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The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Program Officer – Transparency, Participation, and Accountability and Evidence-Informed Policy

As the next Program Officer for Transparency, Participation, and Accountability and Evidence-Informed Policy, your work will span two teams at the Hewlett Foundation, working on improving the effectiveness of governments in Africa. In this role, you will manage a portfolio of grants and contribute your expertise to an emerging program strategy for improving government effectiveness and accountability 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 more than 50 years, it has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote women’s health and economic well-being, support vibrant performing arts, and strengthen Bay Area communities. In addition, we also make grants for special projects and to address other timely problems, such as challenges related to cybersecurity. Our newest program focuses on strengthening U.S. democracy. In 2020, the foundation announced a new grantmaking commitment focused on racial justice. The Hewlett Foundation’s assets are more than $10 billion with annual awards of grants totaling more than $450 million. More information about the Hewlett Foundation is available at www.hewlett.org.

About the Global Development and Population Program

The Global Development and Population Program makes grants to improve the well-being of people. While most of the program’s work is focused on improving social and economic outcomes in East and West Africa and in Mexico, an important component of the program’s reproductive health grantmaking includes the United States.

Our 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 and support advocacy and collective action across sectors and geographies.  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 Program Officer will join the GDP team at a time of strategy evolution, as both the TPA and EIP teams are engaged in deep learning about progress to date and refreshing their grantmaking strategies. This program officer will work with the TPA and EIP teams to administer and support a large portfolio of existing grants, and over time, transition and evolve our grantmaking to implement updated and refreshed strategies effectively. In the short-term, the Program Officer will help shape our future TPA strategy and identify opportunities for shared learning across the two strategies and with other programs within GDP. In the medium term, the PO will work with the EIP team to update and refresh their strategy. Over time and as the Program Officer becomes more familiar with the Hewlett Foundation’s approach to Outcome-Focused Philanthropy, the Program Officer will play a critical role in implementing these new strategies both through grantmaking and other “beyond the grant dollars work.”  Our beyond the grant dollars work typically includes learning from, coordinating with, and influencing other funders in the field by participating in donor collaboratives and other philanthropic partnerships; amplifying grantees’ voices 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. 
A key part of a Program Officer’s role is developing and maintaining strong and trusted relationships with grantees, funders, and other actors in their fields of work, and often fostering collaboration and collective action among them. In line with the Hewlett Foundation’s guiding principles of working with grantees in collaborative, mutually respectful ways, 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. Meanwhile, the Program Officer identifies gaps and opportunities in the field, which can lead to developing new lines of grantmaking, fostering new collaborations, or commissioning research, learning, and evaluative work to better understand and advance governments’ effectiveness and accountability.

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 learn and better understand the foundation’s and grantees’ contribution to impact. A key aspect of this work is staying abreast of trends in theory and practice in governance related to transparency and accountability, the relationship between citizens and the state, evidence-informed policymaking, government effectiveness, and fiscal and budgetary policy oversight.  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 governance, transparency and accountability, evidence-informed decision making, and fostering relationships of collaboration and accountability among governmental and non-governmental actors, especially in Africa.
To manage and evolve a relatively large portfolio of grantees, the Program Officer will have to apply a combination of sound judgment, creativity, and qualitative and basic quantitative 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 thrives in a role with 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 various sources, apply it in decision-making, enthusiasm to share learning about grantmaking practices and grantees’ activities, and the ability to collaborate with people with different perspectives and styles. The ideal candidate will be an agile and rigorous thinker and be comfortable engaging in collegial debates about programming’s future direction. 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

Essential Qualifications

The foundation welcomes candidates from a variety of professional backgrounds and experience, which provide the following essential qualifications:

  • Ten or more years working in and with extensive knowledge of social and economic development, policy, research, and advocacy, particularly in Africa.
  • Has held positions inside and/or outside of government that allowed the candidate to develop experience with: understanding and advising on policy processes and government administration; improving government effectiveness and accountability to people; fostering engagement among government and non-governmental actors; and empathy for governments’ constraints, opportunities, and authorizing environments.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and to translate ideas into practical actions, including through: development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies; management of a portfolio of projects and/or grantmaking; ability to use data, evidence, and quantitative/qualitative analytics to develop a strategy, allocate resources, and assess progress; and ability to work seamlessly across strategic, substantive, and administrative aspects of work.
  • Ability to work with and foster collaboration across diverse stakeholders including through: bridging and building relationships and inspiring collaboration across sectors such as the public sector, civil society, academia, funding agencies, international organizations, private sector, or the media; and ability to listen attentively and synthesize ideas from across disciplines.
  • Strong communications and representational skills including: capacity to communicate clearly with diverse audiences, including grantees, colleagues, boards of directors, policymakers, and other donors (government and private); and demonstrated experience/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 and demonstrated track record of pursuing a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda in prior work environments.
  • Long-term experience living and working in Africa, and preferably also Mexico or other parts of Latin America.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally, as needed, around 25%-35% of time (once global health conditions allow it).
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications for daily use (Word, Excel, Outlook Calendar).

Desirable qualifications

  • Experience working to improve national or sub-national government performance and effectiveness, or performance and effectiveness of an international institution, with a cross-sectoral emphasis. This experience could occur through direct work inside of a government or international institution, or indirectly (e.g. through consulting or grantmaking).
  • Professional experience related to multilateral or regional and global institutions, including through working within, conducting research on, or influencing policymaking processes of such institutions.  
  • Experience supporting institutional strengthening in non-governmental organizations.
  • Proficiency in French desirable. Spanish a plus.
  • Expertise in one or more disciplines relevant to improved government performance and effectiveness, e.g. gender and development studies, anthropology, economics, master’s degree in business, public administration, political science, public policy, sociology, etc.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation embraces the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally, in our hiring process and organizational culture, and externally, in our grantmaking and related practices. It is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences.