Programme Officer – International Human Rights Programme

Deadline for application: 2 July 2021

Location: London, UK

Location:         Office-based, London, when guidelines change, with up to 25 per cent travel annually

Reporting to: Director, International Human Rights Programme

Job Status:      Full-time position / Permanent subject to satisfactory six-month probation

Salary:             circa £46,000.- with attractive benefits

About Oak

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. With offices in Europe, Africa and North America, Oak Foundation makes grants to organisations located in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

About the International Human Rights Programme

The International Human Rights Programme (IHRP) supports work aimed at protecting the fundamental rights of the individual. This includes efforts to secure accountability for gross human rights abuses, to protect and enable human rights defenders, to advance LGBTQI rights and to reduce arbitrary detention in a criminal justice and immigration context. The programme has a grant-making budget of USD 30 million per annum to support activist organisations in our key geographies (EU, US, Russia, India, Myanmar, and Brazil). We provide core, project, and seed funding in multi-year grants.

The IHR Programme is based in London and comprises a diverse team of a director, five programme officers, a programme assistant, and a fellow.

About the PO position

Recent years have seen a marked deterioration in the quality and substance of political discourse. Human rights (and the liberal values underpinning our rules-based system) have come under sustained attack. These developments have rendered citizens susceptible to demagoguery and political manipulation, and nations easy quarry for potential autocrats. These information challenges have become even more acute in the context of the pandemic.

The programme officer will be responsible for the development of a new stream of grants within the programme’s strategy to address the production, packaging, and dissemination of malign content (including fake news, deep fakes, and disinformation). Grants will address:

  • the means of content production, e.g., bots and artificial intelligence;
  • the packaging, targeting and distribution of content, including through data collection and exploitation, algorithmic curation, and microtargeting; and
  • broader infrastructural challenges, namely platform regulation and internet shutdowns.

The programme officer will be expected to liaise with other programme colleagues working on how technology can be deployed to advance civic activism,and advise on the scope of digital rights more broadly.

In addition, the programme officer will be responsible for the monitoring of a small cluster of technology – oriented legacy grants within the Ending Impunity portfolio. These grants all have a significant technology dimension, ranging from the technology-led means of investigation and documentation of abuses, to the aggregation and analysis of data concerning mass violations.

Main responsibilities:

The programme officer works under the supervision of the programme director. In that capacity they are expected to:

  • contribute to the development of the programme’s strategic directions, including through the (co)drafting of various submissions and reports to the Advisory Panel meeting;
  • contribute to the setting of programme budgets and provide input on the internal allocation of funds;
  • develop new granting opportunities in line with strategic directions;
  • represent the programme in a variety of settings, including among peer groups and at public events;
  • maintain primary responsibility for management of the grant portfolio (or part thereof) from point of initial inquiry to assessment and final recommendation to the President/Trustees/Advisory Panel meeting;
  • conduct the monitoring and evaluation of grants, including through the conduct of site visits;
  • work with Oak’s administrative and programme management staff to report on the progress of individual grants and broader portfolios.

Position requirements

  • University Degree and at least 7-10 years relevant professional experience in human rights with a strong interest and knowledge of digital challenges to the information sphere (an advanced degree may substitute for 1-2 years of experience).
  • Proven research and analytical skills and some management experience.
  • An understanding of non-profit and/or governmental financial reporting and budgeting.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Willingness to travel (approx. 20-25 per cent).
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • At ease using contemporary software (word processing, Excel, PowerPoint, email).
  • A commitment to Oak’s organisational values.

How to apply

Applicants must have the right to live and work in the UK.

Interested candidates should submit their Curriculum Vitae and a one-page covering letter to by 2 July 2021.  Please note that we will only be contacting shortlisted candidates.

We encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds, including lived experience or any of the issues related to our work.

By submitting your application, you confirm that you have read and understood Oak’s 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.

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