Posted 8 months ago

Program Officer MENA

The Ford Foundation’s office based in Cairo seeks a Program Officer (PO) to design, implement, and monitor a portfolio of grants in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), as part of the international Civic Engagement and Government program.  The MENA office strategy focuses on one driver of inequality, namely informality and the ensuing lack of social protection. The strategy aims to strengthen civil society and civic space to better address social protection and make visible the invisible lives of informal and self-employed workers – be they youth, women, refugees or people with disabilities. The office supports organizations at the country and regional level (in Egypt, Jordan Lebanon and Tunisia) that bolster social dialogue endorsed by government, as well as explore new channels for a wider societal dialogue. The office strategy seeks to pursue opportunities for alignment among different sectors of civil society and for NGOs to seize the enthusiasm of newly emerging youth partners and increased civic activism. The office’s work also recognizes the necessity of representations of resilience, creative resistance and storytelling through culture.

The PO will work with the Regional Director and the program team to implement the MENA office strategy, to learn with grantees and adjust strategy for impact. The PO will also work in collaboration with the international Civic Engagement and Government team on global strategy related processes and initiatives. The global team focuses on enhancing the openness of civic space, the sustainability and legitimacy of civil society and partnerships with governments.


Program Officers are responsible for the development of grant portfolios and ensuring all related activities (grant making, convenings, thought leadership, civil society strengthening, government relations) are designed to deliver on the MENA office goals and strategies. The Program Officer assesses and analyzes the landscape of organizations and identifies which actors to work with to shape agendas that would promote specific strategic outcomes; and makes grants to this end. Program Officers are networking agents and partnership builders–striving to share substantive knowledge with Foundation colleagues; collaborate broadly with Ford’s MENA office team; coordinate with the international CEG strategy and serve as a ‘connector’ of grantees. The Program Officer works with practitioners, government officials, scholars, NGOs, community-based organizations, other donors and corporate sector leaders on issues of common concern to leverage resources towards common goals. More specifically, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, the Program Officer will:

  • Contribute to the ongoing definition, development and adaptation of team strategies, working toward MENA Office goals.
  • Develop grant making activities in a team-oriented way, that are aligned with global and local strategy goals, and designed to achieve significant and scalable impact.
  • Manage, monitor and coordinate a grants portfolio, including: annual grant planning, identifying and working with the Foundation’s grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations; undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees, performing grantee site visits, reviewing financial and narrative reporting from grantees.
  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of broad coalitions and strategic communications as part of the program strategy.
  • Develop and implement grantee convenings and reflections to strategize and review opportunities, challenges and advances.
  • Identify ways to support grantees in the portfolio to become more durable, more resilient, and more effectively networked with each other. This includes support for strategic vision, leadership, management systems, financial stability, and organizational diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of strategic communications and narrative change as part of the program strategy.
  • Recommend and participate in learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work, promote exchange and strategic partnership. Learn from and collaborate with key stakeholders inside and outside the Foundation.
  • Represent the foundation and its work to the government, media, academic, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, briefings and interviews, with guidance from the Regional Director.
  • Play a leadership role on team, working toward and influencing team collaboration, team building and team effectiveness, modeling these skills for the team.  Serve as a mentor and coach to Program Associates and Program Assistants.



The Foundation is committed to hiring candidates with the right combination of skills and experience.   Our desired qualifications are:

  • A post-graduate degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Recognition as a leader on issues related to civil society, demonstrated collaboration with civil society and a perspective informed by the global context.
  • Experience and strong knowledge in the areas of civic space and social protection
  • Experience of around 8 years or more leading impact-driven strategies and/or subject-matter expertise in a relevant thematic area, and/or demonstration of strong cross-cutting work in a social justice arena.
  • Deep understanding of the social, cultural and political context of the MENA region and the geopolitical landscape.
  • Significant relevant experience on issues related to inequality at the national, regional or global levels, with a combination of policy analysis, advocacy, communications and implementation experience.
  • Substantive expertise in and experience with applying gender analysis to work.
  • Experience in coalition building and demonstrated experience as a ‘connector’ and ‘convener’ across a range of interested parties, including grantees, practitioners, government officials, scholars, NGO and corporate sector leaders, and other donors on issues of common concern to leverage positive impact toward common goals.
  • Familiarity and experience working with grassroots organizations, NGOs, academic, private sector and governmental institutions
  • Demonstrated success in program development, evaluation and management—including ability to strategize, plan, prioritize and identify/assess opportunities, challenges and institutions with which to engage.
  • Intellectual agility and ability to analyze evidence, think critically, and understand scientific and policy studies directly relevant to programmatic funding areas.
  • Experience with grantmaking desirable but not necessary.
  • Fluency in English required, and French would be an asset



The following personal attributes are desired:

  • Passion for social justice.
  • Demonstrated ability to be a collaborative and productive member of a team, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, comfort with periods of ambiguity, constructive participation in ongoing organizational development.
  • Approachable demeanor and openness to input from all levels of staff and grantees.
  • Sensitive to issues of gender, ethnic and cultural diversity and inclusion.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas, share best practices and experiences, and contribute to a learning environment as well as constructive verbal and written and strong presentation skills.
  • Impeccable integrity and trustworthiness; diplomatic approach to problem-solving.
  • Ability to consistently interact with others in a professional, courteous, and tactful manner, maintain a positive attitude and good working relationships, and work effectively in a team setting.
  • Ability to work well with colleagues, consultants, funders, and grantees across many diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Willingness to work to a flexible schedule, including occasional travel within the MENA region and Internationally.



  • This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. Additionally, domestic/international travel will be expected, approximately 30%; some travel is directly related to grantmaking, but also to attend team conferences, retreats, and meetings.
  • The Foundation moved to a hybrid working model in 2022 and there is a requirement to work from the office three days a week.
  • The Ford Foundation is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its programs, and operations. As part of this commitment, the Foundation will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application process, please contact: or call (212)  573-4627.

Ford Foundation

  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Project Management
  • Full-time
  • N/A
  • No
  • 7+
  • apply now
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