Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park is hiring a Commmunities Lead

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a private, nonprofit U.S. organization founded in 1895. Its mission is to preserve wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, developing science-based solutions, and taking conservation action that benefits nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, a presence in more than 60 countries, and experience in creating more than 150 protected areas around the world, WCS has accumulated the biological knowledge, cultural understanding, and partnerships necessary to ensure that wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, this knowledge is applied to address species, habitat, and ecosystem management issues that are critical to improving the quality of life for poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct use of natural resources.


Program Overview

For the past 25 years, WCS Congo has been the primary conservation partner of the Government of Congo, providing support to MEF for wildlife and habitat management in several national parks, reserves and protected area buffer zones. Within these sites, WCS develops and implements actions for effective wildlife protection, community-based natural resource management, ecological monitoring, scientific research and environmental education. Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of intact contiguous rainforest in the northern Republic of Congo. The forest is part of the tri-national Sangha Forest landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is a stronghold for important populations of large mammals, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. Established in 1993, NNNP and its buffer zone have benefited from more than 25 years of collaborative management between the Congolese government and WCS to emerge as one of the most successful protected areas for wildlife conservation in Central Africa. In October 2014, WCS signed a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) for the long-term management and financing of NNNP, creating the Nouabalé-Ndoki Foundation as the park's management entity under a 25-year agreement.


Position Summary


The Community Development Lead is expected to oversee the design and development of the NNNP’s portfolio of work targeting people living within and surrounding the reserve. S/He will lead a growing team to ensure effective implementation of the portfolio.


Main responsibilities


  1. Manage an effective socio-economic team


The Community Development Lead will build, train, mentor and manage a team of people to implement the portfolio of work with people living within and surrounding the reserve. This will include ensuring that technical capacity of the team responds to the priority needs of the people.


  1. Prepare deliverables and proposals


The Community Development Lead will lead designing annual, trimestral and monthly work plans, regular donor progress reports, and technical reports. S/He will also lead and contribute to fundraising proposals.


  1. Coordinate actors and partners working on community development surrounding the Park


In addition to implementing development activities, the Community Development Lead will coordinate and work with other actors, NNNP partners and private enterprises to enhance the Park’s approaches with people living within and surrounding the reserve, ensuring that these function within the environmental framework and objectives of the reserve. Part of this work will be to develop a community development strategy for the reserve and to ensure that all work that is carried out in and surrounding the reserve adheres to that strategy, and that efforts are harmonized and not duplicated. The work will include building relationships and harnessing the investments that are made by different actors in the area.


  1. Ensure that gender and Indigenous Peoples (IP) issues are fully incorporated into all aspects of the reserve’s community development program


Under the leadership of the Community Development Lead, the work of the reserve management shall be transformative towards gender and rights-holding people living within the reserve; therefore, the reserve will not just mainstream gender and indigenous people in its programs. Overall, this means that the work is carried out in recognition of the role that women and indigenous people play in the use of natural resources, and that there shall be a balanced gender- and rights-holder sharing of planning, implementing and managing of activities – rather than women only following male instructions in line with traditional androcentric practices and rather than indigenous people being continually dehumanized and marginalized in line with historic, colonial and post-colonial practices. In addition, the Community Development Lead will ensure that the reserve adheres to the highest social safeguarding standards (including, for example, having proactive gender and people equality policies, with reference to disadvantaged groups and the ethical considerations of the work). The work on gender and indigenous people will include designing and collaboration with the WCS ROC, regional and global technical team to deliver gender-based training modules, monitor gender/IP approaches in the landscape, update gender/IP strategies, and ensure each year gender/IPs are incorporated into the workplan


  1. Adaptation, monitoring, evaluation, and learning


The Community Development Lead will develop, coordinate and maintain a comprehensive framework and monitoring system for all community development activities that shows a clear theory of change to people’s well-being.


Qualification Requirements


  • A brilliant, analytical mind that grasps complex issues facing the people living with and surrounding the reserve and finds the most pragmatic, practical, and optimum ways to respond to the issues within the environmental context of the reserve
  • Ability to communicate and explain complex processes and ideas effectively and efficiently
  • A minimum of a master’s degree in social sciences or environmental sciences
  • Five or more years of proven field experience implementing community development projects in Central Africa, preferably ROC
  • Ability to build and manage a diverse team of people
  • A strong desire to work in a collaborative environment, with an ability to maintain good working relationships with a diverse group of colleagues
  • Outstanding communication, organizational and coordination skills
  • Excellent understanding of and practical experience with international safeguarding standards in a development context; experience with Environmental and Social Management systems preferred
  • Experience working on bilateral/multilateral funded projects is an advantage
  • Ability to work, present trainings and write in French and in English; Lingala is an advantage
  • Ability to operate in remote areas under challenging living conditions


Application Process:


Interested candidates who meet the above qualifications should apply by emailing an application letter and CV containing the names and contact information of 3 referees to: by 9 April 2022 as the deadline. Indicate "Community Development Lead - NNNP" on the subject line of the email. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews.


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