The Science for Africa Foundation – Programme Officer

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Job Purpose

Among the programmes at the SFA Foundation, is Public Engagement with Science. This programme seeks to link Science and Society by making science public to promote the uptake and impact of science on society; as well as reinforce environments conducive for scientists to thrive.

We are recruiting a Programme Officer – Public Engagement. The role is responsible for high-level programme technical support and coordination, working in a dynamic environment while managing the needs of numerous stakeholders globally, and keeping a finger on the pulse of numerous programmes. The Programme Officer works closely with the Programme Manager, programme team members and other SFA Foundation staff to ensure efficient implementation of the programme and effective collaboration with all role players within the programme. The PO will facilitate the smooth flow of knowledge reports, financial reports, procurement processes, grants processes, technical presentations, and proposals, including ensuring partnerships database management, updating, and timely submissions of deliverables and reports.

Principal Duties And Responsibilities

Programme Goal Setting & Planning

  • Work closely with the Programme Manager and other stakeholders to set programme goals and objectives.
  • Work closely with the Programme Manager in the development of various concept notes and proposals for funding including the development of annual budgets, ToRs, annual objectives; procurement plans, and risk registers.
  • Assist the Programme Manager in implementing the grants management process through stages of topic development/launch, triage, review, award selection, due diligence, and grant implementation.
  • Assist in developing and monitoring programme-specific performance indicators.
  • Provide quality control checks to team members on various workflows to ensure compliance and good practice.
  • Work with the Programme Manager to develop and implement project work plans. Monitor progress and ensure that deadlines and deliverables are met.
  • Support the recruitment of programmatic consultants, including assisting with drafting RFPs, ToRs, MoUs and tracking payments against agreed milestones and budgets.
  • Support in the design of various results frameworks (Theory of change, outcome, output, indicators of the programme, reporting tools/schedules).
  • Support the writing and editing of grant proposals and reports, ensuring that proposals are clear, concise, and meet the requirements of funders.
  • Support team members when implementing  risk management strategies including various institutional policies and procedures.
  • Support the development of new initiatives and programmes.

Research and Technical Support

  • Assist the Programme Manager in gathering and analyzing data to develop evidence-based positions on research and innovation policy issues linked to the core work.
  • Assist in utilising the outputs, networks and relationships created through the Programme to further the organisation’s strategic objectives.
  • Perform programme-relevant research to inform the development, implementation and delivery of the projects falling within the portfolio.
  • Provide technical support to grantees, including providing guidance on various aspects of the project.

Programme Tracking, Evaluation and Reporting

  • In close partnership with the Programme team, monitor, track and control outcomes, facilitating program team meetings to ensure performance progress and address any emerging issues. Maintain accurate and up-to-date online documentation of program milestones.
  • Assist in tracking programme spending vis-à-vis agreed programme milestones and continuously check the budget reports for accurate reporting to the funder’s agreed milestones.
  • Prepare reports, articles and presentations during programme inception meetings, annual grantee meetings, site visits and other meetings as needed.
  • Work in close collaboration with the M&E team to identify, collate, track, assess quality, analyse, validate, and report on programme-related data.
  • Track and perform relevant analyses on various aspects of programme implementation to identify and address important challenges to ensure effective and efficient programme delivery.

Communications and Stakeholder Relationship Management

  • Provide support in developing and executing a programme communication strategy for all programme stakeholders to ensure timely reporting to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Capture comprehensive stakeholder meeting minutes including action items and deadlines and circulate them promptly to support program implementation.

Collaboration and Facilitation

  • Represent SFA Foundation programmes at internal and external meetings when required.
  • Work in close collaboration with the SFA Foundation communications team to ensure all content (reports, images, videos, social media posts) is relevant and updated on a timely basis according to what is happening in the programme/programmes.
  • Deliver administrative team duties in support of the programmes within the portfolio e.g. work with SFA Foundation Procurement team to monitor deliverables (including supplies), and is the administrative contact person for programmes within the programme.
  • Support in planning and organising relevant workshops and other activities in furtherance of the objectives of the programmes.
  • Maintain a risk register for the programme and a system to document, track and ensure programme issues and challenges are resolved in a timely manner.
  • Liaise with other programmes to enhance collaboration, exchange of information and optimal use of resources.

Event/Conference Planning and Management

  • Support various networking management activities/ events.
  • Plan, organise and coordinate and participate in high-level stakeholder meetings/convenings/round table meetings taking note of action points and following up thereafter to ensure stakeholder views are managed towards the best solutions – this entails high-level programme coordination skills in managing various competing priorities with various stakeholders through co-ordinating various meetings such as teleconferences, round table meetings, high-level annual meetings, review meetings that often times run in parallel.
  • Scheduling stakeholder meetings and facilitating communication between the programme manager and stakeholders throughout the programme/ initiative life cycle.

Programme Governance

  • Support the programme in complying with the SFA Foundation programme management framework.
  • Follow up on the implementation of audit findings/observations from internal & external audits and/or funder due diligence processes and assist with consolidating audit-related tasks/documentation.
  • Assist in checking programme complies with all its contractual obligations signed with stakeholders and adheres to all applicable standards.
  • Management of programme documents and records as per SFA Foundation policies and procedures.
  • Efficient and effective management of programme team meetings, programme structures, etc
  • Provide administrative support to the programme manager including but not limited to managing budgets, scheduling meetings, and preparing reports.

Minimum Academic Qualifications

An undergraduate degree in social science, social anthropology, community development, community health or a relevant science field obtained over the past 5 years.

Professional Qualifications

A professional qualification and relevant experience in large-scale programme/programme management or training in research administration, ethics, leadership or related will be an added advantage.


  • At least 5 years’ experience working in research/research leadership capacity development programme design and implementation on the African continent.
  • Experience in carrying out or coordinating programme management work.

Knowledge, Skills and Attributes

  • Must have a high level of integrity.
  • Must understand and demonstrate the Foundation’s values such as respect, accountability, excellence, diversity and inclusion.
  • Must be a team player.
  • Must demonstrate the ability to manage strategic relationships.
  • Must be an effective communicator and have excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Must be a critical thinker and innovative.
  • Must demonstrate the ability to make decisions, plan, organise and manage work.
  • Must have a high level of adaptability, engagement readiness and fast thinking.
  • Must have the capability to initiate action and be keen on quality.
  • Must be attentive to details.
  • Must have excellent presentation and public speaking skills.
  • Must demonstrate the ability to collaborate and build trust with others.

Leadership Competencies

  • Must demonstrate the ability to manage stakeholders.
  • Mentor and coach grantees

Key Result Areas

  • Benefits of all assigned activities delivered within budget, to time and consistent with commitments to funders and agreed to targets.
  • Strong working relationships with all key stakeholders including staff, other delivery partners, and beneficiaries.
  • Maintaining an attractive and accurate outward profile of activities through the website and other materials.
  • Strong knowledge of SFA Foundation policies and procedures, and their application in grants management.

How to Apply

Should you meet the competencies above, please submit a cover letter and a current Curriculum Vitae not exceeding 5 pages including three professional referees to recruitment@scienceforafrica.foundation

The cover letter should be no more than two pages long and explain why you are interested in this post and how your skills and experience make you a good fit. The documents should be saved in MS Word or PDF in the following format: Your First Name-Your Last Name-Document Name-Date (mmyy)

Deadline for Applications : 28th November 2023