Program Officer, Human Rights Initiative

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Dec 05

Position description

Program Officer, Human Rights Initiative, Human Rights Initiative, Washington, D.C., Deadline: 12/18/2018

The Human Rights Initiative (HRI) works across issues and geographies to promote a comprehensive vision of human rights that recognizes that a diverse and powerful human rights movement is critical to the ongoing struggle of all people to realize our rights. Given the challenging context the human rights movement faces, the Human Rights Initiative supports efforts of the movement to reinvigorate itself and adapt to this context by expanding the way it advances rights. Across issues and geographies, we support the movement to engage directly with the public to elevate support for human rights values, prioritize the voices of activists rooted in and able to mobilize communities, and ensure greater solidarity across rights struggles and social movements. Our vision is one where the human rights movement is effective in grounding its activism in communities, is able to build partnerships with actors from within and outside the movement, has skills for developing and communicating its message with impact, and is able to push back against the growing politics of fear while standing up for both civil and political as well as economic-social rights.

To learn more about the Human Rights Initiative, please click here .

Job Profile:

The Human Rights Initiative seeks a Program Officer, based in Washington DC, to develop and implement grant-making strategies that mobilize human rights supporters but also reach beyond human rights allies to other sectors to foster new tools and networks to safeguard meaningful participation and protect activism. This work is focusing on two areas that are critical to bring in new allies for defense of civic space: engagement around financial and economic frameworks that limit space (International Financial Institutions and the banking sector) and engaging with the private sector as a possible ally on civic space and making the business case for civil society.

Typical duties and responsibilities include:

  • Construct, and regularly review, portfolios of work that combine multiple tools, which will include chiefly grant making, but also advocacy, convening, communications, and others to advance portfolio goals;
  • Responsible for all grant-making activities related to the portfolios, including reviewing grant proposals, conducting grantee site visits, and providing feedback on organizational health and capacity of grantees.
  • Develop, plan and organize program-related workshops, trainings and events;
  • Stay abreast of developments in the field through research and attendance at conferences and/or meetings;
  • Write strategy/position papers that provide direction on policy and capacity-building issues impacting the field;
  • Build and establish strategic relationships with other philanthropic partners and NGOs


Candidate Profile

  • 7 to 10 years relevant experience working on human rights, civil society development and/or international financial institutions;
  • Experience working in Africa preferred;
  • Comprehensive understanding of the structure and workings of non-profit organizations, networks, and movements within varied contexts;
  • Advocacy and organizing experience preferred;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of international and grassroots human rights NGOs and financial institutions;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and execute a strategy in collaboration with internal and external partners;
  • Ability to navigate the power dynamics inherent in a grantee/grantor relationship;
  • Demonstrated understanding of organizational governance and ability to assess organizational health and effectiveness;
  • Ability to build and maintain relationships and deliver hard messages when necessary;
  • High level analytical, writing, and creative and critical thinking skills;
  • Sensitivity to cultural differences and commitment to inclusion and respect;
  • Willingness to travel internationally.


Application instructions: Please submit a cover letter and resume

*Please note that all shortlisted candidates will be asked to submit a separate written statement to demonstrate that they possess the skills, abilities, and sensitivities, needed to excel in the Program Officer role as they relate to the candidate profile above.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

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 adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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