Program Officer – Southern Africa

Location: Washington, DC - US
Job Code: 980
# of Openings: 1


Program Officer  - Southern Africa

Location:  Washington, DC

Freedom House  promotes the spread of freedom and democracy around the world through research, advocacy, and programs that support frontline activists. We are a leader in identifying threats to freedom through our highly regarded analytic reports, including Freedom in the World, Freedom of the Press, Freedom on the Net, and Nations in Transit. With 13 field offices and two U.S. offices, we  support the right of every individual to be free.


The Program Officer provides implementation support for all headquarters aspects of the Southern Africa portfolio, including backstopping project implementation and administration; providing input into/feedback on relevant tools, resources, and project deliverables; facilitating efficient and compliant financial management; supporting field staff, consultants, and partners on administrative issues; contributing to monitoring, evaluation, and learning; and identifying funding opportunities and participating in proposal development. Among other projects, the Program Officer will oversee a new regional human rights initiative across Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. This position is based in Washington, D.C. and reports to a program manager on the relevant regional team.  



  • Award implementation:  Support [provide administrative support for?] all aspects of program implementation, including work plan development, identifying and managing consultants and sub-grantees, organizing workshops, meetings, and events, drafting and finalizing program reports, and participating in communications with donor counterparts. Participate in monitoring and evaluation processes, and track and document program activities and impact to ensure project objectives are met. Manage program finances including sub-grants and ongoing budget tracking and forecasting to ensure compliant spend-down (and no over-spending) of budgets.

  • Proposal development:  Identify new funding opportunities and conduct research to enable relevant regional team to develop new programs. Support proposal development process for programs including drafting of elements of proposals (including budgets).

  • Networking and relationship management:  Develop effective professional relationships with a range of external actors, including peer organizations, donors, the diplomatic community, congressional staff, partners, and grantees. Represent Freedom House to external audiences at meetings and events; speak articulately about Freedom House's mission and regional programming as necessary.

  • Tracking regional developments: Monitor key developments related to democratic governance in the relevant region, including political developments, elections, status of relevant legislation, and adherence to human rights norms. From time to time, contribute to Freedom House research, analysis and advocacy efforts, including drafting blogs or other analytical pieces.

  • Personnel management: Oversee day-to-day work of a Program Associate/Senior Program Associate in order to effectively share and execute administrative, backstopping and financial management responsibilities




  • Bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations, international development, or related field; Master's degree preferred


  • Three to five years of related work experience; at least one year of experience overseas (in the relevant region) is preferred

  • Knowledge of and commitment to the cause of advancing human rights and democracy

  • Understanding of political, social and rights dynamics across Southern Africa preferred

  • Deep understanding of USG funding processes, budget forms, rules, and regulations; at least two years’ experience working on USG-funded programs including creating and managing USG budgets and implementing monitoring and evaluation plans strongly preferred

  • Experience developing and drafting USG funding proposals strongly preferred

  • Experience supervising junior staff preferred

Skills and Competencies:

  • Astute political judgment and strategic thinking; excellent judgment in problem solving and decision making 

  • Knowledge of international human rights principles and mechanisms, and understanding of international democracy promotion

  • Proven ability to multitask and manage time effectively to meet competing deadlines and manage priorities  

  • Strong ability to develop, analyze, and manage USG program budgets; facility in budget  management (including use of Excel)

  • Ability to conduct research and apply strong analytical skills

  • Mastery of MS Office Suite 

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to persuade and facilitate cooperation between individuals with divergent views and to collaborate with others and successfully work as an effective team member  

  • Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work

  • Ability to represent Freedom House professionally in conduct and personal appearance

  • Excellent attention to detail and ability to consistently produce timely and error-free work under tight deadlines

  • Excellent timekeeping, attendance, and time management, and ability to work flexible schedule and be available outside of normal business hours for emergency work purposes

  • Ability to adhere to and work within strict guidelines and procedures

Attributes and Characteristics:

  • Eagerness to think creatively about complex challenges

  • Willingness to reflect, learn, and adapt

  • Exhibit strong and sustained commitment to the mission of Freedom House

  • Show good stewardship in the use of Freedom House resources 

  • Exhibit ethical, professional conduct at all times

  • Consistently use good judgment when dealing with all contacts and constituents

  • Exhibit high work standards, adherence to procedures, and responsibility for assigned tasks

  • Demonstrate the desire for excellence to inspire others to attain professional excellence

  • Assess own strengths and weaknesses; pursue training and development opportunities; strive to continuously build knowledge and skills

  • Work as an effective team member and successfully balance responsibilities

  • Comply with all policies and procedures


  • General working office environment 

  • Some long hours including evenings and weekends to complete tasks or attend events

  • Travel within Washington, D.C.; occasional travel outside of the U.S. may be required (less than 20% of time)


Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

Disclaimer : This job description is only a summary of the typical functions of the job. It is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities, tasks and duties. The responsibilities, tasks, and duties of the jobholder may differ from those outlined in the job description and other duties, as assigned, may be part of the job. Freedom House may add, change, or remove essential and other duties at any time.


Qualified and Interested Applicants:

We invite qualified candidates to  complete an online application and submit a resume and cover letter.

Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted.

Only candidates authorized to work in the U.S. without any restrictions need apply.

Freedom House is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in its selection and employment practices. Freedom House offers competitive compensation and a comprehensive benefits package including health and wellness benefits, retirement, and professional development.


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