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Program Design Officer

Posted in NGOs

African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)

Job Type

Full Time



Description :

The Program Design Officer (PDO) contributes to African Wildlife Foundation’s (AWF) Zimbabwe Country Program by cultivating relationships that are key to programming overseas development assistance (ODA), advising governments on conservation and development programs and leading the development of AWF proposals to finance our work in country. The PDO will be 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 tracks and informs AWF leadership of developments in donor strategies and priorities. However, this position is imbedded in the country program, and as such will be an integral part of our focal country presence. The PDO will be responsible for identifying, defining and developing funding proposals in coordination with country, field, program and finance teams in order to raise public funds for existing and planned program activities in Zimbabwe. This includes prospecting, researching, process management, writing and submitting grant applications to public donors. The PDO will also be responsible representing AWF to Zimbabwe’s public sector partners, and supporting relationships with Zimbabwean government agencies and other important stakeholders. Working closely with the Senior Program Design Manager (SPDM), the AWF Zimbabwe Country Director, and donor Account Managers the PDO will work to win support for AWF’s strategy, cultivate existing and new donor relationships, and elevate the conservation agenda in development cooperation and policy dialogues in Zimbabwe.


Proposal Development and Writing (~40%)

As a part of the PD team, conducts the full range of activities required to prepare, submit, and manage grant proposals to secure public funding for Zimbabwe (mainly but may also support other countries). Working under the leadership of SPDM and Account Managers on the PD team, the PDO takes primary responsibility as “proposal lead” in searching for and responding to public donor funding opportunities:

  • analyse and review funding opportunities and call for proposals and their fit for AWF’s present projects, programs and strategies;
  • project manage proposal development teams;
  • solicit 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;
  • write 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.

Donor and Partner Cultivation and Management (~50%)

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

  • Support AWF Zimbabwe Country Program’s fundraising targets and grow AWF’s relationships with bi- and multi-lateral donors in Zimbabwe.
  • Support AWF Zimbabwe Country Program team to establish and maintain relationships with key Zimbabwean donors and Government institutions as well as key stakeholders in Zimbabwe.
  • Support policy and strategy engagement in Zimbabwe in coordination with the Country Director and Policy/Government Relations teams based on Zimbabwean and African priorities and strategies.
  • Track and analyse donor and governmental priorities and strategies in relation to AWF conservation, policy and fundraising objectives in Zimbabwe and develop strategic interventions on how to secure funding.
  • Track agendas of Zimbabwe’s development partners, to brief the Zimbabwe Country Director and team, donor account managers, and International Policy & Government Relations team and provide technical advice on programming priorities in Zimbabwe.
  • Support the articulation of AWF strategies as needed with the aim of securing new funding opportunities for Zimbabwe.
  • Support development of funding plans and strategies for Zimbabwe’s country, landscapes, and thematic programmes and emerging issues.
  • 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 Zimbabwe.

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 Zimbabwe, 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 Zimbabwe.
  • Collaborate with AWF communications and marketing teams to support visibility of AWF’s projects in Zimbabwe.
  • 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.
  • 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 planning and financial tracking of ongoing grants.


  • 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 5 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 or Germany.
  • Track record of successfully writing proposals to and securing funding from bilateral and/or multilateral institutions.
  • Good understanding of Zimbabwe’s public donor environment and government’s development agenda as well as of issues faced by AWF in delivering its mission in Zimbabwe and across Africa.
  • Highly skilled to conceptualize project design and write project documents (including budgets, log frames, and work plans) and reports.
  • Existing relationships with donors in Zimbabwe and up-to-date understanding of bilateral and multilateral donor agencies’ priorities in Zimbabwe.
  • Strong interpersonal skills including the ability to work as a team member and to negotiate and manage donor relationships.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • High degree of responsibility and accountability for tasks, projects, assignments, and commitments including meeting strict deadlines.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English essential. Good understanding of German or French languages is an advantage.

To apply

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