Program Officer – Middle East and North Africa

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Program Officer – Middle East and North Africa

August 16

Location: Cairo, Egypt

Deadline for applications: August 16, 2022

Target Start Date: October 2022

Salary: is based on experience and on the Foundation’s commitment to internal equity. A generous benefits package is provided.

The Ford Foundation, created in 1936, is a US-based philanthropic organization and private international donor focusing on social justice. It has ten offices across the world in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as in the United States.

The Ford Foundation’s office based in Cairo seeks a Program Officer (PO) to design, implement, and monitor a portfolio of grants in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), as part of the international Civic Engagement and Government program. The MENA office strategy focuses on one driver of inequality, namely informality and the ensuing lack of social protection. The strategy aims to strengthen civil society and civic space to better address social protection and make visible the invisible lives of informal and self-employed workers – be they youth, women, refugees or people with disabilities. The office supports organizations at the country and regional level (in Egypt, Jordan Lebanon and Tunisia) that bolster social dialogue endorsed by government, as well as explore new channels for a wider societal dialogue. The office strategy seeks to pursue opportunities for alignment among different sectors of civil society and for NGOs to seize the enthusiasm of newly emerging youth partners and increased civic activism. The office’s work also recognizes the necessity of representations of resilience, creative resistance and storytelling through culture.

The PO will work with the Regional Director and the program team to implement the MENA office strategy, to learn with grantees and adjust strategy for impact. The PO will also work in collaboration with the international Civic Engagement and Government team on global strategy related processes and initiatives. The global team focuses on enhancing the openness of civic space, the sustainability and legitimacy of civil society and partnerships with governments.

Program Officers are responsible for the development of grant portfolios and ensuring all related activities (grant making, convenings, thought leadership, civil society strengthening, government relations) are designed to deliver on the MENA office goals and strategies. The Program Officer assesses and analyzes the landscape of organizations and identifies which actors to work with to shape agendas that would promote specific strategic outcomes; and makes grants to this end. Program Officers are networking agents and partnership builders–striving to share substantive knowledge with Foundation colleagues; collaborate broadly with Ford’s MENA office team; coordinate with the international CEG strategy and serve as a ‘connector’ of grantees. The Program Officer works with practitioners, government officials, scholars, NGOs, community-based organizations, other donors and corporate sector leaders on issues of common concern to leverage resources towards common goals. More specifically, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, the Program Officer will:

  • Contribute to the ongoing definition, development and adaptation of team strategies, working toward MENA Office goals.
  • Develop grant making activities in a team-oriented way, that are aligned with global and local strategy goals, and designed to achieve significant and scalable impact.
  • Manage, monitor and coordinate a grants portfolio, including annual grant planning, identifying and working with the Foundation’s grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations, undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees, performing grantee site visits, reviewing financial and narrative reporting from grantees.
  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of broad coalitions and strategic communications as part of the program strategy.
  • Develop and implement grantee convenings and reflections to strategize and review opportunities, challenges and advances.
  • Identify ways to support grantees in the portfolio to become more durable, more resilient, and more effectively networked with each other. This includes support for strategic vision, leadership, management systems, financial stability, and organizational diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of strategic communications and narrative change as part of the program strategy.
  • Recommend and participate in learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work, promote exchange and strategic partnership. Learn from and collaborate with key stakeholders inside and outside the Foundation.
  • Represent the foundation and its work to the government, media, academic, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, briefings and interviews, with guidance from the Regional Director.
  • Play a leadership role on team, working toward and influencing team collaboration, team building and team effectiveness, modelling these skills for the team. Serve as a mentor and coach to Program Associates and Program Assistants.

The Foundation is committed to hiring candidates with the right combination of skills and experience. Our desired qualifications are:

  • A post-graduate degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Recognition as a leader on issues related to civil society, demonstrated collaboration with civil society and a perspective informed by the global context.
  • Experience and strong knowledge in the areas of civic space and social protection
  • Experience of around 8 years or more leading impact-driven strategies and/or subject-matter expertise in a relevant thematic area, and/or demonstration of strong cross-cutting work in a social justice arena.
  • Deep understanding of the social, cultural and political context of the MENA region and the geopolitical landscape.
  • Significant relevant experience on issues related to inequality at the national, regional or global levels, with a combination of policy analysis, advocacy, communications and implementation experience.
  • Substantive expertise in and experience with applying gender analysis to work.
  • Experience in coalition building and demonstrated experience as a ‘connector’ and ‘convener’ across a range of interested parties, including grantees, practitioners, government officials, scholars, NGO and corporate sector leaders, and other donors on issues of common concern to leverage positive impact toward common goals.
  • Familiarity and experience working with grassroots organizations, NGOs, academic, private sector and governmental institutions
  • Demonstrated success in program development, evaluation and management—including ability to strategize, plan, prioritize and identify/assess opportunities, challenges and institutions with which to engage.
  • Intellectual agility and ability to analyze evidence, think critically, and understand scientific and policy studies directly relevant to programmatic funding areas.
  • Experience with grantmaking desirable but not necessary.
  • Fluency in English required, and French would be an asset

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