Programme Officer, Special Interest Programme

Deadline for application: 24 October 2021

Location: Oak Foundation offices in Geneva (Switzerland), London (UK), or Chapel Hill, North Carolina (US)

Reporting to:  Director, Special Interest 

Salary:  Highly competitive salary and benefits 

Oak Foundation (www.oakfnd.org) 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 all over the world. 

The Foundation is currently recruiting a programme officer for the Special Interest Programme (SIP), based in one of the Foundation’s principal offices; Geneva (Switzerland), London (UK), or Chapel Hill, North Carolina (US). SIP grants reflect the special interests of the Foundation’s Trustees and are diverse, covering a range of fields including medical research, humanitarian aid and development, education, access to the arts and environmental issues. The programme officer will work on this wide range of issues but for this role, there will also be an emphasis on the environment – specifically on climate justice, conservation, and biodiversity – where an interdisciplinary, socio-ecological approach is needed.  Special Interest grants can often be complementary to the strategies of other Oak programmes and due to the climate and biodiversity crises, the Trustees are making an increasing number of grants in these fields.   

The SIP team is small with a large portfolio of grants. Under the supervision of the director, programme officers make and manage these grants. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to explore many issues and to work with truly inspirational partners from all over the world. This position is full-time and normally office-based but it may be home-based for periods of time, depending on Covid-19 related restrictions.  

The programme officer’s responsibilities will include:  

  • conducting research and due diligence on SIP grants the Trustees want to make on a wide range of issues but with a focus (for perhaps 50 per cent or more of the time) on the environment – especially climate justice, conservation and biodiversity; 
  • establishing and maintaining good relationships with applicants/grantees and other partners; 
  • writing recommendations for funding, and monitoring and reporting on the progress of open grants which may sometimes involve travel to conduct site visits (though this will depend on Covid-19 related travel restrictions); 
  • supporting grantees with capacity building and the development of child safeguarding policies as needed; 
  • assisting grantees with challenges during the grant period and drawing out lessons learned in ‘end-of-grant’ reports when grants close; 
  • working collaboratively with the Environment Programme at Oak, ensuring there is cross-programme communication and learning where there are programmatic areas of overlap; 
  • working collaboratively on cross-foundation initiatives as required;  
  • contributing to internal reports, Oak’s annual report, and board presentations as required; 
  • representing the programme in a variety of settings both internally and externally. 

The following offers an aspirational view of the ideal candidate profile; we encourage applications from candidates with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds, especially those from underrepresented groups. 

The successful candidate will have:  

  • a university degree, and an advanced university degree is preferred; 
  • a proven commitment to social justice with at least seven years’ experience of working in the not-for-profit sector and/or in philanthropy, including experience in project and budget management (whether from the implementation or donor side);  
  • proven knowledge and work experience in the climate justice and/or conservation and/or biodiversity fields as a grant-maker, advocate and/or practitioner; and in two or more of the following special interest grant making areas – social justice, child welfare, educational reform, access to the arts, humanitarian aid, or development; 
  • excellent writing and editing skills, and ability to write quickly to meet deadlines; 
  • strong analytical, negotiation, and communication skills; 
  • an understanding of intersectionality and inclusive approaches to grant-making; 
  • proven experience in building and maintaining partnerships; 
  • ability to work independently but also flexibly and collaboratively, as part of a small team; 
  • fluent in English; additional languages would be an advantage; 
  • tact, humility, flexibility and a good sense of humour; and 
  • a demonstrated commitment to the values of Oak Foundation. 

 The following skills/experience will strengthen candidacy for this role:  

  • knowledge and work experience in collective action and movement building related to environmental issues; 
  • knowledge and experience working on the agency, voice and power of women, youth and Indigenous Peoples to advance solutions with a focus on the global south and marginalised peoples in the northern hemisphere; 
  • knowledge and experience working in rewilding and the promotion of biodiversity; 
  • a demonstrated ability to link local to global action to safeguard people and the environment through a period of rapid change. 

How to apply  

Interested candidates should submit their Curriculum Vitae and covering letter on the jobup platform by 24 October 2021.Please note that we will only be contacting shortlisted candidates.    

*For Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Applicants must have the right to legally live and work in the US.  

*For Geneva, Switzerland: Applicants must have EU/Swiss citizenship or a valid work permit for Switzerland.  

*For London, UK: Applicants must have the right to legally live and work in the UK.    

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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