Job Opportunity- Program Officer: Civic Engagement and Government

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Program Officer: Civic Engagement and Government

Office for Eastern Africa

Nairobi, Kenya


The Foundation has a long and strong history of working on democracy, justice and governance issues across the world. Our strategy seeks to transform structures of power, cultural and economic systems that drive inequality in rights, opportunity and outcomes for the citizens. Through the Civic Engagement and Government (CEG) program, we will:

  • Invest primarily and significantly in civil society organizations to be stronger, responsive and accountable partners of governments that enable public institutions to deliver for the people;
  • Support processes and systems that enable all people, particularly historically disadvantaged populations, to have increased opportunities for political participation;
  • Strengthen governments to be more open and accountable.


Working under the supervision of the Eastern Africa Regional Director and with a diverse team of professionals, the Program Officer is expected to actively contribute to and learn from this body of work and to serve as a strong team member within the entire Foundation.  The duties of the Program Officer will therefore include but not be limited to the following:

  • Refine the Theory of Change for the Civic Engagement and Government (CEG) work in Office for Eastern Africa.
  • Lead the development of new strategies as opportunities emerge.
  • Develop grant making activities in a team-oriented context that are aligned to the strategic goals of the CEG thematic area and the regional strategy.
  • Oversee active grants, track grantee progress, provide guidance and assistance to grantees, and respond to grantee reports.
  • Collaborate with and serve as a resource and strategic partner for other program officers within the office and the entire Foundation on its work on CEG.
  • Evaluate key grants and prepare analysis and summaries of lessons learnt from the Foundation’s grant-making.
  • Organize Foundation-sponsored meetings of grantees, experts, and practitioners in the field of civic engagement and government and high performing nonprofit practice.
  • Promote engagement with grantees to review opportunities, challenges and advances and encourage collaboration, learning, exchange and strategic partnerships.
  • Represent the Foundation and its work to the government, media, academic, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, briefings, blogposts, and interviews, with guidance from the Regional Director.
  • Participate actively in cross-foundation learning sessions, planning activities, and organizational and team development efforts.
  • Manage the performance of an assigned Program Assistant and other assigned staff.


The Program Officer should possess the following qualifications and attributes:

  • A deep commitment to the core values and principles of the Ford Foundation.
  • A minimum of 8 years leading social justice strategies and/or subject-matter expertise related to global Civic Engagement and Government.
  • A proven record of experience and knowledge on civic engagement, public participation, and/or government responsiveness and accountability.
  • The ability to think and act strategically, and innovatively consistent with the Foundation’s commitment to outcome-oriented grant-making and the ability to make trade-offs with end goals in mind.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and effectively with peers in shared efforts.
  • Experience managing coalitions or other processes involving multiple organizations.
  • Demonstrated ability to process complex information and present ideas in a pragmatic and compelling manner.
  • Prior experience working with individuals from diverse racial, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Proven ability to bring disparate constituents together and build consensus.
  • An advanced degree in relevant field of study or related disciplines and/or an equivalent experience is preferred.
  • Relevant work experience in areas such as non-profit management, philanthropy, management consulting, academia, organizational development, or other related fields.
  • Experience working in both domestic and international contexts (preferred).
  • Strong communications skills – strong active listening skills, constructive verbal and written skills, strong public presentation skills.
  • High level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards.
  • Excellent judgment, flexibility, good humor, and humility.


  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, fairness and diversity
  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
  • Action-oriented and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Deadline to apply: January 20th                                                                                                                           

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

To apply: Please visit

Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at The Ford Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law. 

December 2016

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