AWF - Senior Program Design Officer, West and Central Africa

The Senior Program Design Officer (SPDO) contributes to African Wildlife Foundation’s (AWF) engagement with and fundraising from bi- and multi-lateral donors in in Central and West Africa with a focus initially on DR Congo and Cameroon with the aim of building and maintaining multi-donor portfolios of at least $10 million for each of the landscapes in those two countries.


The work of the SPDO involves cultivating relationships that are key to programming overseas development assistance (ODA), advising country land landscape leadership teams on host government engagement strategies that deliver integrated conservation and development policies and programs, making the case for increased financing to biodiversity conservation nationally, and leading the development of AWF proposals to finance our work. The SPDO is a member of a global team that manages public donor relationships, prepares complex proposals in response to identified opportunities, tracks and ensures quality in project reporting to donors, and informs AWF leadership of developments in donor strategies and priorities. The SPDO may also support policy functions that are a priority to AWF’s DRC and Cameroon country strategies.


The SPDO position will be based in Kinshasa and embedded within AWF’s DRC country program. The SPDO will be responsible for identifying, defining and developing funding proposals in coordination with country, landscape, thematic, program and finance teams in order to raise public funds for existing and planned program activities in DRC and Cameroon in particular, and other West and Central African countries as deemed relevant. This includes prospecting, researching, process management, writing and submitting grant applications to public donors. The SPDO will also be responsible for representing AWF to public sector partners, and supporting management of relationships with government agencies, civil society organizations (CSOs) and other important stakeholders. In this respect the PDO will support identifying and promoting policies that support biodiversity conservation and sustainable development including engaging with CSOs to articulate and promote effective policies and engagement with platforms at all levels in strengthening capacities on effective policies and policy processes.


Working closely with the Director Program Design (DPD), AWF’s Country Directors/Coordinators, the Africa Policy lead, and donor Account Managers, and the AWF leadership team, the SPDO will work to win support for AWF’s strategy, cultivate existing and new donor and partner relationships, and elevate the conservation agenda in development cooperation and policy dialogues in DRC and Cameroon and possibly other countries in West/Central Africa.



The SPDO will have an annual fundraising target contributing to AWF’s institution-wide balanced scorecard measures and annual targets. The core responsibilities of the SPDO are designed to enable the incumbent to deliver on these targets.

Donor and Partner Cultivation and Management & Policy support (~50%)

In collaboration with the DPD and AWF’s Country Director/lead in DRC and Cameroon, the SPDO leads and supports AWF’s cultivation of opportunities for program development with bi- and multi-lateral development partners and donors in DRC and Cameroon and support the country director/lead and team with other key relationships with important stakeholders such as Governmental, civil society, or private sector partners as needed. These functions include, but are not limited to:

  • Support AWF’s DRC and Cameroon Country Program’s fundraising targets and grow AWF’s relationships with bi- and multi-lateral donors in DRC and Cameroon with a primary focus on DRC and a more supporting role to AWF’s Cameroon Country Program.
  • Support AWF leadership to establish and maintain relationships with key donors and Government institutions as well as key stakeholders in DRC, Cameroon and the West and Central Africa region.
  • Track and analyze donor and governmental priorities and strategies in relation to AWF conservation, policy and fundraising objectives in DRC, Cameroon and West/Central Africa and develop strategic interventions on how to secure funding.
  • Track agendas of DRC’s and Cameroon’s development partners, to brief the Country Director/leads and AWF leadership team, donor account managers, and International Policy & Government Relations (Global Leadership) team and provide technical advice on programming priorities in DRC, Cameroon and West/Central Africa.
  • Develop funding plans and strategies for DRC’s and Cameroon’s country, landscapes, and thematic programmes and emerging issues in the West/Central Africa region.
  • Support Country and Landscape teams in effective donor servicing through soliciting and preparing for and participating in donor field visits to AWF landscapes and projects in DRC, Cameroon and West/Central Africa.
  • Provide specific grant management support upon request with: management and donor relations of existing grants; review project reports; donor compliance support to management of grants, grant panning and financial tracking of ongoing grants.
  • Working with the Country Directors/leads, Africa policy lead and other key thematic and landscape leads, support development of clear, innovative, consistent and coherent messaging for donors.
  • Promote increased financing to biodiversity conservation in DRC, Cameroon and West/Central Africa.

