Senior 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 (PHP) 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 grantmaking, 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

The Sexual Health and Rights Project seeks an experienced grantmaker with knowledge and expertise on advancing health and rights for transgender people in the nonprofit sector, specifically in Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Eastern/Southern Africa region. 

The purpose of the position is strategy development, grantmaking, advocacy, and developing collaborations that will advance the trans portfolio within PHP and the wider Open Society network. Work is carried out independently.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

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


  • Work with the director to provide strategic leadership and oversight of SHARP’S transgender and decriminalization of sex work portfolios;
  • Identify, develop, and implement a coherent grant making portfolio that advances the goals and concepts set out in PHP strategy;
  • Work with the director to ensure close collaboration with other program directors and staff, and convene cross-program working groups as needed to advance the SHARP/PHP strategies;
  • Develop and oversee strategies for capacity building, program and institutional development of key partners and grantees;
  • Supervise consultants and technical assistance providers working in program-related activities;
  • Participate in the development, planning, and organization of program-related events;
  • Build knowledge on current trends and developments in the fields of transgender and sex worker health and human rights through research, attendance of conferences, and/or meetings;
  • Synthesize and share key developments and findings in the field for use by program staff, grantees, and partners;
  • Write and edit program materials, guidelines, publications for internal and external audiences;
  • Perform occasional special assignments, including participation with other Open Society programs and foundation task forces and working groups;
  • Build and establish strategic relationships with other philanthropic partners and NGOs funding in a similar field;
  • Support the director in program decisions, as needed.


  • In conjunction with the director and other staff/consultants, develop grantmaking strategies, priorities, and guidelines;
  • Maintain ongoing, active relationships with grantees;
  • Review and assess letters of inquiry and make funding recommendations and declines to the director;
  • Invite grant proposals from selected funding applicants;
  • Work with applicants to develop and finalize grant proposals;
  • Review grant proposals and participate in writing grant recommendations as part of grant dockets 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 contracts, review and approve the reports;
  • Interact with grantees and other field professionals and participate in program- and field-related meetings and convenings;
  • Document and provide ongoing assessment and evaluation of SHARP’s trans and sex work decriminalization grant portfolios.

Capacity Building

  • Build and manage relationships with other Open Society entities, donors, and leaders in the sexual health field who may be resources to SHARP and its grantees;
  • Work with grantees to define ongoing organizational and project-level capacity building and technical assistance needs;
  • Identify, develop, and manage relationships with an active group of technical assistance providers, consultants, and mentors to support the needs of grantees;
  • Identify and develop peer exchange and horizontal learning opportunities for grantees and technical assistance consultants.

Learning, Documentation, and Advocacy

  • Facilitate learning between SHARP and other PHP and Open Society colleagues about the legal gender recognition work and sex worker health and rights;
  • Occasionally lead portfolio review discussions within PHP and with other Open Society entities on the work;
  • Disseminate information on good practice developments at national, regional, and international levels;
  • Organize events to discuss and publicize issues relevant to SHARP’s work; 
  • Represent SHARP in meetings and other fora.


  • Manage financial and budget reports to track grant and program spending;
  • Assist in the planning and developing of annual activity plan and budget.


  • Travel is required; 
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
Education / Experience
  • Bachelor’s degree (BA) from a four-year college or university and seven to ten years of relevant experience and/or training, or equivalent combination of education and experience;
  • Graduate degree preferred, specifically in a social science, e.g., law, international policy, public policy, or public health;
  • Experience in grantmaking and project management, including managing consultants and developing and managing project budgets;
  • NGO experience essential;
  • Strong background with programs advancing social justice through community organizing, legal advocacy, research, or policy reform work.
Skills Required
  • Demonstrated management skills in not-for-profit organizations, foundations, and/or government agencies, particularly in complex organizations;
  • Leadership expertise in identifying best practices and improvement of internal systems;
  • Flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects;
  • Experience in managing multiple priorities under pressure and accomplish short- and long-term deadlines with a heavy workload;
  • Demonstrated experience in budget, technical, and financial management functions;
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills;
  • Proven ability to build and maintain relationships with a wide array of people with diverse backgrounds throughout a complex organization;
  • Proven leadership qualities with delivering superior results;
  • Professionally competent to make administrative, procedural decisions and judgments on sensitive and confidential issues;
  • Effectively interact with staff on all levels;
  • Identify and resolve sensitive matters and situations;
  • Professional, diplomatic demeanor with the ability to represent a global organization and interact with colleagues from diverse backgrounds;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated expertise in handling all personnel-related issues and information in a confidential manner;
  • High level of strategic thinking;
  • Strong ability to work independently;
  • Excellent computer skills, proficient in Microsoft Office.
Program Specific Requirements
  • Complex and extensive understanding of the field and related recognition by stakeholders;
  • Experience in advocacy in national and international settings including experience using results research to influence advocacy;
  • Understanding of relevant human rights standards applicable in advancing rights of excluded populations;
  • Experience supporting capacity development or strengthening of community and/or advocacy organizations;
  • Understanding of the funding terrain and other funders priorities in different regions of the world as pertaining to SHARP’s funding priorities;
  • An understanding of the health and human rights issues faced by PHP’s focus populations, including: people living with HIV/AIDS, TB; injecting drug users; people with intellectual disabilities; Roma; the dying; sex workers; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons:
  • Experience working internationally, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa, or Latin America.
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 May 9, 2014, to: Include job code in subject line: SPO- SHARP.