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Frankfurt Zoological Society

Director Africa Program

About the Frankfurt Zoological Society

The Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is an internationally operating conservation organisation based in Germany that has been supporting conservation projects in Africa, South America, South East Asia and Europe for many decades. Following its mission to conserve wildlife and ecosystems focusing on protected areas and outstanding wild places, FZS concentrates its work on:

  • Strengthening protected area operation in key ecosystems.
  • Capacity building for effective ecosystem management.
  • Development of policies, plans and awareness to support protected areas.
  • Development of monitoring to increase the understanding of ecosystem processes.
  • Involvement of local communities in the management and sustainable use of natural resources.

About the FZS Africa Program

The Africa Program aims at maximising FZS’s conservation impact by safeguarding large wilderness areas of high biodiversity, for both their intrinsic value and their contribution to the social and economic well-being of present and future generations.

The heart of the FZS conservation program lies in Tanzania’s Serengeti, where Prof. Bernhard Grzimek started long-term conservation activities and produced 1959 the Academy Award winning movie “Serengeti shall not die”. Today the conservation program concentrates on protected area support in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Tanzania currently represents the largest country program with operations in Serengeti, Mahale and Selous. The FZS projects are field based, long term, guided by science and built on partnerships with governmental conservation agencies. The Africa Program compromises around 70 % of FZS’ global budget. Flexible core funding, large third party grants and individual top donations offer a diverse and increasing financial base. The program is undergoing moderate growth and also new models of protected area support are in development. An on-going focus is combatting the drastic poaching crisis for elephants and rhinos.      

About the Role

Position in Organization:

  • Reports to the Executive Director.
  • Line manages the Africa Program Managers and the Africa core team.
  • Participates to the Steering Committee and works closely with the director of FZS-US and the Head of Finance and Communication at FZS HQ.

Key Functions and Responsibilities

The purpose of the position is to ensure maximum biodiversity conservation impact and high operational performance by the development and effective implementation of the FZS Africa Strategy in line with the overall mission and vision of the FZS.

In particular, the responsibilities of the Director Africa Program are:

Programme leadership and development:

  • Offering effective management and support to all programmatic and operational aspects of the Africa Program and ensuring processes are in place and work effectively and correctly – including financial control and management, project development, monitoring and evaluation and Human Resource Management (recruitment, contracts, performance evaluation, development, getting and maintaining the right team).
  • Responsibility for the development and effective implementation of the annual African Conservation Program and budget, delivery of the annual statement of revenue and expenditure and the external auditing reports for the African Program.
  • Ensuring that all legal and reporting requirements are met and programs adhere to FZS’s policies, procedures and standards.
  • Participating actively in strategy processes of the Africa Program and of FZS in general.
  • Leading the development of new areas and models for protected area support.

Team leadership:

  • Providing effective leadership to the core team and the FZS Program Managers ensuring highly motivated and performing staff.
  • Foreseeing and avoiding risks for FZS and its staff by taking adequate precautions (e.g. insurance, training, set of rules, clear responsibilities etc.).

Communication, external representation and outreach:

  • Supporting top-level fundraising among third parties and individual top donors to enable financial security and growths of the Africa Program.
  • Representing, promoting and developing FZS within Africa and the Africa Program internally and externally vis-à-vis key national and international target audiences.
  • Ensuring that lessons learned and best practise from across the program are shared internally and externally.
  • Using and contributing to conservation science and making sure that engagement is guided by science.

Behaviour/Character Traits

  • Excellent leadership abilities and capacity to manage human and financial resources, with experience in leading change and driving the vision of the organization.
  • High level negotiation and influencing skills, and the capacity to develop and maintain strong relationships at all levels in the business, not-for-profit, scientific and political audiences.
  • Passion for wildlife and wild places with a strong commitment to protected areas as a conservation strategy.
  • Strategic thinking, stamina to follow a focused approach but also capacity to capture upcoming environmental changes and to adapt accordingly.
  • Ability to delegate responsibilities in order to build and empower the Africa team.
  • Clear and eloquent communication skills.
  • Willingness and ability to travel often and partly under difficult conditions.


  • Master or PhD in the management of natural resources, biology or another related field.
  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience leading and implementing conservation programmes, at least 5 years of which should be in Africa.
  • Experience overseeing programmes with financial responsibility in excess of 2 million USD per year.
  • Track record of implementing multifaceted conservation strategies and achieving outcomes.
  • Experience managing culturally diverse teams, preferably across multiple countries or regions.
  • Ability to cultivate and manage relationships with external partners, across private, public and NGO sectors.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, fluency in English. German, French and Swahili are an advantage.