The Africa Regional Office (AfRO) is part of the Open Society Foundations (OSF). OSF is a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise, and including national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. AfRO works at Pan-African and international levels to support African progress towards open society goals through advocacy, research, grant making, and government and multilateral assistance, and supports OSF’s foundations and thematic programs to achieve their Africa-focused strategies.
AFRO is recruiting for a Special Assistant to join their team in London.
The Special Assistant will provide direct high-level programmatic, administrative and project support to the Regional Director in both her capacities as leader of the regional office and a member of OSF’s Senior Management Committee. The successful candidate will undertake a wide range of activities that include attending meetings on behalf of the Regional Director; supporting the Africa Regional Advisory Committee; drafting memos, policy documents, reports, updates to senior management and the Global Board and other documents as required by the Regional Director; conducting research and/or leading consultations on behalf of the Africa Regional Office, and provide communication services internally for AfRO and for the Open Society’s wider Africa community. The position will also liaise with the Open Society’s Communications team and African foundation communication teams, as needed.
The role requires strong interest in, and broad knowledge of African current affairs, particularly in themes such as justice, human rights, economic advancement, political inclusion and other areas in which OSF works, and of the leading voices in these areas. Knowledge of African civil society networks and priorities and a rich network of contacts in these fields is essential. Familiarity with philanthropy in Africa is highly desirable,
This position requires high-level planning, organizing and writing skills and will attract candidates that are comfortable working on a variety of tasks simultaneously, across various time zones. The role also requires self-confidence and a respectful collegial style in dealing with a wide range of people in both senior and junior roles and of diverse backgrounds; strong diplomatic skills, respect for confidentiality and high personal integrity will be important. The successful candidate will be working in a team but may at times be expected to perform tasks and take responsibilities with little or no supervision. Essential duties and responsibilities will include:
- Supporting the Regional Director in both her roles as a Senior Management Committee member and Africa Director;
- Representing the Regional Director as required, both internally and in engagement with external partners, maintaining relationships in line with the strategic objectives of the Regional Office and the regional director;
- Managing one-off or continuing projects as assigned by the Regional Director
- Organising and servicing high-level events and meetings for the Regional Director with external partners
- Supporting programmatic efforts by conducting a wide range of activities that may be related to AfRO’s grant making and/or analytical work in support of field development, advocacy, regional consultations and collaborations;
- Anticipating opportunities of potential interest to the Regional Director and SMC in the Africa area, researching options for new directions and presenting them to the Regional Director;
- Conducting research to synthesize large amounts of data/information to be used in decision-making and strategy development.
- Supporting internal communications by producing period news updates about recent developments in Africa for internal OSF consumption and liaising with OSF’s communications program
- There is significant travel, a lot of it to the African continent
- 5-7 years of work experience preferred in relevant programmatic and administrative/organizational roles sufficient to demonstrate competency in skills indicated, particularly:
- Experience working on African issues in an organizational role in an institution that works internationally, preferably with a geographic/thematic matrix;
- Experience building and maintaining individual and institutional relationships in support of organization goals;
- Experience in journalism and/or communication roles an advantage;
- Strong knowledge of the Africa region, widely read on developments relevant to open society in Africa; and familiarity with OSF priority issues and activities;
- Bachelors degree;
- Diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity and exercise sound judgment on issues of sensitivity;
- Demonstrated ability to think strategically about program needs, administrative process and operations;
- Up-to-date knowledge and experience of project management, including budgets, and organizational tools for complex multi-location processes;
- Ability to work independently on work initiatives, and ability to manage competing priorities
- Demonstrable interest in and understanding of a range of open society policy issues and personal commitment to values of rights, justice, accountable governance, human dignity and democratic practice;
- Proficient written, verbal and analytical skills in English; other languages widely used in Africa would be desirable;
- Knowledge of philanthropy in Africa an advantage;
- Ability to work effectively using social media and other online communication tools.
We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable accommodations so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.