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We are looking to appoint a Strategic Adviser as part of the ONS International Development Team (IDT). This post is based in Kigali, Rwanda.

Job Description

This is an exciting, unique opportunity to apply your skills in an international context, working with colleagues in Rwanda to deliver on their vision for data science, spearheading thinking across Africa, and ultimately improving the use of data for development. You will be based in Rwanda for the duration of the assignment – initially 2 years but with the potential to extend further. You will work for and represent the ONS international development team, but the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR) will be the main beneficiary of your work. You will lead ONS’ presence in Rwanda, and your role will form part of the broader UK government team in Rwanda: you will work and live alongside colleagues from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), HMRC and other departments.

You will be an adviser to NISR, working closely with a new Director of Data Revolution and Big Data Unit; you will help with the formation of the new Unit and its strategy. You will provide strategic and technical advice and practical assistance in developing the team, and in conceptualising, planning and managing data science projects, with the objective of building capability in data science in NISR.

You will also provide a significant steer, to the wider ONS partnership with NISR, advising and supporting the wider IDT Rwanda team as they deliver a range of complementary technical assistance from ONS and the Data Science Campus.

The likely division of time will be as follows:

  • You will provide Strategic Advice to the Director, NISR senior management and other staff, on the establishment of the Data Revolution and Big Data Unit. This could include, for example, delivering training, targeted advice, participating in meetings on technical and managerial topics, and advising on and scoping out data science projects. You will provide advice and follow up support in embedding appropriate processes and policies, you will role model good practice.
  • You will lead ONS’ relationship with NISR, including proactively building relationships with the senior leadership and working level staff, and relevant other parties, e.g. other parts of Rwanda government, other development partners, data providers, private sector companies, universities etc. You will need to keep on top of the latest data developments in Rwanda and ensure that the ONS programme is coordinated with others and makes the most of opportunities.
  • You will identify the most appropriate elements for the wider partnership workplan and work with the UK based team to take the workplan forwards. You will use the excellent understanding of the context which you will gain, to identify the high-level needs and suggest how ONS interventions could lead to the desired changes. You will lead the team in deciding how to engage with local partners and which interventions are most likely to have the greatest impact in NISR. You will work with the wider team to take forwards outputs, and where not leading, you will provide regular advice on the local context to the rest of the team on how things on the ground should impact upon their plans.
  • You play a key role in weekly and monthly team planning discussions, by monitoring and reporting changes to risks, opportunities and the context; advising the rest of the team on the best timing and approach for the delivery of other advice from others in ONS, and the overall scope of these activities. You will support ONS visitors to country and help sequence these visits to ensure maximum effectiveness. You will provide reports and information to the team, on time and with integrity, as required to meet ONS reporting requirements.
  • You lead ONS relationship with other parts of HMG in country. You will work closely with FCDO / other parts of HMG in country to ensure ONS programme aligns with and supports the HMG Country Plan for Rwanda.
  • Line management: You will line manage one locally engaged HEO, recruited via FCDO.

The post holder will need to engage sensitively and diplomatically with senior officials in Rwanda to develop an understanding of their needs, articulate and shape their demand and to provide high-quality and relevant technical advice.

This role is highly flexible and unstructured. We are looking for individuals who can work well with little structure, have excellent communication and influencing skills and have the ability to carve out a strategic role for themselves within NISR. You will need to balance multiple demands on your time (from ONS, NISR and FCDO) and effectively prioritise under pressure.

Although a specific qualification is not a pre-requisite for this post, an ability to work with colleagues in shaping the role and functions of the Data Science Department, and to implement and/or monitor outputs from individual short-term missions will be critical. Therefore we would expect the applicants to either have experience of working in ONS or as part of the wider Government Statistical Service, or other related analytic professions; and to have been engaged with planning and implementing data science projects, as part of a data science team. Experience from other countries would also be relevant.

The ONS International Development Team (IDT) was created in ONS in 2016 to support statistical modernisation in the developing world. The team prioritises, plans and leads the provision of high-quality technical assistance by ONS to build the capacity of statistical systems in developing countries. Technical assistance is drawn from within IDT, across ONS and the wider GSS where appropriate. For more information of our projects see

The IDT is currently comprised of a programme management team, based in the UK, and 4 strategic advisors based overseas leading partnerships with three Africa NSO (Rwanda, Ghana and Kenya) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Ethiopia, and a range of technical experts based full or part time with the team.

Through capitalising on the UK’s comparative advantage in the modernisation of official statistics, the ONS international development programme aims to improve the quality and availability of data to support the Global Goals and to ensure no one is left behind. We work through medium to long term partnerships with key countries (including Rwanda), and through global programmes. Our support focuses on the modernisation of the work of statistical offices, recognising that their role is changing as the data ecosystem expands to cover a wide range of non-official data and the systems and methods related to the quality assurance of these new data sources. The partnership model relies on advice provided by the Strategic Adviser, deploying technical expertise from the ONS, as well as taking advantage of support from other organisations with the appropriate expertise.

The NISR was created in 2005 as the central statistical organization within the Rwandan National Statistical System (NSS). It provides the major statistical infrastructure for official statistics within the country and is responsible for producing a wide range of key national statistics and providing leadership, and co-ordinating statistical activities carried out by other contributors to the overall NSS. NISR enjoys a favourable place in terms of its reputation among members of the international community.

For more information about the role, including person specifications, salary, benefits and application details please visit the Civil Service Jobs website.

You can also read this blog from the current post holder, for information on what to expect from the role.

Apply before 11:55 pm on Tuesday 23rd February 2021