Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government (East Africa)

Ford Foundation

Nairobi, Kenya


Working under the supervision of the East Africa Regional Director and with a diverse team of professionals, the Program Officer is expected to actively contribute to and learn from this body of work and to serve as a strong team member within the entire Foundation. The duties of the Program Officer will therefore include but not be limited to the following:

  • Refine the Theory of Change for the Civic Engagement and Government (CEG) work in Office for Eastern Africa;
  • Lead the development of new strategies as opportunities emerge;
  • Develop grant making activities in a team-oriented context that are aligned to the strategic goals of the CEG thematic area and the regional strategy;
  • Oversee active grants, track grantee progress, provide guidance and assistance to grantees, and respond to grantee reports;
  • Collaborate with and serve as a resource and strategic partner fir other program officers within the office and the entire Foundation on its work on CEG;
  • Evaluate key grants and prepare analysis and summaries of lessons learnt from the Foundation’s grant-making;
  • Organize Foundation-sponsored meetings of grantees, experts, and practitioners in the field of civic engagement and government and high performing nonprofit practice;
  • Promote engagement with grantees to review opportunities, challenges and advances and encourage collaboration, learning, exchange and strategic partnerships;
  • Represent the Foundation and its work to the government, media, academic, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, briefings, blogposts, and interviews, with guidance from the Regional Director;
  • Participate actively in cross-foundation learning sessions, planning activities, and organizational and team development efforts;
  • Manage the performance of an assigned Program Assistant and other assigned staff.


The Program Officer should possess the following qualifications and attributes:

  • A deep commitment to the core values and principles of the Ford Foundation;
  • A minimum of 8 years leading social justice strategies and/or subject-matter expertise related to global Civic Engagement and Government;
  • A proven record of experience and knowledge on civic engagement, public participation, and/or government responsiveness and accountability;
  • The ability to think and act strategically, and innovatively consistent with the Foundation’s commitment to outcome-oriented grant-making and the ability to make trade-offs with end goals in mind;
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and effectively with peers in shared efforts;
  • Experience managing coalitions or other processes involving multiple organizations;
  • Demonstrated ability to process complex information and present ideas in a pragmatic and compelling manner;
  • Prior experience working with individuals from diverse racial, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds;
  • Proven ability to bring disparate constituents together and build consensus;
  • An advanced degree in relevant field of study or related disciplines and/or an equivalent experience is preferred;
  • Relevant work experience in areas such as nonprofit management, philanthropy, management consulting, academia, organizational development, or other related fields;
  • Experience working in both domestic and international contexts (preferred);
  • Strong communications skills – strong active listening skills, constructive verbal and written skills, strong public presentation skills;
  • High level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards;
  • Excellent judgment, flexibility, good humor, and humility.


  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, fairness and diversity;
  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor;
  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues;
  • Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams.

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