The Giga team is seeking a Partnerships Strategist to join Giga, one of the most exciting and impactful projects coming out of the United Nations at this time. This individual will work with our interdisciplinary team to develop, prospect, and manage Giga’s portfolio of partners. The role will be an important part of our small Partnerships Team, joining us in our ambitious goal to connect every school, and every community, to the internet by 2030.
We are seeking a strong and committed Partnerships Strategist who is:
- Motivated to create and grow public-private partnerships for technology and innovation
- Interested in exploring the role that private sector can play in furthering Giga’s mission to connect every young person to the internet
- Inspired to redefine partnership models and find new ways of collaborating to bring value to our work
Your main responsibilities will be…
The Partnerships Strategist will conceptualize, support and drive the coordination and management of partnerships for the Giga team and report to the Partnerships Lead. This position will:
- Develop and grow the partnership portfolio to support Giga’s continued growth as an initiative for global connectivity
- Manage existing partnerships, including developing and owning relationships with counterparts within partner organizations
- Work with country engagement, technology, and data teams across Giga to identify opportunities for partners to support and create shared value for our work
- Support the development of a new partnership strategy for Giga, including prioritization of efforts and a roadmap to achieve partnership goals that align with Giga’s broader strategic plan
- Collaborate with other teams focused on partnerships across UNICEF and ITU to develop and manage opportunities
- Develop powerful communications about the impact made possible by partner contributions content
- Create content and key materials related to partnerships, including pitch decks, proposals, and progress reports
- Help develop a pipeline of new initiatives and partnership models that bring in technical expertise, funding, and publicity for Giga, such as Giga Ambassadors or NFTs
To qualify for this position, you will have…
- A minimum of 3 years of experience in partnerships, project management, or management consulting
- A proven track record of organizing and executing complex workstreams
- The ability to prioritize and manage progress and deadlines across a diverse range of partners, projects, and activities
- Very strong writing, editing, and content development skills, as well as demonstrated strength in communication
- Experience working with (or ability to quickly learn about and speak to) technology, data, telecommunications, and innovative solutions
- Ability to manage multiple perspectives and sets of priorities, driving toward consensus across several stakeholders
- Fluency in English. Competence in another UN language preferred.
- Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
Who will I be working with?
We are a fast-paced, multi-disciplinary team of software engineers, finance specialists, data scientists, policy experts, and much more. Our team is a distributed workforce and plans to remain distributed into the foreseeable future.
We are growing fast. Our team has grown by over 400% in the last 6 months are we rapidly scale to meet our stated mission. Much, if not all, of this growth is supported by our partners and the work of our Partnerships Team. To-date, Giga has brought on more than a dozen partners and raised over $22M in funding. But many of our partners contribute more than just funding. To us, partners are collaborators, working should to shoulder with our team to develop software, analyze data, conduct groundbreaking research, and much more!
The Partnerships Strategist would report to the Partnerships Lead and work closely with the Communications Team and Programmatic Leads across country engagement, technology, and structured finance to develop and manage partnerships that are in-line with Giga’s strategic vision.
Outside of the Giga team, this individual will work with the UNICEF Private Partnerships and Fundraising Division and relevant National Committees, as well as the partnerships focal points for the UNICEF Office of Innovation and ITU.
Launched in 2019 as a joint-initiative between UNICEF and ITU, Giga has set the ambitious goal to connect every school in the world to the internet.
Half of the world’s population has no regular access to the Internet. Millions of children leave school without any digital skills, making it much more difficult for them to thrive and contribute to local and global economies. This has created a digital divide between those who are connected and those who are not, a divide that has become even wider during the Covid-19 pandemic. UNICEF and ITU have therefore joined forces to create Giga, an initiative to connect every school in the world to the Internet and address this new form of inequality.
Giga focuses on connecting schools so that children and young people have access to information, opportunity, and choice. It also uses schools as anchor points for their surrounding communities: if you connect the school, you can also connect local businesses and services. This creates opportunities for service providers to generate revenue from paying users, making connectivity more sustainable. A recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that a 10% increase in school connectivity can increase effective years of schooling by 0.6% and increase GDP per capita by 1.1%.
You cannot fix a problem unless you can see it, so the first step is to map schools and their connectivity levels. Giga uses machine learning to scan satellite images and identify schools. These are then marked by coloured dots on an open-source map: green where there is good connectivity (over 5mb/s); amber where it is limited; and red where there is no connectivity at all. The project has already mapped over 920,000 schools in 40 countries, including several which were previously unknown to governments.
Connecting every school in the world could cost US$428 billion or more. Much of the funding already exists but it is not always well aligned. Giga therefore works with governments to unlock public funds for use in delivering connectivity and to attract private investors by reducing the risks in harder-to-reach areas. We are also proposing a $5 billion Bond to finance last-mile connectivity and catalyze large-scale investment. The bond would be backed by donor governments and private foundations, much like the one issued by Gavi / IFFiM to deliver vaccines around the world.
Once school connectivity has been mapped and financing secured, Giga works with a range of partners to bring the Internet to schools. We support governments in designing competitive procurement processes. We are also developing real-time payment mechanisms, meaning that if a dot on the connectivity map is only green for three hours a day, the provider only gets paid for three hours of access. Giga is already connecting schools in 19 countries and is prototyping several test solutions, including in refugee camps and remote, mountainous regions.
Just as building railroads allowed previously isolated towns to flourish, providing good quality Internet access will allow communities to participate in the digital economy for the first time. But Giga’s work in laying the tracks for connectivity is only one part of a wider effort to bridge the digital divide. UNICEF’s Reimagine Education initiative brings all of this work together and has set the goal of connecting every child and young person – some 3.5 billion – to world-class digital learning solutions by 2030. In addition to Giga, it includes components focusing on the affordability of data and content, access to devices, teacher certification and the engagement of young people. Along with ITU’s digital skills programme and other initiatives, Reimagine Education aims to ensure that, once connected, young people are empowered with the tools they need to shape their own futures.
Our partners are a huge part of our work, supporting us with both financial resources and in-kind support. We currently have a portfolio of a small group of major financial partners, and a larger group of others who provide technical assistance on important projects, including data sharing, cost model development, and more.
You can read more about Giga’s work at https://gigaconnect.org/ and by following us on twitter @Gigaconnect
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone. And we never give up.
UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives.
Payment details and further considerations
- Consultants are paid monthly
- Consultants are responsible for their own health and travel insurance
- Consultant is eligible for standard budget allowances for all work-related travel