Director, Africa Programs

Director, Africa Programs

Freedom House

Washington, DC or Remote, United States


The Director for Africa Programs at Freedom House is a senior position responsible for providing the overall strategic leadership, vision, implementation and team management, for Freedom House programmatic activities in and related to Africa. The Director works for and closely with the Vice President for International Programs, and the Africa Freedom House team to develop and manage donor-funded programs in Africa. This includes analyzing local social and political contexts to determine programmatic intervention opportunities and needs; setting and updating priorities for Africa programs and teams; designing programs; ensuring a steady stream of donor funding for through identification of new opportunities and working with Business Development and Fundraising on proposals; managing program teams; ensuring compliance with Freedom House policies and processes and donor rules and regulations; and managing security risks for teams and programs.. The Regional Director also plays an important role in communication and advocacy about the democratic and human rights situation in Africa and specific programs and their impact, to key stakeholders, including donors, policymakers, and the media. The Director oversees the Africa US-based and internationally based programmatic teams and works closely with the Chiefs of Party, Project Directors, and Deputy Program Director to oversee multiple program budgets.

The Director ensures and promotes partnership with other divisions of the organization, including research, policy and advocacy, talent & culture, security, operations, and communications on all activities related to Africa.

The position requires a candidate with deep knowledge of democracy, governance and human rights issues throughout Africa; a broad network of relationships in Africa (including with civil society organizations (CSOs), government entities, the diplomatic community, etc.); relationships with relevant United States Government (USG) entities (including donors supporting democracy programs in Africa) and a strong ability to collaborate and communicate.


Strategic leadership

  • Working closely with the Vice President for International Programs, develop and periodically update a comprehensive strategy for Freedom House programming in the Africa region that is aligned with the overall Freedom House strategic plan, which prioritizes countering authoritarianism, supporting defenders for democratic change, promoting a global democratic landscape, and strengthening Freedom House as a world class organization.
  • The Director will also leverages Freedom House’s strengths and prior and current programming in Africa to help foster sustainable change.
  • Support the Vice President for International Programs to foster an environment of organizational cross-functional and regional collaboration.
  • Ensure integrated security of program personnel at the home office and in the field, including physical, digital, and well being, including by assuring that security risk management is established and operating effectively for each office and/or duty location of staff; assumes security decision making responsibilities supported by the VP for International Programs and Freedom House’s office of Global Security.

Team Management

  • Recruit, supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews for direct reports.
  • Effectively manage culturally diverse staff and ensure the holistic implementation of organization's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) strategy.
  • Cultivate a safe and protective working environment for all staff.
  • Foster a culture of teamwork, learning, and continuous improvement within the consortium; lead the planning of technical assistance and organizational capacity strengthening efforts within the consortium
  • Build a strong Freedom House culture that is rooted in our core values: Belonging, Collaboration; Respect, Integrity and Excellence.
  • Provide team with support through finding solutions through excellent communication and interpersonal skills to build strong relationships and include diverse groups of stakeholders.

Award management/implementation

  • Working closely with the Deputy Program Director, Chiefs of Party, Project Directors and/or SPMs, ensures the timely and accurate completion of deliverables and processes (work plan development and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, grants and budget/finance monitoring, reporting).
  • Drive seamless coordination between programming and operations and across portfolios and outcomes, with the objective of supporting employees and a commitment to continuously improving the quality of Freedom House programs and impact.


  • Working closely with the Deputy Program Director, Chiefs of Party, Project Directors and/or SPMs, lead to build consensus around thematic and country priorities to improve the delivery of programs in Africa and to make processes more consistent within the region and between country programs.
  • Ensures that program implementation is compliant with donor rules and regulations, and Freedom House polies and procedures.
  • Strengthen the Africa regional program team’s readiness to respond to new emergencies in line with Freedom House strategic plan priorities, policies, and guidelines.
  • Engage Africa regional teams and country programs in on-going context analysis to ensure Freedom House programs are continually adapted to the evolving contexts across the region.

New Business/Proposals

  • In coordination with Business Development and fundraising identify opportunities for new programs and additional funding for existing programs; lead the design of program concepts for proposals that prioritize thematic and country priorities; and draft and negotiate proposals and budgets with a range of funders.

External outreach, advocacy and representation

  • Engage in strong Africa regional-level representation with donors, international and local NGOs, and networks, and leverage and forge effective partnerships.
  • Work closely with the Vice President for International Programs and the Vice President for Policy and Advocacy to develop annual strategic advocacy plans for Africa priority countries and issues directed at the US government and other targets of importance, including other democracies, international or regional bodies, and/or the private sector, as relevant.
  • Working closely with the Vice President for International Programs and other members of Freedom House’s Executive team, serve as point of contact and speak with authority on Freedom House’s activities in Africa, including with donors, at policy forums, in testimony before legislative bodies and in regional or international advocacy initiatives.
  • Use knowledge of the region to effectively interact with funders, partners, government officials, policy and diplomatic communities, and other stakeholders.
  • Work closely with the Vice President for International Programs and the Vice President for Communications to draft written materials for publication, including statements, articles and social media content to strengthen Freedom House’s communication, advocacy agenda, and programmatic strategy for the Africa region.



  • Advanced degree in political science, international relations, or a related field strongly preferred.


  • Twelve or more years of directly related experience including design and implementation of donor-funded international development, democratic governance and human rights programs; minimum four years at managerial level and experience managing USG funded human rights and civil society project field offices in the Africa region strongly preferred.
  • Five or more years of experience in the Africa region strongly preferred.
  • Eight or more years of experience leading and managing multi-disciplinary staff, including minimum of five years managing senior staff preferred.
  • Mastery of human rights principles and governing international/regional institutions/organizations, instruments, and processes.
  • Expert knowledge of Africa, including history, culture, economy, political economy, and of democracy and human rights issues, organizations, legal frameworks, and opportunities.
  • Expertise in management of international donor funded programming including work planning; Monitor & Evaluation; budget management; and donor relations.
  • Experience managing staff to achieve programmatic results; ability to coach and mentor staff and provide visionary leadership.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace or your community.

Skills and Competencies

  • Proven knowledge of USG and other donor rules and regulations.
  • Superior fundraising skills with demonstrable ability to successfully cultivate donors and foundations; outstanding proposal development and writing skills preferred.
  • Strong ability to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing is required; ability to communicate effectively in French is a plus.
  • Outstanding writing and presentation skills.
  • Astute political judgment and strategic thinking and vision for developing and implementing programs to support human rights and democracy promotion in Africa.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to persuade people with divergent views.
  • Strong ability to initiate, foster, interact, and maintain relationships with contacts and stakeholders in diverse and cross-cultural environments, with sensitivity and a high degree of courtesy, discretion, tact, and professionalism.
  • Ability to always maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work.
  • Strong ability to plan, organize, prioritize work, and multitask to meet tight deadlines.
  • Ability to travel independently and complete tasks in unfamiliar countries and regions.
  • Previous advocacy or government experience is a plus.

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