Reporting to: Director, Environment Programme.
Location: Office-based, London with potential for two days a week working from home and up to 25 per cent travel annually.
Salary: Circa £50,000.
Terms: Full-time position / Permanent subject to satisfactory six-month probation. Applicants must have the right to legally live and work in the UK.
Who we are
The 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.
A new Trustee has joined the board and is developing a thematic sub-programme within the Environment Programme to work on restoration of habitats and agriculture to encourage the recovery of biodiversity and support the livelihoods of local communities in Southern Africa and South America. To carry out this work, Oak Foundation is recruiting a natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, conservation expert (or related field) with a proven track record in supporting community-led land regenerative activities, ecosystem restoration, rewilding, and other nature-based solutions. The grant-making will focus on regenerative agriculture as well as people-centred conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems and protected areas.
Under the guidance of the Environment Programme director, the programme officer will design and implement the Regenerative Landscapes grant-making strategy, which contributes to the overall Environment Programme strategy.
The programme officer will develop the first set of grants for the 2023 funding cycle while concurrently working with the Trustee, President, and Environment Programme director to develop a strategy for the programme. The grant portfolio will initially be USD 2.5 M with a planned progression of 20 per cent per annum in subsequent years.
The position will be based in London (UK) and reports directly to the Environment Programme director in Geneva. Frequent interactions with the Environment Trustee (also based in the UK) is also required. The candidate will coordinate closely with Environment Programme colleagues in other sub-programmes.
The programme officer will have the following responsibilities:
- Carry out the vision of the Trustee and contribute to the Environment Programme by developing a strategy and grant portfolio, which focuses on supporting restoration of habitats to encourage recovery of biodiversity and support livelihoods. The programme will initially focus on Southern Africa in the first year, with plans to expand to South America from 2024 onwards.
- Develop strategic partnerships with peer foundations that work in the same field.
- Contract and provide supervision to consultants who may be required for supporting tasks such as: developing strategic plans, monitoring, and evaluation, etc. Conduct research in connection with current and new initiatives.
- Organise and attend donor convenings, as well as relevant thematic conferences workshops and seminars.
- Lead the process of call for proposals and pre-selection of potential grants.
- Manage field-building activities, including network development, funder relationships, convenings, and collaborative projects
- Coordinate the process of due diligence for all project proposals under the position’s responsibility.
- Adhere to Oak’s project management technology (GMS) and procedures, including preparation of project summaries, grant recommendations, project standard reports, and end-of-grant reports.
- Carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of a grant portfolio, from initial inquiry or proposal to assessment, recommendation, announcement of approval or rejection, monitoring grant implementation, reporting on progress and on closing of grants, evaluating current or past projects according to needs, and drawing and sharing lessons from project, grant cluster, or sub-programme levels.
- Conduct site visits, and coordinate logistics for such visits that may include the Trustee, the President and/or the Environment Programme director.
- Work with Oak’s administrative and programme management staff to ensure efficient progress in grant-making, monitoring, and reporting, as well as other administrative activities related to the programme. As needed, represent Oak’s Environment Programme team on organisation-wide task forces, study groups, etc.
- Review solicited and unsolicited letters of inquiry received by the foundation and ensure that all applicants are sent an appropriate and timely response.
- Prepare and submit mandatory plans and budgets, consultancy budget, travel reports, monthly progress reports, and further expert papers, upon request. Provide contributions to the preparation of Oak’s six-monthly and annual reports, as well as to Advisory Panel meeting presentations.
- Conduct project-level monitoring, including site visits, and plan and supervise evaluations; prepare internal foundation reports on current grantees and enlist support of technical consultants and outside reviewers, when appropriate.
- University Degree in Environment Management, Sustainable Agriculture, or related field. Additional qualifications in development studies will be an added advantage.
- 7 to 10 years’ experience in designing community-based natural resources management, regenerative land management, sustainable agriculture, conservation/adaptation, or development projects.
- Experience working in diverse regions, especially Africa and South America.
- Demonstrated engagement with international discourse on land restoration, climate change, and biodiversity conservation.
- Proven research and analytical skills.
- Experience executing the vision of leadership while also serving as a thought-partner through a development process.
- Understanding non-profit and/governmental financial reporting and budgeting.
- Experience working with philanthropic, corporate, financial, and multilateral sectors is desirable.
- Excellent written and oral communication in English.
- Willingness to travel to travel up to 25 per cent, including multiple international trips a year.
- Humility, tact, maturity, and good sense of humour.
- A commitment to Oak’s organisational values.
Benefits for UK staff
- 23 holidays + 11 public holidays + office closed between Xmas and New Year.
- Health care contribution.
- Personal pension scheme, to which the Oak contributes 10 per cent of the gross salary.
- Eco-transport subsidy.
Discretionary grant budget of USD 50k/per year from first full calendar year.