Romani Early Years Network Program Manager, Leiden, NL

Deadline: 4 February 2013
Open to: Candidates with university degree and understanding of the situation of young Romani children
Remuneration: Commensurate with experience


The International Step by Step Association (ISSA) is a membership association that connects professionals and organizations from 31 countries – primarily in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia – working in the field of early childhood development and education. In addition to providing capacity building and networking opportunities to its members, ISSA also offers a range of services and resources to other stakeholders, increasingly acting as a clearing house for early childhood development in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS).

In partnership with Open Society Foundation’s Roma ‘Kopaçi’ initiatives of the Early Childhood Programme (ECP), ISSA has recently launched the Romani Early Years Network (REYN). This network hosted and managed by ISSA, will focus on emerging and established Romani early childhood development professionals, as well as other professionals working in the field of Early Childhood Development (ECD) with Roma communities. Its main purpose is to develop skills and good practice, establish effective partnerships and support professional development. The aim is that the network shapes and develops its work within the broad framework of ISSA’s and ECP’s shared objectives, of ensuring access and equity of care for every young child and of promoting high quality and professionalism in early years services.

The position

ISSA seeks to hire a full-time REYN Program Manager, based at ISSA’s new office in Leiden/The Netherlands, to lead the activities of the REYN Network. In close cooperation with ISSA’s Program Director and Executive Director, the REYN Program Manager is responsible for the implementation of the strategy of the REYN Network and for ensuring high quality performance of ISSA as host of the Network. The REYN Program Manager holds management responsibilities and reports to the Program Director.


Program Development and Support

  • Manage the operations of the REYN network in order to reach the goals set out in the strategy and to continue to increase the innovation, efficiency and effectiveness of the network
  • Manage activities aimed at building capacity of the network and providing technical assistance that meet the needs of the members
  • Develop, plan and organize network-related events (seminars, workshops, study visits)
  • Manage communications and information flow within the network, encourage peer-learning and exchanges among network members through online tools (ISSA Online Community, Blog, Facebook page, Online News Bulletin etc.) and in-person meetings
  • Facilitate the work of the REYN’s Advisory Group
  • Supervise consultants hired to carry out program work
  • Stay abreast of developments in Romani issues and early childhood development and education and use this knowledge to influence the development of the REYN network
  • Lead processes of planning, data collection, monitoring and evaluation related to the work of REYN
  • Promote the REYN network’s professional benefits to new members
  • Develop strong collaborative links with stakeholders both within and outside the ISSA network

Fundraising and Budget Responsibilities

  • Propose new REYN activities, actively seek new funding opportunities and contribute to fundraising for the development of REYN
  • Design and oversee REYN’s budget and specific grant project budgets related to REYN
  • Monitor spending related to REYN budget lines
  • Contribute to donor reporting on REYN activities


Education and Knowledge:

  • University degree in a relevant field of study; post-graduate degree is an advantage
  • Solid understanding of the situation of young Romani children, their families and Romani communities in CEE/CIS, as well as of professionals of Romani origin
  • Knowledge of early childhood education policy and/or practice at the national level. Knowledge of issues from the regional and/or international level is an advantage


  • A successful track record of at least 3 years of managing or working in international early childhood education programs/projects and of working with Romani issues
  • Demonstrated success in managing informal or formal professional networks

Abilities and Skills:

  • A commitment to ISSA’s vision, mission and values
  • Ability to work effectively with a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society, international organizations and policy makers
  • Excellent written and oral command of English
  • Knowledge of at least one language spoken in regions where ISSA is active; knowledge of Romani is a considerable advantage
  • Advanced computer skills (MS Office, internet software, social media etc.)
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent organizational and management skills
  • Ability to prioritize work and meet tight deadlines
  • Ability and willingness to travel frequently as required
  • Capacity to work independently as well as in a multinational team
  • Ability to prioritize work and meet tight deadlines
  • Ability to work constructively as part of a team

Salary and benefits

Commensurate with experience. The terms of the contract will be determined on the basis of the applicable Dutch Labor Code.

How to apply

Candidates should send the following documents:

  1. a letter of interest of up to two A4-pages outlining:
    – relevant professional background and why they are ideally suited for the position
    – how they would contribute to implementing the goals of the REYN network
    – their key professional beliefs with regards to access for young Roma children to high quality early years services
  2. a full CV
  3. two writing samples (in English)
  4. and two recommendation letters from referees who may be contacted before interviews are held (one letter from a previous supervisor, and one from a peer who is familiar with the candidate’s abilities).

Applications should be sent via email to Judit Levenda at:, indicating in the subject line: REYN Program Manager Position Search. Application deadline: 4 February 2013. All applicants will receive an acknowledgment of receipt but only shortlisted candidates will be contacted in the course of the selection process.

More information about ISSA and the REYN network can be found here.

Official leaflet.

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