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The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Program Officer – Gender and Inclusive Governance, Transparency, Participation and Accountability

As the next Program Officer for Gender and Inclusive Governance for Transparency, Participation and Accountability, you will work at the confluence of gender, social inclusion and accountability for marginalized and under-served populations in Africa. In this role, you will manage a portfolio of grants and contribute your expertise to an emerging program strategy for increasing the responsiveness of governments to their people. You are driven by building relationships of trust and empowerment, and supporting creative solutions to ensure the success of individual grantees. You are organized and an effective communicator, adept at managing and drawing insights from large amounts of information.

About the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world. For 50 years, the foundation has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in the Global South, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities and make the philanthropy sector more effective. The foundation’s assets are more than $10 billion, with annual awards of grants and gifts totaling over $400 million. A 13-member board of directors provides overall direction for the foundation.

About the Global Development and Population Program

The Global Development and Population Program makes grants to improve the well-being of vulnerable people. While the majority of the program’s work is focused on improving social and economic outcomes in low-income countries, an important component of the program’s grantmaking includes the United States as well.

In low and middle-income countries, the program’s grantmaking focuses on:

  • Women’s empowerment including expanding access to high-quality reproductive healthcare and economic opportunities; and
  • Increasing the responsiveness of governments to their citizens’ needs and creating the conditions for evidence-informed policymaking.

The Program has a geographic focus on East and West African countries, as well as a portfolio of grants in Mexico. Many of our grantees also work at a regional or global level to create norms and standards, support advocacy and advance systems change. In the United States, the foundation pursues an agenda to improve women’s ability to exercise reproductive choice and rights. The Global Development and Population Program team consists of 18 staff, including nine Program Officers.

About the Role

The Global Development and Population Program seeks a Program Officer to work with the team to evolve the Transparency, Participation and Accountability (TPA) strategy, and subsequently advance our work to support people, especially those who traditionally have not had a voice and a seat at the table, to create conditions for governments to be more responsive, effective and accountable, with a particular focus on gender and social inclusion. The Program Officer reports to the Program Director, Global Development and Population Program (GD&P).

The Program Officer will work with the TPA team, as well as possible synergies with other gender-related GD&P strategies, to administer and support a large portfolio of existing grants, and over time, transition and evolve our grantmaking to effectively implement an updated strategy. In the short-term, the Program Officer will be involved in helping to shape future strategy and in identifying opportunities for creating more synergy with other programs within GD&P.  

As the Program Officer becomes more adept in Hewlett Foundation’s approach to Outcome-Focused Philanthropy and culture, the Program Officer will play a critical role in implementing the new strategy both through grantmaking and other “beyond the grant dollars work”. This work typically includes coordination and influencing other funders in the field by participating in donor collaboratives and other philanthropic fora; getting to know and working with grantees to identify opportunities for responding to their capacity building and organizational resilience needs; amplifying grantee voice by sharing their stories and connecting them with other funders and practitioners; and capturing and sharing what we are learning from our grantmaking through blogs, speaking opportunities and other forms of knowledge sharing and influencing.  

Taking a strategic view of the issues in the fields of social inclusion and gender justice in the governance and TPA field, the Program Officer works in partnership with grantees, funders, governments and others to assess needs and bring stakeholders together to seek solutions to problems. Operating from a posture of trust and empowerment of grantees, the Program Officer identifies and supports creative solutions to ensure the success of individual grantees on an ongoing basis as well as through formal grant proposal review, due diligence and assessment. 

Additionally, the Program Officer identifies gaps and opportunities in the field and plans and commissions research, learning and evaluation processes to explore existing and new approaches to solving gaps in governments’ accountability to the people they are intended to serve. 

Purpose of the Role

The Program Officer contributes to the foundation’s interest in and practice of outcome-focused philanthropy, developing and updating strategies, identifying benchmarks and milestones to assess progress against these strategies, and planning and commissioning evaluations to contribute to learning and better understanding impact. A key aspect of this work is to stay abreast of trends in theory and practice in inclusive governance, gender and social inclusion, and the relationship between citizens and the state, as well as related fields such as evidence-informed policy making. The Program Officer will also work with other colleagues across GD&P to identify opportunities for cross-strategy and cross-sector collaboration, and work with colleagues across the foundation to promote cross-foundation learning, contribute to the overall culture of the organization, and promote and put into practice the foundation’s values and practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Duties and Responsibilities

The foundation seeks an innovative and strategic thinker and resourceful self-starter who is passionate about inclusive governance, gender and social inclusion in TPA, and increasing the responsiveness of governments to their people, especially in Africa. Candidates must have experience and an understanding and appreciation of these fields to effectively shape and implement grantmaking strategies within the Global Development and Population Program. The Program Officer must have the ability to work seamlessly across strategic, substantive, and administrative aspects of the role.

