Program Officer


Please read the application instructions below before you apply

The Open Society Foundations’ Early Childhood Program (ECP) promotes healthy development and wellbeing of young children, up to the age of eight, through initiatives that emphasize parent and community engagement, professional development and government accountability. Our rights based approach and social justice framework place particular attention on minorities, including children from refugee and Roma communities; children with developmental delays and disabilities; and children living in poverty. ECP programs are primarily active in Central Europe and Eurasia, Africa and parts of Asia with emergent work in Latin America and the Middle East.

Job Profile

The ECP is recruiting two Program Officers to join our team of experienced early childhood and international development professionals based in London. The positions are intended for mid-career professionals who are committed to promoting the rights of young children and their families.  The successful candidates must be able to articulate a vision of social change that can achieve this, and which is based on substantial experience and knowledge of the early childhood development field.  The new staff members will work both independently and collaboratively to manage a varied portfolio of grants and projects, in select countries.

Each of the posts will engage across more than one substantive area of the Early Childhood Program’s programming. Priority will therefore be given to candidates with experience of working with at least one, if not more, of the following populations: young refugee children and their parents (primarily in the Middle East and Europe); Roma children and their families, and children with disabilities (in Europe and more broadly). Experience in Central and Eastern Europe is also desirable for one of the posts. Candidates with experience of strengthening early childhood development systems and services with a focus on health systems serving disadvantaged children under the age of three and their families are also encouraged to apply.

This post requires experience of working with civil society organisations and/or governments and both formal and informal contexts, to improve early childhood development outcomes, services and systems. Essential duties and responsibilities will include:

  • Design and development of strategies, including research into new areas of potential work alongside collaboration with colleagues and experts to think creatively both about the Program Officer’s specific areas of own work as well as the ECP’s work  and OSF’s work more generally;
  • Development of collaborative relationships within the Early Childhood Program, across OSF’s geographic and thematic entities more widely as well as externally to further programmatic goals;
  • Negotiation and management of grants, projects, project budgets and contracts with diverse organizations, including provision of mentoring and technical assistance through long-distance support;
  • Development and management of multi-country, multi-agency initiatives, including coordination with partners and  management of consultants;
  • Assessment of organizational capacity, including an understanding of financial health and organisational capacity;
  • Design and implementation of monitoring and evaluation processes to generate evidence of learning and impact;
  • Frequent travel to visit and learn from partner and grantee organizations, government officials, academic institutions, civil society groups, and community members, as well as to meet with other donors and stakeholders.
  • Critical assessment and reflection of what is working and what is not working in order to adjust programming and advocacy accordingly;
  • Preparation and delivery of concise, targeted written reports and presentations for diverse groups, including peers, internal Boards and as well as external audiences;

Candidate Profile

  • Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development (ECD) or related fields or equivalent experience/education;
  • 7 -10 years of relevant experience and training in progressively responsible roles;
  • Experience/expertise in service development for young children and their families, preferably including services for children from birth to three years of age;
  • Experience of working in the non – governmental sector and /or in government systems responsible for identifying and supporting the needs of young children and their families;
  • Knowledge of the field of  Early Childhood Development with demonstrable understanding of current international debates, leading figures and controversies;
  • Familiarity with the activities of key development partners, foundations and donors in the field of early childhood development;
  • Familiarity with the issues surrounding good grant-making, including an understanding of the power dynamics in the grantee/grant-maker relationship;
  • Experience of designing strategies to promote social change in rapidly shifting contexts;
  • Experience of managing complex relationships and of exercising sound judgements to further long term goals;
  • Commitment to addressing the needs of young children and their families;
  • Excellent computer skills, proficient in Microsoft office, with the ability to learn new systems;
  • Ability to function effectively and inclusively and demonstrate leadership in cross-cultural settings;
  • Fluency in both written and spoken English. Proficiency in additional languages, such as Arabic, French or Spanish is desirable, but not essential.
  • Willingness to travel frequently.

Application Instructions:

  • Please include a CV, Cover letter and Writing Samples as part of your application.
  • You should attach all your application documents in the same place that you upload your CV and Cover letter.

Interviews will be held in the last week of November and first week of December 2017.

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.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations, and we welcome and actively seek applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.