Senior Grants Officer – Africa

The International Crane Foundation (ICF) is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways they depend on. Cranes are among the most threatened families of birds in the world.  With their deep cultural connections, ecological sensitivity, and coexistence with people, cranes serve as flagships, indicators, and ambassadors for land and water conservation on five continents. In Africa, ICF works in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), a conservation NGO based in South Africa.  This dynamic partnership between ICF and the EWT works across sub-Saharan Africa to secure wild populations of the four threatened crane species: Wattled, Blue, Grey Crowned, and Black Crowned Cranes. We are committed to working across cultures to improve livelihoods for people and engage communities in the conservation of lands they share with cranes.  We achieve this through conservation actions that effectively reduce threats to the species and their habitats, and through working closely with local communities and key local, national, and global stakeholders. We empower individuals, community groups, and organizations to manage watersheds for the benefit of both people and cranes, ensuring that conservation is mainstreamed into local decision-making and practices for sustainable species and habitat conservation impacts.  The ICF/EWT Partnership currently has regional programs in East Africa (based from Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda), Southern Africa (based from Zambia), and South Africa, and is expanding into West/Central Africa.

We are looking for a talented, experienced Senior Grants Officer for our Africa Programs. The right candidate will have a successful track record in planning, securing, and writing large grants from diverse sources.  The candidate will have great writing skills and experience in conservation or natural resources, with a strong understanding of the technical language required by agencies involved in conservation and sustainable development funding and international experience, preferably in Africa.  The candidate may work from home or base at one of our regional offices in the US or Africa and will travel regularly to accompany our regional hub leaders for meetings with agencies, embassies, and other prospective in-country donors in support of our priority programs and projects.

What is it like to work at ICF? Prepare to be surrounded by people who are passionate about our mission, dedicated to the organization, and engaged with their fellow staff and associates.  You will find deep commitment at all levels of the organization from staff and volunteers to our senior leaders and Board of Directors. You will play a critical role in our mission across Africa.  

Position Summary:

The Senior Grants Officer – Africa supports the mission of the ICF/EWT Partnership by leading and supporting efforts to secure long-term sustainable funding for our work in Africa. The Senior Grants Officer – Africa engages in funding strategy development, identification of new funding streams, writing grant proposals, and overseeing grant management.  The incumbent will report to the Vice President – Africa Program, oversee and mentor the Africa Grants Manager, and work in close collaboration with the Africa regional program leaders based in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia, as well as ICF and EWT Senior Leadership, Development, and Finance teams.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Funding strategy development – Work with the Vice President – Africa and Africa Program staff to lead the development and implementation of a funding strategy for the ICF/EWT Partnership’s Africa Program that addresses our needs for scaling up the impact of our programs, diversifying our funding sources, sustainably financing our long-term projects, and advancing institutional capacity.  Provide guidance and strategic direction to our projects suitable for impact-based funding in the growing conservation financing and Environment, Social and Governance sectors.
  • Grant sourcing – Actively seek to develop major new funding streams for the Africa Program, with particular focus on multilateral and bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) (e.g., GEF, USAID, climate funds), corporate sponsorship, impact-based investments, and philanthropic sources. Actively engage with the conservation financing and Ecosystem, Social and Governance networks to increase our understanding and investment in cutting-edge conservation finance opportunities such as impact bonds, and biodiversity credits.
  • Grant writing – Lead the writing of major grant proposals in coordination with Africa Program management and senior technical staff.  Demonstrate fluency in the technical language of large agency grants and associated conventions on biodiversity, climate, and sustainable development.
  • Grants management supervision – The candidate will supervise and mentor the Africa Grants Manager in tracking and reporting on successful large grants and writing/managing smaller grants.

Additional Duties:

  • Provide input to the annual budget development process for the Africa program, in coordination with the VP – Africa Program.
  • Coordinate with ICF Senior Leadership and Development teams and with the EWT’s USA Fundraiser on donor relations for US-based funding sources for Africa Program activities.
  • Provide capacity development and mentoring support on grant writing and grant management for Africa Program staff, key partners, and other relevant ICF and EWT staff.
  • Participate in ICF and EWT group discussions relating to fundraising, grant management, donor relations, and regional programs.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience in writing successful grants to develop six-figure plus proposals, pitches, and budgets involving diverse sources (multilateral, bilateral government, private sector, philanthropic, etc. sources).
  • Great writing skills, accompanied by fluency in the more technical language of agency grants with the ability to write grants that meet the standards and expectations of those agencies and convey language that clearly fits with their priorities.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in a conservation-related field—demonstrating knowledge of a range of conservation topics, including climate change, agriculture, water resources, biodiversity, etc.
  • International experience and strong understanding of the Africa program context, including strong understanding of the global and African regional donor landscape for biodiversity conservation and related environmental / sustainable development fields.
  • Experience using project / financial management systems.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in using essential office software (MS Word, Excel, Adobe Acrobat); proficiency in accounting and fundraising software preferable.

Core Competencies:

  • A strong sense of personal responsibility, professional ethics, respect and sensitivity for others, and ability to work as a constructive member of a team.
  • Proven capacity to work on your own initiative and with minimal supervision on fundraising and donor management tasks.
  • Confidence and cultural sensitivity to work with donor community in diverse African settings.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, including the ability to effectively draft correspondence and documents in a clear, concise, logical, and grammatically correct manner.
  • Ability to manage financial information in a well-organized, logical, and clear manner with attention to detail.
  • Ability to travel regionally and internationally, visiting donors located in Africa and other regions as needed.
  • An appreciation for cranes, birds, wetlands, and/or nature conservation is a plus.

Physical Abilities and Work Environment:

The physical abilities and work environment characteristics described below are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this position.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Physical Abilities:

  • Ability to operate computer and phones.
  • Ability to communicate with fellow staff and donors. Communication will include both one-to-one communication, small, and large group communication.
  • Must be able to remain in a stationary position for 5-7 hours a day.
  • Occasionally required to lift and move items up to 20 pounds.
  • Occasionally required to move throughout the building and throughout the site. 
  • Ability to travel regionally and internationally.

To apply send cover letter and resume to icfjobs@savingcranes.org  Please include salary goals in your cover letter. Please list subject:  Senior Grants Officer – Africa

“ICF is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. We hire great people.”

ICF is an equal opportunity employer.