation/training or classroom teaching
  • Prior work experience in a fast-paced environment, ability to work efficiently against tight deadlines
  • Familiarity and exposure to the field of social enterprise and poverty alleviation preferred
  • Strong verbal & written communications skills, and comfort representing the East Africa Program externally

Additional qualifications include:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, strong emotional intelligence, and ability to communicate effectively
  •  Ability to give constructive feedback effectively and willingness to have difficult, tough, even courageous conversations in the service of helping others grow and reach the next level
  • Self-awareness, strong listening skills, and empathy
  • Grit, resilience, and the ability to persevere amidst challenges and ambiguity
  • Ability to contribute to high-level, strategic discussions around curriculum and program operations
  • Exceptional organizational skills and ability to hit achieve targets independently and under pressure
  • Alignment with Acumen’s core values: leadership/listening, generosity/accountability, audacity/humility, grounded in a foundation of integrity and respect.


Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience.

Acumen East Africa Office – Nairobi, Kenya

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please apply immediately.  Applications will no longer be accepted after 1 December 2013. Interested candidates should submit their application as soon as possible.  You will be asked to submit the following via our online applicant tracking system:

  1. An updated resume/CV
  2. Your responses to 3 short-answer questions (200 words each)

* Required fields

First name*

Last name*

Email address*

Phone number*


Attach resume or Paste resume

What are the 1-2 aspects of this role that you are most excited about? Why?*

Give an example of a time when you had to lead a team to achieve a difficult goal. Describe the situation, the challenges you faced, what you said or did to motivate the team, and what was the end result.*

Give an example of a time when you helped someone grow or transform. What was the process of this transformation, and what role did you play in it?*

Please indicate which of the seven countries in which Acumen currently has operations, that you have authorization to work. **

  •  Colombia
  •  England
  •  Ghana
  •  India
  •  Kenya
  •  Pakistan
  •  United States

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