Senior Program Officer for Civil Society Initiatives

Freedom House
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Mar 02

Position description

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 Senior Program Officer (SPO) serves as a technical resource for Freedom House’s international programs. SPO for civil society initiatives is responsible for systematizing organizational technical knowledge in key and emerging civil society programming areas; developing innovative programming approaches and program proposals; designing and leading trainings and other program support  activities for Freedom House staff and project beneficiaries and assess the performance of civil society activities across the organization.


Program Development (40%)

  • Systematize organizational technical knowledge in key and emerging civil society programming areas such as:
    • Advancement of Legal frameworks to protect and promote civil society
    • Support to CSOs’ joint initiatives and partnerships with other stakeholders
    • Support to CSOs in closing and closed environments
    • Effective use of traditional, social and alternative media by civil society
    • Voter registration and mobilization
    • Oversight of state institutions and governments;
  • In collaboration with regional and global program teams, develop innovative programming approaches and program proposals that leverage FH’s prior experience and previously developed tools and organizational knowledge;
  • Support design of, and continuously update, FH’s organizational theory of change and corresponding results framework and, in collaboration with regional and global program teams, lead and/or participate in related region and/or country strategic planning;
  • In collaboration with regional program teams, lead and/or participate in country/region specific assessments on an as-needed basis;
  • Lead internal working groups for key technical areas consisting of technical experts and representatives from regional and global program teams.

Project Implementation (40%)

  • In collaboration with regional and global program teams, design and lead training and other activities for project beneficiaries and serve as a technical resource for them;
  • Assess the performance of civil society activities across the organization, identify successes and failures and propose program adjustments accordingly;
  • Lead and/or participate in assessments of FH projects on an as-needed basis;
  • Produce technical and policy documents aimed at advancing support to civil society organizations on an as-needed basis; 
  • Serve as point of contact on civil society and democracy promotion policy and programmatic issues.

Project Administration and Management (20%)

  • Maintain ongoing, collaborative, cooperative relationships with members of the Advancing Democratic Elections and Political Transitions (ADEPT) consortium and other Freedom House current and prospective partners;
  • Work with members of the ADEPT consortium to develop and draft work plans and budgets for the consortium awards; as part of work plan development, support design of knowledge and learning activities;
  • Assist regional and global teams to oversee implementation of civil society program activities;
  • Assist regional and global teams to prepare periodical and ad hoc program reports, develop case studies and relevant knowledge products.
  • Assisst Learning, Strategy and Development team to manage Human Rights Support Mechanism leader and associate awards


  • Bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations, public policy or related field
  • Master’s degree in political science, international relations, public policy or related field is strongly preferred


  • Minimum five years of experience developing and implementing USG-funded civil society programs including experience working with civil society organizations abroad and knowledge of USG funding and reporting rules and regulations, as well as principles of project monitoring, evaluation and reporting
  • Superior ability to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing
  • Superior ability to independently conceptualize and draft analytic reports for program funders, in final form for submission 
  • Superior ability to create and manage donor-funded budgets
  • Superior interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising including identifying and working with project partners.
  • Strong knowledge of international and regional civil society protection mechanisms, and understanding of the field of international democracy promotion
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement innovative, feasible, impactful civil society programs
  • Strong organizational, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, prioritize, take independent action, and meet tight deadlines
  • Ability to apply superb attention to detail and consistently produce timely and error-free work
  • Ability to coordinate travel logistics, meetings, and events
  • Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times

Work Environment and Physical Demands: Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise.  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 that 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 upload a resume and cover letter with salary history and desired salary.

Candidate cover letters should specifically address how their previous experience relates to the duties and qualifications listed above. Only candidates who send respond to these as well as the salary requirements will be considered for the position.

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

Application instructions

*Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on*

follow us on Twitter