Date: 11-01-2019

WE'RE HIRING - ISSA Seeks Program Coordinator REYN

Tags: Roma

ISSA is hiring a Program Coordinator to support the development of the Romani Early Years Network


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 90 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: on quality, equity and issues related to the workforce in services for young children.


The Romani Early Years Network (REYN) is part of and managed by ISSA in partnership with the Open Society Foundations’ Early Childhood Program, London. REYN currently connects 11 national networks – in Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. 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 and 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. REYN places particular attention to practitioners of Romani and Traveller origin, with the aim to support them to join and grow in professions focusing on young children's development and learning. As an international network REYN operates in English.[1]


ISSA seeks to hire a full time Program Coordinator to work in cooperation with the Program Manager responsible for 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. The new Program Coordinator is expected to work from this office. 



In close cooperation with the ISSA team and under the supervision of ISSA’s Program Manager in charge of REYN, the Program Coordinator is responsible for the implementation of specific activities outlined in the REYN strategy. The tasks will focus mainly on the REYN strategy implementation, the REYN national networks (in 11 countries) and network building. The Program Coordinator will also assist the Program Manager on advocacy and programmatic aspects of key initiatives linked with REYN, as well as on fundraising, strategy and partnerships development.



Program Development and Support

  • Assist the Program Manager responsible for REYN to develop, plan and implement the REYN strategy
  • Assist the Program Manager responsible for REYN to develop, plan and organize network-related events and activities: advocacy campaigns, seminars, workshops, study visits, webinars etc.
  • Assist in the process of data collection, monitoring and evaluation related to the work of REYN
  • Closely collaborate with and support the 11 national REYN networks
  • Working closely with ISSA’s Senior Program Managers, the Program Manager responsible for REYN and Communications Officer, contribute to communications and information flow within the network, encourage peer-learning and exchanges among network members through online tools (ISSA’s communications channels, REYN Blog, REYN Facebook page, REYN Twitter account, etc.)
  • Represent REYN at different events and promote REYN to potential new members.


Fundraising and Budget Responsibilities

  • Working closely with and under the supervision of the Program Manager responsible for REYN, propose new REYN activities, participate in seeking new funding opportunities and contribute to fundraising activities
  • Assist the Program Manger in developing project proposals for different aspects of REYN that require funding
  • Write tailored applications, addressing grant-making priorities or requirements as specified by individual trusts and foundations
  • Assist the Program Manager responsible for REYN in working with the Finance Manager and monitoring spending under REYN budget
  • 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 Europe and beyond.
  • Knowledge of early childhood education policy and/or practice at the national level and at international level is an advantage.



  • A successful track record of at least 3 years of coordinating or working in international programs/projects and of working with Romani communities (preferably in the ECD field).
  • Experience in advocacy initiatives on behalf of Romani children and their families is an advantage
  • Demonstrated success in working in informal or formal professional networks is an advantage.


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
  • Fundraising skills are an advantage
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to prioritize work and meet tight deadlines
  • Ability and willingness to travel, as required
  • Excellent written and oral command of English
  • Knowledge of Romani is a considerable advantage
  • Advanced computer skills (MS Office, internet software, social media etc.)
  • Capacity to work independently as well as 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.



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


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
  1. a full CV
  2. two names of referees who may be contacted before interviews are held


Applications should be sent via email to, indicating in the subject line: Program Coordinator/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  


ISSA is an equal opportunity employer, which supports diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation. 

Application Deadline: January 31st, 2019

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”.