Proposal Development and Writing (~40%)

As a part of the Program Design (PD) team, conducts the full range of activities required to prepare, submit, and manage grant proposals to secure public funding for DRC, Cameroon and other countries in West and Central Africa as needed. Working under the leadership of DPD and Account Managers on the PD team, the SPDO takes primary responsibility as “proposal lead” in searching for and responding to public donor funding opportunities:

  • Surface opportunities through donor engagement and networking in DRC, Cameroon and the West and Central Africa region;
  • Analyze and review funding opportunities and call for proposals and their fit for AWF’s present projects, programs and strategies;
  • Mange project proposal development processes;
  • Solicit and coordinate technical inputs from AWF’s country and landscape teams and technical experts as well as from other AWF department, co-applicants and implementing partners;
  • Ensure that supporting documents from Government and co-applicants are timely secured;
  • Writes professional and compelling log frames, concepts, proposals, budgets, etc.;
  • Work with PD/finance to present professional cost applications to secure public funding and ensure synergy in donor budgeting, contract development with partners and consortia, management and reporting.
  • Ensure that new proposals incorporate AWF’s rights-based standards and are aligned to donor requirements.

Other key roles (~10%)

  • Liaise with account managers and PD team members to support proposal development and cultivation activities as needed across AWF’s fundraising portfolio.
  • Coordinate with and assist the Philanthropy and Foundations & Corporations teams fundraising efforts for DRC, Cameroon and West/Central Africa, highlight local funding needs and priorities to these teams, function as a resource person, and ensure fundraising synergies are created.
  • Support the rest of the PD as well as Grants, and Program teams to implement actions in their portfolios, adhere to donor conditions and submit reports in a timely way.
  • Represent AWF in relevant meetings, conferences and at donor and partner events in DRC, Cameroon and West/Central Africa.
  • Collaborate with AWF communications and marketing teams to support visibility of AWF’s projects in DRC, Cameroon and West/Central Africa.
  • Support filing, tracking and reporting on PD grant and donor metrics and pipeline on monthly and quarterly basis.
  • Support preparation of supporting materials for meetings, trips, presentations, and other events/occasions.
  • Assists with other tasks, as assigned.



  • Reputable Master’s degree (or equivalent combination of education and experience) in relevant field: including conservation, natural resource management, rural/international development, economics, political science or similar.


  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in fundraising, proposal design, and donor engagement and relationship management, preferably in the field of conservation or environmental management.
  • Experience in proposal design with demonstrated ability to develop high-quality Logical framework and results chains, design technical and cost proposals and concept papers.
  • Experience of working with major public donor agencies such as USAID, EU, the GEF, France, or Germany.
  • Track record of successfully writing proposals to and securing funding from bilateral and/or multilateral institutions.
  • Good understanding of DRC’s and Cameroon’s public donor environment and government’s development agenda as well as of issues faced by AWF in delivering its mission in DRC, Cameroon and across Africa. Similar understanding for West and Central Africa in general and Niger is an additional advantage.
  • Experience in policy making and engagement in the Government of DRC’s policy and strategy development processes is highly desired.
  • Experience in partnership management with government and civil society stakeholders is an advantage.

Skills, Abilities and Knowledge

  • Highly skilled to conceptualize project design and write project documents (including budgets, log frames, and work plans) and reports.
  • Existing relationships with donors in DRC and up-to-date understanding of bilateral and multilateral donor agencies’ priorities in DRC. Similar existing relationships for Cameroon and Niger is an additional advantage.
  • Strong interpersonal skills as demonstrated by the ability to work as a team member and ability to negotiate and manage donor relationships.
  • Well-developed emotional intelligence including self-awareness, self-motivation, self-regulation and empathy. This is a job that requires both independence and collaboration, and an ability to sense when to take leadership in a situation, and when to put others forward.
  • Have a logical perspective on things and ability to reduce mechanisms, processes, proposals, ideas, or formulas to their basic parts and understand and explain how they interrelate in a project or contribute to fulfilment of higher agendas such the Sustainable Development Goals, national development plans, and AWF’s mission, strategies and plans.
  • Excellent writing skills are necessary, including the ability to shift writing style and purpose to be appealing and persuasive to the designated target audience.
  • Fluency in speaking and writing both English and French is required as demonstrated by an ability to produce technical documents in both French and English.
  • Must possess strong editing skills and pay attention to detail.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of contemporary conservation and development issues in Africa including good understanding of sustainable development, adaptive project management, MEAL, and knowledge management concepts and application.
  • Demonstrate commitment to and a good understanding of AWF’s Rights Based Conservation approaches, values and principles.
  • High degree of responsibility and accountability for tasks, projects, assignments, and commitments including meeting strict deadlines.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with a wide group of colleagues and partners, including proactive sharing of information and reporting.
  • Proven ability to work independently, and effectively and collaboratively in cross-functional teams.
  • Advanced computer and internet skills.


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