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ELMA Philanthropies Services (Africa) (Pty) Ltd

Education Program Officer

About ELMA Philanthropies

From offices in New York City, USA; Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa; and Kampala, Uganda the ELMA Philanthropies Services (“ELMA”) develops program strategies, identifies grant-making and other investment opportunities, monitors investment performance, and establishes strategic partnerships for the ELMA Group of Foundations. The ELMA Group of Foundations invests in cost-effective and well-managed programs and organizations that demonstrate potential for a high social return in the key focus areas of each Foundation.

The main foundation within the ELMA Group of Foundations is the ELMA Foundation, whose mission is to improve the lives of African children and youth through support of sustainable efforts to relieve poverty, advance education and promote health. It is currently active in 15 countries across East and Southern Africa and is among the leading grant-makers active on the continent. In East Africa, the ELMA Foundation targets Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. In Southern Africa, the ELMA Foundation targets Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

ELMA carefully analyzes investment opportunities from both a programmatic and financial perspective, weighing the potential for scale and impact against associated risks and concerns. Additionally, ELMA actively monitors the performance of its philanthropic investments, and engages with the grantee, funders, government officials, and other stakeholders to ensure maximum social value is realized from individual investments and the portfolio in its entirety. By deepening its engagement beyond financial support, ELMA aims to improve the lives of beneficiaries its grant-investments serve, through support of programs that are transformative, sustainable and scalable.

ELMA’s Education Portfolio

In pursuit of its mission, the ELMA Foundation makes investments in education that:

  • Improve access to quality Early Childhood Development services;
  • Improve quality of teaching, with a particular focus in primary education;
  • Improve governance, management, and monitoring of schools and learning environments   in primary and post-primary education;
  • Catalyze new approaches to improving quality education and learner achievement; and
  • Utilize innovative financing mechanisms.

About the Role

ELMA Philanthropies is seeking an additional Program Officer for Education to join its dynamic and growing team to be based in Johannesburg. You will present investment recommendations and program updates for the ELMA Philanthropies (Africa) Board. Your primary focus will involve sourcing education investments in Southern Africa and providing additional support to the East Africa team. Willingness and desire to travel and work in both Southern and East Africa will be a key requirement.

As part of the Education and Special Projects team, your position reports directly to the Senior Program Manager and you will work closely with the Director of Program Development and the Director of Finance as well as other Program Managers and Program Officers responsible for the Health and Education portfolios. Additionally you will engage regularly with the Director of Education, based in New York, both to contribute to and take guidance from the Education Strategy and their overall education portfolio management efforts. Your ability to be an active team-player on a global education team will be essential to your success in this role. 


  • Identify programs and organizations in Southern Africa that fit with ELMA’s education strategy and ELMA’s broader approach to philanthropy.
  • Conduct thorough due diligence including critical analysis of proposals, budgets, work-plans, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, organizational strengths and weaknesses, and external risk factors.
  • Develop, write, and present concise investment recommendations.
  • Manage and grow relationships with grantees, critically monitor programmatic effectiveness and financial management, and engage in strategic discussions.
  • Support the analysis of the performance of the Southern Africa education portfolio and development of the ELMA education strategy, working with colleagues in the New York and East Africa offices.
  • Build strong relationships with grantees and other strategic partners, including co-funders and governments.

Skills Required

  • Management of grant-making programs or equivalent investments in the private sector.
  • Ability to source, synthesize and effectively present information and data to develop an investment business case.
  • Excellent analytical skills and ability to communicate effectively in English for a variety of audiences.
  • Excellent Excel skills and ability to analyse and present data in a highly organized manner.
  • Ability to engage with Government officials and other key education policy makers.
  • A good understanding of organizations and best practices in education in Southern Africa.
  • Ability to develop and manage multiple partners and complex programs.
  • Excellent relationship-building skills and ability to collaborate on internal teams.

Other Requirements

  • Willingness to work non-traditional hours and travel locally and internationally as needed.
  • South African citizen, permanent resident or right to work in South Africa (Valid work permit).