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Digital Inclusion Senior Systems Architect

Global Development Lab
Center for Digital Development (CDD)/ Digital Inclusion Team
Senior Systems Architect
Mid-Level Manager
Clearance: Secret Requested


This position is located in the U. S. Global Development Lab (Lab), an organization established to harness the power of science, technology, innovation and partnership (STIP) in USAID programs and take promising innovations to global scale in order to significantly accelerate the nation’s foreign policy and development goals.  The Lab’s Center for Digital Development fosters transformative and market-driven solutions to empower individuals through digital financial services, data-driven evidence, and access to digital technology. We offer knowledge tools and technical support to dramatically increase the adoption of digital technology throughout USAID’s programs, and we partner with other donors, governments, companies, and NGOs to accelerate proven solutions that impact millions.  

This position will work with the Digital Inclusion team within the Center for Digital Development. 

The Digital Inclusion team works to ensure that the value derived from the digital economy is inclusive and believes that public and private sector involvement is needed to bridge bridging persistent gaps in access to and usage of the internet in USAID priority countries.  While the internet affords developing economies significant opportunities for growth, persistent gaps in the availability, adoption, and use of digital technologies can reinforce and even exacerbate existing social and economic exclusions in those societies.  Many USAID presence countries, particularly in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where internet penetration rates can be as low as 10 percent, are falling behind the rest of the world, and the consequences of digital exclusion are growing. These gaps are particularly strong among historically marginalized populations—for instance, 25 percent fewer women are online than men in developing countries and, when controlling for age and education, women are half as likely as men to speak out online, and a third less likely to use the Internet to look for work.  Likewise, more than 2 billion people in developing and emerging economies are priced out of internet access

Roles & Responsibilities

The Digital Inclusion team currently has two primary pillars of work:

  1. Connected Programs – where we seek to develop and guide USAID investment in internet access and usage as part of USAID’s existing development programs in health, food security, economic development, and education.  We provide direct technical assistance to USAID Bureaus or Missions, serving as in-house expert advisors on how those Bureau and Mission programs can incorporate internet access and digital inclusion strategies to achieve their strategic priorities.
  2. Enablers – given the weak digital enabling environment and market fundamentals in many of the countries where USAID works, the team invests in programs that build the foundation needed for the Agency’s “Connected Programs” to be successful. Enabler investments are highly targeted and support USAID priority countries or issues, but they are more defined by external market gaps than by the strategy of a particular USAID Bureau or Mission.  This work is typically done in partnership with a range of external groups including other donors, the private sector, and civil society

The Senior Systems Architect will have an opportunity to contribute to both pillars of the team’s work but principally will work on Connected programs, providing technical expert  support and helping to refine the team’s strategy in that area.  More specifically, the Senior Systems Architect’s responsibilities will be defined as follow:

  1. Connected Programs 
    • Play a leading role in 1-3 direct Mission engagements. This will include primary management of the Lab’s existing portfolio of connectivity investments in Liberia and, at a minimum, at least one other significant Mission engagement
    • Provide technical guidance and direction to field-based CDD staff working on digital inclusion projects in the 1-3 countries in which the Senior Systems Architect has primary management responsibility
    • Work closely with the Digital Inclusion Team Lead and other key personnel to refine the Connected Programs strategy and expand the suite of “products" offered to Missions such as digital strategies and planning connectivity investments
    • Liaise with other USAID Missions/Bureaus to cultivate relationships and build the Connected Programs pipeline
  2. Research, Learning, Thought-Leadership
    • Contribute to making the Digital Inclusion team a go-to resource in the Agency and externally for digital inclusion issues through writing, speaking engagements, impact evaluations, and similar opportunities to raise the team’s visibility and demonstrate its intellectual contributions to the field
    • Contribute to the team’s research and learning agenda. In some instances, this will entail provide technical inputs and support to colleagues’ research and learning work already being done.  In other instances, the Senior Systems Architect will be expected to play a leadership role in defining and carry out work on other relevant topics.  This work would both reinforce the Connected Programs workstream as well as help the team refine/support our "enablers" investments
  3. Special Projects 
    • In consultations with the Center for Digital Development’s management team and other technical teams within the Center, define and carry out specific projects that build strategic connections across the Center and/or advance a more holistic approach to digital within USAID. These will be explicit, time-bound efforts which will be agreed upon by the the Director of the Center for Digital Development, the Digital Inclusion Lead, the Senior Systems Architect, and other relevant parties.

The incumbent will be expected to travel internationally regularly to carry-out the above responsibilities. The incumbent will report directly to the Digital Inclusion Lead.

Educational Requirement: Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs, Economics, Public Policy, Business or related field.

Required Experience: 7 to 9 years of related experience in international development or the private sector.


The Digital Inclusion Senior Systems Architect should have some combination of the following capabilities:

  • Technical background /experience in digital technology and/or telecommunications infrastructure
  • Exceptional program management skills and demonstrated ability to coordinate among diverse groups
  • Ability to communicate technical and non-technical information clearly to various audiences, including policymakers
  • Knowledge of international development assistance concepts, approaches, programs and issues with particular preference given to individuals who have extensive experience working with USAID Missions/Bureaus
  • Self-starter, willing and capable of performing internal and external outreach and developing relationships with a wide set of actors in the international development community and across the private sector, with minimal guidance.
  • Expert researcher, high quality writer, and critical/strategic thinker
  • Adaptability in politically sensitive, fast-paced environments.
  • Collaborative team player that relishes the opportunity to work on a small team within large organization
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