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Career opportunity: Adviser Safeguarding and Organisational Development

Oak Foundation / Career

Location: Geneva (Switzerland) preferred. North Carolina (US) and London (UK) also considered. 2 days/week working from home.

Reporting to: Senior Adviser, Organisational Development and Capacity Building

Type of contract: Full time

Application deadline: 7 May 2023

Additional Information: For the Geneva location, only candidates with Swiss/EU citizenship or a valid work permit for Switzerland will be eligible. Likewise, in the US, candidates must have US Citizenship or valid US work permit. Finally, for the UK, only applicants who have the right to live and work in the UK will be considered.

About Oak Foundation:

Oak Foundation ( commits its resources to address issues of global social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. Through our grant-making, we support others to make the world a safer, fairer, and more sustainable place to live. With offices in Europe, India, and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

About the organisational development team

Oak views capacity building (CB) and organisational development (OD) as a means of enhancing its core business of grant-making. The organisational development team supports this by providing thought leadership and coordination around social and philanthropic sector best practices, and by working with Oak programmes and partners on projects to maximise their abilities and capabilities. Through the OD team, partners can access and benefit from quality capacity building and organisational development programmes.

In 2013, Oak developed a child safeguarding policy, stemming from its commitment to a world in which every child is protected from all forms of harm. As part of this commitment, Oak created an adviser for child safeguarding and organisational development role. This role focuses on capacity building and organisational development, with a special focus on ensuring Oak’s child safeguarding policy and practices are effectively implemented. This includes both internally, and with our partners. Since 2016, Oak has supported over 600 grantees to develop child safeguarding measures.

Reporting to the senior adviser for organisational development and capacity building, and housed in the President’s Office, the adviser will manage this work in collaboration with the existing group of focal points from each of Oak’s programmes

Purpose of the role

The primary purpose of the position is to contribute to the overall success of Oak Foundation by:

  • managing the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of child safeguarding within the foundation;
  • working with partners to develop and/or enhance their own child safeguarding policies, processes and any organisational change work needed to make their organisations safe for children; and
  • coordinating organisational development projects both with individual partners and programmes, as well as across the foundation.

Main responsibilities include:

Strategic support

The adviser has the overall responsibility to update and oversee the implementation of Oak’s Child Safeguarding Policy, in collaboration with the global safeguarding team, comprised of the President of Oak Foundation, the chief of staff, the head of HR, HR generalist, and the director of operations.

The adviser supports in the continuous refinement and implementation of the organisational development strategy (which includes child safeguarding support for partners) and workplan which defines Oak’s overall approach in supporting its grantees to be more effective.

Programme partnership

The adviser works in close collaboration with staff across all 11 programme areas, ensuring that the organisational development work, especially in the child safeguarding area, is embedded into the grant-making process, and that programme staff have the appropriate tools and experts to support their partners in this topic area. The adviser works with the safeguarding focal group to make sure that processes are continually refined and streamlined, bringing in learnings from internal and external peers, and emerging best practices from the field.

In some cases, the adviser liaises with partners to advise and support them in their organisational development journeys. 

Project management

The adviser leads projects of varying complexity across all levels of the organisation to advance cross programme goals, such as in the area of organisational development and safeguarding, or other topics, as relevant. This includes establishing a project plan, setting the scope, timeline, and budget, working with relevant consultants and vendors.

The adviser is also responsible to make and manage a small number of grants every year, including developing grant recommendations and managing progress and end-of-grant reporting.

Advising and training

The adviser trains, on an annual basis, all Oak staff and, separately, the global safeguarding team, on the Foundation’s child safeguarding policy, ensuring that all staff understand the policy and are confident to apply it at all times. The adviser also trains and supports programme staff to integrate safeguarding in their grant-making.

The adviser also provides advice and training to staff on how to access OD resources for their partners, including developing tools, training materials, and guidance, and learning opportunities for staff so they can assess the best ways to provide OD support to partners.

Responsive case management

The adviser tracks and advises on (potential) safeguarding incidents that may arise, including following and documenting any potential incidents, implicating the necessary responsible parties, activating resources to address the issue, and providing expert guidance on how to handle cases.

Field building

The adviser identifies and assesses organisations/consultants who can work with not-for-profit organisations and the philanthropic community in general, in the area of organisational development and safeguarding in particular, to build the field of organisational development and child safeguarding.

The adviser shows leadership, advocates, and promotes the strengthening of child safeguarding policies within the not-for-profit and philanthropic sectors.

Position requirements

The person will have a good understanding of the influence which a foundation can have within its area of work and the power dynamics between a donor and its grant recipients. They will also have a strong understanding of the functioning and experience working within a not-for-profit organisation.

The ideal candidate will possess the following professional and personal skills:

  • university degree, preferably in social work, child development, organisational development, or related field;
  • a minimum of seven years of professional experience, preferably in developing and managing organisational change projects, ideally related to safeguarding or child related issues;
  • experience with safeguarding investigations and/or case management; 
  • excellent skills in implementation of capacity building and organisational development projects, project management and setting up projects, including designing project strategies;
  • not-for-profit experience or demonstrated ability to work with not-for-profit organisations;
  • tact, maturity, and a good sense of humour;
  • Proficiency in the use of computers for:word processing, database management, spreadsheets, e-mail, and Internet.
  • ability to communicate effectively in a clear, thorough, and timely manner using appropriate and effective tools and techniques;
  • collaborative work ethic and ability to foster teamwork to set goals, resolve problems, and make decisions that enhance project and organisational effectiveness;
  • ability to assess situations to determine the importance, urgency and risks, and make clear, timely decisions in the best interests of the project and the Foundation;
  • good organising skills, strong priority setting skills, able to develop a work schedule, monitor progress towards goals, and track details/data/information/activities;
  • good planning skills, and able to determine strategies to move the organisation forward, set goals, create, and implement actions plans, and evaluate the process and results;
  • excellent written and spoken English required, other languages are an asset;
  • willingness to travel 30-40 days a year; and
  • a commitment to Oak’s organisational values.

Please note that advisers work a standard work week but may be required to work some evenings and weekends to meet project milestones.

How to apply

Please send a letter of application stating the skills and approach that you would bring to the post with your CV (no photos) in strict confidence by email only to Zoe Oldham at

Please ensure that they are sent as Word documents with the titles “your name cover letter” and “your name CV”. Please put “Oak – Advisor Safeguarding” in the email subject line.

By submitting your application, you confirm that you have read and understood our job applicant’s data privacy notice.

Oak Foundation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, as detailed in our child safeguarding policy. We expect all staff to share this commitment. Please note that the successful candidate will undergo reference checks and be required to provide a police record prior to starting employment.