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Chief Programme & Platform Officer



Johannesburg, South Africa · Remote
Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2024


The new role of Chief Programme and Platform Officer (CPO) will lead SmartStart’s evolution into a platform for early learning at population-scale — realising ourvision of providing quality early learning to 1 million children by 2030.** **The CPO will be responsible for the executive management of programme design and development, operations, and technology, with responsibility for realising the synergies between these.

We are looking for a curious, creative, strategic, driven individual with extensive programme development and leadership experience and a successful track record of managing large-scale, complex programmes.

Key Responsibilities

Lead the evolution of programme design and operations, including integrated technology, to build a platform for early learning for all by 2030

Realise successful operating partnerships with provincial education departments, municipalities and state employment initiatives

Co-build and grow the network of operating partners to extend the platform

Programme Operations: Drive the network’s performance by realising high-quality, effective programme operations, enrolling significantly more children and practitioners offering quality, inclusive and affordable early learning programmes.

Programme Design & Development:** **Lead the improvement of programme design for quality child outcomes to be adapted with integrity to contexts, incl. curriculum, practice quality, micro-enterprise opportunities, practitioner licensing

Technology: With the Tech Head, direct the development of SmartStart as a tech-enabled platform comprising integrated infrastructure, tools, processes, and practices that enable an exponential increase in the number of actors providing quality, affordable early learning.

Serve as Child Safeguarding Officer guided by the ‘best interests of the child’ and the principle of “do no harm in all our actions”. Ensure that SmartStart invests optimally in ensuring the safety of children and preventing risk of harm by all means.


Qualifications and Experience

· Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a related discipline, e.g. education, health, social development

· At least 12 years’ relevant and diverse experience in complex organisation-systemic contexts, ideally incl. early childhood development, education, or public health

· At least five years in senior roles(s) successfully leading organisations and managing teams

· Successful track record overseeing large-scale, nationally dispersed social programmes, incl. budget development and management

Knowledge and Skills

· Systems doing-and-thinking orientation mindset & practice

· Demonstrated curiosityand appetite for feedback

· Ablility to see the big picture

· Demonstrated commitment to social justice

· Ability to deal with complex problems

· Coaching managerial skills

· Excellent at building quality, trusting relationships

· Excellent communicator who can “convert” others to the SmartStart cause

· Familiar with design thinking and iterative designing

· Fluency in one or more African languages advantageous

Child Safeguarding Policy

Applicants must adhere to the SmartStart Child Safeguarding Policy, which has been developed in accordance with the International Standards for Child Safeguarding, and provides a benchmark for organisations working with children.

Under this policy, SmartStart will not employ anyone whose name is on the National Child Protection Register or who has been convicted of a criminal offence involving a child.

Closing date: 19 June 2024

Location: Hybrid

SmartStart is an equal opportunity employer.