SENIOR ENERGY ADVISOR, Practical Action Consulting (PAC )- EAST AFRICA At Practical Action

We are an international development organisation putting ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world.

We help people find solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. Challenges made worse by catastrophic climate change and persistent gender inequality. We work with communities to develop ingenious, lasting and locally owned solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy. And we share what works with others, so answers that start small can grow big.

We’re a global change-making group. The group consists of a UK registered charity with community projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, an independent development publishing company and a technical consulting service. We combine these specialisms to multiply our impact and help shape a world that works better for everyone.

We help people find solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems, made worse by catastrophic climate change and persistent gender inequality. Our aims are to:

  • Make agriculture work better for smallholder farmers, many of them women, so they can adapt to climate change and achieve a good standard of living
  • Help more people harness the transformational effects of clean affordable energy and reduce avoidable deaths caused by smoke from indoor stoves and fires.
  • Make cities in poorer countries cleaner, healthier places to live and work.
  • Build disaster resilience into the lives of people threatened by hazards – reducing the risk of hazards and minimizing their impact on lives and livelihoods.

We work on holistic solutions that change systems and have a framework to help us achieve our aims:
 Analyze the root causes of a poverty and vulnerability
 Define the change at scale we need to make
 Develop activities along three complementary paths: Demonstrate, Learn and Inspire.

  • Demonstrate that our solutions are sustainable in the real world
  • Learn by capturing evidence and adapting our approach
  • Inspire wider support to multiply our impact.

Practical Action is an unconventional, multi-disciplinary change-making organization

  • A highly innovative community development charity operating in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Practical Action community projects use ingenious ideas to design, test, refine and prove new ways to overcome poverty and disadvantage and then ‘open-source’ knowledge of what works so that it can be implemented at a greater scale by others.
  • A world-class consulting operation that helps socially responsible business, government policy makers and other development organizations. This draws on learnings from our own development work as well as the combined brainpower of a roster of over 2,000 expert consultants. Practical Action Consulting helps to extend the reach of our influence by providing the best advice to others, whose work can make a bigger difference.
  • A well respected specialist development publisher. Practical Action Publishing brings together development practitioners, researchers and thought leaders to create publications that stimulate discussion, strengthen peoples’ capabilities and inspire sustainable change.

In East Africa, Practical Action has a long history of addressing systemic barriers that prevent people from accessing energy that transforms their lives, helping communities and government makes cities healthier and safer, making agriculture and markets work better for small holder farmers and supporting communities and government to become more resilient.

We promote a Total Energy Access approach with experience across a range of renewable energy sources (solar, hydro, wind, biomass and biofuels), applications of energy (electricity, cooking, productive uses and energy for community facilities) and energy business models (distribution, manufacturing and service provision).

Practical Action provides independent and professional evidence and knowledge on the use of technology for poverty reduction to governments, NGOs, aid agencies and the private sector. We take lessons from the work of our implementation programmes and technical in-country research projects and push them to a broader geographic horizon to enhance development outcomes, scale-up impact, inform national and international policy, and provide evidence for international actors.

Practical Action has worked directly in East Africa for more than 25 years with a regional base in Kenya and outreach through consultancy and policy work in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan.

As a member of the Practical Action Consulting, the role will be providing support to the delivery of Practical Action’s energy strategy for the East Africa regional office. The role will primarily deliver impact for Practical Action through the consulting approach of technical assistance delivery. The role will support PA Regional Leadership in the development of PA energy work in the region, including consulting assignments, managing energy access projects, providing technical input to Practical Action’s projects in the region, contributing to secure new work, building the network of associates, line-managing staff and facilitating joint working with Practical Action’s other regional and country offices in Africa and UK. As a member of the Practical Action global energy team the role will contribute to development of PA’s energy thematic work worldwide.


Title: Senior Energy Advisor

Reporting to: Head, Practical Action Consulting (PAC)

Direct reports: Energy technical advisors and consultants

Groups: Member of Global Energy Hub

Financial scope: Direct management of allocated project budgets

Location: Nairobi (Kenya) with travels within East Africa.

Nature of contract: Fixed Term Contract (National Terms and Conditions)

Grade: 7

The job holder will work under the supervision of the Head, Practical Action Consulting (PAC). S/he will work with Practical Action global energy team and liaise with the other PA offices in Africa and the UK in order to ensure that Practical Action’s energy strategy and specific assignment goals and objectives are achieved.

Assignments will be delivered directly by the Senior Energy Advisor or through project management of other PA staff and experienced external consultants, and the job holder may also be called on to input to assignments managed by other members of the team, and/or led by PA offices in other regions.

The job will entail the development and maintenance of new and existing partnerships with other organizations and our network of consultants. The job holder will interact and collaborate with central and county governments, regional bodies, international agencies and development partners, institutions of higher learning and peer organizations’ as required to deliver work to a high quality.

Project Development and Resource mobilisation (20%):

  • Develop high quality Concept Notes, Expressions of Interests and Proposals to win new energy assignments in the relevant region (often to very tight deadlines). This will involve:
  • Identifying and reviewing opportunities
  • Leading and coordinating proposal development activities
  • Identifying the capabilities, activities and roles needed to deliver projects’ contacting potential partners and external associates and agreeing partnering arrangements
  • Developing technical proposals and methodologies for project delivery
  • Collating organizational information and relevant project references
  • Developing project budgets.
  • Networking with relevant energy stakeholders and potential clients’/funding agencies in the region with a view to securing new work.

