Program Officer

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.

We seek to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.

We help to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.

We implement initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media.

We build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information.

Working in every part of the world, the Open Society Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

The Open Society Public Health Program aims to promote health policies based on scientific evidence, social inclusion, human rights, and justice. Broadly, the program works with civil society organizations within two fields: promoting the participation of socially marginalized groups in public health policy and fostering greater government accountability and transparency through civil society monitoring efforts. Program areas focus on addressing the human rights and health needs of marginalized groups, facilitating citizen access to health information, and advocating for a strong civil society role in public health policy and practice.

The Sexual Health and Rights Project (SHARP) promotes human rights-based approaches to advancing the health of sex workers and transgender individuals. This is achieved through grant-making, capacity building, direct advocacy, and fund-leveraging. SHARP often aims to develop, pilot, and disseminate information on innovative approaches to improving the health of sex workers and transgender individuals in order to integrate these approaches into wide-scale health programs and plans. Underpinning all of SHARP’s work is the belief that those most affected by policies and programs should be the ones driving their design, implementation and evaluation.

SHARP’s geographic focus is Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Eastern and Southern Africa. Funding outside of those regions is driven by a specific policy or advocacy objective.

Purpose of Position

This is a great opportunity for an experienced grantmaker with a background of knowledge and expertise on advancing health and rights for sex workers specifically in the Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Eastern/Southern Africa region. Ideal candidate will have nonprofit experience, understanding of sex worker rights and public health issues, and proven ability to work effectively at the intersection between health and human rights.

The purpose of the position is strategy development and grantmaking for the Public Health Program with a focus on strengthening leadership development, increasing access to justice and non-discriminatory health services for sex workers and other marginalized populations. Work is carried out independently/under general supervision.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

The Open Society Foundations may add, change, or remove essential and other duties at any time.

Program-Related Functions

  • Establish cross-program collaborations needed to advance strategic grantmaking opportunities that increase rights protections and promotes access to justice and health services sex workers and other criminalized groups;
  • Promote justice and health for sex workers and other criminalized populations;
  • Support leadership capacity development efforts aimed at strengthening global, regional, and national sex worker movements;
  • Develop and implement a strategy on models access to health for sex workers;
  • Support initiatives to document rights violations against sex workers, including monitoring and law reform efforts;
  • Develop, plan, and organize program-related workshops, trainings, and events;
  • Write and edit project materials and guidelines;
  • Stay abreast of developments in the field of sexual health and rights through research and attendance at conferences and/or meetings;
  • Write strategy/position papers that provide direction on policy issues impacting the field and/or offer suggestions about field-building and strategic project development;
  • Perform special assignments, including participation in other Open Society program and foundation task forces and working groups;
  • Build and establish strategic relationships within the Public Health Program, Open Society network foundations and other philanthropic partners and NGOs;
  • Willingness to travel extensively;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • In conjunction with supervisor and other staff/consultants, develop grantmaking strategies, priorities, and guidelines;
  • Invite grant proposals from selected funding applicants;
  • Work with applicants to develop and finalize grant proposals;
  • Review grant proposals and participate in the preparation of written grant recommendations as part of the docket preparation process;
  • Perform site visits of prospective and current grantee organizations;
  • Ensure that grantees submit narrative and financial reports as required under the terms of the contract;
  • Monitor grants through review of reports, ongoing communication and site visits.


  • Manage financial and budget reports and track grant and project spending;
  • Assist in the planning and development of annual budgets.
Education / Experience
  • Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university and five to eight years relevant experience and/or training, or equivalent combination of education and experience;
  • Experience in grantmaking and project management, including managing consultants and developing and managing project budgets;
  • Knowledge of key organizations and networks active in the field of health and human rights and in particular sexual health and rights;
  • NGO experience essential;
  • Strong background with programs advancing social justice through community organizing, public health, legal advocacy, research, or policy reform work.  
Skills Required
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, troubleshoot, and follow projects through to completion;
  • Ability to work under strict deadlines without loss of attention to detail;
  • Excellent written, verbal, organizational, analytical, and interpersonal skills;
  • Excellent computer skills, proficient in Microsoft Office and experience with internet research and database management;
  • Good listening and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences; 
  • Effectively work as a team member and independently, with a high-level of self-motivation and ability to set and meet goals;
  • Show discretion and ability to handle confidential issues;
  • Pleasant, diplomatic manner and disposition in interacting with colleagues and the general public.
Program Specific Requirements
  • Degree in public health, public policy, international development, or other relevant field;
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing public health and human rights of criminalized populations sex workers;
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with human rights movements representing marginalized groups;
  • Experience with capacity building, including with nascent advocacy organizations, strongly preferred;
  • Experience working in one or more of the following regions: East and Southern Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and Southeast Asia;
  • Familiarity with the international human rights framework and its application to marginalized groups.
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.

Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package.
Application Instructions

Please email resume and cover letter with salary requirements by April 21, 2014, to: Include job code in subject line: PO-SHARP.