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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Job Opening: OSIWA Higher Education Support Program Officer


Higher Education Support Program Officer

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

Higher education institutions and actors are instrumental in the establishment and consolidation of open societies committed to inclusion, critical thinking, human rights, justice, and democracy. The International Higher Education Support Program (HESP) is committed to supporting universities and members of their communities by nurturing their capacity and leadership for well-informed, vigorous, and inclusive social deliberation, specifically in societies in transition. To this end, the program promotes academic autonomy and critical thinking, favors innovation and imagination, and aids in building transparent and effective institutional governance and countering “brain drain.”

The International Higher Education Support Program (HESP) supports initiatives that aim to advance:

- Open Minds: developing academics’ intellectual skills – including critical thinking – to prepare them for high-level work and sustainable impact;
- Open Universities: institutions that function reflexively in line with the values of open societies, where freedom to think and speak critically and to inquire are respected and encouraged;
- Open Teaching: the roles universities play in training intellectually competent and critical students, generating cutting-edge research and cultivating and securing access to the best teaching practices and approaches;
- Public Intellectual Activity: reaching out towards the development of a public intellectual sphere vital for strong and vibrant societies.

HESP is seeking a Program Officer to be based in one of the OSF offices in Africa or Europe and reports to the HESP Director.

Purpose of Position: To design, implement and administer the HESP programs in the African continent; to implement and administer the Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI). Work is carried out independently/under general supervision.

RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. OSF may add, change, or remove essential and other duties at any time.

- In cooperation with the HESP Director, work on the design and the implementation of the HESP strategies and programs in Africa; In cooperation with the HESP Director and the ACCAI interim Director, work on the implementation of the ACCAI strategies and programs in Africa;
- Establish contacts with institutions/departments/scholars in Africa and outside the continent with relevance to African HE;
- Coordinate communication and organize meetings with the relevant stakeholders within and outside OSF;
- Coordinate the announcement and advertising process for the various programs, including the design of the call for application and application forms where relevant;
- Coordinate the solicitation and selection procedures;
- Administer the grants of the selected partners;
- Create a database of the programs;
- Prepare the HESP Africa Programs budget;
- Responsible for the implementation of the annual Africa related HESP strategies and prepare report of the actions undertaken for submission to the HESP Sub-Board;
- Prepare reports for the Director, the HESB and other partners and stakeholders;
- Solicit, review and analyze reports;
- Organize program reviews;
- Monitor implementation through correspondence and site-visits;
- Disseminate and cooperate with similar initiatives and potential partners;
- Participate in other HESP activities providing input to other, related programs and projects;
- Travel is required;
- Perform other duties as assigned


Bachelor’s degree (B.A.) from a four-year college or university with a minimum of seven years relevant experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

- Master’s degree in Humanities or Social Sciences preferred;
- Good understanding of the higher education system and development in Africa;
- Very good written and oral English and French language skills;
- Commitment to the mission of OSF, HESP and ACCAI;

- University teaching and research background would be an asset.


- Effectively manage to work efficiently in a fast-paced environment, troubleshoot and follow projects through to completion, with strict deadlines and without loss of attention to detail, budget and reporting;

- Excellent written, verbal, organizational, analytical and interpersonal skills;
- Excellent computer skills, proficient in Microsoft Office and experience with internet research and database management;
- Exercise good listening and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences;
- Effectively work as a team member and independently, with a high-level of self-motivation and ability to set and meet goals;
- Show discretion and ability to handle confidential issues;
- Knowledge of key organizations and networks active in the field;
- Pleasant, diplomatic manner and disposition in interacting with colleagues and the general public;
- Good knowledge of OSF computerized management systems would be an asset.

Salary: Commensurate with experience with full benefits.

Start Date: ASAP

Location: To be determined by OSF

To Apply: send resume (in English), cover letter, brief writing sample and salary requirements, by cob 28th February2013 to: osiwarecruitment@osiwa.org

Include job code in subject line: PO-HESP- ACCAI

Early submissions are strongly encouraged

Note: Due to the number of applications we receive, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted by OSIWA.

No phone calls, please. The Open Society Foundations are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Download the Terms of Reference.

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