Project implementation and quality (60%):

  • Manage the day-to-day delivery of long-term and short term energy assignments in the region in close collaboration with PA UK, other PA regional offices, external partner organizations and consultants.
  • Be responsible for all aspects of assigned projects including technical inputs, budget and contract management, client relationships’ partner coordination/facilitation, production of reports/knowledge products and team management (with responsibility for other project team members’ inputs; developing TORs, ensuring timely delivery, and quality assurance of subcontractors and Practical Action staff).
  • Review reports prepared by project team members and associates before delivery to the client to ensure that they are of a high quality and meet the client’s requirements.
  • Ensure that all project management functions are completed in a timely and quality manner, including implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
  • Manage allocated project budget(s) to ensure that all expenditures are legitimate and accounted for with correct budget coding and supporting documentation as per PA’s administration procedures.
  • Ensure that information and lessons learned are collected from projects and knowledge shared with key stakeholders within and outside the organization (including writing and reviewing relevant project reports and knowledge products)

Liaison, Networking and knowledge (10%):

  • Represent Practical Action at international meetings and events, particularly those which will support PA’s influencing strategy, raise PA’s profile and generate networks and contacts in the energy and development sector.
  • Author and commission articles for publication in international media and journals based on a synthesis of project experience
  • Build and maintain relationships with regional associate energy consultants to enable PA to effectively deliver assignments in the region.
  • Represent Practical Action at national and regional meetings, workshops and other forums to share our work, our lessons, our impacts and our capabilities.
  • Develop increased levels of understanding, collaboration and innovative opportunities for joint working across PA regional offices.
  • Identify innovations, technologies and new areas for developing improved and innovative energy solutions and approaches to ensure that Practical Action remains on the cutting edge in Africa.
  • Undertake any other tasks as assigned by the line manager.

Strategic Alignment (10%):

  • Provide thought leadership to the energy change ambition of the regional office
  • Provide strategic support to the Regional Leadership
  • Support the development of the energy team and manage one or more Energy Advisors.

To be successful in the role, the ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate:

Experience & Knowledge

  • Minimum of 8 -10 years of relevant experience in the power sector; preferably with focus on transmission planning, data and/or modelling or operations, and power sector policy and regulation.
  • Experience with private sector investment with a preference for experience in East Africa.
  • Strong knowledge of regional power sector is essential. Knowledge of East Africa is desirable.
  • Sound knowledge and experience of off-grid energy access technologies, preferably around mini-grids and solar home systems
  • Knowledge of other technologies including, solar lanterns, improved cook stoves, rural electrification.
  • Knowledge and experience within energy-agriculture-WASH nexus
  • Demonstrated understanding of energy access issues in developing countries and knowledge of energy policy and regulatory approaches.
  • Knowledge and experience of one or more of the following: energy economic analysis and least-cost energy access planning; energy markets, enterprise models and bottom-of-the-pyramid delivery; rural development, community engagement, environmental impact assessment, social impact assessment and participatory methods.


  • A Master’s degree in renewable energy, economics electrical engineering, civil engineering, or other relevant discipline.
  • Other relevant training such as project management, gender, rural development, etc., will be an added advantage
  • At least ten (10) years’ relevant work experience in designing and implementing energy access projects or consultancy assignments within the NGO or private sectors, in Africa and internationally
  • Experience of living and working in the EA region
  • Demonstrated experience in developing proposals and securing new projects or consultancy assignments.
  • Other Competencies/Abilities/Skills Required: ability to work independently with minimal supervision, generate new project ideas and contacts and drive forward initiatives proactively
  • Excellent communication and influencing skills across cultures, including proven technical writing and presentation/communication skills.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.
  • Analytical and numerical skills, familiarity with the research process and the ability to synthesize data, present results and draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Excellent project management skills, including finance and contract management, client and stakeholder management, managing inputs from team members, consultants and partners, capability to use project management tools to deliver projects on time and budget to the satisfaction of the client.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills and ability to adhere to strict deadlines. Clear understanding of gender issues.
  • Demonstrated experience to work at a senior level contributing to shape and deliver the energy strategy and managing staff


Self-motivation: Displays timeliness and accuracy in carrying out their role, by their personal energy and enthusiasm and willingness to learn to exceed expectations in their role.
Drive for results: Demonstrate level of responsibility and accountability in meeting commitments and objectives. Illustrate by evidence of seeking better ways of doing things, looking to improve on status quo and willingness to deal with difficult situations that effect output of their role.
Planning and organizing: Ability to process requirements of role effectively. Ability to gather and use resources effectively. Ability to prioritize their workload and/or that of their team appropriately and review and amend priorities and actions as and when required.
Influencing: Competence evidenced by the ability to use a range of approaches and select the appropriate style for a situation. Ability to demonstrate good listening skills, presents own view in a convincing manner, whilst acknowledging different perspectives, feelings and concerns.

How to apply

Interested applicants should submit their applications, including an updated CV with a cover letter via email to: not later than 8th October 2021 indicating Senior Energy Advisor – PAC on the email subject line.

At Practical Action, we treat all applications for employment on their merits and do not take into consideration any factors that are not relevant to the job such as disability, race, age, religion, gender, gender reassignment or sexual orientation.

We are committed to safeguarding and protecting children and vulnerable adults and as such candidates will be subject to pre-employment checks.

The successful applicant must have the pre-existing right to both live and work in Kenya.

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