The successful candidate will be a strong relationship builder and effective communicator. They must have the skills necessary to create or foster professional networks and mobilize actors in joint and shared efforts, including other funders active in this field. Ideally, the candidate will have experience working with partners in government, civil society, philanthropic, academic, and private sector organizations, particularly in Africa. 

The successful candidate will thrive working across diverse fields, making connections and building bridges between fields and movements, especially those relevant to gender, social inclusivity, and inclusive governance. The Program Officer must be committed to a nonpartisan, non-ideological approach, and be eager to marshal intellectual resources and practical thinking to solve problems.

To manage and evolve a relatively large portfolio of grantees, the Program Officer will have to apply a combination of sound judgment, creativity, and basic quantitative and qualitative analysis skills. A commitment to fiscal stewardship in both grantmaking and administrative activities is also essential. The foundation seeks a Program Officer who is comfortable operating with broad strategic parameters and exploring opportunities that can lead to bold and unconventional approaches.

The ideal candidate has the ability to thrive in a role with a degree of autonomy within an environment that is also highly collaborative, communicative, and team-oriented. Success in the role requires curiosity, the ability to identify, absorb and use information from a variety of sources and to apply it in decision-making across program streams, an enthusiasm to share and seek learnings about grantmaking practices and grantees’ activities, and the ability to leverage the skills of people with different perspectives and styles. The ideal candidate will be an agile and rigorous thinker, and be comfortable engaging in collegial debates about the future direction of programming. They will be organized, with outstanding oral and written communications skills, including the capacity to communicate complex problems, ideas and solutions coherently, both verbally and in writing. Excellent listening skills, confidence, candor, curiosity, a sense of humor, humility, energy, and a commitment to the foundation’s guiding principles are all essential characteristics for the role.

Skills and Experience

Candidates must have a minimum of 10 years of relevant experience.  They should demonstrate extensive knowledge of global development, international relations, gender and social inclusion and inclusive governance. Candidates should have experience in policy formulation and advocacy, strategy development, and implementation and management of a portfolio of projects and/or grantmaking in low or lower-middle-income countries. The successful candidate will likely have long-term experience living and working in Africa, and will have lived and worked in several low or middle-income countries, preferably including Latin America. Work experience should demonstrate an ability to think strategically, and to translate ideas into practical actions. A demonstrated track record in managing time, deadlines, and budgets is essential.

Essential qualifications include:

  • Demonstrated track record of influencing policy and management practice in low- and lower-middle income countries at scale.  Experience with indirect influence: in advocacy; implementation that is catalytic; and/or applied research that influences how others fund and/or implement programs. 
  • Experience and knowledge on the intersections between gender equality, social inclusion and inclusive governance.
  • Expertise in one or more disciplines relevant to governance/accountability and gender/social inclusion e.g. gender & development studies, anthropology, economics, MBA or MPA, political science, sociology etc. 
  • Understanding and ability to draw insights from across disciplines relevant to gender, social inclusion, and inclusive governance.  E.g. gender & development studies, anthropology, economics, business, political science, sociology, human rights, etc.
  • Minimum of 3-5 years professional experience in managing, tracking, conducting research on or influencing policy-making processes of multilateral or regional and global institutions, or national government agencies responsible for shaping, exercising oversight or managing government services. Within such roles, experience managing diverse relationships and partnerships with civil society organizations and networks, other funding agencies, private sector, the media or other stakeholders concerned with effective governance.  
  • Demonstrated experience and skills in representing or acting as a spokesperson for an organization to external audiences such as public speaking, appearing on or moderating expert panels, facilitating peer-to-peer dialogue, or sharing and influencing ideas through external communications platforms. 
  • Strong analytical skills, ability to use data, evidence, and quantitative/qualitative analytics to develop a strategy, allocate resources, and assess progress.
  • Ability to synthesize ideas and communicate effectively with diverse audiences, including grantees, colleagues, boards of directors, policymakers, and other donors (government and private).
  • Capacity to listen attentively and communicate persuasively, orally and in writing, in a range of settings.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally, as needed, around 25%-35% of time.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications for daily use (Word, Excel, Outlook Calendar).

Desirable qualifications include:

  • Experience leading and/or managing a portfolio of investments, program design, strategy development, and execution in inclusive governance and accountability at a large (i.e. national) scale or in an international institution with cross sectoral emphasis.
  • Experience working with civil society organizations, grassroots organizations, and/or social movements active in the inclusive governance or related fields of practice, either directly or through close collaborations.
  • Demonstrated commitment to integrating feminist principles into a wide variety of work, including on efforts to promote inclusive governance and accountability. 
  • Proficiency in French desirable. Spanish a plus. 
  • Experience in planning and group facilitation in workshops, team meetings, peer-to-peer dialogues, feedback sessions or other virtual and in-person spaces.
  • Proficiency in other common software and communications applications and social media platforms.

Candidates for this role must be willing to relocate to Menlo Park, California, USA. This will be done in accordance with the latest health guidance on COVID-19.