Program Specialist, Africa Regional Office

Posted by: Open Society Foundations

New York, NY, US

The Africa Regional Office (AfRO) is part of the Open Society Foundations (OSF). Serving as a liaison to OSF’s Africa foundations, AfRO works to strengthen internal Africa-focused OSF structures and effectiveness, and to inform and influence external policy actors at Pan African and international levels that have the power to advance or obstruct progress towards open society goals.

Please note, you must include a cover letter as part of your application. Applications without a cover letter will not be reviewed.

Job Profile

The Program Specialist at the Africa Regional Office (AfRO) will be performing a wide range of responsibilities that materially advance both portfolio and other program strategies.The role requires specialized knowledge, not only of the relevant field, but also of how to use the various tools available to the organization for accomplishing its objectives, including bringing about social change. This role functions as part of a team and reports to the Regional Manager for Grant Making; providing administrative, technical and programmatic support for AfRO’s grant making.

AfRO’s program staff are mostly located outside the hub office and at the time of writing, include a number with limited grant making experience. You and the regional manager are available to the program support division staff for support in any aspect of grant making.Where necessary you fulfil functions that program staff cannot undertake from a remote location. As a program specialist, you will develop an area of specialization that is useful to both AfRO staff and their grantees – expertise in grantee governance for sustainability and resilience.

Essential duties and responsibilities will include to:

  • Oversee all aspects of grants management for AfRO.
  • Ensure compliance with OSF grant-making policies and protocols.
  • Assist with advising program staff on designing grant making that aligns with their strategic goals.
  • Design and conduct field scans and ongoing field monitoring that will inform programs’ strategic goals.
  • Provide ongoing technical assistance to program staff to assist with the assessment of applicant organizations to receive grants and with types of grants to consider.
  • Advise and support program staff in conducting their responsibilities for the full grant making cycle of their grants portfolios.
  • Provide a holistic view of AfRO’s grant portfolio to facilitate evaluation of impact and consistency across thematic areas and with AfRO’s mandate.
  • Monitor and track overall spend against grant making budget, and communicate regularly with program staff about spending levels, projected spending, and potential budget shift opportunities.
  • Assist with and support the organization of grant-making training and learning activities.
  • Support program teams to design learning and evaluation processes to undertake meaningful assessments of their grant making.

Candidate Profile

  • Highly skilled in researching, processing large amounts of information, and analyzing its importance in informing OSF programs and strategies.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication in English.
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience.
  • 3-5 years of relevant experience in roles similar to the duties of this role.
  • Ability to recognize and work effectively in compliance with internal policies and external constraints.
  • High proficiency in the use of office technology and software used by OSF, including the Microsoft Office suite; must be comfortable learning new proprietary software systems.
  • Knowledgeable on issues of interest to OSF generally, and in particular as they relate to AfRO.
  • Diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity.
  • Organized; strong project management ability; self-directed on work initiatives; strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines.
  • Ability to work constructively with colleagues at all levels in the hierarchy of the organization as well as with external partners.

Work Environment and Physical Demands: Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. ​

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations, and we welcome and actively seek applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.

Read more here:: Idealist