ISSA seeks to hire a Program Manager to serve as coordinator for the Romani Early Years Network

- Blog | REYN Admin

The International Step by Step Association (ISSA) is a vibrant network that connects professionals and non-profit organizations working in the field of early childhood development. Established in the Netherlands in 1999, ISSA’s community today stretches across the globe with its more than 60 members, primarily located in Europe and Central Asia. 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 education and care.

The Romani Early Years Network (REYN) is part of ISSA and is managed by ISSA in partnership with the Open Society Foundations’ Roma ‘Kopaçi’ Initiatives within the Early Childhood Program, London. REYN currently connects more than 400 individual early childhood practitioners from different backgrounds who work with Romani and Traveller children, their families and communities in 32 countries across Europe, the Caucasus and the Americas. REYN promotes anti-discrimination, respect for diversity and equality throughout professional practices and strives to ensure equity for Romani and Traveller families and children through access to high-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) services. ISSA believes that practitioners working directly with children and families are key to promoting social justice and inclusion. REYN intends to build their capacity to become agents for change. That is why, above all, REYN is an inspiring and safe learning community which enables ECD practitioners to improve their confidence and competences, gain recognition for their work and speak with a united voice on behalf of young Romani and Traveller children, their families and communities. As an international network REYN operates in English. To serve more members and respond to different contexts, national REYN networks have been set up in six countries (Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, Kosovo, Ireland and Slovenia) with plans to develop more national networks.[1]

ISSA seeks to hire a full time Program Manager to serve as coordinator of REYN and support the implementation of specific activities outlined in the REYN strategy.

ISSA’s offices are located in the Child Rights Home, in Leiden/the Netherlands. Ideally the new Program Manager will be located in Leiden, however the work location is negotiable.


In close cooperation with and under the supervision of ISSA’s Senior Program Manager, the Program Manager is responsible for the implementation of specific activities outlined in the REYN strategy.


Program Development and Support

  • Develop, plan and implement the REYN strategy together with the Senior Program Manager
  • Develop, plan and organize network-related events (seminars, workshops, study visits, webinars) together with the Senior Program Manager
  • Assist in the process of planning, data collection, monitoring and evaluation related to REYN
  • Closely collaborate with the national REYN networks
  • Develop, coordinate and maintain reporting by the national networks
  • Work closely with the Senior Program Manager and Communications Officer to contribute to communications and information flow within the network
  • Encourage peer-learning and exchanges among network members through online tools (ISSA Online Community, REYN Blog, REYN Facebook page etc.)
  • Work closely with the Senior Program Manager to monitor spending under the REYN budget
  • Represent REYN at relevant events and promote REYN to potential new members building on an annual calendar of key prospects
  • Facilitate the recruitment and work of REYN’s Advisory Group
  • Represent REYN in meetings of the ISSA Board and Program Committee.

Fundraising Responsibilities

  • Work closely with the Senior Program Manager and other consultants to propose new REYN activities
  • Develop project proposals for different aspects of REYN and write tailored applications, addressing grant-making priorities or requirements as specified by individual trusts/foundations
  • Manage and lead the identification of, and approaches to trusts and foundations that have not previously supported the work of ISSA/REYN
  • Contribute to donor reporting on REYN activities
  • Identify and submit applications for prizes and awards that will raise the profile of REYN.


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 Europe and beyond.
  • Knowledge of early childhood development policies and practice, including education, health and/or social protection, at the national level and/or at international level is an advantage.



  • A successful track record of at least 5 years of managing or working in international programs/projects and of working with Romani communities
  • Demonstrated success in managing informal or formal professional networks.


Abilities and Skills:

  • A commitment to ISSA’s vision, mission and values
  • A commitment to the values presented in the REYN Manifesto
  • Ability to work effectively with a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society, international organizations and policy makers
  • Successful track record in fundraising
  • Excellent written and oral command of English
  • Knowledge of the Romani  language 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, as required
  • Capacity to work independently  and in a multinational team
  • Ability to work constructively as part of a team.


All applications will be considered on their merit against the criteria above.

Because of underrepresentation at this level in the ECD field, ISSA particularly welcomes applications from Romani[2] people.


The salary and benefits package will be negotiated based on the successful candidate’s experience.


Candidates should send the following documents:

  1. 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
  1. Full CV
  2. Two referees, one of whom may be contacted before the interview process.


Applications should be sent via email to Bregje van Bemmel at, indicating in the subject line: Program Manager/REYN.


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 at: and 

Application Deadline: July 15, 2015

Recruitment will continue until a suitable candidate is found.

[1] For more information visit:

[2] Using the Council of Europe definition, in this context the term “Romani” refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”.