Program Specialist, Transparency, Accountability and Participation Unit

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    Berlin, Germany
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    Feb 26

Position description

Program Specialist, Transparency, Accountability and Participation Unit. Berlin. Posting Date: 02/25/2019. Deadline: 03/19/2019

The Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE) was established in 2013 to contribute to more vibrant and legitimate democracies in the European Union by supporting the activists and civil society organizations confronting Europe's many challenges. We support organizations that channel active participation in democracy by majorities and minorities alike, and that uphold open society values, particularly in places where the rollback of civil and political rights is most severe.

The Transparency, Accountability and Participation Division of OSIFE works with a wide range of civil society organizations, activists, journalists and other governance actors to demand more transparent, inclusive, participatory, and accountable governance across Europe.

Job Profile

OSIFE is recruiting a permanent program specialist to be based in Berlin. The Program Specialist is a professional program role at Open Society Foundations (OSF), performing a wide range of responsibilities that advance both portfolio and other program strategies. The role requires specialized knowledge, not only of the relevant field(s), but also of how to use the various tools available to the organization for accomplishing its objectives via grant-making, and, to a lesser extent, advocacy, communication and convening. This role functions as part of a team of Program Administrative Specialists, Program Officers, managers/directors, and administrative/operational staff, and assumes work by assignment from others. Responsibilities are carried out with a high degree of independence, although collegial problem-solving is a hallmark of OSF's work. Program Specialists may develop familiarity with all the tools used by OSF to bring about social change and play an essential and important role in grant making. Their contributions include the identification of high potential new partners, the assessment of organizations in the field, the design of grants, and the assessment of grants and portfolios. Program Specialists may also take the lead on projects or issues - such as research initiatives, convening, or advocacy efforts - as assigned.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Supporting programmatic efforts by conducting a wide range of activities related to the grant making process and/or analytical work in support of field development, advocacy, regional consultations, and integrative activities.
  • Conducting research and synthesizing large amounts of data/information to be used in decision-making, strategy development, and evaluation of the grants portfolio or other program processes.
  • Designing and carrying-out field scans and ongoing field monitoring.
  • Analyzing grant proposals (including budget analysis), designing grants (type of support, degree of flexibility, duration, payment structure, reporting/learning expectations, etc.) and drafting grant recommendations.
  • Partnering closely with program administration staff to ensure efficient flow of grants processing and other similar information.
  • Developing a concept, agenda, key players, etc. for convenings, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts.
  • Contributing to assessment of potential grantees. This includes primary responsibility for the assessment of organizational finances and budgets (including grant budgets).
  • Partnering closely with program administration staff to ensure efficient flow of grants processing and other similar information.
  • May be asked to take on administrative responsibilities or projects on an ad-hoc basis. These may include processing grants, developing tools and templates, coordinating event logistics, and processing vendor contracts and consultancy agreements.
  • May provide support in the area of learning design for benefit of the whole team.
  • May participate in preparing and presenting portfolio reviews.


Candidate Profile

Skills and Abilities: The following list is not exhaustive, but highlights a number of the most critical skills and abilities for performing the role.
  • Knowledgeable on issues of interest to OSF generally, and in particular as they relate to civic engagement and civil society initiatives working on governance issues across Europe.
  • Highly skilled in researching, processing large amounts of information, and analyzing its importance in informing OSF programs and strategies.
  • Ability to recognize and work effectively in compliance with internal policies and external constraints.
  • Willingness and ability to exercise sound professional judgment on issues of sensitivity.
  • Excellent ICT skills, including social media.
  • Demonstrate consistent respect for others' opinions, listen well, and respond to colleagues with awareness and sensitivity to cultural communication differences.
  • Diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity.
  • Well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy.
  • Organized; strong project management ability; self-directed on work initiatives; strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines.
  • Ability to work constructively with colleagues at all levels in the hierarchy of the organization as well as with external partners.
  • Strong commitment to open society values of rights, justice, accountable governance, human dignity, and democratic practice.
  • Previous experience in a civil society organization (as member/volunteer/staff) highly desirable.
  • Strong commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues regardless of identity or seniority.
  • Collaborative, collegial working style.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication in English.


Q ualifications: Experience/Education
  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education.
  • 3-5 years of progressively responsible experience in a situation relevant to the duties of this role is typically required to develop the skills required for this role.


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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