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Oak Foundation

Marine Food Systems – Programme Officer, Environment Programme

About the Oak Foundation

The Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social, and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa and North America, Oak Foundation grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries.

About the Environment Programme

The new strategy has evolved from a sectoral approach, which focused on climate, marine, and wildlife trade and conservation, to a global systems transformation approach. We have chosen to focus on three systems that present the greatest transformative opportunities: Energy, Natural Security, and Food. Each of these systems is vital to our future as a human species and the global commons upon which we all depend. In all three focus areas, we place people and communities at the heart of our work

Please read about Oak Foundation’s strategy on its website.

Purpose of the Role

This is a great opportunity to join a diverse, international team within Oak Foundation’s Food Systems team. This is a solutions-focused role to help tackle the global imbalance of the world’s food supply chain by addressing the negative social and environmental impacts of distant water fishing fleets, while protecting the food security of small-scale fisheries, particularly in coastal nations in the southern hemisphere. The programme officer will oversee a grant portfolio designed to counteract threats from distant water fisheries by supporting efforts to: increase transparency, accountability, and fisheries policy reforms, reduce harmful gear and subsidies, and improve labour rights’ safeguards. The grant portfolio is highly complementary to our focus on small-scale fisheries governance reform and will require close coordination with the rest of the food system team. The position is strongly rooted in social justice and equity lens.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Maintain primary responsibility for the management of Oak’s distant water fishing grant portfolio from the point of initial inquiry to assessment and final recommendation to the President/Trustees/Advisory Panel Meeting;
  • Identify high-impact, innovative, and entrepreneurial grant-making opportunities to further strengthen Oak’s leadership role across marine philanthropy and in line with the strategic directions of the food systems team; 
  • Contribute to the people-centred strategic direction of the overall Environment Programme, with a special focus on shaping the food system components of the programme’s high-level goals, including through the co-drafting of various submissions and reports to Advisory Panel meetings;  
  • Review budgets submitted by applicant organisations as part of the due diligence process;  
  • Conduct the monitoring and evaluation of grants, including through site visits;  
  • Work with Oak Foundation’s administrative and programme management staff to ensure efficient progress in grant-making, monitoring, and reporting, as well as other administrative activities related to the programme; 
  • Represent Oak Foundation at external meetings and contribute to internal and key constituent communications on the food systems portfolio;  
  • Maintain and build a strong network of relationships with key players in the food and marine conservation sector (not-for-profit organisations, scientific, philanthropic, government, private sector) and particularly within his/her geographical focus area; and
  • Stay up to date on key scientific, legislative, and regulatory developments internationally and within key regions where Oak has active grant-making. 

Skills and Experience

  • University degree in political ecology, or environmental, natural, or social sciences. A Master’s degree is preferred;
  • At least seven years’ relevant professional experience, and a track record of significant achievement in a discipline related to marine conservation, small-scale fisheries, and rights-based approaches;
  • At least 3 – 5 years of lived work experience in the global south;
  • Strong personal and professional networks in marine conservation, food systems, social movements and civil society organisations;  
  • An understanding of not-for-profit organisations, civil society organisations, and/or governmental financial reporting and budgeting; 
  • Proven research and analytical skills; 
  • Outstanding organisational abilities and a commitment to efficiency and meeting tight deadlines; 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; desire and ability to work in a collaborative team environment; 
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills; 
  • Comfort expressing opinions in a setting that encourages a vibrant exchange of ideas; 
  • A strongly developed sense of integrity, humility, and discretion; poise, maturity and a good sense of humour; 
  • Available for international travel, up to 40 days a year, sometimes for extended periods; 
  • A commitment to Oak’s organisational values