Moving Minds Alliance Director

Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee


The Moving Minds Alliance is a multi-stakeholder partnership of 20+ organisations working to scale up the financing, policies, and leadership needed to effectively support the youngest children and families affected by crisis and displacement everywhere. The Moving Minds Alliance is hosted by the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

Four years since its inception, and having just updated its strategy, operational model and governance, Moving Minds Alliance is embarking on its next phase of activity with its expanding membership. Bringing on board and building collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors will be a key goal for this next phase, as well as shaping MMA as a platform for effective sharing and learning for the growing community working to support the children and families affected by crisis.

To lead the Moving Minds Alliance, we are looking for an enthusiastic changemaker who embodies our principes of being action-oriented, ambitious but practical, committed to sharing learning, and collaborative and inclusive.

The successful candidate will ideally have worked across more than one of the sectors represented in the Moving Minds Alliance (e.g. philanthropy, UN/non-profit, private sector), have experience in multi-stakeholder engagement and partnership-building for social change, and a proven track record in strategy development and implementation, team and project management, and operational oversight.

Note that funding for this role has been secured and is in the process of being transferred to the IRC.

Our Vision: Rebuilding resilience of the youngest refugees

Forced displacement worldwide is at a record high, and children are disproportionately represented among those fleeing from emergencies and crisis-affected contexts. One in four children around the world lives in contexts affected by conflict or disaster, and more than 30 million children have been displaced by conflict.

Given the protracted nature of modern displacement, most children born in displacement will go on to spend their entire childhoods away from home. Experiences during this period, in the very first years of life, shape the architecture of the brain and lay the foundation for future development, learning and physical and mental health.

Prolonged exposure to violence and toxic stress is associated with high levels of depression, anxiety, and in some cases post-traumatic stress disorder, which can have life-long negative effects on children’s development.

The good news is that evidence indicates early childhood services, including those that support and guide parents, caregivers, and families in times of crisis, can mitigate the negative effects of trauma and stress on young children and promote resilience and well-being for a lifetime.

While the international community has made significant efforts to ensure children have access to basic healthcare and nutrition, the provision of services for other critical areas of a young child’s development is severely lacking in crisis situations across the globe, as well as in communities hosting refugees and asylum-seekers. A 2018 review of active humanitarian response plans revealed that only 10 out of 38 plans included interventions specifically targeting the youngest children. A more recent MMA analysis of financing for early childhood in crisis contexts, found that only 2% of humanitarian aid, and 3% of development aid finds its way to supporting the needs of the youngest children and families in crisis contexts.

Coordinated action by the humanitarian community, donors, and policymakers is needed to raise the life prospects of millions of young children on the move.

About the Moving Minds Alliance

The Moving Minds Alliance came together to close the gap in support for the youngest children on the move and their families. It is multi-stakeholder partnership working to scale up the financing, policies, and leadership needed to effectively support young children and families affected by crisis and displacement everywhere.

Originally established in 2017 by a group of six philanthropic foundations, today it counts nearly 25 members including foundations, NGOs, UN agencies and academia. Members combine their programmatic, funding, and research expertise to support prioritization of the youngest refugees and their caregivers.

Moving Minds Alliance develops activities in the areas:

  • Joint Advocacy: Ensuring donors, humanitarian actors & networks, and country governments prioritize and champion early childhood development (ECD) in crisis settings;
  • Sharing & Learning: Establishing a thriving network that is sharing and applying insights effectively to deliver on its common agenda for change.

Moving Minds Alliance’s activities are focused on the areas described above; MMA does not provide funding for implementation of early childhood programs on the ground. Activities are taken forward collaboratively by its members, with support from the Secretariat (interim support is currently provided by consultants).

Operational costs and activities are financed by a sub-group of philanthropic foundations that is part of the overall MMA membership, through a combination of annual member fees and additional donations and grants. A Steering Committee provides overall strategic direction, while sub-groups (most notably the Joint Advocacy Group) are responsible for operationalizing specific areas of work. MMA’s Secretariat and pooled fund is transitioning to be held by the International Rescue Committee.

The Position and key working relationships

In the past year, several updates were made to Moving Minds Alliance’s strategy, governance, and operations, to be able to accommodate a growing group of member organisations at a new host organisation, and respond to shifts in the constantly evolving broader ecosystem of partnerships and initiatives.

The Director is the first hire in this new set-up, and will be critical in ensuring a smooth transition, and delivering the vision and leadership to take the Alliance’s work and impact to the next level.

The Director will be expected to lead the Movings Minds Alliance, and will have considerable autonomy in shaping and implementing MMA’s strategy. In the short term, it is envisioned a senior advocacy specialist will be recruited specifically to support MMA’s joint advocacy activities. A project officer will be hired to support activities, administration, and communications. Both these positions will report to the Director. The Director is expected to lead on recruitment of the project officer.

The Director will work most closely with and under the oversight of the MMA Steering Committee (on which the Director will have an ex-oficio, non-voting seat). For administrative purposes the Director will formally report to a senior member of IRC staff.Funding for this role has been secured and is in the process of being transferred to the IRC.

Responsibilities of the Director will include:

Vision & Strategy

  • Oversee refinement of the MMA strategy and multi-year plan (in particular in the area of Sharing & Learning), in coordination with the Steering Committee and in consultation with MMA members
  • Oversee the implementation of all aspects of the MMA strategy and activities, with other Secratariat staff and MMA members
  • Oversee development of organization-wide budget and associated workplans for approval by the Steering Committee
  • Oversee development of of monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) plan for the Moving Minds Alliance and track progress toward indicators

Alliance Development and Outreach

  • Maintain good relations with all MMA members, and ensure they are adequately supported to deliver on the group’s ambitious objectives
  • Establish relations with high-level/influential leaders (inside and outside the membership) who can champion and support MMA’s objectives
  • Serve as point of contact for Foundation group members (the philanthropic foundations who fund MMA’s activities) and the philanthropic community more broadly
  • Build and maintain relationships with relevant networks and organisations (both known allies and more ‘unusual supsects’) for purposes of coordination and collaborationRepresent the Moving Minds Alliance in relevant meetings and conferences

Operations & Governance Oversight

  • Support recruitment, oversee the work and support development of two other Secretariat staff (senior advocacy specialist, and a project officer), and build a strong team that embodies MMA’s values
  • Provide overall oversight of the Alliance’s finances including development and monitoring of the annual budget, and authorizing expenditures
  • Support resource mobilization for the Moving Minds Alliance in active collaboration with Steering Committee and MMA members
  • Oversee development of materials (incl. Annual Reports) on all ongoing activities and report to Steering Committee on progress, management, and operations
  • Work with the host agency on day-to-day financial transactions, grant management, HR, and legal issues
  • Oversee development of a conflict of interest policy, shape and oversee the MMA brand and identity (incl. the MMA website)
  • Manage and coordinate brand review & approval process (where needed involving the MMA Steering Committee)
  • Recruit, brief, and manage consultants hired to support MMA’s work

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