Innovation Engagement Specialist – Eastern and Southern Africa Hub- REMOTE

  • Location: Remote, within East and Southern Africa region
  • Application Close Date: Open till position is filled
  • Estimated Start date: May 2, 2023
  • Department: Open Mapping Hub -East and Southern Africa
  • Reports to: Eastern & Southern Africa Regional Hub
  • Terms: Full-time, one year initial contract (subject to renewal)
  • Travel: Up to 40%, including the ESA hub’s priority countries in the region
  • Level: 7

About HOT

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) sits at the nexus of participatory mapping, community-led development, humanitarian response, open data and tech. With a talented and diverse team spread around the globe, HOT is an NGO that supports a dynamic global community of thousands of dedicated volunteers using maps and open data for humanitarian response and the Sustainable Development Goals. Working with humanitarian and development partners like the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, UN agencies, governments and others, the HOT community maps in solidarity with those affected by or at risk of disaster, contributing the maps and data aid workers need to do their lifesaving work.

In 2020 the work of the HOT community was recognized by TED’s Audacious Project, a collaborative philanthropic initiative that serves as a springboard for social impact on a grand scale, leading to an exciting new phase of growth. HOT is expanding its activities: opening four regional hubs and scaling up its support to local mapping communities with the audacious goal of mapping an area home to one billion people in 94 countries at high risk of disasters or experiencing poverty – mapping with communities before they are in crisis.

About the Open Mapping Hub-Eastern & Southern Africa (ESA-Hub)

The goal of the hub is to foster social innovation and entrepreneurship within the OpenStreetMap Ecosystem in the region in order to improve the lives of communities in a real and significant way;  create diverse, vibrant and sustainable Open Mapping Communities and organizations in the region; ensure human capacity development on OpenStreetMap Skills in the region and enhance collaboration between OpenStreetMap Contributors and data users across government, humanitarian and development agencies in the region. We work in 23 countries across the Eastern & Southern Africa region

About the Role

The Open Mapping Hub – Eastern & Southern Africa is looking for an executor; responsible for managing all efforts that develop, engage and grow a diverse community of mappers and contributors. Areas of support include, and are not limited to the following: strategic planning, grant and award management; fostering social innovation including but not limited to new ways of working with communities and partners to grow OSM contributors and expand the scope of OSM data sets.

The Innovation Engagement Specialist establishes and maintains relationships with various types of communities and partners, including internal stakeholders, to oversee projects through conception, deliverables and reporting phases, ensuring high quality deliverables. Reporting to the Regional Director – Eastern & Southern Africa, The Innovation Engagement specialist will collaborate and work closely with the Data Quality, GIS teams to engage and deliver value to OSM mappers, map users and map supporters in the region. The candidate will be responsible for bringing together the problems, needs and requirements of communities across the region in a way that grows and evolves HOT’s technology in a way that builds equity, increases accessibility and influences the design and development of transformative open mapping innovation.



  • Build and manage relationships with mappers in priority countries in the ESA region with a goal of identifying and catalyzing strategic opportunities to develop and support initiatives that align with the Hub’s core programs.
  • Co-design, nurture and and manage the pipeline process to grow mappers within the ESA Community Network
  • Build and execute a pipeline of projects that present new opportunities for OSM data, tools and processes and/or demonstrate impact, including project design, business model development and operational support
  • On-going management of in-country initiatives. This may include organizing and facilitating workshops, project management and relationship management across wide range of partners (e.g. OSM Communities, start-ups, social enterprises)
  • Develop and launch program areas and functions to facilitate interaction between mappers, map users and map supporters such as joint supporter events, projects, working groups and communities of practice
  • Support and convene annual/quarterly open mapping communities meetings
  • Provide support to grant and award recipients in the region and collaborate with ESA Hub team to support the success of overall portfolio
  • Contribute to the Hubs learning agenda by supporting the production of high quality communication and engagement materials which capture lessons and insights from hub programs
  • Ensure appropriate coordination of ESA hub regional efforts with relevant internal and external partners
  • Build the capacity of regional communities, teams and individuals in open mapping technology, design thinking, agile mindset and human centered open innovation.
  • Facilitate localized design thinking processes to increase regional representation in open mapping tech
  • Coordinate with Hub Data quality and GIS leads in providing support to communities and partners, including developing and implementing processes to ensure the delivery of consistent quality support for projects and tracking of data for use in programming


  • Research, identify and pursue relationships based on hub priorities and strategic opportunities
  • Develop relationships with stakeholders in key geographic areas and actors both strengthening ESA Hub position and credibility within the innovation/open map data ecosystem
  • Work with Regional Director to provide systematic and standardized approaches to meet community/partner needs
  • Work with the Fundraising Development Specialist to develop proposals, including due diligence issues, budget and pricing, proposal writing, contract negotiations, and ongoing involvement in presentations to map supporters and stakeholders.
  • Ensure project deliverables are met in a timely fashion, adherence to tracking and reporting on status of all activities and projects
    Actively communicate with hub staff and leadership team to ensure successful progress on activities/ projects


  • Previous work experience within the open source/open data ecosystem in Eastern & Southern Africa Region
  • Bachelor’s Degree in innovation & technology, business and marketing and/or communication management
  • At least 5 years of experience in social innovation design having developed innovation strategies and implementing new products/services in collaboration with start-ups or self organized community groups
  • Experience in project management
  • Entrepreneurial, startup or corporate innovation experience.
  • Demonstrated capabilities in client engagement – communication and facilitation skills
  • Proven expertise in Human Centered Design and Design Thinking methodologies
  • Broad understanding of open map data technologies, and their potential fields of application
  • Very strong communication, interpersonal, and facilitation skills; ability to express complex ideas in simple comprehensible language
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills in English. Ability to write articles, blog posts, concept notes and reports with minimal review and supervision
  • Knowledge and experience of innovation approaches and activities (e.g., innovation challenges)
  • Interpersonal skills and ability to work cross-culturally
  • Self-starter, adaptable, energetic, positive and motivated when tackling challenging problems.
  • French competency is an added advantage


HOT values transparency and equity. All HOT compensation globally is set according to a framework detailed on our website. HOT also offers:

  • Fully remote & flexible work arrangements
  • Flexible public holidays
  • Paid time off 
  • Home Office Allowance
  • Healthy Staff allowance or group plan
  • Learning & Development Opportunities
  • Book Stipend
  • Coaching Programs
  • Collaborating with a fast-growing, dedicated team who values humanitarianism, free, open-source, and accessible data

We encourage candidates to apply currently residing in the following countries of the region:
Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

To Apply:

Please complete the application your CV/resume should not exceed 2 pages. The selection process will consist of the following steps:

  • Online Application
  • Written Exercise/Assessment
  • Panel Interview/s

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